Another toy I got to play with at the 2013 Sniper’s Hide Cup was an Ashbury Rifle chambered in 308 Winchester, if my memory serves me. I was a bit skeptical of the Ashbury stuff prior to getting some hands on time with one of their rifles. Their stuff is pricey. Upwards of 1600+ for a decked out chassis system. I typically look at the Accuracy International offerings as a benchmark as far as a chassis system goes. I find myself asking when checking out new stocks and chassis systems, “What does this do, or what doesn’t this do, compared to an AICS or AXCS? and is it worth the price difference?”
Well, I’m something of a believer now. I got to fondle and shoot an APO rifle in 308 Winchester. They had 6.5CM ammo on hand and I’ve included a comparison photo of the 6.5CM vs the 338LM. The reason I’m fairly sure it was a 308 on the line is because my wind hold for the 1000yd target was 3 Mils, that feels more Sierra 175gr than any 6.5CM offering. For the record, I had a first round hit on that target and I have to give half the credit to the APO rep who gave me the elevation and wind holds. It was dialed in for 3-400yds and he was giving elevation and windage holds for stuff beyond. To get to 1000+ I was holding 7 Mils high and 3 Mils into the wind for the hit, but it was a spot on call. I’ll take credit for the execution but he definitely gets credit for the call.
As far as how it shot, I have to admit, I was impressed. The whole gun felt secure and solid. There wasn’t any sloppy fit on it, nothing was loose or wobbly, and no discernible flex was felt in the whole system. For me the biggest shocker was their monopod! I’m not really a fan of monopods. They feel a bit slower to adjust and a little less versatile to me than the traditional rear bag. The monopod on the APO rifle was great! It was fat, wide, and kinda ugly…but holy cow did it work great! Adjustments were smooth and easy to execute and the wide stance the monopod provided kept the rifle feeling very stable and secure at different ranges. I really was sort of taken back by that.
I also got a chance to ask about their chassis options. While the fully decked out, carbon fiber, space age, high speed version runs well into the teens past $1000 dollars…they are now offering a Sporter version of the chassis. The nice thing about this is that the Sporter version is under the $1000 dollar mark. The really nice thing is that the floating fore end is able to be upgraded. You can get your foot in the door for under a grand, and if you find the need for a fully enclosed floating fore end you can upgrade for less than $200, I believe the rep said their most modestly priced tube to replace the open Sporter fore end was $160. Obviously, depending on whether you buy the aluminum fore end, the carbon fiber, how many rails, what length, etc…those a la cart options will drive the price up. I do like systems that allow a modest initial investment with room to grow and upgrade later.
So at the end of the day I found myself lusting for an Ashbury Precision Ordnance chassis system. Especially with the Sporter option it doesn’t feel overly costly just to get started anymore. I’m going to point out that this is an Impressions article and does not constitute a full review. These are just my thoughts after some time on the gun and playing with the chassis to get a feel for it. I walked in a bit of a skeptic and I left a convert, so hat’s off APO…you guys are cranking out some nice stuff!