Advice: NIB AI AT 6.5cm vs. Used AI AX 260 (Gen 1)

Which rifle would you chose for first AI?

  • New AI AT 6.5cm for $4,850

    Votes: 39 72.2%
  • Used AI AX 260rem for $5,000

    Votes: 15 27.8%

  • Total voters
    54

Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    I have the budget and desire to finally get an AI.

    For those way more in the know than I am, would love some input on the the tradeoffs between the two under consideration below. I've read the Hyde discussion between differences of AT and old AX overall...but I'm putting more specifics into the convo.

    Options 1: Fixed AT, 6.5cm, threaded, 24in, Lothar barrel from Eurooptic. Reason being the caliber is familiar to me and I dont have the time or patience to reload (myriad of factory ammo options). Will need to add a $120 rail. Cost $4,250 + $120 rail = $4,850 OTD w/Tax & FFL transfer

    Down the road I will consider the AX folder upgrade, but as I dont travel and am not space constrained I see no need to pay up front the ~$530 difference.

    Options 2: A range acquaintance offered to sell a Gen 1 (pre 2014) AX, 260rem, 26in Bartlein barrel w/brake. 120 rounds. Bought from Mile High. Including 100 rounds 260 ammo.
    Cost: $5,000 OTD no tax and no FFL fees.

    A negligible $150 (~3%) difference.

    1) Gut response...what would other Hyde-ers pick for a first AI?

    2) Is AI barrel change a DIY process like with my Bighorn Origin? What challenges does the "bonded" action present?

    3) The AX has a longer 26in barrel from Bartlein, how does that stack vs. the 24in from Lothar...if any?

    4) Do I care about the quick lock barrel change...or is that marketing jargon for a feature few ever use?

    5) Will I pigeonhole myself going with one caliber or the other or one rifle or the other?
     

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    hafejd30

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  • Feb 27, 2019
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    My first bit of advice is do some more research before purchasing

    If you don’t reload then 260 will be more $$ to shoot vs 6.5cm. 260 can achieve more velocity with the same bullets but you’d want to reload to take advantage of this. Factory ammo the 6.5 wins simply due to cost and availability

    Bartlein barrels are a better choice. The longer barrel with yield more velocity

    Get the quick loc. Or consider the added cost of the tools for AI without it. The quick loc is 1 screw on the side of the gun. You loosen it two turns, unscrew the barrel, screw new one on and tighten the screw to 49in lbs. It’s about a 2 minute process and can be done with just the supplied Allen wrench in the field. Then gun can host a 26” 6.5 barrel and be swapped to a 18” 308 barrel minutes later

    Watch the PX as AI come up a decent amount

    Personally if you plan to upgrade to the AX stock anyways then I’d look for,

    - Post 2014 AIAX with quick loc/folding stock
    - Bartlein barrel in 6.5 CM
     

    trob_205

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    Option 1. Quick lock is the cats ass and the whole not wanting to reload thing pretty much eliminates to 260 if comparing good factory ammo options.
     
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    tex68w

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    I've owned a pre-2014 AX, an AXMC and now an AT-LE. The biggest perk to the AX IMHO is the left side mag cutout, I took that nifty little recess for granted on the AX and AXMC and it's quite literally my only real complaint in regards to the AT platform. I find myself fumbling with the mag on the AT far more than I should be and I've even knocked the first round out of the mag a few times while trying to insert it into the rifle. With practice this will improve but it's worth noting.

    I am a big fan of the ARCA rails for use with tripods and bipods and obviously AI agrees as can be seen with all of the newer AI's so factor those in to your purchase with either rifle. The other option is a MLOK Victor rail for the AX or the AO chassis for either but you're talking some big coin for that move, either is far better than all of the tiny little dicks on the factory forend. I don't care for the metal forend on the AX when temps get cold but that's a minor complaint and a slight nod to the AT with its wider and flat chassis forend.

