When I saw the MDT HNT26 Ultra-Light-Weight hunting chassis at SHOT show this year, I couldn’t believe how light it was! I finally got my hands on this lightweight chassis system, so in this story we are going to get it set up with the ultra lightweight 6.5 PRC, and put it to work!
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About the MDT HNT26
From the MDT HNT 26 Product Page:
MDT Chassis Systems were designed for sports and tactical shooting. However over the years we found that our rifle chassis were often used in hunting, especially our lighter chassis such as our LSS Chassis system. But we had never purpose-built a chassis system solely for hunting, until now..
The MDT HNT26 Chassis System is our first truly purpose built hunting rifle chassis. This rifle stock provides you with all of the usual benefits that you expect from a chassis system such as v-block bedding, LOP and comb adjustment, AICS magazine compatibility etc, but weighs in starting at a mere 26oz (for our standard fixed version).
The MDT HNT26 Chassis is constructed of a magnesium alloy rifle stock/base, with a carbon fiber forend, a carbon fiber pistol grip and a foam filled carbon fiber buttstock. With the increased number of hunters using ARCA tripods, we have included an option to choose a carbon fiber forend with an integral ARCA rail, as well as a foldable buttstock version for compact storage.
We truly value the feedback that you have given us over the years, and we are proud to bring the MDT HNT26 Chassis System to the market, knowing that this is a product that we have all worked on together to give you the ultimate hunting rifle experience!
What’s in the Box
Here’s what came in the box from MDT as configured per our order (Remington 700 Short Action, folder, ARCA forend):
- Main Chassis
- Carbon Fiber Grip
- Carbon Fiber Buttstock (folder option shown here)
- Enclosed Carbon Fiber Forend, with optional full length Arca rail
- Length of pull adjustment shims
- Full hardware kit, with swivel studs and action screws
- Magnesium Chassis at the core
- Carbon Fiber Forend and Grip
- First fully featured MDT Hunting Chassis
- Weight starting at 26 oz
- MSRP 1399.95USD
Time to install the 6.5 PRC barreled action, and put things together!
I removed the barreled action from my carbon conventional stock, and installed it on the HNT26 Main Chassis. The included action screws are 3/16 allen head, so that was a nice familiarity. I installed both action screws finger tight, and then slipped the forend over. I torqued the forend to 25 inch pounds first, and then the action screws to 60 inch pounds. (I was sure to tap the rifle on the buttstock to seat the recoil lug against the seat)
If you are curious about the barrel work for this ultra-light-weight build, you can read about that HERE.
Here are the pertinent components for the barreled action build used in the HNT26:
- Action: Pierce Engineering Titanium Remington 700 Footprint
- Barrel: Benchmark/Hell’s Canyon light weight carbon wrapped barrel, 1:8 twist
- Trigger: TriggerTech Special (running TriggerTech Diamond currently)
- Magazines: Accurate Mag
Now that the rifle was assembled, I wanted to do a quick weigh in. Note that yes, this is a lightweight barreled action, but I am running a Carbon steel bolt on this configuration. I could save some weight with a titanium bolt. The scale showed us 6lbs 3.6oz with no mag, and with a 4 round mag, 6lbs 8.2oz – well under 7lbs!
The next step is to install an optic., and go shooting. At this point, I do not have an ultra lightweight scope, but it is on my list!
Time to do some field tests!
Shooting the Ultra Lightweight 6.5 PRC
So I Headed up to the ridgeline range to get zeroed, and put this setup to work. I started with a 100 yard sight in. I chose to run these field scenarios with the Banish 30 from Silencer Central. I was running the 7 inch configuration that this modular suppressor offers – getting the job done, and giving me some weight savings. You can check out my full review on the Banish 30 suppressor HERE.
After confirming my zero at 100 yards, it was time to initiate this setup with some gong action.
I set up a prone position at 330 yards – it felt good to get a first round hit! I had 3 successive hits, and immediately knew this was a kill zone all day long!
I was amped up – so I decided to set up a more challenging position. I took advantage of the full capability of the Ckyepod lightweight double pull bipod I had installed. Setting up a solid sitting position on the hillside with great rear bag support was a breeze with this bipod. This position worked, but I would look to build a better position next time.
I dialed for 176 yards and landed a first round hit, but I quickly found I needed to work on my breathing. This scenario was an awesome example displaying what this rifle can do in the field – down in the canyon here we get a lot of varmints and even big game. It’s good to know I can set up a solid position and make an impact when it counts.
With some practice, this lightweight 6.5 PRC proved to be an incredible setup in yet another practical field scenario, and this ckyepod gives me some flexibility to get where I need!
