Accurate-Mag was started in 2005 and became an immediate success. The company’s work in the manufacture of magazines and bottom metal for bolt-action rifles is legendary. Accurate-Mag is a father-and-son company located in Monroe, Connecticut. Vincent “Cousin Vinny” Battaglia runs Accurate-Mag, and he and his father are lifelong tool and die experts. After seven years of turning out rifle component parts and working behind the scenes with several major rifle manufacturers, Accurate-Mag decided to go “full rifle” with its SporT-Tact line of precision-engineered bolt actions.
“The company was smart. It built a great chassis, or stock, for the barreled action to live in, and then Accurate-Mag turned to a master for an exceptionally assembled barreled action and trigger group…”
The AM40A6 (click here to read a full review) is the first of those rifles, and it has been built to conform to Marine Corps precision sniper rifle standards. As a result, you have a rifle that is designed to handle any tactical situation an officer might find himself faced with. Let me say up front that this might be the most accurate bolt-action rifle of any configuration that I have ever fired. If all you are interested in is accuracy, you probably do not need to read any further. I don’t shoot half-inch groups
all that often, but shooting half-inch groups with this rifle was effortless.
Accuracy or precision, depending on how you like to address it, does not come by accident or for free. Precision shooting such as this requires the exemplary fitting of a multitude of parts that have been meticulously machined. A great barrel must be properly fitted to an action that has been trued to exactness. Then a bolt must be impeccably fitted to that action, and the chamber must be cut into the barrel flawlessly. After all that splendid metal work has been performed, the barreled action must then be bedded to a stock that is rigid and rock solid.
But the mechanics behind the build are just part of the equation. A human must crawl behind the rifle and make it shoot. Yeah, I know, you can do great things from a benchrest or a vise, but this rifle was tested from the ground; it was fired off a bipod front rest and a small beanbag rear rest. Great shooting in those situations requires that the rifle fit the shooter and that the trigger be creep free, that it breaks like a heart and that it has no overtravel.
How does Accurate-Mag, a company built on the foundation of manufacturing rifle bottom metal and magazines, turn out its first rifle and make it shoot this well? The company was smart. It built a great chassis, or stock, for the barreled action to live in, and then Accurate-Mag turned to a master for an exceptionally assembled barreled action and trigger group.
Let’s start with the chassis. Accurate-Mag took what it learned during the development of a prior rifle chassis for a major manufacturer and applied those lessons and its precision machining experience to a new chassis that would meet the requirements set forth by the Marine Corps. This chassis is essentially a three-piece unit. Piece one is the center chassis, which is what the barreled action is bedded to. Piece two is the forend, and piece three is the buttstock. This pieced approach transcends one-piece stock versatility and takes the precision bolt-action rifle into the versatile world of the AR.
The center chassis is machined aluminum and houses the trigger group and magazine well while also providing a solid—no movement allowed—foundation for the barreled action to rest in. The triggerguard is integral to the chassis, and the magazine release is a large paddle positioned just forward of the triggerguard. The chassis comes standard with an Ergo palm-swell grip, but since this grip is for an AR-15, you could install any AR-type grip you like.
The forend piece of the chassis is also machined aluminum. It attaches to the center chassis with two robust screws. Remove these screws and the forend can be separated from the center chassis and slid off the end of the barrel. These two screws thread into a dovetailed block that is integral to the center chassis. The front action screw passes through this block and threads into the front action screw hole on the barreled action.
The forend has been skeletonized with horizontal flutes and key cuts for the attachment of accessories or rail sections that are held in place via Chicago-type, hex-head screws. Integral to the top of the forend, or handguard as it should probably be called, is an 11.5-inch section of Picatinny rail that has 28 slots. This rail, which aligns perfectly with the railed scope base on the receiver, will allow for the attachment of a night-vision device. The barrel is free-floated from the action to the muzzle, and the rifle comes with a 9-inch Harris bipod already attached to the handguard. With the bipod and two 3-inch sections of Picatinny rail attached, the handguard weighed 1.94 pounds.
The buttstock section of the three-piece chassis system is attached to the center chassis via two screws positioned just behind the action’s tang. The front of the buttstock—the part that attaches to the center chassis—is aluminum, but the rear section is polymer. The front aluminum section is jointed and hinged. There’s a push button on the right side of this piece that releases the lock, and the stock can be folded 180 degrees. When the stock is folded, the complete rifle can be carried in a case no longer than 1 meter. The center and butt section of the stock together weigh 3.88 pounds, which brings the total stock weight (with bipod) to 5.81 pounds.
