Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter Rifle Review

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When I had the opportunity to visit the Stag Arms manufacturing facility in New Britain, Connecticut last year to film a television show featuring the company and their line of AR-style rifles, I wasn't sure what to expect. They were a relatively new brand (introduced in 2003), and I knew little about them other than they had taken the market by storm with their left-handed AR rifle. What I found was pleasantly surprising. The manufacturing process was efficient and quality control and pride in the finished product seemed to be at the nucleus of the entire operation. The Stag brand was a newcomer, but the parent company, Continental Machine & Tool, started in the 1960's and had been making parts for AR-15 style rifles ever since. The only thing new about the company was a change in brand name and the decision by Mark Malkowski (the founder's son) to build their own line of complete rifles.

When I saw the guys from Stag Arms again at SHOT this past January, I noticed a rifle adorning the wall of their booth that caught my eye. The "Super Varminter" and "Guaranteed 1/2 MOA" labels that were proudly displayed next to it convinced me that the rifle would be a perfect test subject to determine if the attention to detail that I saw at the factory correlated to performance in the field. The guys at Stag Arms weren't afraid to have their rifle and their claims put to the test and sent a Model 6 Super Varminter for review.


The Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter Rifle

The Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter Rifle weighs in at a hefty 9.7 pounds (unscoped and unloaded). It has a 1:8 twist, match-grade, stainless steel barrel chambered for 5.56 NATO, a free-floating, textured, aluminum handguard, an aluminum flattop receiver, a two-stage match trigger, Hogue grip and a non-adjustable A2 stock. All of these components add up to one thing - this is not your typical run-and-gun AR style rifle. The Model 6 SV was designed for driving tacks from a stationary position at long ranges.


The 1:8 twist, match-grade, stainless steel, bull barrel is
perfectly suited for an accurate, long-range varmint rifle.

Although the Model 6 SV is chambered for 5.56 NATO, it inherently shoots commercially available .223 ammo (see safety note at the end of the article). I decided the new Nikon M-223 in 3-12X42 configuration complemented with the Nikon M-223 mount designed specifically for AR-style platforms would be the ideal combination to sit atop the Stag rifle. After a quick bore sight, I was ready to head to the range.

I nestled the rifle into a set of Caldwell DeadShot Shooting Bags and prepared to complete the sight in process. Rather than waste "the good stuff" while adjusting the scope, I chose to use inexpensive Monarch .223 Rem, 55 gr., soft point ammo to get the shots on paper. I quickly had the shots hitting within a half inch of dead center at 100 yards and decided to go ahead and put a few more rounds through the gun to see what kind of accuracy could be achieved with "the cheap stuff." Three shots later, I was looking through the spotting scope at a group I could cover with a quarter. Less than 1/2 MOA with off-the-shelf, non-match-grade ammo. Now the rifle really had my attention.


The mass and shape of the handguard indicate that it was designed to
reduce recoil and aid in making accurate, stationary shots.

I then fed it three other configurations of ammo ranging from 40 gr. to 75 gr. and achieved similar results at 100 yards (see table). No matter what ammo was used, the Model 6 SV fed each without a failure. The trigger was light, crisp and consistent. The substantial mass of the gun kept recoil to a minimum allowing me to remain on target and take quick follow-up shots. Despite a 15 mph headwind at the range with 25 mph gusts, two of the ammunition configurations broke the 1/2 MOA and the other two were knocking on the door. Impressive firearm. Even more splendid might be the fact that if I took all of the target holes from every bullet type tested and transposed their point of impact onto a single target, the 12-shot group would still be less than 1 MOA. Very impressive firearm.


The two-stage trigger was crisp, clean and consistent, which are all essential in a 1/2 MOA rifle.


Although the rifle is chambered for 5.56 NATO, commercially available
.223 Remington ammunition can be used with no discernible loss in accuracy.


An assortment of ballistic tip, hollow point and soft point ammunition
ranging from 40 gr. to 75 gr. was used during the review.

Table 1. Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter accuracy results. Calculations are the results from firing three-shot groups of each ammunition configuration.

Brand (.223 REM) Bullet Weight Bullet Type MMOA
Monarch 55 Soft Point 0.465
Hornady 75 BTHP 0.590
Hornady 40 V-MAX 0.527
Federal Premium 55 BTHP 0.402


No matter what ammunition the author fed through the Model 6, it resulted in consistent, accurate groups.


The Model 6 seemed to have a slight preference for 55 gr. ammunition, and the
Federal Premium 55 gr. BTHP rounds produced an impressive three-shot .402 MOA group.

In 2003, when the Stag Arms brand hit the market, they were the talk of the town with their innovative left-handed AR platform. Only time would tell whether they were a company making quality rifles or one that was riding on the coattails of a novel idea. Based on what I observed at their manufacturing facility and the impressive results of the Model 6 Super Varminter review, I would say that they might have used innovation to get noticed in a sea of "black gun" shops but have also successfully focused on quality to get remembered.

For more information visit the Stag Arms website at www.stagarms.com. 1/2 MOA guarantee is a 3-shot group at 100-yards using quality new manufacture ammunition (Hornady, Federal Winchester, etc.)


The author found that the pride in workmanship at the Stag Arms factory
resulted in a reliable, precise firearm in the Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter.

