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Zoli Antonio Taiga

With its blued metalwork and sumptuous walnut, this rifle harks back to a slower, more traditional way of stalking, and Bruce Potts approves

Zoli Antonio Taiga

Zoli Antonio Taiga

Overall Rating: 88%

Manufacturer: Zoli

Price as reviewed: £1,395

Spotlight on the Zoli Antonio Taiga

Zoli is famed for its shotguns, but the manufacturer’s Taiga range of bolt-action sporting rifles has never had much traction here in Britain. It’s a shame, as these rifles offer old-world quality blended with good accuracy and value for money. In fact, they are made to an older design developed by Swedish gunmaker Husqvarna. As such, Zoli has updated and, to my mind, improved a classic bolt-action rifle into the Zoli Antonio Taiga on test today. There are also Bavarian, synthetic and fluted-barrel models.

Zoli Antonio Taiga rifle

The slim fore-end and quality chequering offer good support; the pistol grip is also chequered, giving the stalker an assured hold.

I really like the walnut stock, the highly polished blued action and barrel, and the silky smooth cycling and detachable magazine. I also like that it is available in all the popular deer calibres. Best of all is the price of £1,395. Considering the lovely walnut stock and performance on the range, the inherent accuracy was that of a stalking rifle twice the price. Not all deerstalkers want the typical plastic- stocked, Cerakote-finished rifle, despite its obvious practical uses in the field. Some people prefer the traditional quality bluing and walnut stock, and why not? The deer don’t know any difference. With that in mind, this Zoli Antonio Taiga should be top of their list.

Walnut on rifle

The quality of walnut was fantastic in grain and colour, with superb figuring throughout the stock

Need to know

  • Name Zoli Antonio Taiga
  • Manufacturer Zoli Antonio, Italy
  • Type Bolt action
  • Barrel length 21.5in
  • Overall length 42.25in
  • Calibre .308 Win
  • Stock High-grade walnut Sporter
  • Length of pull 14.5in
  • Trigger Single stage
  • Safety Direct uncock system
  • Magazine Detachable, three shot
  • Price £1,395
  • Contact Edgar Brothers, 01625 613177

Good results from the Hornady SST (top) but the rifle didn’t like the Winchester lead-free (bottom)

In depth

The Zoli Antonio Taiga catches the eye with pleasing lines and perfectly proportioned features. It handles and balances just around the magazine, making for an assured rifle in the aim. This does help in the accuracy stakes as you are not fidgeting to get comfortable and perfect your hold. The stock is largely responsible for the handling, as the slim fore-end and quality chequering offer good support. The same defined chequering to the pistol grip and additional palm swell provide a strain-free hold. I also like the semi-Monte Carlo cheekpiece, but the plastic butt-pad is a no-no for me.

The quality of walnut is fantastic in grain and colour, with superb figuring throughout the whole stock. The price tag for the entire Taiga rig would be the price for an upgraded stock on some other rifles alone.

Zoli Antonio Taiga

The bolt operation is nice and smooth, but Bruce found the safety lever and push in button on the bolt shroud to be overly complicated


The trigger is particularly nice, too. It is not only a single-stage unit made from a single housing of steel, but, internally, instead of the usual lever and spring system, the Taiga uses an innovative system of steel ball bearings and pistons for a safe and precise trigger release. Set at 3.2lb, the trigger on this model was almost perfect, but the safety is a bit of a fiddle, with a large knurled push-button on the rear of the bolt shroud. The ‘in’ position is fire and ‘out’, being released via a side-lever on the right of the action, is safe. It requires a certain knack to master. The detachable stainless steel and polymer magazine is more convenient with a reliable single-stack feed system and three-shot capacity in .308 Win cartridge.

All the metalwork has a superb old-school deep blued finish, which I love. The barrel is proportioned as a Sporter for good rigidity and lightness, and is free floated from the stock and muzzle, which is threaded for ½in UNF. The Taiga barrel measures a compact 21.5in, giving it a manageable overall length of 42.5in — ideal for woodland stalking.

At the heart of this Taiga is the super-slick action, orientated around the twin dovetailed locking lugs on the polished 0.70in-diameter bolt. The bolt itself runs (glides rather) in the one-piece steel action, with its top drilled and tapped for scope bases. The integrated recoil lug at the front underside of the action offers a snug fit into the stock for consistent performance. All Taiga parts are machined from steel to achieve strength and longevity.

Lastly, the cartridge extractor is a single claw and ejection is via a strong plunger set into the bolt face that proved positive, even with some stiff reloaded ammunition.

Field test

Sadly, the test fell between the end of my roe season and my stag stalking, so I tested the Taiga with steel silhouettes and targets at simulated deerstalking ranges and positions.

The rifle is a .308 Win, so you have a wide range of bullet weights, and it came as no surprise that there were a few loads that the Taiga liked. Sako’s 123-grain Gameheads shot just around the 1in mark with 2,841fps for 2,205ft/lb. Hornady’s SST 150-gr bullets, the middle ground in weight, shot fast at 2,825fps for 2,975ft/lb. They also achieved great sub-1 MOA three-shot groups. The new Winchester Extreme Point lead-free option, another 150-gr bullet, shot OK at 2in with a velocity of 2,673fps and 2,380ft/lb. It just shows how fast those Hornady 150-gr bullets are.

I reloaded some 125-gr Nosler Ballistic Tips with 42.0 grains of RL10X powder for 2,917fps velocity and 2,362ft/lb and just under the 1in mark. Finally, the new Hornady ECX 125-gr lead-free bullets proved very interesting at 2,877fps and 2,298ft/lb with 1in to 1.25in groups.

I set up the life-size steel and paper targets at ranges out to 250 yards. The Taiga’s good balance and great handling from my well-used Knobloch shooting sticks proved this rifle capable of consistent field accuracy.


Let’s be honest — who doesn’t love a well-finished rifle that costs less than £1,400? This rifle is just as capable of bringing back the venison as any ‘plastic fantastic’ model and harks back to a slower, more traditional way of stalking, which at my age I appreciate more and more.

  • Accuracy: Consistent accuracy with selective factory loads and reloads tested 17/20
  • Handling:  The Taiga has a natural feel and handles accordingly 18/20
  • Trigger: Precise and predictable let-off, but an awkward safety catch 17/20
  • Stock: High-quality walnut for the price and it handles extremely well too 18/20
  • Value: This Taiga is a great value-for-money, traditional stalking rifle 18/20
  • Overall score:  A classic rifle that can more than hold its own against any modern design 88/100


Let’s be honest — who doesn’t love a well-finished rifle that costs less than £1,400