Saturday, December 16, 2017

Review: Desert Technology SRS-A1Precision Rifle

You want to buy a long-range rifle?

So, you want to buy a long-range rifle to shoot 1000 yards or more.  You could buy a Remington 700.  But that would be a generic, boring, and a very pedestrian rifle to buy.  The same rifle everyone else owns.  Yawn!  Or better yet, you could buy a top tier rifle.  Why?  Why not?  You are shooting at 1000 yards and more.  Quality matters when you go out that far. 

Let me introduce you to the SRS-A1 by Desert Technology.  This is a top tier bolt action rifle with a half-MOA guarantee.  This puts the SRS on par with other top tier rifles such as Surgeon, Barrett MRAD and Georgia Precision. 

Scope Mount is by SPUHR (heavy duty industrial mount for hard use)
bipod: Harris

What does one-half MOA look like at 100 yards!  4 shots.
(Please pardon the operator error.  This should be one hole not two)

What makes the SRS unique among its peers is that it is a bullpup design.  The big advantage of the bullpup design is the shorter overall length.  The SRS with a 26” barrel is only 37” in length.  Compare this to 47” in length of a traditional rifle with the same 26 inch barrel.   This allows you to have a longer barrel without increasing the overall length or sacrificing muzzle velocity due to a shorter barrel.    
That extra muzzle velocity matters at long range.  Your round stays super sonic longer increasing your effective range.  Sure, I can shoot 1000 yards with a short 16 inch barrel.  But it is more difficult as the bullet drops to sub-sonic at approximately 800 yards.  Once the bullet goes sub-sonic it is more greatly affected by environmental conditions such as wind.  Making longer range shots more difficult.  A longer barrel in a shorter package is nice to have.  
Another advantage of the Bullpup design is the rifle the rifle easier to carry and maneuver in the field. 

SRS-A1 with 26 inch barrel compared to Remington 700 LTR with 20 inch barrel
Remington 700 LTR specs:
Scope Rings:  Seekins Precision 34mm

SRS (rear) is 2.5 inches shorter in overall length with a 26 inch barrel than a Remington 700 LTR (front) with a 20 inch barrel

Some other features of the SRS:

It has a 5 or 6 round detachable magazine with ambidextrous magazine release. 

6 round magazine for .308 Winchester

It comes with a built in rear Monopod to support the rear of the rifle.  This is a nice feature instead of using a more traditional sand bag to support the rear of the rifle. The Monopod is spring loaded for rapid adjustment and it has a threaded dial that can be used for micro adjustments to your position. 

Rear spring loaded Monopod with find adjust dial

Full length Picatinny rail for mounting your scope or other accessories. 
My rifle has the full length quad rail handguard for mounting accessories such as a bipod.  New models of the SRS have lighter weight handguards where you can add a Picatinny rail section versus having full length rails.  These newer handguards are lighter weight and I do recommend them.   The quad rail on my rifle adds a lot of unnecessary weight.

Hand guard with full Picatinny rails

The length of pull can be adjusted by adding or subtracting half-inch spacers.  This is a really nice feature as you can adjust the rifle to fit you.  If the rifle fits you, you are more comfortable.  When you are confortable you shoot better.  I wish all rifle stocks has this feature. 

Half-inch spacers can be added or removed to adjust length of pull

My rifle does not have an adjustable cheek piece, but the new models do.  I don’t think this feature is needed on the SRS.  Buy the correct height rings and you don’t need an adjustable cheek piece.   

The trigger is absolutely outstanding.  It really does not need adjustment from the factory.  You can have the trigger tuned if you are a trigger snob.  Make sure you find a gunsmith that really knows the Desert Tech. rifles.  Don’t let just anyone work on this rifles trigger. 

Now, for one of the best features of the SRS rifle.  It is designed to have a quick change barrel system.  Five screws and the barrel comes out.  You can swap out barrels and change calibers in less than 5 minutes in the field.  No gunsmithing required.  Go from .308 to .338 Lapua in 5 minutes or less. 
You have one rifle that shoots multiple calibers.  The big advantage to this system is you don’t need to adapt to a new stock, new scope, new trigger or new anything.  The stock, length of pull, trigger, eye relief to the scope, the grip are all the same everytime.  For long range shooting this consistency is useful. 

