September 12, 2022
Mountain hunting is an investment. Successful mountain hunters invest years accumulating points and drawing tags, invest time at the gym getting prepared for a hard hunt at high altitude, and invest long days scouting, prepping and planning for the hunt of a lifetime. A hunt that, ultimately, may come down to a single shot. For that reason, dedicated mountain hunters also invest in the best rifles and equipment.
With so much riding on your rifle’s performance, it’s no wonder so many serious hunters choose Christensen Arms, and their newest rifle—the Ridgeline FFT—is an example of what a top-shelf backcountry hunting gear should be.
Racing to the Top
The Ridgeline FFT rifle sports a stock inspired by technology used in Formula One racing. Those familiar with the sport will have heard of monocoque construction. The term monocoque translates to a structural skin. The advantage is a reduction, or elimination, of internal frameworks that take up space and add weight. The common chicken egg is another monocoque design since it has a lightweight exterior shell that protects and supports the interior. Christensen Arms’ new FFT, or Flash Forged Technology, refers to the new carbon fiber stock design that incorporates monocoque construction. Doing so results in ample structural rigidity with minimal weight, which should be appealing to any hunter.
Premium Construction Throughout
The FFT stock is just one of the high-tech features that makes the newest Christensen Ridgeline rifle so attractive. The Utah-based company has a large following thanks in part to the high-end features found in all their rifles. The new Ridgeline FFT comes with their 416 stainless-steel precision-machined action with a lowered ejection port and internal box magazine that holds four rounds (three in magnum chamberings).
The action is drilled and tapped to accept Remington 700 pattern bases using 6-48 screws, so mounting an optic is simple and straightforward and there are plenty of mounting options available. The bolt body is spiral fluted and features a dual lug design with a robust extractor and plunger-type ejector, and the FFT carbon fiber bolt knob is removable. The bolt handle itself is flattened and skeletonized with three circular holes, a unique and modern look that also shaves a few ounces.
The action rests on embedded stainless-steel pillars inside the stock. The barrel is made from 416R stainless steel with a carbon-fiber wrap and is threaded at the muzzle. New to the FFT models is a removable side baffle brake that’s color matched to the action. Rounding out notable features are a TriggerTech trigger with a two-position rocker-type safety and a unique FFT hinged floorplate.
The Ridgeline FFT is a rifle built with two guiding principles: It must be accurate enough to make the most important shot of your life and light enough to allow you to get in position to make that shot. Christensen Arms succeeds at both these objectives. The FFT stock and components, the carbon-fiber wrapped barrel and other weight-saving elements allow the Ridgeline FFT to weigh as little as 5.3 pounds, which is a full pound lighter than the standard Ridgeline model. The standard Ridgeline isn’t exactly a cumbersome rifle, but with a very light optic, the Ridgeline FFT weighs about as much scoped as the standard Ridgeline weighs without an optic. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you then you haven’t been climbing into goat and sheep country.
Light weight is great, but accuracy is paramount. No need to fret, though, because the Ridgeline FFT is indeed an accurate gun. Christensen promises these rifles will shoot sub-MOA with quality ammo, and that’s been my experience (see below). So long as the ammo, optic, and shooter are up to the challenge, the Ridgeline FFT will produce nice, neat groups at 100 yards and beyond. This ensures that when your hard work pays off and you’re within range of the trophy of a lifetime, your rifle will do its part.
Accuracy and minimal mass are important on a mountain rifle, but good looks are important as well, and the Ridgeline FFT is a stunner. There are multiple metalwork options including Burnt Bronze and Natural Stainless Cerakote and black nitride, and several camo pattern stocks including Sitka Subapline and Sitka Elevated II. So not only are these rifles eye-catching, they’re also stylish. Ridgeline FFT rifles are currently offered in nine different chamberings from .22-250 to .450 Bushmaster, including 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .280 Ackley Improved, .308 Win, .30-06, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and many more.
The new Ridgeline FFT has an MSRP of $2,399.99, which is reasonable for a rifle of this ilk. If you don’t mind a few extra ounces of weight and prefer a steel barrel, its cousin, the Mesa FFT, offers the same monocoque stock for an MSRP of $1,599.99. Both rifles are well-equipped for hunting the steepest and most difficult terrain, and both are made in the USA and backed by Christensen’s sub-MOA guarantee.
At the Range Testing
The Ridgeline FFT looks like a performer. My test rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester, came with a 20-inch barrel with a 1:10 twist and a Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish with a carbon-colored FFT stock with black and tan paint accents. Topped with a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44 scope, it was an eye-catching, lightweight mountain hunting rig. The recoil-reducing muzzle brake tames setback effectively, albeit with an uptick in muzzle blast, and the soft rubber recoil pad is effective and comfortable. The TriggerTech trigger was excellent, light and crisp, which helps ensure optimum accuracy. Three-shots groups measured as small as 0.7 inches at 100 yards with factory ammunition, which certainly meets the factory accuracy guarantee.
The Ridgeline FFT is billed as a mountain gun, and it shines in that role. But this rifle is suitable for hunting more than the high country. At just over 41 inches long, the test rifle would make an outstanding eastern hunting rifle where thick cover is the norm and light-quick-handling rifles are a benefit. It’s maneuverable in tight quarters like a blind or tree stand, and although you may not need to take full advantage of this rifle’s impressive accuracy potential, there’s no such thing as a gun that shoots too well. Christensen Arms has done a magnificent job adding high-tech features to the traditional mountain gun design and in doing so, they’ve set a higher standard for high country rifles.
Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle Specs
- Type: Bolt-action
- Cartridge: .308 Win. (tested), .22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.5-284 Norma, 26 Nosler, .270 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, .280 Ackley Imp, 7mm Rem mag, 28 Nosler, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM, .300 PRC, 30 Nosler, .300 RUM, and .450 Bushmaster
- Capacity: 4 rounds (standard), 3 (Magnum)
- Trigger: TriggerTech, 3.1 lbs. (tested)
- Barrel: 416R stainless with carbon fiber wrap
- Muzzle: Threaded, includes Christensen Arms side baffle removable brake
- Stock: Carbon fiber FFT monocoque
- Weight: 5.3 lbs.
- Overall Length: 41.4 in.
- MSRP: $2,399.99
- Manufacturer: Christiansen Arms