The last day of my Nebraska 2018 deer hunt, mid-November, and I had yet to see a mature buck. I also had a chest freezer back home less than a quarter full. So, when a group of white-tailed does step into the cut-over cornfield, I decided it was time to stock up on some venison.
My set up was a pop-up blind just off one end of the cut-over field. I’d ranged various points along the wood line earlier, so I knew the does were at roughly 320 yards.
I shifted around in my camp chair, wedged my backpack under my shooting arm, and found the best balance point on the shooting sticks for my Christensen Arms Ridgeline rifle. Looking through my Trijicon AccuPower 4-16×50, I picked out the largest doe and then waited for her to present a shot.
Eventually, she stood broadside. I eased my finger pad onto the Ridgeline’s trigger, lined up the Trijicon’s reticle on the correct holdover line, let out my breath and sent the Barnes 6.5 Creedmoor bullet downrange.
The doe went rigid for a split second, then lifted a front leg as if to walk forward. And then she dropped onto her back legs and rolled over.
The Christensen Arms Ridgeline was introduced in 2018. A bolt-action, the Ridgeline sports a carbon-fiber wrapped barrel and is available in 20 calibers, from 22-250 up to 300Win Mag, plus 450 Bushmaster. Barrel lengths range from 20 to 26-inches depending on caliber, plus several calibers in left-handed configurations. The rifle comes standard with a TriggerTech trigger, a comfortable synthetic stock, and a barrel already threaded for a muzzle brake or suppressor.
Available in short and long-actions, the Ridgeline is a fine hunting rifle, accurate and dependable, light enough to carry all day if needed, and able to reach out longer distances.
Usually, I complete the shooting and testing for a rifle review, write the review, and then take the rifle hunting. In this case, timing factors had me putting a few boxes of 6.5 through the Ridgeline at my local range, scoring sub-MOA groups at 100 yards, and heading to Nebraska a day later.
Once back home, I did the actual review work. For accuracy testing at my home range, I used:
–Barnes 6.5 Creedmoor VOR-TX, firing a 120-grain all-copper TTSX BT bullet moving at 2,878 fps*; www.barnesbullets.com
–Hornady Full Boar, with a 120-grain copper-alloy GMX bullet, at 2,895 fps; www.hornady.com
–Remington Premier Match and a 140-grain open tip match bullet, at 2,626 fps. www.remington.com
Firing at 100-yards from a sandbagged rest, my best five-shot group came in at .974-inches with the Remington Premier Match, with the first three shots of that group scoring .460-inches.
I also put six rounds of the Barnes VOR-TZ into a 1.1-inch group, which I thought was impressive given I did not allow cool down time between shots, essentially shooting as fast as I could reload and get back on target. The larger group began with three shots that measured just .371 inches.
The Hornady Full Boar printed a very respectable five shot groups of approximately 1.25-inches.
I have no heat measuring devices to scientifically verify this, but my observation was the Christensen Ridgeline’s carbon fiber wrapping allows the barrel to cool down to ambient temperature in about half the time required for a traditional steel barrel.
To build the Ridgeline’s barrel, Christensen starts with a 416R stainless-steel liner that is button rifled and has a bore tolerance of +/- .0001. Next, Christensen applies a proprietary carbon-fiber layering design to harness the strength and heat-conducting benefits of carbon fiber. The liner-plus-carbon wrapping provides for more consistent barrel harmonics and better accuracy, as well as a barrel that cools off rapidly.
It also looks pretty cool—to this hunter, at least.
My Ridgeline has a 24-inch barrel; it’s also available with a 20-inch barrel. Depending on the caliber, Ridgeline barrel lengths range from 20 to 26-inches. Rifling is a 1:8 LH twist. All Ridgelines come standard with a TriggerTech Remington 700 Primary Trigger, adjustable by the user from 1.5 to 4.0-pounds of pull. Mine measured at an even 2.0-pounds of pull, according to my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. The trigger breaks very, very cleanly, has zero creep, and resets quickly. If you pull a shot with this rifle? It won’t be because of the trigger.
