Unique Alpine JPR-1 Highland
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- Last updated: 18/12/2022
Ewan Campbell from Bench Grade Brands Ltd now imports the Unique Alpine (UA) brand, a Bavarian company that is a leading specialist in military and police precision rifles. UA has now ventured forth into the hunting market with their JPR-1 actioned rifles. These include classic models like the Europa, with a walnut stock and sporter profiled barrel, and the laminate stocked Kodiak model with extended Picatinny rail, short barrel and ghost ring sights. The Nordland model utilises the GRS Berserk stock, but this Highland model on test is a highly practical all-rounder with a hybrid sporter/competition-type stock and a varmint-profiled barrel. Key features include the controlled feed bolt and the 3-position safety. All Unique Alpines shoot sub MOA at 100 yards with proper factory ammo and even smaller groups with reloads.
Visually, many semi-tactical-type adjustable stocks look similar, however, this Highland model utilises a laminated wood stock that’s available in two colours - a grey/black alternating combo or the two-tone brown laminate on test. It’s a tough stock, with no fewer than 24 thin laminate sheets that are glued together to achieve an incredibly strong platform with which to bed the action. It has a balanced feel and handles very well. These are good things, as the Highlander weighs in at 4kg, meaning it’s no lightweight, but the strength of design is beneficial not only for stability in the aim and consistent accuracy but also as a barrier to any inclement weather. This stock with not warp in wet or hot climates, ensuring that the rifle’s zero is maintained.
UA doesn’t actually bed the rifle’s action like some manufacturers, as a light skim of bedding compound to enhance a perfect union between metalwork and wood is all that it takes. Importantly, there is sufficient space for the barrel to free float and even with a bipod fitted, and while shooting off a hard surface, there is no risk of recoil bounce altering the barrel’s harmonics.
The forend is profiled with fulllength finger rests to the top section and there are four 1.25” vents to maximise heat dispersion from the barrel. There is no chequering, but the wide underside has an almost fulllength stippled finish. This overlaps the sides and grips really well.
Moving towards the rear, the pistol grip is a key area, and UA has cleverly opted for a very ambidextrous and slight palm swell to each side. This means the rifle can be shot from either shoulder. It’s quite upright in nature, which feels more natural and again, it has that simple stippling on both sides for extra grip.
The butt section has an elevated cheekpiece that is 5.75” long. It’s nice and comfortable, plus is made from a solid, tough black rubber. It’s thick, with a nice, soft textured finish. The adjustable height is managed via a single Allen screw sited on the right side of the stock. This releases and clamps the cheekpiece solidly to a max height of 1”. It does not impede bolt extraction either. Finally, there is a generous hand stop underneath that works well when the rifle is being shot from the prone position. There is also a non-adjustable, soft rubber recoil pad fitted.
The action and the bolt are protected from the weather by a very tough, practical and muted satin DCL coating, while the barrel is nitrided. The action shows a very useful Picatinny rail that measures 6.5” long, so no more loose scope bases.
The bolt is well thought out and strong. It is made from high-strength steel and measures 7.25” long. It has three locking lugs and on inspection, they engage the abutments totally evenly, so a very concentric lockup is achieved. Two lugs are the same size and the third is larger, as it forms part of the wrap-around controlled feed feature. This ensures that the cartridge is pushed under the extractor claw during feeding and is then held during the loading process. Ejection is also controlled.
Being a three-lug system, you have a low bolt lift at 60º, so a fast lock and unlock time and thus faster operating speeds for loading and ejection. The bolt handle is angled backwards and shows a ball end that is made from a hard, black polymer. Very sensible.
At the rear of the bolt is a sloped shroud and three-point, wing-type safety. It is incredibly smooth and better still from a hunter’s point of view, it’s silent. Forward is FIRE, middle is SAFE and fully rearward results in a locked bolt and SAFE. The safety acts directly on the firing pin, so the user is assured of no accidental discharges.
As you would expect, the trigger is a match unit. It’s a 2-stage affair and allows a safe and controlled first take up, which is quite short, then a very crisp, instant sear release, with a fast lock time too. All are beneficial to accuracy. It’s adjustable from 0.9 to 2.5 kg (1.9 – 5.5lbs) and the one on my test rifle broke at 3.05lbs. The trigger can be safely dry-fired for practice too.
The rifle feeds from a standard 10-shot magazine that is AICS compatible, so any mags of this type will work. Usually, a 10-shot comes with the Highland but I opted for the 4-shot. Both are double-stacked but with a single feed and are made from stainless steel with a polymer base.
Finally, the barrel. You have four lengths to choose from (16.5” to 26”), which I think is an excellent idea, as it means you can order a rifle with the appropriate barrel length that meets your requirements. Made from stainless steel and being matchgrade quality, this 6.5 Creedmoor rifle has a 1:8.5” rifling twist rate and six grooves. The profile is a long swamp from the action to a straight taper of 0.789” at the muzzle, which is threaded for the finer 5/8x24 UNEF thread and shows a 11º match crown.
As you can see from the results, this Unique Alpine shoots a treat and we set up several steel targets out to 300 yards. We achieved sub MOA at all ranges, with those steel crows and rabbits ringing endlessly. The real test was a Roe buck taken at 212 yards. This was achieved using a 120-grain Hornady GMX bullet over 44.0-grains of Norma 204, giving 3067fps and 2507 ft/lbs.
Considering the price, features and Unique Alpine’s renowned reputation for accuracy and build quality, the rifle seems like quite a bargain to me. Norman Clark Gunsmiths, located in Rugby, has the range on display.