In the USA, Desert Tech has earned a reputation making short, handy and superbly accurate bullpup rifles. Formerly Desert Tactical Arms, the company was founded in 2007 by Nick Young, and from small beginnings has grown to employ 50 fulltime workers supplying a niche market.
Its primary objective is to produce top tier, accurate and compact rifles, primarily for military and law enforcement markets. The focus has been on bolt-action bullpup designs, which incorporate all the advantages of conventional rifles while being up to 9.5 inches shorter. Essentially, a bullpup’s receiver is incorporated into the buttstock, as distinct from conventional rifles whose receiver is ahead of the pistol-grip.
A conventional rifle with a 26-inch barrel can be unwieldy at 46" overall, whereas a Desert Tech bullpup with the same barrel is only 36.5" long. This offers distinct advantages for specialised police and military units as well as paratroopers – particularly in a confined urban environment. With a sound-moderator fitted, bullpups have roughly the same overall length as conventional rifles without suppressors.
Magnum tested the SRS-A1, and it was immediately clear that a lot of time and resources went into researching and developing this rifle as the basis of a modular weapon system incorporating barrel (read “calibre”) interchangeability (achievable in the time it takes to field-strip the rifle). The test rifle was in .308 Win but designed around the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, hence employed spacers in the magazine and a bolt stop buffer to accommodate the shorter cartridge. Calibre changes are easily carried out in the field using a 5mm hex torque-wrench. Interestingly, the SRS’s 22-inch .308 Win barrel was not marked 7.62x51 as you’d expect on a rifle intended for police and military applications.
The LW 50 stainless steel barrel blanks are supplied by Lothar Walther. Rifling is by the time-proven button method. Chambering and fitting is done in Desert Tech’s Utah facility. The barrel is deeply fluted to reduce weight and aid heat dispersion. The 1 in 11-inch twist rate is ideal for bullets weighing around 165gr, though 147gr to 180gr perform almost as accurately. The muzzle is precision-crowned and threaded for a suppressor, its thread protected by a screw-on cylinder, heavily knurled for positive purchase.
The SRS chassis is a combination of polymer, aluminium and steel. The short, ventilated fore-end accepts Picatinny rails in the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions for attaching accessories such as the Atlas PSR Bipod used during our test. The ergonomic pistol-grip is substantial, but those with medium to large hands will have no trouble reaching the target-style trigger blade. Trigger reach, sear release and weight of pull can be externally adjusted in minutes using two supplied Allen keys. Factory set, the trigger broke cleanly at about 3lbs. The ambidextrous manual safety is positioned above the trigger and operated with the trigger-finger – this comes easily with a little practice. The safety engages the trigger and sear, not the bolt which functions with the safety engaged.
Read the full article in the December 2017 issue of Magnum.