Bullpups don’t always get a lot of love for reasons most people who’ve shot them already know. First and foremost, their triggers are uniformly awful. That’s because of all the linkage required between the trigger itself and the sear that’s located all the way back behind the magazine…which is under your chin.
That magazine placement results in the second biggest gripe bullpup detractors have: slow and awkward magazine changes. Those two factors — not to mention the fact that bullpups are generally heavier — are a lot to overcome, even though the bullpup design has a lot going for it, primarily its wonderfully compact overall length and the resulting excellent maneuverability that gives you.
So…lots of people have sworn off bullpups, or never bothered trying one in the first place. And when TTAG got a chance to visit Desert Tech’s facility in Salt Lake earlier this month, we pretty much figured we knew what to expect. We might have been a little presumptuous.
Desert Tech is primarily known for two platforms, its MDRX semi-autos and its SRS bolt guns. In recent years they’ve announced a couple of other intriguing products…their Trek-22 chassis for 10/22 rifles and, most recently, the new Quattro-15 receiver that lets you use Desert Tech’s 53-round quadstack magazines in your AR.
First, we got a look at where it’s all made.
But far better than hearing about the guns and seeing them made was the drive we took out to the first rate North Springs Shooting Range near Price, Utah to give these things a try for ourselves. And shoot them we did . . .
I wanted to give the newly announced Quattro-15 a try as Desert Tech had just announced it at SHOT earlier this year.
The Quattro-15 is basically a standard AR-15 lower with a double-wide magazine well.
That well is designed to hold Desert Tech’s new Quadmag-53 53-round magazines. Yes, fifty-three rounds.
It’s a quad-stack design that enables you to carry more ammo and shoot more between mag changes.
Desert Tech says the combination of the Quattro and Quadmag-53 mags lets you can carry more ammo with slightly less weight and you can cram them in most double size magazine carriers. The lower is priced at $224.99 and the magazines are $44.99 each.
I got to try one that had a giggle switch. That’s where you really appreciate the extra magazine capacity. You’re not locked into using the Quadmags, though. You also can use standard STANAG magazines in the Quattro-15 lower by using a small adapter insert Desert Tech sells for $20.
Maybe the most fun we had was shooting the 10/22 in the Trek-22 chassis.
That’s almost more fun that it has a right to be. We were easily plinking steel at 50 and 100 yards handheld from that fun, very compact package.
When the sun went down we added an Armasight CO-Mini clip-on night vision sight that combined beautifully with the red dot.
Desert Tech Calls the MDRX the ultimate truck rifle. You can probably see why. The bullpup design crams a 16-inch barrel into an overall length of just under 28 inches. Add a can — the one below is from Huxwrx — and it’s still a very compact, packable package that tucks nicely just about anywhere in your vehicle.
Desert Tech’s micro dynamic rifle has an adjustable gas system, non-reciprocating charging handles and you have the option of either side or forward eject (depending on the model you choose) on either side of the rifle. Yes, that means the MDRX is lefty-friendly.
As for those awkward magazine changes, Desert Tech has the traditional magazine release behind the magazine well, but they’ve also engineered in mag release buttons just forward of the trigger, right where your finger expects them to be.
Desert Tech makes it easy to change calibers, too. But maybe the biggest surprise from shooting the MDRX (and later the SRS bolt guns) was how good their triggers are. Once you shoot a Desert Tech bullpup, you’ll wonder why every other bullpup maker has been downright incapable of giving you even a decent trigger pull. The Desert Tech triggers aren’t only decent, they’re downright good triggers you’d expect to get on any good traditional rifle design.
Desert Tech may call the MDRX the ultimate truck rifle, but their SRS bolt gun gives the semiauto bullpup a serious run for its money as far as I’m concerned. The SRS is Desert Tech’s precision multi-caliber rifle and we got to see what that means in action. They claim no shift in the point-of-impact from a change.
We shot a 6.5 Creedmoor SRS at 1000 yards and were consistently hitting steel. Then Desert Tech’s Jeff Wood swapped out the barrel, converting the rifle to 7mm PRC.
The barrel change was quick and simple, consisting of loosening four screws on the right side of the rifle and a locking nut on the left side (see Jeremy’s video here). Jeff then hit the same 1000-yard steel target on the first shot after the barrel change.
That was impressive.
Finally, I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to give Desert Tech’s big HTI rifle a go. Like the SRS bolt guns, it’s multi-caliber (.375 CheyTac, .408 CheyTac, or .416 Barrett are options) but this one had the .50 BMG big boy barrel on it. We were shooting steel at 600 yards.
Thank heaven and John Moses Browning the rifle had that honking Huxwrx suppressor on it to cut some of the felt recoil.
Shooting Desert Tech’s bolt guns was a real eye-opener. Not only is their precision impressive — especially when changing calibers — but it’s helped by the fact that Desert Tech has cracked the code on building bullpups with truly excellent triggers…something you just don’t see it bullpups from any other maker I can think of.