The Perfect Stalking Rifle

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Picking up on a comment by EJG in the discussion on Shulz & Larsen vs Sako 85 that there is no perfect stalking rifle opening up a discussion on what a good stalking rifle should be:

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

Barrel - medium weight sporter in profile. Not superlight, nor heavy weight either. I like 24". Not overly worried re brand of barrel, provided its well made and true. I like a bit of thickness around the chamber and for it then to taper off. I don't like the very concave style you see on some rifles. I would have it threaded, but with an invisible cap.

Stock - I like a good classic style with a longer fore - end and a reasonably open grip - I have long hands so not a fan of tight radius and vertical grips. Foreend section - I like round or oval in shape and not too skinny. Nice rounded tip that is cut a 90 degrees to barrel. Straight comb, or a bit of a monte carlo, but want the top of butt pad to be in line with barrel so recoil comes straight back. Not overly fussed re cheek pieces, but if there is one more the Remington style, and definitely not the squared off hogs back germanic style. Stock material - well I do like good walnut, but can see the benefits of laminate, or synthetic. Provided its bedded well and accurately not overly fussed as to the type of bedding, but do want a bedding system that allows stock to be removed and replaced for transport and cleaning that doesn't require re-zeroing etc.

Action - Has to have the handle on the left hand side. I think I prefer a control round feed action aka the Mauser 98, but provided its well timed the cartridge not a lot wrong with a push feed. Whether it has two, three or more lugs - moot point, provided the lugs are properly cut etc. Bolt needs to be well polished so moves freely, but there also needs to be some give to all it to work with a bit of dust, ice etc.

But could be very easily persuaded to use either a nice kipplauf break action or a falling block.

Safety - I want an easy to use and silent safety that blocks the firing pin. A three position safety on the bolt shroud is ideal. Blaser sliding cocking system has its merits, but I hate the plastic (ok Polymer) feel of the standard versions.

Trigger - A single stage crisp pull of c 3 to 4lbs is ideal for me. I don't like to light a trigger. A push forward to set trigger is nice touch, provided the main pull is very good.

Magazine - first choice is the rotary magazine of the older Mannlicher Schoeneurs - the ones with the bolt handle half way down the action. They are beautiful to use. Later Polymer ones, aka Mannlicher Model M and Blaser system have their merits. Failing that a good double stack Mauser type fixed magazine with an opening floorplate with a good latch that doesn't open unless told to do so. It needs to hold five rounds - ie more than enough for days stalking, and if you ever need a few rounds they are there. Worst is the single stack detacheable mag with 3 rounds - get into a hind and a follower - bang, bang and then one follow shot which you pull and you now scrabbling around with numb fingers in the snow trying to reload it.

Sights - 42mm objective is a good compromise between bulk and brightness. Magnification - well the old standby of 6x is always good, but for closer work a wide field of view can be helpful. And there are times when a bit more mag can useful for a small target such as fox. A reasonable fine No 4 type reticle is good. If it's a variable prefer it in the 2nd focal plane. If I can have a red dot that's probably useful, but not at the expense of a large additional turret, or a carbunkle on the eye piece.

I would also want open sights that are usable, and if I had a good detachable system I would add a second 1-4x20 wide angle scope for close range work.

Scope Mounts - bases need to be machined as part of the action. I do think I prefer the swing mount as neater, but failing that a good warne style with downtails machined on the action is strong. I don't aluminium on scope tubes, but mounts and rings should be off good quality steel.

Sling fitments - I don't like studs on the forend. I much prefer a barrel band sling attachment half way between muzzle tip and end of forend - A rifle is so much more comfortable to carry this way. If done properly and you don't tension the sling when shooting it's not going to affect point of impact. I can't help feeling African hunters have something to offer - slings are a pain in the bush and thus they carry the rifle on the shoulder without a sling. If you hunt with a pack then no reason why you cannot have a slip in the pack or some carrying system on the pack.

Finish - all metal work should be properly blued. A good blue lasts well, ages well. Ceramic finishes are fine until they get scratched / chipped and then look tatty. Stainless - well stainless still rusts and tarnishes and unless cerakoted or similar tends to shine a bit.

All up weight - about 8 and a little bit pounds.

Calibre - simple 7x57, 7x64 or 30-06 if a magazine, 7x65R if single shot.


Well-Known Member
Mannlicher 1952 Express, came in all those cartridges, with factory swing off mounts, really good open sights, 23.6 inch barrel, nice, full fore end, stock works well with iron sights and scope.


Well-Known Member
We live in a wet area so for me the barrel must be stainless, actions is not that important as that can be sprayed and oiled. The inside of a barrel is unprotected and means stainless is somewhat better than normal barrel steel.
Bedding is a must for me, no matter which stock. Action: I like simple, it is very very hard to beat the remmy design that is why there are so many clones. I just love the position of a remmy safety, seems more positive than T3. T3 actions are also very simple with the advantage of one action length and that one bedding can fit just about all T3's. Stocks can be swopped around without re-bedding. A sniper comp in Canada was won with a T3 stock that was bedded with a different rifle.
I just spent 3 days at the IWA and bought myself an action for a build that will be mated with a US barrel. I will post how that will perform. The Canadian action is one of the nicest I have ever seen, based on a remmy clone. We'll see....
Other than these no other action has really convinced me including my Mauser action. For target I'd choose Barnard actions.
Barrel depends on usage, there is a time for a heavier barrel to pick out deer from a plantation from across the valley but also the bush rifle with a light short barrel. Button or cut would be my choice.
Stock material would of course be carbon fibre as just about any high performance sports equipment ends up in carbon. Must be made properly. Saying that the guy who shoots max one day a week or in dry climate will get away with a timber stock. I would mostly choose wood over cheap plastic injection moulded stocks. Scope mount of course Pica rail to be more flexible between different rifle brands.
I prefer Accuracy type magazines. I have several different rifles with them always have a choice of different mags in each rifle.