The barrels are all match grade stainless steel.  Again, Desert Tech. gives you a one-half MOA guarantee. 
Choose the caliber you want.  If you don’t see the caliber you want, call up Desert Tech. and they will machine you a barrel in the caliber you want. 

One note on changing barrels.  Going from .308 to 6.5 Creedmore is easy.  It is just a barrel change.  Going from .308 to .338 Lapua also requires you buy a new bolt and magazine as the .338 has a larger case head diameter. 

Now the downside:

Let me list some of the downsides of this rifle.

  1.         Cost.  Being a top tier rifle you are charged a top tier price.   The rifle, retail new, is about $4500.  So not for your casual target shooter.  The SRS is definitely aimed at customers who are serious about long range shooting or just want the best. 
  2.      Weight.  With the full length quad rail handguard, Scope and Scope mount, my rifle comes in at 15 pounds.  (Desert Tech. list 11.30 pounds stripped on their website)  A bit heavy to hump through the woods for a day.  On the other hand, that weight soaks up a lot of recoil making this a very pleasant rifle to shoot.
  3.      Pistol Grip.  The pistol grip is a bit large and fat.  And it is not changeable.  It is molded into the frame.   You are stuck with what it is.  So get used to it. 
  4.      Not a lot of aftermarket support.  Being a unitized chassis system, there is not a lot you can do with the rifle.  The good news, there isn’t much you need to do to it.
  5.       The rear Monopod is a bit wobbly for my tastes.  It doesn't move a lot.  Most people probably won't notice it.  But I do.  It irritates me.  Mostly a personal preference.    


Overall I love this rifle.  It is a technological beast of a rifle that performs exceptionally well.  Yes, it is very expensive, but you get the performance you are paying for.  It comes standard with a lot of features that cost you extra on many other rifles.   Once you buy one, mount a scope and bipod and go shoot.  No need to worry about aftermarket do-dads.  You probably don’t need any.  Just go shoot. 

If you want a top tier rifle, definitely check out DesertTechnologies SRS line of rifles.  A lot of features and performance packed into a compact package.

One final comment.  If .338 Lapua isn’t big enough for you.  Desert Technologies has there HTI line of rifles in calibers such as .50 BMG, .416 Barret and .408/.375 CheyTac. 

By: Mez


Monday, December 11, 2017

Funny Coincidence (If You Believe in Them)

On December 1st, the day I wrote about shooting left-handed, my brother Deejo blew out his right biceps tendon.

I'm not the only one in my family who believes we should be competent shooting with both hands, though I'm the one who practices the most (and probably the one who needs the most practice).

Knowing he would be off work for a while - it's hard to drive a 36' truck with a manual transmission once you've ruptured a bicep tendon - he called up and asked if we could go shooting. Only in my family would we find an injury reason to hit the range, but his work injury is the exact reason everyone should practice and become competent with their non-dominant hand.

Trust me, he did not go into work on Friday morning looking to suddenly become left-handed, but shit happens and until he's healed up from surgery and finished with his physical and occupational therapy, left-handed he is.

If you've been putting off your non-dominant hand practice because it's "uncomfortable" or "awkward" stop making excuses, get off your butt, and get to the range. This isn't like PE in junior high, where you get hurt, wave your hand, limp off the field, and get left alone. Outwardly injured folks may look even more enticing to a predator; why would anyone just accept that fate? Refusing to become competent with your non-dominant hand puts you at even more of a defensive disadvantage.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Leftie in the Making

At the beginning of the year, this meme was incredibly accurate. I have always done some shooting left-handed, but very little. 50 - 100 rounds per year over the last fifteen years doesn't add up to much when compared to the rounds shot with my right hand. My best guess would be 1-2% of my shooting was done left-handed since I began shooting.

I knew, when I wrote up my shooting goals for this year that I wanted to increase my left-handed shooting, but it was pretty vague. I just wanted to do it "more". My vague idea of "more" was somewhere around 25%, I figured that would make me competent enough should anything happen to my dominant arm/hand.

I started the year shooting the Dot Torture, so it was easy to plan to shoot it once right-handed and once left-handed. By the end of February, I realized that I was far exceeding my goal of 25% left-handed shooting. I continued to run drills both right- and left-handed throughout the year, and I have averaged about a 50/50 split between both hands.

