Action, For The Action

posted on September 24, 2015
American Built Arms

One of our favorite things here at NRA American Warrior is seeing the steadfast defenders of our liberties move on to enjoy those liberties. Who would know better, after all, freedom’s real value? Such was the case for our recent chat with Adam Edelman, vice president of American Built Arms Company of Glen Rock, Pa.

What brought ABA to our attention was the all-aluminum restock assembly for the Remington 700 rifle that adds AR-platform advantages and fitments. But we discovered in a hurry this wasn’t the end to the ABA story. 

American Warrior: Adam, give us a little background on American Built Arms.

Adam Edelman: American Built Arms Company was founded in 2010. The company started out making parts and accessories for AR-15 rifles. It didn’t take long for some large firearms manufacturers to notice our quality and responsiveness, and to start using our components. This was the basis of our business early on, but we’ve branched out: IWI Tavor, AK variants, and, of course, the Remington 700 MOD*X are “in the fold.”

AW: It’s pretty remarkable considering the background and humble beginnings ...

AE: Well, thank you. Jason Combs is our president and founder, and his hard work and good planning have allowed us to be self-supporting since day one. Jason was U.S. Army (82nd Airborne, 1st of the 504th) and then Maryland National Guard. After his service, he went to high-tech, but never lost sight of his dream—lightweight, innovative, affordable products for the average Joe. Since the MOD1 hand guard in 2010, he just kept on moving.

Legendary Arms model (above) joins the available Rem 700 version [Photo courtesy of American Built Arms]

AW: And you?

AE: I was helping Jason at the margins, so to speak, back at the beginning (2010), but joined the company as a co-owner in 2014. My background is in high-tech too, though in the marketing, business development and sales side of the house. But as a military brat, the chance to support our men and women in uniform—as well as do something I loved—had a lot of allure. So here I am. 

AW: With all of the possibilities, what made you jump from the AR/semi-auto rifle world to bolt guns? 

AE: We had a good handle on our Tavor (IWI), AK and AR offerings three years in, but Jason’s shooting “roots” were as a hunter: probably no surprise we got back there. Our focus on the chassis was the result of looking at the market—as you know, there are quite a few out there already.

We didn’t look long before we saw some, ah, challenges? Even glaring ones. One was the “channel.” Most of these come off the manufacturer’s shelves through their websites. To some extent, customers are rightly suspicious of that: How do they really know what they’re getting, unless they can try a buddy’s? A “hands-on” process, it isn’t. A dealer network is the only method likely to address this, but that introduces problem number two—manufacturing costs and methods that let everybody feed their families, but also give good value to the customer while allowing that dealer to keep his or her doors open too.It took multiple iterations, but the MOD*X was the end result: A Remington 700 chassis that lives up to—or improves, we think—the rifle’s storied performance without breaking anybody’s bank.

It took multiple iterations, but the MOD*X was the end result: A Remington 700 chassis that lives up to—or improves, we think—the rifle’s storied performance without breaking anybody’s bank. 

AW: We observe immediately that it’s a joy to the eye and hand, but give us the “technician’s” view, could you? Materials, non-visible attributes—that sort of thing? 

AE: Sure thing. Right now, we have Remington 700 short-action, and right-handed. It’s all aluminum, hard coat anodized to Mil-Spec Type III, and engineered for a drop-in fit. The top rail has a 20 MOA cant built in to leave the long-range marksman with most of his in-scope adjustment still available. Picatinny top rail all the way out, but Keymod™ sides and bottom on the 13.5” free-floating modular forearm/hand guard. All together, it’s just over 3.5 pounds. 

We also did a couple of things we think moves the whole class forward, at least a little. First, the inlet is a multi-point, radial cut which lets the 700 receiver sit in the chassis stress-free. This improves accuracy. Also, our system can handle virtually any barrel profile up to the diameter of the action.

AW: One of our most favorite features is how the MOD*X adds box magazine reloading and feeding to an existing Remington 700. Is anything special going on there?

AE: The magazine well was an area that we paid a lot of attention to as well. We made sure to line up the feed ramp on the action to the feed ramp of the magazine with no slop forward or backward. That way, no matter how fast you cycle the bolt, the tip of the loading round cannot go under the feed ramp on the action. The tolerance on this area is kept within +/- .0005. The way we do this is with Wire EDM: It’s more expensive, but we wanted it to be the best. We also had to consider side-to-side tolerances. We couldn’t make it too tight: A polymer mag will swell a little when it’s full and bind up. However, we couldn’t make it too sloppy because then it would rattle–a potentially serious problem for a hunt, and even more so for a duty application. I think we did a pretty good job of splitting the difference and allowing our clients to use anyone’s AICS-spec mag whether it is polymer or steel.

Jason Combs and Adam Edelman of American Built Arms

AW: We have to say that performance for us was an exercise in precision. We had a trigger issue (peculiar to our action) to work around, but you straightened that out in a hurry for us. Producing three groups under ¾ MOA (and one well under at .610) with three different types of ammunition was as easy as falling off a log. We expect we’ll improve on it as our technique adapts to the advantages of the platform.

AE: That’s been our experience, or at least what customers have relayed. Police departments, law enforcement snipers, long-range shooters and good old-fashioned Remington 700 enthusiasts all seem well pleased. Design, affordability, versatility—remember, it will accept virtually any AR buttstock or grip—U.S. made, lightweight and, maybe, a little “cool factor” all played in their decision to buy one. 

AW: And in the pipeline? 

AE: We’ve got a Legendary Arms 704 chassis too—didn’t you just review that? 

AW: We did, for NRA America’s 1st Freedom—a really outstanding rifle. Like your chassis, it breaks some stereotypes and solves some very real problems. 

Thanks, Adam. Can we look forward to a “next time”?

AE: You bet.


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