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.