First Look: Phoenix Weaponry "Christine" in 45-70 Auto

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posted on December 28, 2017
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In the post-2016 market of modern sporting rifles, innovation is a better driver of firearm sales than price point. When it comes to innovation, the Phoenix Weaponry 45-70 Auto Christine rifle certainly has it in spades.

The new rifle is built using the company's RFL upper/lower receiver setup, designed originally to handle the .308 Win. The receiver is matched up with a specially designed barrel and barrel bushing. In conjunction with the rifle design, the team at Phoenix Weaponry developed a modified case off the traditional .45-70 Government round by rebating the rim found on traditional brass cases for the cartridge, creating the rimless .45-70 Auto design. This enables loaded rounds to fit inside the magazine and allows for consistent, trouble-free feeding.

The upper and lower receivers are machined and trued from solid billets of 7075-T7 aluminum. The magazine well in the lower receiver is flared to ease magazine changes and, dimensionally speaking, will accept all mil-spec magazines. The upper receiver is a traditional flattop design but does not feature any forward assist or brass deflector, giving it a slab-side look.

The receiver is matched with a barrel machined from 4140 Chromoly steel, which measures 18 inches long and features a 1:14-inch twist rate. The barrel features a custom profile and is button-rifled with eight grooves. At the muzzle end of the barrel is Phoenix Weaponry's Chevron muzzle brake, machined from 4130 chromoly steel. The barrel is paired with a direct-impingement gas system specially designed by Phoenix Weaponry, featuring the company's custom gas block made from stainless steel. The gun uses a standard rifle-length gas tube.

Covering the barrel is the company's custom CNC-machined, free-float, 15-inch handguard, which is milled from 6061-T6 aluminum. The handguard is modular, compatible with the company's own sections of Picatinny rail, and features areas compatible with quick-detach sling mounts, handstops and sling studs located at 45-degree increments around the circumference of the rail. The handguard attaches to the receiver via a proprietary barrel nut designed for enhanced strength.

The rifle operates using a standard .308 Win. bolt-carrier group and features the company's own custom 3-pound precision-trigger design. The gun feeds from a Phoenix-modified Magpul magazine, which holds six rounds. The overall weight of the gun is 9.75 pounds, and the suggested retail price on the Phoenix Weaponry 45-70 Auto Christine rifle is $4,800.

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