Test: Strasser RS14 Evolution straight-pull hunting rifle – With a preview of the new lightweight Carbon version

The gun manufacturer HMS Präzisionstechnik GmbH from Austria basically does not make any compromises either: what counts is accuracy, customer satisfaction and the trust that comes with it – that's it. Mathias and Herbert Strasser are at the helm of the company. The Strassers know what is important, because they themselves are addicted to hunting. In Eugendorf near Salzburg, the main focus of production is on absolute precision, because safety and reliability are the be-all and end-all. The straight-pull repeater we tested is the RS14 Evolution in the .30-06 Springfield hunting caliber. The trademark of Strasser's Evolution model series is the Picatinny mounting rail integrated into the receiver. The design is modern and anything but delicate. When you first touch it, you are immediately "heavily" impressed and know that this is a high-quality, particularly rugged and durable gun. If the normal warranty is not enough for you, you have the option of extending the RS 14's warranty to twelve years.

The Strasser RS14 Evolution: technical details of the straight-pull rifle

Strasser's RS radial-element bolt offers maximum safety. In addition, the RS14 cycles silky smooth and the bolt travel is pleasantly short.

An innovation of all Strasser straight-pull rifles is the bolt locking into the barrel. This is achieved by expanding four RS radial elements made of solid tempered steel. The total locking area is therefore much larger than, for example, with the Mauser 98 action. Cocking is force-controlled and only allows a shot to be fired when the rifle is locked one hundred percent. Here, Strasser achieves a maximum of safety, which also withstands particularly high gas pressures. The bolt handle covers an unusually short distance during cycling. 

A Carobronze guide is installed in the receiver: no matter in which position the RS 14 is opened or closed, the bolt always glides smoothly. The barrel is black plasma-oxidized, while the bolt, its head and the bolt handle are protected by a black plasma nitriding. The knob of the bent bolt handle is made of black plastic. The high-quality detachable magazine can be loaded with three cartridges. If that is not enough, you can upgrade with a driven hunt magazine. The Strasser then takes six cartridges in the magazine, plus one cartridge in the chamber.

The rifle's stock features a straight comb and end in a rubber recoil pad. The pistol grip stands almost perpendicular, offering a hand-filling palm well, and overall appears very massive. For feel, the forend and buttstock provide a fine, accurately cut checkering. The safety on the bolt shroud acts classically on the firing pin nut, as with the 98 action. A small, visible and tactile red dot on the upper part of the bolt end indicates whether the gun is cocked. The safety slide is located at the rear of the bolt. To activate the safety, you press the catch down. This is done silently when the small, integrated pushbutton is pressed.

The Evolution variants of the Strasser RS 14 are distinguished by the Picatinny rail permanently integrated into the receiver. Here is a model in .308 caliber with ammunition from RWS.

Strasser's straight-pull repeaters are known for their unique take down system, which of course also allows for an uncomplicated caliber change. It feels a bit like a treasure hunt: the starting point is the bolt. It must be removed and then a small retainer has to be pulled back in the rear of the receiver housing. This releases the trigger group, which is designed as a module. Inside is an Allen wrench that can be used to loosen the forend. Once loosened, the forend reveals a small steel rod. This rod is inserted into the hole of the clamp lever provided for this purpose to the left of the barrel. Turning the lever releases the barrel clamp and the barrel can be removed.

This barrel clamp is absolutely repeatable. The radial element bolt can also be taken apart. The bolt head can be easily removed by means of a small snapper. The tolerances are specified as two thousandths of a millimeter. Never has a treasure hunt been so purposeful as with this straight-pull repeater. Whether it's stowing the rifle in a case or changing the barrel and caliber group, it can all be done at home. Step by step you move from one clue to the next and with a little practice you can disassemble the Strasser in 30 seconds. The combined single-stage trigger is crisp, the set trigger is preset to 200 grams. If you don't like the set trigger function, you can deactivate it with a screw. And those who shoot without the set trigger function can select their preferred trigger pull weight from three levels. The weight range is between about 800 and 1,300 grams: simply move a spring-loaded pin in the trigger unit to the desired position – and you're done.

The detachable magazine is released by two push buttons on the right and left of the action. The lock is only released if they are pressed simultaneously. Even with small hands, the magazine drops snugly into the palm of the hand, and even when loading the magazine and inserting it into the magazine well, there is no annoying hooking or jamming. The plasma-oxidized barrel offers an M14x1 muzzle thread, which is discreetly hidden under a thread protector that is also plasma-oxidized. "The more, the better", as the saying goes. And if you want more, you get the better from Strasser. In the end, more pleasure, be it in handling the rifle or in the shooting results themselves. If you decide to buy a Strasser rifle, you can not only choose between 26 different calibers, but you can also decide which wood class your budget allows, whether you prefer a laminated wood stock, how the side plates should be designed, whether the pistol cap should be specially engraved, whether the buttstock should have a height-adjustable comb or a thumb hole should be added. It is simply a lot of fun to fire a rifle whose use is not based on compromises, but on decisions.

