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Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle Defines Ultralight

The new Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT bolt-action repeater features flash-forged technology, which makes this ultra-light rifle even lighter – to an amazing level.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle Defines Ultralight

Built to combine precision-hunting capability with ultra-light weight, the new .300 Win. Mag. Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT weighs just 6 pounds, 12 ounces, including a Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14X 44mm scope in Talley lightweight mounts.

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Based in Gunnison, Utah, in the heart of big alpine and desert mule deer country, Christensen Arms has long been a leader in lightweight precision hunting rifles. The recently introduced Ridgeline FFT model upholds that tradition, and it very well could be the best semi-production rifle of its type the company has ever made.

Some features of the FFT are classic Christensen: the sub-MOA accuracy guarantee, carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, and custom-quality action. Something new is a particularly special carbon-fiber stock. More detail on that in a bit. Also, a lot of small elements have been aggressively reworked to provide the lightest out-the-door weight possible.

There are hunters who will argue that the Ridgeline FFT is too much of a good thing. Or maybe too little. They might think that conceptually, it’s too light for accurate shooting. Short actions are 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Titanium-action versions start at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. Long-action magnum versions tip the scale at a feathery 5 pounds, 12 ounces. (For those who want ponderous and precise, Christensen Arms makes heavier rifles, too.) I say if you’re going to make an ultra-light precision rifle, make it ultralight.

As I age, my interest in packing heavy rifles up steep mountains first waned and then went extinct. And although my eyesight has diminished, decades of practice has provided an ability to stay calm, to quickly and smoothly build a steady field position, and to execute a clean shot at the moment of truth. Obviously, I like lightweight rifles. With a railroad tie of a rifle slung from my shoulder, I likely won’t get to where the shot opportunity is in the first place, so I gladly accept the difficulty of shooting a featherweight well in a trade-off for its easy carrying.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel
Ridgeline FFT rifles are built with custom-level actions, carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels, and extremely lightweight components.

New Technology

Let’s dig into the features and construction that makes the Ridgeline FFT what it is.

Christensen makes its own stocks and does a very good job of it. Traditionally, they’re handlaid carbon fiber in an epoxy matrix and weigh somewhere north of 32 ounces. This rifle, however, wears a stock made using an all-new technology. It uses a monocoque shell.

Monocoque is a word derived from a certain type of ultra-light, ultra-strong aircraft fuselage that’s formed all as one and utilizes the skin to create structural strength. Christensen calls its in-house process Flash Forged Technology (FFT).

The results are eyebrow-raising. Stocks are around a pound lighter than the company’s standard carbon-fiber versions. According to Christensen, they’re also stronger, more rigid, and come out of the forge more perfectly formed. And they take a lot less time to manufacture.

Jason Christensen, president of the company, said, “Doing it this way allows us to drop an entire pound…three times more than a titanium action will. Price jump is one-third of what you’ll see for a titanium rifle.”

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle Accuracy and Velocity Results Chart

Of course, for those who want the ultimate in light weight, you can have both: a titanium action in an FFT stock.


I removed the barreled action from my test rifle (chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum) to examine the stock and bedding and put the FFT stock on my scale. Even in long-action form, it weighs just 18 ounces.

The inletting around the bottom metal and the action body is nice, and the dual-color paint job is stellar. Inside, the action inlet is cleanly formed, and aluminum bedding pillars are installed at the front and rear action screws. As is Christensen’s protocol, the recoil lug is spot-bedded with a dab of bedding compound. (More on that later.) While the action isn’t particularly tight in the mortice, thanks to the pillars the screws turn up nice and snug without binding or gradual compression.

At the back end, a modestly squishy buttpad with a racy profile tames recoil. The stock profile is fairly traditional, with an open grip, a teardrop-shaped cross-section to the fore-end, and a straight, albeit fairly high, comb. Although it’s not a precision stock in the modern sense, I like it very much. It’s rigid and strong thanks to the unique carbon-fiber construction; it weighs little; and it handles and feels like a rifle should, making for fast-paced, well-controlled shots from traditional field positions.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle ergonomic monocoque stock
The new FFT technology is found in the ergonomic monocoque stock, the floorplate, and the bolt knob. The stock has an open grip, a sleek fore-end, a tough but squishy recoil pad, and pillar and spot bedding. It weighs just 18 ounces on Joseph’s scale.

Five color combinations are available, and each uses a durable Cerakote on the metal and multiple-color stock paint schemes or Sitka camo. ST’s test rifle was clad in Burnt Bronze Cerakote and carbon with green and tan accents on the stock.

