Every detail has been thought through to produce this accurate and good-looking stalking rifle that exhibits fine workmanship, discovers Bruce Potts
When I was growing up, Schultz & Larsen (S&L) was synonymous with exceptionally accurate target rifles and barrel production, as well as some stylish sporting rearms. Since the turn of the 20th century, this Denmark-based company has had a good reputation for producing exceptionally fine rifles but with a rather understated look.
The Classic model on test is part of a four-series rifle collection that includes Victory, Legacy and Tactical models, which all exhibit superb workmanship that is not obvious until you pick one up.
Every part of the Classic model has been meticulously thought through and designed to operate perfectly together as well as in any shooting environment and weather conditions without compromise. To keep things in tune with modern day shooters’ demands, the barrel has been designed to be quick-releasing for swift barrel change while retaining total accuracy integrity.
This Classic model has the standard-grade walnut stock finish, but can be upgraded to a better- figured grade 2 walnut for an additional £165. However, for everyday stalking, this stock still exhibits enough colour, gure and grain to look pleasing and give that classic stalking rifle feel.
I really like the lines of the Classic stock — it is understated yet fits perfectly. The well-proportioned rounded fore-end is long enough for any comfortable support, further enhanced by well-cut hand-chequered panels to both sides.
The butt section, too, has no cheekpiece, but the slight upward comb slant comfortably allows perfect eye-to-scope alignment. In this configuration, the rifle can be used left-handed if needed, but dedicated left-hand models are available.
The stock has a well-rubbed oil finish, with large ventilated rubber recoil pad and sling swivel studs.
Action/bolt and barrel assembly
As with the stock, the level of detail in the barrel is not instantly obvious. Here, the barrels are made in-house from chrome molybdenum steel that is totally stress relieved and straight to ensure precise tolerances after rifling.
Here, too, S&L painstakingly cuts its rifling each land at a time and not the cheaper and faster button-rifled way. Then the bore surface is honed and polished with a lap to create a uniform surface area. There is a slight taper or choke near the muzzle end that maintains accuracy even
when the barrel is slightly fouled.
This model had a 21½in barrel, which is a bit short for 6.5x55mm calibre, but it was fine in the tests. It is highly blued and finished with a 14mm/1 pitch thread and protector for sound moderator fitment. It is also fully free- floated from the stock to maintain accuracy.
This contrasts with the matt blued receiver made from steel at 8in long and drilled and tapped for scope mounts, with additional dovetails cut.
The bolt is a straight polished item with a flattened tip knob that opens the bolt to 60° to cock. This is due to the three-lug locking systems with insert claw extractor and sprung plunger ejector.
Most important, however, is the ability to switch barrels. S&L uses two large Allen screws that secure a clamping collar at the front of the action to hold the barrel and bolt that locks within it in place. The barrel slots in smoothly, with a 6 o’clock lug locating the barrel perfectly, then you tighten the Allen screw with the driver provided. You can therefore change calibres with the same bolt size or exchange bolts for magnum calibres. Close the bolt and tighten the back screw first and front screw second.
Trigger and magazine
The trigger is as good as the other parts of this rifle. It is adjustable for length of pull and weight, with this Classic model breaking at 2.85lb. The trigger-blade is smooth and quite straight, which I like, and single stage in use.
The safety has three positions: safe at back position; midpoint a little undefined is safe with bolt opening; and forward is the fire position. The detachable magazine sits in an all-steel floorplate with a push-button release for the all-steel magazine, which has a three-shot capacity and in-line feeding.
Schultz & Larsen on test
Alan Rhone, the importer for S&L, kindly supplied the Classic with a Zeiss scope mounted in the unusual S&L slide-and-lock steel scope mounts. These fix to the base at a low-mounting height, with an extended version to compensate for eye relief. It also had a Schultz & Larsen Superdome sound moderator fitted, which also proved efficient.
Right from the start, the Classic proved an accurate rifle. Factory ammunition shot some very nice groups at 100 yards. Concerns about a shorter 6.5x55mm barrel were only evident with the heavier 156-gr bullets, and 2,348fps would not be deer legal in Scotland.
The Norma 120-gr Ballistic Tip loads shot perfect three-shot touching groups at 2,805fps and 2,097ft/lb, and the Hornady were close behind with groups just under 1in.
Reloads-wise, you can increase the velocities with the heavier bullets to make sure they reach the 2,450fps minimum for large-species deer in Scotland. The Hornady 160-gr Round nose with 46.0 grains of Vit N160 powder reached 2,464fps and shot solid 1in groups.
The best reload was definitely the lighter Nosler 120-gr B Tip again — 45.5 grains of Alliant Reloder 19 powder gave a healthy 2,789fps for 2,073 ft/lb energy and 0.5in groups.
This is not a run-of-the-mill stalking rifle but it that will serve its owner well - and probably outlast them too