Gun Review: Wilson Combat AR-10 Recon Tactical in 6.5 Creedmoor

I shot my first AR-10 in 2009. When I pulled the trigger on the LaRue Tactical Optimized Sniper Rifle, my first shot at 100 yards went a little high. Even as my friend called “high” I was sending more rounds downrange, getting hit after hit. Within minutes, I was making standing head shots in fast fire on targets at 200 yards. I didn’t know a gas gun could do that. They can, at a price.

At $3,000, the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical in 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t the most expensive AR-10 on the market, but it’s right up there. At that price point, I get pretty picky. I expect complete attention to detail and beyond great performance. Does the Wilson Combat AR10 deliver?

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Out of the Wilson-branded rifle bag, the firearm’s finish reveals money well spent. Wilson anodizes the Recon Tactical’s billet receiver, then coats the entire gun in their Armor Tuff finish (proven extremely durable on my Wilson Combat pistols). While it’s hard to call any AR pattern rifle beautiful, this comes close.

The Recon Tactical’s medium contour barrel combines aesthetics with practicality. With its 1-8 twist (ideal for longer 140gr bullets), the full-length fluting lightens the barrel while maintaining strength. Ending with the effective Q-Comp/Flash hider, the 18″ barrel is perfectly balanced. With a loaded magazine, the balance point is roughly 1″ in front of the magazine well, making the mid-weight AR-10 handle like a much lighter gun.

Wilson coated the rifle’s high-quality bolt carrier group with NP3. The thin and evenly applied Teflon and nickel/phosphorus coating provides exceptional wear and corrosion protection, and acts as a dry lubricant for the metal parts. The result: a long-lasting and slick bolt carrier group that’s easy to clean — a more-than-welcome quality for any gas gun.

Our test gun arrived many moons ago equipped with a small charging handle. It now sells with a larger “big boy” latch, as it should. The Recon Tactical’s safety is the standard 90 degree switch. The bolt release is raised, textured and responsive; a simple palm slap on the bolt release gets the BGC moving forward with surety.

The RT’s magazine release sits inside a cutout in the magazine well. It drives my finger onto the button and provides a tactile spot to index my finger when not firing. The mag well is beveled on the inside and flared, funneling the magazines directly into the well without any catching or odd angles. There is no forward assist. None of the controls are ambidextrous.

Style wise, the Recon Tactical’s hand guard is a miss. The lines on the sides of the hand guard don’t line up perfectly with the lines of the receiver. It’s pretty hard to get a round hand guard to flow aesthetically into a flat, square receiver, but making those lines match up would made it look more like an integrated part. Again, at this price level, you can afford to be picky.

I’m not sure why Wilson didn’t fit the RT with Keymod or M-Lock rails. That said, their Tactical Rail Interface, Modular (TRIM) works well.  The free-floating handguard’s geometry affords a good grip all along its length. It’s weighted well, comfortable to hold standing or kneeling.

If you don’t want the proprietary TRIM rail, a Keymod handguard is also available.  But as it is, the TRIM guard features a fairly slim grip throughout the length of the hand guard. It allows for the positioning of rail sections all around the gun, while retaining lots of metal around the sections for strength. (Rail sections are available on the WC website.)

The Recon Tactical’s Rogers Super Stock is a solid meh. The polymer stock is a standard six-position adjustable-for-length-stock with a locking lever to keep it from wiggling. The lock-up was tight, and the stock fits well in the pocket of my shoulder. The pad’s grippy texture does nothing to reduce recoil, but it does sit in my shoulder comfortably and it didn’t slip around at all during rapid fire sessions.

The Rogers Super Stock doesn’t adjust for comb height, nor offer much real estate for my cheek. If I lie down in the prone behind the Recon Tactical, the cheek weld soon gets uncomfortable (much like the old M16 fixed stock). In short, the stock’s no better or worse than quality AR stocks from makers like MagPull and Hogue.

The BCM pistol grip is properly textured throughout. Bereft of finger grooves, the BCM unit enables a very high grip on the gun. I also appreciate the storage space inside the handle; that’s where I store extra foam ear plugs. Missing: any kind of adjustment or alternate back straps that might improve the shooter’s trigger finger position.

The Recon Tactical sports Wilson’s own Tactical Trigger Unit. Right answer. Wilson’s breaks cleanly and consistently at four pounds.  I’d prefer a lighter trigger, closer to 2.5lbs. I see no reason for a heavier trigger on a precision AR, and only benefits of a lighter one.