The stainless-steel action is Christensen’s Model 14. It’s well machined and aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, it’s sensible. Remington 700 scope bases fit the top, Remington 700-type triggers fit the bottom, and the action footprint fits Remington 700 stock inlets.

Of course, the action is made of steel billet using CNC and Wire EDM and probably Yoda’s staff, as is every other premium action on the market these days. The important point is that the action face and bolt alignment and lockup are true and square.

Christensen’s bolt, however, differs from the Remington 700. It features a modified M16-type extractor and two zesty plunger-type ejector rods to ensure that empty cartridge cases clear the chamber properly and are discarded with prejudice.

On the back end of the bolt, the bolt handle is aggressively skeletonized to minimize weight, and it is welded onto the bolt body. The machined shroud is well contoured.

Regarding bolts, one thing I really like about Christensen Arms is that the company actively provides left-handed rifles. Even though it’s a brand-new model, the Ridgeline FFT is available in left hand, in a quite good selection of popular and cutting-edge cartridges. My son William (age 12) shoots left-handed and needs a good elk rifle. Knowing a review of a left-handed model would appeal to all the southpaws out there, I requested this .300 Win. Mag. for testing and review. If we liked it as much as I suspected we would, we’d purchase it for William.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT Rifle single-stage trigger
The FFT rifle comes with a TriggerTech Field single-stage adjustable trigger. The sample’s trigger pull averaged 2.94 pounds right out of the box.

Christensen used Flash Forged Technology to create a carbon-fiber bolt knob and floorplate. When you’re working below that six-pound threshold, every fraction of an ounce counts. Although I’m not sure how much weight these small parts save, they sure look cool.

The bottom metal is machined of aluminum bar stock and anodized black. It’s profiled to be lightweight, too. Inside is a TriggerTech Field model trigger. As shipped, the trigger pull weight averaged 2 pounds, 15 ounces, with a fair quantity of fluctuation, ranging from 2 pounds, 11 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces over a series of tests. However, it breaks nice and clean every time.

Between the carbon-fiber parts, the aggressive skeletonizing and fluting, and the slender aluminum components, a lot of weight is taken out of the action. As for the barrel, Christensen has long been a manufacturer of and a proponent for carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels. Each is button rifled, handlapped, and chambered to match tolerances, and of course, stock fore-ends are generously free-floated to prevent any harmonic interference between stock and barrel. Each barrel comes factory-fitted with a side-ported stainless-steel muzzle brake. It’s timed via a crush washer so that the ports vent to each side. Muzzle threads are pitched 5/8-24, so it’s easy to remove the brake and install a suppressor if desired.

What’s different about the barrels on the Ridgeline FFT is their length. They’re short. Most of the popular chamberings are paired with a 20-inch barrel. Even the magnums, such as 26 Nosler, 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag., and .300 PRC, get 22-inch barrels. Magnum traditionalists would roll over in their graves.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT  Rifle features carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels.
All Ridgeline FFT rifles feature carbon-fiber-wrapped barrels that are shorter than usual. In the case of magnum chambered rifles, like the .300 Win. Mag. used for this report, the length is 22 inches.

Contrary to classic belief, though, short barrels can be extremely advantageous. Most pertinent to the Ridgeline FFT, chopping four inches off the standard length reduces weight by a whole bunch. And just as valuable to all of today’s suppressor-toting hunters, who rightly believe it’s uncivilized to shoot without one, a short barrel ensures your hunting rifle will still be manageable with six or eight inches of suppressing blessing screwed onto the business end.

Last, but importantly, short barrels are easier to tune for accuracy than are long barrels. Vibration, oscillation, and whip are less pronounced, so they have less effect. I know, I know. It’s hard to let go of the old superstition that long barrels shoot better than short ones. Back when iron sights reigned and gunpowder was less consistent, that may have been true, but not anymore.

Interesting Range Results

After installing a Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14X 44mm scope in lightweight Talley rings and my Spartan carbon-fiber bipod, I gathered up a stack of partial boxes of .300 Win. Mag. ammo and headed for the range. I say partial because these days I shoot sparingly, and with care I can accuracy-test two different rifles with each box of ammo, feeding each rifle 10 rounds over a string of three, three-shot groups and still have a mulligan in case I screw up a shot.

Doing this for as long as I have, you can tell when some rifles really want to shoot. The Ridgeline FFT was one. However, I kept experiencing flyers. Two out of three shots would be nearly touching, but the other would open up the group to two or three inches.

The rifle is scandalously light, which does make it less inherently stable and, as a result, more inherently difficult for us inconsistent humans to shoot well. Several times, wondering if I’d made a poor shot, I fired a mulligan. Often, it landed right by the two near-touching shots. But sometimes it wouldn’t.

