Accuracy International AICS-AX 2.0 Chassis System Review: Initial Thoughts

Accuracy International AICS-AX 2.0 Review

AICS-AX 2.0 chassis system

The AICS-AX 2.0 chassis, is an updated version of the very popular AICS chassis system (a picture of the original system is at the bottom of the page) from Accuracy International.  The AICS-AX fits Remington 700 rifles and clones and is available for 308, 300 Win and 338 Lapua based cartridges.

We recently ordered an AICS-AX 2.o short action olive drab model from Brownells.  Here is a brief overview of the system, as well as some initial thoughts.

Check out these specs from Brownells website:

The AX AICS (Accuracy International Chassis System) brings the ergonomic and functional benefits of the advanced Accuracy International AX sniper rifle system to the Remington 700 platform. A far superior chassis system suitable for any environment and mission, the AX AICS provides a degree of modularity and configurability that cannot be achieved with a traditional stock. Quick and easy to install, requiring no specialized gunsmithing, the AX AICS is available for short and long Remington 700 actions in .308 Win, .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua Magnum families of cartridges. Built from polymer and alloy, the AX chassis is more than just a stock!

  • Full length aluminum chassis. The stiffness chassis gives the rifle a rugged, environmentally stable platform to enhance accuracy and zero retention. The action is attached to the chassis by two bolts (supplied) and retained in a self-aligning vee block bedding system which eliminates the need for bedding.
  • Folding chassis. When folded, the overall length is reduced by 8”. Ideal for rapid deployment from a vehicle, the stock locks in the folded position to avoid noise. Release by simply pulling the butt, the wear compensated hinge ensures total rigidity in the extended position.
  • Pistol grip.
  • Adjustable cheek piece. The standard adjustable cheekpiece adjusts left/right as well as for height to obtain optimum cheek position when using night vision equipment or telescopic sights with large objective lenses.
  • Butt pad. Chassis systems are fitted with a bolt-on soft rubber pad with 10 & 20mm spacers as standard.
  • Bipod adapter. The chassis has a fixing point for Harris Bipods fitted as standard.
  • Magazine. Surface toughened and finished with a multi-part, anti-corrosion, low friction coating. One 5 round magazine is supplied as standard. The chassis design makes loading faster and more positive – no need to lift the rifle.
  • Forend mount assembly. 16” long action or 13” short action free float tube forend featuring a keyhole slot system for quick and securely attaching modular rail sections for mounting accessories. One 80mm rail and one sling loop included as standard.
Remington Model 700 243 and 308 switch barrel rifle with AICS AX 2.0 chassis system, Nightforce F1 3.5-15x50mm scope and a Sierra 7 Bipod.

Remington Model 700 243 and 308 switch barrel rifle with AICS AX 2.0 chassis system, Nightforce F1 3.5-15x50mm scope and a Sierra 7 Bi-pod.

In the past we have had excellent luck with the AICS systems.  They eliminate a large amount of guess work building rifles.  Unlike fiberglass stocks which require a little bit of skill to properly install, the AICS goes on easily and is hard to screw up. Our AICS-AX 2.0 is for any 308 based cartridge and is supplied with a detachable 5 round magazine.

The folding butt stock of the AICS-AX chassis is adjustable for cheek weld and length of pull.

The AICS-AX pistol grip is a welcome addition in place of the thumb hole stock on the AICS. The folding butt stock of the AICS-AX chassis is adjustable for cheek weld and length of pull.

The stock folds out of the way to reduce length and making cleaning easier.

On the 2.0 model (shown here), the stock folds out of the way to reduce length and making cleaning easier.

The left side of the magazine well has a large cut out to aide access.

The left side of the magazine well has a large cut out to aid access.

The AICS-AX magazine (left) has a small lip notched into the top front edge.  The traditional AICS magazine (right) does not have one.

The AICS-AX magazine (left) has a small lip notched into the top front edge. The traditional AICS magazine (right) does not have one.

To insert a magazine, the front edge is rocked into engage the notch on the magazine.

To insert a magazine, the front edge is rocked in to engage the notch on the magazine.

The magazine is then pushed towards the rear and is locked into place.

The magazine is then pushed towards the rear and is locked into place.

The modular forend allows different rail section to be placed at any position along the rail.  The section are available as a rail with QD attachment point (top), QD stud for mounting a bipod (bottom of rail) and rail section (not shown).

The modular forend allows different rail sections to be placed at any position along the rail. The sections are available as a rail with QD attachment point (top), QD stud for mounting a bi-pod (bottom of rail) and rail section (not shown).

Installation notes:

Since we are using a Jewel trigger on our rifle, we needed to open up the inside of the chassis to allow it to function properly.  Holland lug fans be warned, you will have to either trim your lug (what we do) or inlet your stock.

