As the ‘K98 action’ description dragged my gaze across the page of the magazine, I was sure that I had never come across Voere rifles before. This despite the Austrian company being in business for more than 60 years. It looked like it ticked all the boxes for being a real gem of a rifle, so I hunted down Global Rifle online and went about organising a rifle to test.
For many hunters, the ultimate world-conquering action can be found in the age-old K98 design. Voere builds all its fullbore rifles on reclaimed Mauser 98 actions, screened, tested, and refurbished before re-barrelling and re-stocking ready for the consumer. Given the volume of old Mauser based rifles available, and the expense entailed in producing brand new handmade actions, this process allows Voere to keep the cost reasonable.
After ogling the fine woodwork in the magazine article I’d been reading, I was a little disappointed by the rubberised synthetic stock base model that greeted me on opening the box. I have come around to synthetic stocks in recent years, but this one didn’t do much for me. The rubber over-mould was like the Hogue stocks on a Howa, which I am a fan of, but the shape, Braille-like grips and hugely flexible forend were a bit of a turn off. Knowing that some fine-looking wood was also an option, I put my misgivings to one side and turned my attention to the action.
The familiar action design was exactly what I expected: Two locking lugs at the front of the bolt and a third at the rear, a strong oversized extractor claw and a solid controlled feed providing positive ejection of every case. On requesting more information from the manufacturer, I discovered that the Voere 2155 is built on reclaimed Santa Barbara Mausers. My own investigation uncovered that these were originally manufactured in Spain, and are almost identical to the Centurion Mauser actions. Both are near-perfect copies of the now obsolete Firearms International FN Deluxe action, with many of the components reportedly manufactured by the military arsenal in La Coruña.
One difference, however, is found in the manufacturing process, which in the case of the Santa Barbara entailed an investment casting process. Today, the high-end Mauser 98-based actions are machined steel, providing a stronger, more refined build.
One of the best of these in modern production comes from Granite Mountain Arms. Indeed, the last I heard from Holland and Holland was that they too were ceasing to reclaim actions, as high quality K98s become harder to source, and instead now have actions built to their exacting specifications in Germany.
Taking a closer look at the bolt, I was surprised by the lack of refinement given the reconditioning. Voere is advertised as providing precision machining technology in another arm of the company, so it was hard to understand the unpolished surfaces on the action. It is interesting to note that Frank de Haas made similar observations on the original Santa Barbara action (Bolt Action Rifles, 4th edition).
Dry working the bolt felt like any classic Mauser 98. They are roomy to operate, but that is one of the reasons for their inherent reliability in all conditions. Certainly it had been vastly improved from its previous Spanish incarnation, with lapping and polishing along the bolt raceways and locking lugs.
As with most K98 based rifles, cycling rounds requires a firm forward stroke as the case rides under the ejector claw. On my first try, the Voere chambered with far more force than I was expecting, and on inspection of the ejected case I could see why. An oversight on the magazine shoulders had left very sharp burred edges, which gripped the cases instead of letting them roll over. Five minutes with some wet and dry emery paper would fix the problem permanently.
Like the trigger, the safety is available in a number of different factory options. The wing safety that was fitted to the rifle on test is impractical for a scoped rifle, despite being cut down to accommodate scopes. Even with the medium-height mounts supplied, I was actually unable put it on safe. My advice would be to opt for the low rotary safety catch, which is nicer and quieter to operate. Other options are also available and worth looking at before deciding, including the ability to cock and de-cock the weapon with your thumb – a feature Voere has cleverly adapted to retro fit on Remington-based actions as well.
The fitted trigger was again the basic option. Described as a ‘shotgun trigger’ in their literature, there wasn’t a great deal to love about the heavy, creepy break. The original Santa Barbara trigger was superior, and similar in design to a modern, fully adjustable Timney. I would go for the upgraded K98-MF Direct trigger unit, which shoots much nicer, though it will add another £115 to the rifle.
Taking the rifle to the range, I shot a variety of .308 Win rounds, including a few hand loads. Starting with the supplied Hornady performance 150-grain ammo, the rifle returned a first group of three just on the 1.5in mark. After familiarising myself with the trigger, I did marginally better with subsequent groupings, but the poor sear release was hindering the rifle’s ability to shoot. Pushing some 140-grain ammo down-range produced similar results, but the 170-grain Geco ammo I used didn’t agree with the rifle, scattering holes across 2.5in.
Extending handloaded 150-grain heads close to the lands with neck-sized brass, I was able to close the groups to between 1 and 1.25in. This wouldn’t be acceptable as a varminting rifle, but chambered in .308 Win, it isn’t intended as one, and this performance will be more than adequate for most applications.
For those who want to own an original Mauser action rifle, the Voere does provide a viable option. It requires a bit of refinement, but with the available upgrades and a wooden stock, this could be a very serviceable rifle. Built on the famous K98 you can’t go far wrong. BP
Model tested: 2155 in .308 Win
Price range: From £850
Contact: Global Rifle 01455 291100 www.globalrifle.co.uk