https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/an-elk-rifle-for-every-budget/

This is the first installment of a three-part series from our friends at Christensen Arms. Stay tuned each month for the next segment. The final part will feature a giveaway with Christensen Arms gift cards: $500 for first place, and $250 for both second and third place winners.

NOTE: Gift cards can only be used on the christensenarms.com web store, and cannot be used to purchase firearms.


 

You can spend $500 or $5,000 dollars on an elk rifle, but what do higher-priced guns have to offer, and are they worth it?

Walk through the doors at any major sporting goods store in America and you’ll see rows of hunting rifles priced anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The question, then, is how much do you really need to spend to own a gun that is suitable for elk hunting?

That’s a deceptively complex question. There’s a difference between needs and wants, and while many different brands and models of elk rifles will serve you well in the field, you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you and whether or not you are willing to pay a premium for those features.

Consider elk rifles the same way you would a vehicle. A new pickup truck costs more than an economy car, and both will get you to and from work, to the grocery store, and to PTO meetings. However, if you need to pull something heavy or transport a piece of furniture the truck has advantages that make it far more suitable for the task at hand. Rifles are much the same. A basic rifle that’s well designed and accurate will work in the field. But if you want a rifle that is customizable and very light, you’re likely to have to pay more for those features.

Entry Level Versus Elite: A Look at Christensen Arms’ New Rifles for 2024

This year Christensen Arms introduced two new centerfire hunting rifles: the Evoke and Modern Carbon Rifle (MCR). Both guns are backed by an accuracy guarantee—in fact, every new Evoke Christensen Arms produces will be shot at the factory in Gunnison, Utah, for proven accuracy—and both benefit from Christensen’s quality manufacturing and attention to detail. The Evoke ranges in price from $898 to $1,048 while the MCR carries a starting MSRP of $2,399. That’s a dramatic difference, but these are two very different hunting rifles.

Let’s begin by examining the Evoke. The base model features a steel Christensen Arms receiver and #4 contour stainless steel barrel, which is button rifled, hand lapped, and features a match chamber. The metalwork comes with a Cerakote® ceramic finish and the stock is synthetic, so this is a rifle that will stand up well to the elements. It also comes with some nice upgrades like a TriggerTech® trigger, an RFR muzzle brake, hybrid target/sporter grip angle, and an integrated Picatinny rail section on the forearm that allows you to easily mount a bipod on the gun. There’s also a Mossy Oak version available with a camouflage stock, and the Hunter version is equipped with a 0-MOA Picatinny optics rail for mounting a scope—as is the Precision model. Step up to the line-topping Evoke Precision and you add an FFT (Flash Forged Technology) adjustable carbon fiber cheek riser, a hex engraving pattern on the stock, and Christensen’s cool Hex Camo stock. The Precision model also features an ARCA rail section on the forearm.

All Evoke rifles are backed by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee, and they’re all tough enough and accurate enough for any elk hunt. But the new MCR adds several features that aren’t available on the Evoke, including a beautiful FFT carbon fiber stock with a push button-adjustable carbon fiber cheek riser and a Christensen Arms Aerograde® hand-lapped, button rifled carbon fiber barrel with match chamber and threaded muzzle with RFR baffle brake. A 20-MOA rail also comes standard on the MCR, as does a skeletonized bolt handle with a carbon fiber knob and adjustable TriggerTech® trigger. The stock features a hybrid grip angle, and in addition to the Picatinny rail section that’s similar to the Evoke, the MCR also comes with two QD attachment points, M-Lok attachment points underneath the forearms, and stock spacers that allow the owner to adjust length of pull. Like the Evoke, all MCRs are backed by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee.

When you examine the spec sheet for both rifles, the first thing you’ll notice is that the MCR has a starting weight that’s a pound less than the Evoke (6.7 and 7.7 pounds, respectively). The Evoke’s steel construction and synthetic stock work well in elk country, but the MCR’s carbon fiber stock and barrel cut weight considerably. If you’ve ever hiked miles in thin-air altitudes, you understand the dramatic difference a pound of weight savings makes.

The MCR also comes with a 20-MOA rail, which is particularly beneficial when shooting long range. The Evoke Hunter’s 0-MOA rail will work for most hunters, but if you really want to reach out for long-range hunting, target shooting, or matches, the added MOAs built into the optics rail makes that simpler. The MCR’s stock is also more customizable than that of the Evoke. With the array of M-LOK, QD, and Picatinny attachment points on the MCR, you can customize your bipod, sling, and other accessories as you wish. I have come to prefer a QD sling and M-LOK bipod for my hunts, and with the MCR I can attach both to my gun without modification. The MCR also allows you to quickly adjust cheek riser height and length of pull, which is beneficial for hunting and target shooting.

Are both rifles capable of cleanly harvesting an elk when they’re chambered in appropriate calibers and when the hunter does their job? Absolutely. But perhaps the deciding factor is limited finances, and if that’s the case the Evoke offers a great value without sacrificing some important premium features. If you’re willing or able to pay more for a MCR, it’s money well spent because you’ll shave weight and the rifle can easily be customized by the owner to fit their needs and hunting style.

The post An Elk Rifle for Every Budget appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Previous reading
If These Walls Could Talk – Davis Tent
Next reading
Celebrating the Hunt: Pendleton Whisky and the Spirit of the Backcountry