Dominic Griffith loves this compact and beautifully balanced rifle and would feel confident using it under any circumstances likely to be met in field or forest in the UK or on the Continent.
It is not often that you open a package to find that in every detail the contents are exactly what you had hoped for. the Rangemaster Precision Arms Woodland Stalker in .308 is, quite simply, the most exciting rifle I have ever been lucky enough to handle. Straight out of the box it felt right: beautifully balanced, comfortable to handle and mounting naturally and effortlessly to the shoulder. So often moderators create weight-forward feeling, which compromises handling, but this rifle sits perfectly balanced and secure in both the aim position and slung on the shoulder.
Its most striking aspects are the solid, synthetic stock with thumbhole and the 16in stainless steel, fluted barrel, which create a compact and practical rifle for woodland stalking. With an overall length of just 38in with Reflex moderator attached, it comes in a good 51 ⁄2in shorter than my Sako. the action is a joy, the safety catch simple and silent, and the match trigger a superb, smooth, crisp, two-stage pull. this rifle is engineered to an extremely high standard. It is, of course, vaguely reminiscent of the bull-pup rifles that appeared about 20 years ago: short, compact and apparently ideal for woodland stalking but with the chamber disconcertingly close to the cheek. But only in compactness does this rifle I wasn’t too keen on the magazine release, which I suspect may be susceptible to involuntary release. However, I am assured that this feature is being redesigned and I have confidence that the company will
come up with a solution to match the rifle’s otherwise perfect design. the demonstration model was fitted with a target telescopic sight and a north Star moderator but for such a short rifle it is comparatively heavy and in fully set-up combination topped the scales at 12lb, a significant 21⁄4lb more than my Sako, which I would definitely notice after a full day out. But weight is the price for performance and most stalkers would be prepared to carry a little extra for a guarantee of accuracy.
And this rifle is so beautifully balanced that the extra weight is well distributed therefore less noticeable. With a retail price of £2,475 plus VAt, it compares in price to Sauer and Blaser. In terms of performance, however, the Rangemaster Precision Arms Woodland Stalker is in a class of its own. I absolutely loved it. bear direct comparison. It’s short in barrel but long on engineering and built to exceptionally high tolerances using only the best materials. Shooting it for the first time in windy conditions from a bench at 100 metres I managed to achieve a
group of 1in using 150g Federal ammunition and with no noticeable recoil. But what is surprising is that the fall of shot dropped just 2in when firing from 200 metres and my group remained stable at 11⁄2in. Perhaps more extraordinarily, with moderator removed the zero was unaffected at 100 metres and there was no noticeable increase in recoil.
It shot equally well off the Harris bipod and was just as at home when I shot from the standing position using sticks. Indeed, so well balanced is it in the shoulder, that shots from the tanding position can be comfortably taken without support. All this means that it is an inordinately versatile rifle in which you can have confidence under any circumstances likely to be
met in field or forest in the Uk or on the Continent after wild boar. I am certain that, given the opportunity to get used to it, I would be able to achieve the sorts of groups that others have
reported. In any event, I suspect that this rifle is far better than I am.
The Woodland Stalker is available in .243 and .308 with a three- or 10-shot detachable steel magazine. Price £2,475 plus VAT