Review: Steyr Monobloc

The Steyr Monobloc is a new breed of hunting rifle with a single-piece barrelled action, European contours and unique features which will appeal to the connoisseur of fine firearms.

This rifle has a most intriguing feature: the barrel and receiver are made in one piece. Steyr reasons that this will create a more rigid and accurate firearm, and the results of our testing indicate this is true.

Steyr Monobloc review
As striking as the Monobloc looks, it’s the flawless functionality that really impresses

The Monobloc is also a modular rifle and Steyr implies you can switch calibres: one bolt and one stock and one trigger suffice for different bolt heads, magazines and barrelled actions. However, as the serial number applies to the entire barrelled action, Steyr’s suggestion isn’t valid under Australian registration laws.

Instead, what you have is a rifle whose appearance can be highly customised with different stocks, inlays and other components.

Steyr Arms is an innovative firearms company. It has been ever since Ritter von Mannlicher pioneered his designs in the late 1800s. 

His work was original. He was a pathfinder in the field of automatic weapons and designed a number of special repeating rifles and magazine systems.

Steyr Monobloc review
Accuracy with all factory loads we tried was superb, with five-shot groups all averaging less than 1 MOA

Before von Mannlicher died in 1903 he developed over 150 models of automatic and repeating rifles.

In the 1950s Steyr became famous for its iconic, beautifully made Mannlicher-Schoenauer Sporter, which boasted a revolving spool-shaped box magazine that protected the cartridges by separating them from each other. Modified versions of this rotary magazine, which dates back to 1887, were used in the Savage Model 99 and are being used today in Ruger and Browning rifles.

The company’s track record with its bolt-action rifles has been exemplary so it’s no surprise that the Steyr Monobloc is something special. If looks could kill the Monobloc would rack up a considerable tally of game without firing a shot.

The stock is outstanding, not only for its eye-catching modernistic styling, but for its balance and the way it allows the shooter to mount and align it quickly. The comb slopes upward towards the rear and the cheekpiece puts the eye quickly in line with the scope.

The close pistol grip has a recess on the left side for the base of the thumb which, allied with a wundhamer palm swell on the right side, makes it a very comfortable grip. 

Steyr Monobloc review
There’s a lot you can change to customise your Monobloc

The fore-end is shaped so that it aids in controlling the rifle. It’s round on the bottom and contoured to have a finger groove below its upper edge which makes it comfortable to grasp and hold steady.

There’s a tendency among designers of rifle stocks to go to extremes, as we’ve seen on a number of bolt-action sporters in recent years. But I believe that the talented people at Steyr, with an eye for practical features, have tried an angle here and a curve there, and come up with a cunning combination of beauty and general utility.

Not only that, but to gild the lily even more, the cheekpiece, comb, fore-end and grip have removable leather inlays that give the Monobloc a very refined and classy appearance. The leather grip insert is grooved for the fingers. In addition, the left side of the comb is dished to reduce the rifle’s impact on the shooter’s face — a major cause of flinching — and to help align the eye behind the scope.

The Monobloc offers a degree of modularity. All the leather inlays can be swapped for different coloured ones: sand, orange, brown and black. Even stocks can be replaced for a change in colour: black, green, brown and an off white; several grades of walnut have also been introduced.

Steyr Monobloc review
Not only are there various stock colour options, plus walnut, you can opt for a range of different-coloured leather inlays for the stock

You can do all this yourself. The instruction booklet describes how to separate the stock from the action, and remove the trigger group as well as the inlays on the butt, cheekpiece, pistol grip and fore-end.

The stock has the obligatory Q/D sling swivels. Its butt plate can be rotated to the left to reveal a cavity which can be used to hold cleaning gear and, if required, to store the trigger group.

The receiver, machined from oversize steel bar stock, is cylindrical, profile-milled to an ellipsoid contour yielding both a pleasingly streamlined appearance and a lot of metal at the receiver’s mid-section for rigidity. The receiver of the .308 tested has a diameter of 34.2mm and a length of 203mm before the barrel section tapers off to reach 16.6mm (0.652”) at the muzzle.

