A Lightweight Hunting Rifle
When it comes to ultralight hunting components you think of two key materials: carbon fiber & titanium. Carbon fiber is 5X stronger than steel and 2X as stiff and extremely lightweight. Titanium is 2X stronger than steel, lightweight, and corrosion resistant. When it comes to carbon fiber barrels specifically you think of PROOF Research. Based in Columbia Falls, Montana, PROOF Research has long been revered as one of the first if not the first in the carbon fiber barrel game. PROOF’s spec tolerances are insane. I’ve seen it first hand. What they allow out the door barrel and rifle wise is only that that meets an extremely high standard. After all, your barrel has everything to do with your accuracy down range.
Carbon Barrels Perfected
Carbon fiber has long been hailed across different verticals such as cycling, aerospace, and alternative energy as a material that provides strength and also lightweight properties. Although when placing these said properties into a rifle barrel the benefits extend far beyond reduced weight and increased strength, but also durability and heat dissipation. PROOF has a patented manufacturing process where they make this happen. The barrel blanks have a reduced profile greatly reducing overall weight. This reduced contour is then wrapped with high-strength, aerospace-grade carbon fiber impregnated with a proprietary matric resin. The carbon fibers used by PROOF Research have a unique ability to diffuse heat along the length of the barrel. The carbon also moves the heat effectively through the wall of the barrel as well; thus, greatly increasing heat transport resulting in the barrels cooling at a faster rate while maintaining accuracy through repeat fire sequences aka follow up shots! For those hunters and shooters that like to plink or shoot longer at the range you’ll see an extended barrel life. PROOF barrels aren’t just lighter. They’re better. A few of the benefits of a PROOF Research barrel below.
- Up to 64% lighter than traditional steel barrels
- Match Grade Accuracy
- Improved Heat Dissipation For Cooler and Longer Lasting Barrel
- Reduced Harmonic Vibration
- Unprecedented Durability
I’ve heard of folks taking a barrel off a rifle. Beating it against a brick wall. Threading it back on said rifle and shooting similar groups as they did previous. That’s something! Bottom line, they’re tough.
PROOF Research Rifles
Now that you’re able envision all the energy and effort PROOF Research puts into barrel manufacturing process and barrel approval, well, imagine the time and detail they put into their custom carbon fiber stocks along with all the other moving parts that go along with their custom rifles AKA the components!
Let’s start with the stocks. PROOF Research carbon fiber stocks are hand built, hand sanded, hand painted in house right in the Flathead Valley.
The PROOF Research custom rifle line isn't a production line per se, but rather a very hands on labor intensive process - starting with the stock. All PROOF Research stocks are fully customer fiber and are fully bedded throughout - pretty cool.
At the end of the day, this is a fully custom rifle and there is a very thorough manufacturing process from a hand laying carbon fiber stock and full bedding of the action. There’s a lot of man hours that go into all these rifles and that comes with a lead time, but the value manifests in the end product. After all, they have a quality over quantity mentality.
I personally hunted with the PROOF Terminus custom rifle back in 2018 chambered in 28 Nosler. I had a ton of confidence with this rifle. I was flinging 175 gr Hornady ELD-Xs out of it at the time with a 26” barrel and was seeing my handload speeds at 3150 FPS! The Terminus’ old school custom monte carlo stock was a dream to carry in the backcountry and made for easy packing. That rifle in my opinion was their best hunting rifle for my style of hunting at that time. In fact, I killed my largest public land buck and also a Dalls Sheep with it and vowed never to sell it. Still haven’t, actually.
If were to nit-pick one thing about the Terminus I would say it was missing a higher cheek comb. Personally, when sitting on an animal for an extended period of time I found my neck starting to ache trying to stay anchored and focused waiting for an opportunity at my target quarry.
So when they introduced the Tundra Ti I was in hog heaven. The Tundra Series stock adds the adjustability to the timeliness look of that monte carlo stock.
Boasting weights from 6lbs-8oz – 7lbs-12oz there are a ton more options to fully customize your build. From choosing barrel lengths and twist rates to paint jobs and bottom metals there’s a lot of options to suite your specific desires and needs.
My Tundra Ti actually weighs in at 6lb 7.8 ounces.
I mounted a Night Force NX8 4-32x50 F1 MIL-c on it. The scope with the Night Force rings weighs in at 8 lb 5.7 ounces meeting that light weight threshold for an ultra light magnum hunting rifle.
PROOF Research rifles do not come with an arca rail so I picked up Magpul MOE from Smith & Edwards as this particular bipod is also lightweight and mounts directly to the swivel studs. Personally, I’m a big fan of Magpul’s stuff and was elated to learn they had a swivel mounting option.
I also recently had a chance to slip out during the week with my little girl and drop a cow elk at 300 yards with my Tundra Ti - freezer filled! For me, days like this on the mountain spent with my kids are the most special.
Check out the video below to see a full run down and conclusion.
Leave a comment if you have any questions about this rifle build.
- Tags: 7 prc backcountry hunting carbon fiber muley freak proof research proof research rifles rifle hunting sheep hunting tundra ti rifle