The Volquartsen has landed! I had the rifle shipped to a local tactical supply, and it didnʼt even make it out of the shop before the guys who work there and I tore into it like it was Christmas morning. Volquartsen sent the rifle cradled in a light but substantial black shipping case complete with chrome latches. Not that anyone dwelled on that detail for very long. Popping the case open, it was immediately obvious that the photos on their web site just don’t do it justice . . .
“This is laminated wood?!”, I asked. No one could believe it. Iʼve never been a big fan of laminate, but this Silhouette stock is something entirely different. I don’t even want to call it laminate. The workmanship is expertly done and the finish is lovingly polished.
Another feature, the Zeiss black and silver 4.5 x 14 scope, beautifully compliments the exotic snake-fluted barrel tipped with their forward blow compensator and accentuates the silver trigger. All in all, this is one good looking gun!
When I first held it in my arms, I noted its balance and heft. Iʼll have to ask Scott Volquartsen the exact weight on this configuration, but Iʼd guess it’s around 10 lbs. It has a thick barrel, which is commonly thought to improve accuracy. Its weight and barrel thickness is more similar to my competition Anschutz than my Savage youth model Mark II .22.
If shooting in positions other than prone or bench, I believe this gun would be a good pairing with competition clothing rather than street clothes. A rifle that weighs this much will be more challenging to hold steady in an off hand position without a shooting jacket. It requires a modified competition stance (bone-on-bone only) and even then I have to engage some muscle.
The Volquartsen’s trigger isn’t quite as smooth and light as my Anschutz, but neither is it as heavy and stiff as my Mark II. The instructions clear advise against messing with the trigger….but I wonder if there’s a way to smooth it out and reduce the pull weight. I’ll ask Scott and report back. The shot release is definitely smoother than most factory rifle triggers, but not up there with my Anschutz, or say a Jewell trigger.
The magazine design is hands down awesome. It holds 10 rounds, but loads in a circular pattern (from what I can gather) so it’s very compact (about an inch and a half). And that brings me to my favorite feature on the gun so far…a magazine that rides flush with the stock. That allows for the support hand to be closer to the body of the shooter which translates to more bone-on-bone contact. LOVE IT.
So did I shoot it? Of course I did. However, it was a windy day (what state in the west isnʼt windy?). It was breezy enough to make 50 yard accuracy testing difficult, but I took out four .22s including the Volquartsen.
The Volquartsen completly outperformed my 15+ year old youth model savage Mark II .22 and my fatherʼs Browning semi-auto, should-probably-be-in-a-museum-old .22. Then again, those two don’t really provide much competition for a gun like the Volquartsen. So I pulled out my iron sighted bolt action Anschutz for a better comparison.
I donʼt know if a bolt action to a semi-auto is a fair comparison, but this Volquartsen looks so good I just have to hope it shoots as well. The wind was whipping, probably 15-20mph at times, and of course I didnʼt have wind flags so I used grass and sage brush as a gauge. Another factor: the range is right next to a berm, which can make for some funky swirling effects.
The Volquartsen shot some decent groups (inches?) but had some odd fliers. I wondered if I was just off my game, so I fired up the Anschutz. I shot a tighter group with my Anschutz, but in fairness it shouldʼve be smaller. The wind was definitely factor as my Anshutz group was in a diagonal wind pattern. I shot another group with the Volquartsen and had some great shots, but the fliers weren’t in a wind pattern. Again, swirling winds could account for this.
But first impressions are just that. Like meeting a person for the first time, it takes getting used to them and knowing them better before an overall assessment can be made. All in all, my first impression is that the Volquartsen with the Silhouette thumbhole stock is unlike any other .22 on the market. Iʼll keep you posted as we discover this rifle together.