The Recon Tactical ships with a high-quality Lancer magazine. The mag fit the 140gr ELD Match ammo — the longest of the 6.5 Creedmoor commercial rounds I could find. But just barely. Still, that’s a very long, high BC round. I also used PMag AR10 magazines for the review with no issues.

I’m still a little surprised that the 6.5 Creedmoor has taken off, rather than 260 Remington. Rifles firing 6.5 Creedmoor can be very picky about Overall Lengths (OAL). For some bolt guns and many AR-10 platform guns, the wide variety of OALs can lead to reliability issues. I rarely experience that with 260 Remington — and not at all with the Wilson Recon Tactical.

I ran a wide variety of what has become the standard bullet weight (140 grains) from Hornady, Winchester, and Nosler. As an avid reloader (which I highly recommend for this caliber) I also loaded 120gr, 123gr, 129gr, 130gr and 140gr bullets from Nosler, Hornady, Speer and Berger at their reloading manual specified OALs.

I loaded all of these at five percent less than their maximum pressure load for the powder I was using. I shot a total of 500 rounds over the course of a week without a single issue. As with most of my reviews, I lubed the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical with Rogue American Apparel’s gun lube prior to shooting, and I didn’t clean the rifle or lube it up again in any way during testing.

There’s no doubt that the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical is an accurate firearm. Using the common but excellent Hornady 140gr AMax commercial round, the AR10 printed .75″ five round groups from a rest at 100 yards.  The best performer: the Hornady 140gr ELD Match bullet, scoring a .5″ five round group at 100 yards from a rest at The Range at Austin (above). That’s exceptional.

None of my hand loads achieved the same level of accuracy as the store-bought rounds. The best I could get: .8″, from a Hornady 140gr. ELD-X bullet. None of the home-rolled cartridges of less than 129gr scored under 1MOA. The fact that you can expect 3/4MOA or better from a store-bought round and an off-the-shelf semi-auto rifle is amazing.

In slow fire off bags, the Recon Tactical is a nail driver. Unfortunately, few of my hunting shots — and zero of my actual shots in combat — allow to me shoot from a steady rest. And really, that’s not the point of an AR. The WC Recon does just as well off-hand and from the kneel as it does off the rest.

Standing at 25 yards, I put 20 rounds into a 4″ circle in 20 seconds. Thanks to the rifle’s weight and balance, it was easy to switch from 25 to 50 to 100 yards from the kneel. The weight soaks-up recoil and the balance point helps me to hold steady, as well as start and stop the gun’s lateral movement to acquire new targets quickly.

The Wilson Combat Recon Tactical runs with the big boys charging a premium price for fanatically finished firearms. It’s a great performing gun with the finish, style, reliability, durability and accuracy I’ve come to expect from Wilson Combat products. It falls short of five-star perfection due to devilish details, but the Recon Tactical is a great way to spend three grand on a finished AR-10 platform rifle.

SPECIFICATIONS

Wilson Combat Wilson Combat Recon Tactical AR-10
Caliber – 6.5 Creedmoor
Materials: Billet Upper (Flat Top) and Lower Receiver
Barrel – Wilson Combat Recon Tactical Match Grade Barrel
Barrel Length: 18″ (also available in 16″ and 20″)
Overall Length: 40″
Weight Empty: 7.85 lbs
MSRP: $3,045

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Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * 1/2
I find it hard to give any AR five stars for style. But this one’s close.

Customization * * * * *
You can change just about anything on the gun yourself, if you are so inclined (and have any money left over).

Reliability * * * * *
It ran everything I put into it, using a wide variety of ammunition.

Accuracy * * * * *
Half to 3/4 MOA on a gas gun with commercial ammunition? Most bolt guns can’t do that; sadly many at this price point.

Overall * * * * 1/2
The parts that matter are first class. This fine-handling rifle sends rounds downrange with outstanding accuracy and perfect reliability. A tool-less adjustable gas block, ambidextrous controls or a user-adjustable stock and grip would have put the Recon Tactical into the 5 star category.

comments

  1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    One of the problems for the uptake of the .260 Rem was the inconsistency and sometimes execrable quality of Remington brass in the early days.