Some drills, like the Baseline Evaluation, lend themselves very nicely to switching hands. When I shoot the Baseline Evaluation I do it right-handed, left-handed, right hand only, and left hand only. At 50 rounds each, it's easy to run through 200 rounds in a one-hour period of time, so it can get expensive quickly.

I have found an unexpected benefit to all of this left-handed shooting (besides the obvious increase in confidence, etc.). A couple of months ago at work, I was working on my laptop and eating lunch at the same time. About half-way through my lunch I realized that I'd been eating my salad left-handed. With a fork and everything. And I hadn't even made a mess!

As I sat there, in wonder that this miracle occurred, I realized that I've been using my left-hand far more frequently and without thought since I began shooting left-handed. It's a benefit that I never considered, and, yes, I feel dumb for not ever considering it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hand Over Your Weapons

I’ve read the Boston Globe Article “Hand over your weapons” at least 3 times.   Sometimes making it all the way through, sometimes stopping to ponder how a particular aspect of the article might look in America.   Summarizing, the writer of the piece writes about the “epidemic” of firearms deaths in the US, trotting out the tired statistic of 30,000 people being killed (without mention of the suicides), followed by how gutless politicians are for not being  willing to oppose the 2nd amendment, though a brave Obama had hinted at it.   An example of how a mass shooting in Australia lead to the country’s mandatory ban on most firearms, and how the more civilized Aussies endorsed that national feeling of guilt.    Lastly, the gun grabbers here are willing to endorse confiscation, but the NRA is too powerful and well organized (woos me), and those yahoos own too many guns, and a one sentence acknowledgement of mental illness.   I’ve attached a link to the article so you can see if I accurately surmised the article.

I’ve read articles like this for years, but with this article, my mind keeps circling back to “What would gun confiscation look like in the US”?   A compulsory buy back followed by using illegally kept records from database searches, to surprise seizures of paper records from your local gun store?  The next paragraphs are fiction, it’s how my mind sees a possible unraveling of events.

The compulsory buyback component would be the same lame format that some of the big cities have used, and  failed at getting guns out of the hands of criminals.   The money they offer won’t match the value of the guns, because states like NY and CA can’t afford to pay a fair value of the gun.   However, the state will use the threat of prison time, and fines  to attempt compliance.   The resulting inventory of turned in guns will likely mirror the inventories retrieve in Chicago, and Phoenix-old relics, broken 22s,  PVC and wood zip guns, etc…   Look at NY and CA to lead this charge on “buy back” and when that fails, look to them to jump head long into confiscation.

In my imagination confiscation has a couple of different looks, one looks like this.   State politicians would order police to confiscate local gun shop records, some records would be lost in mysterious fires, others would be turned over, computer records, that by law should have been destroyed, will mysteriously be available to cull names, addresses, serial numbers etc.…  Names are regionalized and organized for local enforcement if the agency leadership mirrors the views of the state leaders, else look for state agencies to enforce the state mandate.    Some cases of Blue flu are reported.

The state initiates limited targeting based on the intelligence gathered from gun store records, or family turn coats, or electronic records.  Based on the numbers of teams available for the searches and seizure, CA and NY announce a huge success in the number of illegal firearms seized, increasing numbers of raids are planned.  Illinois polls the questions and contemplates following suit.   The Governors and allies pose for the photo-op that is used as the front cover of every paper in the country.  The Feds remain mum, wanting to see how this plays out.  Republican leadership wants to be able to claim “me too” if the raids are well received by the public.    The state realizes that it confiscated about 8% of the firearms it expected, the press provides cover, gun owners are jailed, jail populations expand, people that had been law abiding have now become criminal because they believe in freedom that the state no longer supports.    The state plans a 2nd round of raids.  Three days later, a second round of raids is met by limited resistance.   In one instance, a 36 year retired policeman knows they’re coming to his house.    He sits behind the door with his Rock River AR-15, 30 round mags loaded with XM855.   Knowing the tactics, he anticipates the proper arrival time, partially barricades the doors, he doesn't expect to live through the ordeal.   The flash bang is ineffectual because the retired patriot anticipates and the partially blocked door allows him to recover in time to head shoot the first 2 men in the stack before being shot and killed by the third.   In his death the older man becomes a rallying cry, “Remember Bob!”   A call goes out for a suspension of the raids but is largely ignored by the gun grabbing media and politicians.   After all, it’s the gun nuts that are being killed by the gun, they brought this on themselves.

