The Wood version of the Franchi Horizon bolt-action rifle has a classic charm. The select walnut wood stock satisfies your eyes and does not weigh down the swing of the gun, suitable for selective hunting from a stand but undoubtedly enjoyable also when searching for large ungulates. We had the opportunity to try it during the Franchi Experience, an occasion given to us by the company to first test the accuracy of the Horizon rifle on the shooting range, and then the sensations directly from the hunting grounds.
Video: Wild boar hunting with the Franchi Horizon Wood rifle
Franchi Horizon Wood bolt-action rifle
The Horizon Wood rifle is available in .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg and .300 Win Mag calibers, with streamlined conical bolt handle and Relia Bolt three-lug fluted bolt that guarantees a 60° throw even when using large scopes. In the case of our test, we had the rifle in .308 Winchester caliber. For designing the Wood model, as for all Horizon series rifles, Franchi followed the indications provided by the Evolved Ergonom-X development platform which, thanks to the hunting habits observation of more than a thousand hunters, returns the rifle with optimal shapings and grip. Great attention was therefore paid to quality in relation to a price that can be defined aggressive, with the Horinzon coming to the public at a suggested price of about 1100 euro. Fitted with a removable 3-round magazine in all calibers, the Horizon Wood features an adjustable Relia trigger that is easily accessible, even when wearing gloves. Like all Horizon bolt action rifles, certified 1 MOA accuracy with three rounds is guaranteed, and the rifle has a 7-year warranty. The cold hammer forged barrel has a 11” twist. In our case, barrel was 22”/56 cm long but it is also available in 24”/61 cm length with muzzle threading for the mounting of flash hiders or suppressors, where allowed. The chromed steel fluted bolt with three lugs is smooth and safe in action. The considerably balanced weight of the rifle is 6.39 lb/2.9 kg. The checkering on all contact surfaces of the walnut wood stock is pleasant and functionally grippy. The Weathercoat Wood treatment applied to the stock improves the wood's weather resistance. The soft TSA recoil pad increases comfort and reduces negative effects on the shoulder when firing.
The Horizon Wood rifle on the range
The appointment with the Franchi staff is at the Mercorelli shooting range in San Ginesio, in the Italian Marche region, a cozy setting surrounded by nature where we start our test firing on targets at a distance of 100 meters for zeroing in the Horizon rifle.
Using a variable magnification Steiner scope, useful for the selective hunting, we start testing. It takes only 4 shots to reach the perfect zeroing, achieving from our support a compact grouping near the center of the target. The sensation is already positive when firing, the gun is stable and soft on the shoulder – this allows us to shoot without any stress, avoiding jerks and indecision. The trigger release is clean and precise, to the point of getting us try the set trigger too. The lightened trigger confirms and even improves the accuracy of the shot, a clear sign that we are ready to start hunting. It will be the woods of Fiordimonte that will decide the conclusion of our experience with the evening wait for the wild boars from a high seat.
Our hunting experience
I spend the waiting time in silence, observing every little movement in the environment that surrounds the high seat through the scope that tries to capture the last rays of light. A gust of wind seems to announce a faint trampling in the distance – a soft grunt leaves no doubt, the silhouette of a wild boar appears far away at the edge of the woods. It's the moment of truth. The very little light at my disposal forces me to quickly make the last evaluations; the distance, around 130 meters, seems challenging but not impossible.
Given the total safety of the place and the position of the wild boar that is moving close to a grassy bank ready to stop the bullet flight, I decide to shoot. I communicate the choice only with gestures to my spotter who is no longer able to focus his optic on the wild boar in the distance. I wait until the animal is in a side position because it looks to be a large male and I want to be sure to place the shot behind the shoulder, in the vital area. My excitement and held breath don't even let me hear the roar of the shot as I release it and the bullet lands right on the animal. A scream and an immediate run towards the woods confirm that I have aimed correctly, even though the boar did not fall on impact. We wait endless minutes before reaching the point of the hit, hoping that the animal is still nearby, but there are no traces of blood or remains of the boar. Only relying on a feeling of certainty due to the aim taken and the consequent cry of the wild boar, I ask the owner Luca Ascani and the staff of Valle di Fiordimonte to go along with my search, convinced that the boar couldn't have gone far.
Hunting, even in moments of greatest emotion, requires lucidity and coolness, so we wisely decide to interrupt the search for a wild boar that could be dangerous in the dark. Fortunately in summer there are only a few hours between sunset and sunrise, and in the early morning we are ready again.
In fact, during the day the situation is immediately easier to reconstruct and a few hundred meters beyond the hitting point, behind a slight depression at the edge of the woods, there are evident traces of blood that lead us to the silhouette of the beautiful wild boar dead among the junipers. The entry hole of the bullet corresponds exactly to the point of aim but the size of the wild boar of about 140 kg is much larger than it seemed at dusk.
That's why it was able to withstand the immediate impact of the bullet. The satisfaction of the successful recovery is the well-deserved crowning of an experience that has managed to make me discover much more than a new rifle – the feeling of safety when firing that a gun can give, so that a hunter will go all the way in the search because he/she is sure to have hit the mark.
This is hunting: hard work and satisfaction for those who have no doubts in the tools they use and are ready to give their best out of respect for the game and for something in which they firmly believe.
For more information on the Horizon Wood bolt action rifle please visit the Franchi website.