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Christensen Arms Ridgeline: lightweight for long days

Made of innovative carbon fibre with performance-enhancing features, the lightweight Ridgeline is suited to long hill stalks, says Bruce Potts

Christensen Arms Ridgeline

Christensen Arms Ridgeline

Overall Rating: 89%

Manufacturer: Christensen

Price as reviewed: £2,950

The advantages of a lightweight rifle as a hunting tool become more appealing as the years roll by. Not only does this reduction in weight serve to reduce fatigue on a long hill stalk, but rifles like the Christensen Arms Ridgeline utilise carbon-fibre features that also enhance performance.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline

Christensen Arms Ridgeline rifle is a compact, lightweight sporting rifle

Christensen Arms, based in Utah, US, has been at the forefront of carbon-fibre technology for years. Its innovative carbon-wrapped barrels are for custom rifle projects or as part of a purpose-built lightweight compact rifle such as this Ridgeline.

Its barrels are guaranteed to shoot less than 1in groups (MOA) at 100 yards, which was certainly true in the field tests. The carbon-fibre Sporter stock offers a lightweight solution to a more conventional rifle stock with the added bonus of great rigidity so that accuracy from the bedded action is maintained under recoil in any weather conditions.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline

The carbon-fibre stock is lightweight, with great rigidity to allow for improved accuracy

All other parts are stainless steel, with a good satin finish to reduce reflections in the field. Small features such as an enlarged trigger-guard, fluted bolt and skeletonised bolt handle are all there to reduce weight further and enhance performance.

Christensen Arms Ridgeline

The ZeroTech scope is impressive, but slightly large for this rifle model

Offered in a good variety of 20 calibres, from .22-250 to .450 Bushmaster, you have all eventualities covered. This 6.5 Creedmoor version is bang on trend and as such delivers a custom rifle performance at a price point that many standard rifles start at. Retailing for £2,949.99, this Christensen Arms Ridgeline packs a lot into a small package.


  • Manufacturer: Christensen Arms
  • Model: Ridgeline
  • Type: Bolt action
  • Overall length: 39.5in
  • Barrel length: 20in (50cm), threaded
  • Calibre: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Finish: Carbon-fibre barrel and stainless- steel action
  • Weight: 2.81kg (6.2lb)
  • Magazine: Hinged floorplate
  • Stock: Carbon-fibre composite
  • Trigger: TriggerTech Field single stage
  • Safety: Two-position side-lever type
  • Sights None, Picatinny rail fitted
  • Importers Highland Outdoors 0845 099 0252
  • Price £2,949.99

An indepth look

First impressions are that this is a compact, well-designed rifle. The short 20in barrel balances very well indeed. I was pleased when I weighed the Ridgeline to discover it had a 2.81kg overall weight — distributed with 0.89kg for the stock and 1.92kg for the barrelled action with scope mount. The stock is well designed with an overall black textured finish with a monocoque construction consisting of a carbon-fibre composite. Being ambidextrous, it is ideal for odd shooting positions and left-handers — although dedicated left-hand models are available. I like the deep, scalloped pistol grip for a firmer hold and neutral sloped comb for comfortable scope viewing.

There’s no chequering, but the Limbsaver recoil pad does a masterful job of keeping the Ridgeline in the aim and lessens what recoil the 6.5 Creedmoor round possesses. With the barrelled action sitting out of the stock, you can see bedding compound around the recoil lug and pillars, which supports the stock screws and aids accuracy.

Rifle bolt

The bolt is fluted to reduce weight

The action itself is 416 stainless steel, made from a solid single billet and fashioned with a drilled and tapped top, for mount attachment, and an enlarged ejection port. I like the fluted bolt for weight saving. It also stops binding on the bolt in operation and is nitrided for extra resilience. The twin-opposed locking lugs fit precisely into the action for a strong union and a large extractor claw and single exterior-type plunger take care of case removal.

Tier One one piece Picatinny rail and you can see the skeletonised bolt handle and small bolt knob.

The bolt handle is skeletonised to save weight, but the bolt is a touch on the small side for me and does dig into the palm in use. You can top feed the magazine through the action with four rounds maximum as it’s a hinged floorplate design made from aluminium, and reliable feeding benefits from swift bolt operation.

Christensen Arms puts a TriggerTech Field trigger on the Ridgeline, which is safe and fully adjustable to achieve a crisp, light pull, here set at 2.65lb. The safety is an uncomplicated two-position lever, which is either off or on.

The carbon fibre wrapped barrel saves weight, increases rigidity and consistency and is still screw cut for moderator fitment. The carbon fibre wrapped barrel saves weight, increases rigidity and consistency and is still screw cut for moderator fitment.

The barrel starts life as a high-grade 20in stainless-steel tube that here has an 8in button-rifled twist rate for the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. After being machined, it is finished by hand. The barrel is then reduced in diameter and what’s been lost is replaced with a carbon-fibre wrap to a diameter of 0.92in. This reduces weight, increases rigidity, and dissipates heat. It’s a remarkably well-engineered rifle.


For shooters favouring the lighter things in life yet still demanding consistent performance from their hunting rifle, with guaranteed accuracy, the Christensen Ridgeline could really do it for you.


  • Accuracy: Sub-MOA accuracy from most rounds tested 18/20
  • Handling: Short, light and felt well planted in the aim 18/20
  • Trigger: A crisp and adjustable release 18/20
  • Stock: Short length of pull but tough construction 17/20
  • Value Good value for accuracy, consistency and handling 18/20
  • Overall score: Excellent for stalkers who favour a lighter rifle 89/100
Roebuck shooting

Despite the torrential Scottish rain, the Ridgeline harvests a roebuck at 147 yards

Field test

Highland Outdoors supplied a new ZeroTech scope for review, which was impressive but a little large for this slimline Sporter. I chronographed the velocities and averaged a three-shot string and accuracy at 100 yards. (Read more on rifle accuracy here.)

I always think Hornady SST 129-gr rounds, like its .308 Winchester counterparts, are highly accurate, and this view was confirmed with 0.65in three-shot groups at 2,802fps and 2,249ft/lb.

This Christensen rifle also likes the Winchester Deer Season 125-gr, with sub-MOA groups at 0.75in for 2,769fps and 2,129ft/lb. The heavier Remington 140-gr factory loads were a bit sedate at 2,625fps and 2,143ft/lb, hovering around the 1.15in mark.

The Federal 95-gr loads proved accurate at 0.55in for 3,122fps and 2,057ft/lb energy; a good small species and fox load, this one.

Reloads of 43.5 grains of RL17 powder with Hornady SST 129-gr bullets shrunk the groups to 0.45in for 2,807fps and 2,258ft/lb.

I took the Ridgeline to Scotland in pursuit of reds, but the rut had not quite started, so I contented myself with a roebuck. There was torrential rain but patience was rewarded after a two-hour stalk where the lightweight nature of the Ridgeline was appreciated. A nice buck was heading for the relative dryness of the birch trees when the Christensen harvested him at a lasered 147 yards.


Excellent for stalkers who favour a lighter rifle