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Precision Tool

Precision Tool

The Cadex Defence CDX-SS SEVEN S.T.A.R.S. PRO (Sport and Tactical Application Rifle
System) is aimed towards PRS shooters. The rifle uses Cadex’s Strike Pro chassis, which
shows a 17” forend with an integral ARCA Elite System (AES), and multiple M-LOK
attachment points for other accessories.

Barrel, bolt, and trigger

The rifle begins with a recessed crown and the muzzle is threaded 5/8”x24 for a moderator
or brake. As well as a thread protector, a brake comes supplied, and it can be timed. It
shows a locknut for which a specific wrench is available, although one was not supplied to
me, so I removed it and used a moderator.

The fully free-floating Bartlein barrel is single-cut, 5R rifled. It measures 26” long and shows
a straight taper from 22mm at the muzzle, to 32mm where it enters the recoil lug and
receiver. It shows ten flutes along its length.

The receiver carries a three-lug bolt with push feed operation, a single extractor claw, and a
sprung plunger ejector. There is a 20 MOA Picatinny rail screwed on top for scope mounting,
and a night vision bridge is also available. Some shooters like to use this as a hand support
above the free-floating barrel, to press the rifle down firmly into rest bags.

The bolt is also fluted and offers a 3” long handle that’s capped with a 1” teardrop. The rear
shows a red cocked action indicator emerging from the shroud, with a small lever on the rear
of the action, above the shroud, that allows bolt removal.

Cadex uses the DX2 Evo trigger on this rifle, which is set up with 2-stage operation, but it
can be changed to single-stage, if preferred. The pull weight is adjustable from 580 to 1100-
grams (25-40oz.), and it is crisp in operation. The 6mm wide blade is adjustable and sits in a
particularly spacious trigger guard. The safety catch is on the right side of the tang, with
forward for FIRE, and rear for SAFE.

Solid furniture

The chassis is the hallmark of a PRS rifle, and the Cadex one is certainly quite distinctive.
It’s available in countless Cerakote colours, some of which are modest greys and blacks,
others extrovert oranges and reds. All feature a one-piece aluminium forend that’s integral to
the action’s internal inlet surfaces, so there are no issues with bolts coming loose. The
ARCA rail is 38mm wide and the forend swells to a hand-filling 48mm width just above it.
There are 10x M-LOK slots on each wall and the underside, and Cadex themselves offer a
broad range of accessories to fit these, including balance weights.

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Although the M-LOK and ARCA cover 17”, the forend, from its tip to the barricade stop,
measures 18”. The stop is a solid, perpendicular wall that features knurling for grip, into
which you can load the rifle against any suitable surface. The rifle is AICS magazine
compatible, which makes life very easy, with 10 rounds held vertically in a single column.
So far, everything has been Aluminium, but polymers are bolted onto the chassis to form the
extremes of the mag well, offering deep, tapering walls that make fast changes smoother.
The ambidextrous release catch is on the front of the trigger guard, and mags clip securely
in position, then drop free when released. The trigger guard’s base is also polymer, bolted
under the chassis and part of the anchor point for the vertical AR-15-type grip, which is
rubberised with an ambidextrous, chequered palm swell. Most of the polymers need to be
removed to access the action screws and trigger.

There is a hinge mechanism above the grip’s throat, which allows the buttstock to fold to the
right of the rifle. It encapsulates the bolt handle and locks closed. This is adjustable to
remove any play, and it locks in both directions. There is even a rubber bump stop to prevent
it from making any noise or rattling.

Further to the rear, the aluminium skeleton is shrouded with black polymer components.
There is a height-adjustable cheekpiece on top, with a release lever underneath (rear/left) to
slacken and tension it in position. It has a broad radius profile that was not to my taste, but a
second asymmetric polymer comb is supplied, so you can swap them about. The supplied
unit fits on twin columns, while the alternative fastens to a single column, and the combs
themselves have a thin layer of foam/rubber material on their surfaces. The mechanism
would appear to be a polymer construction, and somewhat flexible, although it won’t transmit
firing vibration into your skull.

