As everybody becomes more interested in long-range shooting, specifically long-range hunting, premium rifles made specifically with this task in mind are beginning to show up on the market from manufacturers. Seekins Precision is an Idaho company with a longstanding track record for quality products that yield accurate results due to their focus on extremely tight tolerances and strenuous quality control. Every rifle and part that gets produced in their factory gets examined by the QC team and shot before it leaves the door.
I managed to get my hands on Seekins’ new Havak Element soon after it was announced, and immediately put it through the hardest tests that I could think of: I brought it with me on several hunts including Idaho mule deer and whitetail deer. But first, let’s talk about the rifle itself.
Upon unboxing the Element in 6.5 PRC, I saw an attractive, custom-looking rifle laying on the counter in front of me. The paint is a sponge applied Cerakote camo job which is done by hand and consequently, unique for each rifle. The barrel is also unique in its own way because of how the Mountain Hunter taper starts from further back, narrowing down the diameter of the barrel quicker than most; further reducing the weight of this system. As I started touching the rifle, I discovered that the recoil pad is extremely soft and forgiving. This is important because light rifles tend to have a sharp recoil impulse. The grip and forend’s gridded texturing felt great to the touch as well, helping to improve your grip on the firearm despite the weather conditions or grime that you will undoubtedly get into while hunting.
Now I was finally getting to the point of picking the rifle up. As I pulled it out of the box, it almost continued upward out of my hands and into the ceiling! The Havak Element is EXTREMELY light, surprisingly so even. Sorry for yelling in text, but this fact put a huge smile on my face because it is 1 of the 2 selling points of this rifle (the other being accuracy).
Some Details that Make the Havak Element Lighter than Others Rifles:
The Havak Element is not lighter because of witchcraft, I noticed a few changes from the normal, which include:
- Aluminum action with steel thread insert.
- Aluminum Bolt Body with steel bolt head
- Carbon composite stock
- A shorter than conventional 21″ spiral fluted, light profile barrel
- Carbon fiber magazine
- Weight reducing cuts where possible, including locations on the integrated scope rail
Accuracy Testing the Havak Element
I’ll start off this section with a disclaimer: I consider myself an exceptional shooter, but I was not able to replicate the results that guys at Seekins were able to produce. I was using a rear bag and front bipod; they used a front and rear bag. The only other difference was the 5 round groups that I stuck to vs. their 3 round groups. Take this information for what you will; below is an accompanying picture of a 3 round group shot by the guys at Seekins with this rifle.
To begin the accuracy test, I stole an optic off of another rifle of mine; a Sightron S-Tac 4-20×50 and also mounted a Harris bipod. Being a hunting rifle, I would typically complete the accuracy-test with 3 round groups, but because of its precision, long-range focus (as hinted at by the integral bubble level on the rear of the scope rail), I chose to use 5 round groups. I tested 2 different muzzle attachments as well as bare muzzle condition with two different types of Hornady factory ammo: giving me 6 different groups to examine. Each group was shot on the 100-yard range. With the suppressor attached and with the bare muzzle condition, recoil was sharp and the gun tended to hop on the bipod at each shot. This is typical of a lightweight firearm. The Timney Elite Hunter trigger set at crisp 2.5 lbs was a huge help to shooting. Also, the high cheekpiece provided a positive point of contact and made for a comfortable shooting experience when coupled with the soft recoil pad.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Generally only 3 shot groups would be fired to test accuracy on a lightweight hunting rifle due to light barrels heating up and throwing rounds. The fact that these groups are under MOA with 5 shot groups and factory ammunition is extremely impressive. Statistically, they’d likely be much smaller if they were only 3 round groups.
More About the Aluminum Action & Bolt Body
The main construction of the Havak Element consists of aerospace grade 7075 aluminum, which makes this rifle different (and lighter) than most. The biggest construction change was the swap from steel to aluminum for the action and bolt body. This is allowable because the forces acting on the action and bolt body are minimal, with the exception of where the explosion takes place. Even then, the barrel encases the cartridge and takes the majority of the blast. This leaves us with the rearward force being applied by the cartridge against the bolt face, bolt lugs and the locking lugs of the action. In this area, Seekins Precision did some re-imagining and designed the Havak Element with a steel insert in the action as well as a steel bolt head which is held onto the bolt body with pins. This keeps the force from the blast contained by high strength steel while the aluminum just provides structure for the rest of the mechanics to work properly.
