Long Term Review: GA-Precision Gladius


GA Precision offers some of the most accurate rifles and actions available.  Of course, with the amount of work that goes into each rifle, the end result costs as much or more than very high-end optics.  Their rifles have proven to be accurate, well built, and extremely consistent.  This would all be worth much less if they were not also backed up by excellent customer service and customer relations.  I first heard about GA Precision five years ago from Aaron Hughston of Hughston Shooting School, who had tried out their rifles during a course at Thunder Ranch.   Shortly thereafter, I had the opportunity to pick up a GA Precision Gladius, and have put it through its paces since then.

With scope and 10 round AICS magazine

With scope and 10 round AICS magazine

First, some background and specs of the Gladius:

The rifle itself was spec’ed out and named by Marine Scout Sniper Frank Galli of Sniper’s Hide to be a short, maneuverable, yet extremely accurate .308.  The original model did not have the Surefire muzzle brake/adaptor, just a 16″ threaded barrel with cap.  Though GAP does make its own Templar actions, the Gladius is built on a completely trued and blueprinted pillar-bedded Remington 700 action with a GA precision side bolt release and a Badger Ordnance 20MOA top rail.  Blueprinting is important with 700 actions due to the fact that they can experience a small amount of warping during the heat-treating process after they are machined.  It uses a free-floated 16″ Bartlein barrel with a 1/10 twist and 5R rifling, which I have come to prefer.  A tuned 2.5lb trigger and Badger bottom metal round things out, all mated to a Manners T2A stock with an adjustable KNW loggerhead cheekpiece.  Current MSRP sits at $4100.00, though I believe in late 2010 the going price was much lower.  Besides Frank Galli, another notable user of the GAP Gladius was the late Chris Kyle.

The thread cap fit is so precise that many people don't notice this rifle has a threaded barrel

The thread cap fit is so precise that many people don’t notice this rifle has a threaded barrel

Once I had the Gladius in hand, I opted to use a Schmidt and Bender PMII optic with the rifle.  Though 10lbs unloaded without optic, once fully equipped the Gladius was a weighty 13lbs.  Pretty heavy for a 16″ barreled .308, but the package is short and balances well.  I immediately took it to the range, though we had some howling crosswinds that week, and was duly impressed.  Using Black Hills 168gr BTHP ammunition, I was constantly getting groups to touch without much effort, and this was early on in my experience of long-range shooting.  The trigger was crisp and exactly 2.5lbs as advertised.  The stock and cheekpiece gripped well and were rock-solid.  I have fired the rifle with a suppressor on as well, and the MOA shift has always been consistent, roughly 4 MOA low depending on the particular load.  The only problems that I have ever had with the rifle have been due to a very inconsistent lot of Hornady Superformance ammunition from their first production run.  The short, rigid Bartlein barrel has done an excellent and consistent job since then in temperatures ranging from 110 degrees to 20 degrees F and at elevations form sea level to 8000ft.  Here are some range results from the GA Precision Gladius from  my DOPE book:

  • Over 2000 rounds fired with zero malfunctions, accuracy degradation, or noticeable throat erosion
  • 4 MOA low shift when shot with a Gemtech Sandstorm Suppressor
  • Best Performance without wind: Black Hills Gold 175gr BTHP:  3 shots@200y,  .0649 MOA @ 200 measured center-center, .1509 MOA edge-edge
  • Worst Performance without wind: Hornady Superformance 178gr BTHP (Early lot#, 1st production run, inconsistent velocities) 3 Shots@100y, 1.65 MOA

    Testing loads at the range

    Testing loads at the range

The best performance that I have achieved with this rifle was also the tightest group I have ever fired, period.  I was zeroing the rifle at lower elevations after being up in the mountains for a while, and fired 3 shots at 200 yards.  After firing three rounds, I looked through the optic, and thought by some error that I had completely missed the target with two shots.  It wasn’t until I got downrange and noticed the oblong hole with distinct “grease lines” that I released what a good group it was.  Of course, my witness and the only other shooter there that day was an older F-Class shooter who makes his own barrels and wildcat cartridges.  Upon measuring the group, he simply uttered “Well, it’s pretty good, but it’s no screamer…”  Such accuracy, however, is indicative of just what this rifle can achieve given the right shooter, optic, and ammunition.  I am still amazed at such accuracy with factory ammunition, which speaks volumes in respect to GAP’s excellent build quality, Bartlein’s barrels, and the quality and consistency of Black Hills ammunition.

3 shots at 200 yds for .0649 MOA (center-center)

3 shots at 200 yds: .0649 MOA (center-center)

Besides shooting at known ranges prone and off the bench, I have used the Gladius on impromptu unknown range targets from various field positions.  Its balance makes it easy to shoot from standing, kneeling, or seated positions.  I have also used the rifle to teach new shooters the basics of long-range shooting with good results.  This rifle has even stood in for a relative’s rifle that broke the day before a hunt, and despite being heavy, it got the job done with accurate, perfect shot placement.

