May I not be struck down for the blasphemy I’m about to utter – I’m sick of AR 15s. Based on the tepid reaction to that statement from the rest of the TTAG crew at the 2017 SHOT show, I’m not alone with my thoughts. On the prowl for the sort of thing that would get my juices flowing, I stopped by International Firearm Corporation’s booth to check out their wares.
There, I stumbled upon Austrian rifle maker Strasser’s RS 14. The RS 14 is billed as being “Safe. Fast. Precise. Modular. Elegant. And yet simple.” Sure as I’m sitting here, I think they’ve nailed it.
The RS 14 is a straight pull action, which is oh so very European. Fast as all hell too, so from that perspective, I think they can live up to their own hype. On the safety side, Strasser incorporates a locking mechanism in the bolt that prevents the action from being opened up unless the trigger has been pulled or a detent has been pressed. About that trigger.
As you’d expect from a finely crafted European rifle, the adjustable single stage trigger is superb with no creep, and almost zero overtravel. The vertical piece with a knurled bit you see above is the adjustment – simply slide it back and forth to adjust the trigger weight, no tools needed. But wait! There’s more. Push the shoe forward, and you’re rewarded with a trigger pull measured in mere oz, perfect for those precision shots. Both settings are a joy to squeeze.
Mounted to the short, quick pointing sporter profiled barrel is a set of dovetail sights, neon green on the rear, and bright red at the front. The set is adjustable to suit your desired point of impact and particular load. I’m normally not a fan of dovetailed, barrel mounted sights, but these are so damn fast to acquire that I think I might have to change my tune.
Up top, the scope mount is quickly detachable with a simple throw lever and a twist. IFC’s Technical Advisor, Paul tells me that he’s got no issue popping a scope off, putting it back, and having it drill the exact same point of aim with boring repetition. Included with the RS 14 is a scope mount of your choice, in either 1 inch, 30 mm, or 34 mm diameters and various heights. They also have a QD Picatinny rail for those who like to ruin the looks of a walnut stocked rifle. Speaking of things that pop right off…
The whole rifle can be disassembled into its constituent parts in a matter of minutes using a set of tools that are conveniently squirreled away in the stock. IFC’s man on the floor has clearly done it a couple thousand times as he broke the whole rifle down in about two minutes. Strasser also sells a red felt lined wooden box to hold all the pieces for presentation or discreet carry to and from the range.
From there, the barrel pulls off the end and can be swapped out for twenty-two different options from .222 REM to .375 Ruger – all made using Lothar Walther blanks.
The bolt face is just as easiy to swap as well. Pull the bolt from the back, flip up a lever, and swap the face. Put the whole rifle back together and you’ve gone from a zippy little prairie dog killer to a moose walloping magnum.
Each caliber conversion is geared to work from a detachable magazine, capacity dependent on cartridge. Extended magazines are available, but in my opinion, they ruin the look of a really pretty, dare I say elegant, hunting rifle.
MSRP on the Standard model runs $2600 with better wood commanding more money. If you’re dead set on the caliber you want, but still want the fancy trigger and the QD scope mount system, the RS Solo is for you, and it knocks about $1000 off the sticker price. IFC’s CEO happened to be in the booth and indicated that he’s already been in contact with our main man Dan about a test rifle so you should see this reviewed in the not too distant future.