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Stag Arms smartly realizes that many hunters appreciate the versatility an AR-15 brings to the field, and they have responded this year by introducing their new Pursuit line of AR rifles designed specifically for hunters. Stag Arms was founded in 2003, and they hang their hat on the fact that they pioneered the first left-handed AR-15, which uses a mirror-imaged upper receiver with an ejection port on the left, as opposed to the right side. In 2019, Stag Arms moved from Connecticut to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where they still focus on building right- and left-handed semi-auto AR-styled rifles for recreational shooters, law enforcement officers, professional competitors, and now hunters. We put the new Stag Arms Stag 15 Pursuit through its paces at our Best Rifles of 2023 test earlier this year. Here’s our full review of the rifle.
Stag Arms Stag 15 Pursuit Specifications and Features
- Length: 35.0 to 38.5 inches
- Weight: 7.48 pounds w/ magazine
- Barrel: 18 inches, 1-in-8 twist, threaded 5/8×24, with VG6 Gamma Brake
- Action: Semi-auto, gas impingement, (rifle length)
- Trigger: Timney Two-Stage Trigger
- Capacity: 5+1 detachable magazine
- Finish: Cerakote midnight bronze
- Stock: Magpul CTR Stock w/ leather cheek rest
- Chambering: 6.5 Grendel (tested), 350 Legend
- Price: $1,599.00
The Stag 15 Pursuit rifle in 6.5 Grendel is a direct impingement-driven AR-15 rifle that’s fitted with a 4150 CMV, Nitride coated, 18-inch barrel. The muzzle is threaded at a 5/8×24 pitch, and it comes with a VG6 Gamma muzzle brake installed. The barrel and its rifle-length gas system are surrounded with a Stag Arms Slimline 6061 aluminum 16.5-inch handguard, which is M-Lok-compatible on the sides and bottom over its entire length. The top of the handguard is railed with 42 slots and mates up with an additional 13-slot rail integral to the top of the receiver. This gives you the option to run everything from open sights to night vision devices. The upper receiver, handguard, and lower receiver, are finished in midnight bronze Cerakote, and the bolt and bolt carrier are nitride coated.
The lower receiver is fitted with a Magpul K2+ vertical grip that’s very comfortable, and there’s no gap where the trigger guard connects to the lower. This circumvents the need of poking a soft ear plug into this gap—like many shooters do with AR-15s—to keep them from eating on the middle finger of your shooting hand. It’s also fitted with a CTR stock that provides an adjustable length of pull from 10.25 to 13.5 inches. This allows the rifle to be sized on the fly to fit shooters of almost any size, and its one of the things that make AR-15s great rifles for young adults to hunt and grow with. The comb of the CTR stock is wrapped in a stylish leather, which is very comfortable and should not be as cold on the cheek in icy temperatures.
Even though the test rifle was a right-handed rifle, like with all of the rifles in the Stag Arms Pursuit line, it comes standard with an ambidextrous safety as well as an ambidextrous charging handle. The ambi-safety allows you to run the gun with your thumb on the right side of the grip and the ambi-charging handle allows for easy access with either hand, regardless of how large of a riflescope you might be running or how low it might be mounted. A Timney Targa two-stage trigger is also standard, and it broke consistently and cleanly at 3.5 pounds. A version of this rifle with a Cross Armory fixed magazine that’s compliant with California and New York regulations is available for an additional $50, and there’s no additional charge for a left-handed version.
Stag Arms Stag 15 Pursuit: Test Results and Review
We were only able to secure two 6.5 Grendel loads for testing and both performed almost identically out of the Stag 15 Pursuit. From the bench, the best single five-shot group fired measured 1.32 inches, and it was fired with the Hornady Black load. Based on the testing of a lot of AR-15s over the years, this is about average performance for gas guns in this price range.
We did fire a few rounds with the muzzle brake that came installed on the rifle. But given the recoil impulse of the little 6.5 Grendel cartridge it seemed rather pointless, especially given the increase in noise. Most of the shooting was done with a suppressor installed and with the rifle’s 18-inch barrel the suppressor did not make the rifle unwieldly, even when working from within the confines of a small shoot house.
The running deer target was a hoot to shoot with the Stag 15. The best any of us could do with a bolt-action rifle was four hits before the target finished its run. With the Stag 15, emptying the five-round magazine plus the one round in the chamber was easy, had we had a 10-round magazine we could have put another four shots into the target before it stopped. Though few hunting situations require this type of fast, high-volume fire, it could be appreciated when calling predators or during feral hog eradication. On the other hand, the ability to deliver a fast follow-up shot can come in handy during any hunting situation.
- Available in left or right hand
- Great trigger
- Leather wrapped comb
- Length of pull adjustable on the fly
- Full length handguard adds unneeded weight
- Muzzle brake difficult to remove
Final Thoughts on the Stag 15 Pursuit
The standout feature of the Stag 15 Pursuit is the Timney trigger. Mil-Spec AR15 triggers are rather horrid, which has inspired a host of aftermarket replacement triggers for the platform. Timney’s two-stage Targa trigger is one of the best, adding $225 in value, which helps substantiate the rifle’s $1,600 suggested retail price—street prices are closer to $1,300.
The major complaint with the Stag 15 Pursuit was how difficult it was to remove the VG6 Gamma muzzle brake. We had to apply some heat and a lot of torque to loosen it. Understandably, a muzzle brake needs to be tight but in this modern age of suppressors, we would have preferred the rifle to come with a thread protector already installed. Out of the box, this would give the shooter more practical options as far as deciding how they wanted to run their rifle.
Something that cannot be overlooked is that these rifles are 100-percent American-made and come with a lifetime transferable warranty that includes an infinite shot barrel guarantee. If you shoot out a barrel on a Stag Arms rifle, they will replace it free of charge. I know of no other rifle manufacture that offers this service.
With its midnight bronze finish and 6.5 Grendel chambering, the Stag Arms Stag 15 Pursuit is a very attractive rifle that will blend into the wild and put venison on the meat pole, too. This rifle is sized right, it’s reliable, and you can pass it down to your son or daughter and know they’ll be set for the rest of his or her life. If you’re in a straight-wall state, a 350 Legend option is also available.