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?
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.
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
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.