The Ridgeline’s spiral-fluted bolt features two beefy, stainless steel lugs that measured .443-inches across the top; they worked smoothly and locked up into the chamber very tightly. The bolt itself is nitride-treated. It also employs an M16-Style extractor which flings the empty brass out a good six feet. (Magnum caliber Ridgeline models have dual ejectors.) The bolt knob is fluted and provides a very positive grip for the shooter, while the rifle’s receiver is built with an enlarged ejection port.
The threaded barrel comes with a stainless-steel thread protector, plus a Christensen muzzle brake.
The Ridgeline’s sporter-style carbon fiber composite gunstock is handsomely done, with a topcoat of swirling paint lines over a black background. The surface of the stock also provides a nice grippy feel, even with the stock is cold or wet.
All in all, the Christensen Arms Ridgeline is a first-rate hunting rifle, and at just a shade over six pounds won’t be a burden to carry even on backcountry hunts. No, it doesn’t cost $450. Much closer to $2,000, though the Internet has a couple of dealers offering it for right at $1,800. That’s a substantial amount of money—and for that investment, a shooter receives a substantial and extremely functional rifle.
*Velocities measured with a PACT Professional XP Chronograph, from Brownell’s, unit approximately six-feet from the rifle muzzle. Average of ten shots per ammunition brand.
Specs: Christensen Arms Ridgeline
- Caliber (as tested): 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 4 Rounds
- Action: Bolt, two-lug, fluted bolt
- Barrel: Carbon-fiber wrapped over a stainless-steel liner, free-floating, threaded
- Barrel Length: 24”
- Rifling: 1:8 LH
- Trigger: Match-grade, adjustable TriggerTech Primary
- Sights: None, drilled and tapped for optics
- Stock: Carbon Fiber Composite
- Overall Length: 43.5”
- Weight (unloaded): 6.3 Lbs.
- Misc: Backed by the Christensen Arms Sub-MOA Guarantee.
- MSRP: $1,995.00
Learn more by visiting ChristensenArms.com.
Buy a Ridgeline on GunsAmerica.
Tested: Trijicon AccuPower 4-16×50 Rifle Scope
For my time spent hunting with and testing the Ridgeline, I used a Trijicon AccuPower 4-16×50 scope. The glass is very clear, pulling in more than enough light for a hunter to take an accurate and ethical shot into dusk and beyond. Images seen through the AccuPower are very sharp, the colors crisp and the edges nicely defined even at distances past 300 yards.
The ¼ MO per-click adjustments are precise. During my accuracy testing of the rifle, I switched ammunition brands and my first three shots at 100 yards printed approximately ¾’s of an inch to the right and 1-inch high. Three clicks to the left and four down and I was right on the bullseye.
The AccuPower 4-16×50 is available with three different reticle options: Duplex Crosshair; MIL-Square crosshair; and MOA crosshair. All are LED illuminated and are powered by a single CR 2032 lithium battery.
I used the MOA crosshair, which features angled lines coming down off the center crosshair that allow a shooter to hold to the right or left for the wind. These lines even provide windage hold points at the bullet drop holdover distances, too.
When set at 16x magnification, the MOA Crosshair reticle can be used as a BDC reticle, too, once the rifle and load are plugged into a ballistic calculator and the shooter knows exactly where the holdovers should be with the 2 MOA tick mark crosshair. Alternatively, the MOA reticle pattern can be used to size and range a target.
The LED reticle illumination comes in either red or green. The 30mm tube is made of tough 6061-T6 aluminum.
All in all, I rate the Trijicon AccuPower 4-16×50 as a near-perfect hunting scope out to 500 yards.
Specs: Trijicon AccuPower 4-16×50 Rifle Scope
Objective Size: 50mm
Weight: 23.3 oz.
Illumination Source: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery
31 hours at max brightness
Reticle Pattern: MOA-DOT Crosshair (as tested)
Eye Relief: 3.6” – 3.7”
Exit Pupil: 0.37” – 0.12”
Field of View @ 100 yards:
25.8 to 6.4 ft.
Adjustment @ 100 yards: 1/4 MOA per click
Tube Size: 30mm.
Tube Housing: 6061-T6 aluminum, anodized, black hard-coat finish
Adjustment Range: 80 MOA Total Travel
Waterproof: To 10ft.
Parallax Adjustment Range: 10yds. to Infinity
MSRP: $999.00 www.trijicon.com