I was looking forward to reviewing a Voere centrefire after having previously seen and used an heirloom of my long-time hunting partner, who now owns a 50-plus, year-old Voere rifle that was a hand-me-down from this late father. It has had countless rounds through it and still cycles and shoots well. It is intended to be passed on to his son.
The Voere LBW 20-03 looks pretty, straight out of the box. With an attractive Walnut stock and handsome lines, it’s the sort of rifle you just want to pick up.
Manufactured in Austria, the Voere LBW can change barrels, calibres and stocks. The bolt is generously proportioned, measuring 23.7mm on my digital callipers. It utilises a push-feed system and features three locking lugs and is advertised as having toolless changeability. I can vouch for this, as when I first put my hands on the rifle, a previous handler of the review firearm had obviously been playing around with the bolt head/calibres and the result was that the bolt head was loose.
With a quick check of the owner’s manual, I was easily able to able to reinstate a connecting bolt to secure the bolt head in place without the use of any tools. The process took less than 10 seconds, which is impressive.
The Voere LBW action features a side safety, which operates on the sear and is located just behind the bolt handle. When the safety is engaged the bolt handle is locked in position. The bolt handle is angled downwards, which keeps it unobtrusively close to the stock in the closed position and it is less likely to catch on anything in the field.
Combined with the 60-degree bolt lift, it also keeps it well away from any optics/mounts in the fully open position. The ejection port is large, measuring approximately 95mm long x 24mm high – big enough to facilitate side-loading if required.
The trigger is adjustable (but that is best left to a qualified gunsmith). At the time of testing, my digital pull-scales had broken and had yet to be replaced so I could not give an actual pull weight. It came from the factory a fraction heavy, but it broke cleanly and without creep and did not affect accuracy.
The Voere comes with open sights and the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept mounts. The review rifle had been fitted with a Weaver-type rail for more versatile mounting options. The supplied, all-steel detachable magazine is comfortingly weighty in the hand, holds three rounds (larger capacity magazines are available and are sold separately), and is released by simultaneously pressing levers on both sides of the magazine, which puts your hand in the prefect position to catch the magazine for its removal.
The correct angle of insertion had to be achieved to reinstate the magazine, but this was easily accomplished with a little familiarity. The magazine hits home with a satisfying ‘clunk’.
There is a 15mm steel recoil stud located slightly forward and underneath the action, perpendicular to the stock. This is designed to pass force from rifle to stock – like those used in old M98s.
The Monte Carlo type stock is a handsome piece of walnut featuring fish-scale chequering for improved grip as well as mounting points for two sling swivels. The metal-to-timber fit was excellent. The stock is supplied with a 15mm rubber recoil pad with a cheekpiece and, although provided with open sights and 30mm drop at the heel, the review rifle came fitted with a 2.5-10x 50mm scope with a 30mm tube. I was easily able to obtain a sight picture without having to lose cheek-weld.
The fully-floated, button-rifled barrel is 600mm long. It measured 29mm at the receiver ring and tapers down to 14.8mm at the muzzle. The .243 calibre tested features a ‘25.4mm in 254mm’ (one in 10”) twist rate.
At the range
Ammunition tested included, Remington 80gr PSPs, Federal 100gr Jacketed soft-points and Winchester 80gr Jacketed soft-points. There was a mild wind present, which became moderate later in the day during testing. All rounds ejected flawlessly. All ammunition was tested by averaging three, 3-shot groups at 100m, with the barrel allowed to cool between groups and for cleaning between ammunition brands.
Remington 80gr PSP
Federal 100gr Jacketed soft-point
The rifle shot well with all ammunition tested. It showed a preference for the 80gr loads and impressed with the Winchester 80gr, averaging well under MOA (which is approximately 29mm at 100m) for the three groups. This is outstanding in a sporter-weight rifle. It managed to maintain this across six groups fired by two different shooters.
In the field
I took the Voere LBW out with me and some mates on a recent trip chasing pigs. After seeing nothing during the day, we decided to swing a light after dark. After not spotting anything for the first couple of hours, we finally came across a small mob of pigs.
I was on shooting duties and lined up the largest of the three pigs spied at a range of approximately 110m. Feeling confident with the accuracy of the Voere, I placed the cross-hairs on the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The pig rolled over following impact and barely even twitched. It turned out to be a mid-sized, piebald sow.
Overall, there is little not to like about this classic-looking rifle. It will please the traditionalists with its appearance and the modernists with its outstanding accuracy all at an affordable price point. If I’m being picky, the action was a little ratchet, which may loosen up over time and was best when worked positively, but there were no misfeeds experienced during testing.
It’s no wonder Voere rifles lend themselves to staying within the one family. This is exactly the sort of firearm that I would look towards to start my own heirloom tradition.
The Voere LBW retails for $1950 and more information is available by visiting www.protactical.com.au or head to your nearest dealer for more information.
Manufacturer: Voere, Austria
Model: LBW .20-03
Calibres: .243 (tested), .270
Overall length: 1170mm (including recoil pad)
Length of pull: 367mm
Magazine capacity: Three rounds
Sights: Open, receiver drilled and tapped