Henel is a German company that specializes in making hunting and sports rifles. Their Haenel RS 8 model rifle is numbered among top five sniper rifles made in Europe. Available since 2008, at has guaranteed accuracy of less than ½ MoA when using Match grade ammunition and excellent adaptability to match requirements of any marksman.
Well Rounded Weapon
The RS 8 model has gone through some minor changes since its original unveiling. It is now more comfortable to use and has been finely tuned to the latest standards. The most important thing is the two new models in the series: the RS-9 using the .338 Lapua Magnum caliber and the RS-8 Subsonic.
All three versions use the free-floating barrel and are designed with a skeletal straight-lined frame. They are perfectly adjustable to the user needs and have removable magazines which can hold 7 or 10 rounds.
Modular and Adjustable
The basic version of the rifle is built for the 7.62×51 NATO and .308 Winchester calibers, same as the RS-8 Compact and RS-8 Subsonic. The larger RS-9 uses the 8.58×70 (i.e. .338 Lapua Magnum) caliber. The RS-8 Subsonic variant uses a special subsonic ammunition with heavy rounds (up to 250 grain).
The development of this model was done using the modern and high quality materials, as well as all technologies available to modern gunmaking. The aim was to develop a solid, reliable and accurate rifle with a long expected service life even in the most demanding and complex conditions. Manual turn bolt action that locks in directly into the barrel is the basis of the system. This gives the rifle an exceptionally accurate barrel and the hull with the receiver and the firing mechanism; all other elements are there for pure comfort and ease of use. That does not make their design superfluous, equal care was given to making the installation off all sniper rifle addons and devices easy as well as to making it completely adjustable to fit the individual user. The entire rifle is designed to be modular and all adjustments can be done without any tools. I can also be perfectly fitted for left handed users.
The design of all parts is very simple. The very compact and solid hull holds the receiver whose body is, along with the bolt, made from a solid piece of steel. The bolt head is locked with six lugs (two rows with three each). The bolt has an optical and physical cocking indicator. The most important part of the rifle, the barrel itself is cold forged and of the highest match grade. The barrel thread allows mounting of all standard silencers and flash suppressors.
The basic version of the rifle is 1185 mm long when the stock is unfolded and 936 mm when it is folded. The RS-8 Subsonic is 876 and 618 mm long with the stock unfolded and folded, respectively while the RS 9 is the longest with 1273/1026 mm. They weigh 6.453, 6.630 and 7.449 kg respectively.
The stock and the slide are screwed directly into the hull. The stock has a completely adjustable cheek-rest and length on a skeletal frame which can be folded to the right. The Picatinny rail is integrated into the hull and is 190 mm long.
Standard rifle platform
The underside of the hull holds a magazine catch with ambidextrous lever and adjustable grip. The safety lever has three positions (locked, loading and unlocked) and it is located in the hull right from the receiver and directly locks the firing pin. The slide is simply an aluminum carrier for mounting of the Harris System bi-pod and forward Picatinny rail. It also has a small handguard made of plastic. The hull also has an option for installation of additional rails on the left and right side. Two step firing system is also completely adjustable (noticing a pattern?).
The large RS-9 variant does not substantially differ from the basic version in appearance or function. The RS-8 Subsonic however, does have its own special characteristics. It uses a top quality Swiss noise suppressor Brugger & Thomet AG and is more than capable of firing a shot with the same level of precision as the standard models in the absolute silence. Noise suppression levels are at the highest level and the expected service time of the suppressor is 10,000 rounds fired. This variant has been built on the same basis as the standard rifle, differing only in the barrel and the suppressor, making it completely compatible with all the parts of the basic weapon.
Simply put, a respectable German weapons manufacturer has designed a supreme quality sniper rifle that is more than capable of meeting any tactical challenge.
This is definitely a weapon worthy of respect and considering its decent price of 4,800€ (5,200 USD) for a weapon this good, a good buy for any professional marksman.