October 07, 2019
The Seekins Havak first appeared a couple years ago with a number of unique features, and it sold for less than its peers with qualities that matter to every serious rifle shooter.
A quick way to assess the design of any bolt-action rifle is to look at the layout of the bolt lugs, extractor and ejector. The next issue worthy of consideration is to examine how easy it is to rebarrel, which is especially important if you are shooting magnums.
The Seekins Havak has a Remington Model 700 footprint, so it can capitalize on the strong aftermarket that already exists. There are a number of stocks and chassis designed for the Remington 700 that fit the Havak with some slight modification around the recoil lug and bolt handle. Any trigger that fits a Remington 700 will also drop into the Havak.
The footprint is where the Havak and Remington 700 part ways. While any rifle patterned after the 700 (or Mauser 98 for that matter) has two bolt lugs that lock into the receiver at the 12- and 6-o’clock positions, the Havak’s lugs lock into the 3- and 9-o’clock positions.
Repositioning the lugs on the Havak action means that there is a lug riding at the 6-o’clock position when the bolt travels in the receiver. That lug has enormous contact with the case head on rounds feeding into the rifle. Of all the ways to make a rifle feed more reliably, increasing case head engagement is one of the best. There is so much case-head engagement that the Havak feeds just fine off of double-stack magazines, a heretofore dubious proposition with any other two-lug action. The Bravo is a four-lug action with two rows of two lugs. This gives the bolt head lots of engagement with the breech ring seated inside the receiver’s tenon.
The breech ring is a newer concept in bolt-action rifle design, and an advancement over the traditional lug abutments cut into most receivers. The breech ring is located in the receiver where the lug abutments would normally sit, and its advantages are many. First, with a breech ring being a small steel ring, the tooling used to make it is also small, and small parts means the manufacturer can use very rigid tooling. The more rigid the tooling, the more exact the parts are made. Since there is less flex in the tooling, there is also less variation in the parts made on that tooling.
When the breech rings are identical they become a powerful tool in setting the rifle’s headspace, a time-consuming task previously done by hand. The breech ring sets the headspace by controlling where the bolt’s lugs lock up while simultaneously providing a consistent surface for the barrel to seat against.
Any of Seekins’ Havak rifles can be rebarreled at home; Seekins can send a new barrel that you can screw it into place. The headspace will be correct without having to use a Go/No-Go gauges.
Another future benefit of the Havak action comes in the form of receiver material selection. The Havak has a removable bolt-head to contain the rifle’s pressure which and makes it possible to use steel to create the breech ring, barrel and bolt head. It also leaves Seekins open to experimenting with lighter materials for the receiver’s body. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seekins unveiled an ultra-lightweight bolt-action rifle at a future date. (The Havak action design begs for it.)
The location of the lugs makes it possible for Seekins to ideally locate both the extractor and ejector. The best place to anchor the extractor on any bolt-action rifle is at the bottom of the ejection port when the bolt is unlocked. The best place for the ejector is directly opposite the extractor. Setting up the bolt face this way ensures fired cases leave the action at a shallow angle to avoid striking the windage turret on the way out of the chamber.
Many two-lug actions fall prey to the improved M16/AR-15 extractor that sits on top of the outboard bolt lug, near the top of the ejection port. Cases leaving the action with this extractor setup (especially in a long action) have a tendency to bounce off the windage turret. When this happens, it’s only a matter of time before one bounces off and goes right back into the action, causing a malfunction. For evidence whether or not your rifle is bouncing cases, check the bottom of your windage turret for brass marks.
The stock on the Havak Bravo is the Kinetic Research Group’s (KRG) “Bravo” model (kineticresearchgroup.com, $350). It combines the best features of a chassis in a package that looks like a traditional rifle stock. The Bravo has an aluminum spine that houses the barreled action, and polymer skins that attach to the spine to give the stock its shape.
The Bravo has a solid piece of aluminum billet that runs from the pistols grip to the forend tip, and contributes to the rifle’s accuracy; all rifles need stability for a barreled action to be accurate. Few things prevent barreled-action movement like bolting them to aluminum.
A solid block of aluminum would be uncomfortable to hold, so the Bravo stock has a polymer skin to give it the look and feel of a rifle stock. It even has an adjustable comb. All that’s required to adjust the comb height is to loosen a thumbscrew, adjust the cheekpiece to the desired location and then tighten the thumbscrew.
The Bravo accepts Accuracy International Chassis System (AICS)-pattern magazines, the most vetted and commonly used detachable box magazine available. AICS magazines come in both polymer and steel, in five- and 10-round capacities, and are all center-fed. Between the Havak’s bolt lug location when cycling and the AICS center-fed design, it’s difficult to think of a more reliably fed bolt-action rifle.
The Bravo stock has a huge array of accessories available from KRG that take it from mild to wild. It’s possible to add an adjustable buttpad and a new aluminum forend to enclose the barrel, which makes mounting night vision equipment a snap. The Bravo stock comes setup to accommodate M-Lok accessories and can easily accommodate an Arca-Swiss rail.
The Seekins Bravo is a very nice do-it-all rifle. The barrel contour is heavy enough for long-firing strings, but not so heavy that a guy couldn’t carry it on a hunt. The detachable-box AICS magazines means it is fast to reload for competitive shooters and convenient to load for a hunter. The Havak Bravo is available in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and .308 Winchester. That’s a wide cartridge selection to account for lots of different competitive shooting matches, as well as hunting varmints, deer, antelope and elk.
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