Since 2003, Stag Arms has specialized in left-handed AR-style rifles, although it makes right-handed ARs, too. Stag promotes its 100 percent American-made firearms’ value with a lifetime transferable warranty and infinite shot barrel guarantee.
At the 2017 NRA Exhibits in Atlanta, Georgia, Stag Arms announced its foray into the large-receiver AR market. The initial introduction comprised the Stag-10S in .308 Win. and the Stag-10 in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor.
“This rifle is designed to be an affordable ar-10-style rifle with features that would normally only be found in more expensive ar-10-style rifles.”
Currently, the Stag-10 version has an 18-inch barrel when chambered in .308 Win. and a 22- or 24-inch barrel when chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The Stag-10S features a 16-inch barrel in .308 Win. and a 22-inch barrel when chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. All versions are of semiautomatic, direct gas impingement design. In keeping with Stag’s history of offering left-handed models, both the Stag-10 and the Stag-10S are available in left- and right-hand versions. Both Keymod and M-LOK handguards are also available.
Large-receiver ARs are not standardized like AR-15 style rifles and come in two primary designs: AR-10 and SR-25. Some companies, such as DMPS, have their own take on the design and have incorporated elements of both. Stag’s design builds on the DMPS pattern for parts interchangeability but then incorporates some of its own proprietary parts.
Stag rifles are designed using proprietary upper and lower receivers and proprietary takedown pin, pivot pin and takedown pin detent. Everything else utilizes the DPMS pattern.
The subject of this end-user evaluation is a Stag-10S chambered in .308 Winchester. This is a full-featured rifle with a street price of around $1,400. This rifle is designed to be an affordable AR-10-style rifle with features that would normally only be found in more expensive AR-10-style rifles.
The upper receiver is forged using 7075 T6 aluminum and is type III hard coat anodized. It has a tang height of .210 inch and matches up with the most common DPMS handguards. It also accepts DPMS-style bolt carrier groups (BCG), barrels and barrel nuts. The 16-inch barrel is made of 4150 steel, is chrome lined, and the rifling has a 1:10-inch twist rate. A VG6 Gamma 762 compensator is threaded onto the barrel and is removable. The BCG is .308 Win. sized and has a QPQ nitride finish (quench-polish-quench nitrocarburized case hardened). The gas key bolts are lightly staked on each side. A forward assist and dust cover are also provided.
It uses a mid-length gas system and comes with a lowprofile gas block. A standard .308 carbine buffer and .308 action spring are used to mitigate recoil. The handguard is a 13.5-inch-long M-LOK free-float design by Stag Arms. Optic mounting is provided by a 1913 MIL-SPEC rail that runs from the back of the receiver to the front of the handguard. This design provides plenty of real estate for mounting any optic or combination of accessories anyone might want.
The buttstock is a Magpul ACS unit, and the pistol grip is a Hogue overmolded rubber grip with finger grooves. The ACS buttstock has a handy little storage compartment in the tail of the stock for storing small items. It also has water-resistant battery storage tubes on each side of the stock; each tube can hold three CR123 or two AA batteries.
The lower receiver is also a 7075 T6 aluminum forging that is type III hard coat anodized. It is machined using an Armalite slant cut rather than a DPMS-style cut for improved fit and less “battle rattle.” The takedown pin and pivot pin are not DPMS compatible. A Magpul PMAG 10 LR/SR Gen M3 magazine is provided.
At 8.3 pounds, the Stag 10S is no lightweight, but it isn’t excessively heavy either. It is comparable to the Daniel Defense DD5V1. At 35.25 inches collapsed and 38.5 inches extended, the Stag 10S is comparable in length to many AR-15s.
“Stag rifles are designed using proprietary upper and lower receivers and proprietary takedown pin, pivot pin and takedown pin detent. Everything else utilizes the dpms pattern.”
The Stag-10 series was initially released in the Stag-10S in .308 Win., right hand, and Stag-10 in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor, right hand. The Stag-10 comes in multiple configurations and in complete rifle and “bones” (receiver group and barrel only, no furniture). It’s chambered in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor, both calibers in 18-, 22- and 24-inch barrels, and all in RH and LH models. M-LOK and Keymod handguard variants are also available.
The Stag-10S also comes in multiple variations. It comes chambered in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor. Both calibers come in 16- and 22-inch barrels. Both also include M-LOK and KeyMod variants, and all come in RH and LH models. There are two “bones” receiver and barrel configurations (RH/LH; .308 Win.; 16-inch barrel).
During this evaluation, I used 10 different factory loads manufactured by five different companies. All the ammunition operated well in the rifle. I did encounter four failures to feed, all of which I attribute to the magazine not being properly seated.