    Changing out barrels on a pre-2014 AX isn't that difficult with the right tools but I wouldn't buy an AI today with out the quick-lock feature, it's not a gimmick if you shoot more than one caliber and most of us do. You also lose the easily adjustable skeletonized stock with the pre-2014 AX so that's two strikes against it. Finally, ammo or not I think your buddies AX is over priced, most pre-2014 AX's go for less than $4K, that's the third strike IMHO.

    If you qualify to purchase the AT-LE then I'd go that route right out of the gate, it's a better stock than the older club foot found on the AT and pre-2014 AX and it folds to the right capturing the bolt handle and making for a narrower platform when folded than the left side fold configuration. It's also much cheaper to buy the AT-LE then it is to add the AX folder to a standard AT post purchase. Your other option is to pre-order the AT-X and get the best of both worlds and then some (you'll have to add the folding hinge when they become available).

    In regards to 6.5 CM vs. 260 Rem that's easy, if you don't reload then 6.5 CM is the obvious answer. Best of luck with your decision.
     

    Mareshow

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    Mar 14, 2012
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    I went the other way and went AT, I plan on carrying mine around in the field a bit and the reduced weight of the AT over the AX is nice. Plus its freezing here half the year and plastic is nicer on the hands. AX are nice but heavy and here in Canada you can only get the AXMC which is infinitely more expensive than an AT (11k vs 6k) that and I just don't need another long action Multical as I already have a Kraken.

    in regards to caliber I have a Victrix in 260 Remington that is an absolute tac driver and not picky about bullets or different factory ammo. Was super easy to load for. I went 260 because that was all that was available, I'd do it again if given the choice great caliber.
     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    Changing out barrels on a pre-2014 AX isn't that difficult with the right tools but I wouldn't buy an AI today with out the quick-lock feature, it's not a gimmick if you shoot more than one caliber and most of us do. You also lose the easily adjustable skeletonized stock with the pre-2014 AX so that's two strikes against it. Finally, ammo or not I think your buddies AX is over priced, most pre-2014 AX's go for less than $4K, that's the third strike IMHO.

    In regards to 6.5 CM vs. 260 Rem that's easy, if you don't reload then 6.5 CM is the obvious answer. Best of luck with your decision.
    Wow, four amazingly well-articulated considerations for the AT over the pre-2014 AX.

    It seems the AT shares some trickle-down tech with the pre-2014 AX (i.e. same stock, trigger, pistol grip), but also feature a few changes such as a different bolt design. AT not giving up much on the ergos to the AX, though, the side mag cut-out is a desirable feature I must say that I wasn't aware of.

    The AT does have an updated 6 lug bolt whereas the pre-2014 is a 3-lug. Unclear where (if ever) would I notice this upgrade enough for it to become Strike 4?

    I would lean more towards still getting the AX if it wasn't in 260 rem because I just don't look forward to all that is involved with barrel changes and I know one of my very first To-do items would be to do a barrel swap.
     

    tex68w

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    You can always purchase your buddies AX and pull the barrel in favor of one in a caliber you prefer. You should be able to get enough with the sale of the 260 barrel and ammo to cover a new barrel of your choice (non-carbon).
     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    most pre-2014 AX's go for less than $4K, that's the third strike IMHO.
    Hard to track all these things after the fact...anyone have a link to some recent PX sales comps (listed prices) for an AI AX?

    I felt $5x was a deal, but perhaps not so much. Esp considering that the pre-2014 AX retails in the $5,600 range whereas the current gen is at $7,600
     

    M4guru

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  • Aug 27, 2006
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    Having had both (I sold my pre-14 AX .260) I would do the AT all day every day. I paid $4K for that exact same gun from Mile High 6 years ago when they blew them out. He is WAY high on the price IMO. Shit, dudes have been selling used post-14 AXs without barrels on here for $4K on occasion. If you keep an eye on the PX here you can get a better deal on an AT, Mile High and EO also sell their demo guns occasionally. I am not afraid of used ones, they essentially have an unlimited service life outside of shooting out barrels.

