March 14th, 2018

The Remarkable Merkel RX Helix — German Straight-Pull Hunter

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

EDITOR: Our story on the Strasser RS14 straight-pull rifle created quite a stir. So, we thought we’d serve up another straight-pull feature — this time the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design—Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version is also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of popular calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic.com sells the Merkel RX Helix with Grade 2 wood for $3,785.00.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 7 Comments »
March 13th, 2018

Straight-Pull Strasser RS14 Hunting Rifles — Austrian Excellence

strasser RS14 Evolution rifle

We like to see innovation in rifle design. One of the more interesting designs on the market is the Strasser RS14, an Austrian-engineered rifle featuring a slick, straight-pull bolt. With a quick rearward pull, the bolt cycles back. You may be familiar with the Blaser rifle — that requires the bolt handle to be moved in an arc. By contrast, with the Strasser, you literally pull straight back on the short-stroke bolt handle. After the handle moves about 60 degrees rearward, the bolt unlocks and then you can move the entire bolt assembly rearwards through its full motion, cycling the cartridge. The action is very smooth and very fast. Check it out in this video, at the 40-second time-mark:

The action is ambidextrous. The manufacturer can supply either a right-hand bolt or a left-hand bolt. That’s correct — you can switch from righty to lefty simply by swapping the bolt. Very clever.

Again, you can see the smooth, straight-pull bolt in the video below. The Strasser also offers a simple system to change barrels with just an allen key and another simple tool that nests in the fore-arm. The barrel-swap process is shown in this video starting at 1-minute mark:

Strasser RS14 evolution rifle hunting

One of most impressive features of the Strasser is the ease with which you can change chamberings — from small cartridges all the way to to full-size magnums. The owner can swap barrels in a few minutes. What’s more, the Stasser’s quick-change bolt face allows users to quickly and easily switch between small, standard, and magnum bolt face. That way you can shoot anything from .222 Rem up to .375 Ruger with the same RS-14 rifle. Here are the chambering options offered by Stasser (with Walther-made barrels):

Small Caliber (MIN): .222 Rem., .223 Rem., .300 AAC Blackout
Standard Caliber (STA): .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284 Norma, 6.5×55 SWE, 6.5×65 RWS, .270 Win, 7×64, 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win, .30-06, 8×57 IS, 8.5×63, 9.3×62
Magnum Caliber (MAG): 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag, .338 Win Mag, .375 Ruger

Strasser RS14 evolution rifle hunting

The latest RS14 Evolution features a Picatinny rail on the receiver. USA buyers can choose between an RS14 with high-grade Walnut stock or the Tahr model with a grey, laminate stock. Both types have a detachable trigger module, that allows easy adjustment of pull weight.

Strasser RS14 evolution rifle hunting

Strasser RS14 evolution rifle hunting

This rifle is a premium product, priced accordingly. For orders and inquiries, contact the U.S. importer, International Firearm Corporation. You can also email info@internationalfirearmcorporation.com , or call 1 (844) IFC-GUNS (432-4867).

Click Here for review of less expensive Strasser Solo Model. This has a good video showing how the straight-pull action works: “Locking is by four quadrants around the bolt head, which are forced out into a ring in the chamber extension similar to the Blaser’s multi-collet system. When cocked and locked the bolt handle sits forward at an angle and pulling it back allows the lugs to contract so the action can be opened. The head is fully supported and shows a plunger-type ejector.”

Permalink News 8 Comments »
November 22nd, 2017

Strasser Straight-Pull Hunting Rifles Now Available in USA

Strasser RS14 rifle

There is a new straight-pull hunting rifle coming to the USA. No, it’s not a Blaser, it’s a Strasser, made in Austria (not Germany like the Blaser). The new Strasser RS-14 is a premium hunting rifle with some very remarkable features. The trigger exchanges as a module, without tools. The entire barrel assembly can be swapped out in five minutes — and you can easily change bolt head so this rifle can shoot everything from small varmint cartridges all the way up to .30-Caliber Magnums.

