For a really custom rifle, I decided to use the Takedown Chassis from PMACA MFG. There are two reasons for this choice. First, I already had one on hand. Second, the chassis offers flexibility when it comes to grip and stock options. Just about any AR-compatible grip can be used. And since it’s threaded for a buffer tube, there are at least as many stock options.
Each chassis is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, then anodized (Cerakote is available too). Forward of the trigger is a 5-1/8″ section of Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. At 22 ounces, it’s not overly light, but not super heavy. Factor in the buffer tube, castle nut, grip, and stock, and you’re not building a lightweight. It’s a fair trade for having so many options though. I paid about $144 for it, which was $128.50 plus shipping. They make them for the takedown and non-takedown 10/22 rifles and Chargers. And they have lighter versions and different color options too. Prices run from $104.95 to $198.50.
Note that PMACA has consistently provided some of the best customer service in the industry. And that’s not just what I’ve read online. I had a fitment issue with an aftermarket trigger, and sent an email on New Year’s Eve. While I certainly wasn’t expecting a response that evening, I got one. With troubleshooting suggestions. The owner is also very receptive to customer suggestions.
For the grip, my preference is the tried and true Hogue OverMold with finger grooves and beavertail, in basic black. Comfortable, fits my hand well, and grippy when dry or wet. It pairs well with the chassis, as the beavertail protects your thumb web from the castle nut. The SKU for this model is 15020, and MSRP is $29.95, but you can find them for about $20. It was in my spares box, probably because I picked it up at a fair price.
Out back, I decided to use a Battlelink Minimalist Milspec Stock from Mission First Tactical. At 5.8 ounces, it’s fairly light. And I really like the minimalist profile. Just as important, it’s adjustable, locks up solid, and doesn’t rattle (Listen up, Magpul!). It’s got slots for a sling, plus a quick-detach mounting point. Oh, I got the black one, of course. SKU is BMSMIL, MSRP is $59.99, and it was another part I had, waiting to be put to good use.
And this is where things didn’t go as planned. The buffer tube threaded in just fine. And my Hogue grip snugged right up. Then I dropped in the Brownells receiver with a brand new aftermarket trigger, and… Nothing. It didn’t fit. Was it hanging up on the front or back of the trigger group? Yes. Both. Happy New Year! The next day, I got up around noon, and tried to figure out what was wrong. Replacing the aftermarket trigger with a BX unit, it went together, but took a bit of work. I ended up having to polish the front of the receiver, and now it fits very tightly.
I’ve tried two other Ruger receivers in the chassis, so I don’t think it’s out of spec. And the trigger I intended to use with this project dropped right into a Ruger receiver/Hogue stock with no issues. I also tried that trigger in another aftermarket receiver, where it fit perfectly. So it seems to be another slight variance with the Brownells receiver. Now, I could take apart my Charger Takedown, and rebuild it with the Brownells receiver, just to see how it all goes with only Ruger parts. But I’m not going to, because Brownells does mention some custom fitting may be required. In short, if you want tighter tolerances, be prepared to do a little work.
At this point, I’m ready to add the barrel and scope, so I can complete this project. But I’ve also got some cool extras from Tandem Kross as well. Feel free to share any thoughts, criticism, or suggestions in the comments section.