Choosing a long range rifle is never easy, and magnums are usually never a ‘lite’ choice. The Cadex CDX-33 Patriot Lite (that’s a mouthful) is a 338 Lapua Magnum from Cadex Defense. The ‘Lite’ comes from their Lite-Strike chassis systems which have been in popular use for several years, and available separately as chassis systems. Cadex Defense produces their own line of precision rifles, from precision rifle to military contracts. Cadex does not disclose which nations use their rifles. The ‘Lite’ series features a folding stock, and the rifle is also available in the ‘Tac’ version, a fixed stock, at a lower price point. I’ve had this Rifle in my hands for 8 months. The review will focus on The Rifle, Fit and Finish, the Action itself.. and of course accuracy. The author has owned many precision rifles, including Accuracy International and PGW, and has competed successfully in precision rifle matches in BC.
The CDX-33 is a serious rifle, with a Bartlien 27” barrel in a 1:9 twist it can easily push and stabilize 300gr projectiles to get you out there. Sitting in its chassis the rifle weighs a respectable 14.5lbs, which is lighter than its competitor – but this is no light rifle. The chassis features a v-shaped bedding block in which the flat bottomed Cadex action firmly sits – it’s not moving anywhere. Cadex offers both a single stage (DX1) and two stage (DX2) trigger, which this rifle is equipped with. The DX2 breaks cleanly and crisply with no over-travel and both stages are easily adjustable. The trigger does not require removal of the action from the chassis to adjust, but cannot be adjusted without removal of the mag well adapter (which are interchangeable for different caliber/magazine sizes.) Not only is the lite chassis very comfortable, it is fully adjustable without tools, offering a long length of pull and fast adjustment. The MX-1 muzzle brake (optional) is one of the most efficient we’ve tested – and anecdotally, makes the recoil manageable, and not all that dissimilar from an un-braked 308. Compared to the PGW Timberwolf, this is one light recoiling rifle despite the magnum chambering. It is deceivingly easy to shoot all day, and genuinely a joy to shoot.
Everything about the Cadex speaks quality, close tolerances and precision machining. There is no doubt that every component of this rifle is CNC machined to an exacting standard. All components fit tightly together and the mix of materials just works. You will be hard pressed to find any flaws in the fit of the components. The folding stock locks up tight, and the adjustments of the chassis are firm and positive. There is no play in any part. The quality is easily on par or exceeds its direct competition. The author has owned both PGW and AI rifles, and is comparing them directly to them. Originally the rifle was fitted with a Cadex Scope mount which unfortunately shifted during recoil pulses. Cadex replaced both the mount, and the top rail however the problem repeated. It’s unclear what the problem was, and all bolts were torqued to spec. A Sphur mount was later utilized without any issue. It is understood that the Cadex scope mount is in use on the C14 Timberwolf so it is unclear why this rifle would have any issue. Cadex support during this problem was top notch with quick shipping on replacement parts and were helpful in the ultimate resolution, although there never should have been a problem.
The full adjustment is easy to use with positive locking and engagement of all adjustments, without tools. This is welcomed in changing LOP depending on your attire for the day, and the cheek rest is comfortable. The recoil pulse through the stock is a comfortable, but firm push. There is no ‘ringing’ or sharp pulse in the recoil cycle as seen on some magnum rifles.
Townsend Whelen wisely said “Only accurate rifles are interesting” and the Cadex does not disappoint, groups at 100m with factory Federal Gold Medal Match yielded 0.6 MOA. Load testing with hand loads is still under fine tuning, but has settled on Berger 250gr Hybrid’s over H1000 consistently delivering 0.4 MOA or less up to 900 meters (longest range I can get around here.) There is no doubt this rifle is a shooter (better than me.) This weekends outing had first round hits on 5″ targets at 550m after being in storage for several months. It has met and exceeded my accuracy expectations.
With an MSRP of under $6,000 (and found for less) this rifle approaches the custom price range, and competes with other high end factory offerings. It offers distinct price advantages over PGW and Accuracy International, without any sacrifices (an AXMC should be more directly compared with the Kraken, and we will leave discussion on switch-barrel rifles for another time.) A certain amount of quality is to be expected at this price point and the Cadex delivers. It represents significant value over its competition. As a factory rifle with near custom quality it will hold its value well compared with custom rifles. The cost of the rifle in the USA approaches an amazing $8,000 in Canadian dollars, putting it in direct competition with AXMC and other rifles. This dramatically challenges its value proposition in the USA, and it’s no surprise that they are rarely seen south of the border.
The rifle has a full feature list and out of the box performance, with significant (and rare) value in its price range. In this authors opinion, it’s hard to choose anything else in this range and feature list. If you’re looking for new precision rifle, don’t overlook Cadex.
It should be no surprise then that I have another Cadex rifle on order, in 6mm Creedmoor.