When one thinks of legendary firearms originating from Austria several companies come to mind, Steyr, Mannlicher and Glock to name a few. You can now add Ritter & Stark to that list. This innovative company comes from the Ferlach region of Carinthia, Austria’s firearm manufacturing center. Late 2016 R&S introduced its SX-1 MTR (Modular Tactical Rifle) to the U.S. market that I’ll describe as the Patek Philippe of precision tactical rifles. I had the opportunity to meet with two company executives at Shot 2017 to get a detailed overview of this impressive offering from the company.
The SX-1 MTR is the personification of excellence in engineering. Everything from its ergonomics to the materials selection is the result of several thousand hours of R&D. Ritter & Stark engineers conceived a patented barrel and caliber change system that could not be simpler, loosen three hex bolts and you’re done.
Unique to the SX-1 MTR is the disposition of its Picatinny rail. R&S beds the rail on the barrel itself rather than the receiver. This approach ensures that you can perform a barrel change with a preset optic and not need to zero.
Under the hood, the rifle’s bolt locks inside its monolithic barrel eliminating headspace issues especially at higher round counts. Anything that can reasonably be done to eliminate variances in tolerances has been done by R&S engineers maintaining an exceptional level of consistency shot to shot.
A feature that I liked immensely was the rifle’s bipod placement – in its configuration, it is utterly stable even when panning. Height is adjustable and allows to rifle to hang under the bipod lowering the system’s center of gravity increasing stability.
There’s a great deal of magic in the SX-1 MTR; however, the most significant is its barrel. The rifling is accomplished using a CNC-controlled electrochemical machine. This process avoid mechanical stresses and thermal transfer that tend to disrupt the steel’s crystal lattice resulting in microscopic irregularities that create inconsistencies in performance, with heat expansion. Ritter & Stark’s electrochemical process also delivers a barrel with a significantly higher longevity as measured by round count. The company’s testing established a barrel life of 5,000 rounds for .308 and .338 and 2,000 in .300 Win Mag. These barrels are also available in fluted or bull barrel configurations and terminated in M18x1 muzzle threads.
The company makes different magazine well adapters that can be changed by manipulating one screw with a 4mm allen wrench. This enables the SX-1 to utilize single or double stack magazines in the same caliber. The company can also produce adapters, that will fit most of the magazines on the market.
In closing, there is no lack of exceptional precision rifles on the market but the Ritter & Stark SX-1 MTR, like the Patek Philippe watch, is at the very top of that list. Process, ingenuity, functionality and engineering excellence are its hallmark and I’ll wager dollars to doughnuts that we’ll be seeing much more from this Austrian manufacturer.