Perfecting the Remington 700 with Accuracy International’s Chassis

The AX ACIS: http://www.accuracyinternational.com/aiaics.html
Buy One on GunsAmerica: /aics

A couple of years ago I purchased my first Accuracy International chassis system, an AX AICS to be precise, for my Remington 700 AAC-SD. At the time it was a bit of a risk for me. I had never really considered myself a chassis kind of guy. It had a lot of features that appealed to me, though, and as it turns out I had nothing to be concerned about. I ended up with a system that fit me very well and gave me exceptional performance. It’s almost $1,500 so not for the light of heart, but if you are a serious shooter, a serious chassis is something you have already thought about, and I think this AI chassis is a great choice.

I was quite excited then when Accuracy International released an updated version of the AX AICS last year that I knew would be perfect for my 6.5 Creedmoor build. Dubbed the 2014 AX AICS, it immediately set itself apart from the previous stock due to the new right hand folding stock assembly reminiscent of AI’s multi-caliber PSR. The 2014 AX AICS was kind of hard to come by, but I was finally able to get one just after the first of the year and test it out in my new 6.5 Creedmoor.

axaics2a

It’s safe to say that it actually bears very little in common with the AX AICS that I use on my AAC-SD. From the outside they look similar, but upon closer inspection nearly every component has been tweaked to offer the shooter an excellent product that lives up to the reputation of Accuracy International.

Easy to see numbering lets the shooter set the cheek height perfectly and put it back in case it has to be readjusted.

Easy to see numbering lets the shooter set the cheek height perfectly and put it back in case it has to be readjusted.

The AX AICS

When I received the 2014 AX AICS it came in a rather nondescript box like my previous chassis but the packaging inside has been improved with fitted closed cell padding for all of the components that come with the chassis. Inside I found the following:

  • 2014 AX AICS Chassis Main Section
  • KeySlot Forend
  • 2 Short Picatinny Rails with QD Sockets
  • 1 Long Picatinny Rail with a QD Socket
  • 1 Short Picatinny Rail
  • 1 Harris Bipod Adpater
  • Assembly Instructions

Compared to my first AX AICS, the newer version is much faster and easier to assemble since it utilizes fewer screws to attach the handguard thanks to a revised interface. Similar in appearance to the PSR and AXMC the forend has a larger “V” section that fits into a corresponding channel to create a more robust connection compared to the old design while using only two screws. Also unlike the previous version where you had to remove the plastic handguard to access the 10 fasteners, the hex screws on the 2014 AX AICS are accessible through the handguard itself. The 4mm hex wrench needed to attach the handguard, remove or attach rail sections, and make stock adjustments is conveniently stored under the cheek piece in a small recess. This was a feature that I first saw on the Accuracy International PSR and I’m glad to see that it’s filtered down to this chassis system.

Fully assembled without a magazine the total package weighs 5 lbs 6 oz but that weight is well balanced so it actually doesn’t feel quite so hefty. In comparison, the McMillan A5 that I had handy is equipped with a fixed length of pull, four flush cups, 1 bipod stud, a saddle cheekpiece, and a Badger M5 DBM which brought the weight to 4 lbs 5 oz. Manners Composite Stocks provides probably the closest comparison in terms of traditional styling with modern features in the form of their folding stocks with the mini-chassis system and other accessories which will bring the weight up to 5.1-5.3 lbs according to their website, essentially the same as the 2014 AX AICS. So weight wise the new AX chassis pretty much falls right in line with some of its competition when equipped with similar features.

These holes allow the screws securing the forend to be loosened without taking off the plastic handgrip.  This is something that has been carried over from the PSR and AXMC rifles.

These holes allow the screws securing the forend to be loosened without taking off the plastic handgrip. This is something that has been carried over from the PSR and AXMC rifles.