Safety note about 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington:
The Stag Arms Model 6 Super Varminter is chambered in 5.56 NATO. I chose to use .223 Remington ammunition due to commercial availability. Most "AR" style guns chambered in 5.56 NATO can safely shoot .223 Remington, but you should consult the manufacturer before shooting 5.56 NATO in a firearm chambered for .223 Remington. The 5.56 NATO round can result in a higher pressure than the .223 Remington chamber was designed for and could damage you and your gun.


Larry R. Beckett Jr. is a full time freelance writer, photographer and videographer. His greatest joy is spending time fishing, hunting and hiking with his wife and son. Larry discovered his enthusiasm for the outdoors at a young age and devotes much of his time trying to instill that same enthusiasm in future generations.

Comments

accuracy confirmed

Yesterday, my 16 year old daughter shot a 7/16" at 100 yards 10-shot group with a Stag Arms model 6 using Federal Gold Medal Match 69 grain.  I knew it is an accurate rifle but a 10 shot group?

Stag Model 6 Review

I have a Stag Model 6 with a Nikon Buckmaster 6-18x Mil Dot scope on it, along with the Versa bipod. No kidding, the accuracy is astounding. I went out last weekend and after sighting in the scope, was routinely shooting ½” groups at 100 yds, using just the bipod on the bench (no bench rest). I warmed up the barrel with 20 rounds of PMC 55 gr. (after the first couple of rounds, I was getting nice groups, but the first couple of shots are usually off by an inch or so…). After that, I was shooting Hornady 75 gr. BTHP and was printing 1/2 “ or better. Best group was ¼” with three shots. Recoil is non-existent; the trigger is smooth as silk. If you enjoy “tack-driving” accuracy, this is a must have. I paid $1055 for the rifle direct from Stag, and it is a GREAT target rifle…

numbnutz's picture

Great review. These AR's look

Great review. These AR's look great. Very acurate for an AR. I would love to have one. They seem to be a very well made firearm. I'm not a fan of AR style rifles but I may have to reconsider my opinion with looking and reading up on these weapons. They seem like they would be a great varmit type firearm. I can't beleave the accuracy of these rifles right off the shelf with factory loads. With most guns you need to modify a few things and cook up a good hand load to see results like that. Great review and thanks for the information.

AlexPaul's picture

Nice rifle! I'm a fun of AR

Nice rifle! I'm a fun of AR rifles and this is an interesting hunting weapon for me, just I have a little problem. In my country (Hungary where I living) the semi automatic rifles are illegal for hunting :(

hunter25's picture

Great review on these rifles.

Great review on these rifles. I have always been interested in the Stag line of products due to their very competive prices but had never read a review until now. The retail on this one is 1,055 and that is a super price for what it can do. I have a Ruger 556 that i paid far more for and it sure won't shoot like that. Maybe with a better trigger but this one already has that.

I would like my next ar to be in a larger caliber and see that they do offer one model in the 6.8 but not this particular rifle. I was leaning toward a DPMS in .243 or .260 but with the price on these might change my mind. It will take some more looking into but I'm definately interested now.

Thanks for the write up, it may have made a sale.

jaybe's picture

Wow!

Wow!

 1/2 MOA off the shelf with factory ammo!

That's pretty impressive!

I'm guessing that the extra weight of this rifle has at least something to do with that, but it obviously must have a lot of good things going for it to perform like that.

I'm kinda old school and doubt that I'll ever trade my walnut-stocked Ruger in for an AR-style rifle, but they sure look like they have come a long way!

Thanks for the article.

 

Stag Arms Super Varminter

Nice article Larry. I have the left hand version topped with a 6.5-20x50 Burris FF2 Tac 30. I have found this to be an amazing rifle, and is every bit as accurate as the author states. And it shoots everything! We have a favorite shooting area that allows for out to 700 yard plinking, and the "Slaughter Machine" as my buddies call it, will absolutely destroy 8"-12" pumpkins out at the 375 yard mark that we have sighted in. This is a superbly built and extremely accurate rifle. I only wish they (Stag Arms) would get into the Big Bore side of ARz.

ecubackpacker's picture

Yea, that is a good looking

Yea, that is a good looking AR rifle. I didn't see a price tag mentioned in the review so I can comment on whether I would like one or not. Although, I'll probably end up building my own AR.

I'm like you Jim. I want one in a heavier caliber, say the 300 SAUM or maybe even 500 Beuwolf for tracking pigs and hunting bears. But the 223 would be fine for yotes and the like.

jim boyd's picture

That is a stunning rifle, of

That is a stunning rifle, of that there is little doubt. 

It is, however, very heavy - but the reported accuracy is stunning.

Most folks are not shooting that well with a centerfire .223... I had a heavy barrel Savage in .223 that i used as a trainer and I am ashamed to admit most of my groups were not as good as this rifle.

This is certainly a niche rifle and will likely sell in the thousands of units but it was likely not designed for that type of market.

The AR style rifles have certainly enjoyed a great popularity and have spawned all types of spin offs, from actual rifles and all the way down to all of the accessories that are so popular!

OK, I admit it... I want the R25 in 30 caliber... in fact, I think they are now making it in 7mm-08... there is a pleasing thought!!

Great review and super article.

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