Rifle Review: The Ultra-Accurate Steyr Mannlicher Zephyr II

February 27, 2019

Earlier last year, Steyr introduced the new Zephyr II as a rebirth of the original Zephyr rifle, which was produced from 1955 through 1971. This new rifle takes cues from the original Zephyr’s build quality, and also sets new standards in the hunting-style, bolt-action, rimfire rifle platform. The Zephyr II has won several awards including the 2019 American Hunter’s Golden Bullseye for "Rifle of the Year", Gray's Best 2019 in the Shooting Category, and Sporting Classics 2019 Award of Excellence.

 

In an age of high-tech firearms and long-range wonderment, a simple bolt-action .22 rifle would have to be special to be one of the best guns of 2018-2019. The Zephyr II is a call back to the age where blued steel and walnut were the foundation on which firearms were built. We have not seen elegance like this in the rimfire world for far too long. The Zephyr II is not only a rifle for a marksman and a woodsman. It is a rifle for a hunter.

 

 

APPLICATIONS

As an ultra-accurate rimfire rifle, the applications of the Zephyr II are vast.

 

The Zephyr II has proven itself in target shooting winning the before mentioned 2019 American Hunter’s Golden Bullseye for "Rifle of the Year". As a relatively new firearm, the Zephyr II has already proven it's worth among countless numbers of platforms. No one disputes its accuracy or design.

 

The Zephyr II is also a fantastic hunting rifle. While out in the field, it's ergonomic design and contours make for exceptional handling qualities. It is perfect for small game and varmints.  This rifle proves accurate to 200 yards in 22 Magnum.

THE DESIGN

While there is no shortage of rimfire bolt-guns, the Steyr is aimed at the upper end of the rimfire market. The Zephyr II was created for the individual who prioritizes quality and pride of ownership over cost.

 

A quick look at the Zephyr's stock and the high-quality wood becomes immediately apparent. Made from European walnut, the stock features a Bavarian cheekpiece, laser-cut fish-scale-style checkering and a schnabel fore-end. The metal is ferritic-nitrocarburized in a non-reflective and protective finish that Steyr refers to as Mannox. The grip features a set Steyr logo, and there’s a 5/8" rubber buttpad that gives the Zephyr II a considerable length of pull measuring 14.625".

 

Ergonomics play an important part in the Zephyr II’s appeal, its slim wrist, comfortable cheekpiece and slender fore-end give the rifle excellent handling characteristics. The Zephyr II also features Steyr’s signature butterknife-style bolt handle. Besides the good-looking aesthetics, the contours of the handle allow the bolt to be manipulated rapidly. 

 

With a trim fore-end and slight palm-swell, the Zephyr is ideally configured for shooting from a standing position and other offhand positions.

The Zephyr II’s 19.7" medium-weight barrel is cold-hammer-forged. It is rifled with eight grooves with a twist rate of 1:15.75". To protect the rifling, the gun is given a recessed target crown.

 

The simplest way to describe the trigger is magnificent. It is released for firing by a two-position safety, which is perfectly positioned on the tang for manipulation by the thumb while in a shooting grip. While there is a slight amount of take-up in the trigger mechanism, 1/8 of an inch to be exact, two pounds of pressure are all that's needed to release the it.

 

The rifle feeds from a polymer, detachable, five-round magazine. All of it but the base pad fits inside the magazine well, which makes the rifle comfortable to carry at the balance point. For sling carry, the Zephyr II has 1-inch swivels mounted about 3 inches from the tip of the fore-end and the toe of the buttstock. They proved sturdy and more than sufficient for tensioned sling support while shooting.

STEYR PREMIUM DEALERS

As premium dealers with Steyr we have a vast section of both their pistols and rifles including the Zephyr II. We have five Zephyr's available for purchase so you may choose the wood of your liking. What you see is always what you get at Somarriba, Inc. 

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