Friday, 8 May 2020

Review: Heym SR30 Pt2

My Heym has been sitting at the back of the cabinet for a while. Not for lack of love. But I will admit some sentimentality has been creeping into my game.

Any shooting dad would like to gift a precision rifle to the offspring, but in their aluminium chassis' they're no heirloom. They have the accuracy but not the vibe. Picture the scene if you will.

Sometime in the future, hopefully a long time in the future. I've joined the choir invisible. It's the day after the wake, the b'tweeded ghillie (replete with splendid whiskers, smelling slightly of; Islay Malts, RS62, and mothballs) will stand solemnly by the fireplace, fighting back the tears, he cant very well hand a PRS rifle to James Bond my progeny with the words "This was your father's hunting rifle".  For that it's got to be wood and blued steel, so he can gruffly add 'an elegant weapon for a more civilised age'.

Elegant is as elegant does, you can keep your fine scroll work and your exhibition grade woodwork, the real elegance is simplicity, where less yields more. The SR30 is a stunningly simple straight pull action, probably the most elegant design yet, mine sits in a nimble Bavarian stock of modest 'expedition grade' timber.

Back in the mid 80's Peter Fortner was tying on a few cold ones with his friend Peter Angerer who had just taken gold in the Biathlon at the winter olympics.
Angerer lamented that the equipment available wasn't giving him much of an advantage over the Russians. Taking notes on a napkin, Fortner set about tilting the playing field in his friends favour.  Intending to design a faster action, by serendipity he also designed a stronger action.
The strongest possible shape is a sphere and here six of them are the lugs. You get an incredibly strong and precise, self-centring lock-up. So strong that Heym certify that the SR 30 has been tested by the Suhl proof house to 116,030 psi or 8,000 bar.
Wonder what that looks like? So did the guys at

Using a .30-06 calculated according to Hartmut Brömels QuickLoadat 10,000 bar peak gas pressure the following experimental setup was used to fire a Heym SR30N straight-pull repeating rifle and the effects of this excess force photographed. Although the bolt did not withstand the force unharmed, even with this amount of force the bolt was not ejected to the back into the shooter’s face. 
Full story HERE.

My SR30 came preloved in .243 with a 1/10 twist and never liked 100gr bullets, at 23 inches the barrel is more hill-rifle than woodland-stalker. I washed a lot of copper out of it which helped, I considered chopping a couple of inches off the end but when I took a look though a borescope I abandoned hope. Time for a new barrel and a change of chambering to shoot lead free 6.5's. Since the Creedmoor craze/revolution of the last ten years shows no sign of abating, every gun shop now has new rifles so chambered, I'm confident that factory ammunition will be as ubiquitous as .308 and end up replacing .243.

Barrels and Baffles are like Tyres and Brakes, the more fun you have, the more frequently you have to replace them. 

I needed to engage the services of a gunsmith and buy a barrel. And there hangs a tale, a pretty sorry tale at that. For readers in The US of A. I know this next bit will stretch your credulity, but I promise you this all happened.
The greatest impediment to shooting sports in the UK isn't the government and the vegans, its the gun trade. From the importers, to people I know and consider friends, there's a surly malaise. Its literally as though they don't want your money. Everything is too much trouble.

Our slang term for gunsmith is Gun Plumber, the 'plumber' bit presumably inspired by their reluctance to answer the telephone, or on the rare occasion that they do, to give even the vaguest idea of when they might be able to 'fit you in'.

The obvious choice begrudgingly agreed that yes he could source a barrel for me from Heym, with a timeframe extending into, and possibly beyond, three months. His price?  Almost two thirds of the list price of a brand new SR30. Nothing like supporting the brand.

For 30% less the well-regarded F1 engineer, who specifies a high end stainless steel barrel, would take a look, I was welcome to visit, but no timeframe could be offered.

Top boy in the north was too pushed with his own builds, and suggested top boy in the south who is yet to return calls or emails.

A couple of other gunsmiths would, for only a little less cash, deign to allow me to join the long tail of their waiting list.

Sentimentalist that I am, this time I want my Heym to look like a Heym. If I was going to build an SR30 on a plastic stock I'd go with the stainless F1 guy or Top boy up north. I bought my SR30 because I wanted the Bavarian stock, it should have a german scope, ideally swing off mounts, and a blued barrel hammer forged from Krupps steel. As Heym intended.

Somewhat despondent I called a gun shop (in Scotland) where I've received excellent service before to see if they had a recommendation, and although not listed as a Heym stockist, the proprietor opened my eyes to a little known fact, (little known in the english speaking world anyway), Heym sell pre-fit barrels threaded and chambered for their rifles. Available within a fortnight and could be fitted and sent for proof immediately for ein kleines bisschen less than 50% of the original quote.
As simple as that.

Probably cursed it now, let's see how long it takes?

More soon
your pal