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Haenel Jaeger NXT

With natural pointability, this nimble user-friendly all-rounder is a real winner and comes in at a very reasonable price, says Bruce Potts

Haenel Jaeger NXT

Overall Rating: 86%

Manufacturer: Haenel

Price as reviewed: £2,095

Some might find it odd that a firearm would claim to be environmentally friendly, but the new Haenel Jaeger NXT claims to be exactly that; a sustainable rifle with three environmentally friendly credentials making up its design. It is certainly intriguing.

Haenel Jaeger NST

The use of bioplastics for the trigger-guard and mag helps to reduce the rifle’s carbon footprint

First is the stock, which is made of a sustainable lightweight laminated wood for tough hunting trips in all weather conditions. Next is the use of bioplastics for the trigger-guard and magazine, which are made from tree resin, thus reducing the carbon footprint of the NXT further. Thirdly, an optimised barrel allows for non-toxic ammunition to be used, which is the way the shooting world is going.

Haenel Jaeger NST

The NXT features linear bolt travel with a three-position safety catch, which is silent in use

In terms of functionality, the Jaeger NXT utilises the popular straight-pull bolt system for fast, dependable and reliable cartridge operation that causes minimal movement. This means a second shot is very fast, with an undisturbed sight picture. With its clever kick-down manual cocking device and chamber lock arrangement, the bolt handle moves the bolt linearly and rotates, locking at the same time as the bolt enters the barrel. The bolt handle can also be locked for stalking; only a quick push forward re-cocks and you are ready to fire — a nice feature.

Haenel Jaeger NST

Bio polymers make up the magazine and trigger guard assembly, which saves on plastic use.

Need to know

  • Manufacturer Haenel
  • Model Jaeger NXT
  • Type Straight pull
  • Overall length 41.15in
  • Barrel length 20in
  • Calibre .30-06 (.308 Win option)
  • Magazine Five-round, detachable
  • Weight 3.2kg
  • Stock Brown/black (nutmeg) laminate
  • Trigger Single-stage, adjustable
  • Safety Three-way, sliding action
  • Scope mounts Integral short Picatinny
  • Importers Viking Arms, 01423 780810

In depth

I like that Haenel has thought not only about rifle function but has also sourced environmentally-friendly materials and has created options for use by both men and women.

The stock is fashioned in a Sporter style with a solid fore-end, so there’s no twisting, and the good barrel clearance allows consistent accuracy. The wood compound stock uses Forest Stewardship Council sustainable wood sections, bonded by bio-friendly resins.

It has a neutral cast with a slight raise to the rear comb, although it is a bit low when you mount the gun so your eye is not perfectly aligned and you have to raise your head slightly. I like the simple but effective stippled panels to both fore-end and pistol grip, which ensure a secure hold.

Strength is also assured by good bedding of the action via aluminium pillars and twin cross-bolt recoil lugs fore and aft of the magazine to strengthen the stock further. I also prefer the longer-than-average 14.75in length of pull of the stock, which fits correctly and handles very naturally.


Composite material of cellulose and tree resin (non-petroleum) is used for the trigger-guard and magazine for weather resistance and resilience. Mag capacity is five rounds and easy to top load, with a release catch that can be clicked right to lock the magazine in place. I’ve not seen that before.

The cold hammer forged barrel is 20in with good open sights and has a semi-heavy Sporter profile with 0.710 muzzle diameter and 15mm/1 thread pitch for moderator fitment. The 1-in-11in rifling twist rate is capable of shooting light or heavy bullets alike — including lead-free ones.

The action features an integral Picatinny rail and a rotating gear mechanism, which operates the three locking-lug bolt with plunger-type ejector and single claw extractor. This makes operation slick, safe and simple to use; you pull back the rounded polymer bolt handle, which unlocks the bolt lugs by rotating them internally and the bolt can travel back 5.5in. This achieves easy primary extraction from the chamber, which can be an issue on some straight-pull rifles.

Then you push the bolt fully forward until the bolt handle is vertical — the NXT will not fire until you do so. This is because there is a secondary bolt position before full closure, which allows you to carry the NXT safely loaded but not cocked. When you push the bolt fully forward, a red indicator shows you are safe to fire. The safety ‘proper’ is on the bolt shroud, which unlocks the bolt when cocked or loaded with a press to the left. The central position is fire and to the right is safe, which locks everything.

Stalker in field

Bruce Potts finds the NXT supremely pointable and it handled well with standard and lead-free bullets


Straight-pulls are popping up everywhere now. They are normally the domain of our European cousins, but we Brits are warming to this type of rifle operating mechanism. This Haenel Jaeger NXT has a lot of really nice features that are beneficial for both the stalker and the environment.

  • Accuracy: Consistent accuracy for reloads, factory lead or lead-free 17/20
  • Handling: The Haenel Jaeger NXT feels solid but lightweight with a natural pointability 18/20
  • Trigger Single stage and clean break 17/20
  • Stock Eco-friendly, robust and comfortable from both shoulders 17/20
  • Value: Compared with some straight-pulls, the NXT is good value 17/20
  • Overall score: Lightweight and easy to handle, this rifle is a great all-rounder 86/100

Field test

The Haenel Jaeger NXT arrived just at the end of the Chinese water deer season and had to be back three days into the roe season, so no pressure. The .30-06 Springfield is a good old round but a little big for water deer and roe, so primarily I shot the lighter bullets and lead-free options in the reloads.

In .30-06 with the NXT’s shorter barrel all ammunition ‘barked’, so you need to fit a good sound moderator. I actually sighted in with ear defenders and hunted without one to ascertain the fast-handling potential of the NXT. The best .30-06 cartridge has consistently been the lightweight Sako 123-gr bullet factory ammunition. These shot just over 1.25in groups for three shots at 100 yards at 2,973fps and 2,415ft/lb. The Hornady 150-gr SSTs shot 1in groups at 2,904fps and 2,810ft/lb, so these would be a good all-rounder.

I loaded some lighter lead-free bullets with fast powder for the shorter barrel. They responded well, with the best groupings coming from the Hornady GMX 125-gr bullets. Here we had 3,007fps for 2,469ft/lb with 56.0 grains of Alliant RL15 powder and made a less than 1in group.

On the last day of the water deer season the nimble NXT — with its quiet action and hunter-friendly stock — served me well while stalking hedgerow and ditches. It points naturally and I like the simple silent toggle safety, which allowed a close shot on a lovely buck. Sadly, on two roebuck outings, I saw only does.

shot Chinese water deer

The nimble NXT brought down a lovely buck on the final day of the Chinese water deer season


User-friendliness with its two stock dimensions — standard or the DS model for smaller or lighter shooters — further makes this NXT model a real all-round stalking rifle.