I spent ages looking for info on sizing etc.. with limited luck.. WGD on Pigeonwatch gave some useful insight... thanks William, you helped greatly with my choice..
So.. now I have my new jacket I thought I'd throw some info out there for anyone else in the market.. particularly as winter is only around the corner..
So... sizing.. as an ex Pro Hunter owner I was concerned about the new 'slimmer cut' that was constantly mentioned with the 'x' version so I ordered a C56 (UK 46" and the same size as my old Pro Hunter even though I have lost weight and the old one felt too big)...... That was a mistake.. the new slimmer cut is exactly that... it is a slimmer, more tailored cut... nothing else, there is exactly the same amount of room in the 'X' version as there is in the standard Pro Hunter just less baggy in the boob and back areas, so.. if you are moving from standard to 'X' buy the same size.
On the sizing front I have come to the conclusion that, to give a good snug (not tight.. just 'fitted') fit, you need to drop 2 sizes from your normal jacket size... My blazer/jacket size is UK48" and if I measure with a tailors tape accross my nips then I come out at 51" (I need to try harder with my diet!) The C56 (which should be equivalent to a UK46") was the first I ordered.. with shirt and medium weight sweater on it was like putting on a tent! it drowned me.. with a fleece on as well I could have possibly got away with it (if I liked loads of room in a jacket.. there was probably room to get a down jacket on instead of the fleece and still not be anywhere near restricted) but lets face it.. how often are you likely to need that many layers on other than mid winter in very harsh conditions... An expensive piece of kit (and probably not the best choice) for only the coldest occasions!
So.. I sent it back and ordered a C54 (UK 44") This fits me perfectly with base, shirt & med weight sweater and does not feel cramped with a fleece on aswell although that would be it.. don't think I could get a down jacket on under there as well but then Why would I want to! Most of the time it will be base, shirt and sweater or just shirt if moving around.
The way the jacket is tailored and cut means movement is not restricted, even if mounting a shotgun.. this is contrary to the standar Pro Hunter which is not tailored at all and relies purely on 'room' inside to reduce restriction, the very reason they are cut so large. However, I will say that, as a shotgun shooting jacket, my Beretta Gun 6 is much nicer, but then that is what it is designed for.. it would be rubbish as a stalking jacket! Harkila don't themselves seem to market the 'X' as a shotgun jacket but the UK retailers seem to be trying to market it as a specific bird shooting jacket... that can also be used for stalking! I would say that is a made up thing to try and broaden the market appeal... yes, it now has drained lower pockets which have little or no fancy attachments/iner pockets/clips/pouches and so lend themselves more to cartridges (there are some bullet loops in one pocket still) and the shoulder and back tailoring make mounting a shotgun for a high bird less restrictive.. but as far as I can see, this is still a stalking jacket but an evolution of the design and one that is far more versatile.. in other words, a stalking jacket that lends itself to a driven shoot rather than the other way around!
As for the jacket itself.. same bomb proof cordura, still damned heavy (but no heavier than my Beretta Gun 6) the tailoring is much nicer though with lots of attention to detail.. Articulated elbows, Raglan sleeves, pleated action back... these are why it is more expensive than the standard, all those extra cuts/seams/stitching/sealing etc increase production difficulty & time and cost money. It is a much classier looking jacket for the extra design work and effort though and whilst functionality is the name of the game.. at 400 quid it needs to look pretty darned good too!
Whilst I loved my old standard Pro Hunter I was never a great fan of the colour... I always felt it looked too 'green' in a sort of kids paintbox way... it never came accross as a 'natural' muted shade like barbours or berettas... Harkila do offer other jackets in thier line up in a more muted natural shade, why they insist on sticking with this OTT shade for the PH line is a little beyond me.. Anyhoo, due to that I went for the Shadow Brown instead.. it may not appeal to the hardcore 'must wear green' brigade but to me it makes for a much more classy garment that will be just as elegant around town and in the office as it will crawling through knee deep **** in the forest in Scotland! At the end of the day deer cant see colour anyway so what does it matter... a block of lake green will look exactly the same as a block of shadow brown to your average roe and there is even the miniscule advantage that you will dissapear into the shadows faster at last light! The embroidery is the same colour as the fabric which I like... none of the fancy gold stuff of the standard jacket and the storm hood is a much better fit.. I couldn't fasten the front round my chin and mouth on the standard version, I can with this so all the better.
As for construction, one last point.. My biggest gripe with my old PH was the tiny light duty poppers and front zip they used.. That has now thankfully changed too... nice decent big poppers and the main zip is more substantial, although the zip connecting the hood to the jacket still appears a bit lightweight.. but then, I never had any trouble with it on my old one!
So there you have it..... lovely jacket, a tad on the expensive side but then, assuming I dont drop another few stone I should still be wearing this and staying comfy & dry & looking good in 5.... 10 years plus! and if I'm not, someone else will be.. I find it hard to imagine what you could possibly do to damage the fabric or stitching other than mount a deliberate attack on it with a sharp hunting knife such is the quality and substance of the fabric and stitching!
To my eyes the brown is a nicer colour and makes for a classier, more versatile piece of clothing... you may disagree.. after all its all down to personal preference on that front! My advice would be to buy 2 sizes down from your normal 'suit' jacket size.. i.e. if you are a 48" go for a C54, if a 46" go for a C52 etc.. unless of course you like LOTS (and lots) of room in your jackets (did I mention LOTS! )
Any questions just ask..
Montrose guns & tackle have the best deal I could find at £398 shipped £40 quid plus shipping costs less than everywhere else!