November 05, 2022
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Seekins Precision was once a relatively small player in the rifle market, but as word of these guns made its way around backcountry campfires and shooting ranges, this Lewiston, Idaho, company was no longer an industry secret. Today, when you ask most gun writers and serious hunters to rank their favorite factory hunting rifles, there’s a good chance a Seekins model will be somewhere near the top of that list.
The brand’s entry-level rifle is the Havak PH2, but this bolt gun is anything but basic. At the heart of this rifle is a Seekins Havak cylindrical action with Gen 2 bolt, which is made from USA-certified pre-hardened stainless steel. The action’s recoil and Picatinny rail lugs are integral to the receiver, and Havak bolt bodies are made from the same hardened, certified steel as the action, and the full-diameter bolt body reduces slop. The spiral-fluted bolt comes with a removable bolt head (standard or magnum) and a 5/16 threaded and removable bolt knob.
There are four locking lugs arranged in two rows of two on the removable bolt head. These lugs orient in the three and nine o’clock positions within the receiver when the bolt is locked, which happen to be the strongest portions of the action. What’s more, the three/nine o’clock lug orientation allows the Havak to boast one of the largest feed ramps in the industry. The M16-style extractor has a helical extractor cam, and the extractor is positioned so the empty case is propelled almost 90 degrees away from the action, preventing malfunctions.
The Havak bolt design allows for simple, toolless takedown. By simply rotating the bolt shroud clockwise you can release the firing pin from the bolt body. Then use the firing pin to remove the retaining pin, and the bolt head drops free from the bolt body. The entire process takes just a few seconds, so there’s no excuse not to properly maintain the bolt. The Havak action is mated with Seekins spiral-fluted 5R barrels made from 416 stainless in lengths of either 24 inches for short-action or 26 inches for long-action chamberings. The barreled action features a DuraCoat black finish, and all barrels feature a 5/8x24 threaded muzzle with knurled thread protectors. The 20-m.o.a. Picatinny rail is held in position on the receiver with five 8-32 screws.
The rifles incorporate a Timney Elite Hunter trigger, which is set at 2.5 pounds. The Timney Elite Hunter features a two-position push-to-fire rocker-type safety positioned along the right rear portion of the receiver. The Havaks feed from detachable box magazines. Short-action options include 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and .308 Win.; long actions include .28 Nosler, 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag., .300 PRC and .338 Win. Mag. Short-mag rifles, come with a five-round Magpul PMag. The 6.5 PRC and all long-action rifles have three-round Seekins carbon-fiber magazines. These have an extended cartridge overall length design, and they accommodate cartridges up to 3.14 inches for the PRC and 3.94 inches for the long actions.
The barreled action of the Havak PH2 rests in Seekins’ own carbon-fiber composite stock, which is extremely light and durable. The previous PH2 stock was black, and it was functional but not terribly inspiring. Seekins has changed up the color scheme and added Desert Shadow, Mountain Shadow and Urban Shadow paint themes.
Paint patterns vary gun to gun, but the Desert Shadow has a coloration that is more tan, the Mountain Shadow comprises tans and greens, and the Urban Shadow features red/orange paint. The background for each gun’s stock is dark gray, and all three new stock patterns look great with the new black metal finish. Barreled actions are hand-bedded into the stocks. Overall weight of these rifles varies from 6.9 pounds to 7.1 pounds for short and long actions respectively.
The Havak PH2 carries a price tag of $1,895, which places it in the premium rifle category with guns like Springfield’s Waypoint 2020 ($1,797) and the Weatherby Mark V Weathermark ($1,699 to $1,899). Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, the Waypoint 2020 weighs almost a half-pound more than the Havak PH2, even with a barrel that’s two inches shorter. The Waypoint is available with a carbon-fiber barrel, and in that configuration the Springfield’s weight is less than the Havak PH2, but the Springfield’s price jumps to almost $2,400 with the carbon-fiber barrel option. The Weatherby weighs in at just over six pounds, but it lacks features like the 20-m.o.a. top rail, detachable box magazine and a bolt that can be disassembled without tools.
I’m a fan of Seekins rifles and own one of its Havak HIT rifles in 6.5 PRC. It’s my go-to long-range rifle. While I do love my HIT rifle and the tiny groups it produces, that gun weighs 11.5 pounds unscoped—more gun than I want to carry on most hunts. The Havak PH2, then, is a lighter and more practical rifle built around the Havak action. I tested a 6.5 Creedmoor model topped with a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm scope and premium hunting loads from Federal, Norma and Hornady. Of the nine three-shot test groups, eight were under an inch and two were under a half-inch. The best three-shot group of the day was 0.43 inch, which came courtesy of Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor load.
With the RifleShooter test parameters satisfied, I added some additional testing. Five-shot groups have become increasingly popular in some shooting circles, and those folks don’t consider a rifle sub-m.o.a. unless it’ll punch five holes under an inch at 100 yards. I tested the Havak PH2 for five rounds at 100 yards, and it went 0.76 inch. I then backed up to 200 yards and shot a three-shot group that measured 0.98 inch with Norma’s 143-grain Bondstrike ammunition.
