Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
Christensen Arms’ Modern Precision Bolt-Action Rifle features a free–floating 416R stainless steel hand-lapped and button-rifled barrel with an Aerograde carbon-fiber wrap and V-Block bedding to deliver pin-point accuracy. Removable, adjustable side baffle brake and 5/8″-24 threaded muzzle for easy customization. Match-grade flat trigger enhances accuracy. 20-MOA rail makes it easy to add accessories. Skeletonized bolt handle operates the nitride-treated twin-lug, spiral-fluted bolt with ease. Dual ejector is compatible with magnum calibers. Black hardcoat-anodized 7075 billet-aluminum chassis provides exceptional durability, while a folding stock with Magnelock™ technology, an adjustable length of pull between 12.5″ and 14.5″ and an adjustable comb deliver a perfect fit. Carbon-fiber handguard with M-LOK®. Six quick-detach flush-cup mounts. Compatible with standard AR grips and Picatinny monopods. AICS-compatible detachable magazine with a tactical–style release.
Review:Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
Christensen Arms’ Modern Precision Rifle is long-range excellence.
Finding a rifle that does everything well has been a fool’s errand historically. For hunting, rifles need to be light and accurate. On the other hand, competition rifles need to offer flexibility while retaining accuracy across 10- or 20-shot strings, usually at the expense of additional weight. There has been no solution to this impasse — until now.
Christensen Arms’ new Modern Precision Rifle (MPR) combines all of the features above into one very manageable rifle. Depending on chambering, the MPR is everything from the ultimate generalist’s rifle to a highly effective and portable long-range tool.
The Balancing Act
Every rifle comes with a set of features that may or may not apply to the intended application. When in doubt, most consumers default to the “more is better” philosophy, which usually adds expense and weight.
What makes the MPR so unique is that Christensen Arms kept just about every feature you would want on a rifle without making it excessively heavy. They were able to do this through use of carbon fiber and significant design work.
Carbon fiber is as diverse a material as metal. Just as there are an almost innumerable variety of metals and alloys, there are different types of carbon fiber and binding agents. There are varying techniques to shape and lay the fiber, with each method yielding different results.
As many readers already know, Christensen Arms is no rookie in the world of carbon fiber. Dr. Jason Christensen got his start in the medium several decades ago while making rocket fuselages and aircraft panels. He began experimenting with the material and rifle barrels back in the 1970s.
The hand-lapped, free-float, stainless steel barrel is wrapped in carbon fiber and complete with a custom muzzlebrake.
The MPR’s barrel is made entirely in-house. Christensen starts with stainless steel bar stock, drills the hole for the bore, and then pulls a rifling button through it. The barrel blank is then contoured to a small diameter profile and then wrapped in carbon fiber. The barrel contour is already very light prior to wrapping and is safe to fire without the carbon-fiber treatment.
There are different fibers and methods used on the barrel. Since carbon fiber is a much better conductor of heat than the steel it surrounds, some fibers are laid with an end butted up against the exterior of the barrel’s throat. These fibers effectively suck the heat from this portion of the barrel and channel it down the barrel and out near the muzzle. This helps to keep some of the mirage out of the scope by putting distance between the objective lens and the heat that the barrel generates.
The remaining fibers around the barrel add rigidity. The problem that skinny barrels face is that they lose rigidity when they become hot. This is why heavy barrel contours are popular with precision shooters. As they heat, they hold onto accuracy longer.
While the changes in the barrel alone let Christensen Arms’ MRP shoot akin to a heavy match rifle, it would be egregious to overlook the exceptional work that the company did with the chassis. It’s a miracle that they were able to make such a light chassis while retaining the ability to offer easy adjustments to both length of pull and comb height.
Adjusting comb height and length of pull are vital elements to precision rifle shooting. A poorly fit rifle is uncomfortable and requires muscular tension to stay on target. Requiring muscular tension to hold the rifle on target leads to increased instability and fatigue on its user. As soon as the shooter’s head moves off the comb, it then takes effort to keep the eye centered directly behind the scope. This is one more detail to think about that keeps the shooter from focusing on other fundamentals.
