A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear
Home / Rifles / Stocks & Chassis / Precision Rifle Chassis & Stocks: What The Pros Use
Most Popular Precision Rifle Stock and Chassis

Precision Rifle Chassis & Stocks: What The Pros Use

I’ve been really looking forward to this post, because there has been so much advancement in how we use stocks and chassis over the past year. More has changed on this front than any other. So I’m excited to dive into some of that in this post!

I recently surveyed the top 100+ shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), and this post reviews the stocks and chassis those guys are running this year. For those not familiar with the PRS, it’s an organization that tracks how 2,000+ competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. PRS matches are tactical/practical long-range rifle matches shot in the field conditions. Typical ranges for steel targets are from 300 to 1200 yards, and they are engaged from prone and improvised positions, often under extreme time pressure. It is one of the fastest growing shooting sports, and has attracted some of the best riflemen in the world. So to land in this group of the top 100 you have to be an exceptional competitor. (More Info on the PRS)

This is one of several posts based on a gear survey of the top PRS shooters. Want to be the first to know when the next set of results is posted? Sign-up to receive new posts via email.

If you could give a new shooter one piece of advice, what would it be?
Train 30% prone and 70% positional!
Shannon Kay, 7th Overall in the Open Division, Owner & Primary Trainer at K&M Shooting Complex

Most Popular Rifle Chassis & Stocks

The chart below shows the most popular brands of chassis and stocks used by the top shooters in the Precision Rifle Series Open & Tactical Divisions. I included the most recent results alongside the breakdown from the previous 2 years to allow you to see trends.

Best Rifle Chassis

Here is another view of this year’s survey data, which provides insight into what guys were using based on where they placed overall.

Best Rifle Stock

If you could give a new shooter one piece of advice, what would it be?
Save your money and buy the best equipment you can. And Practice! Build barricades, RO matches, and interact at competitions.
– Rhett Walters, 28th Overall in the Open Division

Manners Stocks

Manners Composite Stocks hung onto the top spot for the 3rd year in a row, as the most popular stock or chassis used by the top ranked PRS shooters. 24% of the top shooters in the Open & Tactical Division shooters were running a Manners stock. But that percentage was even higher among the best of the best, representing 28% of the shooters among those who finished in the top 50 in the Open Division and just over 30% among the top 10!

Manners is a perennial favorite stock, and for good reason. Manners standard composite stocks are 35% carbon fiber and 65% fiberglass in multiple layers. They are hand laid with high temperature epoxy resins, placed under a vacuum, and heat cured to get the perfect resin to fabric weight ratio. But their Elite Series of stocks feature a 100% aircraft-grade carbon fiber shell. That produces an extremely strong stock with minimal weight, with some of the tactical stocks weighing as little as 28 ounces! They even offer models with an adjustable cheek rest that come in under 3 lbs., which is much lighter than most other chassis and stocks represented here.

Manners announced a new layup process for 2017 called the Platinum Series. The Platinum Series has a true molded-in action and barrel channel area, which makes the stock very stiff and strong, but also reduces weight. The first production stocks are actually 2 to 3 ounces lighter than the Elite series, but twice as stiff and strong.

Manners Platinum Stock

They released 2 new stock designs in 2017 that were developed exclusively for the Precision Rifle Series. The construction imitates an I-beam for strength and stiffness. Both stocks have a wide, flat bottom for shooting off barricades, and both have a tapered forend with a very shallow tip. The difference between the two is in the bottom of the butt section. The PRS1 has a hook for the shooter to control the rifle with his non-trigger hand and the PRS2 has a straight taper. Both PRS stocks come standard with the Elite 100% Carbon Fiber shell layup, or you can upgrade to the new Platinum layup.

Manners PRS Stock PRS1 PRS2

There is one more significant feature Manner’s announced recently, which I’ll cover a little later in this post. But first, let’s take a look at the new chassis that was used by more than 20% of these top shooters.

