KRG (Kinetic Research Group) has been giving Tikka shooters an excellent option for a stock with their flagship Whiskey-3 chassis, as well as a very handy steel replacement lug for other Tikka stocks (which all of KRG’s Tikka stocks utilize). But they’re now offering their new line of X-Ray stocks to Tikka owners as well, something that I believe will be a very popular option.
When I first handled the X-Ray chassis, I immediately noticed how light it was. It weighs in at around 3.1 lbs with no magazine. It has a CNC’d aluminum skeleton that provides the backbone to the stock, with reinforced polymer filling in the rest. Although there is polymer used to save weight, it never once felt like I was holding a “cheap” or “flimsy” stock. The first thing I did when I had it in my hands was try to twist and bend it to see if anything gave. Despite my best efforts, it remained in one rigid piece.
Starting from the rear of the stock and moving forward, one thing that I particularly liked was the squishy pad on the buttstock. I felt that it helped reduce the felt recoil and enabled me to spot my shot slightly easier. Less perceived recoil is always a good thing since it allows the shooter to concentrate more on the other aspects of shooting and anticipate the shot less. The length of pull is adjusted by adding the appropriate number of spacers to fit your body. The end user may also adjust the buttstock up or down to fit their specific style of shooting. A bag rider/butthook is included, and can be moved back and forth or be completely replaced with one of the provided picatinny rails for the use of a monopod.
The cheekpiece is also fully adjustable for elevation with a thumbscrew that locks it in place, and can be flipped around to fit right or left handed shooters. The last adjustment for the cheekpiece is being able to move it rearward, which I had to do to fit my position. Two tight fitting o-rings hold the cheekpiece in place for quick and easy re-installment. After shooting in the heat, I noticed that my face would feel like it was slipping just a tiny bit on the cheekpiece (it also doesn’t help that I have an oily head..). If any of you do a fair amount of shooting in the heat, I would recommend getting the overmolded cheekpiece that KRG offers to combat that small issue, or simply add some moleskin and it should be fine.
By far, my favorite thing about this stock is the grip. Having never shot a KRG stock before, I was immediately struck with how comfortable it was for my hand. I am among those who do not wrap their thumb around the pistol grip. I have never felt more immediately at home with getting behind a stock for the first time, the thumb shelf makes all the difference. Besides being able to relax my hand in a comfortable position, it provides a consistent place for my hand to return to and get the same trigger pull each and every time. Another added bonus for me and my style of bolt manipulation, is that my thumb is already in position to assist in lifting the bolt handle and extracting that spent cartridge.
The magazine release/catch has been ergonomically designed to stay out of the way enough to not catch on anything, while remaining easy to manipulate when needed. I can release the magazine with my trigger finger while never taking my hand off the grip. I’m also able to use my support hand thumb to release the magazine as I pull it out, both techniques work well for me. The end user can also adjust how tight the magazine well is by very slightly moving the polymer handguard back and forth. Personally, I found the magazine well to be too tight for my liking. I prefer the magazine to drop completely free when I depress the release. If this ends up annoying you too, it looks like it can be easily remedied by taking some sand paper to the insides of the polymer magazine well.
The X-Ray forend has a flat bottom and is attached to the aluminum skeleton by 4 screws. The forend provides an area in the front and the rear to attach a picatinny rail. The stock comes with a sling stud that I installed in the front since I run the Harris bipods. It also provides holes that are available to mount KRG’s Tripod Mount for a quick solution to solidly clip into tripods, or the Barrier Stop accessory to get a good, solid load into barricades. I am a fan of flat bottom forends, especially for use on barricades and similar obstacles. I find that I can get into a steady position quickly and have more surface area to rest the rifle on, which is always a good thing. To reinstall the action to the chassis, the forend does need to be taken off in order to fit the front action screw in it’s appropriate space.
For everyone out there that will be using a sling with this stock, there are a few different options for you. Forward mounting options include the “Ambi Sling Mount” that attaches in front of the stock and provides Quick Detach points on either side. If you already own a Whiskey-3 stock and have a spigot mount, it will also attach to the X-Ray chassis so night vision and other side mounting options are available. To attach the sling to the buttstock, flush cups can be installed on the side or KRG’s “Sling Loop/QD Mount” can be purchased to mount to either side of the buttstock.
KRG has outdone themselves to provide shooters with an affordable ($590 for Remington short action and $599 for Tikka T3 in short action calibers), lightweight, but rigid and incredibly ergonomic stock. If you currently have a Tikka T3 and are looking to upgrade from the factory stock, I highly recommend taking a hard look at the X-Ray chassis. Plus, I think it looks badass and we all know that’s more than half the battle…