Monday, May 25, 2015

XLR Industries Standard Element Remington 700 Chassis Review

XLR Industries Standard Element Remington 700 Chassis Review

Everything seems to snowball for me and this is what happened when I started looking at Remington 700 Short Action Chassis Systems, so you can now expect a string of reviews featuring and reviewing all the various Remington 700 aftermarket chassis I have amassed for testing. Including this awesome XLR Industries billet Standard Element chassis, I have two additional XLR chassis and stocks from other companies as well to review. My hope is to work through all the reviews and then deliver a final buyers guide with all my condensed finding and perspective on pros and cons of each chassis.

THIS BUILD
For this build I ended up using a Remington 700 SPS AAC Tactical barreled action and doing some optic swapping. The first version was with Brownells Steel Remington 700 SPS scope base,  American Precision Arms Rings and a Lucid 4-16x44 Crossover Optic. Later I swapped back over to Extreme Hardcore Gear Ranger Rings and Leveling base with a PWS Brake and KRG Bolt Lift bolt handle. This was just to mess around and try out different configurations.

The main question everyone will ask is why go to the trouble and expense to move from a factory stock to a billet chassis system like this XLR Industries Standard Element stock or a premium target stock? The answer is usually consistency and improved accuracy due to a platform which is not affected by weather and humidity, and provides the same positive and precision grip/bedding on the action from shot to shot. These higher end chassis also free-float the barrel for the best possible accuracy from your Remington 700 barreled action and in most cases feature positive mechanical bedding which further increases accuracy and negate the need for the mess of resin or epoxy bedding the action. All XLR chassis feature precision bedding-less mounting system does not require gunsmithing and allows the receiver to sit in the chassis stress free for utmost accuracy without the need for a V-block.

Like many of the other top tier Rem 700 chassis, the XLR stock also deliver integrated AICS compatible box magazine well which saves you around $200 for a “bottom metal” AICS compatible magazine adapter for your factory stock. Adding a magazine fed feature delivers the ability to quickly reload or conveniently unload the rifle without "dumping" your rounds on the ground. AICS obviously makes various capacity magazines however ALPHA, Magpul, and MDT all also offer great options as well.

Yet another benefit of these chassis are that they are typically ergonomically and stability optimized for prone or benchrest shooting positions which deliver more long term shooting comfort behind the gun over long periods of lying or sitting down.

Most people find there is a world of difference in comfort and fit when they get behind one of these chassis systems. If you want the best accuracy possible from your Remington 700 Action and additional features, then it makes sense to look at one of these chassis systems. Of course the obvious point I should make is that with a few exceptions these target and sniper chassis are usually a bit heavier and are not really for field rifles that you are going to lug around for miles or use for a brush/walking stalk hunt. The purpose built chassis are designed for the most part to be supported with a bipod or sandbags and deliver the stability to increase long-range precision.

Shooters get a drop in stock replacement which delivers everything the professional and amateur shooter could ever want in a precision stock with literally every aspect of the stock being adjustable all while remaining completely backward compatible with off the shelf Remington upgrade components.  

When I brought up the buyers guide concept I was working on to XLR, they along with many other companies immediately wanted to send a test chassis to show me first hand why their chassis are extremely popular with the precision shooters, military and LEO sniper teams. XLR actually supplied three including their Tactical Evolution, Element, and Carbon versions all with similar but unique design features. XLR are the newer kids on the block when it comes to billet Remington 700 chassis however people are going a bit nuts over them due to the impressive comfort, adjustability and the huge breadth of chassis offered for various guns as well as customization options. In fact CLR chassis are now appearing quite a bit in long range competitions.

Among the many different bolt actions XLR offers billet chassis for, the Remington 700 short and long action are of course by far the most popular, however XLR Evolution series stocks are also available is the widest number of inlet models for other rifles, more than any other chassis in the world.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
As with all the XLR industries chassis, the Element series is available with any of XLR’s own billet buttstocks. In this case I choose their Standard stock, so this chassis I am testing is called the Standard Element. If I had selected the Tac Lite buttstock, this model would have been the Tac Lite Element. Hopefully you get the idea of their naming convention of the models. XLR’s folding $115 stock adapter can also be added to any of the stocks initially or later on. Personally I recommend every longer Rem 700 rifle has a buttstock folding adapter to simplify transport.  I didn't add that option on the XLR Standard Element chassis, however I likely will.

