Having recently acquired a Haenel Jaeger 10 in .308, I thought I'd just write a quick review, as there wasn't much info available when I was going through the purchase process.....
Prior to purchasing this I'd been using my mentor's Sauer 202, which is a lovely rifle. Unfortunately I couldn't justify the outlay for one given the amount of use it's likely to get, so I ended up looking at new and used rifles around the £1k mark. After weighing up what I was likely to get for my money, I decided to purchase a new rifle with the view that i'll keep it until I give up shooting (or see some thing more shiny). I was put off purchasing second-hand by the knowledge that I could potentially have bought a complete nail without really knowing it. I also wanted to know how the rifle has been treated since day one.
The manufacturer's site lists a variety of different options for this rifle, not including the one I have here. Basically it's available in more-or-less any configuration you want - wood or synthetic stock (including versions with adjustable cheek-pieces), no sights/open sights/picatinny rail, normal/varmint barrel, screwcut or not, 3+1 /10+1 magazine etc.
The obvious comparison is with the Tikka T3, as Haenel is to Merkel like Tikka is to Sako. I compared the two side by side and to my mind the Jaeger 10 was a better option. The rifle fitted me better and felt like a much better quality product, especially the action. The stock felt like it had had a bit more thought put into it than the one on the T3, especially with the fore-end, which has a nice profile on it which is very easy to grip when wearing gloves.
I went for the synthetic stock, no sights and normal barrel with a thread, twinned with an AimZonic Plus moderator and topped with a Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x36 scope:
This configuration in total weighs in at a shade under 3.8Kg, with the moderator representing about 300g of that.
Out of the box the stock had a slight moulding seam around it, this was rectified in about 3 minutes with a Stanley knife blade and improved the feel of the rifle significantly. Originally I was a little disappointed with the quality of the sling swivels, but having used the rifle in the field I'm really happy with them, as they don't clank like the quick release versions I have on my other rifles. The butt plate is made of rubber, so doesn't slip against your clothing, which is an issue I've had with the hard plastic plate on my Sako Quad. The stock has a hard plastic finish, but at this price I can't really complain about that. I've had a quote for getting it dipped with a soft-touch coating at £150 should I choose to improve it.
The scope is mounted in low Leupold PRW rings on Recknagel Weaver bases (the receiver is drilled to accept standard Weaver layouts). The moderator is visible in the scope picture at low magnification, but I like the position of the scope as is and I'll rarely be using the scope at 2.5x.
The safety has a positive action and can be removed with the trigger finger if preferred. Once feature that I really like is that the bolt can be opened if the rifle is cocked and the safety is on. Why this doesn't exist on all rifles is beyond me. You simply depress the small plunger by the bolt handle and open the bolt. As you can see - there is a cocking indicator at the rear.
Speaking of the bolt - there is a generously sized knob (stop sniggering at the back), which is great when operating with gloves on. The bolt itself is of a six-lug design, which Haenel claim is good. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if that's true, but I doubt it's a bad thing:
I had a nice surprise the other day when having dropped the rifle into my local gunsmith to have the trigger lightened, he called me to say that it actually had a single set trigger fitted. Given that this is listed as being optional on the website, it hadn't even occurred to me to check. The rifle didn't come with a manual, so it wasn't a case of RTFM.... The normal trigger breaks nicely at 3lbs, but the set trigger is lovely at a consistent 7.9oz. I'm yet to fire it in anger now I know about this, so looking forward to that....
Just forward of the trigger is an ambidextrous magazine release lever, which is nicely integrated into the trigger guard:
The 3 round double stack magazine is steel with a branded plastic cap on the base:
The last item is an AimZonic Plus moderator. I did a bit of research before buying and it came down to a choice between this and the Third-Eye Spartan. I was told by a couple of dealers that Third-Eye were very difficult to get hold of and experienced this myself whilst trying to buy from them, so gave up and bought this! This is very light, has a nice soft touch coating and should I wish to change it to a rifle with a different thread, I can simply get another bush and screw it onto the end. It's also possible to purchase an extra shroud that turns it into a reflex style moderator and shaves a further 3dB off the SPL. It needs a minimum of cleaning and comes with a 5 year warranty. Noise reduction is comparable to the T8 i've previously used and recoil & muzzle flip are controlled nicely:
So this is all very nice, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating! I had emailed Haenel and asked if there was any kind of running in that needed to be done. They basically said just fire a few rounds through it before zeroing properly.
I had very limited time to zero the rifle, but after bore-sighting it the first three rounds were within 3 inches of the POA (@100 metres). I then switched to the ammo I'd bought for hunting (150Gr Winchester soft points) The next three rounds were about five inches to the right of the first group, which I wasn't expecting! This being despite the fact that the ballistics info was the same for both types of round. I tweaked the scope and the final three rounds landed in a one-inch group an inch above the bull. Unfortunately that was all I had time for, as someone else was waiting to use the range. I'm looking forward to going back to an indoor range and seeing what's possible now I know about the set trigger!
Fast forward a few weeks and I've left the sanctuary of the cosy pub and a post-pheasant-shoot lunch and I'm lurking in a wood with a companion and keeping my eyes peeled. Unfortunately our stealthy approach and patience is somewhat ruined by the approach of a guy with his two kids and uncontrollable dog. To say that i'm unimpressed is an understatement, especially as they're not supposed to be there! At no point are they in any danger, as we heard them approaching for about five minutes before they appeared. Having exchanged pleasantries through gritted teeth, they wander off in the direction they came from leaving us to lament the fact that there's not enough time to move to a different part of the permission.
Having decided to stay where we are until last light, I was giving up hope until my companion nudges me. A Roe doe is browsing across the tree line towards us. I've no idea how I didn't spot her come past the bit I was looking at, but I forget that thought pretty quickly as a massive dose of adrenaline makes itself felt! I do my part as does the rifle and we are left with a cleanly killed deer, which is all I could've asked for......
Would I recommend one to someone else? Yes. I hope this review is useful to someone.....