I dare you to find a greater joy than walking into a big room, finding the most expensive thing, and then making the salesperson for that thing give you the pitch. Say I were to walk into the Ferrari dealership dressed how I dress, stroll up to the lone LaFerrari on the floor, and demand that the sales person tell me why I should buy that car instead of the Porsche 918 down the street. I’d rightfully be laughed out of the building. But slap on a press badge, and even the chuckliest of chuckleheads get his day because maybe, just maybe, there’s a person reading this who fancies a $7700 switch barrel precision rifle. Meet the CADEX Defence Kraken

Pictured here is a smiling idiot holding the Kraken in some heavy hitting, long range cartridge. I believe it was .338 Lapua. I’m leading with this photo to illustrate the sheer size of this rifle. I’m roughly six feet tall in shoes, and the Kraken is a large rifle compared to my average adult frame. 

Sans suppressor, it doesn’t really get better, but the smiling jackassery continues unimpeded. That silencer, by the way, is not available in the US because CADEX is a Canadian company, making Canadian silencers that someone in the .gov won’t let them import. Be sure to notice the shoulder on the barrel about halfway back that helps that huge silencer lock up repeatably.

Ergonomically, the Kraken is designed to allow the end user to adjust literally everything they’d need in order to make the rifle fit them perfectly. The buttstock alone deserves to be a centerpiece on my coffee table. Fold it up and you still have a 15+ pound rifle, but now it’s shorter. The U shaped gizmo pictured at the bottom is designed to ride a sandbag just perfectly.

Forward of the butt stock is the receiver which is a monolith. Again, everything’s adjustable, and by that, I mean the trigger. The pictures don’t do the quality of finish justice, and neither do they appropriately frame it. This is such a big piece of machinery. Where things start to get fun, and the entire reason the Kraken costs nearly $8000 American dollars is the ability to swap barrels at a moments notice.

Offered in .260 REM, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, .308 WIN, 300 WIN Mag, 300 Norma Mag, and 338 Lapua Mag in a variety of barrel lengths CADEX promises zero, read it zero, point of impact shift when swapping a barrel. Unscrew your .260 barrel, shoot some .308, and screw the .260 back on and it will hit absolutely dead center of your previous zero.

CADEX accomplishes this by using a very fancy wrench inserted from the breech and specially machined barrels. I was only allowed to partially photograph this setup, so my understanding of the inner workings are somewhat hazy. Headspace on each barrel is set from the factory, and all barrels are built on Bartlein 5R single cut blanks. Each barrel will set you back $1300 and the bolt body to go along will be $675. Extra bolt bodies are only necessary if you’re moving changing bolt face size, say from .308 WIN to .300 WIN Mag.

All versions of the Kraken are fed off AI magazines, and the magwells can be swapped out to accommodate short or long action cartridges. All of these pieces can be swapped out in the field with a toolkit that’s supplied by CADEX.

Dear sweet Lord is it a pretty rifle. It’s huge, machined beyond perfection, and capable of a level of accuracy, precision, and modularity that I dream of late at night. It is also, and I want to be generous here, enormously expensive. $7700 buys you just the Kraken, no tools, no extra barrels, not even a muzzle brake. $10, 351 will get you a Kraken, a tool kit, a long action barrel and bolt body, a short action barrel and bolt body, and the muzzle brakes to go along. I’ve asked for a rifle to review, but I uhhhh won’t be surprised if it never shows up at my FFL. If you happen to be the quiet guy or gal reading this who needs a Kraken in your life, feel free to contact Shawn Bevins who handles US Commercial Sales. He’s the guy who was nice enough to spend 45 minutes reviewing this and other products with me.

