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TRACK A BIG-WOODS GIANT.

58

DECEMBER 2017 - JANUARY 2018

OL'S 2018
. IPLUSs•

DUPE NORTH
AMERICA'S
BIGGEST
WATERFOWL

19 PEOPLE WHO HAMMER
FIRST-ICE
PAN FISH
HAVE CHANGED PICK THE
THE OUTDOORS PERFECT
SCOPE
(FOR BETTER —
AND FOR
WORSE) ite hi
—Jim Shockey:
One of the most
enduring fixtures of
outdoor television.

ESCAPE FROM
THE SNOW!
SLAM GRANDE
MEXICAN BASS
HUNT HAWAII'S
PIGS AND DEER
STEYR PRO THB
T A HARD-WORKING .308 WITH A BATTLEFIELD PEDIGREE BY JOHN B. SNOW

he new Steyr Pro THB is a tough, compact, general-purpose
rifle chambered in the consummate general-purpose car-
tridge, the .308 Win. It has a go-anywhere, do-anything con-
barreled .308s. These smaller, handy rifles, which could be suppressed
when needed, were ideal for fighting in an urban battlefield. They were
fed by box magazines, had an 18-inch barrel, and gained a measure
figuration that will resonate with shooters who expect their of attention when ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle started shooting
rifle to survive rough handling in inhospitable environments and still one—a GA Precision Gladius—after he got out of the military.
perform at a high level. The Pro THB—which stands for Tactical Heavy
This is a squat, muscular rifle, with a 20-inch heavy- Barrel—is built along these same lines.
STATS
contour barrel, an oversize bolt knob, a strong synthetic The barrel is topped with a knurled thread protector
Caliber: .308 Win. that unscrews easily in order to attach a suppressor or
stock that swells around the grip to fill the shooter's
hand, and a system of stacking spacers to customize the Capacity: 4+1 other muzzle device. The action comes with a one-piece
length of pull. Sleek and svelte it is not. It has the look Weight: 8 lb. ii oz.
Picatinny rail mounted that has 20 MOA of declination
and attitude of a junkyard dog. built into it for long-range shooting.
Trigger Pull: 3 lb. 5 oz.
That canine metaphor is doubly apt because the The rifle is fed by a polymer box magazine that holds
mascot of the United States Marine Corps—for those Accuracy: .987 in. four cartridges and has an innovative two-stage attach-
unlearned heathens out there—is an English bulldog Smallest Group: .583 in. ment system.
named Chesty, after one of the most decorated Marines The magazine will click into place just shy of being
Barrel Length: 20 in.
in history, Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller. fully seated in the magazine well—the first stage—so
Overall Length: 40 7/ 8 in. that the bolt can be closed without a round being cham-
Born to Fight Price: 1.265 bered. Pushing the magazine to the second click seats
During the early years in the war in Iraq, the Marine it flush with the stock, where it will feed in a normal
Contact:steyrarms.com
Corps started to equip some snipers with short- fashion.

PERFORMANCE DESIGN VALUE TOTAL
Handling Reliability Accuracy Meets Purpose Versatility Craftsmanship Ergonomics Durability Aesthetics
a 10 9 9 9 9 10 9 9 90
76 DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018 OUTDOOR LIFE PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL BUCKLEY
Paired with a good target scope,
the Steyr Pro THB is ready for long
shots in open country.

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NOTABLE FEATURES

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+ The Pro THB's four lugs are stacked two deep. The
rifle has a plunger ejector and Sako-style extractor.
Channels cut into the bolt body allow for gasses to
be vented safely away from the shooter in the event of a
Smooth Operator case rupture or other serious malfunction.
During my evaluation, the Pro THB functioned perfectly. The four-lug
action—it has two opposing lugs, with a second, smaller pair of lugs
just behind them—cocks and cycles smoothly. Since the bolt body is as
wide as the lugs, it glides easily back and forth in the action with nary a
hint of wobble or play.
Staying on the scope while running the gun proved to be a simple
matter. The rifle loads easily, even when you toss a single round into the
oval ejection port after emptying the magazine, and extracts and ejects
empties—via a Sako-style extractor and plunger ejector—with no fuss.
The rifle's accuracy was excellent. The bulk of my evaluation occurred
during a range session with winds gusting to 25 mph, making for chal-
lenging shooting conditions. The Pro THB handled it in stride.

Ultimate Versatility
I shot five different loads through the rifle: Federal's Gold Metal Berger
+ The three-position wheel safety is quick and intuitive
to use. As pictured, the gun is on safe and the bolt is
locked down. An intermediate position allows the bolt
to be opened while still on safe. Flicked all the way forward,
185-grain Juggernaught, Sig Sauer's 168-grain OTM, Nosler's 165-grain the safety reveals a red dot, and the rifle is ready to fire.
AccuBond, Hornady's 155-grain A-Max, and Barnes'150-grain TTSX. All
of the ammo managed to print MOA or better 5-shot groups, and they a small point, but I found it distracting at times.
all also shot to nearly the same point of impact. That's a real testament The rifle comes with two swivel studs, which is really the only mis-
to the versatility and craftsmanship of the Pro THB. It isn't often that a step in the design. At the very least, it should have a second stud up
rifle will handle such a wide range of bullet weights that well. The two front to attach a bipod, but better yet it should have a single stud up
best groups, by the way, came from the Nosier AccuBond (.583 in.) and front and flush-mounted cups fore and aft for a sling.
the Barnes TTSX (.853 in.). You can get the rifle with an even shorter 16-inch barrel if you like, or
As always, the quality of the barrel, which has al:10 twist, is critical you can go really long with a 26-inch version. Soon the rifle will be of-
for this kind of accuracy. As the name suggests, the barrel is heavy, and fered in the 6.5 Creedmoor as well.
so is the rest of the rifle. Unscoped, it weighs 8 pounds 11 ounces. The I like this rifle a lot. At $1,265, it isn't cheap, but it delivers outstand-
trigger is very consistent, breaking within an ounce or two of 3 pounds ing performance and utter reliability. It's a working rifle that can handle
5 ounces, but it is a bit mushy, with a hint of creep and overtravel. This is a wide range of tasks—as long as you're willing to lug it around.

OUTDOOR LIFE DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018 77