Last year, John Stewart of Kiote Rifles made my dream come true by building my “last rifle”. That Ruger No 1 in .375 H&H Magnum really is the last rifle I’ll ever need. Oh…but want is a different thing entirely.
This year I found myself shooting varmints a little farther out, and decided to get back into competing regularly. I wanted a new bolt action rifle to meet those new demands. So I reached back out to the company that made my Last Rifle to build my next one.
Kiote Rifles did not disappoint.
For my next rifle I decided on the Kiote Rifles LRP, in 6mm SLR.
That’s not the rifle I expected to go with, and it’s not the one I started talking with Kiote about. Stewart actually talked me out of his more expensive Overwatch model. I wanted a rifle I could compete with, but also one I could tote around hunting.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be switching the action into a different stock and was just willing to settle down with this little girl for a while. But I wanted precision. Stewart explained that, although some of the features may be different, he only builds one level of precision, the best level of precision he could, on every rifle he made, no matter the model.
Since this was going to be a hunting/varmint gun first and a competition gun second, the LRP made more sense. That model gave me everything I wanted and did so at a reasonable price. No need to add complexity, weight, and cost.
Then I talked to Stewart about caliber choice. Essentially, I wanted a chambering I could use for varmint hunts and deer hunts, but that I could also compete with and be, well, competitive. I reload everything center fire, no matter how cheap it is to buy at the store, so manufacturer availability wasn’t a concern for me.
What I wanted was a light-recoiling short-action round that bucked the wind in a rifle around 12 lbs total. I decided to go with the 6mm SLR/243 SLR.
The 6mm SLR, or .243 SLR is a fairly new cartridge and as far as I can tell, there’s no commercial ammunition available for it. I don’t expect there ever will be. That’s because it’s really just .243 Winchester with a longer neck and a 30 degree shoulder angle.
I’m using the exact same bullet and powder load data as with a .243 Winchester. The only real advantage with the 6mm SLR over the .243 Winchester is that the SLR allows me to use longer bullets that seat well in its longer neck. That’s about it, there’s no real magic there. For those of you more familiar with the 6mm Creedmoor, I see no significant ballistic difference between the two.
The shoulder angle and longer neck might help with throat erosion, but really, this is a 2,500-round barrel, at least how I intent to shoot it. Although it can be loaded faster, I like bullets in the 108 to 115 grain variety launching a just under 3,000ps, which should keep the round supersonic out past 1,300 yards.
If I calculate a 10 mph full value wind at 1,000 yards, I dial two mils for my preferred bullet in 6 SLR. Under the same conditions, I dial 2.7 mils with my .308 Winchester and the 175 gr SMK, and I put up with more recoil for it.
It’s completely reasonable that some people want their action to say “Remington” on the receiver of their rifle. Some guns are heirlooms, or are otherwise sentimental. For those reasons, there is some justification in spending the amount of money it takes to get a stock Remington 700 short action to perform near the same as a real quality receiver.
For the rest of us, there are great companies making incredible products right off the line. One of those companies is Kelbly’s with their Stolle Atlas and Atlas Tactical receivers. Kiote uses those on all of their LRP models. This is not my first Stolle Atlas action and I’ve been very pleased with every one I’ve had so far. I’ve heard nothing but the same from everyone who’s owned them.
I chose to go with the fluted bolt as it might help move debris out of the action, but mostly because it looks cool. A pinned 1913 Picatinny rail sits atop the action.
The action itself is 416RS and the bolt is 4140. The Stolle Atlas includes their TG Ejector. It’s an ultra reliable “spring-less” system that’s simple and smart. As I found, the harder you pull on the bolt handle, the farther it sends those shells flying.
Stewart put a Lightweight Target/Sendero-style contour onto an X-Caliber barrel blank. I wanted to buck the wind, so I was only really interested in shooting the longer, heavier bullets. For that Stewart chose a 1:7 twist and 26″ of length.
