October 29, 2018
Innovating, experimenting and accurizing have been Utah-based Christensen Arms’ focus for decades. Its new Modern Precision Rifle is touted as a next-generation chassis system, riding the tidal-wave trend of configurable, chassis-stocked rifles for precision shooting games. Rather than designing a ponderously heavy rifle ideal for competition but entirely unsuitable for field work, Christensen held true to its roots and engineered a precision rifle in a practical weight: 6.9 to 8.4 pounds, depending on caliber and barrel length.
To achieve that light-for-type weight, Christensen utilized a carbon-fiber-wrapped 416R stainless steel target-profile barrel, which is significantly more expensive to produce than a like-profile all-steel tube, and each button-rifled barrel is hand-lapped to boot.
But even with that, it’s priced competitively—only $2,295 for the short-action version. When you compare the price tag on this semicustom rifle against production guns like Ruger’s Precision and Tikka’s T3x TAC A1, which cost between $1,500 to $2,000, it’s remarkably inexpensive.
The MPR is available in various barrel lengths from 16 inches to 27 inches, and it’s chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag., .300 Norma and .338 Lapua. Not all barrel lengths are available in all cartridges.
Each barrel is threaded with a 5/8x24 pitch and fitted with a removable, tunable stainless side-baffle brake. The brake sports four Allen-head screws in the upper radius, which can be removed to direct a certain amount of jump-taming propellant gases upward.
The barrel is installed in Christensen’s dual-lug stainless steel action. Engineered with a Remington-type footprint and to accept Remington 700 scope bases, Christensen’s actions are machined from billet 416 stainless and feature an enlarged port for trouble-free ejection and an improved bolt release. The bolt release is sort of Sako-esque and is located at the left rear of the action.
Each bolt is spiral fluted, as is the bolt shroud. Additionally, the bolt handle is skeletonized to further reduce weight. An M16-type extractor is employed, and bolts for magnum cartridges are fit with dual ejectors to ensure enthusiastic ejection at the precise angle appropriate to clear scopes with large windage turrets. An oversize, fluted bolt knob and nitride treatment finish off the bolt.
To optimize performance in today’s precision rifle games, the MPR action is compatible with AICS-type detachable magazines and employs a “tactical” magazine release. The rifle comes with a 20 m.o.a. rail-type scope base and boasts an adjustable match-grade semi-straight trigger. The sample on mine broke at a beautifully crisp one pound, 14 ounces with less than an ounce of variation over a series of five measurements, according to my Lyman digital trigger gauge. That’s outstanding.