Mark Stone tests the RWS Titan 6 in .243, finding that RWS deserves to be known in the UK for more than just its ammo
For most UK shooters the initials RWS mean just one thing, namely top-end German ammunition. However, the RWS Titan rifles are slowly making their mark and should be a serious consideration for any shooters looking for a value-for-money switch-barrel rifle. RWS has produced two rifles that personify German firearms: the Titan 3 and 6. These two models definitely hint at an older design by another well known manufacturer, the style of which there’s nothing at all wrong with.
The RWS Titan 3s and 6s come in a far larger variety than most shooters tend to think, although some of the less popular models will have to be ordered in. The Titan 3 has a three-lug bolt locking system, while the 6 as the name suggests has six, one set of three just behind the other. The other options are mainly cosmetic – the Titan 6 Synthetic seen here is the most basic model. Move up and you find the Classic Italian Walnut, followed by the Luxus with either a single or double Bavarian-style cheekpiece. All the Titans come with a satin finish aluminium alloy long-action receiver and switch-barrel facility with alternative barrel lengths of 56 and 61cm.
Initially zeroed using my Leupold Zero Point boresighter, it only took a few live rounds to pull the point of impact down to more or less half an inch at 100 yards using 105-grain Geco Teilmantel ammo. The one-inch group then gave me point of aim at 150 yards. The ammo was quite appropriate in many ways since the Geco brands are RWS’s slightly more budget-oriented ammunition, although the price did not have an obvious effect on performance. Each round was travelling at 2,544fps at 150 yards, with little drop-out at 200 yards.
Mated to the Kahles Helia C fitted with individual quick detach posts, the Titan’s quarry for the next few days was large vermin. Used from a variety of free-standing positions, from low fence posts and the usual seated position onboard a quad, the Titan 6 proved effective.
Where the rifle feels unusual at first is in the long travel of the bolt. Swinging through 110 degrees and with nearly five inches of travel to eject the empty case and slam the next round into battery, the process can seem extensive. The reason is that RWS uses the same receiver for all the optional calibre sizes, so while the bolt travel might seem excessive for a .243, it isn’t when it comes to the larger rounds.
Bolt movement aside, the feeling you’re instantly left with is a sense of just how slick and positive the six-lug bolt is. If you push the centre of your palm against the ball of the bolt handle, you can cycle the Titan 6 in an instant. I know this isn’t the prescribed way to do it, but it is impressive nonetheless.
By the time the test period came to an end, the Titan 6 had become one of those rifles I looked forward to heading out with. The 9lb 2oz all-in weight balances directly beneath the magazine, the gun is comfortable to hold and soft to shoot, and the direct trigger breaks at a consistent 3lb 1oz. My only personal want is that I’d prefer a slightly higher comb and a cheekpiece. The only times it failed to connect were purely down to me, and on those occasions the second shot more than made up for it. My friend’s fox and crow populations were significantly reduced courtesy of a rifle that was a genuine pleasure to use.
Without doubt, this essentially European rifle is far better off without a moderator. The dreaded muzzle-mounted weight ruins the rifle’s balance and agility. The bedded barrel design could be called into question with a bipod attached, but I’d advise against using one of those too. Use the rifle as it is meant to be used, and the problem won’t exist. I know it is typical of me to say that, but if you insist on fitting this rifle with a load of sundry items, you haven’t grasped the concept of the continental rifle and how it and the shooter are meant to work.
Where the Titan 6 wins out is in the number of options. The Classic Italian Walnut or Luxus options, especially those with the double cheekpieces, are stunning in looks yet still far more affordable than many other rifles. With additional barrels starting at just £300 along with a part-exchange scheme if you want to part company with one of your existing barrels, the RWS Titan 6 is available for a more than acceptable price.
Would I buy one? Without a doubt. I’d personally opt for a Luxus, but if it was a good all-round working rifle I needed, the Synthetic would do well. And although you’ll get one or two who look down their nose at the Titan 6, I guarantee they won’t have a clue about what this rifle can actually do.
Kahles Helia C 3-12×56
Named after the Greek goddess of the sun, the Helia C scopes are what you’d call Kahles’ datum point: entry level scopes designed to serve a variety of purposes and set the company’s own minimum criteria. But if the Helia C is a benchmark, it is an incredibly high one. The 3-12×56 as tested is a genuinely notable scope. And at £1,150 it’s certainly not out of the question for someone looking for optics that are more than up to the mark yet won’t break the bank.
This Helia C is one of those larger scopes that – provided you select the correct mounts – will still sit low on the receiver, even with the 56mm objective lens bell. Eye relief is 90mm or around 3½in, meaning you might find your eye slightly nearer the scope that you’re used to, though it’s sufficiently far away not to cause a problem.
The lenses benefit from the usual protective, light-gathering coatings, while the focus and magnification rings are fitted with raised rubber surfaces to ensure grip even when wet. The one feature I’m not overly keen on is the reticle adjusters. Remove the turret caps and you’ll immediately see a soft rubber o-ring that keeps out the water along with the usual ¼in at 100 yards, 60-clicks-to-one-rotation adjusters. It all works extremely well until you try to get a grip of the small oblong protrusions that allow you to do the adjusting. They’re awkward to hold and tricky to turn without your fingertips slipping off. Either a more typical slot design or a depression either side to effectively increase their physical size would be welcome.
Once you’ve zeroed, you’ll find that the Helia C is in all other respects an excellent scope. If, like me, you are a fan of first focal plane optics, you’ll be in your element. For those who aren’t fully conversant with first focal plane, what it means is that when you magnify or zoom into your subject, the crosshairs of the reticle get proportionally larger. Not everyone likes this system, but if you’ve never tried it then please don’t pre-judge.
Out and about, the Helia C has a twilight factor of 9.5-25.9 dependent on magnification, which means the scope still works well after dusk. The wider the magnification the better it is, along with the 12.5-3.6 metre field of view. The supplied transparent bikini covers instead of the usual flip-ups mean you can keep the protective covers in situ and still use the Helia C to its best. All in all, a good scope that deserves far more attention and appreciation than it currently receives.