The new RS14 Evolution, specially designed for the U.S. market, is a straight-pull, bolt-action rifle that features a removable trigger pack and the ability to easily adjust trigger weight without tools.

Strasser RS14 rifle

The quick-change bolt face allows users to quickly and easily switch between small, standard, and magnum bolt face. It comes with an integrated Picatinny rail on the receiver. USA buyers will be offered two different RS-14 models, one with grade E Walnut stock or the Tahr model with a grey, laminate stock. The first 100 of each model will be serial numbered to signify a special edition just for America. This rifle is a premium product — we expect the asking price to be in the $2500.00 range. For orders and inquiries, contact the U.S. importer, International Firearms Corporation (IFC).

Click the image below to see LARGE Version
Strasser RS14 rifle

You’ll find a detailed review of the Strasser RS-14 on TheTruthAboutGuns.com.
Here are highlights:

“A user can swap Strasser’s barrel and bolt face in under five minutes to accommodate new calibers, from short-action plinkers like .223 Remington to full-belted magnum loads like .300 Win Mag. You can choose your favorite calibers and different barrel and muzzle profiles.

Straight pull bolts are the quickest to operate. A traditional bolt-action rifle requires four movements: up, back, forward, down. The RS-14 requires only two: straight back and forward. That ‘extra’ speed could make all the difference in the field…

The RS-14’s bolt is a thing of beauty. Perfectly machined with a satin-smooth finish, it glides back and forth in the action’s channel. The over-sized bolt handle gives the operator a large target to grab when reloading.”

Strasser RS14 rifle

Read FULL REVIEW on TheTruthAboutGuns.com »

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
October 11th, 2015

Three-Barrel BD14 ‘Bockdrilling’ from Blaser

Blaser BD14 Drilling Bockdrilling Shotgun Rifle
CLICK Photo for full-screen view.

If two barrels are better than one, then why not three? That’s the thinking behind the exotic new BD14 from Blaser, unveiled at the 2014 IWA Show in Germany. This “bockdrilling” three-barrel firearm works as a shotgun, large-caliber rifle, and small-caliber rifle all in one. Even with all those barrels, the BD14 is relatively light, at 3.3 kg (7.26 lbs) without optics. That makes this a nice, carry-around gun for stalking. As you’d expect from Blaser, the twin triggers are crisp and precise, with a pull weight of just 1.43 lbs (650 grams). The front trigger is for the large-caliber rifle barrel, while the rear trigger works both the shotgun and small-caliber barrels, via a tang-mounted selector. Sorry, we don’t yet have a USA-market price on this example of gun-making exotica, but you can bet it will be expensive.

Here’s what Blaser USA has to say about its unique three-barreled BD14:

“The ‘Bockdrilling’ is, put simply, an over/under (O/U) rifle-shotgun combination with a smaller caliber rifle-barrel… on the side. The barrel arrangement [allows] for an extremely slender receiver, making the BD 14 exceptionally huntable.

The brand new Vertical Block Lockup…has been filed for patent. It combines an extremely compact and solid block lockup in a closed system within the monoblock with the comfortable handling of a classic break-action rifle.

The double lock permits, if needed, a rapid second shot, the front trigger always releasing the large rifle-caliber. The … barrel selector actives the shotgun barrel when in position ‘top’ and activates the smaller rifle caliber in position ‘bottom’.”

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 5 Comments »
August 24th, 2015

.338 Lapua Magnum in Norway — Outstanding 15-minute Video

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

This is one of the finest shooting videos we’ve ever seen. Set in the scenic Fjordland of northern Norway, this high-quality 15-minute video is part Nat Geo travelog, part ballistics lesson, part gear review. We wish we had the opportunity to join Ulf Lindroth and Thomas Haugland on their remarkable shooting adventure. This video was originally created for Great Britain’s Fieldsports TV Channel.

This is an outstanding video, recommended for anyone interested in long-range hunting.

