Steel Core Designs Cyclone .308W/7.62×51
Rifles don’t come much more tactical than the Steel Core Cyclone which is the best military spec sniper rifle for long-range shooting we have recently seen. Yes, we’re putting our money where our mouth is on this one and were delighted to accept the offer from Steel Core Designs, to be sole UK distributor to the civilian market for its Cyclone range.
Designed from the ground up to be a complete chassis package, the Cyclone starts out with a heavy barrel, fluted all the way back to the action within a fully floating and utterly solid forend that positions the rifle above the ground in an integral bipod. It rotates around the forend to provide cant and extending legs fold for storage; plenty of picatinny rail completes the unit with multiple cooling slots for extended firing drills.
The action has four lugs with a coil sprung firing pin. Four lugs mean a 45-degree bolt lift that is firm but smooth; the weight of the rifle ensures it remains solid in the firing position during reloads. Machining standards are absolutely first rate and the bolt rides through its cycle with a clinical feel of ultimate precision.
The trigger is a two-stage unit and fully adjustable for pull weight through both stages. When set to your preferences it really does gives a safe, secure feel with or without gloves, while that break on the second stage is as crisp as anyone could want. If you take the time to develop trigger muscle memory and the unconscious break, the rifle simply fires when the sights are perfectly aligned and you know it’s time.
Key accessories such as bipod, muzzle brake, tools and cleaning kit are included so all you need add is an optic with mounting system. The versatile .308 cartridge gives the rifle 800-1,000 metre capability depending on conditions and ammunition. A shorter 20”/51cm barrel is also available for 600 metre capability which, together with a sound moderator, will make a compact rifle. We have a .338LM with the 20” barrel which we will write about later this year, when we have at least 300 rounds down.
The underslung AR-15 style grip and high cheekpiece keeps recoil directed low into the shoulder and a rearward weigh balance gives the gun a very muted feel upon firing. This avoids disruption of the sight picture, allowing you to literally watch your bullets strike our steel targets. At longer ranges, in the right air conditions, it is possible to watch the bullet swirl arcing towards the targets, which is a rare treat. Steel Core also incorporates adjustment in the recoil pad as well as a rear monopod, while rapid and fine adjustments are both built in for fine elevation control.
We shoot the Cyclone with an ASE UTRA SL5 sound moderator which is more sociable on a busy firing point than the very effective muzzle brake provided. Adding a heat-proof jacket to the moderator prevents heat mirage from upsetting the sight picture during rapid firing. Mag feed is utterly reliable with ten rounds from two columns. High tech Graphite Vapour Deposition action coatings enable slick bolt operation and improved wear resistance with Fluorokote/Cerakoting seen elsewhere on the chassis and barrel. The safety selector sits just below to the right hand side on what is an ambidextrous stock.
If you want an incredibly accurate rifle to take woodland stalking, the Steel Core Cyclone is not for you. If you want one of the most accurate, tough and reliable military specification sniper rifles available for long-range shooting it is truly worth looking at. The Cyclone is a new development from a British company and is receiving serious attention in the international market place where it is competing ably with other well-known brands, but retails for less. Furthermore, if you drop it onto concrete from two metres fives time in a row it will still shoot perfectly. We know; Steel Core tried it.
Specifications, Steel Core Designs Cyclone
Steel Core Cyclone .308W/7.62×51 £4,975 inc VAT.
Steel Core Cyclone .338LM £5,575 inc VAT
Prices include two magazines, a bipod, a muzzle brake, a cleaning kit and a tool kit
Andrew or Helena Venables on 01974 831869
For more information about Steel Core please see www.steelcoredesigns.com