As the most recent addition to the XLR family I was excited to try this new stock out. For the past two years I have been shooting a Desert Tech SRS rifle that weighs around 19 lbs. So I was itching to use a much lighter rifle. Immediately when you handle this chassis you will notice just how light it is. XLR has succeeded in manufacturing one of the lightest and nicest chassis systems at the sub $1,000 price point. After using the element I am anxiously awaiting the XLR Carbon to test out and write a review on.
Since my only competition rifle currently is the SRS, I had to borrow a barreled action and scope. My teammate was kind enough to loan me his back-up Remington 700 action chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 24 inch Remington varmint contour barrel. I apologize for not getting an accurate weight on this set-up in the chassis as I didn’t have a scale available. I can tell you that the whole package was very light; I would estimate around 12-13 lbs with the USO 3.2-17x scope. With this set up the center of gravity was just slightly forward biased. Not overly so where it would affect positional shooting but noticeable.
If you have been on the fence about buying a chassis system over a traditional fiberglass stock, I highly recommend the chassis for its ease of adjustment. I was able to adjust the cheek piece and length of pull on the Element within 2 minutes. Since I am 6’ 2” tall with some long arms I had to stretch the butt stock out to nearly its full extension. The scope that I used was mounted in Seekins low rings, which required me to use the cheek piece in the lowest position. If you purchase this chassis you can invest in a set of medium or high rings and still be able to easily dial in a comfortable position on the stock. After two years of gaining a cheek weld on the hard SRS skins; the soft cheek piece on the Element was a nice relief.
When purchasing the Element be sure to order a couple of picatinny rail sections along with a flush cup attachment. The Element I tested had the TAC Lite butt stock on it which includes an integrated flush cup. On the front of the stock there is an included swivel stud for a bipod, but additional attachment points need to be purchased separately. There are beautifully machined screw holes along the stock to attach rail sections. As light as this stock is don’t be afraid to add a little weight to it.
With the TAC Lite butt stock I was able to use a TAB gear rear bag and a Red Tac rear bag with zero issues. XLR offers five options for a buttstock; the chassis minus buttstock & grip for $435, the standard stock for $595, the Tac Lite for $595, the Tactical for $635, and the Extreme for $680. While the Element I tested was not equipped with the folder option for the buttstock, I would encourage you to seriously consider that option for the $115 price tag. Not only does it make for a more compact package, it will help you every time you clean the rifle.
XLR includes an Ergo grip on all of their non-stripped versions. I found the grip to be very comfortable with a wide palm swell and a nice texture. If the Ergo does not suit you, it possible to swap in your favorite AR grip (some grips may need to be altered to fit). My personal favorite is the Magpul MIAD/MOE grips. When I purchase an XLR chassis that is the grip I will choose.
In an effort to truly test the chassis I decided to run it in one of our local monthly matches. For that match we shot rooftops, barricades, positional, and prone. The chassis performed admirably during the entire course of fire. I must say however that switching to a completely new gun the day before a match definitely affected my scores. The Element was very comfortable in all stages. I did notice two issues during the match; the first being my bipod caused an issue on the rooftop stage. I ran a Harris bi-pod with KMW pod loc on it. When I shoot rooftops I place my bipod over the front of the obstacle and let the chassis sit on the prop. This caused the rifle to feel very short due to the distance from the bi-pod to the magwell. This could have been fixed by pushing the bipod forward to the next swivel sling hole or running an Atlas. The other issue I had was the inability to use my sling in positional stages due to the lack of the quick detach mount in front. Both issues that could be easy fixed if I owned the chassis.
I highly recommend that you try out one of XLR’s chassis offerings. They have an option that will fit your desire and budget. As lightweight as the Element was, it would make a perfect setup for a junior or female shooter. In addition it would make for a great platform for hunting. If super light weight is not your cup of tea then try the Evolution. But with the XLR Carbon weighing in at 4 ozs less than the Element, I am patiently awaiting its arrival!