The rifle of choice for many hunters, this superb all-rounder from a well-respected brand is worthy of its praise, enthuses Bruce Potts

Product Overview

Overall rating:

93%

Mauser M12 Impact

Product:

Mauser M12 Impact

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,120.00

Mauser knows what real shooters want from a rifle. The Impact is not only a premium sporting arm at a great price but its overall design of stainless-steel metalwork and synthetic stock also makes it a superb all-rounder for any game, target, weather or range. That may sound a bit over the top, but read on and you will see why I rate this gun so highly.

Stock

First, let’s consider the stock. It looks like any other synthetic on the face 
of it, but get a little closer and you 
can see the thought that has gone 
into its design and manufacture. 
It is a light stock but feels very 
solid, which sets it apart from the competition. Its internal construction is a moulded two-section profile 
with a strengthened fore-end 
section, to avoid twisting and flexing when rested or with a bipod fitted, 
and a solid rear butt section that 
balances the Impact well, even 
with a moderator fitted.

There is no cheekpiece and little cast to the stock so the rifle is pretty ambidextrous in use, which is handy if you find yourself on the wrong side of a tree and need to take a shot from the other shoulder.

The high, straight comb is much to my liking, affording comfort and a correct scope alignment when mounted. The exterior surface is very tactile with an overall grey soft-touch finish over the synthetic shell. It gives a good grip, which was very welcome in the field test, as does the moulded-in chequering with rectangular 
raised pattern.

Best of all is the internal stock structure, which affords the best possible bedding system for a stable platform between metalwork and stock, so crucial to consistent accuracy. There is a transverse steel lug to secure the front of the action, while the rear is perfectly aligned with an aluminium pillar.

Mauser M12 Impact

Bruce loved the smooth bolt operation, positive ejection and good quiet safety system

Barrel and action

The barrel and action are stainless steel, giving a hard-wearing and almost weatherproof finish. You definitely appreciate this when you are crawling through mud and thickets where a walnut stock would not fare well. You also have a good barrel length of 21.5in, threaded with a 15mmx1 thread with muzzle cap supplied and a good medium profile. The barrel is free-floated all the way down to the receiver ring, giving stiffness for repeated shots without heating up too much, and is further enhanced by flutes to the barrel to reduce weight and aid cooling.

Mauser has a reputation for excellent actions and the Impact is no exception. It is very smooth with its arrangement of two sets of three bolt lugs: three large 0.277in-long forward lugs with three smaller 0.20in lugs for safety. This allows a 60° bolt open position, with a straight/low bolt lift featuring a large teardrop knob for positive reloading.

It is beefy at 7.25in long and 
0.80in in diameter, with a polished finish. To round off this excellent action, there is an inset extractor claw and twin plunger-type ejectors that grip cartridges with a vengeance for total reliability.

Mauser M03

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Trigger, safety and magazine

Any rifle needs a good trigger and safety mechanism and the Impact has a cracker. The trigger, factory set at 2.15lb, is superb and breaks like glass with no creep whatsoever. The trigger is the final touch in the firing cycle and so an instant trigger release really helps with maximum accuracy.

The safety is typical Mauser style with a large bolt shroud and safety mechanism. Cycle the action and a small red button protrudes through the centre of the bolt shroud, indicating the Impact is cocked. The safety is activated by a wing lever. When forward, a white dot points to a red “F” for fire; in the midway position, the white dot aligns with 
the middle dot, so the trigger is safe, but the bolt can be opened. In the third position, the safety locks both the bolt and trigger.

The magazine is detachable — 
a sensible option on a hunting rifle — and made entirely from polymer with a double stack arrangement. This fits into an aluminium floorplate, with 
a release lever in front of the magazine. Push it up and the magazine pops 
out easily. In 6.5x55mm it has a five-round capacity.

Mauser M12 Impact

Mauser M12 Impact

To the bench

The Mauser M12 Impact came mounted with a Minox Z3 5i 3-15x56mm scope and Tier One scope mounts, which complemented the Impact really well. There was also 
a Barton Gunworks sound moderator fitted, which increased the overall length to 45.75in. Off the bench with factory ammunition, the Impact proved its worth on the targets. The 21.5in barrel is short on a 6.5x55mm Swede round, but better handling 
is preferable to the velocity lost.

I liked the Norma 120-gr Ballistic Tips; these shot well as a fox or deer load, and I managed 2,774fps for 2,051ft/lb energy — very healthy, 
as were the groups, with three 
shots nestled into 0.75in.