I also let Stewart know that I would be running the gun suppressed all the time, so he threaded the muzzle. The chamber was cut with a Manson reamer, and the barrel cryo-treated. Kiote then put a dimple style fluting down the barrel. Maybe there’s some measurable advantage to this type of fluting, but really it just looks cool.
I asked Kiote to Cerakote the whole thing a semi-gloss black, not because I love black guns so much but because I’m a horrible person. I know that I’ll be rattle-canning the rifle within a few months of owning it and probably several other times during its life.
I can’t help it. I don’t have a Krylon problem. I can quit anytime I want.
The stock is Grayboe’s Terrain model, but with a custom cheek riser built in. I’ve seen the Grayboe stocks on several review guns now, and I have been very impressed all the way around.
The Terrain is a bit of a hybrid model with a more traditional narrowed fore-end, but a straighter horizontal grip and a flat-bottom buttstock.
It’s not ideal to shoot off-hand, but works very well from a rest, tripod or bipod, or in hasty positions. I find myself shooting off-hand less and less, mostly because I don’t prefer to take shots I can’t hit. (Kiote has discontinued the service of adding an adjustable cheek riser to the Terrain, instead using the JCS Adjustable Sporter Stock.)
Although my opinion on budget glass has been slowly changing, I’m not yet willing to wiggle in the slightest on triggers. My name is Jon Wayne Taylor and I’m a trigger snob.
Why, you ask? Because despite decades of practice, I’m not a very good shot and I need all the help I can get. For my LRP, that help comes in the form of Timney’s Elite Hunter trigger set at 1 lb.
Unlike some earlier 700s, it won’t fire until you pull the trigger. The Timney trigger has zero creep, and saying that it “breaks like glass” would be an insult. Let me put it this way, it’s crispier than my buddy Omar.
For a rifle for this purpose and in this price range, precision is key. We always talk about “Sub MOA”, and if this was even 30 years ago, that would have been good enough.
My benchmark for a precision rifle over $2,500 is that it needs to put five rounds of whatever ammunition I prefer into a 1/2″ circle at 100 yards off a rest. The reason that 1/2 MOA is my standard is that at that level of precision, I don’t have to think about it and I only have myself to blame.
Whether it’s hunting or competition, targets are rarely, if ever, smaller than 1 MOA. At that level, I know that if I can see it, the rifle is capable of sending a round into it. Whether I’m up to the task is a different matter entirely.
The LRP leaves me with zero excuses. Judging group size with a rifle where all of the ammo is hand-loaded is a bit unfair to other guns shooting store-bought ammo. After all, half the precision is in your round. I’m not quite F-Class neurotic with my reloading, but I’m not far from it, and I’m slowly moving in that direction.
With the Berger 105gr VLD Hunting bullet, or the Hornady 108gr ELD Match, or (select) Sierra’s 107gr SMK, and any load pushing faster than 2,800 fps, no five-round group printed larger than 1/2″ at 100 yards, center to center. That’s from either a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest or off the bipod on a bench with a rear bag.
My better groups, which score between .25″ and .30″ are with the Hornady bullet and Hybrid 100V pushing the round at 2,900fps. I’ll keep playing around with recipes as it’s a simple compulsion, but realistically I’m not going to beat that, nor would I ever need to.
My range goes out to 800 meters, so I’ve spent some time shooting there with the LRP. This range is particularly challenging because in that distance the wind will go from a full value to zero value and back to full again. Even so, hitting the 10″ steel plate at that range wasn’t particularly challenging, at least not off the bench or prone (10″ is the smallest plate there right now). Once I got to the kneel or standing on the tripod, things got harder, but that’s the Indian, not the arrow.
It was at this range that the rifle performs exceptionally well. Although the rifle isn’t particularly heavy, there is minimal recoil with the round. I had no trouble from any position watching the mirage of the round as it flew through the air.
Even at that speed and that range, it seemed like I was calling “hit” or “miss” an eternity before I actually saw the plate move (or sadly, remain unmoved).