I was inspired by the carbon forend on this chassis system, and this is where it comes in handy. I decided to take some shots at the 330 yard gong again, but this time from the QDT tripod. When I need to do some tripod work, it’s nice to just lay this down and lock it in. To build a solid shooting position here, I adjust my height until I’m flat footed, and have solid elbow to knee contact. In this scenario, I was getting lots of windage wobble, but this rifle remained a hard hitter!
Those were some great practical field situations. But before we wrapped up our test shooting, I had one more scenario to face. I wanted to check out a close quarters off hand scenario, so it was time to head down to the industrial yard! This yard consists of shooting ranges, heavy equipment, tractor implements, and farm trucks, a great place to hang out!
So far, this 6.5 PRC Setup with the MDT HNT26 has felt tight. But it was time to shed a little more weight. So I took the bipod off to demo a lightweight hunting scenario.
It was time to install the Salmon River Solutions 4-port titanium brake- just what I would use for hunting with a brake configuration: (check out the full story on this brake HERE)
If I wanted, I could have installed the swivels and opted for a sling. I also swapped out the Banish 30 Suppressor for the Salmon River Solutions Ti Pro 4 port titanium brake– this break is ultralight!
I took several successive shots off hand. Ringing that steel was so satisfying – no problems with recoil whatsoever! The rifle handled the recoil really well! My thoughts on this scenario: When you’ve got a lightweight elk killer like this, you can backpack and shoot all day – I couldn’t be happier. I’m satisfied now that I’ve tested the basic configurations I might encounter hunting.
Now let’s get back into the studio to document all the weight configurations, components, and individual parts, and go over some details!
Options / Configurations / Weights
I have to say this rifle is extremely confidence inspiring!
Let’s take a look at some specs and details.
I took some measurements on the bench in a couple different configurations. Here’s the breakdown:
- Folded without brake: ~34″
- Folded with brake ~36″
- Unfolded without brake: ~42.5″
- Unfolded with brake: ~44.5″
Obviously the suppressor will add weight and length (5 additional inches) to that!
*The Banish 30 in the 9” config is 13 oz (not shown)
You can check out our dedicated story on the Banish 30 where we go in depth, and even conduct recoil analysis tests with the Ultimate Reloader Recoil rig:
There are some options for even more weight savings if you configure your setup for that. Things to consider would be an ultra lightweight scope, a slightly thinner profile barrel and a titanium bolt. That being said, this is a great standard hunting setup!
This chart breaks down the configuration with a suppressor vs a brake.
You obviously wouldn’t run your rifle without a mag, but it’s nice to see the bare minimum weight as a base line in the chart.
Also, you might have my recent overview on the Bergara MG Lite. That factory offering from Bergara was an awesome lightweight setup. So, I wanted to compare this Ultimate Reloader 6.5 PRC Custom in the MDT HNT 26 to the MG Lite. The MG lite came in at 6.85lbs compared to 6.14lbs for this rifle!
Here’s a comparison of weights for different types of hunting rifles (not in the same class or price category):
I felt these comparisons really put things in perspective. This weight adds up once you are spending hours climbing, especially in tough terrain like where Ultimate Reloader is located.
Some additional details on the HNT26– some of these features are things I still need to experiment with once I get ready to hunt with this rifle.
The recoil absorbing foam filled buttstock is something I would love to test on the recoil rig, but I do not have an apples to apples comparison at the moment. I’ll have to save that for another time after doing more research.
What I really love is the smooth contouring for a snag free design. When you’re in the bush, this will make a world of difference. If you’ve even been on the hunt with a Ruger Precision Rifle (like I have), you know what I mean. The single time I ever took an RPR on a hunt, the buttstock was snagging on everything. Eventually, I lost the half the buttstock.
Also, this low profile mag catch on the HNT26 is in a great familiar location if you are used to running a PRS rig. This HNT26 is AICS magazine compatible.
The adjustable cheek riser is a nice touch. What’s better? It’s foam so you won’t lose your cheek in freezing weather – something most fair-weather hunters may not think of before heading to a hunt in Alaska!
Here are the inlets supported for the HNT26:
- Savage Long Action CIP 3.850″
- Savage Short Action
- Remington 700 Short Action
- Remington 700 Long Action CIP 3.850″
- Tikka T3 Long Action
- Tikka T3 Short Action
I feel like this 6.5PRC in the MDT HNT26 exceeded the challenge when stacked against every scenario – the sight in, shooting prone at 330 yards, shooting from a bipod on the hillside, locked in on a tripod, and offhand simulating a close quarters deer situation. This rifle has it all covered! I would have no hesitation to take it hunting in extreme terrain where weight is a factor, or even to an NRL Hunter match. Another thing worth calling out: the Carbon Grip fits my hands perfectly! Finally, the folder is a great touch, giving you not only a lightweight carry, but a compact fit.
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