A 140-gr load from Federal with Power-Shok bullets achieved just over the inch mark and 2,464fps for 1,888ft/lb energy — a quiet load that generated only mild recoil.

It is hard to improve on this performance, but reloads always 
gain that little extra velocity and accuracy with a bit of trial and error. The best reload was the Nosler 120-gr Ballistic Tip propelled by 44.25 
grains of Reloder RL17 powder and Federal primer for 2,823fps and 2,124ft/lb energy — a nice load 
with 0.55in groups.

Another good reload was the heavier Hornady 140-gr SST bullet with 43.5 grains of RL10 powder 
and Federal primer for 2,566fps 
and 2,047ft/lb energy.

A light 85-gr fox load of 45.0 
grains of IMR 4895 achieved 3,211fps 
— superb for lamping, night-vision 
and thermal use.
Please note that some 150-gr bullets may not make the Scottish minimum 2,450fps velocity. Reloads will correct this, but regardless, the 140-gr load would be my choice anyway.

Need to know

Manufacturer: Mauser

Model: M12 Impact

Overall length> 42in

Barrel length: 21.5in, 15mmx1 thread

Sights: None furnished, one piece scope mount

Stock: Synthetic, grey, soft touch

Weight: 6.75lb

Trigger: Single stage

Safety: Three-position wing type

Magazine: Detachable, five shot

Calibre: 6.5x55mm on test

Contact: Blaser Sporting 01483 917412

In the field

With the rifle zeroed in at 1in high at 100 yards with the Minox scope, I was eager to conclude some roe doe culling on 
a farm in the Surrey hills. I like to finish this by the end of February, despite the extended shooting season.

The weather was perfect; heavy rain had soaked the arable fields and cover crops, but there had been a severe morning frost resulting in bright skies and frosty ground — the perfect environment for the Impact to perform. Despite the conditions, I knew the synthetic stock would not shift the rifle’s zero and that immediately gives you confidence. So too does the soft-touch stock, which gives a perfect grip and 
shrugs off the mud and foliage encountered during the stalk.

The shorter stature of the Impact, with its 21.5in barrel and moderator fitted, helped as I edged my way through the wood’s edge until 
I reached the field where several roe groups had been feeding on the margins and browsing next to the cover crops. The early morning sun was bright, which had the roe out early, and I was conscious to avoid reflections off my Kahles binoculars and the rifle scope. The Impact has 
a blackened finish as an option to 
the stainless if you prefer.

With the roe feeding back to the woods, I had to start a long crawl through the maize cover crop. It 
was wet but afforded good cover and was quiet at least. I loaded a Norma 120-gr factory load and applied the safety in silence, then managed to crawl to a point where a safe and angled shot was possible. I slowly rose to my feet and deployed the Knobloch shooting sticks and the Impact was rock-steady in the aim. I had selected one of last year’s offspring as the older does are visibly pregnant at this point in the season.

The Minox lined up a heart shot at 110 yards and that superb trigger ensured the Ballistic Tip was on its way the second I thought about it, dropping the doe on the edge of the cover. In a testament to the Impact’s accuracy and the noise reduction 
of the Barton Gunworks moderator, 
I had to wait a full 20 minutes before the remaining roe left the field because they had no idea I was there.

Mauser M12 Impact

After quite a long and wet stalk along the maize crop, this roe doe was harvested with the impact

Conclusion

While its big brother, the M03, features a detachable barrel system, the Impact has 
a fixed-barrel design and with this in mind is perfectly priced. It is hard to fault the Impact because it ticks all the boxes: it is reliable, well built, consistent and accurate, handles beautifully and is almost weatherproof. Add the Mauser brand name and it is not hard 
to see why so many people use the Impact as their go-to rifle for all hunting duties. The new M18, launched at the British Shooting Show in February, will be eagerly received.

Accuracy: Consistently accurate with factory or reloads 19/20

Handling: Great handling and feels light but solidly built 18/20

Trigger: Hard to fault, close to perfect 19/20

Stock: Very practical and ergonomic hunting stock 18/20

Value: Great performance for the price 19/20

Score: 93/100

Please note that some 150-gr bullets may not make the Scottish minimum 2,450fps velocity. Reloads will correct this, but regardless, the 140-gr load would be my choice anyway.

Verdict

A superb all-rounder