The quest for accuracy is an embedded trait among rifle shooters. It's a thirst or desire difficult to explain to casual onlookers. Explaining it is difficult because the notion of accuracy is perceptible; it depends on the scenario or given task. Practical accuracy in a combat scenario may be 2 MOA. 2 MOA consistently puts shots on 80% IPSC targets out to 600 meters. But what about those trying to attain it at the highest level? 1 MOA then isn't even acceptable; rather, half that or better is where acceptance occurs. Precision can be challenging. Precision can only be accomplished through thoroughness, extreme attention to detail, and experience. When setting out to commission a custom rifle that can be used in many precision shooting scenarios, including PRS and Benchrest, those factors must be considered when picking the individual to build the rifle. That is where Keith Baker of ICE Rifles comes in.
KEITH BAKER AND ICE RIFLES
Keith Baker is a renowned shooter. His shooting prowess stems from his ability to build rifles to the highest degree. From the beginning, he spent hours building his own competition rifles, fine-tuning his processes to find the ultimate blend of accuracy. Those hours in the machine shop and countless hours of practice led to match victories. People noticed—they looked at his rifles and wondered whose hands crafted them. He admitted that he did it himself. His fellow competitors contacted Keith, wanting him to build their rifles. Those solicitations led to the birth of ICE Rifles. ICE stands for Innovative Competition Engineering, and Keith speaks to his obsession with detail on his webpage. So, selecting Keith to build my rifle was rather easy. As an aside, a shooter can pick the best barrel, action, trigger, and stock on the market. But if they are put together poorly, the precision will not be there.
MDT RESOURCES FROM KEITH BAKER
- Precision Rimfire Set Up | With MDT Pro Keith Baker
- How to properly adjust your grip with MDT Pro Staff Keith Baker
- Getting The Most Out Of The MDT Baker Wings
- Firearm Sear Fix Tip From MDT Pro Keith Baker
- This Scope Mounting Method Will Improve Your Accuracy
In 2023, there are more options than ever when picking out rifle components. Many of the manufacturers found today didn't exist ten years ago. This is truly the golden age of the precision rifle. Because of the many options, the decision process can be daunting. That's why having a builder like Keith to guide the process is a plus. With Keith's recommendation, I went with a Lone Peak Arms Fuzion action. This action is as rock solid and consistent as it gets. The short-action model has an integral scope rail and recoil lug, is machined out of pre-hardened 416R stainless steel, and is cut to feed from AICS magazines. Other features include an M-16 extractor, plunger ejector, and lightweight firing pin assembly to provide faster lock time. The action is then nitride coated. The next step is cutting and chambering the barrel. Again, going with Keith's guidance, a Hawk Hill barrel was chosen in Keith's personal contour. This barrel was cut to be 27" and chambered in 6MM BR. This cartridge is decades old but has had a resurgence in the precision rifle world. While other newer cartridges are available based on the BR, I chose to go with the OG. Sometimes pedigree cannot be ignored. Affixed to the end of the barrel is an Area 419 Hellfire muzzle break, perfect for controlling felt recoil. Next was the trigger. Keith commonly uses Bix'n' Andy triggers. However, I had a TriggerTech Diamond already on hand, so that is what I went with. Keith installed it and set the trigger-pull weight to just under 1 pound.
More: ANALYSIS: 6MM BR NORMA
The next step is finding a chassis or stock for the barreled action to fit into. All the components are important to a rifle, the argument can be made on the order of importance, but the chassis is near the top. It is the part that your body interfaces with. It must be comfortable and adjustable. It must be rigid but offer the flexibility to adapt it to varying shooting matches and stages. I personally like the look of stocks over chassis, but I also recognize the need for flexibility. So why not choose something that offers both? That is where the Modular Driven Technologies (MD) XRS chassis comes into play. At first glance, it resembles a traditional "tactical" stock design. It has a deep pistol grip and high comb height while maintaining clean lines. It has a polymer exoskeleton with an aluminum "mini chassis" that runs internally. The stock is adjustable, and the gun ships with two different pistol grips. The 12" forend with M-Lok slots works fine, but I chose to upgrade to the enclosed forend. This option is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and incorporates ARCA into its design. Having ARCA capability increases the flexibility of the rifle. An XRS forend weight rounds out the build.
The result is striking. The gun balances well, looks good, and no doubt will shoot lasers. To add to its capability, a Vortex Razor Gen III 6-36 was mounted on top in a set of Vortex's Premier rings. Keith did an amazing job building the rifle. Everywhere, details can be noticed. It's hard to describe without feeling the gun, but owning a gun built by a renowned rifle maker should be on every gun owner's wish list—now onto the next stage—loading ammo and seeing how it shoots.
COMPETITION AND HUNTING RESOURCES FROM MDT
- Mastering The Mental Game Of PRS: An Easy Way To Achieve A Higher Score
- A Shooter's Checklist - Delivering The Perfect Shot
- Beginners Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- Expert Gear Guide for Precision Rifle Competition
- How Professional Shooter Allison Zane Sets Up Her Rifle
- Dry Fire Drills With Pro Shooter Allison Zane
- Tips For A Successful Antelope Hunt
- Analysis: Long-Range Hunting
- MDT Field Report - Why The Triple Pull CKYE-POD is a Guides Best Friend
- Hunting In Inclement Weather
- Hunting With The MDT XRS Chassis System
- Maximize Performance with Mental Imagery
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have worked in the firearms industry for 11 years and counting. What started as a part-time job during undergrad has become a career. In that time, I have been lucky to work with some incredible people and companies. I also completed a Master of Arts in History from Cleveland State University. When I am not shooting, reloading, or working on my firearms, I am reading, writing, and tinkering with Legos.