Whether you’re a competition shooter looking for a bolt-action rifle that will put you on the podium, a recreational shooter that loves banging steel at ridiculous ranges, or a sit-and-wait hunter wanting to reach out and touch lungs, Rock River’s RBG-1S won’t disappoint.
by Jace Bauserman
I’m a bolt-action rifle guy. I always have been and always will be. Still, when calling toothy critters close or when hunting feral hogs in open country, I like an AR platform that’s accurate and fitted with a sizable magazine. I’ve found those two features and more in Rock River Arm’s Fred Eichler Series Light Predator2L LAR-15M.
Chambered in .223 Wylde for 5.56mm and .223, this customizable semi-automatic has proven its salt on many occasions. So, when Rock River shipped me its Rock Bolt Gun RBG-1S chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, I was ecstatic.
I love Rock River and was thrilled to see this fine firearms maker toss its hat in the bolt-gun ocean.
The RBG-1S is a Stunner
Rock River Arms has a style that’s very much its own. Take the Eichler rifles, for instance. Not only do they handle and shoot like a dream, but their aesthetics are equally as impressive. Each is beautifully made from the coyote tracks on the handguard to the Eichler Brand on the vented barrel.
I knew from research that the hard case I was about to open didn’t contain a standard-looking bolt action. Still, my jaw dropped a little when I opened the lid and spied the uber-adjustable KRG Stock/Chassis, heavy Wilson stainless-steel 20-inch (22- and 24-inch available) barrel, spiral fluted body on the action, and oversized bolt. The rifle is an out-of-the-box stunner.
An airy, ultra-adjustable stock that promises maximum customization, I first went through the many features of the KRG stock.
The rifle’s length of pull adjusts quickly to seven different positions by unscrewing the knob on the arm of the butt pad, depressing the spring, and moving the butt pad in or out. The recoil pad moves up and down as well. Turn the dial on the backend of the recoil pad arm clockwise and slide the recoil pad north or south. I love this feature.
An exact eye-to-scope alignment is possible via the adjustable cheekpiece; though thin, I found the cheekpiece very comfortable. Another adjustment and feature I wasn’t sure of but applauded after testing is the hard polymer-style tab on the bottom rear of the stock. This tab is adjustable via Allen screws, and its purpose is for the shooter to hook their off-hand around the tab to pull the stock tight to the shoulder. I also found the tab useful when I set the rifle on a shooting bag.
The grip is pistol-style grip, and I found it remarkably comfortable. It put the TriggerTech Trigger within easy reach.
Trigger & Magazine
Moving up the rifle, the trigger guard is extensive and allows easy access to the adjustable from 1.5- to four-pound TriggerTech Trigger. The trigger is thin, perfectly angled, and welcomed my index finger.
The magazine is from Accuracy International. It fits like a glove into the magazine well. Located behind the magazine well and in front of the trigger guard is a polymer magazine release lever. I love its size and function. A firm press forward releases the magazine, and when inserted, the 10-round mag clicks into place.
The oversized bolt handle on this short-action beauty drops midway between the trigger guard’s top and bottom, allowing for rapid reloading. The smoother-than-silk action showcases a spiral fluted bolt body, interchangeable floating bolt head, controlled-round feed, and a fixed ejector mounted to the receiver. The stainless-steel safety is slender but stout and directly behind the bolt. The top of the safety lever is gridded with recessed horizontal lines that promote fit and feel. The safety will not engage if the firing pin isn’t cocked.
The barreled action is set in a Kinetic Research Group Whiskey-3 chassis stock, which features aluminum bedding for the action.
The Forend, Barrel, and Receiver
The synthetic forend on the RBG-1S provides a great base. It features a QD sling swivel socket and stud. Two polymer rail sections are included, allowing bipod mounting, tripod attachment, and countless other accessory items.
The air-gauged-for-precision Wilson Combat barrel on the RBG-1S 6.5 Creedmoor is a work of art. Cryo-treated, the barrels go in liquid nitrogen for 24 hours. This process brings the steel to a temperature of -300 degrees Fahrenheit. The cryo process boosts accuracy and improves barrel longevity. The free-floated barrel’s has a 1:8 twist rate, and it is threaded at the muzzle 5/8×24. The thread protector extends beyond the barrel to better protect the crown.
The barrel threads into the receiver, which sports a 20 m.o.a. Picatinny rail. This rail made mounting my Steiner Predator 8 3-24×50 scope a breeze. As noted, the rifle is long on customization, and if you prefer to use standard ring mounts, remove the rail, and you’ll find standard scope base holes drilled and tapped into the receiver.
What It Is
This is a top-of-the-line, from-the-factory bolt-action rifle with lots of custom parts and pieces. Bore-sighting was easy, and with Steiner’s Predator 8 3-24×50 scope atop the shooter, it’s accuracy was supreme.
The scope features a customizable ballistic turret that allows me to dial for exact bullet drop. I fired Federal’s 6.5 Creedmoor 120 Grain Trophy Copper and Fiocchi’s 6.5 Creedmoor SST Hyperformance bullets and smashed a 6-inch steel plate from 650 yards. I also put a pair of shots within two-inches at 650. This was my max test distance, but I promise the rifle will handle longer shots.
The heavy rifle will be excellent for competition, tactical, and long-range hunting. Each shot I fired was from a prone position off a backpack, off a bench with shooting bags, and flat-on-my-butt using a BOG DeathGrip Tripod. Rock River brands the RBG-1S as a 1/2″ MOA or better rifle, and testing proved this. Groups from 100 and 200 yards were tiny.
What It’s Not
This is not an attach-a-sling; throw the rifle over your shoulder and roam the hills rifle. The rifle is not meant for off-hand shooting. With a 24-inch barrel, the rifle’s bare weight is 10.5 pounds, with an empty magazine and no attached scope or other accessory items.
This rifle would not be my first or tenth choice for toting to a whitetail stand or carrying around the elk woods on spot-and-stalk missions. However, it would be my first choice for a long-range PRS match. Also, I would have no trouble toting it to the mountains if a long-range sit-and-wait mule deer, pronghorn, or elk hunt was on the menu.
Recoil is a thing, and frankly, I’m not a fan. In my youth, I purchased a lightweight, bottom-of-the-line 7mm Rem. Mag. The gun kicked like a mule. I developed some bad habits because of that rifle. Because of its weight and build, this rifle produces an ultra-minimal amount of felt recoil.
My wife went through a box of ammo, and my youngest son, Brody, who is 70 pounds soaking wet, pounded steel six out of eight times from 450 yards.
I’m a standard bolt-action guy. This RBG-1S from Rock River is anything but standard, and I’m positive I could have done more of its features justice. In the hands of a more skilled operator, its accuracy would be scary. It’s a rifle that was a joy to shoot and made me appear to be a much better long-range shot than I actually am.
Rock River Arms Rock Bolt Gun RGB-1S Specifications:
- Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Action: Proprietary Short Action
- Barrel: 20-, 22-, or 24-inch Wilson Stainless Steel
- Twist Rate: 1:8
- Threaded: 5/8-24 Thread
- Trigger: TriggerTech
- Bolt Handle: Oversized
- Picatinny Rail: 20 MOA Base
- Magazine: Detachable Box Mag, AICS Compatible, Magpul Compatible
- Weight: 10.5 pounds w/ 24-inch barrel
- Length: 24 inch, 43.5 inches/22 inch, 41.5 inches, 20 inch, 39.5 inches
- Accuracy: 1/2 MOA or Better
- MSRP: Starting at $4,500