The other damaging aspect of a rifle that doesn’t fit well occurs during recoil. If the shooter’s head is floating above the comb in order to see through the scope (which is what happens on just about every rifle that doesn’t have an adjustable comb), it’s almost impossible to see the round impact or miss the target.
Being able to spot the round’s impact is vital. Not only do you want to know whether or not the bullet struck its intended mark, you need to know what adjustments are necessary for a successful follow-up shot. If the shooter can’t see where the bullet went, he’ll always be at the mercy of a spotter or friend to provide that critical information. This means it’ll take two shooters with their heads on straight to be effective in the field instead of just one with a good rifle.
Adjusting the length of pull and comb height on the MPR is pretty straightforward. Two screws loosen to allow either the buttpad or comb to slide back and forth or up and down, respectively. Tighten the screws when you find your sweet spot. The chassis’ toe is flat and threaded to accept a section of Picatinny rail for use with a monopod, if you’re into that type of thing.
Disassembling the MPR is simple. Remove 11 screws to separate the barreled action from the chassis and forend.
The chassis folds and is held firmly in place with a strong magnet. It is a simple yet elegant approach. The older I get, the more I’m interested only in chassis systems that fold. Moving the buttstock out of the way makes cleaning the rifle easier. I also love the convenient transport and storage that a folding chassis allows.
The forend on the MPR is my favorite of any rifle I’ve tested — ever. It’s long enough for any and all types of positional shooting. Throwing this forend across an oddly shaped rock pile or reaching for an ideally placed limb to use as a rest to stabilize the rifle is a snap due to the forend’s length. It is also flat on the bottom so any and all rests have a lot of surface area to contact. All the corners are rounded and the overall profile is slender, making this forend extremely comfortable in the support hand. Numerous M-Lok slots are located on the sides and bottom of the forend for attaching any accessory that a shooter requires.
Ample M-Lok slots and a small length of rail provides a shooter the opportunity to add shooting tools to the MPR’s rigid carbon-fiber forend.
Meat & Taters
The center section of the chassis is an aluminum housing that attaches the butt assembly to the forend while simultaneously supporting the action. It is the classic chassis arrangement.
Christensen Arms put a lot of effort into minimizing the chassis’ bulk and weight. The center section that supports the action is minimalist and very low profile. They did put a lip just forward of the magazine well, which allows the shooter to push the chassis into the forend rest to help gain extra stability.
Removing the barreled action from the chassis is easy. Eight small screws hold the forend to the aluminum center section. Remove them and the forend comes off. A small screw behind the triggerguard comes out allowing the triggerguard to slide forward out of the chassis, exposing the rear action screw. Remove both and the barreled action comes right out.
While the action resembles that of a Remington Model 700, the bolt body borrows its extractor design from an M16/AR-15 rifle.
The action has a Remington 700 footprint and a detached recoil lug. The bolt body has an M16/AR-15-style extractor that rides atop the outboard lug, while the ejector is located opposite the same bolt lug. Extraction during testing was flawless, but rounds exiting the ejection port left at an upward angle that may contact the scope’s windage turret with long-action cartridges.
The entire action body is stainless steel that has been nitrided. It is very corrosion resistant.
The trigger that comes on the MPR is a standard-model TriggerTech. It has a flat bow that gives the perception of lighter pull weight and is adjustable from 11/2 to 4 pounds.
I spent a couple days shooting the MPR in 6.5 Creedmoor. The rifle’s accuracy during testing was both excellent and consistent. Best groups hovered right around .5 MOA for five shots at 100 yards for all loads tested and everything else still averaged well under 1 MOA. It is important to note that I did not stop to let the barrel cool during accuracy testing (other than walking down to look at the target or to load the magazine).Hornady was the last load I used in G&A’s test rifle.
The decision not to let the barrel cool was deliberate. I don’t like to give any one rifle the advantage of an extra-long cooling session between groups because it will likely result in an accuracy improvement, regardless of barrel type. I feel that starting the testing session with a good bore scrubbing and then letting the barrel cool completely between groups would have sawed another .1 to .2 inch off the group sizes.