    AT has more support for aftermarket and factory accessories, and I like the easy barrel change option.

    The 4th strike against your pre-14 AX with different bolt lugs is that the AT is going to get a Magnum bolt face option sometime this year (I hope) so you'll have some pretty cool options to go bigger/further. 6.5PRC 20" AT will be awesome!
     
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    M8541Reaper

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  • Jul 23, 2011
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    AI AT.
    If you ever decide to want to change things up, you can buy the new ATX chassis, MPA chassis, or whatever else hits the market now that the ATX isn’t bonded. You might even be able to snag an AX chassis that someone pulled off in order to go with Sam’s AO chassis. Then you also have the ability to barrel swap and play with various calibers on the cheap by purchasing used barrels at a low price in the PX. You’ll also have all of the future ATX perks too (magnum bolt face for 65PRC and the far future 223 bolt face). Let’s not forget the option to go with the AT-LE style AX stock down the line.

    When you start talking Pre-14 AX, you’re talking a fuck ton of rail screws and specs that narrow down your aftermarket options. Plus swapping barrels to play with is more time consuming than just screwing shit on.
     

    tex68w

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    I want to believe that the AT magnum bolt face will transpire, fingers crossed, but not holding my breath anytime soon lol. 6.5 PRC in the AT will give me everything I want from the platform without having to move up to an AXSR.
     
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    hafejd30

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    Since were discussing bolts on these guns also consider that some earlier models (maybe the AX you have posted above) have bolts with large firing pins.

    There’s been issues with the LFP in 6.5 CM blowing primers. So find one with a SFP or plan to get your bolt bushed to prevent this

    This is my 2014 AT I picked up here in the px for just over 3k. I run a 20” 308 barrel for deer. Has the large firing pin which works well with 308. Came with the folding thumb hole stock, original stock, thumb rest and spigot. Also has the quick loc. Hell of a lot of rifle for $3k and my favorite to date

    Just picked up a 2013 AXMC that I’m currently setting up to run 300 PRC. The model has the folding AX stock, mag well cutout, quick lok etc.
    2C0B3967-B34C-4BEE-BC04-B9ADD6577800.jpeg
     

    tex68w

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    I'd suggest waiting on the AT-X as well but with the overwhelming interest and perceived popularity it's going to be difficult to get stuff at first. I'd go ahead and place a pre-order now if that's your plan.
     

    Crews

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  • May 11, 2017
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    AT. No need buying an AI unless it has quick change barrel capability. And, round front ends blow.
     

    Luvman

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    I'd get a folder. (I realize the AX is, if I bought the AT, I'd spring for the folder).
    The non folding AT’s can be converted to AT-LE spec with the AX buttstock kit. When I bought mine I went with a new folder and passed up a smokin deal on a used non folder thinking it could never be a folder.

    My advice is find the best deal you can on a non folding AT. If you decide you want a folder pick up the AX stock and make yourself an AT-LE. IF you can get a factory AT-LE I would go that route.

    I have seen dealers with AT-LE’s for sale with the AO spigot for about $5.2K in the past.
     
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    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    I'd suggest waiting on the AT-X as well but with the overwhelming interest and perceived popularity it's going to be difficult to get stuff at first. I'd go ahead and place a pre-order now if that's your plan.
    I've only watch the review of the AT-X from the X-Ring on YouTube. I looked into pre-ordering it as well. I like a few things: Folding stock, updated trigger, updated pistol grip, and a cheek rest that looks to be much more customizable than the AT.

    It still will be $800 more than a fixed AT. Small price to pay over the life I plan to own this rifle.

    Also, not sure if it's just me, however, but little about the AT-X visually says "desire". The AT isn't the most desirable thing either, but it seems to carry on more of design lineage/continuity between the AW/AE/AT/AX. Carrying-over that heritage has to be worth something.

