The Kraken from Cadex Defense is their answer to the multi-caliber rifle market. Designed using their patented barrel change system, this rifle claims to have the lowest point of impact shift between takedown and assembly. Available in 9 long and short action calibers, I was keen to try out this multi-caliber beast. I asked Cadex if they had a Kraken I could review, and here’s what they sent over.
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TFB Review: Cadex Kraken Multi-Caliber Rifle
What I received for this review was far from what I expected. A massive pelican case arrived with what I started referring to as the “Kraken Deployment Kit”. The only things not included were an optic and bipod that I added somehow fit perfectly. Even the ammo Hornady kindly provided for this review fit snugly inside this custom-cut case. It’s almost like it was meant to be.
This included magazines, bolts, magazine adapters, and barrels for .308 Winchester, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.
Barrels are manufactured by Bartlein and have a heavy 1.238″ straight taper that’s then fluted by Cadex. These come with a barrel band and threaded muzzle for use with a suppressor or muzzle brake. An advantage of having both .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum is that they both share the same parent case. Luckily, this means they can share the same magazine as well. This removes a few steps when changing calibers, but we’ll get to that a little later.
Each of the bolts is clearly marked for its compatible caliber(s) and features a lever-style safety which is part of the firing pin assembly that’s user removable without the use of tools. It’s universal and will fit any size Kraken bolt. Additional assemblies can be purchased separately to make caliber conversions faster and slightly easier.
The rifle is designed to accommodate short action calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor all the way up to long/magnum action calibers like .338 Lapua Magnum. Four different magazine sleeves are available to accommodate the various chamberings the rifle is available in. Cadex makes a variety of AICS pattern magazines for the Kraken, but I had no issue with either aftermarket or the factory magazines provided.
My favorite part of not only the Kraken, but the overall Cadex family of rifles is the chassis. It features an absolutely superb folding stock with a small bushing that acts like a soft open and close. It feels and acts like a soft-close Mercedes door, and has a perfect audible click when folding it open or closed.
All of the stock’s features are tool-free and adjustable with large easy-to-use levers. This includes an adjustable length of pull, cheek rest, and butt pad. The bottom of the stock has a mounting point for attachments like an included Picatinny rail or the bean bag rider pictured above.
Each of the barrels sits underneath a monolithic upper receiver. The rail doubles as a mirage control tube. Forward sections that look like they should be cut out are blocked off. This reduces image distortion by pushing heat further away from the optics field of view (FOV) as the barrel starts to heat up. In addition, there are three rail sections, a bipod stud, and a QD sling mount included.
Caliber conversion requires just three tools and is slightly different from other multi-caliber rifles. I’ll walk you through it.
At the rear of the barrel interface tool is an Allen key that’s used to unscrew and remove the aluminum base.
With just that single screw removed the base comes right off and you’re ready to swap sleeves.
Magazine sleeves are clearly marked on the side and pop right into the aluminum base.
With the magazine sleeve inserted, make sure the sleeve is flush and then mate it back to the receiver.
Re-install the aluminum base until the Allen screw is hand-tight and you’re ready to swap the barrel.
Fold the stock and insert the lug section of the barrel interface tool all the way forward into the receiver.
With the tool installed, turn the small knob at the rear until it clicks and locks into place.
Next, Install the angled securement arm to the back of the barrel interface tool.
Using the supplied torque wrench, use the provided markings to make sure you’re loosening the barrel.
Place your knee on the angled securement arm, and push up towards the optic to break the barrel free.
Once torque is removed you’ll notice the muzzle device canted and your barrel is ready for removal.
Unscrew the barrel from the receiver and swap the thread protector from your desired barrel to your now-stored barrel.
Pull the barrel interface tool slightly to the rear, and thread the new barrel into the receiver until it’s snug.
Re-attach the angled securement arm and the beam-style torque wrench. Push down on the torque wrench until the two lines on the torque indicator line up and your barrel is now torqued to 100 ft-lbs.
The last step is swapping the firing pin assembly. Push down and away from the bolt to unlock the assembly, and then pull rearward to remove it from the bolt body.
