RIFLE STOCKS REDEFINED
Precision rifle chassis systems are steadily gaining ground. Compared to regular factory stocks, not only are they an easy way to upgrade a bolt action rifle, these chassis stocks offer more comfort when shooting, more versatility and, last but not least, increased accuracy. As the popularity of these stocks is growing, many rifle manufacturers are now offering specific chassis rifle models in their product ranges as well.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Next to regular rifle stocks, chassis systems play a vital role in a rifle’s accuracy. What both have in common is that they serve as a physical interface between the shooter and the rifle. While a rifle scope, red dot or similar allows the shooter to see the target and the trigger is the mechanism to initiate the shot, a stock or chassis allows our shooter to maintain proper head alignment and a well-balanced body position.
Regular quality stocks are typically made out of a synthetic material such as fibreglass, Kevlar or carbon fibre. Wood is still used for hunting rifles yet it has, except for the laminated variety, fallen out of favour with the precision crowd as it is too flexible compared to synthetic or aluminum alternatives. Most synthetic precision rifle stocks are bedded to allow the action a stress free installation, which is a fairly skilled process. Stocks also require bottom metal to house the trigger guard and magazine feeding systems.
Chassis systems are typically constructed of aluminuim. Unlike a regular precision stock, a chassis typically does not require separate bottom metal nor does it require bedding. Usually, chassis systems are designed so that simply bolting the barreled action into the chassis provides a stress-free installation. Since the detachable magazine system is built into most chassis systems, the alignment of the magazine to the action is normally correct. All this makes installing a chassis system really straightforward.
Chassis systems can offer impressive consistency and accuracy improvements, compared to regular factory stocks. These improvements are due to the chassis’ mechanical bedding system and the free-float barrel design, but also to the stability and comfort these platforms offer when shooting. Their aluminum chassis designs deliver optimal accuracy by mechanically locking up the action to the rigid structure of the chassis.
Most chassis systems are also compatible with AICS-style box magazines. This magazine compatibility allows shooters to quickly reload or conveniently unload the rifle. What is more, as these chassis systems are ergonomically optimised for prone or benchrest shooting, they deliver long-term shooting comfort when lying or sitting down.
Typically chassis systems offer more versatility than regular stocks. Some allow the shooter to use AR-compatible stocks and pistol grips, allowing the stock to be upgraded as new attachments become available. The presence of picatinny and/or M-Lok rails on the chassis system enables shooters to easily accessorise their rifle to fit their specific needs. Bipods, monopods, optics, night vision, lamps, lasers… can all be easily attached if the need arises.
Chassis systems effectively make rifles into modular systems, especially when there is the possibility to switch barrels and calibres. Even more important is the ability of shooters to fit the chassis to their particular shooting style or build by easily adjusting length of pull, cheek piece position, height of the recoil pad and so on, reaping huge benefits downrange with increased performance.
When installing a chassis system, all that is required is to remove the two screws from the action to detach the stock and then reattach the action to the new chassis with two bolts, preferably to a specified torque setting. To sum up, chassis systems are a really easy and fast yet very effective way to upgrade your rifle.
Weight is definitely an issue when considering a chassis rifle system. Most full-length precision chassis systems are pretty heavy, with a weight range – just for the system – of 3lb to 5lb not being an exception. A chassis system easily adds 2lb to 3lb to the overall rifle weight when compared to the same rifle with a regular stock. There are dedicated light(er) weight chassis systems available, weighing in under 2lb, yet these are few and far between. That said, due to their heavier construction, chassis systems are far more stable than regular rifle stocks, and consequently, provide greater internal and external stability.
These are not rifle systems to carry up mountains day in, day out. They are designed and purpose-built to increase long-range precision and need to be supported with a proper bipod. The weight of chassis rifle systems is not a disadvantage when you know how to turn it to your advantage.
A host of companies designing and producing specific chassis systems have sprung up in recent years. Companies such as Magpul Industries, Modular Driven Technologies (MDT), XLR Industries, Masterpiece Arms (MPA), KRG, J Allen in the USA and GRS in Europe, without being exhaustive, manufacture a wide range of precision chassis systems for most common bolt action rifle makes and models. Rifle manufacturers such as Barrett and Accuracy International design and make dedicated long range precision rifles, including their own proprietary chassis systems. Other manufacturers such as Browning, Ruger, Savage, Remington, Tikka and others are teaming up with chassis manufacturers to offer factory-ready chassis rifles based upon their proprietary actions and barrels.
A MORE ACCURATE CHOICE
Quality chassis systems, or factory-ready chassis rifles, do come with a heftier price tag compared with regular factory-stocked rifles. When shooters choose a chassis system, though, they are choosing for optimal precision and modularity. Chassis rifles inherently offer consistency and enhanced accuracy with the ability to easily install additional accessories. What’s more, these systems are easily installed and may not even require modifications to your rifle. In a world where long-range ,precision shooting is all the rage, you simply cannot afford to miss out on the proven benefits of chassis rifle systems.