With the US Army adopting the Remington MSR system for the new 300 Win Mag version of the M24, I decided to give one of these new “modular” chassis systems a try. Having shot a M1A in a JAE stock previously, and liking the concept, I considered their R700 model. The AICS is well received within the community and very popular and then I found the XLR. While similar in price to the AICS but with a forearm like the MSR, it got my attention. After doing some research and kicking around the options, spring around the corner, I ordered up a XLR for a Rem 700 short action. I’m not a sniper school grad, F-Class champ, 3 Gun wizard, or anything of the sort. I’m just a retired combat Vet that enjoys the shooting sports.
I knew there was a 10 week lead time so I wanted to have the stock in time to get some testing done before I took it to any events this summer. With the calendar set for the summer I should have a good month to get familiar with it before putting it on the line. Well, at the 11 week mark I still didn’t have a stock so I shot an email off to Kyle at XLR. He responded in a timely manner (under 24 hours) and informed me he was out of stock tubes and waiting on parts. I still had a few weeks till my first “test” outing I had scheduled so no big deal. Another week goes by and I email again asking for an update. Basically saying, if the chassis isn’t going to be ready in time, no big deal but I need to know so I can get that barreled action back in my old stock and setup for an upcoming event. Things don’t look good so I broke out the trusty HS Precision PST025. Once remounted, I hit the range to zero, and confirm data before the first tune up shoot at 1000 yards. This was a F-TR match I was attending just to get some data at that area/conditions/elevation because we had a steel match near there 3 weeks later. So after coming off the line at the range zeroing and packing up stuff in the vehicle to head home, I notice a voicemail. It’s Kyle and my XLR is ready to ship. So I give him the low down on the situation and ask if he can overnight it so I can get it mounted and zeroed prior to the tune up event. He overnights the chassis on his dime and it’s in hand by noon the next day. I promptly set to the task of mounting up my barreled action.
Assembly / Mounting
You read a lot of product descriptions that say “drop in” or the like and they usually aren’t even close. The XLR is precision machined and fits like a surgical glove. The design is pretty straight forward but giving the directions a read before you start bolting things in place is worth the few minutes it takes. I use crazy large recoil lugs so I had to have that cut to oversized spec. I also had the bolt handle notch cut to accept straight bolt handles. Both non-standard specs I requested were spot on and the barreled action dropped in nicely.
Scope Rail / Optics
The next big obstacle with the XLR is scope mounting. During my research I figured out I would have to cut my scope rail back, knew this going in. After doing my homework I also knew that shortened rail was going to get crowed fast. I was hoping to keep my USO 6 screw rings on the rifle but wasn’t sure if I would have to switch to 4 screw rings to get my cosign and swing level to all fit. The scope rail has to be cut back because of the design of the forearm tube. The forearm tube is clamped into place over/around the recoil lug and a standard length scope rail hits the top portion of the clamp. So I put the rail on the end mill and cut it back. I then slide my front ring back and mounted up the scope. I was able to get my Cosign and Swing Level all on the rail in the arrangement I have become accustom to. I was surprised by this given the rather large erector box the USO SN3 line has.
The tube forend is extremely light weight and gave me some concern early on. It clamps in place with 6 screws and has another screw and offset to hold it in place/ keep it from rotating. The external optional rails bolt on simple enough. With a heavy barrel like I have (#7) you can’t put the rails all the way to the rear as the internal keepers on the inside of the tube will touch the barrel. I was able to mount the 5 inch rails up front easily without a problem. I stuck a 9-13 swivel Harris bipod on it and ran with it. I also mounted a QD sling point on the forend rail. This was the area that gave me pause. So I have a rifle that comes in at almost 18 pounds with a loaded 10 round mag … and I’m gonna body sling it on that lightweight forend …. 12 inches out from the 6 screw clamp system. I just knew I was gonna trash this thing the first time I tossed it on my back and climbed a hill and smacked my barrel on a tree branch or whatever. I was sure it was gonna crack or I was gonna tweak that forend. Well, about 350 rounds later, 3 comps, even took a digger with it slung across my chest, and its still rollin. I’m pleasantly surprised and pretty stoked at how tough that little tube has turned out to be.
I opted for the tactical buttstock for one reason, built in QD sling point/flush cup. All three options would work but the included sling point and ambi check riser made the choice easy. The whole rear of the chassis is very adjustable and I found even being Yeti sized I was able to get setup in pretty short order. A few minor adjustments over a few range trips but now that I have it where I like it … I don’t see any changes until winter when I slide the whole stock in a ¼ inch due to thick jackets, etc.
Magazine / DBM
On my old HS Precision I had Badger bottom metal and AICS magazines. The magazine well in the XLR is nice and snug, once the mag is inserted, the thing feeds smooth and clean. The latch is easy to use and removing the mag with one hand is done easily. I have not tried Alpha mags with the XLR.
The stock XLR grip is a ambi ERGO, while not my grip of choice, I ran it for a while to see if it would grow on me. It didn’t and I modified a ATI grip to fit. It’s a cheapo grip compared to the fancy Magpul / ERGO / etc models out there but it’s the one I like. Any AR grip will work but if they have any type of web rise on the back, it will have to be cut down to match a standard A2 profile.
F-TR Match at 800/900/1000 in Missoula with nothing but a 100 yard zero and dope on the barreled action from the old stock. Long story short … took second place in F-TR. For the first time shooting the chassis at anything other than 100 yards … I was pretty happy with how it performed. Next was some UKD testing prior to the steel match. Nothing to say except all was smooth and the chassis was holding up fine. Next was a UKD Steel match and the rifle was beat on a bit. Body slung and beat around moving form point to point while on the clock. Shot from various positions to include, Offhand, Prone off pack, Prone off Bipod, Seated off Shooting sticks, in a Bunker, and it performed fine. We had some ejection/extraction issues but that was no fault of the chassis. The old non-riveted extractor was pretty much wore out. The Castle nut on the AR style stock tube came loose at the end of the Long course during the steel match. Easy fix straight away with the proper AR wrench.
After beating on the XLR Evolution chassis for a while and using it under various conditions, I am impressed with its performance. If performs on par with my old HS PST025 and weight is about the same. If has pros and cons next to a conventional stock like the HS PST 025 it replaced.
True Drop in (no inletting or smith work)
DBM system built in (no inletting or smith work)
No need to reglass after rebarrel
Folding stock option
Tools required for field adjustments to LOP and Cheek Weld
Optics mounting options limited
The overall cost to get a quality Manners, McMillan, HS Precision, etc stock, DBM bottom metal, inlet and glassed is about the same as a fully setup XLR. The end user and the desired application will make that call. I wouldn’t setup a hunting rig with this, but for a tactical/comp rig it’s not a bad way to go. The customer service I received from Kyle at XLR was outstanding and adds another plus in my book.
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