Carbon Fiber Technology – What does that bring to the table?

DMack Uncategorized 3 Comments

I would like to introduce you all to my newest, LONG term Test and Evaluation (T&E) project. I have recently signed on with Christensen Arms to help evaluate their product line under realistic, yet hard use conditions. In other words, to see if their rifles really are “Ranger Proof”. This is an honor to me, and I have to start off saying, I was very skeptical at first.

A few years ago, I remember seeing the Christensen Arms AR-15 on the cover of “Book of the AR” and thought to myself… “No way. I would break that thing in a heartbeat.” Well, here it is… a while later, and I am going to try to do just that. I was introduced to Christensen Arms through a friend of mine, Austin Weiss of The Garage Inc. fame… and I am glad that I was. I have spent a lot of time talking with Mr. Jason Christensen, and learning about the complex nuances of carbon fiber… and how it directly relates to the firearm industry.

Here is a little story and detail about the Christensen Arms line, taken directly from their webpage:

THE CHRISTENSEN ARMS DIFFERENCE – CUSTOM FIREARMS

At Christensen Arms, we specialize in building custom carbon high-performance firearms using state of the art materials and technology to provide you with a lighter, stronger, more accurate firearm. Using the most refined engineering methods, adapted from Dr. Roland Christensen’s experience in the aerospace and medical prosthetics industries, we create custom firearms of a level that have no equal. Be assured, when you hold a Christensen Arms custom firearm you hold the finest precision weapon made, bringing you confidence and accuracy shot-after-shot in every condition.

When you need it most, make sure you have Christensen Arms at your side.

SUPERIOR MATERIALS

Christensen Arms™ has pioneered the use of the finest materials in gun smithing, ranging from titanium to tungsten carbide to carbon-fiber. Using the most advanced technology available, we painstakingly handcraft the elements of each individual custom firearm to ensure that you receive the best possible weapons made from the best possible materials.

GUARANTEED ACCURACY

Carbon is four to five times stiffer than steel and has zero coefficient of thermal expansion. Steel barrels expand and contract with hot or cold temperature changes. Since the temperature through the barrel is not uniform, it causes a steel barrel to warp. These effects cause the bullet point-on-impact to change. Christensen carbon barrels don’t move with temperature change, which delivers accuracy, shot after shot. Christensen Arms carbon barrels are unaffected by external temperature as well. No matter the temperature you are shooting in, hot or cold, your first-shot accuracy will not be affected.

LIGHTWEIGHT CUSTOM FIREARMS

While providing a high degree of accuracy and consistency, Christensen Arms™ still manages to keep weight at a minimum. Titanium frames and carbon barrels provide the lightness of aluminum but guarantee a lasting and durable weapon that won’t weigh you down.
View the Carbon Classic Custom Rifle

PRECISION ENGINEERING

When Dr. Roland Christensen turned his attention from the aerospace and medical prosthetics industries to gunsmithing, he brought with him the finest engineering methods available and applied them to his firearms. His team developed the most refined systems of production heard of to ensure that every piece of every weapon performs perfectly and precisely.

finishes

CUSTOM FINISHES

Here at Christensen Arms™ we specialize in customizing high-performance firearms. We not only create fully custom firearms but offer up-grades and services to existing guns as well.
View our CA-10 Recon with Carbon Barrel

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Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but… what does all of this Carbon Fiber really mean? I mean, aren’t rifles supposed to be made of Wood, Steel and or Plastics?

When I opened the box of my new Carbon Fiber Tactical Rifle, I almost thought nothing was IN the box. It felt, eerily light.

(Click on ALL EMBEDDED PICS and LINKS to see the full thing)

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The first thing I noticed, was the absolutely beautiful lines of the rifle. It came finished in a very nice Flat Dark Earth / Tan type color, with just enough black and carbon fiber to stand out. The bolt was a nice diamond radial flute, and the large Badger Ordinance Extended Bolt Knob was a very nice touch. I plan on shooting this rifle from the bipod, prone, as it would be used on duty. So, I needed the larger knob to clear the optics that would go on the top of the rifle.