These results further proved what had become apparent early in the evaluation: The Seekins Havak PH2 is a phenomenally accurate factory rifle. Seekins doesn’t proclaim accuracy guarantees, but my experience with the half-dozen or so rifles I’ve shot with Havak actions has shown that if I do my part, with ammunition the rifles like, they will deliver confidence-inspiring accuracy superior to what you’ll find from most other factory rifles.
Havak PH2 twist rates vary by caliber but tend to favor modern heavy, high ballistic-coefficient projectiles. The test rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor came with a 1:8 twist, which worked well with the various 130- to 143-grain projectiles that dominate the Creedmoor cartridge market. The spiral-fluted bolt decreases material and mass, but the design also increases surface area. This leads to rapid cooling, which leads to sustained accuracy even on warm days as compared to all-steel barrels with the same outside diameter. Plus, the spiral fluting adds a touch of class to the rifle.
I appreciate that Seekins provides a thread protector that is the same diameter as the barrel. Oversized thread protectors look like an afterthought to me, and thankfully, Seekins took the time to manufacture thread protectors that mimic the contour of the barrel. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of touch you’d expect on a $1,900 rifle.
The Havak action is smooth, running along the raceway without snag or friction. The spiral flutes on the bolt look good, and the four-lug bolt head locks into place with authority. There were no issues with feeding, and having the M16 extractor positioned so the empty case flies almost parallel to the action prevents binding and hang-ups. I also like that the bolt comes apart in a matter of seconds and doesn’t require tools for the task. During years of hard use in dusty or wet environments, a lot of gunk finds its way inside the bolt body, and in many cases disassembling a rifle bolt is a real hassle. Not so with the Seekins.
The light carbon-composite stock is well designed. My test rifle came with the Mountain Shadow camo pattern, which included shades of green and tan paint against the stock’s gray background. The toe line is rather steep, allowing for more dramatic elevation changes when using a rear bag than the company’s more target-oriented HIT rifle, which has a very flat toe line. The front portion of the comb is slightly elevated and naturally aligns the eye with your optic. The pistol grip is upright like most target rifles, which makes it easy to shoot this gun from the prone position, but the palm swell also offers a comfortable, natural hold point when shooting from sticks or offhand.
The fore-end is flat and offers enough space for long-armed shooters. There are two QD attachment points and a separate sling stud that’s ideal for mounting a bipod on the front of the rifle. Controls are an important but sometimes overlooked feature on target and hunting rifles. Whether you’re ringing steel in NRL Hunter competitions or looking to make a cross-canyon shot on an elk, you need controls that are crisp, precise and easy to operate without having to shift your focus from the target.
The Havak PH2 shines in this regard. A rocker-type safety is precise and easy to operate, and I like that the broad, vertical pistol grip allows you to rest your thumb in a more upright position than traditional sporter rifles. This position prevents the “death grip” hold, improving accuracy and allowing the shooter to access the safety more quickly. Magazine changes are simple thanks to an oversize mag release pad inside the trigger guard. The trigger guard itself offers ample room for gloved fingers.
Seekins made a wise choice by pairing this rifle with a Timney trigger. The trigger itself has a wide face, which offers good control, and there’s no creep, uptake or overtravel. Seekins says these triggers are set at 2.5 pounds, but the gun I had was a “show gun”—meaning it makes the rounds of trade and consumer outdoor shows—because Seekins had sold out of this model. The trigger weight turned out to be 3.75 pounds, but I had no problem printing very small groups.
My dislikes are few. The PMag is functional and offers an affordable aftermarket magazine option, but its hard polymer design makes it louder to insert than Seekins’ carbon-fiber magazine, and there’s an audible “thump” when the magazine is jarred. The waffle pattern texturing is functional, but it’s my least favorite feature on an otherwise aesthetically pleasing precision rifle. How would I sum up my time with the Havak PH2? Simply put, over the course of testing dozens of new rifles every year, there are relatively few guns that offer the kind of confidence that makes the shooter feel they could make any reasonable shot required. By the time I finished with the Havak PH2, I felt like it was field ready. If I found myself behind the scope with the reticle resting on the shoulder of an animal, I was sure the bullet would impact exactly where I wanted.
The Seekins is not a cheap rifle, but it performs at a level that warrants its price tag. In fact, this gun shoots as well as guns costing much more money. Spend some time behind the trigger of the PH2 and you quickly understand why Seekins is making such a big splash in the shooting marketplace.
Seekins Precision Havak PH2 Rifle Specs
- Type: Bolt-action, repeater
- Caliber: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), 6.5 PRC, .308 Win., .28 Nosler, 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag., .300 PRC, .338 Win. Mag.
- Capacity: 5 (tested)
- Barrel: 24 in. (as tested), fluted 416R stainless steel, 5/8x24 muzzle thread
- Overall Length: 43.5 in.
- Weight: 6 lbs., 14 oz.
- Stock: Seekins carbon-fiber composite
- Finish: Matte black DuraCoat
- Trigger: Timney Elite Hunter adjustable; 3.75 lb. pull (measured, as received)
- Sights: None; 20-MOA Picatinny rail
- MSRP: $1,895
- Manufacturer: Seekins Precision