Development

In fact many of the features found on this stock are a direct result of Accuracy International’s participation in the US SOCOM PSR and USMC M40 chassis upgrade programs. The stock assembly on the 2014 AX AICS is probably the most obvious PSR-inspired carry over and completely different in design and function from the older version on the first AX AICS. The stock now folds to the right over the bolt handle so that the chassis is more compact for easier transport and storage. I said that the stock is PSR-inspired because AI didn’t just take the stock from the PSR and put it on the AX AICS. They took their time and redesigned it so that it would work with the widest number of bolt handle and knob combinations possible. Small details like the size of the aperture and the location of the flush cup were done to make sure that it could work. It’s not guaranteed to work with everything of course and I think a lot of it depends on who installed the bolt knob.

My Remington 700 has a Badger Ordnance tactical bolt knob installed by GA Precision and I found that I have to lift the handle ever so slightly to get the stock to snap in to the retaining collet. A minor issue and one that I’ve read about with at least one other 2014 AX AICS but not a deal killer. Just like with the older version of the AX AICS there are adjustments for the cheek height and length of pull, however now those adjustments can be made faster and easier. The buttpad of the stock is adjustable for height and cant through the simple means of a thumbscrew at the rear, which is a great feature to help get the stock perfectly fitted for maximum comfort. The cheek piece can be adjusted for not just up and down but also side to side using the included 4mm hex wrench that’s stored underneath. On the underside of the stock there’s actually a small KeySlot section that can be run bare or with one of the included short rail sections. This allows the use of the included hand stop or a rail mounted monopod to provide a steady rear support.

The New Bedding

One particular detail that interested me very much about this new chassis was a seemingly revised bedding interface that I’d only seen briefly in a video from SHOT Show. It wasn’t until I got the chassis in my hands that I’d seen exactly what Accuracy International had done and the thought processes behind it. Instead of the traditional V-block type interface most are accustomed to the new interface has two parallel ridges at the rear tang and front action screw.

I asked Accuracy International about this and the purpose for those ridges is to move the support lower on the action and most notably improve support under the rear tang. Too little support and flexing of the rear tang has always been a criticism of this and other chassis systems that use a traditional v-block bedding interface.  To cope with this aspect of a traditional chassis some shooters use certain torque settings for the front and rear while others just bed the rear tang to give it more support.

The ridges shown here are a major part of the revised bedding interface that provides more action support than previously.

The ridges shown here are a major part of the revised bedding interface that provides more action support than previously.

Another overlooked feature that AI employed came from their work with the M40 series of rifles during the development of the chassis upgrade program. They found that after some of the actions had been trued the action screw holes would be offset a little so they made the holes in the chassis oblong so the screws wouldn’t be touching the sides, a very minute detail that could have a big impact. The recoil lug pocket has also been modified to except larger recoil lugs, which was another common complaint with the older chassis systems that then had to be modified. However, I found during my first attempt to mount the new 6.5 Creedmoor barreled action into the chassis the Badger Ordnance recoil lug bottomed out in the pocket. It appears that two small shelves on either side of the lug pocket kept the lug from seating all the way down. This was an easy matter to remedy and after a few minutes the gunsmith had the recoil lug milled down until it wasn’t touching anything in the chassis.

Magazines

The chassis still utilizes the same AX specific five and ten round AICS magazines as the previous generation of AX AICS. These magazines differ from the other AICS magazines used with the legacy AICS stocks in that they have a small lip on the front that fits into a corresponding notch in the magazine well. This tab holds the magazine firmly in place for ultra reliable feeding when it is inserted into the flared magazine well.

Standard AICS magazines will still work with the AX AICS chassis despite what others have alluded to on the interwebs, they will just be able to rock forward slightly more because of the lack of the tab. I have not experienced any issues running the standard AICS magazines in the chassis and even if they were rocked all the way forward they still functioned perfectly. One caveat that needs to be remembered though is that you can use both AX and legacy AICS magazines in the AX AICS chassis but you can’t use AX magazines in legacy chassis systems or third party detachable magazines systems designed for standard AICS magazines.

Accuracy International even redesigned the mounting studs to be more recoil resistant.

Accuracy International even redesigned the mounting studs to be more recoil resistant.

