The Caracal CS308 is a .308 caliber bolt-action rifle with a one-piece billet aluminum receiver – instead of an action mated to a chassis or bedded into a conventional stock – and the whole package can be disassembled using nothing more than a 5/32 allen wrench. The butt-stock assembly is attached securely to the receiver with two knurled collar nuts, and can be quickly and easily detached. There is no wobble or play using this method, and it feels just as solid as if it were an integral part of the package.
Ergonomics are controlled by large, easily indexed, locking adjusters on the right side of the butt-stock. From the normal “locked” position, either of the spring-loaded adjusters can be twisted ¼ turn and then depressed in order to release the tension on the sliding Comb and Length of Pull mechanisms, allowing them to extend via spring pressure. They can then be quickly and easily moved to the desired position and locked in place by releasing the adjuster and then twisting it again back to the locked position. The rear of the rifle also features a folding Accu-Shot monopod attached to a short section of rail for quick and stable elevation adjustments.
The “monolithic” receiver/action has an integral 20MOA 1913 picatinny rail, magwell, and trigger guard. The bolt is fluted and the body is rather large in diameter (approximately equal to the OD of its three locking lugs). There is a short, 60 degree throw and the bolt stop is side mounted. The trigger is a two-stage unit, while the magazine release is an ambidextrous paddle just below the front of the trigger guard and the safety is similar to an AR10/15 in function and position on the left side.
The grip on the Caracal CS308 can be changed for out for any AR15 type pistol grip with a little dremel work, but they will not bolt straight on out of the box. The rifle accepts standard AICS pattern magazines, and the sample that I tested fed and functioned perfectly with both Accuracy International brand magazines and my personal McRees Precision magazines. Caracal utilized their own in-house, free-floated 1:12 twist, 26” barrel with a heavy profile, and their large (also in-house) dual chambered brake on the end of the muzzle. The round forend is simple with one sling swivel on the bottom, at the front, and provisions to mount a section of rail on the top for use with night vision or thermal devices.
Only two CS308 rifles exist in the United States at the moment, and these were the first rounds fired through them since they arrived from getting their import markings, so this was the perfect opportunity to mount up my US Optics LR17 on one of them. The LR17 is a 3.2-17x optic; this one has MOA knobs with their RDP-MOA reticle, internal bubble level, and red illumination. After torqueing the rings onto the rail and getting behind the rifle, I quickly adjusted the comb and length of pull to suit me and we got the scope zeroed at 100 yards, then verified it by printing an impressive group on paper with factory 175 gr. match ammunition.
The paper at 100 yards served its purpose and I wanted to get straight to running this rifle through its paces at distance. The height over bore of the optic is similar to an AR10/15 or a conventional bolt-action in a tube-chassis, so it was easy to look back at my DOPE and make an educated guess as to what should get me on target at 630 yards. After the first shot I dialed a little less elevation, and the second shot gave me a good read on the wind with a miss that was just left of center. I held the crosshairs of the reticle 3 MOA right of the center of the steel silhouette and watched the round sail in for a good center-mass hit.
The next two shots had the same point of impact and with less than twenty rounds fired I had already decided that I really liked the way this rifle handles! The short 60 degree throw is quick and positive to lock and unlock with no binding and the bolt slides forward and back in the action smooth as glass. After taking up the first stage of the trigger, the second stage breaks cleanly without any creep and no perceptible over travel. It was easy to adjust the pull weight of the trigger by simply using an allen wrench in the adjustment screw through the slot in the bottom of the trigger guard, and neither increasing nor decreasing the pull-weight compromised the break or added any over travel.
Jeff from SF Tactical and Logistics had worked up some data on his iPhone app “Shooter” for the 840 yard target, so I dialed up the EREK knob on the US Optics LR17 and used the horizontal subtensions to correct and hold off for wind. Same as before, after the first hit on the target, the follow-up shots were consistent and easily repeated, each crisp break was rewarded with the distant sound of an impact on steel.
This factory rifle is a solid performer that has the tolerances and feel of a custom, with a great feature set. Thanks to SF Tactical and Logistics for giving me the opportunity to spend some time behind this brand new rifle. If you are interested in obtaining more information about Caracal and the Caracal CS308 rifle, possible Dealer agreements, or personal acquisitions, please contact Caracal. Also, be sure to check out and follow SF Tactical and Logistics and Sin City Precision on Facebook.