Serious push back occurs during the third raid, about 2 weeks later.   Now those people that have been following the reports are banding together and  actually creating defensive plans.   Blue flu attacks 50% of the LE ranks, and teams of “gun free believers” are combined from the remaining operators.  Some gun owners are targeted and caught in the open by changing tactics employed by the state – targeted traffic stops to catch them unarmed, or less armed,   But the raids are still the darlings of the media and the planning is still going strong.   As long as the politicians can get a photo op beside piles of menacing looking guns, they vow to press on.       The third set of raids are embarrassing for the state.   Armed resistance is up, patriots surveilling the police watch the Bearcats rollout and put out the call -1 if by land.  A full 1/3 of the raids are met with resistance, and in some cases are counter attacked.    Casualties are high among the police and the civilian/patriot populace.  Horded tannerite was used to make IEDs  and the homes of politicians, their families and of senor police staff seen on TV are set on fire.   The Governors mansions are fired upon in retaliation and many “suspicious” packages are found through out the parking garages that service the State’s Congressional buildings.   Fire trucks are impeded in route.  The third raid will be the last.  Politicians have no stomach for being involved in the confrontation they endorse.

No politician will be held accountable for the breach in constitutional rights, no guns returned, no apologies are issued.   A week later, a Kardashian is killed in a freak accident.   The body is not found for a couple of days, and a small pack of Chihuahuas partially devour the body, the image is leaked to TMZ, and the country has already forgotten.

Eight months later a young man in Texas, recently off his psych drugs, kills 6 in a failed attempt to become the greatest killer of all time.   The state confiscates all property and razes the house, sues the estate and confiscates all insurance money, all proceeds are used to reimburse the families of the dead for all funeral costs as far as the money goes.   The body is publicly burned in front of the court house and the ashes and remains are left for the crows and the wind.   Texas tells their citizens, that the surviving family members will be punished for the attempted mass murders of their family members.   Keep your family in line, or we come for you.

Do the people that believe in gun confiscation think further out than the act of confiscation?  If it started tomorrow, would they fear a backlash?  It’s High School science people, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.    Do they not acknowledge the violence perpetrated in England and Australia by people with knives?  While maybe the “gun” violence went down, did the numbers of violence, murder and assault go down, or was the tool being used just changed to a knife?    What do they think will happen?  Or do they think we’ll all take the public transportation  down to the park link hands and sing Kumbaya ( ok, Boulder might)?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The New AR

I mentioned in my last post that my best friend and I snuck off to the range last weekend to sight in a recently completed AR.

Being the sole provider for my family and coming off the second lay off in 3 years, I am a bit "gun poor". I actually started building this AR a couple years ago after the first lay off when I picked up a basic Aero Precision Gen 2 stripped lower receiver. If you're not familiar with Aero Precision, they make some very good components for ARs. The Gen 2 lower in particular is nice as it has the addition of an adjustable polymer set screw in the rear of the receiver to help stabilize the upper. It takes the place of an aftermarket accu wedge. 

Accu Wedge

Aero Precision Gen 2 Lower - polymer set screw
Anydigression, the lower was finally completed earlier this year. For those interested in the specs, here is the rundown of the parts selected:

Aero Precision Gen 2 Stripped Lower
CMMG lower parts kit
Magpul MOE FDE pistol grip
Magpul CTR FDE Mil Spec adjustable stock
Aero Precision Mil Spec 6 position buffer tube, buffer, end plate and spring set
CMC 3 lb. single stage flat trigger

Total cost in parts was $383 and change including tax.

A brief word about assembling the parts. It's not hard. There are plenty of  videos out there to help you figure out the process. Anybody can do it. Having said that, it is infinitely easier to do if you have or can borrow the right tools for the job.

So, when I landed my current full time job, I was in the process of thinking it was high time to gather the parts for the upper when I get a call from my best friend. "I got something for you.", he says. Low and behold, it was a complete upper. It's good to have nice friends. He gifted me, as a "congrats on the new job" gift, a SOTA Arms (SOTA stands for State of the Art, BTW) 16 inch, .223 Wylde chambered, 1:7 twist heavy barrel upper with a mid length gas system, a KeyMod forend and a standard A2 birdcage flash hider.

