Voere LBW rifle review

Review: Voere LBW Walnut switch-barrel hunting rifle


Voere’s LBW is a totally modern bolt-action with a high-quality classic-styled walnut stock. Available in Australia in standard calibres from .222 Remington to .30-06 and two magnums — the .300 Win Mag and .375 H&H — it offers a unique barrel and calibre changing system.

Traditionalists will appreciate the Voere LBW rifle not only for it’s handsome dark-hued walnut stock but for its versatility and novel design features usually only found on much more expensive rifles.

Voere LBW rifle review
Voere LBW had a Pecar Optics 2.5-10×50 scope attached using a Picatinny rail and Pecar Weaver-style rings

The LBW has a modular aluminium-alloy receiver, a detachable magazine which protrudes slightly below the belly of the stock, and a nicely curved trigger. The rifle’s overall appearance is elegant and gives an impression of quality.

The receiver is large and blocky, with a pleasingly streamlined appearance. The rear of the round-topped receiver is sharply angled and the cocking piece shroud is contoured to blend in with the rear lines of the receiver. The sidewalls are angled and dished along the left side. The magazine well is made as an integral part of the module.

The LBW is cocked on uplift of the bolt handle and a red-dot cocking indicator appears on the rear end of the protruding firing pin when the rifle is in firing mode. The two-position safety is a serrated button handily positioned on the right side behind the bolt handle. The bolt is removed by pressing a release catch on the left side of the bridge.

The bolt is massively proportioned and its alloy body has a diameter of 23.8mm (0.936”). The separate bolt head is undercut to a 17.5mm (0.690”) diameter behind and between the trio of non-protruding lugs positioned in a symmetrical 120-degree pattern around the bolt head. This results in a low bolt lift of 60 degrees. All three lugs are of uniform size — 15.5mm (0.610”) long and 11.2mm (0.441”) wide, which provides great strength.

Voere LBW rifle review
The large-diameter bolt’s body is light aluminium alloy as it is not load-bearing

Rather than having the locking seats machined directly into the rear end of the barrel, the seats are formed as part of a separate insert ring with a smooth hole through its centre to accept the bolt. The insert is probably made from Stellite, an extremely hard metal ideal for the purpose. Seated behind the barrel, it appears to be pressed into place, but may be threaded. Either way, the flat breech end of the barrel is jammed tight against the insert to hold it securely in place.

The locking arrangement is a strong one and, except for the difference in the number of lugs, is the same as used in the Browning BBR. Evidently, Browning adopted it after Voere started using it.

The one-diameter alloy bolt body has four flutes located on the top and another one below the groove which serves as the bolt guide as well as a bolt stop. There is no collar or reinforcement where the root of the bolt handle joins the bolt body. Nonetheless, the bolt handle serves as a fourth safety lug by engaging an L-shaped notch in the rear of the receiver.

An angled steel insert in a slot in the front upper corner is a cam providing initial extraction power on the uplift of the bolt handle and seating power on the lowering of the handle.

Voere LBW rifle review
Modular receiver has massive proportions, an integral magazine well and split receiver. Removing two hex-head screws allows the barrel to be changed

Voere fits the barrel for minimum cartridge protrusion. In the test gun there was only a 0.0127mm (0.005”) gap between the bolt and breech face. In addition, that part of the cartridge head which protrudes from the chamber is encircled by a bolt face counterbore some 3.175mm (1/8”) deep interrupted only by a narrow 5.9mm (0.233”) wide extractor slot.

The Voere’s breech tends to entrap and control any escaping gas as it is blocked off at the rear by an enlarged shoulder on the end of the bolt head, except at the bottom where it gets vented down the feed ramp into the magazine well. Gas inside the receiver ring is vented through two ports, one on either side of the steel insert, aligning with holes in the receiver ring.

Any gas that may enter the bolt through the firing pin hole is blocked by the head of the firing pin and vented through two small holes in the right side of the bolt body. At the rear, a closely fitted shroud blocks any gas from reaching the shooter’s face.

The extractor, a 5.6mm (0.220”) wide steel hook slotted into the lower right locking lug, is tensioned by a tiny entrapped coil spring. Its narrow claw grips only about one-tenth of the cartridge rim circumference, but an angled foot at the base of the extractor helps draw it inward to prevent it slipping as it pulls a fired case out of the chamber. A plunger-type ejector recessed into the opposite (left) side of the bolt face at four o’clock works in conjunction with the extractor to eject cases at a 30-degree angle from the ejection port.

Voere LBW rifle review
Bolt head is removed and changed in a few seconds by pushing out a large hollow pin

Because of limited bolt rotation, the extraction and chambering cam on the Voere LBW is small. Some low-lift bolts are notoriously difficult to raise owing to the steep angle of the cocking cam. Voere partially solved this problem with the LBW sporter by balancing the cocking cam forces about the firing pin axis, so that not only are they balanced radially, but are also shifted forward to the middle of the firing pin.

This thoroughly balanced geometry combined with working parts which are smoothly polished and precisely fitted enable the rifle’s powerful mainspring to be cocked without excessive bolt-lift effort. A low bolt turndown of 60 degrees allows enough rotation to overlap the cam bevels and thus centre the contacting surfaces to furnish optimum bearing efficiency.

The large-diameter tri-lug bolt effectively limits side play, a style made popular by the Weatherby Mark V in the late 1950s. The head of the Voere bolt is relieved on the underside between the bottom lugs to reduce dragging against the uppermost cartridge in the magazine.

