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Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

This robust, Australian-made rifle has all the hard-wearing and dependable qualities of its homeland, says Bruce Potts

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Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

Overall Rating: 88%

Manufacturer: Lithgow

Price as reviewed: £1,287

I have tested quite a few Lithgow rimfires of late but I’d never had the chance to engage with the centrefire version of the Crossover model, the Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle, with a fine pedigree.

Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

The rifle has a well-thought-out stock, making it steady in the aim

Background to the Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

Lithgow Arms, based in New South Wales, has that typical Aussie bloodyminded sort of ethic and it shows in the rifles it produces. Since 1912, Lithgow small arms have been used in conflicts from Gallipoli during the Great War to modern-day conflicts in Afghanistan.

This Crossover model blends a technically and materially superior-made bolt action with integral Picatinny scope rail fixture, single stage adjustable trigger, Tikka T3 compatible detachable magazines to keep the costs down, and an easy handling wing-type three-position safety for ease of use. You also get a superb, hard-wearing ‘chuck it in the ute’ coating to all metal parts in the form of Cerakote titanium finish. (Read what is Cerakote finish here.)

The Crossover model, as its name suggests, has a mixture of target and sporting influences, and thus the stock is particularly well thought out, not only for toughness with its strong laminate construction but also the pretty ambidextrous and well-planted nature of the stock design, making it very steady in the aim.

This all-round performance will set you back a touch under £1,300 for this model although a walnut and synthetic model is also available.

Safety catch on rifle

The wing-type safety catch at the 6 o’clock position makes the gun safe and locks the bolt down.

Need to know

  • Manufacturer Lithgow Arms Australia
  • Model LA102 Crossover
  • Overall Length 42.5in
  • Barrel Length 22in, threaded 14mm/1
  • Sights One-piece Picatinny rail
  • Stock Laminate semi sporter
  • Weight 3.5kg
  • Finish Cerakote titanium
  • Trigger Single stage
  • Safety Two position
  • Magazine Detachable 3 rounds, polymer
  • Calibre .308 win on test
  • Price £1,286.99
  • Contact Highland Outdoors 0845 0990252
Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

In depth

The stock catches your eye first, due to the robust but equally well-profiled and modelled ergonomics. It comes up very easily to the shoulder and is rock steady in the aim. Length of pull is 13½in with a quite upright and open semi palm-swelled pistol grip adding to the Lithgow’s effortless handling characteristics. This is further enhanced by stippled panels to this area as well as the fore-end which in itself is nice and long with a generous girth for good support.

The comb section has no cheek piece but raises slightly to the rear for proper eye-to-scope alignment and under recoil drops from the face to avoid bruising. I like the weight, robustness and weather-resistant nature of the laminate stock, which also balances the Crossover well especially with a moderator fitted.

Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

The stock has a good weight to it, is weather-resistant and is well balanced

Smooth lift-bolt operation

Lithgow uses large actions and the LA102 is no exception. Built with a generous ejection port for reliable case ejection and a wide 22mm bolt with a three-lug locking head arrangement, the Crossover has a smooth and short lift-bolt operation of 60 degrees.

The short semi dog-legged bolt handle has a nice large grooved knob for assured grip and the safety resides in the bolt shroud. With the safety lever at 90 degrees it’s ready to fire, at 135 degrees it’s safe but the bolt operates, and at 180 degrees it is safe and the bolt is locked. The single-stage trigger unit, although adjustable (pull 0.3kg-2.5kg), is clean-breaking at 3.85lb, so I would use it as is. I really like the use of the Tikka-compatible magazines as it allows a readily available source of cheap options; three shots come as standard. They feed centrally from the magazine and, being polymer, it won’t rust and functions flawlessly.

Finally, the barrel is cold hammer forged steel with six groove rifling and 11in twist rate, so good up to 180-gr bullets in .308. Screw cut for 14mm/1 mods and having a 22in length and sporter profile, it is free floated from the stock and finished, like the action, in Cerakote titanium that resembles stainless steel but resists corrosion better.

The Crossover has no sights but a one-piece Picatinny rail is supplied screwed to the action top and allows a universal fitment of sights. It’s stylish but it also feels truly rugged.


The Lithgow has that rare combination of agility combined with weight that ensures steady handling when in the hold. Once sighted in, the Crossover is one of those rifles that just gets on with it and can be relied on. I have a lot of respect for it, a bit like the Aussies themselves.

  • Accuracy: Consistent accuracy with all ammo’ 18/20
  • Handling: Perfectly balanced and feels strong 18/20
  • Trigger: No complaints and adjustable too 17/20
  • Stock: Good mix of handling, toughness and weight
  • Value: Definitely worth a look, well made17/20
  • Overall score: A reliable and dependable rifle 88/100
Lithgow LA102 Crossover stalking rifle

Half an hour after getting into position, Bruce Potts harvested a roebuck with the LA102

Field test

Now the important part, how does it shoot? I fitted a new Leupold Mark 3HD 8-24x50mm rifle scope in Tier-One mounts that provided very clear optics with side parallax too, resulting in pin-sharp aiming at any magnification.

The Crossover is all about performance on game so I only tested a few rounds to ascertain the accuracy of the rifle as the roe rut was on and I was eager to get amongst them. At 100 yards the Sako 123-grain gamehead bullets, my favourite, shot tight 0.95in three-shot clusters at 2,991fps for 2,444ft/lb. This will continue to be a really good round for roe, until the lead ban comes into force.

The Hornady 150-grain SST, as usual, shot fast – 2,888fps and 2,779ft/lb from the 22in barrel – though I have had faster from 20in barrels. They managed good 1.0in groups, while the lead-free Winchester Extreme Points shot just over the inch – very good for lead-free. The best reload went to the Sierra Pro-Hunter 125-gr HP bullets, producing 2,905fps and 2,343ft/lb with 44.25gr of Vit N133 and 0.75in groups. However, I wanted to test the Winchester lead-free as I have had some very interesting results on the range; live game should confirm these promising signs.

At first light on the Surrey Hills, where my son had previously shot a magnificent platinum roebuck, I sat nestled into the field margin overlooking the freshly cut stubble and ideal rutting territory. Sure enough, a lone doe appeared followed by a magnificent buck in hot pursuit. They were chasing away from me at 125 yards but my buttolo call convinced him I was prettier. He came bounding in to around 80 yards where the Lithgow harvested a superb trophy – all within 30 minutes of sitting down.