Did I mention I have a really great best friend?

I had a Hawke 3-9x40 AO IR scope on hand for an optic (I may eventually replace that with a red dot...I might not) which we mounted up without too much trouble (a scope mounting level really helps a lot), and it was off to the range to sight in and see what it can do.

Another mini digression about ammo selection. I had some American Eagle 55 grain .223 Jacketed Boat Tail on hand. Best friend had the same in addition to some 68 grain Magtech .223 that he had picked up somewhere. Those familiar with twist rate and bullet weight pairing will recognize that the 55 grain/1:7 twist combo is "not ideal" for maximum accuracy according to the experts.

3 Shots - 1 inch square - 50 yards
Meh. Experts...smeckperts. Those look like they stabilized just fine to me. I didn't have calipers with me to get a precise measurement, but the Mark 1 hairy eyeball guestimates that at roughly 3/4 of an inch at the widest which maths out to 1.5ish MOA at 100 yards. That's with a mediocre shooter and non-match ammo out of a non-match barrel.

I'll take that.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


I consider myself to be a fair shot with a pistol. More often than not, my targets look like actual intentional groupings as opposed to random patterns. Having said that, I've done very little in the way of structured training or practice (shame on me). So, when my best friend and I escaped to the range on Sunday to sight in a recently completed AR, we took along the pistols as well.

My friend suggested we give the Dot Torture drill a whirl. I said sure. Why not? I'm familiar with the drill from seeing others post about their experiences, but I'd never taken a stab at it personally. I thought, "How hard could it be?"



Sure, I can hit a 2 inch target at 3 yards. No problem. You can too I bet. Until you try and get this:

That's my first try at Dot Torture with a Ruger SR1911 5 inch at 3.5 yards. Color me shocked. 

We then had the bright idea to pull out the .22 pistols and give it another try.

Better but still not great. Ruger 22/45 Target model with a fiber optic front sight. 

Well, neither of us was happy with our performance. So, we decided one more try was in order.

Almost clean. 1 dropped shot.

This is going to become a regular part of my range outings from now on. You should give it a try too. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Church Security

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on church security. I just wanted to share with you an experience I had a few months ago.

I had to travel to Salt Lake City a couple of months ago for work, and during our down time, my co-workers and I went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Besides the soul-soothing music, I got to see first-hand how they handled security.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Grossman's Sheepdog Seminars in June of 2016 and I don't know if the church security has attended any of the seminars, but I did get to see some of his suggestions in action. I witnessed no less than four "rings" of security around the building.

One of the things that he said during the Seminar was that church security teams need to be out in the public - they don't need to be threatening, but they need to be interacting with the guests. The first thing I noticed when I stepped onto the grounds was that there were multiple people greeting all of the guests. Not a single guest went without someone making eye contact and greeting them warmly. (Outermost ring)

The second thing I noticed was that if anyone was carrying a backpack or bag (other than a small purse), they were approached with a smile and asked to check it. The bag check was on the outer perimeter of the building and everyone who was asked to check their bag was escorted to the bag check. (Second ring)

At the door, anyone who had a purse, had their purse searched. But it was done with a smile and a kind word. (Third ring)

Inside the concert hall, they had people stationed throughout the rows, back to the performers, watching everyone in the audience. All with a smile on their faces, but their eyes missed nothing. Each section of seats had at least one person watching over them. (Fourth, and closest, ring)

What I found exceptional was that none of these security people looked like security people - the were people of all ages, both male and female - and they were all exceedingly polite. It was very much reminiscent of Roadhouse - "be nice until it's time to not be nice". In fact, if I had not spent time studying security and if I had not attended the Sheepdog Seminar, I might not have recognized this multi-layer approach to security.

The church did an excellent job of providing security disguised as outstanding customer service.

My hope is that more churches embrace the style of security that Lt. Dave Grossman advocates. Too many times, church security folks are dressed in their tacticool clothes, all clumped together inside the building drinking coffee. Spread out a bit, walk the parking lots, engage the parishioners and their guests in conversation. Be nice, but be aware. If you can identify the threat in the parking lot, you've gone a long way in hardening your church as a target.