The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Taking a look at a used Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

Charles Smith-Jones looks at the merits of 
buying a used Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

second-hand Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

Second-hand Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher

Price as reviewed: £500

Should you buy a second-hand Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter? The gun was hailed as a major move away from the traditional Steyr Mannlicher market when it first appeared in the late 1990s. With a modern, robust, almost military design and high-density composite stock, it was a far cry from the conventionally styled hunting rifles more readily available at the time and it was an immediate success. Importantly, it was offered at a price that would appeal to the growing numbers of ‘everyman’ deerstalkers and was among the very first of the models from various manufacturers intended to tap into this newer market.

Would a second-hand Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter be a good buy?

The barrel is hammer-forged with a distinctive twist at the action end and most left the factory pre-cut to accept a sound moderator. There are regular and varmint versions, which vary in weight. Four opposed locking lugs on the bolt ensure that lock-up is solid and the lift required to cycle the ‘butter spoon’ type handle is short. The trigger is crisp and factory set at around 3½lb to 4lb, which will suit most people, but can be changed if desired by adjusting a small screw set into the trigger-blade. The trigger can also be ‘set’ by pushing it forward, permitting it to be operated by the lightest of touches.

Steyr Mannlicher rifles come with a special reputation for strong build and safety, and the Pro Hunter is no exception. The safety catch is a roller switch with three positions. In the first, a red dot is displayed indicating that the rifle can be fired. Midway, a white dot shows that the rifle is safe but can be loaded or unloaded. At the final stage a white or grey catch pops up; this indicates that the safety is fully applied, but that the rifle cannot be loaded or unloaded.

The very earliest production models received some negative comments over 
a fore-end that was too flexible, and many users found that fitting a bipod or one of the heavier types of sound moderator could result in the stock touching the barrel with an adverse effect on harmonics. Though accuracy suffered accordingly, the issue 
was easily remedied by adding filler to the stock, and Steyr rapidly addressed the problem by producing a stiffened fore-end, labelling the rifle the Mark 2 to underline 
the design change.

Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

The stock is highly ergonomic

The issue of flex apart, this is a highly accurate rifle when paired with appropriate ammunition and you might reasonably expect to produce groups of an inch or 
so even with factory loads. The stock design is highly ergonomic, with a light swell to the pistol grip, and does not feature a raised cheek piece, allowing a very symmetrical and natural feel that allows use by both left- and right-handed shooters. The straight, high comb also encourages an ambidextrous feel.

Replaceable spacers allow butt length to be adjusted easily, and a soft rubber recoil pad completes the finish.


The flush-fitting detachable magazine is 
of a stacked design which accommodates either four standard or three magnum cartridges. Higher-capacity magazines 
are available. It is released by a double 
catch just forward of the trigger-guard 
and features two-position locking. The 
first stage holds the magazine firmly into 
the rifle but does not allow a round to 
be fed; pushing it further into position 
then allows cartridge feeding. One very welcome feature of the magazine release is that it needs to be manually removed, a useful safeguard against inadvertently ejecting it by accidental depression of the release catch.

Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

The flush-fitting magazine holds four standard cartridges

After some 20 years in production, 
the Pro Hunter has been discontinued by Steyr and is being replaced by the CLII SX, which is really little more than its predecessor with a facelift. You may still 
find new Pro Hunters on the shelves, with some of these offered at very attractive prices. Whether you go for a new one or an older, pre-owned model, you will be purchasing a proven rifle of very high 
quality from one of the world’s most reputable firearms manufacturers.

Technical specifications for a second-hand Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter rifle

  • Country of origin: Austria
  • In production 1997 to 2018
  • Action: Bolt
  • Stock options: Synthetic
  • Barrel length: 20in to 24in
  • Magazine: Detachable, capacity
    four or three rounds
    (standard/magnum calibres)
  • Left-hand version: No
  • Weight (bare): Around 7lb 8oz
    dependent on barrel
    length and weight
  • Available in calibres: Multiple
  • Cost new: £1,142 RRP (end of
    line reductions
    sometimes available)
  • Cost used: From around £500
    depending on calibre,
    age and condition
Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

The lift required to cycle the bolt is short

Features of the Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter

  • Not having a raised cheekpiece means the rifle can be used comfortably by right and left-handers
  • The hammer-forged barrel has a distinctive twist at the action end
  • Early rifles had a flimsy fore-end, but this was remedied with the production of the MK2