Review: Pure Precision Carbon Ascent

posted on May 10, 2024
Review Pure Precision Carbon Ascent Lead

Formerly known as Mesa Precision Arms, Pure Precision (or P2) burst onto the custom hunting rifle scene in 2017, offering shooters a blend of ultra-light weight, dependability and accuracy. Rebranding in 2023 with its expansion to become a full family of brands, the company continues to offer the quality components and precise attention to detail that made Mesa a top name in the precision rifle market. From stocks and actions to full-on builds, Pure Precision can either be a high-quality parts depot or a one-stop shop for a long-range hunting gun, whatever is desired.

Pure Precision Carbon Ascent bolt action rifle facing right.

The flagship of that latter incarnation is the Carbon Ascent. Utilizing the absolute lightest components the company has to offer, the Carbon Ascent shaves weight wherever possible, while still retaining the stability and rigidity necessary for a precision hunting gun. It begins with one of the company’s proprietary actions, either the standard Summit, Summit Ti(tanium), SKLTN Ti or standard SKLTN like our test model. Starting from a stainless-steel body for strength and corrosion resistance, the receiver shaves weight with lightening cuts in the body and recoil lug, not to mention availing itself of a trimmed bolt shroud. Within, the bolt is spiral fluted to reduce overall weight and reciprocating mass. A 75-degree bolt throw strikes a balance between scope clearance and faster unlocking, while two locking lugs and an M16-style extractor keep lockup tight and ejections consistent. Crafted from 4140 steel, the bolt is imbued with chromium, molybdenum and manganese to improve its hardness, corrosion-resistance, tensile strength and to reduce brittleness. It is finished with a Diamond Like Coating (DLC) to ensure smooth cycling, while inside, its firing-pin assembly utilizes a tool-less design, making it easier to clear ice, debris or whatever other blockages may be encountered in the field. Above the action, a 20-MOA Picatinny rail allows any optic to be mounted quickly, with enough cant to dial out to those really long distances. Finally, to increase component compatibility, the action shares the classic, near-ubiquitous Remington 700 footprint, fed by either a hinged floorplate magazine or detachable box magazine; our model sported the former. The weight of a long-action receiver is around 16.5 ounces, while the short-action sits just shy, at 16 ounces.

While that’s more words than you can generally devote to the action of a simple bolt gun, it’s only the start. The action feeds into a Sendero-profile carbon-fiber barrel, in lengths of 20, 22, 24 or 26 inches. It’s topped with the shooter’s choice of muzzle device—either a Meraki M1 self-timing muzzle brake for recoil reduction, or a simple threaded muzzle with a cap for the later addition of a suppressor. Ours sported the brake straight from Pure Precision’s Grand Junction factory. Shots are released via a curved, single-stage TriggerTech Primary trigger, which fits into the Remington 700-cloned action with no modification. It is externally adjustable from 1.5-4 pounds and bears a safety that protrudes in the natural thumb position for a righty. There is zero creep, and the break can be safely set to occur at the lightest touch. Staging the trigger is not only wholly unnecessary, it is impossible.

Pure Precision Carbon Ascent rifle action with bolt open.

Last comes the Altitude stock. Formed with a built-in cheek riser—non-adjustable to save weight—it is crafted from layers of carbon-fiber with aluminum bedding pillars to promote rigidity. This is all surrounded by an ultra-light fill, for a total weight of just 25 ounces. A 1-inch Pachmayer Decelerator recoil pad brings LOP to 13.5 inches. Its ambidextrous vertical grip promotes proper hand position and is textured for purchase. A swivel stud sits to the rear, and pairs with the SRS Arca-Picatinny rail that the gun wears on its fore-end. This nifty device allows the attachment of a standard sling mount, while the Picatinny or Arca rail can be used to quickly clip into a bipod or tripod. All in all, this brings the weight of one of these guns to an eye-wateringly light 6.1-6.7 pounds, with our long-action test gun sitting at 6 pounds, 8 ounces.

All this sounds pretty cool, but reading about these components individually can’t even begin to convey how well the rifle handles in the field. Our rifle was chambered in the hot 7 PRC, and while the report is ear-splitting, the brake’s self-timed design kept a good bit of the force directed away from the shoulder for a comfortable, non-flinch-inducing experience. Meanwhile, the light nature of the 22-inch Proof Research carbon-fiber barrel kept the weight of the gun balanced toward the chamber, which is perfect for shots off tripods, bags and other more compromised shooting positions encountered in the field. To be perfectly honest, the only criticism I had of the gun initially was how it carried—for the first 10-odd miles in the backcountry, the gun balanced poorly on its sling, and constantly attempted to turn butt-end-up over my shoulder. But reversing the SRS Picatinny-Arca rail so the sling attached to its front instead of its rear solved the balance issue quite easily.  Where it really shone, however, was when taken off its sling and put to use.

Pure Precision Carbon Ascent fore-end with Picatinny rail.

Our selection of 7mm PRC for this rifle was not an unconsidered choice. Pushing 175-grain projectiles into the vicinity of 3000 fps with ease, this new-kid-on-the-block seems set to challenge even the venerable 7mm Remington Magnum for 7mm supremacy. With the additional punch delivered by added velocity, combined with its potential for better concentricity by headspacing off its shoulder, this new super cartridge seemed the perfect pairing for the Carbon Ascent—a rifle that utilizes the pinnacle of modern component technologies in a quest to deliver the lightest, most accurate hunting rifle possible.

With three ammunition options on deck—two from Federal and one from Hornady—it quickly became apparent that the gun is lights-out-accurate, but simultaneously picky about grain weights. The 1:8-inch twist, single-point cut rifled barrel absolutely loved the 170- and 175-grain rounds, but had some trouble stabilizing the lighter, 155-grain load—potentially a better choice for a 1:9.5-inch twist barrel. That said, the best use for this particular rifle is as a backcountry elk and muley mauler, so I’d consider this a total non-issue—the heavier grain weights would be my choice regardless.

All in all, whether on the range, on the stalk or with an animal in the crosshairs, the Carbon Ascent makes for a perfect hunting partner. It’s accurate enough for target-style, ragged-hole groups, light enough to barely notice on a long hike and yet still packs enough punch to make the post-shot walk to your quarry very short, provided you do your job.

Pure Precision Carbon Ascent accuracy result chart.

Technical Specifications
Type: bolt-action, centerfire rifle
Caliber: 7mm PRC
Magazine: BDL hinged floorplate, 3-rnd. capacity
Barrel: 22" (tested); Proof Research carbon-fiber-wrapped; Sendero contour; single-point cut rifled; 1:8" RH twist; 5/8x24 TPI threaded muzzle w/brake
Trigger: TriggerTech Primary; adjustable 1.5-4 lbs.
Sights: none; drilled and tapped for optics/Picatinny rail
Safety: 2-position
Stock: Altitude Stock
Metal Finish: FDE Cerakote
Overall Length: 52"
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
Accessories: Pelican hard case; 20-MOA Picatinny rail; Meraki M1 muzzle brake
MSRP: $4,700 (as tested);


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