The action is a hard-anodized aluminum and the bolt body is nitrided. While breaking this rifle in, the all-too-familiar smell of wearing anodization reminded me that this rifle was, indeed, built by a company with their roots in high-end ARs. The short action construction and magazine of the Element is slightly oversized to allow for a COAL of 3.14″, keeping the door open for handloaders to tailor their load for heavy bullets seated to the lands.
Because of the choice to use Aluminum on the action, the recoil lugs are integrated on the underside of the action and are different than what you have seen before. Basically, they are 4 recesses in the bottom of the action that locks into the bedding compound, dispersing the force of the recoil upon firing.
Seekins Precision’s Beyond MOA Guarantee and Warranty
The guys at Seekins know that they make an incredible product, but they will not give you a quantifiable MOA guarantee on the accuracy of their firearms. Instead, they do one better with the Beyond MOA Guarantee. Basically, this means that if you are not seeing the accuracy you would like to see out of your gun, send it on their dime and they will test it and repair the rifle, or replace it. The Seekins Warranty is also amazing; it is fully transferable with no paperwork required. In the event that something happens to your Seekins firearm, they will repair or replace it at no cost.
Performance on the Hunt
While deer hunting, for both mule deer and whitetail, I got rained on, snowed on, fogged in and iced up. The weather was extremely cold and wet, which is terribly hard on firearms. This causes rust to form, actions to get filled up with gritty mud, and even frozen shut. Because of the major lack of high-carbon steel on the Element, I was not worried about rust and did not see any form. And due to the spiral-fluted bolt, I also noticed the action stayed smooth and grime free. With each manipulation of the bolt, the fluting scraped up any debris and carried it out of the action.
When the moment came, I was able to make a pretty impressive, unsupported standing 300 yard shot on a running mule deer buck. I contribute this to the lack of torque at the end of the firearm because of the light profile barrel and overall lightweight system. And also maybe a bit of shooter skill? In the end, the gun was a pleasure to carry around the mountains on the hunt because of its overall shorter length and light weight. The Element also performed the way it was designed to when the moment came.
Specifications and Features:
- HAVAK ELEMENT billet 7075 aluminum action body
- 20 MOA integrated Picatinny rail
- Integrated bubble level
- front and rear flush cup attachments
- Integrated recoil lug
- Helical extraction cam
- Hard anodized black finish
- Trigger: Timney Elite Hunter set at 2.5lbs
- Full diameter bolt body for smooth bolt operation
- Heat-treated alloy steel bolt head
- 4 locking lugs with 90 degree bolt throw
- M16 style extractor
- Spiral fluted billet 7075 aluminum bolt body
- 5/16″ threaded and removable bolt knob
- 21” barrel with Mountain Hunter contour and 1:8 twist (6.5 PRC)
- Threaded muzzle (5/8″ x 24) with thread protector
- Camo carbon composite stock
- Detachable carbon fiber 3 round magazine system
- Extended cartridge overall length (COAL) magazines allowing up to 3.14” Short Action
- Weight: 5.5lbs
- Calibers Available: 6.5 Creed, 308 Winchester, 6 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC (unlimited options available through the custom shop)
- Price: $2,795.00
Seekins Precision’s new Havak Element is a home-run in my mind. The fine balance of light-weight and precision makes this rifle perfect for hunting out west, where the hikes and shots are often long. On top of this, Seekins made more than a bare-bones, lightweight rifle and provided a few nice touches that make this a high-end rifle. First, the mechanics are extremely well thought out and designed including a 4 lug bolt and 90-degree throw. we also have an integrated bubble level, 20 MOA scope rail, flush cup locations, detachable extended-length magazine, carbon composite stock, threaded muzzle, and a rather nice recoil pad.
The rifle performed at least as good as my skills would allow it (peep the tiny 3 round group that was shot at Seekins), and my results were consistent with two types of ammo and 3 different configurations of the rifle system. Because of the lack of weight on the end of the gun and the light overall weight of the system at only 5.5 lbs, I was able to make a jaw-dropping shot on a mule deer and put some meat on my table. Overall, I am extremely happy with the Havak Element and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light-weight, high end hunting rifle.
Find out more about the Seekins Precision Havak Element HERE: