Steyr LG100 Review
by Neil MacKinnon
Steyr LG 100 base format
Steyr LG 100 with all the bells and whistles
My first thoughts, on seeing a picture of the LG100 were straightforward. I did not like it. In fact I could see no part of it I liked at all.
However, after the Nurnberg fair last year, Mendip Shooting Ground, my local dealer, and the location of my club, in a very bold move, spoke to Harry Preston, the importer, and got one in stock. When I saw it in the flesh, it was a different matter entirely. The gun looked and felt like a well built, well balanced, quality piece of shooting machinery, and I decided I had to shoot it before I could possibly make judgement.
Lets start with the stock, such as it is, and work our way through.
You get a lot of metal, and not much wood with the Steyr. As a direct relation to the LG100 Match Rifle, it is inevitable that the basis will be the same chassis, and where wood was the thing a few years ago, now less is more, and so we have the minimal aluminium chassis.
The butt is adjustable in just about every conceivable area. It can go up / down, left / right and in / out. It can be mounted in two different positions, and just about altered to suit any size or shape of human frame. Moving forward, the cheek piece is the same, completely adjustable.
Further forward, and we find that the entire stock can be adjusted left or right, with a grub screw. This is something I have never come across before. The idea being, to be able to put your aiming eye right behind the scope, in a relaxed position. This then avoids you pushing against the cheek piece, and canting the gun, something very detrimental to long range accuracy.
The pistol grip is sculpted to fit your hand perfectly and can be moved back / forward, and twisted, and yes, the gun can be ordered with a left handed grip at no extra cost. It is also worth noting, that the grips are available in two different sizes, medium, which is fitted as standard, and small.
The trigger shoe moves up / down on the mounting post. This post can be moved forward / back, and in a very neat feature, can be mounted on one of two rails, giving a similar reach for left or right handed shooters.
If, at this point we look at the right of the rifle, we can see a catch. This releases the rear stock section from the main chassis, for ease of transportation, allowing the gun to fit into a shotgun sized hard case.
The last bit of wood on the Steyr is the fore end, which can roll left / right, and move forward from it’s position in front of the trigger guard, as it is attached to the built in accessory rail, which runs the whole length of the chassis.
All the woodwork on the LG100 is laminate, and although I have seen three different colours, the standard colours are the orange and grey, seen on this rifle, with yellow and black available to order. Strangely, Harry told me the two different finishes, are produced by two different companies for Steyr.
The wood has a nice smooth finish, and is fully varnished. Having bumped the test rifle a couple of times, I can also say it is, like the rest of the gun, robust, showing no signs of marks, even after a reasonable contact with a tree root on my club’s FT course.
The entire chassis is aluminium, with a matt black finish that appears to be a powder coating. It is an area, which I had my doubts about, and it does mark in use. However, a quick wipe over when putting the gun away, removes all marks completely.
Those of you familiar with the Steyr brand, will recognise the barrel as a hammer forged item, most of which has a delightful ‘ barley sugar’ twist finish. It has eight lands, a right hand twist, and is made of stainless steel.
For those unfamiliar with the process. Hammer forging involves, taking a short fat tube, with a small hole in it. Sliding it over a mandrel, which has the lands machined into it, and hitting it very hard with some very big hammers. Steyr, of course use a CNC machine to do this, and the whole process takes only a few minutes. This process ensures all barrels are as close to perfect tolerances, as the production process will allow.
The air cylinder, in common with many Match Rifles, is unscrewed from the gun to fill it. It has a pressure gauge fitted on the end to tell you when to fill up, and by how much. Steyr supply an adaptor for filling the cylinder from a divers bottle, and this is one thing I have a gripe about.
I have a couple of bottles, a big one for home, and a baby one for taking with me to shoots. Both have DIN threads, which the adaptor fits into. But, the baby bottle has a long 300 bar thread, and the Steyr adaptor bottoms out before sealing. Other people have told me they have not had such a problem, but finding myself at BFTO, Bisley recently, without my bottle, I had to search round the members before I found a bottle that my adaptor would fit.
Not a major complaint I’ll grant you, but something to be aware of.
The Steyr has a full set of dovetails on top, so scope mounting is straightforward. I have tried a variety of scopes on this gun, and found no problems with setting any of them up.
Unlike many Match rifles, the breech opening / cocking action is ideally suited to use with a scope. This is achieved using a side lever, mounted on the right of the breech. When the lever is swung fully to the rear, the breech end of the barrel is exposed, and the trigger can be heard to latch. A pellet can then be thumbed into the barrel. When the lever is pushed forward it latches with a click, the gun is now ready to fire. This action also has a third function. The Steyr is fitted with a stabiliser mechanism. This means that when a pellet is fired, a piston within the breech block assembly, is driven in the opposite direction, this removes all traces of movement from the shot, effectively making the gun very dead to shoot. Cocking the gun resets the stabiliser piston.
As a Field Target shooter, I appreciate being able to ‘tune’ the gun to my requirements, and shooting stance. This can take time, so before starting my shooting tests, I sat down with the tools supplied and spent about two hours getting everything just right.
Zeroing the gun immediately showed two aspects of the Steyr that were totally different to other guns I’ve shot. First was the trigger. This two stage unit is fully adjustable for 1st and 2nd stage weight, and travel, and the first stage can be eliminated completely if you want. It is just about the best unit I have used. First stage is as light and as long as you like, you then meet a brick wall second stage. This breaks so cleanly, that the shot has gone before you know it, yet it never catches you out by being too light.
The second thing I noticed was the stabiliser. This gun is dead. It’s as dead as a dead thing that’s died and been buried with DEAD written on it. I described the LG100 to a club mate as not so much being a gun, as a pellet launching device.
As you would expect from a Match Rifle derived design, standing shots are a dream. The Steyr is beautifully balanced for standers, even with a large sidewheel scope fitted. However, the LG100 is quite light, and my preference would be for a little more weight. This can be done, by adding some weights to the gun in the apertures provided. I would also like a little extra depth in the fore end, but again that would be a fairly simple modification to make, and there are at least two proprietary devices that could be used on the accessory rail. You notice both these traits most in kneeling and sitting shots, where the lack of weight makes the gun a little twitchy, but by taking a little time in setting up the shot, you can easily overcome this. I have spoken to several owners who have added the optional weights and are now more than happy to compete with their guns.
For standing and kneeling shots, I do like a strap to wrap into. If I chose to use a single point strap, this would not be a problem, but in my case, I also use the strap to carry the gun, so some ingenuity is required. Using a threaded strap mount, and a spare hole in the butt, plus a strap mount in the accessory rail, I soon had what I wanted.
Pellet selection is something you must pay attention to. I tried the Steyr with three different types of pellets, and in three different sizes.
I carried out some benched grouping tests at 25 yards, and settled on my favourite Air Arms Diablo Field pellets, in 4.52, and some Crossman Premiers which were almost as good, group wise, but grouped noticeably lower, indicating a tighter fit in the barrel, and correspondingly lower velocity.
In all three FT positions the Steyr performs as expected, with single hole 5 shot groups easily achieved at 30 yards. Going out to longer ranges proved the gun was performing up to the kind of standards required by anyone shooting FT. My best group at 55yards, using the AA’s was 8mm, and the best with Prem’s was 6…….that’ll do !
Does the LG100 have potential as anything but an FT rifle ?
Speaking to shooters in the USA, they believe the LG100 has the best potential of any of the uprated Match rifles. They are easily seeing 20 ft Lbs from their rifles, and I suspect the Steyr is happy to run higher than that. So hunting, even with the standard gun is a definite possibility.
A friend recently took his on a trip round the fields in a Range Rover, and commented that it was very easy to shoot from the window, bagging several bunnies on the way. Two other club members who own Steyr’s use them for nothing but general shooting and hunting. Both are delighted with their guns.
As if to acknowledge this fact Steyr have just released a hunter version of the LG100, with black furniture. It will be in .177 calibre, and the one Harry has is very much FAC only, as it’s running at well over 1000fps.
What do I now think about the Steyr LG100?
It is a well balanced, well engineered rifle, that shoots as accurately as you can, in the most controlled manner I have ever experienced. The trigger is the best unit I have used.
It is not quite a shoot ‘out of the box’ type rifle, it demands some time and knowledge, to get the best out of it.
Did I end up liking the LG100?
Yes I did. To the point that I parted with hard earned, and now own one.
My thanks must go to Vernon Hill at Mendip Shooting Ground for the loan of the test rifle. Crafty dog knew he’d sell me one once I had tried it. Also to Harry Preston for enduring my recent interrogation.
|Manufacturer:||Steyr Sportwaffen GMBH|
|Action:||Single shot, Pre-charged Pneumatic|
|Sights:||Scope only (not supplied)|
|Trigger:||Two stage, fully adjustable|
|Overall Height:||150mm (without scope)|
|Fill pressure:||200 bar|
|Power:||11.8 ft lb|