42 Responses to CADEX Defence Kraken – 2017 SHOT Show

  1. While I enjoy reading reviews and info on guns I’ll never own, or have any interest in in owning, I can’t, for the life of me, figure out the attraction of swappable barrels. I own AR’s in 3 calibers; I don’t want 3 barrels for one AR. I want three different AR’s…and it seems every barrel swapping gun is just as expensive as buying individual guns by the time you’ve bought all the barrels. I don’t get it…

    • Depending on your state of residence, buying a gun can be a royal PITA. Imagine the process when the nearest reputable FFL is an hour’s drive away, and there’s a waiting period so you have to go back a second time to pick it up.

      Buying a barrel (or a complete upper) requires a phone call, or a couple clicks and a credit card.

    • The attraction to switch-barrel rifles is thus:
      – One stock/chassis
      – One trigger
      – One optic

      All three of the above help build familiarity/consistency, and items one and (especially) three help save a TON of cash, while allowing the shooter to select a cartridge that is most appropriate for the type of shooting that (s)he intends to do. Want to shoot prairie dogs? Install a .243 Win or 22-250 barrel and have at it. Want to shoot groups at 1000 yards? Swap in a .300WM barrel and let fly. Want to ring steel at a mile (1760 yards)? .338LM is the answer for you… all while using the same ergos, trigger, and optic from your varmint rifle…

    • The other consideration is that if you shoot 6.5 CM you will wear the barrel out in about 3,000 rounds. The ability to swap out the barrel yourself without a gunsmith saves a lot of time and money. Accuracy International has these on their rifle line as well.

  2. Bartlein is a quality barrel, used by lots of very serious accuracy/precision shootists.

    I should NB that this is the first rifle I can remember being reviewed here at TTAG that is sporting a serious, high-quality barrel.

    5R rifling, I can explain later. Don’t have time today.

      • Accuracy International rifles, of which I have owned a couple, have barrels made by Cooper Precision Manufacturing. At least mine were. They make very good barrels. Very good. But no, I would not put them in the same class as Bartlein.

      • Are they winning benchrest or F-class competitions?

        Are they throwing down groups under 0.100″ at 100 yards?

    • OK, “5R” rifling.

      In the midwest, there are several barrel makers who have been making premium rifle barrels for years. John Krieger, Boots Obermeyer, Bartlein are all in Wisconsin. They all make single-point cut rifling barrels, all of their barrels have won competitions over the years.

      Years back, Boots Obermeyer took notice of how the Russians cut their rifling. In American/British rifling, there are typically an even number of grooves cut in the barrel, and they’re diametrically opposite each other. You can have 2, 4, or 6 grooves in a rifle barrel, with no real difference in the accuracy I’ve seen between these numbers of grooves.

      On a conventional barrel, the grooves have sharp sides, with 90 degree sides down to the bottom of the groove, and then a sharp corner at the bottom of the groove.

      5R barrels have two significant changes from conventional rifling barrels:

      1. The “5” stands for five grooves. Now, there’s no longer a groove opposite a groove, you have a land opposite a groove. The “R” stands for “Russian.”

      2. The rifling groove has about a 110 degree angle at the bottom of the groove, ie, the groove is wider at the top (land diameter) than the bottom (groove diameter). The bottom corner of the groove also has a radius in the corner, not a sharp corner.

      5R barrels haven’t been proven to be more accurate than conventional barrels, but they have been proven:

      – to be easier to clean, and they copper foul less
      – produce higher muzzle velocities than a conventional single-point cut barrel (by 25 to 75 fps)
      – have longer barrel life
      – reduce jacket failure in tight twist rates.

      Boots Obermeyer makes 5R barrels (he was the one who started them in the accuracy community), Krieger offers them in some calibers, and Bartlein now offers them. There might be other barrel outfits that offer 5R rifling, I just haven’t used their barrels to this point.

      • I have a Russian made .22. It’s a sporter with a thick barrel profile and a counter bore. It’s stupid accurate with the factory irons and even with a cheap Barska scope.

        I don’t know what type of rifling it has. But it works.

        • Can you tell me more about this rifle? Like the name of the rifler maker, included accessories, cost, etc.
          Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

          Steve

        • It was made by Toz in Russia and sold here, briefly, under the Winchester brand. I’ve had it for a number of years and haven’t seen another like it.