If you could give a new shooter one piece of advice, what would it be?
Focus on executing your routine, smooth movements, and solid positions … and the score will take care of itself.
– Troy Lawton, 61st Overall in the Open Division, US Army Marksmanship Unit

Masterpiece Arms Chassis

The rise of the MPA Competition Chassis over the past year represents one of the most significant shifts in gear since the inception of the PRS. It basically went from just a couple guys running it last year, to more than 20 of these top shooters running it at the finale this year. The MPA chassis offers a lot of new features and capabilities, so I’m going to try to quickly run through some of those.

The MPA chassis is purpose-built with precision rifle matches in mind, and it offers a load of features and accessories to help you execute a solid shot from a variety of improvised positions and barricades. Some of the accessories help you become as steady off a barricade as you are prone, which can offer a significant advantage in PRS-style competitions.

MPA Chassis On Barricade

The MPA chassis has several integral features, including a fully adjustable buttstock, an integral bubble level in the ideal location for checking it while “in the scope,” a Ryan Castle magwell cut to help load magazines quickly and without having to look down, and an integral quick-detach mount for Really Right Stuff (RRS) tripods.

Integral Features On MPA Chassis

But the real power and differentiators of the MPA chassis lie in two things:

  1. Extensibility & Accessories – A unique forend allows you to a use many application-specific accessories in a plug-and-play fashion, or customize rail positions in seconds.
  2. Rapid, Iterative Development – MPA follows an agile form of product development, where they are constantly tweaking and improving the platform and releasing new purpose-built accessories.

Extensibility & Accessories

The forend of the MPA chassis features a novel, extensible design that allows you to quickly swap out several types of accessories. The chassis has over twenty 1/4″ holes the full length of the forend that allow you to insert quick-detach accessories in precise locations.

MPA Barricade System On Forend

Here is a quick look at the forend accessories currently offered:

MPA Chassis Accessories

I already showed a photo of the barricade stop in action at the top of this section, so let’s look at some of the other accessories. The clever Wedge Lock Bar System allows you to lock onto steel tubing of virtually any size.

MPA Wedge Lock Bar System In Action

The Trinity Rail fits into slots that run the full length of the forend, which allows you to add a rail in the EXACT place you want. The rail attaches via an MLOK-like interface that just needs 4 screws to be tightened with an Allen wrench. You can install it in 30 seconds or less.

MPA Chassis Trinity Rail Sliding Picatinny

One huge benefit of this adjustable rail is when you slide it all the way towards the magwell and move your bipod to it, you’re able to get steady on narrow surfaces. The pic below shows that you can get a steady, 3-point rest with less than 12 inches of space. That can be especially helpful when shooting off barrels, railroad ties, rocks, and a ton of other surfaces. Seriously, this is a game changer!

Trinity Rail Bipod By Magwell

I predict an ecosystem will develop around this new accessory model MPA has initiated. The 1/4” quick-release pin system MPA established may even become the standard interface, but regardless of how it happens … MPA has changed the way we think about quick, plug-and-play accessories and opened a new door of possibilities. I bet this gets other manufacturers and individuals thinking of new products.

Rapid, Iterative Development

Another compelling aspect of the MPA platform is that you’d not just buying the product as it sits today, because they’re constantly adding new accessories and capabilities. MPA is setting a new standard in the firearm industry for rapid prototyping and quick, iterative release cycles. Phil Cashin, MPA’s President, is an active PRS shooter who finished in the top 100 this year, and qualified for the finale last year as well. Phil is a sharp guy, plus he’s passionate about this and very driven, so he’s always thinking about ways to improve the chassis to help him get more rounds on target. But some of his best ideas have come from input from other shooters. Phil is not only open to feedback, he intentionally seeks it out. Early on, he assembled several good shooters into Team MPA, and after each match they’d huddle up to discuss stages they struggled with, and together they brainstormed mods/accessories that might help them get more rounds on target next time. Then Phil would make prototypes of whatever they came up with, and use the next match to test/prove the concept … and repeat.

