By Bruce Potts
Monday, 13 December 2010
Heym SR30 straight-pull rifle review: Bruce Potts applauds the Heym SR30’s fusion of classic looks and cutting-edge technology.
Heym SR30 straight-pull rifle review.
Heym’s SR30 model differs significantly from the traditional SR21 bolt-action rifle - the engineering excellence is still there, but this rifle functions in an entirely different way.
The SR30 is one of the new breed of straight-pull rifles that rely on the manipulation of the bolt with a single rearwards motion to cycle the action.
As always, Heym retains that all-steel action and high-grade walnut rifle, with every component receiving the same attention to detail, especially the precise, rifled barrel produced in-house.
The Heym is unashamedly old school in its appearance, but technically, it is anything but old-fashioned, with its cutting edge bolt lock-up system and cartridge delivery.
The SR30 sports one of the best straight-pull bolt designs to date. The bolt handle has a steel core that is covered with a round knob fashioned from the same walnut as the stock.
This not only looks fabulous, but also feels natural in the hand.
There are three positions to the bolt.
The first is in the half-cock position, where the bolt sits at slightly more than 100° to the action and the safety catch can be applied, locking both the bolt and its ball bearing in place.
This effectively locks the firing pin in a retracted position for an extremely safe ‘carrying the rifle’ mode.
Next, with the safety released, the bolt can be pushed forward to 85°, which results in a couple of things: first, this sets the firing pin and trigger mechanism and second, it locks six radial hardened ball bearings that act as locking lugs protruding from the bolt body and locking into the action’s side walls.
This unique design assigns proportionate pressure to each ball bearing, ensuring even lock-up pressure that helps accuracy and makes for a strong bolt lock-up.
In fact, Heym tests its actions to more than 110,000psi pressure to ensure integrity, and when you consider that most cartridges, such as the .308, operate at 55,000psi, you can see how safe the margin of error is.
The final position of the bolt comes after firing by pulling the bolt handle straight back - no slight deviations, simply straight back - which will retract the ball bearings, allowing rearward movement of the bolt and the ejection of the fired case from the action.
To remove the bolt entirely from the action for cleaning, you have to engage it at its rear then activate the safety and push the bolt stop button - the bolt will slide out.
It’s a bit fiddly, but the smooth and positive way the Heym operates is sure to win over those in doubt.
The top of the action is rounded and will accept scope bases to fit a scope sight. Because the bolt is a straight-pull design, you can mount your sight low to the action.
ACCURACY AND TARGETS
I shot more than eight factory loads, including Winchester, Remington, Federal, Hornady and RWS. Each shot below 1.5in at 100 yards for three shots.
The Federal 165-grain GameKing loads shot consistently slightly under the 1in mark.
With some of the quality RWS brass relinquished from the factory ammo test, I started on the reloads.
Best accuracy came from the mid-weight bullets, those from 150 to 165 grains, in particular, the Nosler 150-grain Ballistic Tips shot 2,790fps with a load of 46-grains Varget powder and Federal Match primer, and clustered three shots into .75in at 100 yards.
The 165-grain Combined Technology bullet, with its Lubalox coating, sped along at 2,604fps and produced tight .65in groups.
I also tried some lighter 125-grain Ballistic Tips and, with a load of 48-grains Alliant RL 15 powder, they sped over the chronograph at 2,991fps, generating 2,484ft/lb energy for a flat trajectory.
When zeroed at 100 yards, you are 2.6in low at 200 yards and 10.9in low at 300 yards - a useful load all round.
BARREL, TRIGGER AND MAGAZINE
As with so many European guns, this innovative rifle is a switch-barrel design. Unlike most other rifles of this ilk, the barrel and action come as an assembled unit, so it is only the bolt and magazine that are changed for a different calibre.
As with all parts of this rifle, Heym manufactures them in-house, so the barrel, like the action, can be made with a great degree of accuracy.
The barrels are all cold hammer forgings with steel supplied by the renowned Krupp Special Steels company and this model sports a slender Sporter profile of 23.75in in length.
The test rifle was not threaded for a moderator, but a set of adjustable open sights are furnished and is free-floated in the stock.
The trigger is a single-stage set unit. This allows a light trigger-pull when the trigger-blade is pushed into the forward position with the thumb, though set in the normal mode the let off was precise and not heavy, at slightly more than 3.5lb in weight.
The magazine is a little more conventional, being a detachable steel unit that has a single feed mechanism making it reliable and, as standard, offers three shots in .308 calibre or two in magnum cartridges.
There is an option for larger capacities of five and four respectively.
The magazine release is positive and pops the magazine into your hand with a simple press of the sprung button located to the bottom-right side of the stock below the action.
The stock is well made with dense, well-figured walnut that has a good wood-to-metal fit with the action.
The subtle oil finish is both practical and aesthetically pleasing, giving a satin gleam to the wood below.
There are several designs, dependent on model of rifle that you choose.
The test rifle had a European-style hog’s back with a Schnabel fore-end, though a straight line classic stock with rounded fore-end tip, capped pistol grip and dropped, well-defined cheekpiece are also popular.
All chequering is hand-cut and a solid rubber recoil pad stops heavy calibres giving your shoulder a pounding.
There is a shortened Keiler model for short-range shooting, such as wild boar, or a full-stocked Stutzen model for those that like a more traditional-looking stalking rifle.
The standard quality is good, but you can order wood upgrades, if your budget allows.
QUALITY AND RELIABILITY
The straight-pull design may not be your cup of tea, but this certainly has to one of the best on the market with its silky smooth bolt operation and precise trigger unit.
Even better, the SR30 is available as a right- or left-handed model, so no-one should feel compromised, as there is also a good selection of models, grades and calibres.
I actually shot two differing Heyms in the course of these tests and the accuracy was equally good from both models.
The SR30 is a superbly manufactured rifle, seamlessly combining traditional techniques and materials with cutting-edge technology.
I like the use of quality steels and the absence of plastics, hence the high score.
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