Tactical Rifles: My View from Behind the Stock

Tactical Rifles, my view from behind the stock.
Tactical Rifles, my view from behind the stock.
Student of the Gun
Student of the Gun

Biloxi, Mississippi – -(Ammoland.com)- Believe it or not, I truly do try to stay away from Internet arguments or debates. Not that I'm always successful, but I do try.

Opinions offered on various blogs and forums are akin to a rectal orifice, everyone has one and they vary tremendously in olfactory quality. For that reason, when an acquaintance forwarded a video link that slammed a product built by Tactical Rifles of Zephyrhills, Florida I dismissed it and moved on with my life.

The fecal storm surrounding this video, promoted vehemently on a certain gun form, has taken on a life of its own. Therefore, I cannot with good conscience stand at the sidelines without comment.

First Experience

My first experience with Tactical Rifles was approximately ten years ago. At the time, in addition to my work as a police officer, I was writing actively for a number of firearms and LE journals. David Rooney, President/Founder, of Tactical Rifles called me up one day and asked if I had time to chat. David had recently started advertising with one of the many publishing houses for whom I wrote. The publishers had asked Mr. Rooney to send a rifle to one of their writers for a review, but David didn't want to send it off blindly to a stranger. We spoke for a half-hour or so, David asked me about my background, training, and experience with precision rifles. Essentially, Rooney was concerned with sending a custom built precision rifle to someone that might not be able to appreciate such an item. This was before I had graduated from LE Sniper School, so I related my Marine Corps training and experience and put his fears to rest. A Tactical Rifles custom M40 arrived at my FFL dealer a week later.

The rifle in question was a .308 Winchester built on a Remington 700 action. A twenty-inch barrel was free-floated into a woodland camouflage McMillan stock. Although I don't have the specs in front of me I can safely say that trigger was tuned somewhere in the 2.5 to 3 pound range. I installed a Leupold Mark IV 10x variable riflescope on the gun and headed to the range with a variety of .308 Winchester ammunition.

My plan was to zero the rifle at 100 yards and that is what I did. The target was a Birchwood Casey “Dirty Bird” bulls eye. I truly appreciate these targets as they provide an easy to view shot hole, even at distance. After perhaps a dozen rounds, I was getting very comfortable with the Tactical Rifles gun. I decided to shoot some groups for record at 100 yard. With a clean target and a 168 grain match load from Black Hills Ammunition I settle in behind the stock. I could see through the Leupold optic that my first shot was in the center ring. I fired the second round and was disappointed that I could not find a new shot hole. Clearing my head and taking several deep breaths, I pressed off the third shot. Peering through the scope it appeared that the first shot hole was a bit larger.

I cleared the rifle and took a stroll down range to get a closer view of my handiwork. When I arrived at the target I was stuck by a sense of awe. The first shot hole was now a ragged cloverleaf. All three rounds had passed through the target within one-quarter of an inch from the others. That was the first time I'd ever fired a 0.25 inch three shot group and I remember it vividly to this day.  Needless to say I was excited about my testing opportunity with the TR M40.

Jim Gilliland (far right) with Tactical Rifles M40
Jim Gilliland (far right) with Tactical Rifles M40

Read the Complete Review

Student of the Gun Radio
Student of the Gun Radio

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  • 14 thoughts on “Tactical Rifles: My View from Behind the Stock

    1. If you are supporting Tactical Rifles you have chosen to hitch your wagon not to a horse but an ass. There is a video floating around of one of their rifle builds that is lacking in quality and precision on so many levels its embarrassing. Instead of TR fixing their mistake/s they made the choice to sue others not involved. Any company can make a mistake , the way they are handled is what separates good companies form great companies. TR is neither. Anyone that support people that do poor quality work commanding premium prices and sue others for making public their handiwork is no one I would ever patronize and question their supporters judgement.

    2. Paul Markel got a free rifle from TR. He talks TR up on his podcast. Typical behind-the-scenes BS that happens…

    3. FYI Fellow readers, AmmoLand does not sell anything and this is not paid advertising for TR, there are not even any links in the page to them, they are just a newswire and you are hating on them for an opinion piece by Student of the Gun, you need to refocus your anger on the author not the messenger.

    4. Lost another customer. Why in the world would crawl in bed with these scam artists? If this is who you choose to associate with I can’t in good faith do business with you.

    5. How could you as a company endorse TacticalRifles.net? They are not a professional gun shop and their owner lacks integrity in doing business. They charge $8000.00 for a rifle that looks like it was assembled by children. That is theft in my book. I will no longer be able to visit this website due to the fact that you could support a hack company like TR.net.

    6. I’m sorry to say that I won’t be visiting ammoland.com any more. If you can support an outfit like tacticalrifles.net, how can I take anything you say here seriously. Hopefully your advertisers will will take a similar stand and pull their ads. If they do, perhaps tacticalrifles.net can pick up the slack since you are so buddy-buddy with them.

    7. Thanks for now giving me a good reason to stay away from Ammoland 🙂

      Tactical Rifles is the laughing stock of the precision custom rifle world… they are absolutely horrid and borderline a scam outfit.

    8. seriously? ammoland is advertising for TR.net? that’s a big no-no in my books. It’s well documented all over the web of their business practice and inferior products.

    9. Student of the Gun, huh? Sounds like you need to go meet Teacher of the Gun. Are you serious? How in heck can you sit there and whitewash all those issues that are clear as day in the photographs?

      Who gives a damn what YOUR experience was, you are not the one making
      the complaint, Jack. The guy spends $8600, gets that piece of garbage that he should probably use to dig fence post holes, and you want to discredit him? You are such an ASS.

      I will not be reading another one of your columns or listen to another broadcast. You can forget it.

    10. How was the video promoted vehemently ? It has been up for 2 years and the owner of the rifle started the thread, email TR before it was posted. We did not promote it, it promoted itself as truth.

      Also you try doing your homework, threads like


      Owner, Invoices, Emails, Pictures, exchanges


      Another owner …

      David Rooney is playing you and playing a victim, meanwhile the evidence of him sicking lawyers on people, being abusive to customer complaints is easy to find online, with direct interactions posted. What’s next a YouTube video of him crying, he is playing the public, he knows the truth and is trying to have it erased rather than fix the problems.

      This is about the truth of the matter, and the truth is, he has issues he refuses to correct

    11. As a fan of your show and site, I must respectfully ask you to read the posts at snipershide.com that caused the furor. I don’ t doubt your positive experience with TR products, but I believe the rifles you shot were assembled by a gunsmith that has since departed. Over the past couple of years several customers posted negative experiences with TR rifles at snipershide and other forums. And the customer service experience was just as negative.
      Please read those and see if your opinion remains the same.

    Comments are closed.