Forend

Taking a look at the KeySlot forend on the AX AICS, it might bear some resemblance to the KeyMod systems that have been taking the AR-15 world by storm but the two really couldn’t be any more different. From the outside they do look similar but when looking at the details the depth and profile of the recesses inside mean that the two are not compatible. In fact the forend on the 2014 AX AICS has been redesigned and improved from the previous version with revised geometry on the internal recesses and with a larger hole for the KeySlot studs. This means the tube has more in common with the PSR and AXMC handguards than the older KeySlot tube found on my first generation AX AICS.

This newer design helps make the rails more recoil and vibration resistant so that accessories won’t come loose or lose their zero at the worst possible time. It’s nice that the newly designed KeySlot studs also sit flush with the inside of the forend when they are tightened down that gives it a nice fit and finish.

Putting it all together

Of course there’s no way to be sure that all of the changes and revisions will equate to a better product until you actually bolt a barreled action into the thing and shoot it. Initially I had some concerns that the action would be too stressed when it was torqued down into the chassis and I’d end up having to skim bed it. This apprehension was based on a previous experience that I’d had trying to use this action with another chassis from a different manufacturer.

All of my apprehension seemed to go away though when I finally dropped my new 6.5 Creedmoor barreled action onto the bedding interface and saw no discernible stress on the action when I tightened everything to 57 in/lbs. That was a good sign that the ridges in the bedding interface were doing their job but as the saying goes “the proof is in the pudding.”

The magazine cut out on the left side lets 10 round AICS mags be loaded without having to lift the rear of the stock up or breaking the cheek weld.

The magazine cut out on the left side lets 10 round AICS mags be loaded without having to lift the rear of the stock up or breaking the cheek weld.

Shooting

Leave it to me though to pick a day to go shoot my brand new set up when the wind is howling at 30 miles per hour and the temperature is cold enough to make your fingers go numb. I did the best I could to get zeroed and put up a couple of respectable groups on paper but when the wind is moving you and the target backboard, it just isn’t that easy. That being said I was able to shoot several sub-MOA groups with Hornady’s 140gr AMAX Match and Winchester’s 140 gr Match ammunition. Hornady’s match ammunition was the best performer overall with a couple really nice 1/2 MOA groups at 100 yards, better velocity, and more consistency.

At 200 and 300 yards I really began to appreciate the amount of adjustability and the comfortable grip angle on stock since it seemed to quite effortless to stack rounds on top of each other from the bench owing some thanks to the Bushnell 3.5-21X50 ERS. It’s a gratifying feeling to see every shot just make the dark spot on the target get a little bigger. I knew to quit while I was ahead, especially considering the cold and windy weather so I packed it in, destined to return again for some more range time to get ready for the Nightforce Optics PRS Shoot Out.

I didn’t have a lot of time to get ready but week before the match I was able to put some more rounds down range and I wasn’t disappointed in the least with the accuracy at 600 yards. For the longest time I thought that an accurate rifle had to be pillar bedded and a chassis system only provided good enough accuracy. It turns out this isn’t quite true, at least not in my case as the stock was comfortable, it helped me absorb the recoil, and absolutely hammered nails out to 600 yards.

My good friend stacking rounds up at 300 yards.

My good friend stacking rounds up at 300 yards.

The Nightforce PRS Match

Before I knew it the Nightforce-sponsored PRS match was upon us and I experienced my first issue with the chassis system. During one of the early morning stages on the first day, I noticed that the adjustments for my length of pull and cheek piece had loosened up. The grippy material used on the cheek piece adjustment kept it from falling down and after a minute with my Leatherman MUT I was back in business.

I caught up with another competitor that was using a 2014 AX AICS also and asked if he’d had similar issues. His answer made me realize that I’d overlooked a couple of small details I’d like to pass on. If you tighten the screws only hand tight, they will eventually back off and to give the screws a little more extra oomph, use the included 4mm hex wrench to give the screws another quarter turn. Turns out this information was printed in the instructions included with the chassis that I didn’t bother to read so that one is on me. So now you know and knowing is half the battle. the chassis was superb throughout the rest of the match and I had no issues with loosening action screws or adjustment screws. On the second day we shot a lot of off hand shots, improvised shooting positions, even from our weak side and the stock didn’t let me down. I was able to make quick easy adjustments and I stayed comfortable behind the trigger.

