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January 10th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: New Straight-Pull Savage Impulse Rifle

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Arms has just introduced the new Impulse series of straight-pull bolt rifles. This is the first American-designed and crafted straight-pull centerfire rifle. The new Impulse features an innovative Hexlock bolt-locking mechanism with six spherical bearings that move radially outward into a ring in the barrel extension, thereby locking the bolt in place. That barrel extension is held in the receiver assembly by four cross-bolts on the lower front section. Ahead of the barrel extension is a conventional recoil lug and a familiar Savage barrel nut.

Savage Impulse Straight-Pull Rifle — Overview

Savage claims the new system offers the cycling speed of a semi-auto, with the accuracy of a bolt-action. There have been some initial field tests, and it looks like the performance has been good. However, based on the videos that Savage has posted, the cycling of the Impulse’s straight-pull bolt does not seem to be as smooth as some European straight-pulls, such as the Blaser R8, Merkel RX Helix, and Strasser RS 14. We’ve tried those Austrian/German rifles and you really can cycle them very smoothly. From the video the Savage Impulse appears to require somewhat more muscle and effort. Watch below. The video will launch at the 15-second mark for a comparison between the Impulse and a conventional Savage bolt-action:

Savage Speed Comparison — Impulse vs. Regular Bolt Action

Savage says: “Conventional bolt-actions require four steps to cycle the bolt. Impulse simplifies the process with a simple back-and-forth motion.”

Advantages of Straight-Pull Cycling System
What is the advantage of a straight-pull system? You should be able to cycle faster, and (ideally) maintain your cheek-weld and target view. Savage says: “The smooth bolt throw allows a shooter to cycle rounds intuitively, without the need for the standard four changes-of-direction common to a conventional bolt’s path-of-travel. Impulse reduces split times and allows a shooter to manipulate the bolt without losing [his] cheek weld. The bolt travels out and back and shooters don’t have to take their eyes off the target.” Sounds good, but if you watch the above videos, it’s not as wonderful as claimed. That said, if one slows down a bit, a straight pull should allow the shooter to maintain his cheek weld.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage’s Impulse “will redefine the way you think about straight-pull rifles”, said Al Kasper, President/CEO of Savage Arms. These new Impulse rifles are built for speed — faster bolt cycling while maintaining ones cheek-weld. This increase in speed can help a hunter make effective follow-up shots.

Major Engineering Features of New Savage Impulse

Hexlock Bolt | Barrel Extension | 4-Bolt Barrel Clamp | Ambidextrous Rotary Bolt Handle

When the bolt is closed, the Hexlock system holds it in place instead of conventional lugs. With the Hexlock, six (6) hardened steel bearings lock the bolt in place inside the receiver’s barrel extension. Savage says “As pressure increases, Hexlock’s hold tightens, ensuring that there can be no rearward movement of the bolt. Once the round has left the barrel, the pressure subsides, and the action can safely open again with the straight pull of the bolt handle.”

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Impulse — Hexlock System (Bolt Locks in Barrel Extension)

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

The cleverly-designed, modular Impulse bolt can be disassembled without tools. And the bolt-handle can be moved to either side easily. NOTE: In this diagram it may appear that the barrel does not have threads on the chamber end. Actually, Impulse barrels DO have threads on that end, which are used by the barrel nut. However, these threads are covered by a barrel extension which is held in the action/receiver by a lower-side four-bolt barrel clamp.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

To design and craft the Savage Impulse, Savage employed advanced engineering with computer modeling. Savage also uses advanced, computer-controlled machinery to build these rifles The video below shows the design/engineering process by which Savage brought the Impulse from concept to finished product in just two years — a very short time by firearms industry standards.

This Video Shows How the Savage Impulse Was Engineered

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Savage Impulse — Ambidextrous, Adjustable Angle Bolt Handle

One of the key features of the new Savage Impulse is an ambidextrous bolt handle that can be quickly and easily moved from one side to the other. This allows Impulse rifles to work for both left-handed and right-handed shooters. In addition, the angle of the bolt handle can be adjusted by simply pushing a spring-loaded pin and removing a side coverpin. This is demonstrated in the video below.

Savage Impulse Models: Predator, Big Game, Hog Hunter

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 newSavage currently offers three Impulse models, all equipped with Savage AccuStock, Accufit, and AccuTrigger. All Impulse actions feature a Picatinny rail on top along with a central safety. Because the bolt handle can be placed on either side, all Impulse rifles are essentially ambidextrous — good for lefties as well as righties. There are both short-action and long-action versions of the Impulse rifle. Seven different chamberings are offered, from .22-250 to .300 Win Magnum.

IMPULSE Predator: Varmint Rifle, medium contour 24″ barrel. AICS 10-rd detachable magazine. Available chamberings: .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

IMPULSE Big Game: Primary Hunting Rifle, short- and long-action. Flush detachable magazine. Available chamberings: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 WSM, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Magnum.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

IMPULSE Hog Hunter: Hunting Rifle, heavy contour 24″ barrel. Flush 4-rd detachable magazine. Available chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Magnum.

Savage impulse straight-pull hex-bolt hexlock hunting rifle 2021 new

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 3 Comments »
January 26th, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — Video Showcase

Shot show 2019 video product show demo

There is so much to see at SHOT Show, with nearly 2000 exhibitors showcasing tens of thousands of products. SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting 60,000+ attendees from more than 100 countries.

Thankfully there are many teams of reporters who covered SHOT Show this year, and they’ve now posted a wide selection of video reports. In today’s SHOT Show video showcase, we post our “pick of the litter” — ten of our favorite video reports from SHOT Show 2019, plus one great video “blast from the past”.

High-Tech Hunter — Modular Strasser Rifle

The Strasser rifle from Austria has many interesting design features including an interchangeable bolt head and an easy, rapid barrel-swap system. MORE INFO HERE.

Media Day Mini-Gun Mania — 25 and 50 Rounds per Second!

This full-auto, multi-barrel Mini-Gun has two speeds — 25 and 50 Rounds per Second!

CLICK HERE to SEE NINE More Videos »

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns, News, Optics, Tactical No Comments »
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 »