MDT Remington Chassis System
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 15/12/2016
I’m on good terms with Peter Hathaway Jones’s (Lowmill Ranges) and have looked at a bit of his kit over the years – 6.5 Grendel and 50 Beowulf AR15s and the Ivor Johnson 22 LR long barrelled semi-auto pistol. The latest item they have for the discerning rifleman is a little different as it’s a chassis system for short action Remington 700 bolt-action rifles.
This concept is probably more familiar to us through the Accuracy International Chassis System (AICS) that allows you to drop your Remy 700 into a dedicated AICS to give it the AW sniper rifle look. However, the Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) TAC21 takes this a stage further as it offers an aluminium exoskeleton that gives this famous bolt-gun, bolt-on AR15 looks and feel. However, it does not stop at cosmetics as it also provides a no bedding solution, free-float facility, uses 223 and 308 AI box magazines and the adaptability of the host of AR15 accessories available.
Cool But Different
The TAC21 comprises of four components – upper receiver, lower trigger mech housing/mag well, forend and end cap. All made of black, matt-anodised, high strength aluminium alloy. To this you add an AR15 buffer tube (screws into the end cap) and the pistol grip and butt of your choice. Pete supplied two rifles rigged up in different furniture the shorter 700 LTR (light tactical rifle) showed the standard CAR15 telescopic stock and A2 pistol grip. The 700 VSF (varmint stainless fluted) the more precision-orientated Magpul PRS (precision rifle sniper) with a TDi grip. But like I said the world is your mollusc when it comes to dressing the TAC21 up.
Assembly takes around 30-40 minutes and if you want to go the DIY route, you will have to be prepared to remove the trigger then re-install it after re-inserting the barrelled action into the outer receiver. Which is the hardest part of the job for the unskilled; though the instructions are clear enough. It’s not difficult and MDT provides slave pins to hold it all together, but if you are not confident then get a gunsmith to do it…
Good build quality
Trigger mech (TM) aside it goes like this – remove the barrelled action from the original stock along with bolt and floor plate/trigger guard. The action then slides into the new upper from the front and the recoil lug locates into a precisely dimensioned slot to secure it. It’s at this point the TM goes back. After that two steel dowel pins are fitted underneath to locate the lower trigger mech housing/mag well assembly. When aligned the new action bolts (supplied) are located and wound up to 60 inch/lbs to secure both units as one. The bolt is inserted and the end cap fitted, which is secured by a large cross pin. Up front the forend slides into the receiver and is held by three screws. All you then have to do is select a buffer tube, butt and pistol grip.
Build quality is good and tolerances spot on, what I particularly liked was the steel, helicoil thread inserts (where required) so you are not screwing steel into aluminium. The forend is ventilated and also shows a QD sling stud for bipod mounting. On both sides and also on the receiver are threaded holes compatible with Picatinny rail sections so you can bolt on bases to mount other accessories.
On top is a full-length Picatinny rail from the rear of the receiver to the tip of forend, which has an integral 20MOA down angle built into it for longer range shooting.
The upper receiver is cut-out to allow the bolt handle to sit in and below this is another so you can access the safety catch. MDT are now offering L/H kits to suit and also for long action 700s. In 223 Rem feed is from the synthetic AI 10-shot mag, in 308 the original steel version in both 5 and 10 capacities. The mag release catch sits at the back of the well and pushes forward – all very tough and simple. Depending on the 700 you choose the TAC21 kit adds around 3 ½ lbs and I have to say the 26” VSF did feel heavy, but then again it’s not a hunting rifle.
Off the peg
If all that is too much for you, then Lowmill also offer completed rifles off the peg so you can nominate calibre (short action, but I have seen a long action 700 kit too) and barrel/finish type. Personally I think this system is a little wasted on a light sporter tube as the rigid stock offered is better suited to a heavy barrel with all the advantages that sort of set up offers for mid-long range use. Likewise you can ask for whatever furniture you fancy as long as it’s designed to fit an AR15.
I swiftly took to the TAC21 though initially the bolt handle looked a bit odd in an AR layout. Bolt operation was easy and the butt layout makes it instinctive to cycle the action without breaking your shooting position. A useful feature when observing the target. One niggle is that the standard Remy 700 safety catch with the lug is a little short and sitting in its slot it’s not easy to operate. Something about 1/8” extra length would solve that…
In 223 feed was excellent and the 10-round capacity is definitely going to appeal to the more tactical/practical minded amongst us! However, I am a little surprised that MDT did not use the AR15 magazine instead! OK the AI unit feeds from a central position and could be seen as a bit more precise, but price, availability, material, design and capacity choice on AR mags is so much better…
As to accuracy, well that’s only down to the rifle, you and the ammo you feed it, but the launch platform is certainly secure and solid. The 26” VSF was turning in some good groups! The only slightly annoying thing is you have to remove the end cap/butt to pull out the bolt for cleaning, but that’s what you have to pay for a straight-line build of this type.
Overall this is a clever idea and one that will have an appeal to many shooters. A friend of mine has just ordered a custom Remy 700 and when he saw the TAC21 gun was annoyed, as he said he would have much preferred to go that route. Depending on how you buy it prices vary, if you have a suitable Remy 700 then just get the chassis and furniture. If not then give Lowmill a bell as prices range from around £1700 to £2250 depending on what action and accessories you pick.
For example a C-build spec with standard butt/pistol grip and 26” plain varmint barrel, in 308 with 10-shot mag is £1676.40 (Inc VAT). However a Remy LTR, with 20” fluted tube in 223 Rem with the Magpul PRS butt and M1AD pistol grip and 10-round mag is £2224.24 (Inc VAT) both rifles include a £95 assembly and test fee. The major difference here is the cost of the barrelled actions. Typically other options are available such as big bolt knobs, match triggers, threading etc.
Name: MDT TAC21 Rifle Chassis
Prices: £660 short action (Inc VAT)
£718.80 long action
Spare 10-shot magazine £50 (+ VAT)
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