With the results of our tests, I think the MPR comes closest to emulating the term “do-everything” than any other rifle that I’ve come across. If I could pick only one rifle to use for dinging steel with my buddies to humping up the side of a mountain for elk, the MPR would be it. Its combination of light weight and a complete set of relevant features puts this one in a class by itself.
Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle
- Type: Bolt action
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 5 rds. or 10 rds.
- Barrel: 24 in., 1:8-in. twist
- Overall Length: 46.63 in.
- Weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz.
- Stock: Chassis; carbon fiber and aluminum
- Grips: Magpul MOE-K
- Length of Pull: 12.5 in. to 14.5 in.
- Finish: Nitride (steel)
- Trigger: Adj., 1 lb., 8 oz. to 4 lbs.
- Sights: None
- Manufacturer: Christensen Arms, 888-517-8855, christensenarms.com
Review: Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle
By ALEX LUFFO FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
Last October, I attended a media event by Christensen Arms to launch their then-newest rifle, the Modern Precision Rifle (MPR). At the time, I wrote that the MPR was“the future of long range hunting.”
As new product events go, the Christensen launch was first-rate. The MPR’s were pre-zeroed, the ammunition was plentiful and, I’m sure was selected because it was a great fit for the rifles. The steel targets were newly painted, and our shooting platforms were very stable. I recorded some great groups that day, including a 2.5-inch group of three shots at 520 yards. However, you never really know about a rifle based solely on a media event, as it doesn’t replicate day-to-day shooting. I needed to use a production MPR at home at my own pace, and that recently occurred.
After 250-plus rounds at my range, tinkering with the rifle and really getting to know it, I must go one better on my original claim. The MPR isn’t simply the future of long-range hunting, it is what longer-range hunting is all about. The rifle combines the precision of a competition rifle with the in-the-field functionality of a fine hunting rifle. Until someone builds a much superior rifle, the MPR is my first choice when my hunting shots are likely to be 300 yards or more.
The MPR I received is chambered in 6.5 Creedmood and sports a 22-inch stainless steel and carbon-fiber wrapped barrel. The barrel is hand lapped, free-floating and button rifled with a 1:8 twist rate. The end of the barrel was outfitted with an adjustable, stainless steel baffle brake.Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
With a rifle, great accuracy usually means substantial weight, but the MPR weighs in at just 7.5 pounds unloaded. That lighter weight is due to several factors, including the Christensen Arms 7075 billet aluminum chassis the MPR is built upon. The handguard is also lightweight carbon fiber, as is the adjustable cheek riser.
The stock is skeletonized for further weight reduction, and the two-lug bolt-action is fed via an AICS-compatible detachable magazine. The over-sized and fluted bolt knob know allows for easy loading and unloading, and the rifle itself is done in a black nitride finish. The MPR was initially available in only 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. But since the rifle’s launch, Christiansen has added the .300 Norma, .300 Win. Mag., and .338 Lapua to the MPR offerings.
Not only is the rifle extremely accurate, its design shows that a great deal of careful thought went into making it a more-effective hunting rifle. The stock is adjustable for cheek weld and length-of-pull; while many rifles are, Christensen did something I only occasionally see on new rifles—they made those adjustments all possible with a single hex wrench.
The 3/32-inch included hex wrench loosens and tightens the screws to adjust the cheek plate and length-of-pull, plus the two screws that remove the rear half of the stock for cleaning and repair. It even fits the eight screws that hold the handguard in place, which may not sound like a big thing, but I’ve used adjustable stocks which required two different wrenches and a screwdriver for stock adjustments. Apparently, someone at Christensen Arms looked at these stocks and said to themselves, “Why not design our rifle stock so one tool lets you make all the changes?” Good thinking.
The carbon fiber handguard with M-Lok attachment makes the hunter’s life easier, by giving the handguard a flat bottom—not the rounded bottom common on many hunting rifles, but a nice flat surface for greater stability when the bottom is rested on the ledge of an elevated blind, the top of a fence post or a wide branch. Want to use a bipod instead? The MPR features a section of Picatinny rail already in place near the front of that flat bottom.Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
The MPR’s folding stock is impressive, too. Simply depress a small button on the left side of the stock and it folds up and into the rifle receiver. There’s a small cut-out in the stock which fits over the end of the bolt handle. The now-folded stock is held in place with a locking hinge. Plus, a rounded magnet on the right side of the stock matches up with a small steel circle just forward of the bolt itself and magnet secures the stock to this metal circle. This is a great feature for hunters, as it easily straps on to a large pack.