Since Phil personally competes in so many matches, he finds himself in conversations with other world-class shooters who are more than willing to share suggestions, wild ideas, or wish list features they’ve dreamed about … and Phil is a master at capturing the best of those ideas and turning them into reality. Here’s a concrete example to show what I’m talking about: At a match late last year, David Preston, the 2015 PRS Champion, mentioned a unique idea to Phil for a grip that extended to support your trigger finger. David thought that might help when you’re in an awkward, improvised shooting position, because it would promote better trigger control and a more consistent trigger pull. Phil worked out a design, and used a 3D printer to create a working prototype within a couple of days! In fact, it’s being released as a commercial product this month. Here’s a look at that new grip:

New MPA Vertical Grip with Trigger Finger Support

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the new MPA grip alongside other AR-15 style grips. You can see the MPA grip features a vertical pistol grip, which is like the grips found on precision rifle stocks like Manners and McMillan, and chassis like Accuracy International and KRG. The grip is wider than most AR grips, and features a thumb rest for those of us that prefer that hand position over the traditional full wrap-around.

AR-15 Grip Options MPA Vertical Grip A2 Pistol HK V2 TangoDown Flip

Hand Positions On New MPA Vertical Grip

To give you a feel for MPA’s rapid, “continuous delivery” process and their unrelenting cadence of innovation and new products, here’s a look at the chassis-related products MPA has released over the past couple years:

MPA Chassis Timeline

You may notice the last product on the timeline is an Offset Cheek Riser System … which is another product that hasn’t even been released yet! It’s something they developed last month to give the shooter the ability to further adjust their cheek position. Phil said they’re getting the parts made now, and they hope that product will hit the market in April. To check out the latest on what they offer, visit MPA’s Chassis Accessory Products Page.

As a business guy, I’m intrigued by the impact one company has been able to have in such a short time. Because of that I’ve spent more time thinking about this than I’m willing to admit. My conclusion is a few key things are coming together at once. Each of these aspects would be powerful in isolation, but when combined they amplify one another and produced a surge of sustained innovation.

MPA Innovation Process

While MPA obviously didn’t come up with the idea of attaching accessories to a stock, they made a huge leap forward in terms of how we can use a stock as a tool to help us get more rounds on target. The collaborative, agile form of product development is exciting to see in the firearm industry, and makes me believe we’ll continue to see even more innovation from MPA. Hopefully this will inspire other manufacturers to consider a similar approach.

Either way, I predict we’ll see more MPA chassis on next year’s “What the Pros Use” survey … perhaps a lot more.

Manner’s Integrates MPA Barricade System

Just a couple of months ago, Manners announced they’re going to start offering stocks with Masterpiece Arm’s proven barricade system integrated into the stock! They recognize a good idea when they see it. This is a huge deal for guys who prefer a traditional stock over a chassis. It essentially means you’d be able to use MPA’s quick, plug-and-play accessories like barricade stops and the wedge lock bar system. The only limitations are there aren’t holes the full-length of the forearm like the MPA chassis, and it’s missing the tracks that allow you to use accessories like the Trinity Rail. Overall, this provides a significant amount of the value of the MPA system, while still keeping overall weight down via the carbon fiber shell of Manner’s stock. When you consider they’re now offering this integral barricade system, plus the new PRS stock designs, and the new Platinum series layup … Manner’s is clearly bringing their “A game” to this party! What a compelling product! This is a great example of why Manners is and will continue to be one of the top brands on this list.

Manners Stock MPA Barricade Rail System

Okay, enough on Manners and MPA! Let’s take a look at the rest of the stocks and chassis used by these top shooters.

McMillan Tactical Stocks

McMillan stocks have been a long-time favorite in the PRS community, as well as many other shooting disciplines like military, benchrest, F-class, etc. McMillan was the most popular stock/chassis in the PRS during 2012 and 2013, but seems to have slipped in popularity among these shooters since that time. The decline could be due to McMillan’s fiberglass stocks remaining relatively unchanged in design and materials over the past several years. There is nothing wrong with McMillan’s stocks, but with other companies aggressively progressing and pushing forward, you can’t afford to sit still long without getting passed by. 15% of the top shooters in the Open and Tactical Divisions said they were using a McMillan stock this year, including 3 shooters who finished in the top 20 in the Open Division.

