I took the new Christensen Ranger out today for its maiden range trip. Before I dive into the performance at the range, I thought it might be useful to have a breakdown of the rifle. As others have said, this rifle is light! 5.1 pounds without a scope!
The rifle has a unique feel, mostly because the stock is a scaled-down version of the Christensen Centerfire stocks. When I saw pictures of the rifle, I didn’t think I’d like the swept-back grip, but in hand…it’s not that bad. I still prefer a more vertical grip, but this one is useable.
The rifle comes with a TriggerTech Field trigger. While I absolutely love the TriggerTech Diamond, the Field is useable but heavier than I prefer. The trigger will be replaced with a TriggerTech Diamond very soon. The current weight is about 2.5 lbs…as light as it will go. That weight wouldn’t be so bad if the rifle weighed more. As it is, it’s heavier than I like it.
The fit and finish on the stock, action, and barrel is as good as I’ve seen from any factory rifle available. The carbon barrel is something I’ve always liked and this one looks great. At 18”, it will be perfect once my stamp comes in and I can put a suppressor on it. The action looks good and comes with a zero MOA rail, but the bolt is very…minimal…almost toy-like. One odd thing though, the trigger guard is polymer…
The action uses Ruger rotary 10/22 magazines and the stock has cutouts on both sides, which makes it easy to pull the magazines out.
I had a hard time deciding on a scope, and don’t know if I’ll change what’s on there now…but I will say the current scope performed well today.
I had a Leupold Mark AR 6-18 on another rifle and decided to use it for the time being. This little scope has been reliable and I felt it would be a good fit for the Ranger. The Leupold is lightweight, bright, and sits low due to its 40mm adjustable objective. This really helps when you don’t have an adjustable cheekpiece. I put a Harris S-BRM 6 – 9-inch bipod with notched legs on the front sling swivel to complete the package. With the scope and bipod added to the rifle, it weights 6.8 lbs, ready to shoot.
I’m a huge fan of the Ruger rotary magazines and have a bunch of them. The Ranger using them made this rifle even more appealing to me.
When I went to the range today, I took over 20 magazines, so I could load them all and then just shoot. No breaks to load mags…just drop the empty mag and slam another one home!
When I put targets out, I only put them at 50, 100, and 200 yards. I felt confident I could get it on paper quickly. After a few rounds at a leftover target at 25 yards, I started to put the rifle through it’s paces. Chambering the first round, I noticed that the bolt does not run very smoothly. It’s almost like a 3 step process.
1 – You push the bolt until it hits the rim and then it stops.
2 – Next, you push harder and the round finally jumps out of the magazine and starts into the chamber.
3 – The third push chambers the round and you almost feel the bullet engage the rifling when you close the bolt…or at least that’s what it reminds me of.
The rifle shot well and I’m sure will shoot even better once I lot test it. Old SK Standard and old SK Rifle Match produced 5 and 10 shot groups at a little over 1/2” at 50 yards and just over an inch at 100 yards. I didn’t have any ejection issues with the rifle, which I’ve read so much about, but I did have an ongoing and aggravating issue throughout the day. The magazines seem to set too low on the action to feed consistently. Sometimes when closing the bolt, the round will begin to go forward only to hit the mouth of the chamber and then become damaged when you try to close the bolt with the second shove. Other times, the bolt will glide right over the top round in the magazine, resulting in a dry fire. This happened consistently, with every magazine I own, as well as ones that other guys who were at the range let me try from their KIDD and TacSol rifles.
Often, a magazine would start out with a few rounds chambering without any problems, only to have the other issues pop up throughout the rest of the magazine.
One other thing to note, the rifle shaves lead on every bullet that actually makes it into the chamber.
I’m going to try a few things and see if I can get the magazines to seat into the action without dropping down. They don’t go far, just enough to create the problems.
If you push up on the magazine, the feeding issues get better. I’m hoping a thin piece of felt at the back of the mag well might do the trick.
Ultimately, I really like the rifle and at least 2 of the guys I shot with today will be buying their own Rangers.
The bolt needs some work as it isn’t smooth at all and feels almost toylike. While I can’t see a way to add mass to it, hopefully, some polishing can help smooth it out.