It has been some time since I have had any carbon fiber precision rifles in my possession. One of the constant “norms” in long range shooting is the heavy 14-23lb rifles fully kitted out with the latest and greatest action and chassis combos. This rifle on the other hand was destined for something a little more utilitarian. The initial build for this carbon fiber precision rifle was to compete in the NRL Hunter Series. Ideally you have the perfect balance of lightweight, and ballistic performance for these particular events. Another factor is the cartridge selection. You have to meet minimum power factor requirements for terminal ballistics for these events as it is simulating hunting scenarios. This rifle in particular will be used for hunting in the state of Washington so it needed a versatile cartridge. It is chambered in 6.5 PRC and pushes 143ELDX projectiles north of 3000FPS with ease. Now the question is…”Is this type of rifle setup a realistic hunting rifle?”



This rifle is boasting a carbon fiber MDT chassis, an Impact actions-short magnum action, carbon fiber 24” X-CAL 6.5 PRC barrel along with a Nightforce ATACR scope. This is about as premium and lightweight as you can go. In my opinion you sacrifice a lot of sensation behind the rifle and during the shooting process when it has the extreme lightweight feel to it. It is obvious that this is a by-product of the weight savings and the carbon used for this purpose. Understanding this, it still does not change the feeling of a hollow “toy” rifle feel. This rifle weighs in just over 9lbs and is actually very pleasant to carry as it is similar to an AR-15 or a service rifle. The material feel of the carbon while carrying would lend well to bare-hands on a cold day and would more than likely be a superior choice over aluminum (which we can all agree sucks to carry when it is freezing out.) One thing to note is the rigidity of the chassis. Although it is light, it does still feel pretty sturdy. I’m not going to get ahead of skis here and say it feels like a Manners carbon stock (which still feels dense even though it is light), but it gets the job done. I noticed a slight sensation of “flashy” while testing this rifle. It was as though I was testing a dragster or something on the bleeding edge of performance and has a limited life expectancy. This also has to do with the premium action and the Nightforce ATACR scope. If the name of the game is medium to long range hunting and you need to carry something up mountains to possibly take a shot, this might be exactly what you need.

As you look at the concept of hunting using a true precision rifle outfitted with an accurized barrel-cartridge combo, along with a scope of this caliber…. You can imagine that whatever you are trying to accomplish in relationship to the external and terminal ballistics is possible. The only limitation is durability. My question at this point is,” what are you willing to break.” What components can take the abuse of a possible spill. What can a carbon barrel/chassis do over a traditional or aluminum chassis. If it meant success vs. utter failure from one hard spill, I will take the extra 2-4lbs to ensure I get to where I need and accomplish this task. I have no doubt that the carbon components can take some abuse. My curiosity is if its as much or less than other options. Again this is more of speculation than anything real. I have humped rifles up many mountains and across open terrain and with a good scope cover and proper care, it should do fine. The action and scope I have zero doubt will work under any conditions. I don’t think that a Nightforce ATACR is a bad choice for hunting. I believe that the price you pay for the optic is worth the peace-of-mind you get with the durability. The same goes with the premium actions. You cannot go wrong with picking up an action like this. They are “top notch.”
Applied Ballistics


Impact actions run a two-lug bolt face featuring an AR-15 extractor, side bolt release, and is cut from a piece of billet. The rail and recoil lug is integral to the receiver so its about as reliable as it gets. The bolt is fluted and has a generous tolerance to it so I have no doubt it would defeat some debris or snow. I thoroughly like the hard finish on them and they feel lubricated even when dry. I will say that the bolt feels clunky but smooth. I think the action in this particular chassis is a bit on the “loud” side. If I needed to quietly chamber a round, good luck! These make noise with the action and chassis combo. This is a strange observation I made while trying to dry fire the rifle. It also has been something that I have been noticing with other companies actions recently and might be something I dive more into in the near future.

Carbon Fiber Precision Rifles

A side profile of this rifle you can see that there is nothing else left to shave weight other than a titanium or skeletonized action. I did enjoy the carbon fiber ARCA rail for the multiple different pairs of bipods we run. It makes a nice surface for a shooting bag too for shooting off PRS bags using natural terrain and things such as a tree stump or a tripod. I will also note that carbon fiber precision rifles while presenting to a target feel the same generally.
Above we collected some data for this particular chamber/barrel combo using H1000 powder and a few different projectiles. I was pretty impressed to see how effortless pushing 140 grain class projectiles north of 3000 fps was. I might do some testing in the near future with this cartridge in short barrels to see if there is a handy short-medium range hunting setup that would work well in that configuration. All together the rifle is solid. I thought the recoil impulse has a little “pop” to it with the suppressor but was no more aggressive than a .308. I did notice a bit of a dive in the rear of the gun using a heavy fill “game-changer” bag. This is generally from the rifle not being balanced and the pulse of the rifle flows out the path of least resistance. This can be sorted out with more trigger time and practice with the lightweight setup. I noticed that the barrel did not “give up” when it was hot. The carbon barrels tend to get hot quick but bleed the heat off very quickly too. The suppressor would get “lava hot” but the barrel would be cold to the touch. Very impressive to see. Magnums tend to get barrels hot fast and stay hot. Its always hard to do fair testing on a rifle that the barrel struggles to stay cool from the firing schedule.


This graph is a representation of the data from the testing we did today. Using Lapua Brass, Hornady/Berger bullets and H1000, we easily hit 3000fps.

None of these groups are anything to take to the bank, but they are a decent starting point for the combo we’re running. Were going to revisit the seating depth and scrub the barrel to see where we’re at with it. This rifle shows a lot of promise for what it was intended for. Time will tell if it is a winner or just another sexy rifle in the sea of carbon fiber precision rifles.


What makes a tool great? Generally when it just does its job and it does it well. I do not think that is what defines the tool though. Take a hammer for example. You have many things you can do with a hammer. But a hammer will never be a screwdriver. This may not make sense in regards to a rifle like this but let me venture off and try to explain… A rifle has many things it needs to do. Most folks look at a rifle and do not appreciate everything it takes to make it function let alone function well. Part of the function is not necessarily the mechanical function. It is the actual implementation of the tool. The actual hard use and abuse. We take for granted something as simple as extracting a case, or feeding rounds from a magazine. For me reliability is probably the number one thing. Although a reliable rifle that cannot hit “the broad side of a barn” is of no use to us here. It is the culmination of all the different things that the rifle needs to do. I think the market has a place for rifles like this and I like the envelope getting pushed in terms of materials and performance. I will always look at rifles as a tool. The question now is, “is this rifle a hammer when you need a screwdriver? Is this actually the proper tool for the job?” We will see! Hope you enjoyed this quick share about carbon fiber precision rifles. This was not intended to be a review on any particular component, but more of a holistic look at the tool.


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