          It came with factory irons and 4 mags. New it cost north of 325 bucks. But that’s been a few years back. I could get a Ruger 10/22 or a Marlin 60 for half that at the time.

  3. “CADEX promises zero, read it zero, point of impact shift when swapping a barrel.”

    C’mon. Get real. Different cartridges have different ballistic trajectories. I call bull$h!t.

    • “Unscrew your .260 barrel, shoot some .308, and screw the .260 back on and it will hit absolutely dead center of your previous zero.” The next sentence clarifies that claim a bit.

      • Ok. I’m sure that’s a useful feature to someone. Maybe if you count clicks when you re-zero your scope, you can count them backwards when you throw the old barrel back on.

        • That’s the exact question I asked, and they said that’s what they train users to do. Good scopes are quite capable of it.

    • ”Unscrew your .260 barrel, shoot some .308, and screw the .260 back on and it will hit absolutely dead center of your previous zero”

  4. I kinda like it. ; P : )
    It’s nice to dream. I can’t point to that part of the outfield yet, but $$$ being no object I’d ask for the sales pitch and then make ’em faint by saying “ok”.

    It’s nice to see the innovation.

    It’s also nice to see the TTAG staff being a professional ambassador at the show for all of us.
    Thank you for that too, Mr. Kee.

  5. What is the market for rifles like this? I’m sure some well heeled folks will buy one but are these really aimed at government organizations with unlimited (taxpayer) provided funds?

    I’m not griping, just interested! It’s great that we have choices ranging from Ferrari’s down to Craigslist beaters!

    Life is good!

    • “What is the market for rifles like this?”

      Sometimes nothing more than the fact it’s still a free country, I’m glad to say.

      Admittedly, you do have to have some kind of regular customer with too much money and not enough brains (the guv’mint) to keep the show going in the meantime.

      But as you pointed out, life is good 🙂

      Tom

      • I suspect it might be popular in countries where there is a limit on the number of firearms that one can own.

        Canada isn’t one of them – in fact, since this is a bolt-action, if one has an Unrestricted PAL (the easier kind to get) one could have Canada Post deliver it to the door. Appropriately insured, of course.

        You can also tell your wife that you only bought one more gun.

  6. I wonder, on switch-barrel designs, how the accuracy holds up if one switches barrels constantly; say several times a week vs a few times a year? Eventually something would wear down, I would imagine.

  7. For the cost of the Barrel ($1300) I can set up a nice savage rifle and swap the barrels out as often as I like. True it will take me a lot longer to do it but I’ve never been in that much of a hurry.

      • while that is true, most shooters will never be able to shoot to a rifle’s full potential. Sure the Cadex maybe a .25 MOA rifle at 500 yards, but how many shooters will be able to get that sort of accuracy out of it.
        For me it’s a cost vs. needed and achievable performance out of a system.

        • All of that’s true, and I applaud anyone and everyone who would rather spend less on a rifle and more on ammo and just get out to shoot and get more practice.

          The only thing I’ll add is this: Until I owned a seriously accurate rifle (my Annie 1807 in .22LR), my rifle accuracy didn’t improve much. There would be lots of times as I got tighter groups that I got to a point where couldn’t ever tell if the problems were with me or the rifle. I didn’t know what needed to improve – my technique, or the rifle, or the ammo.

          With the Annie and match ammo that it likes, I know how tightly it can group from a machine rest – and it’s very tight indeed. Therefore, I know any wider groups than what the rifle can achieve in a machine rest are room for improvement in my technique. I quit making excuses for myself, and knuckled down to improve.

          I think that everyone should have an opportunity to shoot a really accurate rifle and/or pistol from time to time, just to see where there is room for improvement in their technique.

  8. My only quibble with this rifle is that several of the chamberings are just complete overlaps to some of the other chamberings. eg, .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5×47 Lapua?

    Pick one of the 6.5 Creedmoor or the 6.5×47, and don’t even bother with the .260.

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