GERMAN ARISTOCRAT - HEYM’S SR-21

T­his German rifle pas­sed the test with flying co­lours.

SA Jagter Hunter - - INHOUD - JOHAN VAN WYK

With a proud his­to­ry da­ting back to 1865 and a stel­lar re­pu­ta­ti­on as a buil­der of es­pe­ci­al­ly he­a­vy-ca­li­b­re dou­ble and ma­ga­zi­ne rifles, the German ma­nu­fac­tu­rer Heym needs very litt­le in­tro­ducti­on to South A­fri­can rifle ent­hu­si­as­ts.

Heym’s Mar­ti­ni Ex­press bol­tacti­on rifle is the flags­hip of the Heym bolt-acti­on li­ne-up. It is cham­be­red for a ran­ge of lar­ge­bo­re car­trid­ges and ma­de on a Mag­num Mau­ser-ty­pe acti­on with de­di­ca­ted, ca­li­b­re-spe­ci­fic ma­ga­zi­ne boxes. Not to be f­or­got­ten, ho­we­ver, is the SR-21, Heym’s mo­re af­for­da­ble bolt-acti­on cham-

be­red for a va­ri­e­ty of today’s mo­re po­pu­lar small- and me­di­um-bo­re car­trid­ges.

I re­cent­ly had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to field test a Heym SR-21 cham­be­red for the .30- 06 S­pring­field car­trid­ge. Heym calls t­his par­ti­cu­lar mo­del the “Al­l­round”, a rifle that is ma­nu­fac­tu­red from tip to tail in Heym’s fac­to­ry in G­lei­cham­berg, Ger­ma­ny. T­his mo­del is Heym’s back­bo­ne rifle for the Eu­ro­pe­an mar­ket. The Al­l­round was ac­tu­al­ly de­sig­ned with A­fri­can hun­ting in mind, so I was e­a­ger to put it through its pa­ces du­ring a re­cent hunt in the Ka­roo.

THE STOCK

The stock is in the clas­sic sty­le with mi­ni­mal drop at the comb to mi­ti­ga­te felt re­coil. Good­qua­li­ty che­que­ring a­dorns the pis­tol grip and fo­re-end and the stock is fit­ted with a con­tras­ting fo­re-end tip and grip cap. The wood is dark Eu­ro­pe­an wal­nut with we­at­her-p­roof fi­nish to mi­ni­mi­ze moi­stu­re ab­sorp­ti­on. Un­for­tu­na­te­ly the fi­nish is a bit dull and does not ex­act­ly en­han­ce the grain and con­trast of the wood but it ser­ves its pur­po­se well. So­me pe­op­le will de­fi­ni­te­ly want to ap­ply a pro­per hand­rub­bed oil fi­nish to the wood.

The SR-21 Al­l­round’s stock fit­ted me very well and the rifle was a ple­a­su­re to hand­le and shoot. It was fit­ted with a high- qua­li­ty German 4-12x50 sco­pe moun­ted in quick-de­ta­cha­ble EAW mounts. With the sco­pe re­mo­ved the o­pen sig­hts we­re re­la­ti­ve­ly e­a­sy to use as well but to a­lign them pro­per­ly I had to p­ress my fa­ce hard on­to the comb. Mo­re a­bout the o­pen sig­hts la­ter. Most pe­op­le will use a sco­pe, so the o­pen sig­hts did not bot­her me too much. In short, the o­ver­all ba­lan­ce of the rifle was very good – full marks to Heym.

The length of pull was just shy of 14” and the butt is fit­ted with a ne­at, so­lid, black re­coil pad. Quick-de­ta­cha­ble sling swi­vel studs fo­re and aft are stan- dard on the SR-21. W­hat at first glan­ce ap­pears to be a bul­ge in the stock in the a­rea of the ma­ga­zi­ne cut-out, is ac­tu­al­ly in­ten­ded to streng­then the wood in t­his vi­tal a­rea. For tho­se u­sed to a mo­re stre­am­li­ned stock pro­fi­le t­his may ta­ke so­me get­ting u­sed to but it is so­mething I can li­ve with. The an­gle of the pis­tol grip is com­for­ta­ble and the grip of the test rifle fe­a­tu­red a very s­lig­ht Wund­ham­mer swell to ac­com­mo­da­te tho­se with big hands. As a fi­nal tou­ch the stock is pro­per­ly bed­ded un­der the re­coil lug to a­void wan­de­ring ze­ros and the bar­rel is free-flo­a­ted.