I mounted a Bushnell 2.5- 15×50 Trophy scope with a BDC reticle onto test rifle. For accuracy and function testing, I used three brands of 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammunition: Federal Fusion 140-grain bullet; Hornady Full Boar 120-grain GMX bullet; and Sig Sauer Elite Performance HT 120-grain copper bullet.
Shooting from a table off of sandbags at 100 yards, the MPR’s accuracy was impressive with all three rounds. The best five-shot group and the best overall average for five, five-shot groups went to the Sig Sauer ammunition at .477-inch and .966-inch, respectively. The Fusion averaged just a bit over 1-inch, with a best .84-inch group, and the Full Boar averaged 1.24 inches and a top group of .90-inch.Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
I’m not sure exactly when the Accuracy Testing Gods decided that a five-shot group was superior to a three-shot group, as three-shots had been the norm for years. I can see the arguments for and against both, but it seems to me that if your first three shots print a ½ MOA group, you have a ½ MOA rifle. A gust of wind, a nervous shake by the shooter, or any of 100 other variables can pull either shot No. 4 or 5 just a little, resulting in a 1 or 1.5-inch group.
That’s the group size, no doubt. Yet, is it truly indicative of a hunting rifle’s accuracy? I printed three- and four-shot groups of .5-inch or better at 100 yards at least three times with each brand of ammunition. This included a .290-inch group of three shots with the Federal Fusion rounds, and two, three-shot groups with the Sig ammo at .302-inches. For me, this makes the MPR a ½ MOA rifle all day, every day.Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
MPR’s great match-grade flat trigger helped make that accuracy possible. According to my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge, the MPR’s trigger has an average trigger pull of just 1.7 pounds. Not so light it might go off with a brush of your finger, but light enough that with practice, trigger pull shouldn’t result in pulled shots.
The only issue I found was the tendency of the MPR’s bolt to throw spent brass into the side of the receiver behind the enlarged ejection port, where it left a series of tiny dings. The surface of the finish wasn’t broken, but this could happen with more ejected brass and would require a touch up. I wouldn’t term it a “problem,” but with a suggested retail of right around $2,200 the MPR costs much more than most new hunting rifles on the market today.
There are many great rifles available today for $500 or less. I’ve used a dozen of the newest ones over the last four years, and nearly all of them are capable of MOA accuracy at 100 yards. So, why would anyone pay four times that for a hunting rifle?Christensen Arms Precision Rifle
If your shots are all going to be 200 yards or less, there’s no functional reason to buy an MPR. The difference between ½ MOA and 1.0 MOA or even 1.5 MOA at 200 yards on deer-sized game still translates into a heart-lung shot, but my personal preference is to be able to take a shot at up to 400 yards. A rifle shooting 1.5 MOA at 100 yards could be off six inches or more at 400 yards. A bit of wind or a slight shift by the animal, and you could easily wound it.
For this shot, I would not only need substantial practice, a very stable shooting position, and a thorough understanding of my ammunition’s ballistics. I’d require a rifle with ½ MOA accuracy, which is why I’d want an MPR.
• Type: bolt-action, magazine fed
• Caliber: 6.5 PRC, 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag., .300 Norma, .338 Lapua
• Barrel: 22″; free-floating; 1:8″ twist; 416R stainless steel aerograde carbon fiber wrapped; ⅝x24 threaded muzzle
• Chassis: Christensen Arms 7075 billet aluminum
• Finish: black hardcoat anodized
• Handguard: carbon fiber with M-LOK attachment points, black
• Stock: folding, with locking hinge and Magnelock Technology; LOP adjustable 12.5″ to 14.5″
• Trigger: match-grade, flat
• Weight: 7.5 lbs.
• Length: 36.75” extended, 28” folded
• Misc: 6 quick-detach flush-cup mounts; standard AR grip; monopod Picatinny mount on handguard; uses AICS-compatible detachable magazines (one included).