The 2014 AX AICS is easily one of the best purchases I’ve made this year. I’ll be the first to warn you though the chassis isn’t cheap. It retails for just under $1500 from most vendors. However I believe that money is well spent considering the 2014 AX AICS is only about $150 more than what the pre-2014 retailed just a couple of years ago. The modest price hike nets the end user additional accessory rails, more adjustability, a revised bedding interface that works very well with a factory action, and a right hand folding stock for easy, compact transport. Although there are cheaper chassis systems on the market and ones that are much more expensive, I don’t think any of them have the longevity and reputation of Accuracy International. If you are looking for a chassis system for your Remington 700 or clone action that might see some serious use I highly recommend taking a look at the 2014 AX AICS.

The cheek piece holds a 4mm hex screw underneath that can be used to adjust and reconfigure various parts of the stock.  The wrench can be used to give the wing nuts a little oomph for some extra security.

The cheek piece holds a 4mm hex screw underneath that can be used to adjust and reconfigure various parts of the stock. The wrench can be used to give the wing nuts a little oomph for some extra security.

There is an extra grippy material used on the stock that helps keeps adjustments glued in place with just a little tension.  The thumbwheel also makes it easy to fit the recoil pad to the shoulder

There is an extra grippy material used on the stock that helps keeps adjustments glued in place with just a little tension. The thumbwheel also makes it easy to fit the recoil pad to the shoulder

The aperture in the stock is large enough to accommodate most tactical bolt knobs.

The aperture in the stock is large enough to accommodate most tactical bolt knobs.

The stock assembly has been extensively engineered to be fully adjustable and configurable to the shooter's needs.  The butt hook is removeable to allow other accessories to be used.

The stock assembly has been extensively engineered to be fully adjustable and configurable to the shooter’s needs. The butt hook is removable to allow other accessories to be used.

Accuracy International went the extra mile designed the bedding interface to make sure it was compatible across a wide variation of recoil lugs, triggers, and actions.

Accuracy International went the extra mile designed the bedding interface to make sure it was compatible across a wide variation of recoil lugs, triggers, and actions.

The right hand folding configuration lets the rifle have a narrower profile compared to left hand folding stocks.  It also shortens the rifle by about 8 inches.

The right hand folding configuration lets the rifle have a narrower profile compared to left hand folding stocks. It also shortens the rifle by about 8 inches.

Other than the stock assembly the 2014 AX AICS looks pretty similar to the first generation of AX AICS.

Other than the stock assembly the 2014 AX AICS looks pretty similar to the first generation of AX AICS.

I reall got to use the 2014 AX AICS at the  Nightforce Precision Shootout.  The stock was nothing short of perfect, especially when it came to shooting from unconventional positions.

I reall got to use the 2014 AX AICS at the Nightforce Precision Shootout. The stock was nothing short of perfect, especially when it came to shooting from unconventional positions.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Rem870 January 2, 2017, 1:58 pm

    Thanks, very useful review. Accuracy International’s Chassis are one of the best available on the market today. Very good choice for any Remington 700 owner.

  • Traesir April 28, 2016, 12:16 am

    I love the AICS AX Chassis. I initially was going to buy the Drake Ind. or the Rem RACS chassis. But for the same thing in the last two (just without the comfy poly cover) alum. chassis, with a much much higher cost. The Drake is $2500 the RACS is too much to even print. The AICS is $1500 and I recently heard it can be had for $1000. The “Matell” theme is propagated by older shooters from the Vietnam era. They were issued rifles with sub standard stocks, and they scapegoated every single firearm in existence as unsafe Junk. These people refuse to learn of the impossibly great advantages of the new polymers available now. The strength, and durability of the new polymers are amazing.
    In the case of the AICS AX Chassis being “Mattie Matell” junk, it’s actually an aluminum chassis with a polymer skin on top of it. The poly won’t scratch into ugly grooves in the base metal like fully metal chassis will. You don’t have to worry about damaging them when carrying them in the wild. AND, I can tell you, from a person who has lived in WA, ID, & MT for most of my life, that polymer skinned chassis are far less cold to your hands while using and carrying it. Wait till next fall and winter and carry around a chunk of billet Aluminum for a few hours. You will agree with me in the first half hour that it’s too cold to carry, even with heavy winter gloves.
    And Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just try not to be so vehement when expressing your opinion, of which you are very entitled to. Try to learn more about the new age polymers we have without a pre conceived notion they are junk.
    I wish for everyone to enjoy the firearms they have, appreciate the firearms of others, and commit to burning the most gunpowder and primers they can. Peace to all. T