Long range shooters Lindroth and Haugland traveled to the Arctic Circle to field test a new .338 LM Blaser R8 (in GRS stock) fitted with a Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35x60mm scope. (Ammo is Norma-brand .338 Lapua Magnum). The video shows how they confirm the ballistics of the Norma factory ammo in the Blaser R8 rifle system.

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Ulf and Thomas initially test out the system confirming drop at multiple yardages, and then use the rifle for practical accuracy. Ulf says: “If you know your hunting will demand a long shot, and you want to push the limit but still be sure to make the first-shot kill… If you want to do an ethical hunt, if you want to push that limit, you have to do [this kind of testing].”

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Ulf Lindroth (above) observed: “We shot [at 808 meters] observed the misses, clicked our way into the target, and now we have the true drop at that distance… in this air pressure, in this temperature. From there we can start working to find our TRUE trajectory. And when we have THAT… we can get serious about some target shooting.”

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
April 10th, 2013

New Mauser M 12 Rifle to Be Distributed by Blaser USA

Mauser M 12 hunting M12 rifleEarlier this month we ran a story on the new Sauer 101 rifle. It turns out the Sauer 101 will be distributed in the U.S. by Blaser USA. Here’s more good news for hunters — we’ve learned that Blaser will be bringing another new German hunting rifle to the USA — the Mauser M 12. You’ll find specs and photos of the M 12 below. This is a rifle with a great heritage, superb build quality, plus some innovative features.

Both the Mauser M 12 and Sauer 101 rifles should be available at retailers in late April. To learn more, visit these websites: www.Mauser-m12.com and www.Sauer-101.com. For additional information on the Blaser line of products visit www.Blaser-USA.com.

Mauser M 12 hunting M12 rifle

Mauser M 12 Specifications

  • Bolt Features: 6-lug bolt, 60° bolt lift, bolt lugs engage directly in barrel, side bolt release, bolt can be disassembled without tools.
  • Extraction: Dual, spring loaded-ejectors for positive extraction.
  • Trigger: Crisp 950 gram (2.09 lb.) trigger pull.
  • Magazine capacity: 5 + 1 (standard calibers), 4+1 (magnum calibers).
  • Barrel length: 22″ (standard calibers), 24.5″ (magnum calibers).
  • Overall length: 42″ (standard calibers), 44.3″ (magnum calibers).
  • Weight: 6 .75 lb (standard calibers), 7 lb (magnum calibers)
  • Chamberings: .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, 8×57 IS, 9,3×62 | 7 mm Rem Magnum, .300 Win Magnum, .338 Win Magnum.

Mauser Technical Features Video (Worth Watching!)

Mauser M 12 hunting M12 rifle

Mauser M 12 Hunting Video

Mauser M 12 hunting M12 rifle

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
November 17th, 2012

Blaser USA Hiring General Gunsmith in Texas

Blaser Gunsmith job hireHow would you like to be a salaried gunsmith for a major gun-maker’s USA operation? Here’s your opportunity. Blaser USA is looking to hire a gunsmith for its San Antonio, Texas sales and service center.

Candidates must have completed a recognized gunsmithing course, have “excellent communication skills”, be able to work in a “fast-paced” team-oriented business environment, and be able to work (on location) at regional and national shooting events. Duties include general gunsmithing, customer service work, and the following specific tasks:

  • Finish assembly of rifles and shotguns.
  • Inspects first piece samples from vendors.
  • Assembles firearms in accordance with customer specifications.
  • Repairs firearms for customers, sponsored shooters, and journalists.
  • Minor stock repair and wood-working.
  • Aligns sights/scopes and conducts test firings.
  • Documents problems on customer returns as required.
  • Inspects and sets out parts for repairs or product updates.
Blaser Gunsmith job hire

How to Apply
If you are interested in this position,
forward your résumé to:

Blaser USA Inc.
Laura Aldana
403 East Ramsey Ste. 301
San Antonio, TX 78216
email: info [at] blaser-usa.com

Story Tip by Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink News No Comments »
May 7th, 2012

New Blaser R8 Rifle with Thumbhole Stock

The unique Blaser rifle design features a straight-pull bolt with “patented Radial Locking System” of outward-expanding lugs that lock directly into the barrel. Their modular design permits Blaser rifles to be dis-assembled (with barrels exchanged) in less than one minute, using a single hex wrench. The straight-pull action allows Blasers to be cycled very rapidly by the shooter.

