A traditional, stylish rifle with an enviable degree of finish, this model is accurate and reliable and will last you a lifetime, says Bruce Potts
Heym manages to blend seamlessly the art of rifle-smithing and modern manufacture, presenting its guns with an enviable degree of finish.
The SR21 rifle has undergone a few modifications from traditional Sporter to classic English styling and lightweight Concorde version, but still has the feel of a fine handmade gun.
The Heym SR21 rifle, in the classic style, has a blued steel finish and high-grade walnut stock, and it is chambered for the 7x57mm cartridge — a superb all-rounder. Garlands is selling the SR21 as a package deal with the Leica Visus 3-12×50 illuminated scope (for £1,350) and Warne scope mounts. For a total of £2,599, you get a great stalking rifle for a fair price.
It is a well-built rifle, with Heym undertaking all the manufacturing processes in-house at its Suhl factory in Thuringia, central Germany, founded in 1865. This includes the manufacture of the barrel, a key part of any rifle, ensuring Heym owners can enjoy a high degree of accuracy and longevity from it.
Blued steel is not as popular these days with more people favouring the weather-resistant qualities of stainless steel, but there are still plenty of shooters who prefer the finish.
Add to this a high-grade walnut stock with flowing lines and you have a fine-looking rifle. The action is smooth, too, operating like a Swiss watch. The detachable magazine and set trigger unit gives the user all they need to conclude a stalk successfully.
Overall impressions are favourable due to the obvious high degree of engineering and attention to detail. You cannot but admire the finish that Heym has on its rifles. The high shine and lustre of a quality blued action and steel is still a thing of beauty and so long as it is kept oiled the depth of this bluing should last very well.
Operating the left-handed bolt is no problem, but the small, slightly dog-legged bolt handle and compact, rounded and smooth knob is easy to manipulate, though I prefer the wood-handled version. It has a shallow 60° lift to avoid contact when a scope is mounted because the bolt has a three-locking lug arrangement. This allows a short lift and larger surface to lock the bolt into the action and they always seem to run smoothly.
It is a chunky bolt, machined from solid steel billet, with a length of 7.25in and five deep flutes cut in the surface. This helps reduce weight, but it looks good and avoids binding as the bolt is cycled, contributing to the Heym’s smooth and reliable action. The sprung plunger ejector is positive and ejects spent cases a good way. At the rear of the bolt, the substantial bolt shroud guards against pierced primers’ hot gases getting into your face and houses the safety.
I prefer a side-mounted or tang safety, but the Heym’s wing-type one works well with a lever that has a three-position function. Forward (red dot) means ready to fire; fully rearward (large white dot) the bolt and trigger are locked. In a halfway position (small white dot) the trigger is safe but the bolt can be operated.
Heym still fits a set trigger option, which lightens the trigger-pull when the trigger-blade is pushed forward, but this one needed adjustment as it made it heavier. With the standard trigger-pull you have 3.25lb weight and a nice crisp, zero-creep pull.
I do like the all-metal detachable magazine that fits flush to the action body and is ejected via a push lozenge grooved button recessed into the stock. It needs a fair old push to pop out the magazine halfway, but at least you won’t lose it.
As mentioned earlier, this Heym came as a combination deal with Warne scope mounts and Leica Visus 3-12×50 illuminated scope, so I set about fitting them and zeroing in the Heym at 100 yards. The Warne mounts are great, securing your scope to the rifle via a separate ring and base system. The Leica Visus has a ½in click adjustment at 100 yards that I find easier to work with than the metric alternative.
The barrel is slim at 23in long, with muzzle diameter of only 0.601in that is threaded for a moderator with a 14mm/1in thread. I fitted an MAE 32mm stainless steel sound moderator finished in black that suited the size and styling of the Heym, as well as offering excellent noise reduction and recoil for use in my planned stalk.
The rifling twist on this Heym is typical for a 7x57mm chambering at 1 in 9in so bullet weights up to 160-gr to 170-gr could be used. However, as with many 7x57mm rifles, they seem to work best with 140-gr projectiles and these are better suited to British deer anyway.
