The Nimrod is a premium import that performs well with any load says Bruce Potts
Sporting Services is run by Graeme Clarke, better known for his involvement with Accuracy International (AI) sniper rifles and systems. These are premium items and Graeme now imports from Germany a new rifle that is as at home on the target range as it is in the field.
The Nimrod is a fairly typical-looking bolt-action rifle, but it has a high-grade action design and construction, with close tolerances for accuracy coupled with tough exterior coatings. The barrel is a stainless steel Walther, so of excellent provenance and available at this time in a limited number of popular calibres such as .243, 6.5x47L and .308 Win.
Due to the Nimrod’s Remington 700 action profile to its underside, it is capable of accepting any Remington aftermarket stock or trigger unit.
The Nimrod can be ordered according to your preference in synthetic AI-type stocks or, in this case, more befitting a sporting rifle, the GRS laminate from Norway.
Barrel, action and finish
The crux of the Nimrod is its premium- barrelled action, made in Germany, that ensures true accuracy potential from the off. The action is made from tool steel that has a tensile strength of 1,200N/mm∂ and has been gas nitrided with a phosphate and polyurethane coating. This makes for a strong action that can withstand the firing and operational processes as well as the inclement weather.
The bolt action itself is a three-lug operating system that locks into a central action ring, with each lug 0.54in long and 0.35in wide.
It has a 60° bolt lift and is 7in long, with a solid 0.84in outside diameter (O/D) but has nine radial flutes to the surface. These are shallow and blacked inside to contrast with the polished bolt body. Cases are extracted by a Sako-type claw set into the right-hand lug and cases are promptly ejected by a sprung ejector in the bolt face. The bolt handle is short and close to the stock, but the knob is removable so a longer one could be installed.
This .308 Win model had a 25in barrel with an O/D at the muzzle of 0.86in and 0.92in just in front of the fore-end, so a varmint profile. The muzzle is threaded at 18/1.5mm (AI spec), thread and fitted with an MAE Compact sound moderator. The barrel is a match-grade unit that has a black Mil Spec painted finish, and the rifling twist is 1-in-12in. No open sights are fitted, but the Nimrod has a one-piece Picatinny rail without MOA bias.
Trigger, safety and magazine
The trigger is particularly good, a precision Shilen item, with a precise single-stage operation that broke very cleanly at 1.75lb on test. It is adjustable with the stock removed but why bother. The trigger-blade is a little slim and has no grooves, but I can live with that.
Safety-wise, the Nimrod has gone the Winchesteresque route. The safety lever is a wing-type sited on the bolt shroud and has three positions. In the forward position, the rifle is live to fire; at the midpoint the rifle is safe but the bolt can still be operated; and at the rear-most it locks the trigger and the bolt. Disappointingly, there is no definable click in the mid position though. The floorplate and magazine assembly is a quick detachable unit designed to accept AI AICS five- and 10-shot magazines that are released by a large 1in push forward lever in front of the trigger-guard.
Radical-looking but actually a highly practical sporting stock, the GRS is of Norwegian manufacture with an adjustable cheekpiece and butt-pad and laminate construction. Length of pull can be altered from 35-38cm and the weight is 1.4kg.
There are choices of colour: this model came in black but all wood is laminated so there is far less risk of the stock twisting or warping. Accuracy is therefore maintained far better than with a normal wooden stock.
The front end has a bull-nose look and the fore-end has a dropped slim roach belly look, with the pistol grip aiding support of the firing hand with three finger grooves, so there is no need for chequering.
The cheekpiece is adjustable for height and is supported on three stainless-steel bars. The central one is serrated and locks into the large thumb-pushed release button set into the right of the stock. There are no screws but keys to adjust height: just one push, readjust height and release the button, and it grips tight with no wobble at all.
Accuracy and targets
Take your choice, really, because all the factory ammunition shot well. It is unusual to find a rifle that likes such a wide choice of weights and bullet styles that all shot 1in or less.
Best groups were the Hornady 150-gr SST and GECO 165-gr bullets with 0.75in three-shot groups at 100 yards, though even the heavier S&B bullets shot no larger than 1in. Velocities were good from the 25in barrel. The RWS and Norma loads were hovering around the 2,800fps to 2,900fps mark, while ahead were the Hornady SST loads at a whopping 3,019fps for 3,037ft/lb energy.
It seemed a little superfluous to try to improve on these loads with some reloaded ammunition. I did try some light loads, for fox, and here a load of 48.0 grains of IMR 4895 powder gave 3,116fps for 2,372ft/lb energy — not a top load, but produced all shots touching at 100 yards. Similarly, the Sierra GameKings shot very well at 2,624fps for 2,523ft/lb energy with a load of 46.25 grains of Vit N150 powder.
Styling may look unorthodox but the handling belies any doubts, though it is a tad muzzle heavy. From a practical point of view, the Nimrod is designed to shrug off the rigours of field use and its materials are equally blended to provide reliable and excellent accuracy in all weather.
It’s unusual for a rifle to operate so well with all the factory ammunition, producing such good accuracy — and I was not really able to shrink the group size with my reloads!
Prices start at £1,995 for the synthetic stock but this GRS laminate version at £2,200 offers performance at a good price. More calibres will be added in the future.
How the rifle scores
Accuracy: Very good accuracy from a wide choice of loads 18/20
Handling: Muzzle heavy, but good stock design helps 17/20
Trigger: Crisp and light trigger-pull 17/20
Stock: Good ergonomics but it won’t be to everyone’s taste 18/20
Value: Good choice of options to suit your preferences 17/10
What you need to know
Manufacturer: Nimrod Rifles
Type: Bolt action
Overall length: 45/5in
Barrel length: 25in
Calibre: .308 on test
Finish: Matt nitrided phosphate
Stock: GRS laminated
Magazine: A1 detachable
Sights: Picatinny scope rail
Trigger: Single stage adjustable
Importer: Sporting Services, Tel 01342 716427 or 07860 219902
Reliable and excellent accuracy in all weather