The rifle has a capped muzzle with 5/8-24 threads for accessories such as muzzle brakes and suppressors.

Steyr Monobloc review
Round-top receiver is grooved for Steyr’s own mounts, which include a rail

High on the receiver’s sides are four square-shaped, sloped 8mm notches which fit Steyr’s original proprietary Monobloc mount, a Q/D saddle mount with Picatinny rail for Weaver style rings. This, of course, limits the choice of mounts but increases the stability of the scope’s mounting, doing away with the very shallow threads found in receivers which have been bored out inside for full-diameter bolts.

There is an 88mm ejection port on the right side of the receiver which has a width of 13.5mm — too narrow to enable one to thumb a round into the top of the magazine.

The heart of the rifle is a one-diameter (18mm) bolt with three solid head lugs of uniform size on a symmetrical 120-degree pattern. Each lug is large and deep enough so that they combine to provide adequate strength without multiple rows. 

For a three-lug array, their layout renders just about as much contact as is practical in corresponding seats in what would normally be the receiver-ring section.

Steyr Monobloc review
Deeply counterbored one-diameter bolt has three large locking lugs in a symmetrical array. The head can be removed in seconds

A bolt-lift of 60 degrees allows enough rotation to overlap the cam bevels and centre the contacting faces for optimum breeching efficiency.

The bolt has a spoon-shaped handle (a round handle is an option) that acts as a fourth safety lug when its root locks into a slot in the rear of the receiver. 

The bolt face is deeply recessed and houses a plunger-type ejector. A T-slot extractor 4.6mm wide is pinned inside one of the locking lugs.

The bolt is guided in the receiver by two ribs that are joined together at each end and rotate around the bolt body. One rib slides in a matching runway in the left side of the receiver and the right gains support from the dished edge of the ejection port. This unit acts as the bolt-head lock; to remove the bolt head it’s simply rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise to disengage the small catch that secures it in place.

Steyr Monobloc review
A cutaway view of the Monobloc’s action

An alloy bolt sleeve enshrouds the rear of the bolt body to help deflect any gases escaping along the body. The rear tip of the firing pin extends a short distance beyond the cocking piece to align with a small opening in the back wall of the bolt sleeve. It doesn’t act as a cocking indicator because a red dot on the cocking slide shows up clearly when the rifle is in firing mode.

A small hole located between two locking lugs releases any gas entering the bolt head through the firing pin hole, and any gas flowing back through the bolt body escapes through the cocking cam slot to be deflected by the shrouded bolt sleeve.

The bolt rides smoothly in the round receiver. A knurled button behind the bolt handle is activated automatically in the cocked position to lock the bolt shut. To open the bolt with the safety engaged, simply push the button.

To remove the bolt: drop out the magazine, push down the bolt lock button and lift the bolt handle to free the bolt, then push the cocking slide forward until the red dot is visible, pull the trigger back and slide the bolt out of the action.

Steyr Monobloc review
Steel-walled magazine holds four rounds and fits flush with the belly of the stock

To reinsert the bolt into the receiver, thumb the cocking slide back until the white dot shows, then insert the bolt, rotating it to allow the bolt handle to slide into the receiver.

The Monobloc’s drop-out magazine is superb. A recessed latch at the forward portion of the magazine well drops the magazine into your hand. If the rifle is cocked, the box is replaced by moving the cocking slide to its rearmost safety position, after which it clicks home. The bottom of the magazine is heavy, silver-coloured alloy, the sides are chromed steel, and the follower is polymer. It’s better looking than many of today’s all-polymer magazines.

The .308 magazine holds four rounds, and it fits securely into the rifle flush with the belly of the stock.

If you insert a magazine with the safety button in the de-cocked position, when the bolt is cycled to feed a round into the chamber and the bolt handle is turned down, the bolt will be locked down, the trigger locked, the firing pin in the uncocked position, and the rifle becomes perfectly safe to be carried. 