No sights are provided with the Stag-10S. For testing purposes, I installed a Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56 F1 riflescope with an MOAR reticle, using a Nightforce 34mm Ultralite Unimount.
This scope might be a bit of overkill for the 10S, but it is an excellent scope. When evaluating a rifle, it eliminates any excuses that the scope was to blame for any accuracy issues.
The ATACR performed well on the Stag-10S, and there were no accuracy issues.
At The Range
During my first trip to the range, I first cleaned the bore and then broke in the rifle with approximately 20 rounds of various brands of ammunition. The bore was cleaned after every five rounds.
That time was also used to get acclimated to the trigger, which was a bit rough at first. I tested the trigger pull weight after conducting accuracy testing, and I found that the trigger had smoothed out considerably and broke crisply. The average weight for 10 consecutive trigger pulls was 5.9 pounds, as measured by a digital Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge.
I fired three five-shot groups for each of the 10 loads fired. Five of the loads averaged 1.5-inch groups. Of the 30 five-shot groups fired, five of them were 1 inch or smaller. The Federal Premium 175-grain MatchKing BTHP performed the best, with groups of .82, 1.28 and .66 inches for a three-group average of .92 inch. I believe that once the rifle was well broken in with the Federal Premium ammunition or similar, it would consistently produce groups of 1 MOA or under. The Stag-10S even shot quite well with 130-grain American Eagle Varmint & Predator ammunition, producing an average group size of 1.54 inches for three five-shot groups.
The only problem I had with the rifle was that the PMAG 10 magazines did not drop free when the magazine release was pushed. I found it necessary to pull the magazine out of the magazine well while the magazine release was depressed.
The Stag-10S is well designed and well built. It is available in two excellent calibers—one tried and true and one cutting edge. It is versatile in that it is available in both left- and right-hand versions and offers both Keymod and M-LOK handguards. There is no need to change the configuration of your current accessories to a different method of attachment.
At 1 MOA accuracy, one would need to spend a lot more money to do much better with an AR platform. The Stag-10S certainly has sufficient accuracy for most long-range shooting disciplines and most hunting applications.
Anyone looking to add an AR-10-/SR25-type rifle to their collection should take a close look at the Stag-10S or Stag-10. If I didn’t already two large-receiver ARs, the Stag-10S would probably find a home in my gun safe.
Caliber: .308 Win./7.62×51 NATO (tested); 6.5 Creedmoor
Action Type: Semiautomatic; direct gas impingement
Barrel: 16 inches; 4150 chrome lined
Muzzle Device: VG6 Gamma 762 compensator
Gas System: Mid-length gas tube with low-profile gas block
Bolt Carrier Group: .308 bolt, QPQ nitride BCG
Handguard: Stag 10 13.5-inch M-LOK free float
Upper Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 aluminum; .210-inch tang height (DPMS High Profile)
Lower Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 aluminum; Armalite-style slant cut
Receiver Finish: Type III hard coat anodized
Rifling: 1:10-inch twist rate; button rifled
Scope Mount: 1913 MIL-SPEC rail on top of receiver and handguard
Trigger: Stag Arms Single Stage; 5 pounds, 14.7 ounces, as tested (Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge)
Stock: Magpul ACS
Overall Length: 35.25 inches collapsed; 38.5 inches extended
Weight: 8.2 pounds (factory)
|Velocity (fps)||E.S.||S.D.||Small Group (inches)||
Average Group (inches)
|Federal Premium 175-grain BTHP||
|Hornady 168-grain BTHP||
|Hornady 168-grain ELD Match||
|Black Hills 175-grain BTHP Match||
|American Eagle Varmint & Predator 130-grain JHP||
|Hornady Black 155-grain A-Max||
|Winchester 168-grain MK BTHP||
|Federal Premium 168-grain MK BTHP||
|Black Hills 168-grain BTHP Match||
|American Eagle 150-grain FMJ BT||
Nightforce ATACR 7-35X56 F1 Riflescope Specifications
Field of View: 7x: 14.97ft.; 35x: 3.44ft. (at 100 yards)
Weight: 39.3 ounces
Length: 16.0 inches
Mounting Length: 6.5 inches
Eye Relief: 3.26–3.58 inches
Exit Pupil: 7x:6.0mm; 35x:1.6mm
Click Value: .250 MOA
Adjustment Range: Elevation: 100 MOA; Windage: 60 MOA
Parallax Adjustment: 10m–∞
Focal Plane: First
Reticles Available: MOAR/MIL-R/ MIL-C/TreMor3
Elevation Lock: ZeroStop
MSRP: $3,600 (street price: $3,492)
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the February 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.