RPA International factory visit and review.

| 9 October 2010 | 0 Comments

A good few months back now I was chatting to Roger Stockbridge of MRST and during our conversation he mentioned that he was bringing in some RPA International rifles, of Tonbridge in Kent. Knowing little about their pedigree, but having heard of RPA before, and more importantly, being in the next town, I was pretty interested and Roger kindly setup a visit for me.

A couple weeks and many internet hours later, I found myself driving anxiously and hopelessly around an industrial estate trying to locate their premises. Luckily Peter, at the end of the phone guided me in to their covert operation, kept discreet due to the nature of their business. I thought this was pretty cool and felt rather privileged to be invited over.

Now I’m far from qualified to write a review on the rifles technical aspects, so this is largely based on my opinions and observations.

OK, so if you don’t know who RPA are or what they are about, checking out their website http://www.rpainternational.co.uk, you will soon realise that they are not just some run of the mill rifle manufacturer, but maybe a little more specialised. OK, a lot more. I’ve been trying to find a way of accurately describing their ‘hunting’ line of rifles, I just can’t, the best I can do is to say they are of a premium industrial grade. Thinking of your regular power tool, this would be the premium grade machine that industry professionals would use. That possibly doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the best I’m going to come up with. Every aspect of this rifle is precisely built, for a purpose, and to be used. RPA manufacture their own actions, they source premium barrels and have stocks custom made to their specifications.

Arriving in the boardroom, I was in precision rifle heaven. Where you’d expect to find pictures hanging, I found rifles and the trophy cabinets contained actions, magazines and rifle accessories, I could definitely get used to this. My first impressions were that these rifles offered something different, something that I battled to put my finger on initially, until I did. While these are technically production rifles, they’re not.

At the heart of their rifles is the impressive vault-like Quadlite action, precisely machined with it’s four locking-lugs and designed for long range competition, sporting, varmint and bench shooters alike. This is a no mess, no fuss action with a fantastic two stage trigger to match. The action is smooth, positive and built like a tank.

There is a choice of two different synthetic stocks, one a classic American profile, the other a thumb hole. Made by Robertson Composites from a combination of reinforced epoxy, glass fibre and Kevlar, the stocks resonate strength and rigidity, with a weight that is befitting to such a rifle. Finished in a matt black, tactile stippled texture, I’m pretty confident they’ll stand up to a torrent of abuse.  Now I’ve never been that interested in thumbhole stocks, but it just seems to suit this package and bridges the gap between a hunting and precision rifle, giving you that added confidence.

The barrel as you’d expect is of a varmint profile, manufactured from super-match-grade stainless steel, with a matt finish and heavy fluting. There are no open sights, although the action is drilled and tapped and the barrel is screw-cut for a suppressor.

I generally feel that most things have a defining factor, and for me, the RPA’s one is it’s trigger. It is superb. Every time the trigger breaks it puts a helpless smile on your face as you think to yourself, ‘I can’t possibly miss.’

I remember meeting a guy who used to race 10 year old’ish formula one cars, and while admiring his machines asking what the most impressive thing was about driving a car like that was. His answer, ‘the breaks.’ He went on to say that you can go fast in a lot of cars and a lot of them will handle well, but nothing he’d ever driven had filled him with as much confidence as those breaks did. I don’t think I really understood what he meant until I handle the RPA rifles.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to handle some fantastic firearms along with the truly impressive Rangemaster sniper rifles which are in a league of their own, and right up my ally. The afternoon has given me a new perspective on what rifles as tools can and should be, along with the realisation that I’ll never be happy until I own a Rangemaster!

A big thanks to Roger who arranged my invitation to RPA with Mark and to Peter for showing me around, it was much appreciated.


MRST is the South African Agent for RPA International. Tel: 012 993 4844 or email: mrs@lantic.net
or visit RPA International at http://www.rpainternational.co.uk



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Category: Guns & Gear

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