The popularity of Australian-made Lithgow LA101, LA102 and LA105 rifles has not only been embraced in its home country but also in the toughest marketplace – the US – and worldwide. Promotion of the LA firearms via Australian distributor Outdoor Sporting Agencies (OSA) and its global subsidiaries through Fuller Global, means the new breed of products has undoubtedly kept the Aussie flag flying, the greatest testament being their build quality and superb accuracy.
Lithgow LA101 Crossover rimfire rifles were introduced here in 2014 and offered in a variety of options with the traditional stock platform which included walnut and polymer models. But with the burgeoning popularity of composite alloy chassis systems in recent years, adaptability of the LA101 to embrace such a stock option wasn’t overlooked by the folks at OSA. And they didn’t have to look far for an excellent chassis option – the team at Southern Cross Small Arms in Sydney’s western suburbs had already cemented a relationship with OSA, having manufactured some quality chassis systems for the Howa APC rifle, sold in the US through Legacy Sports.
The requirement for a suitable chassis to suit the Lithgow LA101 was developed and modelled along the lines of the proven TSP X system and by adding a TSP X chassis to the LA101 rimfire, a new shooting platform can be created with stability and accuracy the chief goals. Australian Shooter was sent for review the TSP X Chassis mated to a Lithgow LA101 in .22LR and accompanying the rifle was an outstanding optic for the rimfire shooter and hunter, the new Nikko Stirling Panamax Precision 4-12×40.
On receiving the rifle my immediate reaction was: “This rimfire platform means business!” For the range shooter, PRS competitor after a rimfire (training) option or the hunter who enjoys taking small game from stationary positions, the TSP X chassis is a serious option in the after-market stock department and takes the LA101 to a whole new level.
TSP X Chassis
This gives the rifle its identity and purpose. The chassis itself is made from billets of aircraft-grade 6061 T-6 aluminium before being subjected to a multitude of state-of-the art CNC machining processes to form the final pieces. Each chassis consists of three individual machined parts – buttstock, chassis inlet and fore-end – and when semi-assembled these are fitted with the grip, forward magazine assemblies along with the recoil pad and cheek riser assembly.
The three main components of the chassis once machined are tumbled polished before being anodised, strictly quality processes ensuring all products meet stringent guidelines. The three individual segments are bolted together using hi-tensile hex head bolts and added to that, the three main recesses are lugged for superior rigidity and precise alignment. The stock, when complete, has an overall length of 780mm, width of 38mm (widest point), height of 46mm (tallest point) and weighs 1907 grams. Looking at the chassis as a finished item, it provides the LA101 barrelled action the utmost in stability, the action sitting securely atop the chassis and fastened firmly using the two guard screws.
The barrel is free-floating and guarded by the aluminium fore-end which has, machined into its sides and underside, M-Lok slots as well as two QD cups for sling swivel attachment. The fore-end has two longitudinal scalloped sections along its sides (under the M-Lok slots) which allow the leading hand to grip it comfortably as well as the fore-end to sit securely in a front shooting rest or bag.
The pistol grip is of an A2-style supplied as standard and the same sub-assembly incorporates the triggerguard. Forward is the magazine shroud which surrounds the original Lithgow-fitted magazine well and supplied 5-shot magazine. Accessing the magazine release is easy. For the diminutive .22LR magazine well, the TSP X shroud dwarfs it and in reality is designed for larger centrefire box magazines but in this instance the design works well and caused no problems.
The buttstock is a skeletonised triangular design and pleasing to the eye, absence of buffer-style tubes giving the TSP X stock more visual appeal. The buttstock is dominated by the adjustable cheek riser which uses two vertical braces to house the two steel columns to which the riser is attached, two small locking levers allowing for the height of the cheek riser to be adjusted as required.
Of note, I did encounter an issue in getting my master eye low enough to look clearly through the scope, the supplied scope having a 40mm objective bell and mounted low over the barrel. Even with the cheek riser in its lowest position I still had to forcibly press my cheek down and would assume the riser is made with larger objective bells and higher scope rings in mind.
At the end of the buttstock an acclaimed rubber butt-pad with adjustable length of pull spacers is fitted and makes tailoring the stock to the individual’s needs easy. Length of pull on the test rifle was 340mm and there were QD sling swivel cups fitted to the buttstock frame to accept a sling. The Lithgow LA101 in .22LR with fitted TSP X chassis had an overall weight of 4.09kg and length of 985mm.
The pedigree of the Lithgow LA101 Crossover rifle has been well entrenched in hunting and shooting circles since its 2014 debut, and taking an established rifle and re-purposing it by adding the Southern Cross Small Arms TSP X Chassis will certainly win it many new fans in the process.
It makes a fine target-shooting or PRS ‘training’ platform in rimfire calibres as well as a rifle suited to stationary hunting practices, be it shooting from a ground blind or vehicle rest. The Southern Cross Small Arms TSP X Chassis to suit the Lithgow LA101 has a RRP of $699 and is available through any Outdoor Sporting Agencies firearms retailer. More at www.osaaustralia.com.au