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Stag Arms Pursuit Unique Hunting AR Rifle: Review

Available for both left- and right-handed hunters, the Stag Arms Pursuit is a feature-packed AR optimized for hunting.

Stag Arms Pursuit Unique Hunting AR Rifle: Review

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For companies who manufacture what’s come to be known as the modern sporting rifle, the competition is stout. This is partly because there are a lot of companies manufacturing AR-15 and AR-10 style carbines and rifles. But it’s also partly because, due to the modularity of the platform, shooters have become very picky and often go with a base gun and then build their own. Stag Arms recognized this when they went into business in 2003 and began specializing in the design and manufacture of both platforms. Maybe best known for offering true left-hand ARs, they’ve always sought to deliver guns shooters want. Their new for 2023 Pursuit line of ARs is a perfect example. The new Pursuit line is Stag Arms’ first line of production carbines and rifles specifically configured for hunting. Initially, they will be offering four models — two Stag 15s and two Stag 10s. As you have probably guessed, the Stag 15s are on the AR-15 platform and the Stag 10s on the AR-10 platform. The Stag 15 Pursuit rifles will be chambered for the 6.5 Grendel and .350 Legend, and the Stag 10 Pursuit rifles will be available in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to test several Stag firearms and have never been disappointed. I wasn’t this time either.

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Hunters interested in an AR-style rifle would be well advised to check out the new Pursuit line from Stag Arms.

Knowing my affinity for the .308 Winchester, Stag Arms loaned me one of their Stag 10 Pursuit rifles chambered for that cartridge. This carbine has a 16-inch barrel, is outfitted with a mid-length gas system, and the bolt and bolt carrier are Nitride coated. The lower and upper receiver have a midnight bronze Cerakote finish, which contrasts nicely with flat black controls, the black Magpul K2+ grip, and adjustable CTR stock. To add a bit of flare or what you might call old-school look, the radiused cheekweld portion of the stock is capped off with a leather wrap. The leather not only looks cool, but it also feels good on your cheek when you shoulder the rifle. The lightweight, 16-inch Hanson profile .308 barrel is surrounded with a 13.5-inch slimline handguard, which has six M-LOK compatibility slots along the starboard and port side and seven along the bottom. The 6.5 Creedmoor version comes with an 18-inch barrel and a 16.5-inch handguard.

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Along with a Timney Targa trigger, Stag Arms has tastefully added a logoed leather cap to the comb of the buttstock on their Pursuit line of rifles.

You can have this and all Stag Arms Pursuit rifles in a right- or left-hand configuration, and one of the most important features of the Pursuit line is the Timney Targa two-stage trigger. This trigger features a 2-pound first and second stage, and it’s wonderfully consistent, has no creep, and only minimal overtravel. For a hunting rifle, I’d rate it as ideal. This trigger alone has a retail price of more than $200 and is a standard feature on all Pursuit rifles. The muzzle of course is threaded and features the only thing about the rifle I did not like. Out of the box, it’s fitted with a VG6 Precision Gamma 7.62 muzzlebrake. The brake unquestionably works, but it’s loud — ear splitting loud. Some will appreciate this brake, and others will remove it to facilitate the installation of a suppressor. I would like to see a threaded muzzle protector for the hunters who do not like brakes and will not be shooting suppressed.

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The versatility of the M-LOK compatible handguard on the Stag Arms Pursuit rifle will be appreciated, especially if you want to attach a bipod or tripod.

For testing, I mounted one of Meopta’s excellent MeoSport 3-15x50mm RD SFP riflescopes, utilizing the rings that come in the box with the scope. From the bench, three loads were tested, and the average group size for all 15 groups fired was a respectable 1.46 inches. Based on years of testing AR-style rifles and carbines, this is better than average precision and suitable for big game worldwide. I also fired 100 rounds while shooting from various field positions. With the aid of a Galco RifleMANN sling, which allowed me to sling-up from the seated position, ringing a 4-inch steel gong at 100 yards was easy. Shooting slings like the RifleMANN sling I helped Galco design are often overlooked by hunters, especially with AR-patterned rifles. They shouldn’t be. With a free-floating handguard and a shooting sling, you can torque-up tightly in the sling when shooting from field positions without interfering with the rifle’s barrel. I’ve found that, with practice, this can improve accuracy by more than 50 percent.

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The downside to the Pursuit is its 16-inch barrel. While it would be ideal in a blind or shoot house, it does rob you of some velocity. The Trophy Copper loads clocked 200 fps slower out of the 16-inch-barreled Pursuit than a 24-inch bolt-gun. This velocity decrease amounts to 6 additional inches of drop at 400 yards and 100 yards less bullet effectiveness. But this is not a long-range rifle, and the 6.5 Creedmoor Pursuit comes with an 18-inch barrel for those wanting to stretch the distance. Overall, I was impressed with the new Stag Arms Pursuit in .308 Winchester. It shot well, functioned perfectly, and is well configured for the hunter. Stag Arms deserves an atta-boy for offering a rifle with a Timney trigger right out of the box. I expect the Pursuit line will do well for Stag Arms and would not be surprised to see additional chamberings soon. However, the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester chamberings will do just about anything any big-game hunter needs, and the .350 legend complies with straightwall cartridge regulations. There are a lot of options when it comes to AR pattern rifles. Stag Arms has designed their Pursuit line to appeal to hunters, and while you might find a similarly configured rifle from another manufacturer at a lower price, it may not be as reliable or shoot as well, and it will not come with a better trigger. And one thing is for sure: If you’re a hunter and want a true left-handed AR, Stag Arms Pursuit rifles are in a league of their own.

Stag 10 Pursuit Specs

  • Type: Direct-impingement, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: .308 Winchester
  • Barrel: 16 in., Hanson profile
  • Muzzle Device: VG6 Gamma brake
  • Grip: Magpul K2+
  • Stock: Magpul CTR
  • Trigger: Timney Targa, two-stage
  • Handguard: 13.5 in., Slimline
  • Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Length: 34.5 - 37.75 in. 
  • Finish: Midnight bronze Cerakote
  • MSRP: $2,200
  • Manufacturer: Stag Arms



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