Next, locate the bolt body that matches your new caliber.
Push down and towards the bolt handle until the notch indexes with the small notch on the bottom of the bolt body.
Caliber conversion complete, it was time to take the Kraken to the range and put it through the paces.
At The Range
After getting the optic dialed in, it was time to get some initial groups on paper. Hornady provided the 308 and 338 ammunition for this review, and with the help of my MagnetoSpeed, I was able to gather some data on this ammo quickly.
Hornady Black 168gr 308 matched the box data almost exactly. Coming out of the barrel at an average of 2703FPS. The 270gr ELD-X 338 Lapua provided was leaving the muzzle at an average speed of 2910FPS (a whopping 5,078 ft-lbs. of energy). With the data on both calibers gathered, it was time to change some barrels and shoot some groups.
Return to zero would be the true test, and after shooting a five-round group I changed barrels. After shooting another group, I documented the shift and changed back to the 308 barrel. The result was right on the money. With the margin of error established, the documented point of impact (POI) shift was consistent when swapping calibers. With a 308 zero, I only needed to adjust 1.6mil up and come to .7mil right to be zeroed for .338 Lapua Magnum.
Here are the results of my accuracy testing.
- 1st group – .862 MOA
- 2nd group – .562 MOA
- 3rd group – .839 MOA
- 4th group – .799 MOA
- 5th group – .704 MOA
- Average – .753 MOA
.338 Lapua Magnum:
- 1st group – .699 MOA
- 2nd group – .799 MOA
- 3rd group – .800 MOA
- 4th group – .881 MOA
- 5th group – .798 MOA
- Average – .795 MOA
Note: This rifle had been thoroughly used before it arrived for review. I’m unsure of the round count through each barrel prior to this accuracy testing.
When shooting a multi-caliber rifle, it’s important to note there’s plenty of extra space when shooting shorter cartridges like 308 Winchester. While trying to save myself from picking up brass later, I slowly moved the bolt to the rear and inadvertently dropped a case behind the magazine in the receiver. It’s something you’re not likely to come across unless you’re working the bolt very slowly, but it is something to be mindful of.
Pros and Cons
Overall, the controls on the Kraken are fantastic and the rifle shoots just as good as it looks. I like that the torque wrench needed for caliber conversions is manufactured by Cadex, and you’re not forced to buy something aftermarket. Overall, I was very impressed by this rifle’s performance as the barrels and receiver showed signs of previous hard use. I wasn’t expecting to shoot as well as it did, and was very surprised with the results.
The Kraken isn’t perfect, and its biggest shortcoming is the caliber that the rifle is available in. More specifically, the calibers it’s not available in. It comes in new calibers like 6mm Creedmoor and .300 PRC but legacy calibers, specifically .300 Winchester Magnum, are sadly absent from the lineup. I enjoy the performance of these new calibers but think support for legacy calibers is key in a multi-caliber rifle.
MSRP on the Kraken sits at $7,466. Certainly a high price tag for a rifle, but not too high for the multi-caliber rifles it’s competing against in today’s market. Having shot most of the offerings available in that market, I can say this is the most ergonomic rifle in the mix. If the calibers it’s available in match what you like to shoot, and you prefer to buy once and cry once, I’d seriously consider looking at the Kraken for your next multi-caliber rifle.
Check Prices on Cadex Kraken Rifles
Thank you to Cadex for sending over this rifle for review, and thank you to Hornady for providing the ammunition. More information on the Cadex Kraken can be found on the product page here, and more information on Cadex rifles or other products can be found here on their homepage. Thanks for reading!
*specs are based on a 26″ barrel
- Dimensions: 46.1″ x 4.2″ x 8″ (117.1 x 10.67 x 20.32 cm)
- Dimensions (Stock Folded): 37.2″ x 4.9″ x 8″ (94.49 x 12.45 x 20.32 cm)
- Weight: 15.2 lbs. (6877 grams)
- Weight (with muzzle brake): 15.8 lbs. (7167)
- Available Calibers: 6mm Creed, 6.5 Creed, 308 Win, 300 PRC, 300 Norma Mag, 300 RUM, 338 Lapua Mag
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