Steyr Monobloc review
The Monobloc’s cocking slide is located on the tang. The button for the bolt lock is behind the bolt handle. The root of the bolt handle acts as a safety lug

To cock the rifle, the cocking slide, which doubles as the safety, must be pushed forward until it engages and a red dot is visible.

After firing, the safety remains in the firing position and you can cycle the action and shoot as usual, without having to re-cock it.

The Monobloc’s trigger with angled guard is excellent. It’s a single-set style, and my test rifle came with a crisp and positive 900g (2lb) let-off. Adjustment for weight of pull is set by inserting a small Allen key into a grub screw in the trigger guard. Take care not to screw it in too far or it won’t be possible to cock the set trigger.

The blade is pressed forward to set it and it then breaks at 200g (7oz). Once the set trigger is cocked it can be automatically de-cocked by moving the cocking slide to its rearmost ‘safe’ position. The trigger guard is angled for improved accessibility.

Steyr Monobloc review
Various loads of factory ammo with different bullet weights all shot very well through the Monobloc’s unique action

In testing, the Steyr Monobloc came through with flying colours. In all, the rifle ran through approximately 125 rounds of assorted Winchester ammunition and that amount of shooting was made all the more pleasant by the scoped rifle’s considerable heft (4.5kg or 10lb) and effective recoil pad.

I didn’t fill the magazine when testing; all I had to do was drop a round through the ejection port and, when I closed the bolt, each round slid smoothly into the chamber.

Chambered for the popular .308 Winchester, the Monobloc showed itself to be capable of sub-MOA accuracy, often producing five-shot clusters with all of the bullet holes cutting into each other.

The Steyr company doesn’t specify what kind of accuracy the buyer may expect from the Monobloc for either three-shot or five-shot groups. Having previous experience with a number of different Steyr rifles, however, I was confident the rifle would perform well with all five types of factory ammunition provided by Winchester.

Steyr Monobloc accuracy test results
The Steyr Monobloc was tested using Winchester factory loads. Accuracy is the average of four 5-shot groups at 100yd from sandbags

Not unexpectedly, groups all gave a good indication that this rifle was an Austrian tack-driver. 

Big Red W’s Match load shooting the 150gn MatchKing bullet provided the smallest group of .629”, but the 168gn Super Suppressed ran it close with .730. This is a special load, optimised for rifles equipped with suppressors and engineered for noise reduction, decreased fouling in suppressors and reduced recoil.

Winchester’s simon-pure hunting loads also surprised: Deer Season 150gn Copper Extreme Point, a mono-metal bullet with a large plastic tip and hollow nose cavity designed to accelerate expansion and deliver maximum lethal effect on deer, averaged just under an inch; and Super-X 180gn Power Points averaged .930.

The full accuracy results are listed in the table, which convinces me that the Steyr Monobloc will work well for any application a rifleman might want to set it for, and it will prove to be an outstanding hunting rig. 

In my estimation, the Monobloc is not only an exceptional design, but one that will satisfy the most demanding connoisseur of fine rifles. 

Steyr Monobloc review
Butt plate swings to one side, revealing storage cavity which can hold cleaning equipment or the detachable trigger unit


  • Manufacturer: Steyr Arms, Austria
  • Type: Bolt-action with one-piece receiver/barrel
  • Calibres: 6.5 CM, .270, .308 (tested) .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .375 H&H
  • Barrel length: 56cm (22”)
  • Overall length: 1075mm (42.3”)
  • Magazine capacity: 4
  • Weight: Approx 3.7kg (8.2lb)
  • Stock: Polymer with leather inserts on grip, comb and fore-end
  • Length of pull: 362mm (14.25”)
  • Trigger: Single-stage with set trigger alternative; detachable
  • Sights: None; integral bases for proprietary Steyr mount
  • RRP: $7500
  • Distributor: Winchester Australia




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.