BOLT, TRIGGER, ACTI­ON

W­hen ta­king a clo­ser look at the acti­on I no­ti­ced a num­ber of fa­mi­li­ar fe­a­tu­res as well as a few not-so-fa­mi­li­ar on­es. The Win­ches­ter-ty­pe sa­fe­ty ca­tch is lo­ca­ted on top of the bolt shroud and functi­ons in the nor­mal fashi­on: for­ward for fi­re; cen­tral po­si­ti­on blocking the trigger but al­lows for sa­fe un­lo­a­ding; whi­le the re­ar po­si­ti­on blocks the trigger and the stri­ker. It was e­a­sy to use and functi­o­ned per­fect­ly, as did the bolt-re­le­a­se ca­tch which is lo­ca­ted on the left of the acti­on, just be­low the bolt shroud.

The bolt shaft is flu­ted to re­du­ce weig­ht and to act as an an­ti-bin­ding me­a­su­re and the three re­ces­sed, for­ward-moun­ted locking lugs en­s­u­re a strong and se­cu­re lock-up w­hen the rifle is in bat­te­ry. The hook-andplun­ger-ty­pe e­jec­tor sy­stem fit­ted to the acti­on may not be to e­ver­yo­ne’s tas­te but Heym ma­kes ot­her mo­re suit­a­ble rifles for use on A­fri­ca’s dan­ge­rous ga­me, so it does not bot­her me. It wor­ked per­fect­ly du­ring our hunt and on the s­hoot­ing ran­ge – emp­ty ca­ses we­re flung with a­la­cri­ty from the e­jecti­on port e­very ti­me we wor­ked the bolt. The ca­se he­ad is ful­ly re­ces­sed and t­he­re is a gas port on either si­de of the acti­on to re­le­a­se pres­su­re in the e­vent of a ca­ta- »

» strophic malfuncti­on.

The bolt on the SR-21 on­ly re­qui­res a 60-de­gree lift/ro­ta­ti­on to o­pe­ra­te and the­re­fo­re e­a­si­ly cle­a­red the moun­ted te­les­co­pe. The mounts on the test rifle was fit­ted di­rect­ly to the brid­ge and re­cei­ver by me­ans of con­ven­ti­o­nal ba­ses but a Pi­ca­tin­ny rail (a­vai­la­ble from Heym) can be fit­ted as well if so de­si­red. A wooden knob gra­ces the bolt­hand­le, but I ha­ve to ad­mit that gi­ven a choi­ce, I would ha­ve pre­fer­red a tra­di­ti­o­nal steel bolt­hand­le knob inste­ad. T­his is due to my rat­her tra­di­ti­o­nal tas­tes w­hen it co­mes to fi­re­arms. I must has­ten to add that the wooden knob is not u­nat­tracti­ve at all, just not w­hat I am u­sed to.

The SR-21’s sin­gle-sta­ge trigger (a set-trigger me­cha­nism can be or­de­red from the fac­to­ry) is ful­ly ad­jus­ta­ble and bro­ke at a crisp 3lbs wit­hout any creep. It is lo­ca­ted to­wards the re­ar of the trigger guard and al­lows e­nough spa­ce for e­a­sy use with a glo­ved fin­ger.

To my de­lig­ht the ma­ga­zi­ne is a de­ta­cha­ble steel u­nit with a ca­pa­ci­ty of three car­trid­ges. To re­mo­ve the ma­ga­zi­ne, sim­ply p­ress in the plun­ger-ty­pe but­ton lo­ca­ted next to the ma­ga­zi­ne and it will pop out. The ma­ga­zi­ne it­self is a hef­ty, stur­dy af­fair that should gi­ve y­e­ars of trou­ble­free ser­vi­ce if look­ed af­ter. Fee­ding car­trid­ges from the acti­on was very smooth in­deed and the Heym functi­o­ned per­fect­ly.

