UNIQUE ALPINE - THE ULTIMATE IN MODULAR MAGIC
I admit it when it comes to rifles im biased, for me if a rifle isnt inherently accreate (for accrete see .5 MOA or less) then its not for me because lets face it the job of any rifle is to put a bullet into the last bullet hole each time every time, if not then theres no room for it in my house.
Thats quite a sweeping statement because rifle performance can be dependent on several factors that can be detrimental to your shooting, as we know if we put our rifle into a shooting test rig and shoot a group it will probably group better than it does when we try the same experiment ourselves, that is of course because of the human element that living, breathing, constantly moving, fallible thing or as we normally call it the nut behind the trigger that screws up the group, so in order to wring the best out your rifle its down to you to hone your shooting technique i.e fit, position, breathing, sight picture, trigger technique, follow through, scope and loads of other factors.
Ive lost count of the times ive heard people say I carnt get it this rifle to group or I dont know whats wrong with it well read all of the above that you should address first before you start work on your smoke pole.
Rifles are no different from everything else in life..you get what you pay for, and you can buy accuracy but to bring that rifle`s potential accuracy out is ultimately down to you.
Unique Alpine of Germany have come up with a truly initiative rifle design that goes further than most to help you in this quest to improve your shooting, the TPG 1 rifle is the ultimate in modular systems that is to say that it can be easily stripped down into its component parts for transportation or allow the operator to change parts including the barrel!!
At a glance this TPG 1 is obviously designed with ergonomics in mind but its the use of CAD technology and high grade materials means it shoots as good as it looks.
Art or Science
Starting at the rear of this work of art, the stock is semi skeletonized and is in its self an amazing piece of workmanship, the stock and forpeice finger grips are made from a high impact synthetic plastic that comes in a range of single or multi mix colours that are molded through so no problems with scratches or dings. The grip is a thumbhole design which is quite straight or upright with molded textured anti slip finger grips and a wrist shelf at the base of the grip all of which makes for a very comfortable shooting position. The stock itself can be made to fit almost any size or shape of shooter, the length of pull, butt plate, cheekpiece height and lateral movement are all fully adjustable and if all that wasnt enough hidden within the stock is an adjustable ground spike to help control movement with the off hand whilst shooting.
But the real unusual feature about this stock is the ability to detach it from the action; this is achieved simply by slacking off a hex bolt at the top of the grip and sliding the stock assembly rearwards, a handy feature if transportation space is at a premium. There is one more advantage of the nylon stock, I know of at least two other manufactures who use an aluminum chassis system and both give off a metallic ring via the chassis when fired which is very irritating, the nylon stock deadens any residual noise from the metal to metal transfer at the action.
Moving forward to the action which is a standard turn bolt set up, the action body is made from an high grade aluminum which is finished in a Mill Spec matt black coat, the bolt has three large locking lugs and a ball handle for easy operation, the action is smooth without any bolt wobble and the lock up on the action has a good solid feel, and atop of the action is a steel 20 MOA multi slotted scope rail.
The action fits snugly into the full length aluminum chassis that extends forward the full length of the forpeice, this is where the use of CAD technology comes in, in order for this mating of metal to metal surfaces to work this fit has to be perfect which of course it is and because the action and the chassis are made of the same high grade F33 aluminum billet they provide the same expansion properties thus avoiding any distortion between the two parts when heated whether this is by either ambient or firing temperatures.
The use of a metal chassis and the solid nylon stock does add to the overall weight this one comes in at 6.2 kg which is slightly heavier than average but I like this, it gives a sense of quality and security and makes the felt recoil seam a lot less than it actually is, the other plus with a heavier rifle is the usual muzzle flip and loss of sight picture is greatly reduced.
The action holds a 5 shot single stack drop out mag made of stamped steel and because of the single stack feeding was clean and positive with no snags, the trigger unit for which you have the choice of single or double stage, this one had a single stage and had had a crisp clean break which was every bit as good as any aftermarket replacement, both units are break adjustable from 600g to 1500g and can be adjusted depending on the length of shooters finger, this is another nice feature the amount of people I see that try to operate a trigger using the joint of the finger instead of the ball still amazes me.
When I first saw pictures of this rifle the only thing that I wasnt to sure of was the safety catch, this is part of the bolt assembly and is positioned on the rear of the bolt and has at first glance the look of an revolver pistol hammer, but its placement does work very well and its easy to see if you have moved it to the safe position without any head movement from your shooting position.
Changing your Tubes
Moving to the barrel which is arguable the most important bit on any rifle, the tube is a free floated 650mm stainless steel affair in a medium weight profile, from 1.135 To .945 inches at the crown, fluting comes as standard on all barrels and there is an optional factory muzzle break for those larger calibers, speaking of calibers U.A. offers all the standard chamberings from 223 to 338 Lap Mag as well as specials like .22 PPC, 6mm BR and 6.5x284.
Now here`s the best bit.. as this is a modular system the barrels are interchangeable!! by loosening a small internal hex bolt and three smaller locking screws the barrel and bushing that holds it simply slides forward and out.. simple and brilliant. The process of removing and replacing a barrel can be completed and ready to shoot in a matter of minutes without a major change to the point of impact.
I had three barrels to test 6mm BR, 308 and 6.5x284 all were brand new unfired barrels, plus the ammo used was some home loads from other rifles that I had to hand, I test shot the three shot groups off a bi-pod on a bench at 100yds in a moderate cross wind, im sure the groups shown would improve once the barrels had been broken in and even further with a bit of load development.
In theory you could have a 6mmBR, 243, 308 and 6.5x284 all on the same bolt face. This is a real big selling point, no waiting months or longer for a gunsmith to replace your shot out barrels, DIY in minutes this advantage means you could have in essence have a caliber for all occasions on the one chassis.
Maintenance of this rifle is designed to be done by the owner, without any special training the whole thing can be field stripped for cleaning or just changing parts with a few simple tools. If you have something you carnt handle then Russ Moorse and Stefan Holme at U.A. know more about the design and build of this rifle than just about anyone and have been extremely helpful.
The versatility of this uniquely designed rifle combines technically superior adjustable ergonomics with some of the best out of the box accuracy performance I have ever seen. If youve just started rifle shooting or you want to upgrade to a unit that will fulfill all your shooting needs then in my humble opinion this is the only rifle you will ever need.
With one chassis and several barrels you could have a benchrest, foxing, Tactical and 1000yd match rifle all for a lot less hassle and money than four separate units.
Is there anything I would add to improve this rifle? well all I would do is thread the barrel for a sound moderator, but if this is your thing U.A. sell a fully moderated 308 barrel. Coming in at around £3000 this is not a cheap rifle but when you look at what you get for your money I think the TPG 1 worth every penny.
Unique Alpine AG tel 0049 8122 9797 300