At SHOT Show 2018 MPA unveiled their new Hybrid chassis. The Hybrid is a cross between their bestselling Competition Chassis and their BA Lite Chassis. The most amazing part is MPA was able to produce a full-featured chassis under 3 pounds! While most rifle chassis are close to 5 pounds or more, this new product is now as light as any adjustable stock out there. In fact, it’s so light … the guys at MPA also released optional weights so that you can customize or tune the weight of the chassis for your application. Going on a hunting trip or need to come in under a weight limit in F-Class? Strip it down to under 3 pounds, and it’s in the same weight class as any adjustable stock out there. Going to a precision rifle match or just plinking at the range? Add weights to tune the balance the rifle or just to increase inertia for maximum precision and comfort. You can now adapt the same precision rifle that you’ve spent so much money on and spent time practicing with to all your shooting applications.
In the past, it always felt like if we want all the features and comfort of a chassis … we have to accept a weight penalty. But the new MPA Hybrid Chassis seems to give you all the benefits of a chassis, with far more features than comparable products, without any of the drawbacks. By starting with a very light chassis, you can always add weight to it … but you if you start with a heavy chassis you can never take weight off. That’s why this new configurable, lightweight chassis could be a game changer.
The new Hybrid Chassis was just released for sale today on MPA’s website: View Hybrid Chassis Product Details.
How’d They Get <3 Pounds?!
They extended the forend of the BA Lite to be the same length as the Competition chassis, but they didn’t stop there. Since most shooters are familiar with their popular Competition Chassis, maybe it’d be easiest if I simply itemize the differences between the Hybrid chassis and their bestselling Competition chassis:
- Hybrid uses set screws for cheek riser and length of pull adjustments, instead of thumbwheels
- Hybrid is very skeletonized. They spent a lot of time trying to remove material everywhere they could without compromising performance. It’s a lot of detailed CNC work, but shaving an ounce here and an ounce there eventually adds up.
- Hybrid is slightly more narrow than the Competition (1.56” vs 1.68” forend width)
- Hybrid doesn’t have the “Ryan Castle” magwell cut
- Hybrid doesn’t come with a night vision bridge in front of the scope
- Hybrid is ambidextrous (i.e. bolt knob cut on right and left)
Here is a side-by-side feature comparison of all three chassis I’ve mentioned: Competition, BA Lite, and new Hybrid Chassis.
Here is an intro video on the Hybrid chassis from MPA President and PRS competitor, Phil Cashin:
This cheek riser and length of pull adjustments on the Hybrid chassis are held in place by set screws, instead of the thumbwheel adjustments like on the Competition chassis. That means you need tools to adjust it, but I’m not sure I see that as a big drawback. Honestly, I don’t find myself needing to change my cheek height or LOP in the field much. In fact, the thumbwheel adjustments on the cheek riser are a bit of a pain when you are trying to clean your rifle. It seems to take a long time to spin the wheel all the way so that the cheek riser is at its lowest point and you can fit a bore guide into your action to protect the chamber and bore from damage from your cleaning rod. With set screws it seems like you’d loosen two screws and slide the cheek riser down or remove it completely, which seems like an improvement to me.
The Hybrid has a bolt handle slot cut into the chassis on both sides. This makes it ambidextrous, plus also shaves a little weight. It likely doesn’t add up to much, since the chassis is machined from 6061 Aluminum … but to get to under 3 pounds, you have to shave off an ounce here and an ounce there. Every little bit counts.
You can also see in the photo above that the Hybrid doesn’t have the “Ryan Castle” magwell cut. For those that may not be familiar, that is essentially just when the right side of the magwell is longer than the left side. That feature allows you to insert a 10 round AI magazine from the left side, and then rotate it up and into the magwell without having to lift/disturb the rifle. It also can make it a little easier to load a magazine by feel, without having to look down as you’re doing it. It functions similar to the flared magwells you see on Glock race pistols. The sides of the magwell on the Hybrid (and the BA Lite) are even. Again, it is one of those little things that you can shave off to save a few ounces, and it likely isn’t a huge sacrifice for some shooters.
