Review: JTAC Thunder Chassis
JMS Tactical was founded by Joe Smith in 2014. Joe is a longtime shooter, gunsmith and former United States Marine. The JTAC Thunder Chassis is an folding aluminum chassis designed for short-action Remington 700 footprint rifles.
For testing an evaluation purposes, I set the JTAC chassis up with the following parts:
- Ultimatum Precision U300 3-lug receiver
- Shilen #7 Select Match 6 mm 1:8″ twist barrel
- Timney 510 trigger
- Nightforce NXS scope
- Harris BR bipod
The rifle is chambered in 6 Creedmoor, a flat shooting cartridge with minimal recoil.
JMS Tactical allow ample space for aftermarket recoil lugs and triggers. This is a nice feature that doesn’t require an additional fitting step like some of its competitors.
The JTAC chassis has a pretty unique fore end design. Typically a chassis fore end is attached closer to the magazine well of a rifle. On the JTAC, the bottom part of the chassis extends forward and provides mounting points for the Keymod fore end. This design adds less stress to the fore end, moves the bipod further to the rear and brings the bore axis to a higher point than a traditional stock or chassis. The downside of this design is it adds a little more bulk, something I don’t mind on a precision rifle.
The folding stock locks in both and open and closed positions. The hinge mechanism, a typical failure point of chassis systems, is constructed of tool steel to add durability. An adjustable aluminum cheek piece and rubber buttplate are included with the JTAC. Over the years I’ve tended to shy away from metal contact surfaces, the addition of a rubber surface on the cheek piece would be a nice touch for cold or hot weather shooting. By simply reversing the hinge mechanism, the folding stock assembly can fold to either the right or left side of the chassis, nice touch.
A bubble level is included behind the action, this is a nice touch for the long range shooters who use them. JMS also includes a large, oversized rubber pistol grip that provides a comfortable finger position on the trigger.
The JTAC thunder allows the use of standard AICS magazine. A larger paddle release is located behind the magazine well. AICS, MDT and Accurate-Mag magazines all worked in the chassis. Fit was on the tighter side, which meant you didn’t have the slight movement and rattling normally experienced with a larger magazine well cut.
A big advantages of chassis is they are easier to install. You don’t need to bed them and you don’t need a tremendous amount of skill. Placing the barreled action into the JTAC was straight forward. To test the chassis I shot a couple different 6 Creedmoor loads.
First used some Copper Creek Cartridge Company (C4) 6 Creedmoor 105 BTHP….
Not to shabby! These are both 5-shot groups at 100 yards. To see if the POI was impacted by my MagnetoSpeed I shot the group on the left with it, the one on the right without it. So yes, hanging something on the end of your barrel will change your point of impact, but not necessarily in the direction you think it will.
BOOM! Almost! I’ll take that performance any day of the week!
My thoughts on the JTAC Thunder Chassis:
- Solid– the JTAC is an heavily built, sturdy, domestically produced chassis that should meet the needs of most precision shooters.
- Accurate– the JTAC system installed with two screws and still allowed 1/2 MOA accuracy in our test rifle.
- Chilly– in the future I would consider offering non metallic contact surfaces for the shooters. Incorporating rubber or plastic will make the chassis more comfortable in cold weather.
To learn more about the JTAC chassis, visit JMS tactical.