During my last two decades in the shooting business I’ve noticed a few trends. Rifles in particular have changed quite a bit. In the late 90s, bolt-action rifles either had a wood or synthetic stock. Some had blind magazines, some had a hinged floor-plate, and a couple had a simple detachable box magazine. Fast forward two decades and you see a wide spread adoption of detachable box magazines and a new, third choice, in a rifle stock: chassis systems. When I was standing behind the gun counter twenty-something years ago, I would have never guessed this would be the case!
Chassis are different than stocks in a number of ways. Unlike a piece of wood that can swell, warp or bend, or an expensive fiberglass stock that requires a good deal of work to properly install and bed; a good chassis will have a aluminum bedding block that holds the action in place. The chassis typically free-floats the barrel and then adds a detachable magazine system. For precision rifles, chassis have become the go-to “stock” solution; and until recently, chassis were fairly expensive. Modular Driven Technologies, has recently introduced the Oryx Chassis, a complete chassis system for the bolt action rifle with an MSRP of less than $400 ($399 as of June 2019).
Unlike many of the more expensive chassis on the market, the Oryx Chassis comes ready to install with all parts in place. It has a butt stock, magazine system (less magazine), and pistol grip installed. Simply remove your current factory rifle from the stock, place it in an Oryx Chassis, secure it with the provided hardware and you are ready to start shooting better.
Given my long history with MDT and MDT products (I had published the first review of an MDT chassis in the USA) I was excited to hear about the Oryx and received one that would fit a Remington 700 short-action to review. Chassis in hand, I waited for a few weeks for the perfect test rifle…….and then I found it: a mismarked Remington 700 ADL in 223 Remington that I paid $298 for, delivered.
MSRP on this particular rifle is in the $500 range, I couldn’t pass it up. This isn’t a heavy barrel varmint gun. This gun came equipped with a standard profile barrel that has a relatively slow 1:12″ twist (for the lighter bullets typically used by hunters). After testing and evaluation with some hand loads, the best five-shot 100 yard group I was able to produce was .628 MOA which is fairly impressive, especially when you consider the factory trigger was set at over 6 pounds! You can read my full review here: Remington 700 ADL Review
While it was a great buy for the money, I couldn’t help but think that the stock was lacking. Many factory rifle stocks suffer from the same types of issues: they don’t have an adjustable length-of-pull, the comb is fixed, no detachable magazine system, barrels are poorly free-floated and the bedding surfaces are fairly substandard. This seemed like the perfect task rifle for the Oryx Chassis.
Rather than install the Oryx at my shop, I decided to do it in the field. My plan was to shoot the rifle in the factory stock, swap it for the Oryx chassis and fire it with the same 5 loads. While this meant a pilgrim installation on the tailgate of my Silverado, it would show me how easy installation was.
Before I start swapping gun parts around and sharing load data, please take time to read the disclaimer below:
The contents of Rifleshooter.com are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
For reloading information: WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only. They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours. Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
To install the Oryx, the rifle needs to be safe and empty. As an added safety measure I like to remove the bolt on rifles when I am working with them. Once that is accomplished, I removed three socket-head cap screws (above) and the barreled action is ready to be lifted out of the stock.
The Remington 700ADL also requires the extra step of removing the blind magazine from the bottom of the barreled action. This magazine is secured with a small screw. On most other guns, including the Remington 700 BDL and Howa 1500, this process is even easier since you are only removing two action screws.
Installation of the chassis is now fairly straight forward. The barreled action is dropped into the Oryx and the two provided socket-head cap screws are used to tighten it in place. I like to rest the chassis on the recoil pad (in a vertical position) when I tighten a barreled action in place. I find this helps ensure that the recoil lug is making adequate contact with the appropriate surface on the chassis.
With the chassis in place, the rifle is now ready for the range. The entire process took less than ten minutes, at which point you end up with an AICS style detachable magazine system, adjustable length of pull, M-LOK fore end, vertical pistol grip (interchangeable), aluminum V-block bedding system and adjustable comb. Pretty cool, huh?
As a reminder, the rifle was equipped with a Nightforce Steel 20 MOA base and a Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14 scope with M1 turrets.
What’s function without looks? Well, the Oryx looks pretty sharp as well!
I’m glad I did the Oryx swap at the range. I was only a few minutes away from having shot the rifle in its factory configuration when I settled in behind it again. I was immediately pleased by the way the Overmolded rubber pistol grip filled my hand and allowed my wrist to relax in the prone position. While a traditional rifle stock is comfortable to shoot offhand or carry in the woods, they are difficult to shoot from the prone position. This issue was immediately rectified.
With the help of an Allen key, I loosened the two screws on the cheekpiece and adjusted it up slightly. This, along with the pistol grip and with the bipod, now much further in front of the rifle, made for a stable shooting platform. I couldn’t wait to start getting some rounds off.
In case you didn’t read my Remington 700 ADL review, these are the five, five-shot groups I fired with the 50 grain Nosler Ballistic tip at 100 yards. I’m running new Starline brass, CCI 400 primers and Varget powder.
My best group, shown above, was .658″ (.628 MOA). Let’s see how the same loads in the same barreled action would do with the Oryx Chassis!
Wow, best group .428″ (.409 MOA)! Keep in mind I shoot real guns and publish real groups, I was really impressed with this increase in accuracy. There is no doubt that I could improve things even further by swapping the factory trigger out for a Timney 510 and tailoring some hand loads!
The table below shows differences in group size before and after the Oryx Chassis was installed.
The table above lists the size of each five-shot group for each of the five loads tested with the factory stock and then Oryx Chassis (I calculated percent change by subtracting the factory rifle group from the Oryx rifle group, dividing by the Oryx group and multiplying by 100%). Three of the five test loads were smaller with the Oryx. When all groups were averaged together, the Oryx Chassis groups were 19% smaller, with the best group for each being 54% smaller with the Oryx!
I am very impressed with the Oryx Chassis. In this case, less optics and rail, I paid $298 for the rifle and installed it on a $399 rail. Total price for the rig was less than $697! Even if you couldn’t score a 700 ADL for that low of a price, you could still easily build a nice heavy barrel chassis gun for less than $1,000 (I’d consider a basic Remington 700 SPS Varmint as a donor or a Howa 1500 Barreled action from Brownells). I’d say that is great news for a lot of shooters!
So what are my thoughts on the Oryx Chassis?
- Solid Value– For less than $400 you get a solid aluminum chassis with an AICS style adjustable magazine system, adjustable length of pull (via shims), M-LOK forend, adjustable comb, Overmolded rubber pistol grip and enhanced accuracy!
- Great ergonomics– In the adjustability department, chassis always beat stocks. The Oryx is no exception. With just a few minutes of installation time you can make your rifle fit you the way you want it to.
- Increased accuracy- I gained an average of 19% increase in accuracy over the 5 loads with the best load being 54% smaller in the Oryx. .4 MOA from a sub $700 chassis rifle system, I love it!
- Easy installation– simply remove and replace a few screws and you are in business!
- Big fan! I really like the idea of a complete aluminum chassis system being available to shooters for less than four hundred bucks!