McMillan A5 Stock

Accuracy International Chassis

Accuracy International makes what is likely the most popular rifle chassis in the world. They’re very well-respected in both the competition and military world, and for good reason. Their products are battle-proven to be robust and solid as a rock. 14% of the top shooters in the Open and Tactical Divisions said they were using an Accuracy International chassis this year, including 2 guys who finished in the top 20 in the Open Division.

Accuracy International AIAX Chassis

J Allen Stock

J. Allen stocks continue to grow in popularity among this crowd. This year 11% of shooters in the Open & Tactical Divisions said they were using a J. Allen stock, and that included 1 in the top 10, and then 3 more in the top 20. J Allen JAE-700 stocks have a distinctive design packed with features, and are available in a variety of colors. While they are heavier than most traditional stocks, I’ve heard multiple shooters say the JAE-700 is one of the most comfortable stocks they’ve ever used.

J Allen JAE-700 Stock

KRG Rifle Chassis

There were a few shooters using the KRG chassis again this year, including Paul Reid who finished in the top 10 in the Open Division. This chassis is an engineering marvel. It is very adjustable, and weighs a pound less than most other chassis in this list. While the forend isn’t as flexible as the MPA chassis, it does have a few mounting locations for barricade stops, additional picatinny rails, tripod mounts, and other accessories. A few months ago they released a new version in Flat Dark Earth (FDE). 4 of the top shooters in the Open & Tactical Divisions were using a KRG chassis.

KRG Whiskey 3 Chassis

KMW Sentinel Stock

The KMW Sentinel stock was designed by the legendary Terry Cross, who may have won long-range rifle matches before some of these competitors were born! Terry spec’ed out every inch of this stock, and his proprietary design is made by McMillan. 3 of the top shooters were using this stock.

KMW Sentinel Stock

XLR Chassis

The XLR chassis represents one of the best values of any stock or chassis in this list. Their XLR Element Chassis currently starts at $557, which includes a buttstock and bottom metal. So all you need to do is tighten down the screws on your barreled action … and you’re ready to go to the range. And don’t be confused, it’s doesn’t provide “budget” precision … it’s a very capable platform. They also offer some carbon fiber models, which provide strength while shaving some of the weight. There were a couple of these top shooters using the XLR chassis, including one from the top 10 in the Open Division.

XLR Element Chassis

Kelbly’s Stocks

Kelbly’s stocks have been very popular in the benchrest world, but they’re now leveraging that same expertise for precision rifles by expanding into tactical stocks. There were 2 shooters in the Open & Tactical Divisions who said they were running a Kelbly’s stock.

Kelbly Stock

New TUBB Gun

David Tubb is a highly decorated competitive shooter in high power competitions and other disciplines, and over the past couple years he’s been getting into precision rifle matches. It didn’t take him long to start thinking about new equipment designs that could help maximize his scores in these types of practical/tactical long-range matches. David placed high enough to qualify for the PRS finale this year, and he brought a new “Tubb Adaptive Target Rifle” with him. The new rifle has a modular design and similar features to the original Tubb Gun (i.e. TUBB 2000) released 17 years ago, but with some upgrades and improvements. David has never been a conformist, and his new rifle brings some new ideas to the PRS world. To be clear, this is a complete rifle system and not just a chassis. I’d suggest you watch David’s intro video to the new Tubb Gun or check out this Tubb Adaptive Target Rifle Brochure & Specs PDF.

New Tubb Gun

Killer Innovations Chassis

Killer Innovations has teamed up with Mega Arms to manufacture a chassis they are calling the Killer Innovations Orias Chassis. Mega Arms is one of the most respected manufacturers of upper and lower receivers for precision AR builds, so it makes sense that they have the equipment and know-how to turn out a top-tier chassis. This is the first year the Killer Innovations chassis has been represented on this list of stocks/chassis used by the top PRS shooters, and while it was just used by one shooter, it appears to be a very capable platform. It’s compatible with AI mags and all AR-style buffer tubes and buttstocks.