The Jewel trigger's safety protrudes further from the right side and front edge of the trigger assembly then the factory trigger.  Because of this, we need to open up the trigger area in the stock more.

The Jewel trigger’s safety protrudes further from the right side and front edge of the trigger assembly then the factory trigger. Because of this, we need to open up the trigger area in the stock more.

The action area of the AX chassis.  Note the area we relieved on the milling machine to allow the safety to properly function on the Jewel trigger.

The action area of the AX chassis. Note the area we relieved on the milling machine to allow the safety to properly function on the Jewel trigger.

The front, then rear action screws are torqued to specification.

The front, then rear action screws are torqued to specification.

Then the forearm is attached with 10 screws.

Then the forearm is attached with 10 screws.

Finally, the olive drab covers are reinstalled.

Finally, the olive drab covers are installed.

On the firing line

Firing the AICS AX2.0 chassis was a pleasure.  The robust stock added weight to help mitigate recoil and provided a solid platform for our rifle.

Customized Remington 700 chambered in 243 Winchester.  The AICS-AX 2.0 chassis system provides a rock solid base for this gun.

Customized Remington 700 chambered in 243 Winchester. The AICS-AX 2.0 chassis system provides a rock solid base for this gun.

 

Right side view, 24" 243 barrel installed.

Right side view, 24″ 243 barrel installed.

Left side view, 16.75" 308 barrel installed.

Left side view, 16.75″ 308 barrel installed.

Right side view, 16.75" 308 barrel installed.

Right side view, 16.75″ 308 barrel installed.

Left side of the AICS AX 2.0

Left side of the AICS AX 2.0.  Rifle equipped with 16.75″ 308 Winchester barrel.

5 rounds 308 Winchester, 175 SMK .486" at 100 yards.

5 rounds 308 Winchester, 175 SMK .486″ at 100 yards.

So what do we think?

  1. The AICS-AX chassis is an upgrade over the standard AICS model.  The newer stock design is more ergonomic and the modular forend is a nice upgrade.  Adding night vision capability to an AICS is fairly expensive (~$300 for the adapter), which accounts for most of the price difference between the two units.  If you price out a premium stock with a detachable magazine system and forward night vision mount, the AICS-AX price point is competitive.  At the time of writing, Brownells sells the AICS-AX 2.0 for $1399.99.  Compare that to a McMillan A3 with spacer system ($923.99), Surgeon bottom metal ($350) and Badger ERF  ($199) and you have  $1,472.99 BEFORE you calculate in any labor assembling and installing the parts.
  2. The AICS-AX chassis is also a good candidate for switch barrel applications.  The forend allows the barrel shank to pass through.  In combination with a pinned lug, like the Holland, the ability to switch calibers should not be over looked.  Configuring ours to a switch barrel provided excellent results.
  3. The chassis needs to be cut to fit a Jewel trigger.  We noticed this on the original AICS as well.  It is one of the most popular aftermarket triggers  and we don’t see why they just don’t open them up.  If you have access to a mill, or are brave with a rotary tool, it isn’t that big of a deal.  Also, like the original AICS, Holland lugs are too long and need to be shortened in order to work.
  4. Ergonomics in the field are great.  Off the bench, lacking.  It isn’t designed as a bench rest stock and if you do most of your shooting off of a bench it may bother you.
  5. The AICS-AX Chassis is inherently accurate.  Unlike fiberglass stocks which require some knowledge and skill to properly install, installation of the AICS-AX chassis is pretty hard to mess up.  If you are wondering whether or not a gun can shoot, throw it in an AICS or AICS-AX and have at it.  It will not be the stock’s fault. This removes a fairly large variable for potential error when customizing or building your own rifle.  If we are trouble shooting a gun, we will often test it in an AICS stock to determine whether any accuracy problems are stock related.  Our gun shot 1/3 MOA in the chassis.  Some suggest bedding the AICS chassis, we haven’t found it necessary.
  6. The modular forend is well designed.  Movement of the various rail sections is easily accomplished and they lock securely in place.
  7. The folding stock is a nice feature.  If you are tight on space in a gun case, or have a long barrel and a short gun safe, this is an obvious advantage.  Additionally, cleaning is far easier.
  8. The new magazine system seems easier to use.  Changes are more positive with the magazine rocking into place and can be accomplished with minimal ground clearance beneath the rifle.  This is a welcome upgrade.

To order an AICS-AX 2.0 chassis from Brownells, click here.

For a great write up comparing the AICS, AICS-AX and AICS equipped with Viperskins, see AI Stock Shootout at PrecisionRifleBlog.