The precision rifle market has boomed over the last few years, and the accessories market has expanded accordingly. Enhancing your rifle gets easier every year. While custom rifles are nice, they are also very expensive, and most officers can’t come close to affording them. For most, the best means of enhancing one’s rifle is bolt-on accessories. The ability to complete the installation at the armorer or user level is also a plus. Few agencies offer “loaner” rifles while yours is down, so avoiding the need for outside assistance is preferred. One of the easiest and most useful alterations one can make is installing a new stock system. And, of the several stock systems available, in my opinion one of the most versatile is the modular SABER-FORSST chassis from Ashbury Precision Ordnance.
The chassis system, designed to be installed simply and enhance your stock or modified action, starts with a 7075-T6 aluminum receiver designed to accept AICS magazines. The pistol grip is a standard AR-platform unit. It moves forward or rearward, allowing for trigger-finger alignment, and is adjustable for grip angle. The stock is user-adjustable for length of pull, cheek height and vertical recoil pad position. Various attachments allow for support-hand placement or even a monopod. The standard SABER-FORSST buttstock does not fold, though folding versions are available. The system accommodates most long and short actions as well as some .50 BMG rifles. Right- and left-hand models are available, and none require bedding.
“… the SABER-FORRST made the system as a whole lightweight, well-balanced and incredibly handy.”
Several forend options make the SABER-FORSST truly modular. The Sporter is a simple, open-topped forend with two studs for your sling and bipod. For those who want rail attachments, the MOD-0 allows 4-inch rails to be attached as needed on the top and bottom and uses your existing action-mounted scope rail. Both chassis install easily and are completely interchangeable.
For those looking for extra rail space, the MOD-1 is a quad-rail system with a unitized top rail extending the length of the action and forend, and it has repositionable side and bottom rails that essentially cover it in rail space. Black is the standard color. Special-order colors include Flat Dark Earth, OD green and Nordic Gray. Camouflage colors are on the horizon.
I received two SABER-FORSST chassis for testing, the MOD-0 and the Sporter. I installed the former on my 6.5mm Creedmoor competition rifle. Recently rebarreled with a 24-inch Proof Research carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, it seemed a perfect match. This rifle utilizes an X-Treme M22 tactical trigger as well as a Stiller Tac-30 action that is designed to accept both AICS and AW magazines. Its accuracy was also already stellar, making it a good platform against which to judge the efficacy of the stock.
Like most Remington 700 clones, the Stiller is based on a stock action. However, in many cases the bolt angle and other considerations can make fitting drop-in stocks a little bit harder. Originally installed in an AICS stock, the action required some grinding in order to make it work. You need to take this into consideration when mounting the SABER-FORSST to a non-stock Remington action. Even so, this one dropped in like a charm.
The forend slides over the barrel and locks into the channel on the stock using two screws. The MOD-0’s carbon-fiber construction is a perfect fit for the carbon-fiber barrel and keeps things light. I attached a rail on the bottom for mounting my Long Range Accuracy (LRA) bipod. I also added a short rail on top for night vision, keeping things generally smooth and simple.
The only real consideration for installation was the scope rail. Extended rails may interfere with the forend. Ashbury’s customer service is superb, so if you have a question, call them. They can fit it for you or help you where they can. Since the Stiller rail does not extend too far forward, I had no issues.
My second test platform was a Remington 700 SPS Tactical, which is very popular in the LE world. The test SPS Tactical, chambered in 300 AAC Blackout, is equipped with an X-Mark Pro trigger, which is substantially different than previous versions in terms of fit. It was also a good means of determining whether the SABER-FORSST offered any improvement in accuracy. Given the SPS Tactical’s 16.5-inch barrel and my desire to run it suppressed, I used the Sporter forend.
“… with the SABER-FORSST installed, half-inch groups of Remington 125-grain Match ammunition were the norm rather than the exception.”
Luckily, Ashbury has taken steps to accommodate the new X-Mark Pro trigger. The new SABER-FORSST Sporter chassis is markedly wider at the safety than earlier versions. One look at the trigger space in the chassis confirms the difference. Once again, the chassis dropped into place perfectly. The Sporter proved to be about perfect for sniper deployment. It allowed me to use my McCann rail, which accommodates night vision. It was also easy to attach a Harris bipod. The result was a very simple and compact rifle perfectly suited for duty use. Since the 300 BLK is based on the .223 Remington, I used polymer AICS .223 magazines with this rifle.
At the range, the SPS Tactical’s accuracy improved noticeably with the new stock. It was no slouch out of the box, but with the SABER-FORSST installed, half-inch groups of Remington 125-grain Match ammunition were the norm rather than the exception. Adjusting the stock allowed for a perfect fit, and recoil was all but non-existent with the suppressor attached. If I removed the suppressor and folded the stock, the SPS Tactical fit in several bags, including many that lacked a tactical look. Of the four magazines I used, two performed flawlessly; the other two, not so much. They had different widths and moved about in the mag well.
As for the 6.5mm Creedmoor, there was no change in accuracy. Group testing yielded sub-0.25-inch groups with my handloads. I fired Hornady 140-grain rounds into groups measuring 0.5 inches or less with boring consistency. This rifle performed flawlessly with both AICS and AW magazines. The stock swap did nothing but improve my connection to the rifle. Coupled with the carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, the SABER-FORRST made the system as a whole lightweight, well-balanced and incredibly handy. With the stock folded and a Desert Tech suppressor attached, the rifle fit easily in my drag bag. When it’s extended, the buttstock locks solidly into place, with no movement. The cheekpiece adjusts with the turn of a screw. It stayed put throughout testing. There are quick-detach (QD) sling cups on both sides of the buttstock, at the rear of the action and on the MOD-0’s forend.
The SABER-FORSST chassis enhanced both rifles. It made the SPS Tactical shoot better, and my 6.5mm Creedmoor fit me perfectly. With both, installation was easy, even with some non-standard parts. Its modularity makes it possible to fit pretty much any need. Non-folding versions start at under $1,000 and move up from there. A MOD-1 with all the bells and whistles is going to set you back over $2,500. For most officers, the Sporter will do the trick. At most, add the folding stock. The rest can be added as your pocketbook allows. Everything is well fitted, well made, and Ashbury’s customer service is excellent. Whether you are upgrading your duty rifle or tricking out your competition rig, Ashbury Precision Ordnance’s SABER-FORSST is a solid option.
For more information, visit AshburyPrecisionOrdinance.com or call 434-296-8600.
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