Viking Arms VIP Dealer day
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- Last updated: 18/12/2022
I recently received an invite to the 2022 Viking Arms VIP dealer day. Designed to be the perfect opportunity for dealers and the media to come together and try a host of equipment from Viking, it didn’t take me long to RSVP! The event itself was sponsored by Leupold and took place at the West London Shooting School, a venue that I have had the pleasure of visiting before. The invite stated that there would be some informal observation and shooting challenges, plus the opportunity to have a crack at a running boar stand and a buffalo target experience. Oh, and let us not forget a bacon sarnie on arrival and a BBQ grill buffet! Sounds good to me!
For those that don’t know, the West London Shooting School actually has a five-lane 100m rifle range as well as a two-lane 200m one. Both of them have covered firing points and allow shooters to practice from the prone position, sticks or while seated, all while under the guidance of experienced instructors. The entire length of each range shows tall banks on either side and the backstop is significant, ensuring that both ranges are rated for African big game calibres.
The day started off at the 100m firing point with a speech from the one and only, Andy Norris of Viking Arms.
Seeing as Viking is the distributor of Leupold here in the UK, there was a massive selection of their optics to look at, including rangefinders, spotting scopes, binoculars and rifle scopes. We had the chance to closely look at the Freedoms, VX-3s, VX-5s and VX-6s. There were also some competition scopes and last but not least, the legendary Mark 5 scopes. The selection was pretty extensive and the various ranges cover quite a few price points, so there is something for everybody!
For deer stalking in the UK, I am a huge fan of the 3-15x56 configuration when fitted with a simple, illuminated dot reticle. This is because you get excellent light-gathering capability from the 56mm objective, making the scope brilliant in low-light conditions. Also, the 3x magnification setting provides a massive field of view, while the 15x setting helps you to achieve a precise zero before you head out into the field, plus gives you great performance at longer ranges as well. With all this in mind, the VX-5HD 3-15x56 (30mm tube) would be my choice!
As we all know, rifle-wise, Viking Arms brings in Ruger, Jaeger, Henry, Merkel and Mossberg, with the latest addition to this list being Marlin, which is now owned by Ruger. Ammunition-wise, they offer Lapua, Magtech, Sellier & Bellot and SK. Again, there is a new addition to this list; Remington Ammunition.
I had a look at the various firing points and quickly noted a Jaeger 10 Varmint Sporter in .223 and the new Jaeger NXT straight-pull in .30-06. There was also a Merkel Helix straight-pull in .308, a Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Target in 6.5 Creedmoor and a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) in .308. All with various Leupold scopes bolted on – Nice!
I quickly jumped on the NXT, as I was very keen to try out this very exciting and very new rifle. Chris Parkin wrote it up for Gun Mart several issues ago and since reading that review, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about! Needless to say, straight off the bat it was printing clover leaf groups at 100m using Lapua ammunition, so accuracy was certainly not an issue! Not only did the rifle actually fit me, but the recoil impulse was very smooth, which was a nice surprise given that it was chambered in .30-06.
The RPR was fitted with a muzzle brake and a Leupold Mark 5, so that was another rifle that I was keen to get hands-on with. In use, I liked the very smooth bolt action, lack of recoil and the trigger was great too! It’s well worth a try if you have not spent some time behind one of these rifles.
There were a few other Ruger rifles that appeared on the firing point later, including a couple of American models and a 10/22 Competition semi-auto .22 rimfire.
After everyone had finished shooting the selection of rifles, we got the opportunity to have a go at the running boar target. This was done at 50m and for my go, I used the Merkel Helix, which suited the task nicely. The boar target presented itself at speed from the right or left and we were all provided feedback on how well we did.
Viking also brought along a new Marlin 1895 (built by Ruger) in .45-70 and I got the opportunity to put more than 20 rounds down range at the buffalo target. The build quality was impressive and for those interested, there is a video of this rifle on Gun Mart TV.
After a very nice buffet lunch in the main building, we returned to the range with our thirst quenched and our bellies full. It was my go at the observation challenge, so I climbed up one of the banks and a pair of 15x56 Leupold binoculars were shoved in my hands. Several animal cutouts were pointed out to me, including a Roe Deer, Fox and Red Stag. They were at various distances and it was down to me to guess how far away they were. I was about 12-15m out when ranging the closet target (Roe) and 50m out on the Fox and Stag, both of which were 300m or so away. Maybe I am a bit too reliant on my rangefinder!
Overall, the day was a great success and I am pleased that I went. It was nice to get my hands on such an array of equipment and to try some of the great pieces of kit that Viking Arms brings in. Check out the review in this issue that Chris Parkin has done on the Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10x50 CDS-ZL riflescope.
Viking Arms – www.vikingarms.com