That’s something I’m not able to do with my Remington 700 5R in .308 Win. It’s a great-shooting gun, and the best Big Green factory gun I’ve ever shot. But keeping my eye on the round through the scope as it moved through the air when the gun was mounted on the tripod or off a hasty position often proved impossible.
Not so with the LRP in 6mm SLR. There’s so little recoil that keeping focused through the scope for the bullet trace was easy and natural.
With a bolt action rifle, significant reliability issues are rare. With long bullets seated to or past 2.800″ OAL on a short action, I occasionally see feeding issues. Sometimes I see issues with the follower tilting downward in a blind box magazine.
Neither of these issues are present in the LRP. It’s all the same Winchester .243 Win brass, but I’ve played around with several different bullet types so far, and as long as I’m working the bolt, the bolt works just fine.
If your arm works, or even your foot if you are particularly flexible, the LRP has no trouble loading or unloading. I’ve only got a couple hundred rounds (10%-ish of its barrel life) through the gun, but I’ve had no issues so far.
Sadly, I have given the gun a good excuse to fail. My very first trip out hunting with the rifle ended with it falling about six feet directly onto rocks. I was handing it up to someone (unloaded, bolt open and on safe) in the back of a truck. When I handed it to him, I said “got it?”. He replied “Got it!”. And he did. Right until he slipped and dropped my brand new rifle all the way down to the gravel road.
Thankfully, no damage was done (to the rifle, F that dude) and the only way I would know that it had fallen was a very shallow chip in the cheek riser. The scope I had mounted even held zero.
I wasn’t drinking before I handed up my rifle, but after watching what was essentially $6000 of gun and glass smash against the rocks, I sat down and had a beer before I inspected it. No need to fret, all was well. All of the photos, including the photos of the groups in this review were taken after the fall.
This Kiote LRP rifle puts me right where I want to be, which is, oddly enough, not thinking about the rifle at all. I can put it in any number of positions quickly.
It’s not too heavy to carry and move. It balances well on the tripod. It’s a snap to get behind it with a solid cheek-stock weld. The bolt slides easy and locks down tight. The trigger lets off by desire alone.
It’s already taken a few pigs and coyotes, and I’m looking to get behind it for some plates, some paper, and maybe even some pronghorn later this year.
Specifications: Kiote Rifles LRP
Caliber: 6mm SLR/243 SLR (many others available)
Barrel: 26″ 1:7 twist X-Caliber, Cryo Treated (others available)
Stock: Grayboe Terrain with adjustable cheek riser (others available)
Action: Kelbly’s Stolle Atlas
Capacity: 4 +1, blind box magazine (others available)
Weight: 8 lbs 6oz rifle only
Weight: 12 lbs 6oz fully loaded with mounted scope, bipod, silencer and ammunition
Trigger: Timney Elite Hunter (others available, Calvin Elite is standard)
Total Length: 47″
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * * *
The dimpled barrel looks great and the Cerakote finish is done very well. If you look closely, you can see the Kiote Logo (available at customers’ request) etched into the right side of the stock. I dig it. I chose basic black because I know I’ll rattle-can it up on my own. I’ll try a blacked out Woodland Camo first, cuz I’m #classyaf.
Customization * * * * *
It’s a custom rifle. But you’re not buying a rifle, you’re buying a gunsmith’s time and work. That’s worth a lot more than a rifle.
Reliability * * * * *
Apparently a hell of a lot more reliable than a redneck’s grip.
Accuracy * * * * *
Nothing shot worse than half a minute of angle. Some groups shot to a quarter minute, and I’m not done with load development yet.
Overall * * * * *
I got exactly what I wanted out of this rifle. Kiote delivered beyond my expectations, again. The LRP performs well enough to take game out to any reasonable expectation of the cartridge’s performance. More importantly, it lets me take targets, and game, without fighting the gun itself. It helps me get back to the zen of shooting, the very reason I shoot in the first place. This rifle just shoots good.