    The AT-X could easily be mistaken for some sort of MDT ACC/ESS/LSS or a Howa Oryx. Not a bad thing either, but just an observation.
     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    My advice is find the best deal you can on a non folding AT. If you decide you want a folder pick up the AX stock and make yourself an AT-LE. IF you can get a factory AT-LE I would go that route.
    I've seen a few products that help to LOWER the height of the ax stock to get better line of sight to the scope.

    How problematic is AX conversion and would it require a new rail (higher or lower)?
     

    tex68w

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    I've only watch the review of the AT-X from the X-Ring on YouTube. I looked into pre-ordering it as well. I like a few things: Folding stock, updated trigger, updated pistol grip, and a cheek rest that looks to be much more customizable than the AT.

    It still will be $800 more than a fixed AT. Small price to pay over the life I plan to own this rifle.

    Also, not sure if it's just me, however, but little about the AT-X visually says "desire". The AT isn't the most desirable thing either, but it seems to carry on more of design lineage/continuity between the AW/AE/AT/AX. Carrying-over that heritage has to be worth something.

    The AT-X could easily be mistaken for some sort of MDT ACC/ESS/LSS or a Howa Oryx. Not a bad thing either, but just an observation.

    I agree, the AT carries the iconic AW look through to modern day, the AT-X is definitely more of a gamers gun in function and in look, not bad, just different. The AT-X isn't shipping with a folding stock, it'll come fixed but they are releasing a hinge for it this year. Like I said in my first post and others have echoed, get a quick-lock gun, get the newer AX style adjustable stock, whether it's via paying for the upgrade on a standard AT or by way of purchasing an AT-LE.
     

    Luvman

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    I've seen a few products that help to LOWER the height of the ax stock to get better line of sight to the scope.

    How problematic is AX conversion and would it require a new rail (higher or lower)?
    My AT came with the low rail. I just swapped it with a high rail I picked up here along with the NV bridge.

    If you goal is to do the AX stock swap pick up an AT with the high rail as it’s the same height as a factory AX. And the stock will match up as intended. There’s also a low cheek available from AO.

    The conversion isn’t too bad if you’re not afraid of putting some heat to a $4K rifle to break the epoxy loose.

    There are some really good threads here on how to do it yourself.
     

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    BikePilot

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    Fwiw I shot them both and decided it was worth the extra $$ for the current gen AX. The folder is really well executed and handy for transport. I thought it was easier to adjust and get dialed in as well. Later ones have the small firing pins which seem to be the best bet for the 6.5cm options. Imo no big deal whether you shoot 260 or 6.5mm. I've found that for good match grade ammo it's about the same cost either way
     

    Mr. F

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    Pick up a no barrel used AT/AX SFP from the PX or wait for the ATX. No reason to go with a non quick lock gun if you are planning on running multiple cals.

    Just makes everything simpler imo.
     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    UPDATE: I went ahead and placed an order for a fixed AT from Eurooptic. They only had one left and it was in Pale Brown.

    Thanks for all the feedback to help me make the jump. I was already leaning towards the AT simply based on price , but many of the reasons mentioned above are what really pushed me over. I am pretty sure I will still think "dang, shoulda, coulda, woulda" every time I see an AX at the range - luckily that isn't hardly ever.

    I know prices are different today than 2019/2020, but seeing the PX archives with pre-2014 AX in the $3500-4200 range shipped was also a factor.

    Searching the PX as we speak for new glass to top it, but hard to decide (first world problem).
     

    tex68w

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    You made a good choice, now to get the AX folding stock. Glass is another an entirely different can of worms. Set a budget and then find something with a reticle that you like. Congrats on the new boom stick, you'll love it.
     

    trob_205

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    UPDATE: I went ahead and placed an order for a fixed AT from Eurooptic. They only had one left and it was in Pale Brown.

