Kinetic Research Group (KRG) has been producing the W3 Chassis for several years, and it is a superb choice for anybody looking for an extremely high quality stock. I had a need for a stock that could easily change length of pull (LOP) as well as cheek piece height without tools and one that didn’t require bedding compound for an exact fit of the rifle action as well as having a very high build quality. I researched several of the chassis systems I knew of and eventually reached out to KRG. I knew that the founders of KRG had extensive military experience, were seasoned riflemen, and also had a passion for the long rifle. Further research into their reputation and I was sold on obtaining one of their chassis systems, the W3 folding model, to be used in a business aspect where my rifle would be fired by the general public. I wanted the best chassis system on the market and I know that I made the right choice in the KRG W3 chassis system. This article will detail how the W3 chassis came into being and the traits that make this product exemplary.
The founders of Kinetic Research Group were big fans of the Sako and Tikka rifles, and had aspirations of modifying certain parts to fit their needs. One of the first pieces created was a kit that allowed the Sako TRG-22 to accept the popular AICS magazines, which are cheaper in cost to those required for the TRG. This product was essentially a “backbone” for the TRG and used a different mag catch for the AICS mags. The next piece created was a folding mechanism for the TRG as the Sako brand mechanism was extremely expensive. These two pieces only then required a fore-end and trigger guard to complete an entire chassis, and thus the W3 chassis was born. This also explains why the W3 chassis is exceptionally similar to a Sako TRG since the original pieces were created as retrofits to that design. The founders’ admiration of Tikka rifles is also why this is one of the few chassis systems being produced for the Tikka rifles. Currently, KRG is continuing to listen to competitive marksmen, hunters, and other demanding shooters to develop accessories to enhance their products as well as develop completely new products.
The W3 chassis is machined out of 6061 type aluminum, which is aircraft grade and quite durable. KRG utilizes a combination of extrusions for rough shape and CNC machining to final dimensions for the fore-end and backbone of the chassis. This allows them to keep costs low while also ensuring a high quality finish and exact dimensions. The remainder of the pieces are CNC machined from solid block. The aluminum is then hard anodized giving it a very fine matte black finish that looks very nice and has a slight sheen in bright sunshine. Multiple fasteners are utilized throughout the chassis, and nearly all are stainless with a black oxide coating. Other parts are stainless that are either left bare or receive black oxide coating, while standard steel parts receive a salt bath nitride. KRG has gone to great lengths to make the W3 chassis as durable and low maintenance as possible, and they have certainly succeeded with this premium chassis!
The chassis system arrived at my house in a very well packaged box. All of the components were sealed in heavy plastic which kept the different parts and pieces in show room condition while in transit. Unfortunately I was in such an excited rush to get the stock put together and my rifle in place that I neglected to take the requisite pictures of the packaging. Suffice it to say that KRG is professional in their packaging, as would be expected. The instructions included with the stock were straight forward and easy to understand; no complications with stock and rifle assembly were encountered. I couldn’t find any machining marks or finish blemishes of any kind anywhere on the aluminum chassis.
Some of the components of the stock and accessories, such as the grip and skid plate, are made out of an extremely hard plastic that has molded in texture to provide a secure grip even if it gets wet. The bolts that hold things together utilize different size allen wrenches which most people have available in their personal tool collection, and I didn’t have any problem finding the correct size for the bolts. The LOP is adjustable from about 12.8 inches to an extended length of 15.4 inches, in ¼ inch increments. Adjustment of the LOP is done through a rotating cam-lock lever on the right side of the stock. Slight pressure is required to move the lever out of the detent and rotate it around to the unlocked position. The butt plate can then simply be pulled out to the desired length and the lever rotated back to the locked position. Numerous scallops are machined in the underside of the top LOP rail that allow the lock lever to hold the position selected. A tension screw is located on top of the stock to take out the little amount of wiggle that is present, but it isn’t necessary for operation of the rifle, it just makes everything feel more solid.
The stock folds to the left of the rifle and locks in place. There is a slight bit of wiggle when it is folded but the latch holds it firmly in place so it doesn’t flop around while in transport or while pulling the rifle out of a case. The stock does however lock up solidly while extended and there isn’t any wiggle detectable. The latch is so solid, the stock feels as though it is a non-folding version. KRG perfected the lock-up with their chassis.
Cheekpiece adjustment is made with a simple thumb screw on the right side of the stock. The thumb screw is sufficiently large to get a firm grasp but also not so large as to pose a snagging hazard. I haven’t experienced any slippage of the cheekpiece due to the thumb screw coming loose in over 200 rounds of 308 Winchester being fired through the rifle. Height of the cheekpiece is able to be maintained consistently with some simple orange colored O-rings on each post of the cheekpiece. This allows removal of the cheekpiece for rifle maintenance and a return of the same exact height when reassembling the rifle. This is a very simple and cost effective technique.
I have been using this stock on my business rifle for a couple months and have nothing but high praises for it. The adjustability of the stock without tools is a major advantage while allowing customers to test my rifle, as we can fit the stock to each individual shooter easily and rapidly. One of the nicest features on this stock is the excellent Limb Saver recoil pad which is very soft and absorbs recoil nicely. The butt pad is also adjustable up and down as well as for tilt, up to about 15 degrees to either side. Adjustability of a stock doesn’t get any better than this!
Another feature I appreciate is the different sizes of grip panels which are offered. I have fairly large hands so I ordered the larger grip panels. The stock comes with the smaller version which fit my wife’s hands nicely, which are on the small size as she is only about five feet tall. A thumb shelf is integrated on each side of the grip to suite right or left handed shooters. Many precision rifle shooters no longer wrap their thumb around the grip on thumbhole and vertical grip style stocks, as doing so can sometimes cause accuracy issues if not done correctly. The preferred technique is to place the firing hand thumb along the same side of the grip as the hand is placed, at least while shooting prone over a steady rest. This negates a twisting torque on the grip of the stock, and the integrated thumb shelf is a comfortable place to rest the thumb.
This stock is built to utilize the industry standard AICS magazines. Pressing the magazine release lever forward, which is located in front of the trigger guard, drops the magazine completely free. There is no hang up to the magazine and the user doesn’t need to pull the magazine out. The magazine does however lock up nice and solid with only a bit of wobble, which I didn’t find to be of any concern.
Three of the additional accessories I have for this stock are the flush cup sling adapter which is mounted to the left side fore-end of the stock, the polymer skid plate to help protect the metal while placing the stock on metal or concrete barriers, and a barrier stop. These accessories are simple items but show the level to which KRG thinks through their products and how customers use them in practical application.
If you are in the market for a chassis system and appreciate high quality machining, fit, and finish then you would be well served with the W3 stock from Kinetic Research Group. They also make a less costly chassis, called the X-Ray, which is a polymer non-folding version very similar to the W3. More information and pricing on these high quality products can be found on their web site. Please visit: www.kineticresearchgroup.com.