  • Dave McCarthy April 23, 2016, 10:56 pm

    I own a AI AX338, basically a precesion tool. The screws by the way are not plastic, and any problems with them were admittedly operator (author) error. Remington purchased by MATEl? Ok….so your realize that this chassis is not made by Remington correct. Further, only a few parts are plastic, underneath is a block of aluminum. You can buy an all aluminum version of this chassis from Remington for your 700 action for an ADDITIONAL $1,500.00 to $2,500.00. Ugly, well it is a tool, a hammer if you will. Designed to be dragged through the snow, sand, and any other environment the military seems fit to send you, and work. The chassis allows someone to be able to build a Accuracy International style military/tactical rifle without dropping down $7,000.00 or so for the real thing. Like most things….it’s all in what like.

  • docJim January 23, 2016, 4:54 pm

    Truly enjoyed your review.
    As you noted I had more than a little trepidation in moving to a modular chassis but found without a doubt a great investment in quality accuracy & durability.
    I mounted a Deviant 338 target receiver to it with a 30″ Bartlein bull barrel & Jewel trigger, & had no problems whatsoever in the build, of course with the exceptional work of Bartlein mating the barrel & receiver. The rest was reasonably straightforward.
    Given the barrel length the right hand folding stock makes transport much easier.
    At 1000 & 1500 yards it performed admirably (sub MOA) with the help of my Schmidt & Bender PII 5-25X56 glass.
    With more time at the range I aim for the same at 2000. Grandiose maybe but without dreams what have we?
    In my book this chassis is truly worth the big dollars you put out for it.

  • Coydog1254 January 15, 2016, 11:34 am

    Great review. I enjoy mine as well. Very easy to adjust and great quality.

  • don butterbaugh January 2, 2016, 3:22 pm

    And I thought the M16 was made by MATEL! Looks like anothe plastic toy has been made. You move it ten feet and you have to re-tighten all the plastic screws again! I did not realize Remington had been purchased by MATEL? Do they include a tube of model cement to repair it when it’s broke? Remington just about destroyed Marlin when they purchased it a few years ago. Quality is poor. What ever happened to Pride in Workmanship?

    • Coydog1254 January 15, 2016, 11:30 am

      Mattel? Really? That is such an old school of thought its funny. Yes the M-14 almost worked the way it was supposed to. I love the M1A for sure but it’s wood stock and op rod issues in harsh environments suck. Wood swells and….well if you said Mattel I don’t really have to tell you do I? I own this chassis also and I would agree with his review completely. There’s no reason to hurl insults. Besides you could say a lot more about Springfields decline in quality and how the M1A they make doesn’t even accept Mil Spec parts. In other words I wouldn’t chuck any rocks from your glass house.

  • Cyrus December 28, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Ummmmm – I’ll pass!

  • JM Manges December 28, 2015, 7:11 am

    Due to the exceptionally poor quality of some AI mags I purchased for my Rem 700 300 AAC, the last thing I would do is spend $1,500 for one of their stocks.

    • Kenneth Sohl April 23, 2017, 1:50 am

      Odd. I’ve never heard of AI mags being “poor quality”; in fact, they are the standard that all other bolt-gun mags are judged by. Even militaries that don’t use AI rifles often design their rifles to use AI magazines.

  • Harry Shank May 23, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Get down with the get down, clown!

    • Bill Simmons May 23, 2015, 5:30 pm

      TTT

  • Lynn Hardy May 18, 2015, 10:14 am

    That has to be the very ugliest 700 ever made! UGLY!!!

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