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Review, Christensen Arms Ridgeline in 308 w/20" Barrel Login/Join 
Mark1Mod0Squid
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To start with, you can find the MFGR Specifications here: Christensen Arms Ridgeline

I had a Defiance Deviant action I picked up about 3 years ago. Was always planning on it being the start of a lightweight build. By the time I did the math on sourcing the Manners EH1 stock, Proof carbon barrel, Trigger, bottom metal, and having it built.....I decided this might be a reasonable trade off that would suit my needs. I was looking for a lightweight stalking/walking gun in a caliber that I could hunt with here in the high desert of AZ. Going to try for my deer and pronghorn tag next year as they walk by my place all the time. I know a few of their other paths that are all within 3/4 mile walking distance too, so I just wanted a lightweight gun to go out and about with. I toyed with the idea of a couple different calibers and finally settled on good old reliable 308, it doesn't hurt that I have all the components to load a couple thousands of rounds in 308.

Barrel length and caliber played together as I know what my shortcomings are at distance and I can get almost everything I am capable of out of the 308 with a 20" barrel out to 500 yards give or take. There will be shots at twice that distance where I am at, but I won't be taking those at anything but paper.

General Idea is a semi do-all gun/caliber for Deer, Pronghorn, coyote, and varmint duty that is lightweight.

Picked this up from the FFL about 2 weeks ago. I actually traded the Defiance action and a Glock for it, all in all not a bad deal. Brought it home and out of the box it came. Initial reaction was, dang this thing is light! On the USPS scale it was 6lbs 3oz as advertised. I have read and heard others complain that theirs were not the 6.3 advertised for the short action, but most of them had longer barrels, so I dismiss their claims.

I did not break the action out of the stock as I wanted to shoot it as is from the factory. So external fit and finish are on par with both of my GAP bolt actions and another custom bolt gun from Elkhorn Precision. The stock is made by Christensen Arms and feels solid and the finish is excellent. 1" decelerator pad is aligned perfectly and is very supple rubber. All visible portions of the action and barrel look great with no discernable imperfections. Bolt is nice and smooth and lock up feels very good to my novice hand. Bolt fluting is nicely done and uniform in appearance. External bolt release works smoothly and has no hang ups or catches inserting the bolt. The bottom metal is actually all metal, fit and finish are excellent. The TriggerTech trigger is smooth and breaks clean, but it is set at the high end of 3.5lbs of advertized 2.5-3.5lbs adjustability. Measured an average (x5 pulls) of 3.6lbs with lyman digital trigger scale. I will have to shoot it more to decide if I will adjust or not.

Only thing worth mentioning out of the box as a negative is the bolt handle. Very tiny. But this is a personal dislike and not a functional issue. Also looks to be sealed/locked in place. I'll be calling them to discern changing it out if it is in fact sealed/locked in place.

My overall impression is that the build and finish quality of this gun is high for an "off the shelf" gun. It is also well within the price to value ratio for a $2000 street price gun.

I chose a Swarovski Z3 3-10x42 with BRX reticle because I happened to have it on an 18" AR varmint gun which I had another scope available for. As soon as I can find the excess funds, I think I will consider changing out to Swarovski X5 3.5-18x44. Or maybe I won't. If I step up to the Z5 I'll need new rings to accommodate the 42mm to 44mm objective lens change (maybe). Not much clearance at the front end of the EGW aluminium scope rail now with a set of Leupold MK4 1" medium steel rings. Or, depending on where it sets, I could go to a two piece base or cut down the front of the EGW rail. Also going to the Z5 would add 3.2oz

After Mark1Mod0 eyeball borescope, it was time to put some rounds on paper. MFGR has a barrel break in that calls for two 3 shot groups, clean, repeat for first 50 rounds. I modified to one 5 shot group, clean, repeat. Target at 100 yards using some old stock white box Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr .308 and have a SiCo Hybrid suppressor mounted as I hate shooting without suppressors. Shooting off a Harris bipod and leather bag.

Shooting bench today was my 8000lb skid steer. Ergonomics work out well when the bucket is positioned just right and it certainly is solid Cool






Weight with Swarovski Z3 3-10x42, Leupold MK4 steel medium 1" rings, EGW full length base, SiCo Hybrid suppressor, Butler Creek sling, and 5rds 168gr FGGM.