Well-Known Member
No longer made but the Sauer 90 as a non custom rifle is a dam fine stalking rifle IMHO. Yes, it has a wooden stock in the Classic tradition as distinct from the now favored immovable composite type but I can live and shoot with that.

And of course it has that slick as a lizard's tongue bolt cycling thing going for it which is nice.



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Best rifle in the world is one you can shoot well with and you have faith in. Doesn't matter if it cost £5 or £5000.
Exactly! More thought and effort fares well for the wall and larder if put into the actual hunting than the rifle snobbery factor,some blokes couldn't hit a bull in the arse with a long handled shovel let alone with a big name rifle.
My Winchester XTR Mod 70 7mm mag is just about 40 years old and is as comfortable as a good woman.

BUT!!!!!!! I would love one of the new Rigby`s ha ha


Distinguished Member
Perfect rifle for me is also based on a Canadian action (PGWDTI Coyote) with three position safety, married to a Bartlein med Palma fluted barrel and fitted into a carbon fibre pse stock, Bix n Andy two stage trigger. Detach 8 shot magazine and up top a 4-16 PM11(image shows rifle with 10x42 PM11)

One I made last year for myself in 6.5x47 Lapua

Perfect do all rifle

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Well-Known Member
Yep, a decent rifle that you're comfortable with would be my answer too. My A-bolt is just about perfect in that respect. Think it has a 24" barrel, with a nice sporter profile, 60-degree bolt lift, and an action that's smooth as silk. Four-round detachable box magazine that attaches to the floorplate, and a shotgun-style safety catch that blocks both bolt and trigger. My only gripe is that a 3-position safety would be better. Small thing though, and I'm more than happy to live with it. The stock is plain but decent wood, with a superb semi-pistol grip, a straight cheekpiece, and a half-round fore-end with decent chequering. I know there are 'better' rifles out there, but I can hit a 4" clay pigeon off the car door at 300 yards with it and I really don't think a higher end rifle would make any difference to how I shoot. I'd be terrified of scratching it though, that's for sure! :lol:

I love that rifle!

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Greener Jim

Well-Known Member
Borrowed Heym's format, and some of his words, but this is mine:

Barrel - the lighter end of the scale, 26" long, and unthreaded.

Stock - I like a good classic style with a longer fore-end and a reasonably open grip. Oval fore-end with a upper handguard, steel tip. Straight comb, want the top of butt pad to be in line with barrel so recoil comes straight back.

Stock material - well I do like good walnut, but laminate is less to worry about whilst still retaining some good looks. Colour should be approaching "Russian red".

Action - The action I designed and am building. Two lug bolt head, sliding bolt carrier, hammer fired.

Safety - Hammer block safety so rifle can be carried safe with hammer back and extra safe with hammer forward.

Trigger - A single stage trigger with a nice crisp pull to release the hammer.

Magazine - 5 round AI type mag in bottom metal with a strong retainer.

Sights - a small quick detach holographic sight along with express sights. The latter having a wide shallow V rear with a, large, fibre optic or warthog ivory bead.

Scope base- short picatinny

Sling fitments - flush cups, nice and smooth when sling isn't mounted plus easy to fit and remove.

Finish - cerakoted, simply as there is more colour options. Looking like it'll be tan.

All up weight - about 11lb

Calibre - 45-120 Rimless


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Sako Carbon light in 6.5 55 for me with a built in mount for my carbon bipod

Swaro 2 12 50 scope to keep the weight down

Aluminium mod

Rucsack sling and Id be ready for the hill

Scotland reely taught me about the value of weight saving.


Well-Known Member
what astonished me was that several German high seat hunters preferred the straight pistol grip like your stock to a more hunting style pistol grip. They showed me their position in the high seat and the angle of their trigger hand which then made sense. I mostly hunt with a similar stock to yours. Only 10-20% of my deer are taken off-hand and 50% over 200m in our last season.


Well-Known Member
Hoping I'll have something close to perfection set up in the next month or so, once I've sorted some suitable loads.........

Sako Carbon Wolf
6.5 Creedmoor (20" barrel)
LP Titanium Mod
And either a more woodland usable Z6i 2-12 x 50 or a Z6i 3-18 x 50 with a BT

I'll know in a year or so :-|


Distinguished Member
Edi - your stock is pretty much perfect for my needs regarding deer management which is done in a variety of terrain at all times of the year

A large proportion of shots are taken in mixed woodland at close quarters off sticks or kneeling / freehand but an equal amount are taken from a rest be that bipod, mound raised seat etc at distance.

The rifle is simply perfect for any given situation


Distinguished Member
And the action is open for your pics,thats a plus WS.

Guess that’s aimed at me as there is only one other rifle shown in images so far within the thread

The chamber is empty, as was the magazine, the images were taken on land that no public have access to and was taken at a distance of ten feet where I had full control of said firearm.
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