But that’s not the complete story of the buttstock. It has a rubber cheekpiece that is adjustable for height and has been smartly configured so the bolt can be removed from the action regardless of how high it is positioned. There are multiple sling attachment points, and the vertical positioning of the buttpad can be adjusted and locked in place with a thumbscrew. The buttpad, which is a 1-inch KICK-EEZ recoil pad, sandwiches multiple synthetic spacers between it and the plate that allows for vertical buttpad adjustment. This means you can adjust the length of pull of the stock to fit you. Remember when I said rifle fit was important if you wanted to shoot with the upmost precision?
For a barreled action, Accurate-Mag went to the right place. All of the barreled actions on its AM40A6 rifles come from GA Precision. If you are a precision rifle kind of guy, GA Precision needs no introduction. George Gardner founded GA Precision as a means of building competition rifles for local high-power and long-range shooters. During the past 10 years though, GA Precision has grown exponentially and currently builds rifles for FBI tactical teams and other law enforcement agencies. It has an impeccable reputation for rugged and unimaginably accurate rifles. According to Vinny, “There was no other source to consider.”
GA Precision treats the Marine Corps-specified Remington 700 action just like it would if it were going on one of its own rifles. It is trued, fitted and polished to perfection. The bolt in this action works so smoothly your first thought will be that there is something wrong with it. I’ll wager you’ve never cycled a bolt this fluid. GA Precision then installs a 24-inch, stainless steel barrel that has six-groove, 1-in-12-inch-twist rifling.
Talking to Vinny about the rifle, he said it was “suppressor ready.” I told him I was not sure what he meant, because my test rifle did not have a threaded muzzle. He insisted it did. I looked again and, nope, no threads. Then, inadvertently, I twisted the end of the barrel and, lo and behold, it started unscrewing. The fault line between the thread protector, which perfectly continues the lines of the barrel, and the barrel was indistinguishable. But, just like Vinny said, under the thread protector were 5/8-24 threads.
GA Precision also tweaks the factory Remington trigger with the same attention to detail the company applies to the threaded muzzle. It might be the best-tuned factory Remington trigger I have ever pulled, and if there was ever a trigger snob, I’m it. No take-up, no creep, no overtravel and a consistent pull weight of 2.5 pounds. The barreled action and trigger group weigh 7.25 pounds, so this brings the total weight of the AM40A6 to 13 pounds unloaded. Obviously, a suitable riflescope, rings and a magazine full of ammo will add another several pounds to the battle-ready rig.
I tested three different factory loads in the AM40A6, firing five 5-shot groups with each load at 100 yards. Granted, the test ammo was match grade, but with most tactically styled bolt-action rifles, that means one out of the three loads will shoot well. Every load shot well out of the Accurate-Mag AM40A6. In fact, the largest five-shot group I fired measured 0.81 inches. For many tactical rifles, this worst group is as good as it gets, and most rifles only dream of five-shot groups this small.
I really could not find anything wrong with this rifle. Yes, it is heavy, but that is the nature of the beast and exactly what the Marine Corps wants. I asked a friend who is a sheriff’s deputy and is also in charge of the department’s tactical team to look at the rifle. I began to worry that I was not going to get it back; I could see the wheels turning in his head as he mulled over whether to get out his credit card or to just knock me in the head and toss me in the ditch. I think all that saved me was that he already had a rifle from GA Precision.
The tactical precision rifle market is crowded and getting more crowded by the minute. Consumers, be they military, law enforcement or civilian, are demanding the very best that can be had, and this is pushing manufactures to new levels. No, the Accurate-Mag AM40A6 is not the most affordable precision rifle you will find. At a shade over $5,000, it won’t even rate as moderately priced.
It is indeed a high-dollar rifle, but it’s also a high-performance rifle. The AM40A6 will print groups many fractions of an inch less than 1 MOA! In the world of tactical, precision bolt-action rifles—rifles designed to be put in the lifesaving hands of a SWAT team countersniper—you’re going to pay handsomely for every one of those fractions you demand. To paraphrase Walter Cronkite, that’s just the way it is.
For more information, visit http://www.accurate-mag.com.