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In this age of the ubiquitous AR-15s where big manufacturing companies dominate the firearms market, you’d think that the one-man rifle shops would have all closed down long ago. But deep in the heart of Texas, Charlie Sisk continues the tradition of precision gunsmithing and making some really cool stuff. Case in point: his latest creation, the Sisk Tactical Adaptive Rifle . . .

The problem with most rifles these days — a problem I’ve touched on more than once — is that they’re generally a “one size fits all” kind of deal. You get the “standard” stock profile, the one that was designed when iron sights were still the prevalent sighting system, and it sucks for just about everything you want to do. To combat this problem some stocks come with adjustable cheek rests or length of pull adjustments, but none of them really allow you to change every axis of movement on every part. That’s where Charlie’s rifle comes in.

The STAR was designed to be a fully adjustable rifle. Everything from the cheek rest to the length of pull, even the angle of the buttstock (cast-on and cast-off) and the angle of the grip can be changed. And that right there is the main selling point of the rifle: the fact that you can change the angle of the grip.

Not everyone is made the same, and that affects the way you grip a rifle. A straight stock might not provide the best positioning of your finger on the trigger and give the most comfortable grip, let alone lining up your eye in the right place. So a stock and grip that are able to rotate allow the shooter to make a shot from a more comfortable shooting position, producing a more accurate shot.

There’s another nifty trick to the STAR stock: namely that it can do the fancy “rollover prone” position while still allowing the bolt action to work.

The idea behind “rollover prone” is to allow the shooter to shoot through a smaller opening than normal. Usually the opening needs to be at least as tall as the rifle and the scope, but “rollover prone” translates that vertical height into horizontal. The adjustable grip angle on the STAR means that the shooter can vary the angle of the grip and use it like a rear monopod, giving the rifle much more stability.

Speaking of stability, the rifle stock is made out of a single piece of machined aluminum. That rigid aluminum construction means that the barrel is free floating and isolated, and the action is strengthened, which all leads to a much more accurate rifle. The rifles Charlie is building use Surgeon Remington 700 actions and Kreiger barrels — top of the line products that are only made better with the strength of the stock.

That strong stock does come at the expense of weight, though. The thing is MASSIVE, and just carrying it up the steps of Charlie’s personal shooting tower is a workout, let alone lugging the thing around Africa. Charlie has already sliced out a ton of material to keep the weight down as much as possible. And he’s considering some more rather drastic slicing and dicing for the final finished version. Examples include cuts in the forend, a bunch in the butt, and the cutout you see behind the grip. It looks like it’s designed for your thumb, but it isn’t.

As for how it shoots, I honestly couldn’t find a position that wasn’t comfortable. When I had it resting on something, that is. Shooting it off a table, or off the floor, or off a rooftop is no problem whatsoever. The rifle moves around to fit your position and makes shooting a breeze. And thanks to the excellent components and stiff stock, the gun is a freaking tackdriver.

As you’d expect, that accuracy comes at a price. The rifle clocks in at just a hair under $6,500, so it’s not something most people would be able to afford. But for those who absolutely positively need to hit the target, this might be just what you’re looking for.

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[UPDATE 8/2014]

Since the last time we saw Charlie’s STAR, there have been a couple changes to the rifle. Most of the new features are weight related, with a removable forward section of the stock and a hollowed out interior for both the forward and rear sections chopping the weight down dramatically. The gun remains just as rigid and accurate as always, but much more portable. Still not exactly a lightweight, but getting there.

Specifications:

Caliber: Whatever you want
Sights: Drilled for scope
Barrel Length: End user’s choice
Length:Adjustable
Weight: Heavy (exact weight depends on options)
Capacity: Takes standard Accuracy International magazines
Price: $6,495

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Style * * * * *
If you’re into that whole “milled aluminum” look, this is your ticket. I think it looks great.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * * *
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. And if it isn’t you can change it to make it perfect.

Ergonomics (handling) *
Its heavy as all get-out and could use a carry handle. Or some shoulder straps.

Reliability * * * * *
Bolt action rifles generally don’t have issues with reliability.

Customize This * * * * *
Like I said, everything can be changed. This is a truly custom rifle, so if you want a different caliber, you’re good to go.

Overall * * * *
The weight and the price make something like this a little south of fully desirable, but for F class and long range shooting, there really isn’t anything better.

9 Responses to Gun Review: Sisk Tactical Adaptive Rifle (STAR)

  1. “In this age of the ubiquitous AR-15s where big manufacturing companies dominate the firearms market, you’d think that the one-man rifle shops would have all closed down long ago. ”

    Not even remotely the case. You youngsters just need to get out a bit more.

  2. It’s interesting, but I’d have to try one before I’m sold on it.

    I was sold on the (non-folding) AICS before ever trying one because it made sense. It’s an aluminum chassis that holds your (somewhat) round Rem700 in a V-block, has detachable mag bottom metal built in, and from action to butt plate has a structure that will still work no matter how destroyed the plastic skins are. It’s also got an adjustable comb and length of pull. I’m not sold on the idea of a folding stock, but I’ve never tried one (or performed a HALO jump with one).

    What I see here is an aluminum stock that might not be touch-friendly in extreme weather. Between the butt plate and the action is an indexing pivot that could fail.

    Having not tried it, I don’t know how important the “rollover prone” position is. Is it a real problem our military has encountered? Is it a made up obstacle in tactical precision rifle competition? Is it a game-changer because no one could do it effectively before and it was desperately needed? I’m asking seriously because I have no idea.

    Also, how important is cast on or cast off in a precision rifle? To my knowledge, that’s not been available on McMillans and the like. I hate to be close-minded to new technology, but I also believe in K.I.S.S., and our military seems to do just fine with simple stocks.

  3. It might be a nice very-limited-application-range-pop-gun at $1500. Nothing more.

    Nobody is going to hump this 22# lard-pig into a “tactical” scenario, unless they’re a complete idiot.

    $6500 buys me Mark Serbu’s semi-auto .50 BMG rifle that is apparently just as accurate. And carries a bit more punch.

    Let’s be honest. This old pathetic fart is on the cutting edge of 1972 and needs to retire to some loser hick Texas town where he can spin tall tales of the greatness he never was. He is nothing and no one if you actually know what is out there.

    This moron doesn’t even know how to figure out why his barrels are breaking. I wouldn’t trust him for the time of day.

    • Wow 16V, you are a pretty special guy to come here and run your opinion all over the place like that. I sure do wish I was the expert killer you are. Shucks, A guy like you with all that knowledge and verbal prowess… Man I’ll bet you eat snakes and lick dew off leaves on your way to the rear hatch of a C17 just before you HALO into the dark side of the moon for some intergalactic laser battle.

      For everyone else who is normal like me and just shoots for fun, I have one of Charlie’s rifles with this Chassis and after getting to know Charlie himself, he is a pretty knowledgeable character and has decades of building rifles and shooting himself. He is good people and makes a solid platform that fixes a lot of issues I have had with traditional stocks.
      Sorry for the “regular guy” post but my light saber ran out of batteries and 16V’s still out karate chopping predators and using their special weapons to hunt aliens….

      Shadow 6 Consulting…. out

    • Being a little to direct with that trolling effort. A good troll is subtle and discrete. Also I hate trolls, I think of them as the annoying a-holes of the internet. SO GET THEE BACK UNDER THINE BRIDGE CREATURE ELSE I SMITE THEE WITH FLAME AND STEEL.

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