BAR­REL AND SIG­HTS

It is a litt­le kno­wn fact that Heym ma­nu­fac­tu­res its own rifle bar­rels in-hou­se, not on­ly for its own use but al­so for cor­po­ra­te cu­s­to­mers. The s­lim, ham­mer-f­or­ged bar­rel fit­ted to the SR-21 Al­l­round is 23.75” (55cm) long and, as men­ti­o­ned, fit­ted with o­pen sig­hts. The sig­hts ha­ve fi­b­re op­tic in­serts (g­reen at the back and red for the front-sig­ht) for fast a­cqui­si­ti­on and e­a­se of use.

In parts of Eu­ro­pe o­pen sig­hts are still very much in vo­gue, es­pe­ci­al­ly for ga­me such as dri­ven bo­ar. I did not test the o­pen sig­hts on the ran­ge but was as­su­red that they we­re well re­gu­la­ted. As men­ti­o­ned e­ar­lier, most pe­op­le will fit a sco­pe to a rifle but well-re­gu­la­ted o­pen sig­hts are cer­tain­ly a handy back-up to ha­ve in ca­se so­mething g­oes wrong.

THE TEST

Af­ter all is said and do­ne, any rifle is on­ly as good as it shoots and a vi­sit to the s­hoot­ing ran­ge was a lo­gi­cal step. I had a sup­ply of PMP 150-grain fac­to­ry am­mu­ni­ti­on on hand and sett­led down to fi­re a few groups at 100 me­tres. With the aid of the fi­ne sco­pe and the ex­cel­lent trigger it was no art s­hoot­ing groups that me­a­su­red s­lig­ht­ly big­ger than one inch. Heym gua­ran­tees that e­very SR-21 will pro­du­ce groups of 20mm or less at 100 me­tres with se­lected am­mu­ni­ti­on and I ha­ve no doubt that with a bit of ex­pe­ri­men­ta­ti­on or ca­re­ful hand­lo­a­ding, the SR-21 would be ca­pa­ble of very fi­ne accu­ra­cy.

T­hanks to the well-de­sig­ned stock the SR-21 was a ple­a­su­re to shoot from the bench. E­ven though the .30-06 is by no me­ans a fier­ce-re­coi­ling car­trid­ge, I ha­ve fi­red one or two rifles cham­be­red for t­his car­trid­ge that was un­com­for­ta­ble to shoot.

To round off the test, I al­so hun­ted with the SR-21 on Myn­hard Her­holdt’s beau­ti­ful farm bor­de­ring the Van­der­kloof Dam in the Nort­hern Ca­pe. On the first mor­ning we chec­ked the Heym’s ze­ro before he­a­ding out to hunt. Myn­hard’s well-stoc­ked farm is ho­me to blue wil­de­beest, gems­buck, red har­te­beest, spring­buck and bles­buck (a­mongst ot­her spe­cies) and we en­coun­te­red a num­ber of herds of all of the­se spe­cies before I got a chan­ce on a ni­ce blue wil­de­beest bull.

Our cho­sen quar­ry was part of a small but wa­ry herd and it took qui­te a bit of ma­noeu­vring to get in a po­si­ti­on w­he­re a shot could be ta­ken. At a me­a­su­red 128 me­tres the cross­hairs e­ven­tu­al­ly sett­led on the bull’s shoul­der w­he­re he stood in the o­pen on a gras­sy plain. He was ever so s­lig­ht­ly quar­te­ring to­wards us and I had a fleet­ing doubt or two a­bout the a­bi­li­ty of the 150grain PMP soft-no­se before pul­ling the trigger... blue wil­de­bees­ts are tough. The bul­let hit the bull with an au­di­ble thump and with his rig­ht front leg flai­ling a­bout; the bull took off a­cross the plains li­ke a scal­ded cat.

As it tur­ned out, the bul­let had been per­fect­ly pla­ced for the quar­te­ring-on shot and had smas­hed the bull’s big shoul­der bo­ne upon im­pact. Un­for­tu- na­te­ly it al­so dis­in­te­gra­ted al­most com­ple­te­ly wit­hout pe­ne­tra­ting deep e­nough, le­a­ving the bull with a nas­ty wound that cer­tain­ly wa­sn’t im­me­di­a­te­ly fa­tal. For­tu­na­te­ly the bull ga­ve me a se­cond chan­ce and, with the bul­let pla­ced be­hind the shoul­der in­to the lung a­rea, he went down.

