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Notes From the Bench: Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT in 7mm PRC

My first experience with Christensen Arms began in May of 2023 when I traveled to Africa and put the Mesa FFT to the test in the well versed .300 Win Mag cartridge. The rifle performed wonderfully as did the cartridge. With plans of returning to Africa this year my interest in the new 7mm PRC cartridge has been growing.

Christensen Ridgeline FFT

Christensen Arms was established in 1995 and is based in Gunnison, Utah. The company stands on their claim of always made in America, from the first prototype to their state-of-the-art current production models and remains “focused on incorporating top-tier aerospace materials and processes into production – resulting in some of the most lightweight, precise, and accurate firearms in the industry and around the globe,” according to a company statement.

Electing to try out the Christensen Ridgeline FFT  in the new 7mm PRC cartridge I soon had the rifle in hand and began prepping for my African plains game hunt this year. Christensen Arms broadened their rifle lineup in 2022 to include models utilizing what they call “Flash Forged Technology or FFT”.

Just what does this technology consist of? Christensen Arms explains this new process below:

With a sleek monocoque shell design that takes its cues from the aerospace industry, Flash Forged Technology eliminates up to a full pound of unnecessary internal weight compared to traditionally manufactured carbon fiber composite rifle stocks.

Other manufacturers stick to old-school methods and simply “overbuild” a product to meet safety standards, resulting in a product that’s unnecessarily heavy, cumbersome, and inconvenient…When we created Flash Forged Technology, we broke the status quo and not only built products that exceeded crucial strength and safety margins — we did it in a way that was lighter, stronger, more durable, and more environmentally friendly.

Thanks to FFT’s ability to be broken down and reused as new materials we’re able to operate with 100% zero-waste manufacturing without producing harmful toxins and emissions. This new technology allows us to reduce our environmental impact to protect our lands and wildlife for ourselves and the people who come after us—all while putting a better product in your hands.

 Essentially, FFT allows Christensen Arms to build rifles that are significantly lighter than those made using traditional construction techniques.

The Ridgeline FFT in 7mm PRC features a Christensen Arms 416R stainless 22-inch barrel with carbon-fiber wrap, threaded muzzle, side-baffle brake, and 1:8 twist. Accuracy is backed by a sub-MOA guarantee.

Christensen Arms 416R stainless 22-inch barrel with carbon-fiber wrap

An enlarged ejection port allows you to easily load the rifle, and unlike many of its competitors, the Ridgeline FFT comes with an internal box magazine that holds four rounds (three rounds in the 7mm PRC) and an FFT hinged floorplate. The bottom metal is made from billet aluminum, and the floorplate release lever is located within the trigger guard.

All Ridgeline FFT rifles use a flattened skeletonized bolt handle and an interchangeable FFT bolt knob along with dual lug spiral-fluted bolt. TriggerTech triggers are standard, and they offer a smooth, crisp break that improves accuracy. The 7mm PRC trigger broke at 3.2 pounds for an average of 10 presses on a Lyman digital trigger gauge and the trigger guard offers enough room for a gloved finger.

The particular Ridgeline FFT I have in hand is a handsome rifle with an action finish in natural stainless and a stock coloration of carbon with gray accents. Sling studs are included and the receiver tapped and drilled for scope bases.

Aside from the Ridgeline FFT there are several additional Christensen Arms models that are also enhanced with the Flash Forged Technology including the Mesa FFT Titanium, Mesa FFT, Ridgeline FFT Titanium and Ridgeline FFT Scout. In addition to the test gun in 7mm PRC, the Ridgeline FFT is also available in no less than 23 other chamberings, as shown below.

Christiansen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle Specs and offerings:

  • Type: Centerfire, bolt-action rifle
  • Calibers: .22-250, .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6MM CRD, 6.5 PRC, 6.5- 284 Norma, 6.8 Western, .26 Nosler, .270 Win., .270 WSM, 7mm-08, 7mm PRC (current testing), .280 Ackley Improved, 7mm Rem. Mag., .28 Nosler, .308 Win., .30-06, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag., .30 Nosler, .300 PRC, .300 RUM, .450 Bushmaster
  • Capacity: 4 (standard) or 3 (magnum cartridges, including 7mm PRC model tested)
  • Barrel: 416R stainless 22-inch barrel with carbon-fiber wrap, threaded muzzle, side-baffle brake; 1:8 twist (tested) 
  • Overall Length: 42″ (7mm PRC model tested)
  • Weight: Starts at 5.3lbs (cartridge dependent), 5lbs 13 oz (7mm PRC model tested)
  • Stock: Christiansen Arms FFT carbon fiber
  • Action Finishes: Natural Stainless, Burnt Bronze Cerakote, or Black Nitride
  • Stock Finishes: Carbon with Gray Accents, Carbon with Green & Tan Accents, Sitka Subalpine, or Sitka Elevated II
  • Trigger: TriggerTech Field adjustable (2.5-5.5 pounds)
  • Sights: none; drilled and tapped for Remington 700 bases 
  • MSRP: $2,049

On the bench with the Ridgeline FFT

With the Ridgeline FFT in hand, I went through the barrel break-in procedure recommended by Christensen Arms. Proper barrel break-in consists of a series of shooting and cleaning sequences. Although many different break-in sequences exist, Christensen’s procedure has been developed over the last 15 years, is very simple, and has a track record providing excellent results.

Factory-recommended break-in involves firing numerous three-shot groups with cleaning and scrubbing the bore with a nylon bore brush and solvent patches between every six rounds fired. These steps are well defined on the barrel break in section of the Christensen website.

Once I completed the barrel break-in, I began testing two primary factory loads courtesy of Hornady ammunition. As mentioned, an extended tryout of the Ridgeline FFT will include a hunt for plains game in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of South Africa in July/August of this year.

Both of Hornady’s primary hunting loads for the 7mm PRC, the 160gr CX in the Hornady Outfitter line of ammo, and the 175gr ELD-X in the Hornady Hunter Precision line were put to the test.  

With no plans for my hunting excursion to include game larger than Wildebeest or Kudu at least in the Eastern Cape, I elected to test Hornady’s two primary hunting loads for the 7mm PRC. First the 160gr CX in the Hornady Outfitter line of ammo. Secondly the 175gr ELD-X in the Hornady Hunter Precision line.  

While the Hornady ammo performed wonderfully with both grouping in the 1MOA range, the most consistently accurate load as of this writing has proved to be the Hornady 175gr ELD-X bullet, especially at 200 yards where I fired numerous three-shot groups that were sub-MOA (under 2 inches at 200 yards). The 160gr CX however is a very close second and I would have no problem using either load if need be.

Sub MOA Group with Hornady Precision Hunter

Felt recoil experienced with the 7mm PRC cartridge in the Ridgeline was minimal despite being so lightweight. With all Christensen’s Ridgeline FFT rifles coming with a removable stainless-steel side-baffle muzzle brake, I can report the recoil is in the same class as say the .270 Winchester.  

Range testing of the Ridgeline FFT began by outfitting the rifle with the LUCID L5 4x-16×44 rifle scope in second focal plane. Leupold medium height Mark 4 Rings were used to secure the Lucid L5 to a standard Remington long action Picatinny one-piece base.

Testing performed with the Lucid Optics L5 4x-16×44 rifle scope

The Lucid L5 rifle scope with 30mm tube offers precise 1/8 MOA windage and elevation adjustments on lockable, tactical style turrets. A side parallax adjustment along with the ocular diopter adjustment provides for a clear target image over the entire magnification range of 4x-16x. Utilizing this exact same Lucid scope last year on a Christensen .300 Win Mag while hunting the Kalahari Region of northern South Africa provided excellent results.

As of this writing, the Christensen Ridgeline FFT, Hornady 7mm PRC ammo and Lucid L5 optic with all components performed well and will be taking the long flight across the Atlantic to the Eastern and Northern Provinces of South Africa in late summer of this year.

Want more info on the Mesa FFT or other Christensen Arms offerings or to locate a dealer near you visit: www.lipseys.com/dealerfinder

About the Author:

TERRY NELSON – is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement with police and sheriff agencies, including SWAT and sniper roles, and has served as a state game warden. Nelson also served seven years with New Mexico State Guard. A lifelong hunter, guide, tracker and firearms enthusiast, Terry is sought for training in multiple disciplines by both civilian and police-serving agencies and companies. Nelson also holds a Basic Tac Med instructor certification from Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.