Until lately, if you wanted a Blaser, you had to settle for a conventional-style, solid-wrist stock. Now Blaser has introduced an ergonomic thumbhole stock with a more vertical-style pistol grip. This new stock will be offered on the Blaser R8 “Professional Success” (R8 PS) hunting rifle. Blaser claims the new stock provides a comfortable, stable hold in all shooting positions — prone, sitting, kneeling, or standing.

Blaser R8 Professional Success

The R8 PS is available in green/gray, or black/brown colors. The standard R8 PS features elastomer inlays on the forearm, pistol grip and cheek-piece. MSRP is $4,356.00. Toss in another $1100 or so, and you can upgrade the black/brown version with fitted leather inlays on forearm, pistol grip and cheek-piece. That’s a hefty surcharge for about $15.00 worth of animal hide, but Blasers were never for bargain-hunters.

Watch Blaser R8 in Action
In the video below, filmed on safari in Africa, hunter/writer Ron Spomer reviews the Blaser R8 with standard stock (not the new thumbhole). Starting at the 0:52 mark you can see how the rifle is assembled and how the straight-pull action works. Spomer’s rifle review begins as the 1:10 mark. Spomer explains that a single rifle can be fitted with multiple barrels in an assortment of chamberings/calibers.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
February 15th, 2012

Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Rifle — Teutonic Tour De Force

One of the most innovative rifles we tried at Media Day in January was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this $3795.00 (MSRP) take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in under one minute with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design—Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version is also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of popular calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. MSRP for the standard black rifle with Grade 2 wood is $3,795.00.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 19 Comments »
March 23rd, 2011

Blaser Offers Easy Barrel Exchange and Fast Cycling

The Blaser R93 is a unique rifle, employing a patented straight-pull bolt with radial locking system. Using a pivoting short-throw bolt handle, the bolt slides straight forward and back to feed and eject ammunition. It’s simple and fast. The Blaser R93 was designed as a modular system. This means the bolt can be changed from right-pull to left-pull in seconds, and barrels can be exchanged quickly and easily. This makes the R93 extremely versatile — invest in one action and stock and you can shoot a multitude of chamberings. Factory barrels in 28 different calibers are offered. A Blaser barrel can be switched in less than a minute, using a simple T-handle wrench (see Video below).

YouTube Preview Image

While most Blasers sold in America are hunting rifles with conventional-style stocks, Blaser also makes a model for CISM 300m competition, a tactical model, and long-range target model (LRS-2). These all feature an aluminum receiver block, synthetic sub-chassis with cantilevered fore-end, and larger-capacity magazine. The rear section of the stock has an adjustable cheekpiece and butt-plate. Shown in the video below is a Blaser R93 LRS-2 fitted with bipod and muzzle brake. Note the very low recoil of the 6mmBR cartridge when the braked gun is fired. Along with the 6BR chambering, the LRS-2 is offered in .223 Rem, 6.5×55, .308 Win, 300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Magnum.

YouTube Preview Image

One of the Blaser’s best features is the speed with which the bolt can be cycled. Just pull the bolt-handle back to open the action and eject the brass, then slide the bolt handle forward to close the bolt. Compared to a conventional bolt, the Blaser requires minimal hand movement. Once you get the hang of it, you can cycle the gun extremely fast. The video below show a hunter practicing with a .308. Watch how quickly the bolt cycles–and this shooter could probably shoot even faster if he maintained his cheek-weld.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink Gunsmithing 10 Comments »