A few weeks ago I ordered a TRG 42 & Nightforce combo from Euro Optic. I’ve had a couple range sessions now, one being zeroing / load development, and one a true LR session. I really couldn’t be any happier with the combo and wanted to give a quick report and BIG “+1’s” to Euro Optic as well as Near Mfg.
First, I don’t know why I never really seriously considered the TRG line until now. I’d seen other TRG threads and never really read them or paid much attention. I think some of it was “Well, if I’m spending that much, might as well spend a little more and go full custom.” Yea, and there’s something to be said for that, but after having this rifle out a couple of times, I don’t think it gives up anything to a full custom, at all. It certainly fits my needs / wants for a reasonable price, in a comfortable / ergonomic package, and seems very rugged / reliable. I opted for the green stock and “phosphate” finish model. The metal actually has a dark grayish look to it.
As for the rifle itself:
-Stock – Damn comfy. McM A5ish in feel and really nice. I don’t like the fact you have to buy spacers to adjust the comb height, but I guess in theory it is more rugged than a thumbwheel adjust system. As it turns out it’s just about perfect for me with no spacers (50mm NXS, low Seekins rings, Near base). Maybe add a 1/8” – 1/4” spacer at some point, but it’s OK the way it is. The cheek piece is adjustable side to side. The recoil pad is adjustable up / down, swivel side to side, and has spacers for adjustable pull. The pad itself is nothing to write home about… I replaced it with a limbsaver after the first range trip.
Mags – The one thing many people point to as a big negative for the TRG line. Yes, they’re spendy ($150-$175 real world price for spares?). They sure feed nice and seem solid though. I’m not too worried about the price and I don’t need ten mags for my bolt gun. I’d rather have quality… Spec COAL for the 42 (338 Lapua) when I was doing research was “3 3/4 inches”. I found I had to seat 300 SMKs to about 3.730” to keep them from binding up towards the bottom of the mag. Incidentally this is fine as COAL to the lands with the 300 SMK was 3.735”, and I have no interest in jamming them.
Trigger – Oh sweet baby Jesus, this trigger is NICE! Two stage, breaks crisp, very nicely adjusted from the factory. Fully user adjustable for first stage weight, second stage weight, and even pitch / height of the trigger itself. I have no intention of messing with it though, just about perfect as is.
Safety - Is inside the trigger guard and locks the bolt in the safe position. I like it, very intuitive and user friendly. The only negative I can find is the safety can be a little picky about the bolt being all the way down. The bolt handle has maybe 3/16” play with the safety on. If you lift it to where it stops, the safety will stick basically. You have to move the bolt handle back down, then disengage the safety. This is only if the bolt is lifted to the extreme top of the small movement. If it is somewhere in the middle the safety operates as normal. This is somewhat annoying, and maybe the biggest nit-pick I can find so far with the TRG. It appears to be an across the board thing and not just an issue with mine, as I’ve since read about it in other reviews. Not a big issue for me and not something I’ve had happen in the limited actual use I’ve had with it. Just something I’ve noticed while playing.
Action / Bolt – The bolt is silky smooth and is a 60 degree throw. The bolt handle is enlarged with a “ball” of sorts on the end. It feels very nice and is functional. Side bolt release located on the right side. Not much else to say, the action is beefy and nice…
Barrel – Cold hammer forged, and a rather light contour really for the 27 1/4" length. Accuracy has proven phenomenal so far IMO.
Along with the rifle I ordered a NXS, 5.5-22X50, MLR reticle, high speed mil knobs / zero stop. WOW, awesome. I’ve had a couple of 3.5-15 NXS’s previously but man I love the new high speed knob. With the 338 Lapua and 300 SMK, I can shoot out to 1200 or so with just the first rev. The knob is extremely crisp and I don’t find the adjustments to be too close, simply because the clicks are so distinct. The windage knob however is not quite as crisp. It has a little more play between clicks which leaves me having to play with it a little to find the “center” of where I’m at (lining up the hash mark). It still feels nice, but is not as good as the elevation knob I guess. I find myself really having to look at where I’m at with the windage knob, given the closeness of the clicks and the little bit of play in the knob. Total elevation left with the Near 25 MOA base is 23 mils. If you factor in the 5 mil holdover available in the reticle, I could shoot out to 2150 yards or so. I still wish NF would go to a power ring over the whole ocular turning, but it is what it is. The scope fit the bill otherwise and the durability was most important to me, which NF seems to be about top of the hill on. “Glass” is damn good to my eye, I honestly don’t see much difference between it and my USO but I don’t bird watch with it either. I see a lot of people complaining about NF’s glass being a step below the “top tier” guys… I guess I just don’t look that hard. Then again I’ve always found Mark 4 glass to be sufficient too, so maybe my eye is just too easy to please!
I also got ahold of Richard Near and ordered up his 25 MOA base and muzzle brake. Reviews abound on various forums about how much better Near’s brake is than the factory Sako… thus my decision. The base fit was simply amazing. Five big lugs which mate with the receiver, and six screws holding it down. Once I set it on there was ZERO front to back movement, even without the screws in. The exact machining on it was amazing to me. This base is not going anywhere!
Richard did not have any of his production brakes in stock at the time I ordered. He was apparently waiting on material from his supplier and then had to make them. He offered to send me one of his earlier design / test brakes which basically equals the performance of the Sako factory brake, according to Richard. Richard offered this just to get me shooting and said he’d send the production one as soon as they were done. I thought this was an extremely nice gesture and appreciated it. The temporary brake is quite effective and makes the rifle pretty comfortable to shoot. I can’t wait to see what the production brake does.
Also, Alex and Jason from Euro Optic were a pleasure to deal with. Alex responded very quickly to my first e-mail inquiry and subsequent replies, and Jason was great on the phone. Suffice it to say I got a great deal on the combo and I highly recommend them if you’re in the market for anything they carry! The items were shipped promptly and they sent a UPS shipping notification when they were (I don’t know why some vendors still don’t send tracking numbers automatically for every order…).
As for performance thus far, I did load development with Lapua brass, 300 SMKs, H1000, and CCI 250’s. COAL was 3.730”, the max allowed in my particular mag for trouble-free function. Jump was about .005”. I worked from 89 to 93 grains in .5 grain increments, one five shot group for each. Every single load was sub MOA, with most closer to half. 90.0 and 90.5 were basically ragged holes. 92.0 looked like a second node and was about .5 MOA. 90.5 was really tight though… I think I’m going to run that for a bit. I MAY load up 20 or so of each, 90.5 and 92.0, and shoot several groups side by side. Pressure was acceptable all the way through 93 (just some slight cratering, nothing else to speak of), so if 92 showed to be as accurate or close, I might take the extra velocity.
The second trip I shot out to 1620 yards, with other targets around 800, 970, and 1430. At 970 hitting groups of 3 clay pigeons stacked together was very doable. At 1430 I had a second round hit and several subsequent ones on an IPSC sized steel silhouette. At 1620 I was shooting at a rock, about 10” in diameter. Took about 5 shots at it total, got within 6-12” on a few but never did get a direct hit on it. I was pretty happy with that tough as the wind was nasty that day.
To summarize, BIG +1 to the TRG 42, NF NXS (specifically the high speed knobs), Euro Optic, and Richard Near. It is really nice when everything just comes together and you couldn’t be happier! I'm going to shoot the piss out of this rig and look like this the whole time ---> . Just ordered up 500 more 300 SMKs. Should be a good summer!
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