In my opinion, bullpups are the future. For those that don’t know what a bullpup is, this is a term for a firearm with an action and firing mechanism that is located behind the trigger. They do everything better than the conventional rifle platform by being shorter, more maneuverable, concealable, and consequently, versatile. Desert Tech is a top dog in this niche market that is constantly releasing innovative and quality products: and I have their newest release, the MDRX (Micro Dynamic Rifle Extreme) in 6.5 Creedmoor. Many of you have likely heard of their all-too-familiar MDR already. Well, this new MDRX is basically the same rifle, but improved. How so? Let’s dive into the details!
MDR vs MDRX
The MDR and MDRX are so similar that you can interchange any part between the two. This includes barrels, handguards, and the likes. That said, they are not identical: The MDRX has an improved trigger over its predecessor. This improved trigger has a lighter trigger pull and less creep. This revised model also features a stronger polymer resin that is more resistant to high-impact falls. And because the MDRX is designed to be a workhorse battle rifle, they also improved gas block drainage for better performance in mud and water submersion testing.
The MDRX retains the MDR’s ability to be converted between 223 Remington, 300 BLK, 308 Win. and now, 6.5 Creedmoor. Yes, you are correct in noticing that this is a mixture of small and large frame calibers. This ability alone makes the MDRX very unique and adaptable. And that is without noting that there are aftermarket barrel options.
This new offering also provides another unique option with the MDRX SE which is a side ejecting model. This is for those of you who prefer the simpler, or more conventional ejection system over the MDRX’s forward eject. As with the MDRX, the MDRX SE can be configured to eject on either the left or right side by simply rotating the bolt 180 degrees and swapping the ejection port cover, allowing the gun to be comfortably operated by either right-handers and/or our beloved wrong-handed.
Examining the MDRX
Starting from the beginning, the MDRX is a bullpup, semi-auto rifle that can be configured to fire 223, 300 BLK, 308 Win., and 6.5 Creedmoor at the moment. It takes your standard AR magazines and is totally ambidextrous. Because it’s a bullpup, the MDRX can have a longer barrel than your standard rifle while still maintaining the same length, or even being shorter than said rifle. This gives you the advantage of additional velocity, which is great for hunters, long-range shooters, or military (sometimes a few inches on the barrel is the difference between defeating body armor or not).
Some would question the ergonomics of the MDRX because they have never handled a similar firearm, but I assure you that everything feels natural and all controls are operated familiarly. To release the magazine, you can hit a mag release with your pointer finger, located on either side of the gun above the trigger guard. You can also release the magazine with a button located in front of the magwell; this can be decided by the user based on what feels/works best for them when training with it. A similar trend of options can be seen with the bolt catch. You can drop the bolt using a lever at the rear of the magwell, or slap the charging handle down and continue blasting away. Again, choose whichever method you prefer.
Adjusting the gas block on the MDRX’s short-stroke piston system is great for tuning your particular rifle to specific ammunition, or decreasing gas for use with a suppressor. Thankfully, doing this is also simple. All it takes is a screwdriver, bullet tip, allen wrench, or some other tool to rotate the gas selector to the desired position. Now, you can even access this gas selector without removing the handguard, unlike with the MDR. Total, there are 6 different gas options that you can use to fine-tune your unique setup.
As always, the trigger on this bullpup is going to be a source of a lot of questions and a bit of concern. After firing several hundred rounds through the MDRX, I became familiar with how it felt. I would compare it to your typical mil-spec trigger in any AR15 except it’s lighter than a mil-spec AR.. There is a bit of creep with a slightly mushy break at 4.5 pounds (measured with my Wheeler Trigger Pull Gauge). The trigger reset is very crisp though.
If you don’t know, there is a lot of challenges for engineers to design a streamlined trigger linkage that provides a crisp and light trigger pull safely. Typically, bullpup triggers are on the heavy side so they do not fire when dropped or jostled just right, and being designed as a battle rifle, the MDRX follows this trend. Even though it sounds like I just bashed the trigger on the MDRX, I would place it above most semi-auto bullpup triggers that I have used.
Disassembly and Barrel Swapping
Because the MDRX has been designed to easily convert between calibers and swap barrel lengths, the barrel is extremely easy to remove. Simply loosen the two screws on the side of the gun in front of the ejection port, rotate the barrel lock next to these screws and slide the barrel out of the action. You can also remove the handguard in a similar fashion. loosen the Torx head screws on either side of the handguard and then punch the pin on the underside of the handguard through. Then just pull the handguard off. You can also remove ejection port covers and bolt in a similarly simplistic manner.
I rigged up the MDRX with a 4.5-27×50 Meopta Optika6 and set out my target at 103 yards, measured with a Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W. I then fired several 5 shot groups with a handful of different ammunition types. Below, you can see the average groups from Hornady Match 147 grain ELD-M, Hornady Match 140 grain ELD-M, Hornady American Gunner 140 grain BTHP, Hornady 143 grain Precision Hunter ELD-X, and 130 grainPrime BTHP. Even across the 130-147 grain weight range, my results were pretty consistent in hovering around 1 MOA, which is what Desert Tech claims for the MDRX on their website.
Desert Tech’s Warranty
Desert Tech’s warranty will allow you to return your firearm and get it fixed or replaced at no expense. This will cover any kind of defect in barrels, conversion kits, and firearms from manufacturing or materials for the lifetime of the firearm, regardless of ownership. However, there are some exclusions to what they will cover: they will not cover firearms that have been modified, had aftermarket parts installed, has not been properly maintained or been damaged by high-pressure ammunition or reloads. This warranty applies to any customer in the U.S.A or Canada.
Specifications and Features
- caliber options: 223 Remington, 300 Blackout, 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor
The following specs are for the 6.5 Creedmoor conversion
- 20″ barrel
- 1:8 twist
- 30″ total length
- 5/8×24 TPI muzzle threads
- 20 round mag included
- accepts SR25 magazines
- 4.7 – 4.5 pound 2-stage trigger
- 9.2 pounds (12 pounds as seen in pictures)
- swappable forward eject
- short-stroke piston operated
- 6 gas block settings (includes suppressor setting)
- ambidextrous controls
- last round bolt hold
- starts at $2,099.98 MSRP
I really enjoyed my time with Desert Tech MDRX. The rifle is a prime example of human ingenuity and true innovation. Not only is it unique, but it fills the role that it was designed for perfectly. The MDRX is the ultimate battle rifle because it is short and mobile without giving up barrel length and the accompanying velocity. A longer barrel will also emit less muzzle flash than a shorter comparator which is important for staying concealed.
If you are looking for a hunting rifle, I realize that all points I just made are moot. That said, in light of current events it is becoming increasingly apparent why the second amendment exists. I (and others) would concur that a battle rifle is important to have and to train with, in hopes that you never have to use it to defend yourself and your beliefs. And if it means much to you, I would depend on the MDRX for this purpose and it would be high on my list of preferences.
Learn more about the MDRX and Desert Tech by clicking HERE!