Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Elite Sniper System (ESS) chassis review

Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Elite Sniper System (ESS) chassis review

I’ve been reviewing products from Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) since they were founded.  Their product line started with the TAC21 and expanded of to include the LSS and HS3.  Having extensively reviewed all of their chassis on this site, I was thrilled when they released their new Elite Sniper System (ESS).  The ESS is their fourth model and shows the continued evolution of MDT’s design and manufacturing capabilities.

The MDT ESS shown in this review is for a Remington 700 short action, however, ESS chassis systems will be available for more makes and models in the future.  The ESS for the M700 uses standard AICS magazines that are secured with a ambidextrous paddle behind the magazine well that is easy to access.

Like MDT’s other chassis, the ESS uses any AR-15/M16 M4 pistol grip.  It also incorporates machined thumb rests above the grip on both sides of the chassis body.  The ESS departs from the rest of the MDT product line it does not use a standard AR-15/M16 M4 stock.  Eliminating this interface allows for a more streamlined design that does not increase the length of pull.  The stock has an adjustable comb (both for height and lateral adjustment), length of pull and horizontally adjustable recoil pad.  Comb and length of pull adjustments are accomplished with a hand wheel and are secured with a cap screw and clamp system.  MDT plans on offering a folding version of the ESS that will fold on the bolt handle side of the chassis.

MDT offers a number of different fore ends for the ESS in both aluminum and carbon fiber (not in production at time of review).  These forearms accept MLOK accessories, are available with and without a top rail or night vision rail, in 12″, 15″ and 18″ lengths.

Trying to get a feel for the ESS, I installed a 25″ 6 Creedmoor barreled action into it with the 18″ railed forearm and MDT scope rail.  The combination of fore end and rail allow for a continuous mounting surfaces along the top of the rifle.  This is a nice touch and a feature that the ESS in this configuration has in common with the TAC21.

This rifle is configured with a Timney 510 trigger, Spuhr ISMS scope mount and Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44 scope. Everything dropped right into the chassis, no need to inlet the trigger area.  Secure two action screws and the three screws that retain the fore end and you are ready to go.

The second barreled action I installed it in was a 16.5″ 308 Winchester.  This gun has a Holland oversized lug that needed to be trimmed to fit.  I selected the 12″ non railed fore end.  The final product is a neat little package that is fast handling for a wide variety of field shooting positions.

The rifle was built with the following parts from Brownells:

A close up view of the adjustable stock.

I loaded up some 175 Sierra MatchKings (SMK) over IMR 4064,  Norma brass and Wolf primers.  This action in the ESS shot very well.

That is 5 shots at 100 yards, prone, from a bipod with rear bag.  Not bad!

So what do I think of the ESS?

  1. Good job MDT.  This is MDT’s best offering to date, a product that is on par with some of the much more expensive chassis systems on the market.  The combination of aluminum chassis with nonmetallic shooter interface points, allows for shooter comfort in extreme conditions.  I was able to operate the ESS in relative comfort at 25F.
  2. Magazine release is outstanding.  The ambidextrous magazine release is easy to activate yet still out of the way.  I really like the design.
  3. Thumbs up for the thumb rest.  The thumb shelf is a nice touch.  One of the problems with pistol grip chassis is where to put your thumb, this helps to provide a solid shooting position.
  4. Good end-user fit.  The adjustable stock works well.  The wheel adjustments take more time then quick adjustments found on other chassis, however, these allow for micro adjustment.  Once everything is set, a set screw holds everything firmly in place with no rattling.  I like the lateral adjustment on the check piece as well.  It allows you to get your eye in the perfect position behind the larger optics commonly encountered nowadays.
  5. Easy installation.  The ESS is easy to install, simply screw into place and install the forearm.  The lug and trigger areas allow for use with minimal modification.  Note: Holland lugs will need to have material trimmed from the bottom.  Unlike a stock, no bedding required.
  6.  Precision.  Like MDT’s other chassis options, precision below 1/2 MOA with a quality barreled action should be expected.
  7. Looking forward to the future.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a folding ESS and carbon fiber fore end.

I’ll be checking back in with updates on the MDT Elite Sniper Systems performance as we continue to use it.

To learn more about the Modular Driven Technologies, please visit their website.

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