Below you can see the forend of the Hybrid chassis is full-length, just like the Competition. It also packs in the huge feature set the Competition chassis offers, which essentially gives you maximum flexibility and options for shooting off barricades, bipods, tripods, or improvised rests. No other chassis comes close to the extensibility or accessories the MPA chassis offers, which is why they’re used by far more of the top 100 shooters in the PRS than any other chassis or stock.
Configuring The Chassis With Optional Weights
The non-folding version of the Hybrid chassis weighs under 3 pounds, which is pretty light. In fact, it may be too light for some applications. That’s why MPA is offering optional weights you can use to customize the weight of the chassis for your application. If you’re going to be hiking with your rifle, you might appreciate it being 3 pounds, but if your just plinking out at the range or shooting a competition where the added weight can help you be more steady, then you have the option to add weights. Here is a look at the weights they offer:
The weights can be added in various locations to tune the balance of the rifle. Using a really heavy barrel? Add weights to the butt. Lighter weight barrel with a heavy scope or action? Add weights to the forend. … or add all the weights, and your rifle will be as comfortable as a heavy Cadillac rolling down a freshly paved road! Right now, there is a total of 4.4 pounds you can add to the chassis at different places.
The two weights on the forend simply seat into recesses cut inside the chassis and screw into the sides. On the rear, there are two weights. One of them is a big steel bag-rider. MPA already offered a bag-rider for rear bag recoil management, and this new option simply replaces that with a heavier, bigger, steel version. The other weight option on the rear attaches the same way their monopod accessory would. It isn’t an adjustable monopod, but is simply a heavy, steel weight that is mounted in that same location.
Can these optional weights be added to other MPA Chassis? Phil said the front and rear would work on the Hybrid and Competition chassis, but only the rear weights would work on the BA Lite.
With a lightweight chassis and optional weights, you have the ability to configure the weight to fit whatever application you want.
Rifle Stock vs. Chassis
Rifle stocks have always had the advantage of being lighter than chassis. Manners Stocks is a leading stock manufacturer, but if you look at Manners Stock Specs … you’ll see even their 100% carbon fiber stocks weigh as much as the Hybrid chassis, at least those with an adjustable cheek. Even their new PRS stocks in the “Elite Carbon Fiber Shell” weigh 3 pounds, and while that does include an adjustable cheek … it does NOT include adjustable length of pull. If you configure that stock to have an adjustable length of pull, you’ll add a few more ounces. Now if you don’t need an adjustable cheek riser or LOP, the Manners Elite Hunter stock can get you down to 1.9 pounds. But, every shooter I’ve talked to who bought a high-end stock that wasn’t adjustable ended up regretting that decision. If you’re using a small hunting scope, maybe it works … but for higher-end optics with a 50 or 56mm objective lens, an adjustable cheek can be important feature. You’ll get the best precision and repeatability out of your rifle if you’re able to adjust how it fits you.
With the release of the MPA Hybrid Chassis, stocks no longer have a weight advantage. … Plus stocks are not near as configurable or extensible as the MPA chassis. Now I’m not saying you’re an idiot if you buy a stock. Some shooters prefer how they look, feel, or handle. But, it seems like the MPA Hybrid Chassis may have just leveled the playing field when choosing what to go with for most applications.
When talking about weights, it’s easy to get caught up quibbling over a couple ounces. While there are a few applications where ounces count, for practical shooting purposes … most of us wouldn’t notice a difference of 2-5 ounces in overall rifle weight. That is only a 1.5% difference on a 14 pound rifle (relatively light for a fully loaded precision rifle with optics), so we might be overly optimistic to think we have that level of resolution. That’s why I reference weights in pounds, not ounces. Some may be able to tell the difference a 1/2 pound makes, and surely we can all notice a 1 pound difference. I just mention that so that we don’t get caught up in minute differences in ounces or grams. It’s measurable yes, but I’d contend it is “in the noise” for practical purposes. The practical take-away for me is the MPA Hybrid chassis is now in the lightest weight class of any adjustable stock or chassis on the market.