A large steel lug, which rides in a close-fitting longitudinal groove along the left side of the bolt body, not only serves to guide the bolt but doubles as the bolt stop. It also controls bolt rotation.

Voere LBW rifle review
Action is shown cocked with tail of firing pin protruding from the bolt sleeve making a red-dot indicator visible

Since the bolt locks into the barrel insert, neither the alloy bolt body nor the receiver are under any stress from firing.

The receiver top is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. The LBW test gun was provided with a Picatinny rail and Pecar Optics steel rings with locknut, a sturdy, well-designed mount which allows the scope to be removed and replaced in a few seconds.

The trigger has been set near the lightest possible setting to international standards. The trigger on the test rifle has a totally inert, crisp pull consistently breaking at 900g (2lb). It is as good a trigger as you’ll find on any sporter.

The Voere’s detachable magazine has a steel box and follower with an alloy floorplate. Capacity is three rounds in standard calibres and two in magnums. It is retained by a pair of spring-loaded catches in the sides of the magazine well, which is an integral part of the receiver. Pressing inward on both catches expels the magazine into your hand under spring pressure.

Voere LBW rifle review
Showing details of stock’s inletting and recoil lug

Being a single column design, cartridges fairly leap off the follower and into the chamber ahead of the bolt. However, the bolt should be worked smartly to impinge the bolt face onto the cartridge head. In other words: slam the bolt closed.

The Voere features the LBW interchangeable barrel system. The changeover is affected by removing the stock and loosening two large hex-head retaining screws which pinch the split receiver ring around the unthreaded barrel shank. The barrel has an indexing slot.

The barrel in my test gun in .243 Winchester was 610mm (24”) long with a diameter of almost 30mm (1.2”) at the receiver. It carries that diameter forward for about 35.5mm (1.396”) before sloping off for about 25mm (1”) over the chamber section before beginning a slow taper to reach 15mm (.6”) at the dished muzzle.

A set of ramped steel open sights are fitted. The rear sight has ears and a square notch with a white dot on each side. The front sight is a flat-top post.

The barrel is fully free-floating from in front of the receiver ring. There’s a fair gap under the barrel at the fore-end tip.

Voere LBW rifle review
The LBW taken down into its major components, but with barrel still inside the receiver

A pair of recoil lugs, made as an integral part of the receiver, sit in a recess in the stock where they abut an alloy recoil stop. The inletting is clean-cut and has the kind of smooth surface usually associated with dense European walnut.

There is no doubt about the ability of the Voere’s alloy receiver to support the free-floating barrel without drooping. Its strength lies in the vertical cross-sectional rigidity of the receiver about its centreline and in a plane through its mid-section.

Design wins out despite the lower physical properties of aluminium compared with steel because the Voere’s efficient cross-sectional pattern forms an I-beam effect, thus giving its receiver enough rigidity combined with the available bedding surface to resist bending and thus support an entirely free-floating barrel in a rigidly uniform manner.

Spare barrels are available in calibres with .222 head size, .30-06 head size or magnum size. Different cartridges will often demand a different magazine to suit. Swapping to a calibre of a different head size requires a change of bolt head. This is a simple operation, as is disassembling the bolt.

Voere LBW rifle review
The two-position safety is in easy reach of your thumb. Note the recess for the bolt handle to turn down into

The stock is European walnut with contrasting dark streaks and plenty of grain. The buttstock has a high, straight comb, slightly sloping upwards to the rear, and its generous cheekpiece blends in nicely with the upper line of the pistol grip, which is gently curved and has a palm swell on the right side.

The long, slim fore-end is rounded and comfortable to grasp. Panels of chequering on grip and fore-end look great, with diamonds sharply pointed-up to afford a secure grasp.

Stock furniture consists of a pair of Q/D studs with sling swivels and a solid black recoil pad. The barrelled action is attached to the stock with a pair of hex-head screws, one at each end of the alloy floorplate. What appears to be a through-bolt in the stock is actually a pair of end covers for the alloy recoil stop. A pair of lugs on the bottom of the receiver abut this stop to absorb heavy recoil.

Weighing 3.3kg (7.25lb) bare, the LBW was field ready at 4.1kg (9lb) with a Pecar Optics Black Carbon 2.5-10×50 scope and full magazine.

Accuracy testing was carried out with six different factory loads. The outfit delivered consistently tight, round groups due in no small part to the light, crisp trigger and very fast locktime of approximately two milliseconds. Accuracy results can be seen in the table.

Voere LBW rifle review

The Voere LBW is inherently accurate, and the rifle’s styling is appealing, making it a handsome gun judged by even the most exacting standards. The hunter or rifleman who wants a rifle with switch-barrel capability that combines modern technology with Old World workmanship and quality will find the Voere LBW well worth investigating.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Manufacturer: Voere Prazistechnik, Kufstein, Austria
  • Type: Turn-bolt action with interchangeable barrel system
  • Overall length: 113cm (44.5”)
  • Weight: 3.3kg (7.25lb)
  • Barrel length: 610mm (24”)
  • Calibres: .222, .223, .22-250, .243 (tested), .270, .308, .30-06, .300 Win Mag and .375 H&H
  • Stock: Selected European walnut, classic-style, chequered, with cheekpiece and palm swell
  • Length of pull: 37cm (14.55”)
  • Dimensions: Drop at comb 19mm (3/4”); drop at heel 12.5mm (1/2”)
  • Price: $1950; extra barrels, $1100; extra bolt head, $275; Picatinny rail, $145; Pecar Optics scope rings, $69-$99 (all as of 2023)
  • Contact: Pro-Tactical

 

 

 


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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.

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