I took the rifle to the back room, and stuck it on the scale.

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6.9 pounds on the ULINE digital scale… so, it WAS light, and I was NOT crazy. Now, this was the complete rifle, minus my suppressor, bipods, base, rings, sling and optic. That would add a little bit more heft, but not much. I was worried that the recoil on this rifle may take the fun out of shooting it. So, you can bet that I would be anxious to get in behind this thing.

This rifle was spec’d for me, out of conversations I had with Jason Christensen. I said that I wanted to use this in the role of the Law Enforcement SWAT Sniper, as a deployable SWS (Sniper Weapon System). I wanted a short, compact, light, and dependable rifle, with the accuracy to match. He recommended that I use an 18″ barrel, and that went right in line with my Longbow. I already have plenty of DOPE on a variety of loads, out of my Longbow, so the DOPE “should” be close.

The Stock is 100% hand laid carbon fiber, with fully adjustable length of pull and comb height. The palm swell is a very nice touch, and has just the perfect swell, to give the shooter a variety of hand positions. I will cover this in detail when I am on the range.

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Don’t let the Cerakote fool you. That is a full blown CARBON FIBER stock hiding under the FDE color.

 

The palm swell really fills your hand, and give you a very nice platform to rest your hand, and gives you a variety of ways to position your hand. I will demonstrate this in detail when I post range sessions.

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The bolt has a beautiful diamond fluting pattern, and the action is pure Remington 700… blueprinted and lapped.

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This rifle has the optional bottom metal that accepts Accuracy International Magazines. Here, I have a 5 round magazine inserted. I have a few ten round magazines as well. The base that I chose, is a US Optics .750 inch extended base, which mated absolutely perfectly to the Christensen Arms / Remington 700 action. I chose low US Optics rings, to go with the base. For glass, I used my trusty US Optics LR-17 that I have vetted and used time and time again, so I know it’s solid. I will be doing a detailed post on optics in the near future, so this optic will be discussed completely, along with some of my other choices.

The barrel on this rifle is another main focus point. This is a Shilen Select Match barrel blank, profiled by Christensen Arms, and wrapped with the special Carbon Fiber magic that makes Christensen Arms unique. They are able to get the same accuracy and consistency of a HEAVY contour “bull” style barrel, for right at 2/3’s the weight. The carbon wrap adds stiffness to the barrel, allowing a thinner overall contour, and helps dissipate heat very quickly. One thing that Jason Christensen schooled me on, was the heat characteristics of carbon fiber. Not only is it VERY rigid when woven correctly, but it is also the best heat sync out there. However, if you weave / wrap it incorrectly, (for rifle purposes) it is the worlds BEST INSULATOR. If done incorrectly, the carbon will keep heat IN your barrel, counter productive to what you want.

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Because this is going to be used in a Law Enforcement role, and I wanted it to be a short overall length, I chose the 1:10 twist that does so well in my Longbow. I will be mostly shooting 168 grain and heavier, with the bench mark being M118LR. I have tons of data on M118LR, and the fact that it is the same twist rate and barrel length, should be very close to my Longbow.

The trigger in this rifle is a tuned, adjustable Jewel trigger, which I had set at 3 pounds. It is VERY crisp, with ZERO creep, and the break is glass rod sharp. Very nice trigger indeed.

This LE specific role that I have planned, means a lot of confined space shooting. I needed a suppressor, and I had just the one. I have a few suppressors from Byron Peterson at Delta P Designs, I am using his full sized Brevis 7.62 on my Longbow, and since this is a bolt gun, the Compact 7.62 suppressor will be perfect for this application. I have already used it on a few other test rifles, so I know it will give me the sound suppression I am looking for, and the accuracy that I demand.

So, as this project moves on, you can expect very detailed updates… I am very excited and honored to be working with Christensen Arms. Stay tuned!!!!

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