Far right are the first 2 shots. Top center was shot 3 after windage adjustment. Far left was after Elevation adjustment and I am assuming the ass behind the gun jerking the trigger. Center bull was shot 5 because I was pretty sure I jerked the trigger on shot 4.



First 5 shot for group



Second 5 shot for group, getting better.



Third 5rd shot for group. Wow, this is getting good, but I need to adjust elevation just a bit.



4th 5 shot for group. Well, going the right direction for my elevation change, but opened em back up a bit.



Lets end today on a good note. After the sight in and zeroing shots, I easily put 5 rounds into the 8" steel gong at 310yrs.



All in all, I am super happy with this out of the gate and see there is potential to tighten things up with my fundamentals and reloading to suit the gun.

Last thing of note, the stock is nice and I can deal with the comb, but may add something to bump up my cheek weld a little. However, the grip is thin and the angle is a bit steep. Not a deal breaker as it is a hunting gun and not a bench gun. So I'll have to either change to overcome the discomfort, or maybe make changes to the stock. Going to have to do some other position shooting before I decide where I am with that.


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Posts: 1766 | Location: AZ | Registered: May 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice Review!


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Posts: 3801 | Registered: April 06, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very good D. I would say it is on course to be a tack driver. Nice shoot'in. Wink



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Posts: 14078 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice choice, I have that exact same rifle but it has a nightforce shv on it, actually most of my rifles have SHVs on them at this point. Mine shoots 180g partitions into tiny groups and makes an awesome set up out to 500yds for me.

I took it to Etolin island last year for an elk hunt and it performed flawlessly during 8 days of rain and sleet.
 
Posts: 4954 | Location: Alaska | Registered: June 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sounds like the Christensen is a nice rifle. I've shot one of their AR15s, but not bolt action.

The recommended barrel break-in of 50 rounds seems pretty high to me, especially for a hand-lapped barrel. IMO a more reasonable round count is 20, maybe 25. If you're not seeing copper flecks in your patches, and your carbon fouling is noticeably decreasing, you should be good. For such a barrel, in reality you're doing more to remove the tooling marks in the chamber and the throat, than the whole barrel itself.

As you state this rifle will be used for hunting, I recommend your sighting in the rifle with hunting loads. At 100 yards with a 308, the POI difference between FGMM 168 and many hunting bullets at 100 yards will likely be minimal. However, you should know and document the difference -- if you intend to shoot match-type loads down the road. With your 1:10 twist you should have many options for bullet weights. Expect a POI difference at 100 yards -- and definitely beyond -- between say a 110 grain varmint load and a larger game 180-190 grain load.

It may or may not be your cup of tea, but I use Triad's stock pad for a cheek riser for my rifles that don't have adjustable risers built into the stock. I use their stock pad, not their stock pack.
 
Posts: 6215 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just saw you have a suppressor. Which one?



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Posts: 14078 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Mark1Mod0Squid
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quote:
Originally posted by djpaintles:
Nice Review!


Thank you

quote:
Originally posted by old rugged cross:
Very good D. I would say it is on course to be a tack driver. Nice shoot'in. Wink.........
I just saw you have a suppressor. Which one?


Thanks. Currently shooting with a SilencerCo Hybrid. Have 2 different Elite Iron Bravos and a Surefire Socom 2 in .30 cal. The SilencerCo Hybrid is the lightest direct thread so i chose that for this. The above photo showing weight includes the suppressor mounted on the gun.

quote:
Originally posted by newmexican:
Nice choice, I have that exact same rifle but it has a nightforce shv on it, actually most of my rifles have SHVs on them at this point. Mine shoots 180g partitions into tiny groups and makes an awesome set up out to 500yds for me.

I took it to Etolin island last year for an elk hunt and it performed flawlessly during 8 days of rain and sleet.


Which SHV do you have, 3-10? I would consider the Nightforce line as I have 3 of their NXS on different guns. However, the weight diff between the Swarovski and Nightforce is significant. Probably due much to adding the side parallax adjustment. As you loading your own 180 partitions or is it a factory load?

quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
Sounds like the Christensen is a nice rifle. I've shot one of their AR15s, but not bolt action.

The recommended barrel break-in of 50 rounds seems pretty high to me, especially for a hand-lapped barrel. IMO a more reasonable round count is 20, maybe 25. If you're not seeing copper flecks in your patches, and your carbon fouling is noticeably decreasing, you should be good. For such a barrel, in reality you're doing more to remove the tooling marks in the chamber and the throat, than the whole barrel itself.