Killer Innovations Orias Chassis

PGW Defense Chassis

PGW Defense Technology, Inc. (PGWDTI) is a Canadian manufacturer that is also new to this list. They offer a complete rifle chambered in 7.62/308 they call the PGW Coyote, and it features what looks to be a pretty cool looking chassis. Their website didn’t have any info on the chassis by itself, so it may only be available as a complete rifle. There was only one shooter who said they used this chassis among those surveyed.

PGW Defense Coyote Chassis

Desert Tech Chassis

The Desert Tech SRS A1 Rifle Chassis features a bullpup design, which cuts almost a full foot off the overall length of most long range rifles. This can help make the rifle more maneuverable, which can be a plus in PRS-style matches where you have tight time limits, and may be required to move and engage targets from multiple barricades. However, Desert Tech’s popularity appears to be slowly shrinking among these top shooters. For example, in 2014 they represented 6% of the top shooters, then 2% in 2015, and finally just 1% in 2016. Desert Tech offers complete rifle builds based on this chassis that guarantee 1/2 MOA precision or better, so clearly they offer the precision you need to compete at the highest levels.

Desert Tech Chassis

Rock Solid Stocks

Rock Solid Stocks are designed around the concept that a simple one-piece design with fewer bolts and moving parts will maximize shot-to-shot consistency and have less potential for failures. It’s hard to argue with that premise! There was only 1 shooter among this group who said they were using a Rock Solid this season.

Rock Solid Stock

If you could give a new shooter one piece of advice, what would it be?
Get out and shoot whatever you’ve got. ‘Run what you’ve brung.’ Too many shooters now feel like they have to running high end equipment to enjoy this game and that is completely false.
– Austin Overman, 82nd Overall in the Open Division

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

Check Also

Best Long Range Scopes

Long Range Scopes: What The Pros Use

I recently surveyed the top 100+ shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), and this ...

21 comments

  1. Cal,
    Thanks once again for this rundown on an important area of precision shooting. Any chassis that can be customized to the owner’s needs and likes is on its way to becoming a decent chassis.

    I really like my Ruger Precision Rifle “chassis”, including the butt stock. The RPR has a unique action-to-chassis configuration that works well. Plus Ruger designed it to be very modular and customizable.

    But I may buy an MDT TAC 21 chassis for my HS Precision/Rem.action .300 win mag target rifle. I like the RPR style of bolt-into-stock configuration.

    And I very much DISLIKE the Canadian CADEX chassis for having an overlarge forearm diameter which necessitates a too-high scope rail and thus a too-high cheek piece position. They are found on the Army’s .338 LM Precision Sniper Rifle and its .300 Win mag XM 2010 as well as CADEX’s own new and overpriced precision rifle.

    • Thanks for sharing, Eric. The Ruger Precision Rifle is another game changer over the past couple years, and there were a couple guys in the Production Division running that rifle. It’s very capable, and they could easily justify double what they’re charging for them.

      I honestly don’t have much experience with the MDT TAC 21, but it looks similar to the AR-receiver style rifles like the RPR, Tubb Gun, Desert Tech, etc.

      And I couldn’t agree more with the comments about the oversized tube on the Cadex. That thing is just oversized in general. It has a ton of compelling features, but the weight is something I can’t get past. Their flagship chassis weighs over 7 lbs! But, to this day I’ll say the Remington Defense RACS-LW chassis on the Remington MSR was one of my favorite chassis I’ve ever shot from … and I think Cadex made it. I miss that rifle. So I haven’t given up on them! Maybe they’ll get their act together at some point and offer a product that fits this niche. The new Cadex Lite Competition Chassis might be a step in the right direction, but it’s still over 5 pounds.

      It sure is a cool time we live in, to be able to be so picky about stocks and chassis! You know just 10 years ago we would be stuck with just a couple options … but we’ve become spoiled quick! 😉

      Thanks,
      Cal

  2. Another great post. Thanks Cal!

    I was leaning towards MPA and MCS before this post. Have to decide if I want to go traditional or modern. This post really helps with context on MPA as a company and the development that went into the product (and the evolving features).

