While we all like the traditional look, there is no doubt that the chassis systems have made serious inroads into the world of precision shooting. Here is an updated review I initially wrote a while back but has been updated to reflect about two years worth of ownership.
Like most of the people who progress beyond basic factory rifles I am a user of aftermarket stocks and have reviewed a number of them in previous reviews.
While the nature of F Class –with nearly all the competitive rifles being custom built – necessitates the use of an aftermarket stock, such stocks are also quite commonly seen both at tactical matches and the rifle range because, unless one is using a rifle like the very fine Sako TRG, one of the various offerings from Accuracy International or a similar high-end rifle, a shooter is most likely to have upgraded his or her rifle by replacement of the factory stock. This isn’t to say that factory stocks are all bad – some are indeed quite good – but it’s just a fact that getting rid of the stock the rifle left the factory in is one of the first upgrades people think of.
While I admit to having a bit of an obsession with stocks from McMillian – especially their A5 – I’ve always liked folding stocks. To my mind, folding stocks have two big things going for them: one is eye appeal as they are, quite simply, so darn ‘tactical’ looking that they really do epitomise that annoying expression ‘Tacti-cool’ and, secondly, the ability to neatly fold away the stock has two very sound practical advantages – with the butt portion of the stock out of the way they are easier to clean and when folded up they are much easier to transport.
The biggest drawback to folding stocks is mechanical – the very nature of the beast means you have a hinge and hinges can wobble. Now this doesn’t really matter at all on something like a CZ858 or AK or similar but when you get down to sub minute accuracy you simply can’t tolerate anything that will cause a flyer and a wobble will mess up a group as sure as anything – heck, even the thought of a wobbly stock will cause you to turn that .5 into a 1.5 ! Accuracy International have had a folder ( AICS 2.0 ) out for quite some time and they lock up so solidly that if I close my eyes I simply cannot tell the difference between them and the non-folding AICS 1.5
For the past few years one of my favorite rifles, the PGW DTI ‘Coyote’ had been available with an all-aluminum chassis complete with folding stock. The PGW really needs no further commentary from me – the fact is that they are a seriously top-tier rifle and all are (with proper ammo, glass and shooter) genuine half-minute or better rifles.For several years the Coyote’s I’d owned had been housed in the McMillian A5 but that changed just over two years or so ago when I took possession of a folding stock version and now having had a lot of time with this chassis I thought I’d share my observations with you.
Opening up the package upon my return from SHOT, I immediately appreciated that as far as the fit and finish department is concerned this particular Coyote was every bit as nicely put together as my other ones were and the chassis really accentuated the tactical look.
Over the period of time I’ve owned this rifle I’ve noticed the look of the rifle really garners a fair bit of attention so if you are shy about showing off your toys this may not be for you but, on a more serious note, let me say that despite countless openings and closings of the stock I am pleased to be able to say that the folder locks up perfectly and is as 100% rock solid today as it was on day one.
I do almost all my shooting from the prone and initially I had some trouble getting perfectly comfortable behind the rifle as I was so used to the McMillian A5 but after making some small positional changes I’m happy to say that I found the ergonomics of the Coyote folder to be quite acceptable from this position. When I use a tactical style rifle from the prone I use a bean bag and the folder worked perfectly on this but not so much when I switched to my F-Class ‘Protector’ bag so if you are a ‘bunny ear’ bag user you may find that it doesn’t fit the bag as nicely as the McMillian.
Over the two years I’ve had this rifle I’ve confirmed this to be an easy half-minute shooter and at my most common practice distance of 300m all but one group has fallen under 1.5” with a best measuring 0.856” which is in the .2’s. While initially I’d produced smaller average groups with the McMillian stocked version I determined that the difference was attributable to me as over time the averages evened out.
PGW advises that the folding stock chassis rifle is 6oz lighter than their McMillian-housed offering but this is still a heavy rifle. Nevertheless, I took some shots from the kneeling and standing positions and found I was able to make repeat hits on a dinner plate-sized gong at the 200m mark and it was from these offhand positions that I found the folding stock version to be superior to the one in the McMillian. I don’t think it was the weight difference but the ergonomics of the chassis folder worked better than the McMillian when shooting from kneeling and standing.
Criticisms? My only initial critical comment really came down to personal preference and that was to do with the fact that the Coyote folds to the right. AICS fold to the left and that’s the way I’d preferred but over time I’ve seen the light and now see the merit in a right hand fold.
PGW Right Fold
Overall, all that remains for me to say is that I really like what PGW did with their folding stock chassis and I found nothing to disappoint me after two years of use. Recently when replacing my Savage 110BA in .338 LM with a newer, better, 338LM it was the Coyote’s big brother the folding stock Timberwolf that I chose to upgrade to .