Christensen offers a one-MOA accuracy guarantee with the Ridgeline FFT, just like all its other models. Although the rifle continuously promised great things, flyers occurred often enough that I couldn’t write them all off as my fault. Five of six test loads averaged about 1.25 to 1.5 inches at 100 yards. Finally, I hit pay dirt with the last load I tested. Black Hills ammo loaded with 180-grain AccuBond bullets averaged 0.82 inch at 100 yards and validated Christensen’s accuracy guarantee. That’s a hunting bullet I really like, so I was pleased.

Left-handed version of the Christensen Arms Ridgeline FFT rifle
Left-handed versions of the Ridgeline FFT, like the one used for this report, are available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 7mm-08 Rem., 28 Nosler, .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag., and .300 PRC. Other chamberings are available in right-hand versions only.

My deadline loomed, but in an effort to be more thorough, I got up with the dawn the next morning and assembled two handloads. In the interest of time, I used Hodgdon H1000 powder in both. Cases were nickel-plated Federal and primed with Federal 215 Gold Medal Match primers.

For my first 10-round test batch, I loaded Barnes 180-grain TTSX bullets 0.050 inch off the rifling leade, over a lightly compressed charge of powder. They were much longer than SAAMI-spec COL, but thanks to the Ridgeline FFT’s long, 3.680-inch internal magazine box, my handloads fit into and fed from the magazine.

To my delight, the TTSX bullets clustered tightly on the target, averaging 0.77 inch. Also impressively, the standard deviation over a 10-shot series was a scant 4 fps.

My second test batch was with Berger 205-grain Classic Hunter bullets. It also averaged less than an inch, but just barely. I suspect I lucked into a node with the Barnes bullet, and a bit of load-tuning with the Berger bullets would likely result in similarly tight groups.

Happier with the rifle’s accuracy, but still curious, I removed the action from the stock and examined the bedding. It’s a semi-production factory rifle, after all, so I wasn’t over-critical. At first sight, it looked just fine. The pillars were secure. The fundamental action bed was well profiled. An adequate-appearing dab of spot-bedding evenly surrounded the recoil lug. Only the fact that the action came readily, almost loosely, from the stock bothered me.

Placing the action back in the stock, I finger-tightened the action screws. No problems were apparent, and hey, even though it was finicky, the rifle did meet accuracy standards with one factory load and both handloads. Knowing I was displaying my OCD but intrigued by the hint of even better accuracy potential, along with the perplexingly common flyers, I kept prodding.

With the front action screw torqued tight but the rear screw just finger-snug, I found lateral movement in the action tang. A lot of lateral movement. Now, I’m OCD about action bedding, and clearly I was taking my investigation much further than warranted, but being a bedding snob, I’m aware that an action should be locked in securely when the front screw is torqued to 65 in/lbs.

Of course, torquing the rear screw eliminated the movement. I put the rifle away, satisfied that the factory bedding was up to standards but also aware that with a custom full-length glass bedding job, it would shoot better. The flyers would go away (at least those that aren’t my fault), and 1.25-inch groups would likely edge under that one-inch mark, so the rifle would meet the one-MOA standard with more ammo types.

William likes the rifle. It’s easy for him to pack and feels good to him. With the muzzle brake or a suppressor installed, it doesn’t kick much more than his 7mm-08 rifle without a brake, so he’s comfortable with the recoil—and gains .30-caliber magnum authority.

Is the FFT too light? That depends on what you intend to do with it. I sure would like it for backcountry hunting in gnarly, steep terrain. Here’s the most critical takeaway: If just getting up the mountain and earning that shot opportunity is a battle in itself, the Ridgeline FFT is a potential game-changer. At $2,399.99, it’s not cheap, but neither is a missed opportunity on the hunt of a lifetime. This rifle won’t hold you back.


  • MANUFACTURER: Christensen Arms;
  • TYPE: Bolt-action repeater
  • CALIBER: .300 Win. Mag.
  • BARREL: 22 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 44.25 in.
  • WEIGHT, EMPTY: 5.75 lbs.
  • STOCK: Flash Forged carbon fiber
  • LENGTH OF PULL: 13.75 in.
  • FINISH: Burnt Bronze Cerakote action, carbon with green and tan accents stock
  • SIGHTS: None; receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mount bases
  • TRIGGER: TriggerTech Field single-stage, 2.94-lb. pull (as tested)
  • SAFETY: Two-position rocker style
  • MSRP: $2,399.99

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