Review: Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout Rifle
Amazing is just one of the words that I immediately thought when I first shot the Stealth Recon Scout rifle from Desert Tactical Arms (DTA). Some of the others aren’t appropriate to print, but end with a “… yeah!”
I had a chance to shoot this incredibly accurate rifle when Paul Carlson of the Safety Solutions Academy came down to central Florida for a hog hunt. He had this rifle in tow, along with some Hornady ammo he did not intend to carry home. So, we hit the range and then the field.
The Stealth Recon Scout (SRS) is a military grade sniper rifle, mating supreme accuracy with a handy, compact package. It is a bolt action rifle in a bullpup design. This gives it a short overall package, about 32”-34” depending on buttstock spacers used, while keeping a 22” barrel. This makes it noticeably shorter than an M16.
The rifle is fed from a detachable, box magazine. Like other bullpup rifles, the magazine is behind the pistol grip and trigger.
The rifle has a full length Picatinny rail on the upper portion of the rifle, with a quad-rail down the barrel, forward of the trigger group. The rifle I shot came with a very nice Kahles 6-24×56 scope on top and a bipod out front.
This SRS was chambered for the .308 Winchester. However, the SRS can be had in a variety of calibers including .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, 7mm WSM, .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua Magnum. One of the interesting features about the SRS is the shooter can swap calibers quickly – less than 60 seconds according to DTA.
The barrel is threaded for the easy addition of a sound suppressor. The one I shot did not have a can, but a muzzle brake instead.
MSRP on this rifle, as equipped, is $8,846.
On the Range
Prior to heading out for our hunt, we shot the rifle to ensure the scope was still zeroed. The range we used was not fancy, and the exact distance to target was estimated at a little more than 100 yards.
I had not shot the rifle before, but I settled in behind it and put four rounds through a soda can. While the group was certainly acceptable for hunting purposes, I knew this rifle could do better.
Paul and I both shot the rifle, and it became pretty obvious that this rifle was likely the most accurate gun I had ever shot. A few days prior, in 15 degree, snowy weather, the rifle did a little less than 1/2” with three shots at 100 yards with the 168 grain Hornady Z-Max ammo.
The combination of the weight of the rifle and the muzzle brake made this a very easy shooting gun. A .308 is not the biggest kicker in the barn, but recoil can be stout. This rifle made the caliber a pussycat. However, the muzzle brake made the little rifle roar. Behind the trigger, the noise wasn’t too bad, but if you were standing on either side of the rifle while it was being shot, you would think that something much larger was being shot.
The glass in the scope was extremely clear, and the reticle was easy to use. I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot with a Kahles, but I was suitably impressed. Based in Austria, Kahles has been in the optics business for more than 100 years.
In the Field
Hogs are a year round hunt in Florida when on private property. The good folks at Ross Hammock Ranch in Inglis were happy to have us out for the afternoon to take a pig on their land.
In the field, the SRS was easy to maneuver in and out of the truck and Polaris ATV we used. Although the need did not arise, Paul was able to quickly bring the rifle up and into action while still seated in the Polaris.
The rifle was also easy to carry up into and out of a tree stand. The rifle was a bit heavy, and a long hike in to the hunting area would have been less than ideal. As it was, we were able to drive to within a few yards of where we set up for hogs. So, the weight of the gun was not a detriment and only served to provide a more stable shooting platform later.
We were loaded up with the Z-Max rounds, confident they would do the job. Hornady’s Z-Max loads are the same loads as the standard A-Max loads, but with a little marketing to appeal to the zombie crowd. Instead of having a red polymer tip, these use a fluorescent green and sport special zombie packaging. Marketing aside, these rounds are identical in performance to the normal A-Max.
Right as the sun was disappearing, three hogs wandered out into a clearing near our stand. The problem was the winds were very heavy that day, and we had already climbed out of the stand. Going to a prone position, Paul was able to take a single shot at about 90+ yards. The rifle and ammunition delivered, and the pig made it no more than about 20 yards before dropping.
The SRS rifle is clearly capable of much more than just a Florida pig hunt. However, it delivered the shot, and range time suggests it would consistently do so. In .308, Desert Tactical Arms puts the effective range of this rifle at 800 yards. I have no doubt that this rifle can make those shots with the right person behind the trigger. As easy as this gun is to shoot, I imagine the “right person” might be a large number of us.
Thanks to Desert Tactical Arms for the use of the Stealth Recon Scout rifle, Hornady Manufacturing for making great hunting loads and all of the staff at Ross Hammock Ranch for helping make this hunt a success.