    Where the 6.5CM shines is that Hornady decided to do two things that would endear it to precision shooters:

    1. Set up the neck to take longer (higher-Bc) bullets,
    2. Make the brass of high quality out of the gate.

    There’s three cartridges in the 6.5, short-action space that could have taken off: the .260, the 6.5×47 and the 6.5CM. The 6.5×47 Lapua would have done almost everything the CM does, with the cost of perhaps 200 fps, but it had high quality brass and excellent results… but it was foreign, it had a limited supply of brass, and it wasn’t marketed well.

    Hornady has introduced a completely new cartridge before, and they showed they know how to do it: the .17 HMR. Completely new – and an overnight sensation. The first time I shot a ground squirrel with a new .17 HMR, I giggled like a little girl. Then I did it again… and again, and again. I was a semi-early adopter of the .17 HMR in shooting ground squirrels – and within 6 months, nearly every hay farmer in northern Nevada had put their .22 LR rifle away and was packing around a Savage or other workaday .17 HMR rifle with a zoom scope to shoot ground squirrels.

    Hornady made that happen. Other companies might have come up with a failed introduction of such a useful round.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      You’ve got a great point about the brass. Remington has never had a good reputation for their brass, and deservedly so.
      And on the .17HMR, on a suppressed bolt gun, it’s just giggly fun on corn thieving raccoons. I used to take one into the blind with me when hunting from a feeder. I could shoot coons away from the corn without disturbing the deer.

  2. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    3k? Can you say “Paying for the name?” Just buy a SCAR-H for that price!
    For 1/2-2/3 the price I can build my own AR10 in 6.5CM with non crappy furniture, that would shoot just as well, if not better. This is not the most competitive AR10 in our buyer’s market like right now. The only reason to go with this is either being a fanboy or a lack of confidence in putting together big boy legos.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “Just buy a SCAR-H for that price!”
      That would certainly be paying for the name, as this WC clearly outperforms the SCAR-H.

      1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

        In what way? Lmao, they’re pretty much the same in terms of performance, weight, and price. The whole point is that they’re similar in every way, including the price. My point is that anyone can do better for less if they have the patience.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          1. Accuracy. (The SCAR is accurate, but not 1/2 MOA accurate.)
          2. Modularity
          3. Finish
          4. Caliber choice.

          If you can make an AR10 that accurate and reliable at half the price, get on it. You’ll own the market.

        2. avatar Dracon1201 says:

          This isn’t 1/2 moa accurate, it’s 1/2moa with carefully selected (unnumbered) groups printed using match grade ammo. Give me a day and I’ll cherry pick a SCAR H group that rivals that. Does that mean the SCAR H is <1moa shooter, no, just like this isn't. It's accurate, but building a sub 1 moa AR10 isn't that hard nowadays. I can do it. I've done it before in my 20", 18", and 12.5" Gen1 AR10s (That all work perfectly) They aren't group chasers like an M1A.

        3. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Dracon1201, no sir, I apologize if the article was unclear, but I shot multiple groups, 20 rounds total for that 1/2MOA at that group size. The worst any store bought ammunition shot was .75″ at 100 yards for five round groups. 60 rounds of the most common ammunition I could find in this caliber shot .75″ groups as the worst groups it shot. It shot .5″ as its best, but again, with multiple groups.

        4. avatar Dracon1201 says:

          That makes more sense, then. An accurate rifle for sure. Thanks for the clarification, JWT.

      2. avatar Gunrunner says:

        With the right ammo (168-175gr), my SCAR 17 with Geis. trigger will shoot .75″ and better no problem and I’m not any kind of exceptional shooter.

        1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

          Exactly, that’s why you got the better rifle.

        2. avatar Accur81 says:

          Your SCAR shoots more accurately than any I’ve ever seen, then. Most are 1.5 to maybe 1.0 MOA under optimal conditions.

  3. avatar Mikeoregon says:

    As a lefty,( left-handed, not the parasitic coward kind) I got a pre-approval to purchase a AR10 when or if anyone made a left-handed model. So I’m picking up a Stag 10L as soon as they hit a gun store near me. Then I intend to build a upper in either.260 Rem. Or 6.5 Creedmore, I haven’t quite decided. I can make a case either way, leaning slightly towards the .260 Rem.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Have you found a true left handed AR10? That is, ejection port on the left side?

      1. avatar Mikeoregon says:

        Stag arms will be releasing a truly left-handed AR10 soon, Their Facebook page said July and recently posted a picture of a left-hand upper ready for anodizing.

