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Actual Innovation: MasterPiece Arms Bolt-Action Competition Chassis

MasterPiece Arms Bolt-Action Competition Chassis Does What Others Can’t

The word innovation gets thrown around a lot, but MasterPiece Arms is one of the few companies putting innovation into action on a continuous basis. MPA has modernized its bolt-action chassis with a little luck and a lot of listening.

When Phil Cashin bought MPA in 2008, he had a different vision than the path the company had been trotting along. Cashin took a hard right turn into the precision rifle market, which was a surprise to those of us who knew the company for their semi-auto trailer trash Uzi clones. MPA chassis are now the most-used chassis by precision long-range competitors, according to a Precision Rifle Series survey. And, most of the improvements to MPA chassis have come as suggestions from competitors.

MPA BA Chassis 2

If you’re familiar with shooting a traditional stock, the MPA chassis might seem like a product from the space age. But we’ve officially been in the space age since 1957, so just go with the flow and be open to trying out a new system. Machining a chassis instead of dealing with expensive and time-consuming molds in the manufacturing process provides nearly limitless opportunities for iterative improvement. In the case of the MPA BA Competition Chassis, it rocks more capabilities than any other stock or chassis currently on the market.

Lucky by Design
MPA’s first chassis was designed in 2014, and it was an eyesore. Hints of the original chassis can be seen in the new MPA BA Competition Chassis. The skeletonized design of the new chassis is purpose-built; every aspect of the chassis makes shooting either easier, faster, or more accurate.

Cashin said he got lucky with the first chassis design because it’s allowed for backward compatibility. “The base system of our chassis hasn’t really changed over the past four years. We’re operating from the standpoint that we want our technology to be backward compatible,” says Cashin. “So a customer who bought a chassis from us four years ago doesn’t have to feel obligated to spend $1,000 on a new chassis.”

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In part because old MPA chassis don’t need to die when a new feature is unveiled, Cashin garnered a loyal customer base. If a customer bought an older MPA chassis, he can send it back to MPA for upgrades at a minimal cost — all it takes is a machine time and the old chassis is the hot new, new.

Key Features
MPA chassis are machined from a single piece of 6061 aluminum. The only part of the chassis that’s removable is the buttstock, which can be swapped from fixed to folding. Shooters with a need for a folding stock can order it instead of having the fixed stock. The downside of a folder is that its moving parts create a small opportunity for failure. If you don’t need a folder, stick with fixed. We like the idea of easier travel and not having to remove our can, so we opted for a folder to save space in the gun case.

Folders are functional, if you actually use them.

Folders are functional, if you actually use them.

There are several aspects of the MPA BA Competition Chassis that set it apart, so much so that other companies have now began to copy MPA’s homework. The most notable and most copied feature is the machined Arca-Swiss cut directly into the chassis. After MPA started cutting a dovetail into the chassis, several other companies have done the same, or offered an aftermarket Arca-Swiss plate that can be attached to the rifle. An Arca-Swiss style dovetail allows the rifle to be attached directly to a tripod. In many cases, shooting off of a tripod is as stable as shooting prone.

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Discreet machining along the forend is a huge part of MPA’s success in the precision rifle arena.

The dovetail cut mates up with MPA’s Rapid Adjustment Technology (RAT) line of accessories. MPA RAT adapters allow for the shooter to quickly move a bipod along the length of the rail. This is beneficial for awkward shooting positions, like shooting from the top of a 55-gallon drum. By moving the bipod back, you can build a more stable position with both the bipod and rear bag in contact with the drum. Because the RAT system is so easy to adjust, moving the adapters can be completed while on the clock.

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MPA BA Chassis


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