Roe to reds
I used factory ammunition to start with and there is quite a decent selection on offer. First, the Norma Oryx 156-gr, which offers good penetration and accuracy. In this Heym I had 1.25in groups at 100 yards with a muzzle velocity of 2,678fps that generates 2,485ft/lb energy from that 23in barrel — good for red stags or fallow in the rut. My favourites, however, are the lighter RWS 123-gr Cone Point loads. Yes they are quite light, but they penetrate well then expand to dump their kinetic energy inside the beast. At 2,968fps and 2,407ft/lb energy, they shoot a flat trajectory and are good from roe up to reds. Accuracy was 0.95in for three shots.
However, the 140-gr Federal
Nosler Partition yielded 1in groups
for 2,598fps and 2,099ft/lb, making
it a good all-rounder.
I had plenty of reloads at hand and, after adjusting the seating depth of the bullet to suit this Heym’s chamber and lead into the rifling, the best reloads soon became obvious.
A Hornady 120-gr V-Max bullet, quite fast expanding and flat shooting with a load of 51.0 grains of Swiss RS60 powder, produced 3,059fps and 2,494ft/lb with 0.85in groups.
A better deer choice was my go-to load of a 140-gr Nosler with 140-grain AccuBond that shot sub-inch groups for 2,756fps and 2,362ft/lb. You can change that bullet to a Hornady SST, if you like, for similar results with faster bullet expansion.
Slightly heavier 150-gr Nosler Ballistic Tips are always good with a new load of 48.0 grains of RL19 powder for 2,672fps and 2,379ft/lb and consistent inch groupings.
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Need to know
Capacity: Three rounds ( 7 x 57mm)
Safety: Three-position shroud mounted
Barrel Length: 23in, threaded 14mm/1in
Overall Length: 43.5in
Trigger: Set trigger
Stock: High-quality walnut
Price: £2,599 including scope and mounts
Importer: Garlands 01827 383300
In the field
April began just as the rifle arrived, so I headed to the woods after roebuck. It is in the woods that you appreciate the attributes of any rifle. This Heym handles very well, even with a sound moderator fitted, and as I eased my way slowly through
a small gap in the hedge I was aware the stock was not getting scratched. As I waited a while I could appreciate the Heym’s streamlined stock design — very classic in form, with a slender fore-end and butt section with
no cheekpiece. This was handy
as you could shoot from either shoulder comfortably.
The pistol grip has a classic long rake and the chequering is well cut, with a rosewood tip and scalloped sections around the magazine well. The straight comb height also allowed the Leica scope to be positioned correctly.
The fixed sling swivels are the old-fashioned type and I prefer the quick-detachable variety, so, rather annoyingly, I had no sling fitted.
With the Heym cradled in my hands, I sat at the wood’s edge, the first signs of buds appearing on the trees and hedgeline. This would attract the roe away from the fields that they had fed on in the winter months and soon the first one appeared; a cracking buck we had spotted during his velvet-clad months and now close to being clean. He was followed by another, still in velvet, and a smaller buck, prong horn in velvet, then an entourage of five does.
I had to make do with a rest on a silver birch and waited until the clean-antlered buck was a safe and clear shot across the field; a 143-yarder. He took a few steps broadside and as he did so, the Leica, set on 10x power and the reticle held steady on the heart. Instinctively I squeezed the trigger at the correct time and the very muted report from the MAE silencer grassed the buck where he stood. A great start to the 2018 buck season and a capable shot from the Heym SR21.
Quality will always sell, and if you buy a Heym it will last your lifetime. The combination price presents good value, and for those stalkers who like a more traditional-styled rifle but still enjoy old-world quality matched with good accuracy and reliability, the Heym SR21 will be just the job.
- Accuracy 17/20
- Handling 18/20
- Trigger 16/20
- Stock 18/20
- Value 18/20
Quality will always sell, and if you buy a Heym it will last your lifetime