    Thanks for all the feedback to help me make the jump. I was already leaning towards the AT simply based on price , but many of the reasons mentioned above are what really pushed me over. I am pretty sure I will still think "dang, shoulda, coulda, woulda" every time I see an AX at the range - luckily that isn't hardly ever.

    I know prices are different today than 2019/2020, but seeing the PX archives with pre-2014 AX in the $3500-4200 range shipped was also a factor.

    Searching the PX as we speak for new glass to top it, but hard to decide (first world problem).
    I wouldn’t let the stigma of AT vs AX get to you. The quick lock system is where’s its at. Order a AX butt stock and make it a AT LE. Super badass setup. Or look for some thumb hole skins if that’s a thing anymore. That would be titties!
     

    NukeMMC

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    Last year I bought my 2014 AX with 24" 308 barrel, Maverick41 drag bag, Storm iM3300 case, TAB Gear mat & sling and 3 mags from MHSA on GB with a PMII P4LF and a new Tooley-spun 24" Bartlein 260 barrel (I reload) for $7k, shipped. The bolt is mismatched serial # but headspaced at +.002". It's a large firing pin but I haven't had any primer craters or other issues shooting 140gr at 2850fps.
    Keep looking and wait for the right deal that you don't have to question your decision making.20190426_202328.jpg
     

    NukeMMC

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    By the way, there is a TacOps X-Ray51 on GB for $4350 (Buy It Now) or an AX308 with S-B scope and 6.5cm barrel currently at $4875
     

    tex68w

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    I wouldn’t let the stigma of AT vs AX get to you. The quick lock system is where’s its at. Order a AX butt stock and make it a AT LE. Super badass setup. Or look for some thumb hole skins if that’s a thing anymore. That would be titties!

    I believe there's a set of thumbhole plastics for sale on here right now. You can still find them.

    AT-LE is where it's at.

    EZ1PEdC.jpg
     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    I believe there's a set of thumbhole plastics for sale on here right now. You can still find them.

    AT-LE is where it's at.

    EZ1PEdC.jpg
    If Mile High gets these back in stock...that will be the first thing I do AFTER securing more ammo 🤤

    Where else does one buy the AX kit?

    The adjustability of the butt pad made a world of difference when I shot my buddy's AX.
     

    tex68w

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    If Mile High gets these back in stock...that will be the first thing I do AFTER securing more ammo 🤤

    Where else does one buy the AX kit?

    The adjustability of the butt pad made a world of difference when I shot my buddy's AX.

    In theory you can still make the same adjustments with the AT club foot stock but it's slower and more crude and doesn't look as good. Having the right side fold is a nice upgrade as well.

    Looks to be in stock at Euro. They typically give a cash discount if you ask.

     

    Senor_barney

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  • Jul 25, 2020
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    Eurooptic order incoming!!!

    Based on the images online, seems like the AT Pale Brown may be a slightly different shade than the AX Pale Brown.

    The Black kit doesn't look too shabby...TBH.

    AI AX Kit.jpg
     
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    samb300

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    Eurooptic order incoming!!!

    Based on the images online, seems like the AT Pale Brown may be a slightly different shade than the AX Pale Brown.

    The Black kit doesn't look too shabby...TBH.

    View attachment 7608946
    The cerakote colors are hit and miss for matching the skins, regardless of color. The cerakote mixtures should be the more consistent of the two, while the dyed plastic used in the skins can vary quite a bit. I've seen thumbhole skins differ a lot from the front section even when they're supposed to be the same color.

    Either embrace the rainbow, or you'll have to send the skins and buttstock assembly to a cerakote applicator to have them all painted the same color at the same time.
     

    samb300

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    I believe @BLKWLFK9 has the Dark Earth grips and Obsession chassis front end, with the black AX buttstock for reference. I think the black buttstock looks good with the pale brown or dark earth.