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Kelbly’s Atlas Tactical Review by Phillip Velayo

Kelbly Atlas Tactical Review Phillip Velayo

Featured Image Photo Credit: Josaphat Orozco

Proven to perform in some of the most austere conditions, the Kelbly Atlas Tactical has continued to live up to its “Ruggedness.”

My foundations of long-range marksmanship on a bolt-action platform started on a Remington 700 action. With that, I knew that when I was shopping around for a custom action it had to be a Remington 700 semi-clone with upgraded features. The Kelbly Atlas Tactical just had its debut that year and after reading their description advertised on their website, I finally pulled the trigger.

Kelbly Atlas Tactical Review Phillip Velayo

Kelbly Atlas Tactical Review Phillip VelayoSince it is a Remington 700 semi-clone, it can drop into in any stock or chassis that are inlet for Remington 700s, with minor modifications. These modifications are for the Kelbly Trigger Hanger, and the side bolt release also known as the Extreme Duty Bolt Stop. Once those have been accommodated for, I can easily take one of my barreled Remington 700 actions and play musical stocks or chassis, depending on what I’m feeling for my flavor of the month.

The Kelbly Atlas Tactical is equipped with a pinned 20 MOA anodized picatinny rail for removable optics. Since it is pinned, I don’t have to worry about the rail shifting even if the screws happen to come loose and possibly affect my zero. It has an American Precision Arms tactical bolt knob, that is threaded on which allows the user to switch out the knobs if they wanted. But I use the original APA knob it comes with because it allows for a positive grip on the bolt when I’m running it.

Unlike the Remington 700 action, the Atlas tactical has a straight bolt leg that is also slightly longer. Personally I like where the bolt knob falls because it is a reference point of where I need to position my 90° trigger finger when building my firing grip. Furthermore, because of where it is positioned, I am able to do a sweeping bolt throw that is quick, efficient, and minimizes rifle movement as the bolt is manipulated.

I find the Kelbly Atlas Tactical’s Trigger Hanger to be very useful, especially at competitions. I carry a spare trigger in my pack that is already pinned on another Kelbly hanger so that if my trigger goes down, all I have to do is remove the action from the stock, unscrew the trigger hanger, swap them out, and now I’m back in the fight. Even if I decide to clean the trigger in an ultrasonic cleaner, I don’t have to mess with punching out roll pins, which can become a pain in the ass.

The Extreme Duty Bolt Stop. This is literally the most robust bolt stop on the market! I can run the bolt pretty hard when I get into a rhythm of trying to work on speed and technique – whether I’m dry firing at home or executing live courses of fire that require speed because of short PAR times or tie breakers. Because the Atlas Tactical has a mechanical ejector, it requires the user to run the bolt along its full length of travel, so that the bolt stop can engage the mechanical ejector in order to eject the brass. No short stroking here! In order to use the extreme duty bolt stop, however, it is bolted to the side of the action via a 6/48 screw that must be taken on and off in order to remove the bolt, which I don’t find an issue, just an extra step.

Two key features that I think work hand in hand and make the Kelbly Atlas Tactical very unique are its deep flutes, complemented with a Black Nitride finish. I believe this combo makes the Kelbly Atlas Tactical one of the smoothest actions on the market, especially when you put it in the hands of a shooter that is very proficient with his bolt manipulation skills (i.e. Marcus Blanchard). It will sound as if someone is running a gas gun from afar. I attribute my success in Arizona to these two features. For the National Rifle League Owen’s Armory Battle Royale, hosted at Gunsite Academy, I ran my Kelbly Atlas Tactical completely dry because of the severe dust conditions. The action still continued to run flawlessly and I encountered zero issues or malfunctions throughout the two-day match. I believe that if I would have applied lubrication for those two days it probably would have led to “gumming” up my action, causing sluggish operation and sticky bolt lift due to a dirty chamber.

Overall, I highly recommend the Kelbly Atlas Tactical not only for a serious competitive tactical shooter but a hunter as well. It’s reliability to perform in harsh conditions, as well as having endless choices to be dropped into a chassis or stock of the shooter’s preference is worth its price point. The Black Nitride Finish not only stands out aesthetically, but also will take your bolt manipulation skills to the next level when practiced and executed appropriately. Why does that matter? Well because it looks good on camera, duh!


Phillip Velayo

Phillip Velayo currently resides in San Clemente, CA and is an active duty service member in the United States Marine Corps. He has been shooting long range since 2008 and started competing competitively in 2016.

Phillip Velayo started competing as an outlet to hone his proficiency in long range shooting. He looked to achieve this on the civilian side of the precision rifle community in order to learn from others about the many aspects of this discipline in hopes to gain both experience and knowledge. Phillip aspires to take the information and lessons he learns and apply it to his regular duties in the Marine Corps in hopes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of his junior Marines.

Phillip’s ultimate goal as a precision rifle competitor is to inspire both new shooters and his fellow Marines (both active duty and veteran) to “Get out there and shoot!” regardless of their skill level or ability. To utilize long range shooting as a form of therapy to suppress the stresses of every day life.

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