The new thumbhole walnut stock elevates this Lochshaft model from good to great; it's a little quirky-looking but versatile

Product Overview

Overall rating:

89%

Strasser RS Solo

Pros:

  • Very well-made

Cons:

  • Quirky

Product:

Strasser RS Solo

The Strasser rifle’s first incarnation was the RS 05, designed by Horst Blaser in 2004 with an Austrian engineer Herbert Strasser. The original rifle was a quick-change barrel system and straight-pull design; today it has gone from strength to strength and the Strasser is one of the best and safest straight-pull rifles on the market.

Not everyone wanted a quick-change barrel facility so the RS Solo is a fixed-barrel version at a reduced price. This model starts with the standard at £1,388 (wood) to £1,408 for the synthetic stock version and £2,309 for this thumbhole or Lochshaft version on test. It is still a modular design as the trigger unit and front and rear stocks are easily removed or exchanged from wood to synthetic. The action plates are removable to increase engraved adornment if you desire. It is a versatile and well-made rifle with even better handling thanks to the new thumbhole walnut stock option.

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Stock

I love thumbholes but all stocks with this design are not the same. Strasser has gone for the most ergonomic route to ensure great handling and stability, and not streamlined elegance. That’s not a criticism but it has a very bold design with straight pistol grip giving a natural unstrained grip, further enhanced by chequering and the four finger grooves and longer-than-average length. This puts your trigger finger directly in line with the trigger-blade for a smooth let-off.

The actual “hole” in the thumbhole is large, facilitating easy access even with a gloved hand. The comb is straight with a cheekpiece and solid black rubber recoil pad. The fore-end is slim with a small Schnabel-type tip with nicely cut wraparound chequering.

The walnut has an excellent grain and colour with a good oil finish. On this model it comes as a grade 3 as standard, though you can upgrade walnut quality as your budget and taste dictates. Good handling if a little quirky looking.

Barrel, action and scope mount The Strasser is versatile as there is a cut-out to both sides of the action, so it can be configured for right- or left-handed shooters. It is a hard-coated unit made from an aluminium alloy and the bolt, bolt head and bolt handle are plasma nitrogen-hardened for strength and long life. The flat sides have removable panels, plain black on this walnut thumbhole version but engraved wood versions are an option.

The bolt is a one-piece unit with bolt handle sticking out at right angles and only moves a small amount to lock and unlock the action. The large plastic bolt knob is short but is very tactile and fast to use. The bolt head has a claw-type extractor in its face and a sprung-plunger ejector. It uses the same removable bolt head as the RS 05 model, because there’s no sense in changing it. The Strasser locks solid with a full radial locking system. Four large lugs open out from the bolt as it closes and engage the rear of the barrel to lock directly into it. This forms a strong union. This Solo version, as the name suggests, has a  xed barrel, whereas the R14 or RS 05 have a quick-detach barrel system.

Barrel length is 22in on standard models like this .243 but in reality it is more like 21in. It has a lightweight Sporter profile, which balances the rifle nicely, and is screw-cut for a sound moderator. It was finished in matt blue with a more polished finish to the action.

The scope mount is superb, some £340 but worth every penny. It fits directly into recessed concave cut-outs in the action top via corresponding lugs activated by a single lever. Simple, fast and foolproof, and pretty much perfect in my view.

Trigger, safety and magazine

The trigger is a quick-detachable modular unit so you can disable the gun for storage or adjust the trigger-pull easily. I like it very much because it has a direct contact sear/stem system with adjustment from 800g, 1,600g or 2,500g weight with an additional typical push forward of the trigger-blade for the “set” trigger mode. Regardless, when the bolt is open, the trigger is disengaged — perfect.

The safety sited on the back of the bolt must be pushed down to lock and this disengages the trigger-sear. A small button within the safety can be pushed in to release the lockbolt to remove a chambered round if necessary.

The magazine is detachable via two push-action buttons either side of the action that need to be pushed simultaneously to release the magazine — three shots in .243 Win with one extra up the chamber if desired and a six-shot option is available.

FIELD TEST RESULTS

Accuracy and targets

Despite its shorter barrel length, the Strasser RS Solo gave excellent velocities with the .243 Win cartridges, which can be “short barrel” sensitive. Not only were the velocities and associated energy levels good, but also accuracy was equally impressive. Over the chronograph and targets set at 100 yards, the Strasser impressed off the bench.

Factory ammunition from all the manufacturers were no bigger than 1.25in groups for three shots and the best was the Hornady Superformance 75-hr SST load with a high 3,410fps for 1,937ft/lb energy and 0.95in groups.

Hornady SST loads

The Hornady Superformance 75-gr SST loads proved to be the best of the factory ammunition

The Winchester 80-gr Soft Points were identical in accuracy with a 3,311fps velocity and 1,948ft/lb energy. There was nothing to choose between the two.

Reloading shrank the groups a little but not much. The Nosler 95-gr bullet, Partition, yielded a velocity of 2,986fps for 1,881ft/lb energy and 0.75in groups. The 75-hr Hornady SST bullet was a good all-rounder with brisk velocities from the short barrel at 3,317fps and 1,833ft/lb energy and symmetrical groups of 0.65in.

Some of the lighter or non-max loads such as the Nosler 85-gr Spitzer with 36.0 grains of Vit N140 powder gave 1,704ft/lb — so just deer-legal but it shot 0.5in groups.

Factory

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Reloads

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CONCLUSION

Quirky, but very well-made, the Strasser rifles really stand out. This straight-pull is slick and gives a good degree of safety confidence from its unique solid bolt locking. The accuracy was excellent. The stock will appeal to some and not others, but you need to pick it up to appreciate the solid feel and good handling. The wood grade is impressive. If you like straight-pull rifles you will love this Strasser.

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Titan 16 straight-pull rifle

Titan 16 straight-pull rifle

The Titan range of well-made, well priced rifles has been available in Britain for some time through various distributors; now Country Sports Wholesale has…

£1,505.00

Our rating:  85%

Verdict

If you like straight-pull rifles you will love this Strasser