Echelon CF Versa

I’ve become a ‘lightweight’ rifle junky for no good reason. Well, I’ve justified in my mind plenty of good reasons, but reality likely suggests otherwise. I do cover a lot of steep terrain and sidehills, and I hand-carry my rifle while actively hunting. And I have big dreams of hunting the highest peaks in the farthest away places, so I figure I better be prepared. But, in reality, I just like trying new equipment made with new technology to see what’s possible, efficient and effective.

Echelon CF Versa Ultralight Stock

In my constant quest to lighten the load, I’ve gotten my hands on yet another lightweight rifle stock. I’ve spent the last few months hunting and shooting with the CF Versa Ultralight stock from Echelon Rifles. Echelon–out of Nampa, Idaho–provides custom gunsmithing services, ultralight stocks, and stock accessories. Two things made Echelon stand out to me from the ever-growing custom stock competition: The feature-rich but low finish weight of their stocks and the ultralight arca rails they produce for them. More info here.

Echelon CF Versa Ultralight Stock
The Echelon CF Versa offers a lot of features in a lightweight package, making it comfortable and efficient to carry and shoot.
Speaking of features – let’s start there.

Along with maintaining a light (sub-20 ounce) finished weight, the CF Versa includes a vertical grip, flat forend for various accessory attachment options, aluminum pillars, zero drop at heel, and a standard 13” length of pull. The stock I tested weighed 20.2 ounces with a 1” Limbsaver Airtech recoil paid, two QD flush cups, and one of Echelon’s carbon fiber composite Arca rails. The stock boasted a raw carbon finish with added texturizing on the grip and forend, but painted options are also available. The raw carbon was certainly smooth–I’m not sure that it would actually be an issue, but in wet or sweaty weather, I think paint and/or texturing would definitely provide some welcomed grip. Similarly, Microcell recoil pads of two different thicknesses are also available for an added weight savings.

vertical grip, zero drop at heel
The vertical grip, zero drop at heel, and 13” length of pull make the lightweight stock comfortable to shoot and help manage recoil.
Texturing is available on CF Versa stocks
Texturing is available on CF Versa stocks for an additional fee. On the raw carbon finish, the added texture was welcomed.
Stock Weight
My stock weighed in at 20.2 ounces with a 1” Limbsaver Airtech recoil paid, two QD flush cups, and one of Echelon’s carbon fiber composite Arca rails.
Fit And Finish

The inletting and bedding for the action, barrel and bottom metal were crisp, and the stock’s finish was clean. I dropped a Mesa Precision Arms (now Pure Precision) Summit TI action with a carbon-wrapped barrel from Christensen Arms into the CF Versa. I was really impressed with the tolerances.

The stock was an off-the-shelf unit–not specifically inletted for my combo. But aside from some misalignment around the ejection port and bolt handle, everything fit together snuggly and without fuss. Of course, when you custom order, inletting will be to your specs, so everything should line up perfectly. Note below that the barrel channel is not fully enclosed beneath the barrel, which reduces overall weight. You’ll notice exposed foam filler and mounting hardware for the Arca rail or sling studs.

Fit and Finish
Even though my stock wasn’t inletted specifically for my action, everything fit together cleanly, with just some slight misalignment around the ejection port and bolt handle.
Barrel Channel
The barrel channel was inletted to leave enough room for slight flex in the forend.
Bottom Metal
M5 bottom metal was spot-on for my Hawkins Precision Hunter DBM bottom metal.
Ultralight and Recoil

And even at such a light weight, the stock’s design was pleasant to shoot my 280AI without any muzzle device. There was certainly perceived recoil and muzzle jump, but not enough to impact my ability to stay on target or shoot effective strings. Echelon provided some additional input on the issue of recoil, recognizing that lightweight stocks can have a bad reputation for recoil. For magnum calibers with a recoil compensating device (brake or suppressor), they recommend the 1″ Microcell pad. They recommend the Airtech for more comfort if you’re shooting a large caliber without a recoil-compensating device.

Recoil Pad
The design of the CF Versa, paired with the 1” Limbsaver Airtech recoil pad, made shooting my 280AI without a suppressor or brake completely manageable.
Comfortable To Carry In The Field

Along with spending a lot of time at the bench, I hunted our firearms deer season with this stock. When on the move, I typically keep my rifle strapped into a Kifaru Gun Bearer. With a total rifle weight of a little over 6.5 pounds, it was hardly noticeable. But as I mentioned earlier, I do like to hand-carry when I’m actively hunting, and I never use a sling. I was expecting the Arca rail on the forend to make hand-carrying awkward or uncomfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised with how unintrusive it was. First, the rail is made from a carbon fiber polymer, so it isn’t cold to the touch like aluminum would be. Second, the rail is so low-profile that it didn’t feel too different than hand-carrying a stock with a flat forend without a rail.

Arca-Swiss Rail
The low-profile and lightweight Arca rail Echelon offers is an awesome addition to the CF Versa. I didn’t mind hand-carrying the rifle with the rail attached, and I also easily attached my Spartan bipod adapter directly to the rail. The rail can also be drilled out for a Spartan Gunsmith Adapter or other products.
Wait Times And Available Inletts

Currently, Echelon is inletting for BDL and M5 bottom metals and 700/clone actions in left and right hand. However, pre-orders for Tikka inlets are available, and those stocks will begin shipping in early 2024. To top it off, current lead times for the CF Versa are about two months–a nice relief from the nearly year-long waits with other manufacturers. However, Echelon does expect this wait to grow with the release of the Tikka inlets. So, if you think you may want a new stock and you don’t like waiting, you’re better off ordering sooner rather than later.

Aside from time spent at the bench, I carried the CF Versa throughout our fall season, covering plenty of steep, rocky miles.
Whitetail Buck
While I was more than happy to take this Pennsylvania big woods buck with the CF Versa, the most impressive part of the photo is the slope of the mountain. The lightness of the stock made it much more enjoyable to carry in these hills.
Forend Flex

My only real complaint with the stock was some flex in the forend. When inletted for a Sendero-style contoured barrel, there isn’t a ton of meat on the sidewalls of the channel. The thinner walls of the barrel channel, paired with the filler through the bottom of the channel, left some rigidity to be desired. I’m not sure I would practically ever be in a position where I’d be applying enough force on the forend to cause it to touch the barrel, but that thought still comes to mind. When I relayed this info to Echelon, I was happy to hear that they’re already planning to offer a fully enclosed barrel inlet this year to add that extra rigidity. With that addition, I can’t think of any real concerns other than maybe price (starting at $799 – no recoil pad, paint, or other add-ons included).

Currently, barrel channels on the CF Versa are foam-filled. Going forward, they’ll be offering fully enclosed or filled channels, which will increase stiffness in the forened.

The CF Versa Ultralight rifle stock is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a truly lightweight (sub-20-ounce) stock that doesn’t sacrifice features for weight savings. My stock came in right at the advertised weight–not always the case with stock makers. The finish was clean, and the inletting was tight (in a good way). I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of the low-profile, ultralight Arca rail–enough to make me consider using that system going forward. And with the addition of Tikka inlet options and the ability to stiffen up the stock’s forend, I can’t think of a reason not to try the CF Versa. It’s comfortable and natural to hold, handles recoil well, and packs many features into a lightweight package. Check out all that Echelon Rifles offers here.

Comment or ask Torin questions here.

*Note: Echelon is a Rokslide advertiser. The author is an independent 3rd party writer.