Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT 7mm PRC

INTRODUCTION

The Ridgeline FFT is the latest model in Christensen’s Ridgeline series of rifles. The FFT stands for Flash Forged Technology, a new process used to produce its carbon fiber stocks. Christensen claims this new tech further reduces the rifle’s weight for the ultimate lightweight hunting rifle.

Being foremost a hunter, I am always interested in the latest new thing. And with Christensen being located here in my own state of Utah, I was even more excited to see them leading the way with new ideas. While I’m not sure if a lighter rifle will improve my shooting, at least I won’t be as fatigued when I come home empty-handed.

I have been hunting these Rocky Mountains for over a few decades, so I’d like to think this rifle was built for guys like me. As such, I was eager to see how it measured up to the quality customs and other carbon rifles I am used to. My initial thoughts on handling the Ridgeline FFT were that I would be quite pleased with the rifle.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber 7mm PRC
Barrel 416 Stainless carbon wrapped
Barrel length 22 inches
Barrel twist 1 in 8”
Capacity 3 + 1
Trigger Trigger Tech
Muzzle ⅝ inch x 24 threaded with Stainless side-port Brake
Stock Carbon Fiber Sporter

PROS & CONS

PROS
  • Very lightweight, starting at 5.3lbs
  • Match Grade chamber hand-lapped barrel
  • Threaded muzzle with brake
  • High-quality Trigger Tech trigger included
  • Remington 700 compatible receiver for accessories
  • Sub MOA guarantee from factory
  • Twenty-two inch barrel makes it very maneuverable
CONS
  • Action not as smooth as expected
  • Twenty-two inch barrel gives up some velocity

RANGE TESTING

I’d anticipated receiving this rifle for some time, I’d even received some ammunition already for it thanks to the good folks at Hornady. Since the action of the Ridgeline is compatible with Remington 700 parts, I grabbed a Leupold scope base I had in my toolbox and tightened it down on the Burnt Bronze action.

For a rifle scope, I decided to install my US Optics TS20X. I had a set of 34mm rings that put the scope just the right height for me, so I adjusted it for proper eye relief and torqued it down properly.

I put a touch of lube on the contact points of the bolt body to slick it up and installed a bipod on the rifle before heading out. I prefer the solitude of the mountains over shooting ranges, so I dressed up for the cold and grabbed the rest of my stuff as I headed up the hills.

In my bag, I had a couple of boxes of ammunition from Hornady, both the Precision Hunter 175 ELDX load and the Match 180 ELDM. I also carried my Desert Tech DTSS suppressor to see how the rifle shot when suppressed and a Magnetospeed chronograph to measure velocity.

The first thing I wanted to get established was a good zero, so after setting my target at one hundred yards, I settled down on my shooting mat to get comfortable with the FFT.

I pushed three cartridges down into the magazine, which had plenty of room. It looked like you could seat the bullets really quite long and still have them fit and feed from the magazine. I ran the bolt forward to chamber the first round, closing the bolt into the battery as I peered through the scope.

I fired the first shot and two more to confirm impact; I was going to need to shift my impact about one MRAD right and up a touch. After doing so, I shot a couple of groups to see how the rifle performed, all while paying attention to the recoil impulse through the stock.

I would only shoot three shots and let the rifle sit for a few minutes. I didn’t really want to get it hot. Being a hunting rifle, I think it’s likely such a rifle would be carried a lot more than shot. After shooting a few groups, I paused to evaluate my findings.

I was surprised by how mild the recoil felt; surely, the muzzle brake was reducing a good portion of the impact. The accuracy was not spectacular, though I think it may need a minute to settle this bore down. I noticed that the three-shot groups would always have two together and the third one off just a bit.

I fired a few more rounds to finish off the two boxes, and I figured it would be good practice to see how the Ridgeline did on the open distances that these Rocky Mountains are famous for.

I picked a few targets, the first one at 530 yards opposite my canyon perch. After entering all the ballistic data into my Trasol Ballistic application, it came back with a firing solution which I dialed into the turret.

As I lay still in the snow, I looked at the snow stacked on top of my target. I held into the wind and pressed the trigger shoe till the shot broke. I could see a very significant impact on the target, knocking the snow off in a powdery cloud.

RELIABILITY

The Ridgeline FFT was very reliable at feeding and firing the PRC cartridges. I never experienced any issues other than the occasional magazine bind when you put them in poorly. The minimal controls of the rifle all worked fine, and I also noticed that the bolt lift that had seemed a little stiff back at home, didn’t seem to bother me from the shooting position.

ACCURACY

At first, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the rifle’s accuracy. I do think that shooting it more has helped; perhaps the bore needs a little break-in before it shoots its best. It did seem to prefer the Precision Hunter 175-grain ammunition over the 180-grain Match ammunition.

The Ridgeline does have an eight-twist barrel, which is the minimum for the 180-grain ELDM, so it’s possible that it could be on the verge of stability.

According to Christensen’s website, there is a 50-round barrel break-in process.

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