    2. avatar Will from Oregon says:

      I’m wrong-handed as well and I’ve never had any issues with my Ruger SR-762. As long as you have the gas block adjusted correctly ejection in a non issue. if you have it dialed up too much you might end up with a .308 headstamp on your cheek though

      1. avatar Mikeoregon says:

        I’ve owned a shot many right hand long guns over the years, I bought two left-handed bolt guns then I traded my Bushmaster for a Stag left-handed one, mostly just to mess with my shooting buddy’s. So why not get what’s made for me?

        1. avatar Will from Oregon says:

          I can’t fault your logic there sir, I mostly went with the Ruger because of an incurable case of Ruger fanboyism and the fact that its a piston AR-10 at an otherwise untouchable price point

  4. avatar GS650G says:

    Not in .308?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Yes, it is available in .308. 6.5Creedmoor as reviewed.

  5. avatar Tim says:

    Jeebus Hosephat, what do you need with a $3,000 AR-10 chambered in 6.5 creedmore?!??

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Me? Deer at 600 yards, pigs and song dogs at 1,000. Or any of those at 25.

      1. avatar Kaban says:

        Hm, I really envy shooting ability of a person who routinely whacks deer at 600y 🙂

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          600 is still rare for me, but 400 to 500 is common. That’s becasue the field I hunt the most from is 400 yards at the near side and 500 yards at the far side.

        2. avatar Tim says:

          ‘600 yards’ my ass. He can’t even see past 300 yards. Anything ‘hit’ beyond that is purely accidental.

        3. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

          The yardages are impressive. Even more impressive is the sheer numbers of Taylor’s “Me”‘s and “I”‘s. His daily accomplishments are well chronicled. Very Obama-esque. Strange though this article did not include one of his male-version-of-Liberte-Austin-Instagram-face-pics.

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Poser, come on now, you known darn well it’s not the pics of my face you keep asking for. #myeyesareuphere

        5. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

          ??

    2. avatar Will says:

      Need?

      1. avatar SouthAl says:

        My thoughts too. If I must find a need; I need it to fill space in my safe, to take to the range, to lessen the amount of disposable income I have, to make empty brass, to satisfy my want, for none of anyone’s business, to make my wife angry (that I spent that much), etc.

  6. avatar Kaban says:

    Kind of suprised those handloads did not fare well. Picky chamber issue maybe?

  7. But but but…the operators at ArfCom used to shame guys that mentioned .338 Lapua. Now they ridicule guys that show interest in the 6.5 Creedmoor.
    I had to tell them I ring steel at a mile and a half with my .308 just to be part of the team.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Pfffft. jwtaylor shoots hogs at 10,000 yards.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “I had to tell them I ring steel at a mile and a half with my .308 just to be part of the team”
      Me too, I just didn’t tell them how big the steel was.

  8. avatar John says:

    The 6.5 CM engraved on the receiver confused me for a second as I nearly instantly visualized it as 2 1/2 inches.

  9. avatar Brandon says:

    Well, looks like I finally need to get that GAP10 from GA Precision that I’ve been looking at and review it. Price tag is the same, some features seem better, some worse than the WC, but they seem like worthy competitors. Maybe TTAG can get one and see it to me for T/E.

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    1/2 inch groups with a gas gun and factory ammo? Dang. That’s impressive.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      It would be a lot more impressive at $1500.

      Ever get your Ruger American in 6.5 sorted out, Mr. Tom?

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I did. Ruger customer service rocks.
        And after I got it back, I put a new trigger on it. (Review coming)
        It came from the company set at 8 ounces. It’s a dream.

        1. avatar Matt in SC says:

          What was wrong with it? Just got one end of last month. One range trip and 100 rounds through it so far. Other than the bolt cycling kinda stiff mines good so far.

  11. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    Esoterica

  12. avatar jimmy james says:

    Too bad $1000 of the MSRP is just because it says Wilson Combat, otherwise it almost makes sense. PSA was or is selling a 308 PA-10 for $700. I have one and it will ring steel out to 1000yds all day long.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I’d love to review it.

  13. avatar Accur81 says:

    In my opinion, WC makes the most accurate high end ARs on the market. I’ve seen honest 3/4 MOA with factory ammo, but not 1/2. If I had an extra 3 grand, I’d buy one. Those Hornady rounds are legit in 6.5. I have to soldier on with my olde school Eagle Eye .308.

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