Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle Review

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Stag Arms is best known for the AR-style rifles they offer in both left- and right-hand configurations. Recently they introduced the Pursuit line of ARs specifically for hunting, and we evaluated one in our last rifle test. It seems Stag is leaning into the hunting market these days, because late last year they also introduced their first bolt-action rifle. It’s in the Pursuit line, too, and I’d call it as a crossover, hunting/precision rifle. Any way you classify this rifle, it’s exciting to see another manufacturer turning out quality bolt guns, especially if they’re all going to shoot like this one. I got a chance to put the new Pursuit bolt gun through its paces on my home range recently, and here is my full review.

Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle Specs

A shooter fires the new Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action rifle from offhand
The author fires the Pursuit from offhand. Sabastian “Bat” Mann
  • Length: 37.75 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds, 9.6 ounces (by my scale), with empty magazine installed
  • Barrel: 18-inch, spiral-fluted, 416 stainless steel, 1-in-10 RH twist, threaded at 5/8-24
  • Action: Bolt action with interchangeable three-lug bolt head and 60° throw
  • Trigger: Trigger Tech Primary trigger (2.8 pounds as tested)
  • Capacity: 5+1 (AICS/AW compatible)
  • Finish: Black Cerakote
  • Stock: Modular polymer, with adjustable comb and LOP, in black, green, or tan
  • Chamberings: 308 Winchester (tested), 6.5 Creedmoor w/20-inch barrel
  • Price: $1899.99

Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle Description

Shooter tests the Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle from a benchrest
The author shoots groups from a bench to test the new Pursuit for precision. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

Aero Precision is a sister company of Stag Arms, and the new Stag Arms Pursuit bolt action rifle utilizes a push feed action that’s nearly identical to the one on the Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter rifle, which I recently reviewed. Both have a Remington Model 700 footprint, 60-degree bolt throw, three-lug interchangeable bolt head, and a toolless quick takedown bolt. In fact, you can take the bolt out of the Aero Precision rifle, and it will fit in the new Stag Pursuit’s action. The main difference between the actions is that the Stag Pursuit’s does not have an integral scope rail. Instead, it comes with a 20-MOA biased top rail already installed.

The similarities end there, however. The Pursuit is a chassis rifle that Stag Arms has fitted with an 18-inch, 416 stainless-steel radial-fluted barrel that’s fully free floated and threaded at 5/8-24. The rifle comes with a thread protector and the metal work—action, bolt, barrel, and chassis—is finished in black Cerakote. For a trigger, Stag went with an adjustable Trigger Tech Primary trigger, and out of the box it broke consistently and crisply at 2.8 pounds. The action feeds from AICS/AW style magazines, and there’s an ambidextrous paddle-style magazine release just forward of the trigger guard.

Close-ups of the Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action butt stock, bolt, rail, and disassembly.
Close-ups of the Pursuit Bolt Action’s removable butt stock with adjustable cheek piece; bolt head; and quick-attach sling swivel port—plus a look at the rifle taken down. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

This rifle is also fitted with a unique two-piece stock that’s made of rigid polymer. The flat bottomed forend is M-Lok compatible on the underside, and at its front, there’s a Picatinny spigot. This spigot makes bipod and tripod attachment easy, keeping both out of the way of hand placement. There are also three quick-detach sling swivel points on the forend and two on the butt stock. The butt stock has spacers for length-of-pull adjustment, and there’s a deep cut out along its belly. The hand-filling pistol grip is nearly vertical, and a bag-ridding rail is optional. The comb is very high—about ½-inch above bore line—with slight negative drop, and it’s also user adjustable. What really sets this rifle apart from the SOLUS, and almost every other rifle, is that you can easily remove the butt stock from the chassis with a single AR-style pin.

Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle Shooting Results

A target with five bullet holes, a box of ammo, and five loose cartridges
Most of the five-shot groups fired after breaking in the barrel measured less than an inch. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

Stag Arms is serious about their barrel break-in procedure with this rifle. There’s a section on the website dedicated to the process. I’m not much on breaking in barrels, but in this instance, it looks like Stag knows what they’re talking about. The best way to describe the first 10, five-shot groups from this rifle would be, bad; none measured less than 1.5 inches. The barrel break-in instructions said to shoot 50 to 60 rounds, in five-shot increments, and then thoroughly clean the barrel. So, that’s what I did. The first group fired after cleaning measured 0.858 inches, and 70 percent of all the groups fired after cleaning measured less than an inch. Overall, this is one of the best shooting rifles we’ve evaluated. If you get one, definitely follow the barrel break-in instructions. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of ammo I shot for the test, and the resulting five-shot groups.

Chart showing the shooting results for the new Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle
Richard Mann

For all the shooting, I used the compact Silencer Central Banish Backcountry suppressor and a not-so compact Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50 riflescope. The action was very smooth, and there were no hiccups of any kind when feeding from the Magpul magazine or during extraction or ejection. The adjustable comb height was a big help and allowed a good cheek weld with my eye positioned on the centerline of the riflescope. I also liked the multiple quick-detach sling swivel sockets, the Picatinny spigot, and the M-Lok slots underneath for forend. Together they made interfacing with the rifle from various shooting supports, and slinging up tightly to steady the shot, very easy.

Final Thoughts on the Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt-Action Rifle

A shooter lays on the ground and shoots the Stag Arms Pursuit Bolt Action Rifle from the prone position
The author test fires the Pursuit from the prone position. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

Pros

  • Good trigger
  • Ultra-smooth action
  • Versatile and user friendly stock
  • Very accurate

Cons

There were a couple things about this rifle I did not like. The first and most bothersome was the weight. When a bare hunting rifle gets above 7 pounds, I start losing interest, and this one is well over 8 pounds. With the suppressor, scope, rings, full magazine, and a sling, it tipped the scales at a hefty 11.5 pounds. I do like high combs on butt stocks, especially those with negative drop. But the comb on this stock was so high you could not look through the bore to bore-sight the riflescope, and it interfered with the cleaning rod. However, since the butt stock can be removed with a single pin, in reality this was not much of an issue.

I also didn’t love the looks of this rifle, but, then, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When you’re consistently shooting sub-MOA five-shot groups with a rifle, you don’t pay so much attention to looks.

I interfaced with the rifle very well, and I think it’s a near-perfect example of what popular modern bolt-action hunting rifles have become. It has a lot of the precision long-range rifle features modern hunters are infatuated with, and the Picatinny spigot and removable butt stock are well executed and ingenious features that set it apart. Given its performance, uniqueness, and sub-MOA guarantee, its $1900 price tag is not at all unreasonable.



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