    • That’s great, Clay. I’d say it’d be hard to go wrong with either one. I doubt you’d be disappointed in MPA or Manners … I own both and can say I haven’t been.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  3. Kenozeedze ofthe Greatland

    it’s about damn time you started posting again. your writing is important to the community Cal, i even bought you and Brian’s new book modern advancements in long range shooting there is so much great info written by you

    • Ha! Well, I’ll take that as a compliment. I don’t have as much free time as I used to. I’m glad you thought my research published in Litz’s most recent book was helpful. That was a fun study. I learned a lot!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  4. I was recently looking for a chassis. What turned me off the Cadex was the oversized front tube. It is nice to have something to shield you from barrel mirage but… I ended up ordering an MPA Lite which for those that do not know, weight in at 2.9 lb and 3.5 lb for the folder. About half the weight of most of the chassis out there…

    • I definitely concur on the ridiculously oversized front tube on the Cadex. They have a couple models now with smaller tubes (at least smaller than their flagship Dual Strike chassis), but they still weigh as much as a boat anchor!

      The Lite chassis is a pretty cool option. I was thinking about ordering another chassis for my backup rifle, but maybe I’ll try a Lite.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  5. Is the MPA vertical grip available anywhere for purchase? I have not found it on their website. That is a brilliant design if it can be accommodated to other AR Grip type chassis.

    • Benjamin, Phil told me they hope to release it this month … but it’s not up yet. It will be on their website as soon as it’s ready. I’d check back in a week or two.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Perfect! Thank you so much. Great report again and love what you do with this blog! Thank you for your service to the shooting community.

    • Phil let me handle his personal rifle at a match a few weeks ago and the new grip is extraordinary. Definitely getting one when they are released.

  6. Where is MDT on this list? They have a whole lot more out there than the majority of these companies

    • Well, there wasn’t a single guy in the top 100+ shooters who said they were running that chassis. So they didn’t make the list. I’m just reporting the results of the survey, not deciding who is in or out, or what products are capable or not.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  7. Need pricing?

  8. i dont see the MPA 90^ grip on their page?.. any links?

    • It isn’t released yet, but they hope to have it up by the end of the month. I’d suggest checking back in a couple weeks.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  9. Great write up like always Cal. Your blog is amazing resource. Thank you so much for all the testing and articles. That’s neat that someone is using a PGW Coyote. I would derived if they were Canadian or if they imported the rifle. I have handled one and they are very nice. The larger .338 version, the Timberwolf, is the Canadian Army’s standard sniper rifle.

    One thing I was curious about was if many people were using the older Accuracy International chassis, the 1.0 and 2.0 and the Viperskins/AT style or if everyone had went to the AX style.

    • Hey, Rodney. Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you find the content helpful.

      I went and looked up who was using that rifle, and it was Nate Dinger from Alberta, Canada.

      As far as the AICS Classic or AIAX chassis, I didn’t ask what model they were running on this year’s survey … but I did on last year. Last year, 5 were running the AICS Classic, 4 were running the older AIAX chassis (pre-2014 model), 3 were running the new AIAX chassis (with the skeletonized buttstock), and 2 were running the AICS AT. I bet most that were running the old “classic” chassis were using ViperSkins. I’ve personally seen those at a few matches, and it’s becoming more rare to see the old thumbhole chassis design at matches.

      I have the AICS Classic with ViperSkins and I have an AIAX. I slightly prefer the AICS Classic with ViperSkins. I think that might be the most comfortable stock or chassis I’ve ever shot behind. The AIAX is nice too, but I don’t like the barrel tube. It keeps you from being able to mount the scope as low as possible on the barrel, which is what I personally prefer. I don’t find myself running nightvision, so I can’t think of an upside to having it. But, that just comes down to personal preference. I certainly wouldn’t trade my AICS with Viperskins for an AIAX.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Thanks a lot for the response Cal! I’m also from Alberta, Canada. What a coincidence!

        I also use an AI with Viperskins. They are nice.