Practicing Long-Range Wind-Doping Just Got A Whole
Lot Easier With Masterpiece Arms’ Rimfire Stand-In
By Holt Bodinson
Chassis shooters, rejoice! You no longer have to go to an extended range to hone your fundamental shooting skills—100 yards will do—and your ammunition expenses will diminish significantly. It’s been a long wait, but Masterpiece Arms has just perfected the rimfire chassis rifle in .17 HMR, .22 Long Rifle and .22 WRM. The wait was worth it. The refined Masterpiece Arms chassis is like none you’ve ever shot before, and in addition to the rimfire version pictured here, it’s available in several styles for practically every popular centerfire sporting and match action made.
Listed as the MPA22BA in the Masterpiece Arms catalog, the new .22 Long Rifle version is a perfect understudy for a centerfire chassis rifle. Set up with the same sights and shooting accessories as your primary chassis rifle, it’s perfect for building your position and maintaining your skill set at a high level. Shooting a rimfire at 100 yards under a variety of weather conditions, particularly when there’s a bit of wind, and practicing getting into a variety of positions common to long-range competition would benefit all of us, even non-competitors. I’ve been thinking MPA’s rimfire version would also be the perfect chassis rifle for a young son or daughter. It would be just like Dad’s!
Built using the action of a CZ455 rimfire rifle and a hand lapped, stainless steel, bull barrel, the MPA22BA is assembled on a BA Lite Chassis. Weighing only 3.2 pounds, the Lite Chassis was designed around the needs of hunters and long-range competitors who require a light but stable shooting platform without sacrificing the refinements setting MPA’s chassis line apart from its competitors. The refinements are many and subtle.
On the top of my list is MPA’s enhanced vertical grip with its thumb notch, trigger finger support and palm swell. More specifically, your hand moves onto the MPA grip without having to bend your wrist while your palm is supported by the palm swell. Think in terms of extending your hand to shake hands with someone. You do it with a straight wrist. This is the way you naturally grip the MPA grip. There’s no stress or strain involved. Now, try doing so with a stock having a traditional pistol grip or even an A2 grip. Notice how your wrist is bent, and there’s just the hint of some tension there.
Next, when your hand moves onto the MPA grip, your thumb naturally glides onto a thumb notch or shelf molded into the top of the grip while the third joint of your trigger finger is fully supported by a molded pad so the first joint of your trigger finger rests directly on the trigger shoe. It’s a deliberate, competition-style, hand position.
The combined features of the MPA grip ensure you enjoy a natural, tension-free interface with the rifle. I also found by having my thumb positioned essentially opposite my trigger finger, my sensitivity to the trigger and my trigger control were enhanced.
The MPA rimfire chassis rifle is capable of sub-minute-of-angle accuracy at 100 yards,
especially if the shooter reads wind drift well.
MPA’s rimfire chassis rifle is an ideal understudy for centerfire competition.
Number two on my list is the horizontal level integral to the stock located just aft of the end of the bolt and fully in view when you’re in position to shoot. Cant control is essential to accurate shooting, particularly at longer ranges. Most of us end up clamping a level on our scope. The MPA built-in level is more ruggedly protected and much easier to see. It’s ingenious.
Speaking of ingenuity, note the chassis angles up to the fore-end just in front of the magazine. The angled portion of the chassis serves as a wedge when combined with MPA’s barricade stop which can be moved forward and back along the bottom of the fore-end to conform to the thickness of a parapet wall or similar barricade. Once wedged in place by the stop and angled chassis, the rifle is stabilized by its own weight, providing the shooter with an impromptu, but stable, benchrest. Another option offered by the MPA barricade stop system employs two, opposing, tapered stops which can be used to wedge the rifle down over a round rail of any kind. It’s a pretty cool system, and there’s more.
To give the barricade stop the fullest range of adjustment along the fore-end, MPA inserts a short, adjustable Picatinny rail in the fore-end’s tip to get the bipod out of the way of the stop and lowers the rifle to the ground. MPA calls it their spigot mount.
The length-of-pull, cant of the padded butt and height-of-comb are fully adjustable to the shooter and secured with setscrews. There’s a short bag rider along the bottom of the butt which includes a flush cup for an additional sling position. There’s one improvement I would make to it and that would be to machine it to accept a Picatinny-type, adjustable monopod.
The chassis sports multiple QD sling swivel locations, is drilled and tapped for side-mounted rails and offered in a variety of Cerakote finishes.
Overall, the design, features and quality of the MPA BA Lite chassis are simply sensational.
For a barreled action, MPA uses a CZ455 rimfire action mated with a 16- to 24-inch hand-lapped, stainless steel barrel with a straight, 0.920-inch bull barrel. The barreled action is V-bedded in the aluminum chassis. An enhanced trigger and trigger shoe complete the package with a weight-of-pull adjusted from 1 to 3 pounds. The crisp trigger on our test rifle was set to 1 pound, 4.3 ounces at the factory and was a joy to use.
My objective in working with the MPA was to see how it would perform at 100 yards. After testing a variety of match, standard velocity and high velocity ammunition at 50 yards, the MPA, like all rimfires, had its distinct, and rarely predictable, favorites. They were CCI AR Tactical and Federal Hunter’s Match. Neither are what I would categorize as true match ammunition, but I’ve long learned never to second guess an individual rimfire rifle. They’re all idiosyncratic.
One of the interesting sidelights to shooting the bull barrel was it placed a variety of brands into a common point-of-impact.
The 5-shot groups pictured speak for themselves. My range is laid out north-south, and there was a slight easterly breeze coming in. Notice the westerly drift of rounds in the 100-yard groups. Reading the wind and compensating for wind drift is what makes 100- and 200-yard rimfire competition so challenging and educational. It’s the ideal training ground for long-range centerfire competition. If I had compensated for wind drift, those 100-yard groups would be sub-minute of angle.
Masterpiece Arms rimfire and centerfire chassis rifles, chassis stocks and chassis accessories are in a league of their own. They’re highly refined products designed by the shooters who make them. The MPA .22 rimfire chassis rifle is a long-awaited and welcome addition to the chassis driven field and a great understudy rifle to centerfire models.
Most of all, it’s really, really fun to shoot!