As you state this rifle will be used for hunting, I recommend your sighting in the rifle with hunting loads. At 100 yards with a 308, the POI difference between FGMM 168 and many hunting bullets at 100 yards will likely be minimal. However, you should know and document the difference -- if you intend to shoot match-type loads down the road. With your 1:10 twist you should have many options for bullet weights. Expect a POI difference at 100 yards -- and definitely beyond -- between say a 110 grain varmint load and a larger game 180-190 grain load.

It may or may not be your cup of tea, but I use Triad's stock pad for a cheek riser for my rifles that don't have adjustable risers built into the stock. I use their stock pad, not their stock pack.


I agree with the barrel break in being high. As a side question, when cleaning initially or doing breakin, do you believe in using a mild cleaner for cleaning or a bore/copper solvent? I am not a big fan as is of over cleaning a barrel. I have always let my ARs roll to quite a few 100s rounds before proper cleaning and my bolt guns I go to 200rds and then clean. When I do a full clean, I generally stay away from bore/copper solvents until around 500 rds or so on the bolt guns. Christensen and many other MFGRs who recommended breakin never specify mild solvent vs. bore/copper solvent.

I was using the 168gr FGMM as a standard to see what the gun is capable of with a known factory load that I have on hand. I currently have some Fed 150 power shok and some 180 fusion that I plan to test out in this next week. I also have a boat load of 110 Hornady V-Max bullets to load and will start out with those for varmint and coyote. I think I also have some Hornady 150gr soft points. Any good recommendations for a 180 bullet to start with reloading? Hunting loads are new for me. I will be documenting the different POI for the first time.

I like the triad stock pack, it looks good and useful. I have a couple I'll try next week end see what works.


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Posts: 1766 | Location: AZ | Registered: May 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are as many ways to clean a barrel as there are shooters. I suspect most people's cleaning methods work well for them -- because if they didn't, the people would change their methods.

I clean regularly, usually every time I shoot a DI AR. And I shoot suppressed. Most of my cleaning is just wet patches, using a mild cleaning/lube solution. I use mild (non-ammonia) copper cleaners when necessary. I've had more issues with carbon rings than copper fouling. I rarely clean so much that the patches come clean -- I stop when the level of carbon fouling on patches begins to drop off.

I haven't hunted in ages, so I'm not the best source for bullet types. That said, I've dug enough bullets out of dirt and sand berms to have a good idea on a few types that expand and maintain integrity. Fusion bullets fly accurately and hold together -- but you may have to use the factory load.

Copper bullets are generally accurate and penetrate well. Consider GMX, Barnes, and probably others.

The plastic-tipped bullets that are designed for slow expansion are generally good for hunting. Vmax expands to fast for anything but varmints. SST is better for game. Remington's Accutips flew well in my 308, Winchester's XP3 did not. More traditional lead-tipped bullets have worked for decades, although with lower BCs.
 
Posts: 6215 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes I use the shv 3-10 and the 4-14 on most of my rifles, for me the weight is negligible for the return of a reliable optic. I’ve had swaro optics shit the bed a few times, 4-5 ounces is nothing in the grand scheme of things, heck, mY 30-338 is 9lbs scoped and I’ll carry that in sheep country this year.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: newmexican,
 
Posts: 4954 | Location: Alaska | Registered: June 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Interesting thread. I have a Winchester Classic SS in 300 WM that has been rebarreled by Christensen Arms with a Shilen Select Match carbon fiber wrapped barrel (about 7-10 years ago). It also has the titanium muzzle brake. A friend got me the barrel work done fairly cheap as he an in at Christensen Arms. The donor gun (given to me) was a little used and needs a better trigger and some bead blasting on the magazine plate (I think that is what it is called). The scope is a basic Leupold 3x9. I have held off shooting it as I have been debating whether to keep it, upgrade it and sell it, or upgrade and use It as a medium range rifle. This thread is inspiring me to do something. A new stock, trigger and some bead blasting shouldn’t break the bank. I do have a 6x20 Christensen Optics scope with an illuminated reticle that would go well with it.

These aren’t the greatest pictures but this is my hybrid Christensen.

{click on a picture to enlarge it)

[IMG:left] [/IMG]


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