The Strasser RS14 with GECO scope and Hausken SK156 MKII XTRM suppressor in the field test

The safety slide of the Strasser RS14 Evolution is easy to operate. When the safety is released, a red marking is visible underneath. Scope: GECO 3-12x56i. 

The Strasser RS14 Evolution was fitted with a riflescope from GECO. The 3-12x56i model has a reticle 4 with illuminated dot. The adjustment of the illuminated dot is infinitely variable via the control on the left side of the main tube – eight brightness settings are available. The turrets on the top and right are reserved for elevation and windage adjustment. The weight of the scope is 674 grams with an overall length of 340 mm. The GECO is a classic all-rounder for blind- and night hunting. This riflescope does a good job. For the price of 599 euro you get a solid optic in terms of price and performance. 

The illuminated dot is clearly visible and dimmable for practical use. The turrets stand out strikingly and the solid looking design blends in very well with the overall look of this rifle. Also included for this test was a Hausken SK156 MKII XTRM suppressor. This is an on-barrel model, 156 mm long and 322 g in weight. Whether it really has to be an over-barrel version, especially for such a long rifle, remains to be seen. With the silencer screwed on, the RS 14 Evolution slightly gives the impression of the legendary Excalibur sword due to its overall length.

Shooting range test: how do the Strasser RS14 Evolution perform in practice?

How the combination of rifle, optics and silencer performed was to be found out on the shooting range. The 100-m line was available for the test. Because the test rifle did not like the Bondstrike cartridge from Norma at all, reloaded ammo was also included in the test, a combination of the Nosler Accubond in front of the RS 52 propellant from Reload Swiss. Since Strasser advertises precision down to the smallest detail, the demands were correspondingly high. The impressive result of eight millimeters, or 0.31”, was achieved with the 165-gr double core bullet from RWS. In second place was the lead-free RWS Evo Green Hunting, with 0.51”/13 mm.

For our test, the GECO 3-12x56i riflescope came on the Strasser RS 14 Evolution. It is good and cheap. MSRP is only €599.

Strasser RS 14 Evolution specs, equipment, price

Strasser RS 14 Evolution
From 3,168 euro
.30-06 Springfield (test gun) - the model is available in many other standard and mini calibers
Magazine Capacity: 
3 + 1 rounds
Overall Length: 
43.5”/1,080 mm
Barrel Length: 
22”/560 mm
Twist Rate: 
110" (254 mm)
Trigger Pull Weight: 
740 g
7.27 lb/3,300 g
Left/right version: 
Left version available
Radial bolt, aluminum receiver, trigger parts with DLC coating, integrated Picatinny rail, detachable magazine.

Test conclusion on the RS 14 Evolution from Strasser

Given its starting price, the RS 14 Evolution is no bargain, but you also get a lot: lots of options, lots of quality, lots of accuracy, lots of enjoyment. 

 What we liked:

  What we liked less:

- Top workmanship of the gun

- Very good accuracy

- Pleasant, simple operation

- Take Down System for easy and safe caliber change

- Relatively heavy rifle (light carbon version available)

Addition to the RS14 series: the lightweight Strasser RS 14 Unic Carbon

New: the Strasser RS14 Evolution Unic Carbon. In front, the bONE bipod. Rugged, lightweight, fine – these are the advantages.
The Strasser RS14 Evolution Unic Carbon bolt-action rifle is particularly suitable for mountain hunting due to its lightweight construction.

As previously reported, Strasser has introduced a brand new variant of the RS14 at IWA 2022: the Unic Carbon model. This is the same RS 14 action we tested, but in a stock made of carbon fiber. The advantage is obvious: this saves a lot of weight and therefore makes the Unic Carbon particularly interesting for hunting in the mountains. Strasser has also thought about this, because the stock can offer the shooter features that make life easier, especially for long shots. For example, the Unic carbon stock has an M-LOK interface at the front, for which the bONE bipod is optionally available. In addition, the cheek piece can be adjusted to the hunter's needs. 

A test of the new variant in the .308 Win. universal caliber is already in preparation. You will find it soon as usual here at all4hunters.com!

Further information and all available equipment and calibers for the RS 14 Evolution, also in the Unic Carbon variant, can be found on the Strasser website.

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