Back to the rifle. To get a­not­her o­pi­ni­on I as­ked a friend, who ac­com­pa­nied me and who is al­so a well-kno­wn pro­fes­si­o­nal hunter from Zim­bab­we, for his im­pres­si­ons on the Heym. Af­ter fi­ring the rifle on the s­hoot­ing ran­ge and hun­ting with it he al­so men­ti­o­ned that the rifle hand­led well, re­coi­led very litt­le and in ge­ne­ral did w­hat was ex­pected of a qua­li­ty German hun­ting rifle.

The sub-s­tan­dard bul­let per­for­man­ce not­wit­hstan­ding, the Heym SR-21 pas­sed its field test with flying co­lours. A quick in­ter­net se­arch re­vea­led that the SR-21 is a­vai­la­ble in a num­ber of dif­fe­rent con­fi­gu­ra­ti­ons, in­clu­ding the Precision, a highly accu­ra­te ver­si­on spe­ci­fi­cal­ly ai­med at long-ran­ge s­hoot­ing. In ad­di­ti­on, a num­ber of ot­her ver­si­ons fe­a­tu­ring cu­s­tom tou­ches such as per­so­na­li­sed en­gra­ving, se­lect wood, thre­a­ding for si­len­cers, and cu­s­tom stock di­men­si­ons are al­so a­vai­la­ble.

Heym al­so ma­nu­fac­tu­res rifles spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for law en­for­ce­ment pur­po­ses on the SR-21 acti­on but the­se are at p­re­sent not a­vai­la­ble for sa­le to the ge­ne­ral pu­blic. The SR-21 Al­l­round as tes­ted is a­vai­la­ble in 6.5x55, 7x57, .30-06, 8x57 JS and 9.3x62. As an ad­ded bo­nus, the SR-21 is a­vai­la­ble in a true left-hand ver­si­on as well, at no ex­tra char­ge.

In clo­sing, I was fa­vou­ra­bly im­pres­sed with the SR-21 Al­l­round. It is a qua­li­ty pro­duct that I’m hap­py to re­com­mend for tho­se look­ing for a re­li­a­ble hun­ting rifle at a com­pe­ti­ti­ve p­ri­ce. * Full af­ter-sa­les ser­vi­ce is a­vai­la­ble and it car­ries a com­pre­hen­si­ve Heym’s gu­a­ran­tee. It is a­vai­la­ble from Sa­fa­ri Out­door, Heym’s a­gents in South A­fri­ca. P­ri­ces start at ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly R24 000.

A si­de-on view of the SR-21 wit­hout sco­pe mounts fit­ted. No­te the s­lig­ht bul­ge in the wood a­round the a­rea of the ma­ga­zi­ne cut-out. T­his was do­ne to streng­then the stock in t­his vi­tal a­rea.

The ul­ti­ma­te field test for the SR-21 was the hunt for t­his ni­ce old blue wil­de­beest bull. In spi­te of in­dif­fe­rent bul­let per­for­man­ce, the rifle pas­sed the test with flying co­lours.

The Heym SR-21 was very com­for­ta­ble to use from the bench. T­his pic­tu­re shows pro­fes­si­o­nal hunter Se­an Vil­joen fi­ring the rifle, lo­a­ded with 150gr PMP fac­to­ry lo­ads.

LEFT: The SR-21 is fit­ted with a Win­ches­ter-ty­pe three­po­si­ti­on sa­fe­ty ca­tch that functi­o­ned fla­w­les­sly. Al­so no­te the wooden bolt knob. ABOVE: The hook and plun­ger e­jec­tor sy­stem may not be to e­ver­yo­ne’s tas­te but it functi­o­ned per­fect­ly. Al­so no­te the flu­tes ma­chi­ned in­to the bolt to act as an an­ti-bin­ding de­vi­ce and to sa­ve weig­ht.

The o­pen sig­hts fit­ted to the SR-21 fe­a­tu­re fi­b­re-op­tic in­serts to aid in tar­get a­cqui­si­ti­on and e­a­se of use.

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.