Steyr CL II Breeze fully silenced .308 Win
This well-balanced rifle is ideal for stalking with its short 16in barrel and eye-catching carbon fibre suppressor, writes Bruce Potts
Steyr CL II Breeze
Overall Rating: 88%
Manufacturer: Steyr Mannlicher
Price as reviewed: £3,870
Stalking rifles really need to handle and not constrict one’s considered movements through woods or hills, so a lightweight and reasonably compact design is always beneficial and welcome. We stalk with moderators fitted these days but this can lengthen a rifle, so a fully suppressed gun with a shorter barrel and over-barrel shroud is a great alternative to this problem. (Read this introduction to rifles.)
The Steyr CL II Breeze, available as a walnut or carbon fibre stocked version, perfectly addresses this issue with a short 16in barrel in either .308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor, which is covered from the action to beyond the muzzle with a carbon fibre suppressor. It perfectly balances the rifle as well as achieving a very low nose signature for stealthy shooting. Steyr is also well known for their accuracy from the cold hammer forged barrels they build in house, available either with the ‘safe bolt system’ (SBS) as on this CL II model or a hand-cocking system on the SM12 version. (Read this review of the Steyr SM12 stalking rifle.)
Add to this the double stack four-shot magazine with 10-shot option and very precise trigger unit with single stage and set trigger option for a lighter let-off, then £3,869.99 seems reasonable. All you need is a decent scope, zero in and off you go stalking with a well-balanced, accurate and quiet rifle.
Steyr CL II Breeze: Need to know
- Manufacturer Steyr Arms
- Model CL II Breeze
- Calibre .308 Win (6.5 Creedmoor option)
- Overall length 46in
- Weight 7.7lb (carbon fibre model 6.7lb)
- Barrel 16in
- Carbon suppressor length 23.75in
- Stock Walnut (carbon fibre option)
- Magazine four-shot detachable (10-round option)
- Trigger two-stage trigger (forward-set trigger)
- Safety three position safety, SBS unit
- Price £3,869.99
- Supplier Sportsman Gun Centre 01392 354854
The carbon fibre barrel suppressor really stands out, so let’s look at that first. Steyr barrels have that characteristic hammer-forged spiral finish, and on this model it is made from stainless steel — a good choice. The barrel is only 16in long and has a 15mm x 1 muzzle thread that allows attachment of the 23.75in suppressor shroud, which is made of lightweight carbon fibre weighing only 375g. The shroud has a 32mm diameter and sleeves over the barrel and forward of the muzzle — the additional 8in houses the baffle stack section for noise reduction. Note though, that despite sleeving the entire barrel this cavity is not used as a noise reduction chamber, it’s just to balance the gun’s looks and handling.
Action-wise you have a tough Mannox finish (non-reflective and scratch-resistant) with a very Germanic butter spoon bolt handle. It’s a positive and safe lock-up with its four twin opposed locking lugs allowing a low 60-degree bolt lift to avoid scopes. Extraction is very positive with the claw extractor, and cases are energetically removed with the sprung ejector. This model utilises Steyr’s three-position safe bolt system or SBS, which allows three levels of safety activated by a roller-type switch on the pistol grip top. With the grey catch up and white dot showing, you can push the bolt down, fully locking the bolt, and with only the white dot showing the bolt can be moved to unchamber a round while keeping the firing pin disengaged. A red dot showing is fire.
The trigger is not forgotten either, with a single-stage pressure release set at 4lbs 4oz, with the addition of a light 6oz set option when the trigger-blade is pushed forward. I like the easy-access twin magazine recess catches that pop out the polymer-made four-shot double-stacked magazine for easy loading.
Stock-wise you have two choices, walnut as here or carbon fibre, with 1lb difference in overall weight. This walnut version has a very nice figure with a lovely oil finish and fine-cut chequering with that typical Germanic Bavarian-type cheekpiece. The fore-end is slender but the suppressor shroud free-floats it, though I do not like the fixed sling swivels as quick-detach are handier.
The carbon fibre stocked version would be more practical for field use, but the walnut version of the Steyr CL II Breeze on test adds a bit of class to proceedings. The overall handling was impressive while stalking. Choose the correct ammunition for the shorter length barrel and this system is both accurate and efficient with a nice stealthy report, ideal for stalking.
- Accuracy 17/20 Accurate and efficient with the correct load
- Handling 18/20 Fine handling and lightweight aids; a precise shot
- Trigger 18/20 Predictable release and very light set trigger
- Stock 17/20 I like walnut but the carbon fibre version is more practical
- Value 18/20 The rifle is a very nice blend of old and new
- Overall Score 88/100 Accurate with a stealthy report — ideal for stalking
Even with a Kahles scope mounted, the Breeze felt very planted with no muzzle-heavy tendencies that some moderated rifles suffer from. The carbon fibre shroud helped dissipate heat build-up, and in fact the 8in of baffles in front of the muzzle suppressed the blast to normal levels; no gases leaked back on to the barrel.
Accuracy, as with all suppressed units, has to be fine-tuned due to the two-point contact to the barrel that can alter barrel harmonics. The best groups were with the RWS DK 165-gr bullets, with all shots touching but a low 2,300fps for 1,939ft/lb energy. So that short 16in barrel could not quite reach the minimum deer legal velocity of 2,450fps for larger species of deer in Scotland, but reloads solved this. It’s an important point to note, but fine in England and Wales.
The Hornady SST 150-gr shot sub-inch groups at 2,686fps and 2,403ft/lb, while the lead-free Barnes 168-gr just over an inch at 2,460fps and 2,258ft/lb. The lighter Sako 123-gr rounds shot a healthy 2,692fps and 1,980ft/lb at 1.25in at 100 yards. A reload of 46 grains of RL15 powder and a Nosler 150-gr B Tip achieved a healthy 2.782fps and 2,579ft/lb and sub-inch groupings.
I took the Breeze to Surrey where a suppressed rifle certainly helps with low noise intrusion with the neighbours. It was the start of the roebuck season and my son Jake wanted to try the Steyr out, so he nestled into a hedgerow while I stalked the forestry. Half an hour after first light, I heard a low thump. The phone rang, and that RWS DK bullet had just harvested a cracking heavy medal-class buck just starting to fray his territory. Jake said the accompanying doe just stood there bemused, a testament to the silent nature of the Breeze.