The butt’s underside has a Picatinny rail for a monopod, and you will also find some steel
QD stud anchor points near to the hand stop. The recoil pad also offers toolless adjustability,
and with the right-side lever unlatched, there is 37mm of travel, with twin telescopic bars
carrying the recoil plate. The recoil pad is slotted into the plate and offers a toolless vertical
adjustment range of nearly 80mm. The pad doesn’t offer rotational adjustment, as it runs on
dovetails for security. However, you can add additional recoil spacers if desired. The length
of pull went from 13.5 to 15”, so the gun shows decent positional versatility. Cadex also
offers right/left thumb rests, but I’m not sure where these fit ergonomically around the hinge.
You can also get bag riders and a buttstock weight bracket.

Nice specification

The rifle came in .223, with a fast 1:8” twist rate to suit heavy bullets. This is actually
a specification I really like, and I have a rifle of my own built in the same
configuration, but whereas mine is still accurate with lighter bullets, the Cadex didn’t
manage MOA with anything below a 69-grain Sierra Tipped Matchking (TMK). A
favourite recipe of mine combines 77-grain TMKs, CCI benchrest primers, Vihtavouri
N140, and Lapua brass. It immediately performed well in the rifle, with the long barrel
producing some satisfying muzzle velocities. These peaked, without any issues, at
just beyond 3000 fps! This load shot three sequential 5-shot groups on paper at
100m, with the worst (actually 7 rounds) spanning 12mm centre-to-centre. At 100m,
that’s distinctly better than ½ MOA, so I have no questions to ask of the Bartlein 5R
barrel. Incidentally, the barrel was notably easy to clean, too.

Looking at the other aspects of the rifle, it conforms exactly to what’s needed of a
PRS gun. It has plenty of adjustability, simple scope mounting, and excellent
magazine performance, plus it will also accept single rounds dropped on the
magazine follower for backup shots. The trigger is precise and somewhat accessible
within the trigger guard for adjustment.

Cadex is a Canadian company, and as well as all the precise, elegant details of the
aluminium machined chassis, it’s interesting to see them use so much polymer, for
two reasons. Firstly, Americans appear to hate polymers and they must be the
world’s largest PRS market, by far. It’s interesting because the use of injection
moulded polymers is fantastically expensive to tool up for, yet low cost in terms of
individual item cost. These are complex mouldings, and they are integrated into the
exact profiles and dimensions of the chassis for beneficial reasons, so it shows a
massive long-term commitment to retaining the design in a small market. CNC
aluminium shapes can be altered within seconds between batches, and similarly to
firmware, this shows Cadex is totally convinced by their design for the long term,
which I find somewhat refreshing.

On the other hand, it’s a complex build, and I usually disassemble a rifle for
photographs but stopped halfway with the Cadex. There are numerous small screws
and nuts that drop onto the workbench, and although this is not a problem in your
workshop, I wouldn’t want to strip the rifle for emergency maintenance while out in
the field! The action screws are deeply shrouded within this structure. You don’t
need to take guns apart that often, but dust accumulates almost anywhere.

Conclusion

The Cadex is an expensive rifle and although unquestionably suited to PRS and
other precision rifle disciplines, it is up against some very tough competition. Yes, it’s
100% functional, but it’s quite complicated, and I suspect those polymer investments
contribute significantly to the cost. Calibre availability is appropriate, and the 60º bolt
lift certainly makes it a fast, smooth rifle to operate, with very little positional
disturbance. The weight and balance are easily adjusted, and it handles recoil
superbly, making it easy to retain bullet trace visibility in flight. However, the flexibility
and shape of the cheekpiece don’t assist this, and I’m not sure of the current limits
on customisation in PRS. However, if you want a rifle that stands out, it’s available in
Orange and Robin’s Egg blue!

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gun
features

  • Name: Cadex Defence CDX-SS SEVEN S.T.A.R.S. PRO
  • Calibres: .223 Rem, 6mmBR. 6mm Dasher, 6mm CM, 6.5x47, 6.5 CM, 308 Win
  • Barrel Length: 26”
  • Overall Length: 45.5”/ 35.7” Folded
  • Weight: 5.4kg/11.8lbs
  • Length of Pull: 13.5-15”
  • Magazine Capacity: AICS-compatible, 10+1
  • Price: £5999
  • Contact: Highland Outdoors - www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk
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