The "Standard" buttstock is fully adjustable for cant, cheek rest position, cheek rest height, length of pull, and buttpad height. You can get insanely comfy behind this rifle. About the only thing it is missing from a comfort perspective is a memory foam pillow. The base of the buttstock stock is angled to work with sandbags for elevation adjustments when prone or on the bench.

XLR stocks all accept AR15 grips, however it comes with the best one I could ever come up with to put on a rifle like this. For buttstocks, XLR’s chassis accept “some” AR15 buttstocks, however why would you go there when XLR’s are better, more adjustable, higher quality, in some cases lighter, and less expensive. I even used one of their Tactical buttstocks on an AR15 build.  You could use an AR15 buttstock, but what’s the point. XLR’s least expensive fully adjustable stock optimized for their chassis starts at only $180.

Like a custom one off chassis, the design, quality, and precision is totally insane. Even just their own stock folding adapter is superior in quality to any other AR15 style adapter on the market and fits any of their chassis. Really... their stocks are artful they are so well made.

The most important aspect of the buttstocks and the chassis are they are stiff, rigid and tough.  They also have less of that, hey I am a tuff guy with a beard look and more like I am a tough guy in a suit look. I would fully expect one of their chassis to appear in a Bond film at some point due to amazing looks. Admittedly XLR’s Carbon is the most eye catching, however their tubed forend Evolution is the best seller and their Element delivers everything the other stocks do in a simpler and lower cost chassis design that is easier for shooters to set up.

The XLR Industries Standard Element chassis I tested is one of XLR’s most popular chassis offering both lightweight and durability and a very reasonable price. It is not a lightweight stock per-say at just over 4lbs and nearly twice as heavy as my stock factory Hogue stock, however it is lightweight compared to most billet chassis systems. It is a chassis which can be heavily knocked around and will take the abuse. Where the rest of the XLR chassis feature tubed forends the Standard Element features an more traditional free-floated open top forend design. The XLR Element chassis provides mount rails positions at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions for accessories.

One of the really great things about the XLR Element design over XLR's tubed forend Carbon and Evolution chassis is that any existing Remington 700 rifle with base and scope already mounted can literally be lifted from the stock chassis and dropped into the Element chassis win 2 minutes without removing the scope or base. This may seem obvious, however on the chassis with tubed handguard/forends, some extended bases and shorter rings either interfere with or do not provide enough clearance height for the scope and base to clear the forend receiver trunnion. If you have a set up Remington action that you already have everything you need to just drop it in the Element without swapping a thing.

Installation was as simple as removing the two stock action screws, pulling off the factory stock from my Remington 700 SPS AAC .308, and dropping it into this action and using the supplied action screws to tighten everything down. The entire procedure took under 2 minutes.

As with the other chassis, there was an accuracy improvement the same as any of the other chassis I am currently testing which equated to about a 15% improvement in my accuracy over the factory Hogue stock. This basically pushed my best .65”ish groups to just over .5” and my more typical .8”-.9” groups down to the .7”-.75” mark. Not transformational, however it is an improvement. I can only speculate based on my experience, but this stock in combination with a match trigger upgrade could increase accuracy by as much as 30% depending on your trigger. There may be a difference in accuracy between each different XLR stock, however my abilities doe not allow me to fairly measure a difference that small.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Considering the stunning beauty of this chassis and craftsmanship, it's surprising that XLR is selling this at only $595 considering many other billet chassis are much more. It is a deal, wrapped up in a attractive design that actually, you know… performs as good as it looks.  The most significant advantage to the XLR chassis are that you can make them comfortable to lay behind for hours without overly fatiguing the shooter. This is a great sniper chassis for those that just want a true drop in option without worrying about having to change out bases and rings for scope & forend clearance.

SPECS
XLR Industries Standard Element Remington 700 Chassis
6061 T-6 billet action block
Type 2 Class 2 anodized finish
12 inch or 14 inch hand guard
Ergo overmold tactical AR grip
Right or left hand configurations
Fully adjustable stock
Sling ready
Single shot or DBM setup
No gunsmithing required
Made in U.S.A
MSRP $595 + $115 Stock Folder Adapter

SOURCES

Other Products Featured
xTreme Hardcore Gear - http://xtremehardcoregear.com/

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