The GA Precision Gladius, though expensive, performs at the apex of modern bolt-action rifles.  If you are looking for a custom, accurized short-barreled .308, give the Gladius a try.  You won’t be disappointed.


  • Excellent build quality
  • Excellent accuracy
  • Great customer service to back it up
  • Very comfortable, rock-solid stock
  • Short and maneuverable in thick trees and undergrowth


  • On the heavy side for hunting
  • 16″ Barrel can cause lower velocities
  • High cost


Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


  • thedonn007

    Nice write up. How much more accuracy do you get from a $4,100 rifle vs a factory Remington 700?

    • M.M.D.C.

      An amount somewhere past the point of diminishing returns.

      It would be an interesting project to chart various rifles by accuracy/cost.

      • thedonn007

        I agree. I do not know what to expect from a factory Remington 700. or the MSRP, but is it for example a $3,000 price difference for an increased accuracy of 1 MOA? I understand paying for performance, but can you get the same performance from a $2,000 rilfe vs a $4,000 rifle.

        • M.M.D.C.

          Savage offers several rifles in .308 with very good accuracy (and a few bells and whistles) between $1,000 and $2,000.

          For my purposes, not to mention my abilities, spending three grand on a half MOA would be a total waste.

        • FarmerB

          Well, I’ve had a heap of Rem 700 Tactical and Varmint rifles. They are all just “Ok” out of the box. Sure, they might only be $1000-$1200 but they are only going to shoot 1.0 to 1.5 consistently – YMMV. To make them shoot consistently around/under 1″, you probably need a new trigger (although later model Rem triggers are supposedly better), and you’ll need bedding, tuning and truing. You might be up to $2000 now. But even with all that, my last PSS wouldn’t shoot under an inch consistently – occasional group might make .75 with good hand-loads. It took a new barrel and now it shoots very well (target below from 100meters).

          If you want to get under .5″ you are going to have to dump a lot of money beyond $1K.

    • NineWays

      The difference is akin to a Nighthawk Talon vs Springfield Milspec or Salient Glock vs Factory Glock.

      Most users are as interested in the presentation as the performance.

    • Rusty S.

      Good question. There are a lot of different models of 700s chambered in .308, with an average MSRP of around $1000.00 (only 3 of those models currently come with a pic rail base). Remington offers no “MOA Guarantee” for their “stock” 700, however experience shows they usually hold around 1-1.5 MOA as I recall (pun intended). GA Precision guarantees 1/2 MOA from the Gladius The best I have achieved with mine is .0649 MOA, with an average over time of .25 MOA. Even compared to Remington’s 40X series (from their custom shop and/or Remington LE) which do come with a guarantee of 3/4 MOA, that’s still quite an increase in accuracy, and where it really starts to matter is past 400 yards. Yes, the price is in nosebleed territory, but the performance is excellent.

    • ThatGuy

      Do you want “good enough” (1.25-1 MOA) or “HOLY S#@T” (<.5 MOA) accuracy?; because a factory 700 will never offer the latter. They make excellent platforms to build upon but out of the box, they're just……meh.

    • Paul White

      Seems excellent but definitely a niche product. Still, if your’e in that niche…

  • Hellofromillinois

    “Using Black Hills 168gr BTHP ammunition, I was constantly getting groups
    to touch without much effort, and this was early on in my experience of
    long-range shooting.”

    What is long range to you? The groups mentioned later are at short ranges (100 and 200 yards) especially for a high end precision rifle with a good scope..

    • Rusty S.

      Out past 500 yards

      • Hellofromillinois

        And the groups were similar to those you mention at the shorter ranges?

        • Rusty S.

          With this particular rifle, I have only shot it on steel out past 400. But achieving center hits on plates has been pretty easy to 800.

  • Steve

    I’m sure it shoots wonderfully, but for me, groups start at 5 shots. Anyone who has tried to show off a three-shot group to their father growing up probably only did so once… =)

    Out of curiosity, what was your best 5 (or more) shot group with this rifle?

    • Rusty S.

      Agreed, going forward I use 5 shot groups for consistency in my articles, but I have dope on this rifle for 5 years, mostly in 3 shot groups. answer to your 5 shot question: .28 MOA at 100 no wind elevation 2k yds same ammo.

      • Steve

        That’ll do.

  • Phil Hsueh

    FYI, it’s muzzle brake, not break, like the brakes in your car.

    • Rusty S.

      Thanks for the catch, corrected.

      • sauerquint

        Trigger not Rigger too. “The rigger was crisp and exactly 2.5lbs as advertised.”

        • Rusty S.

          you mean this isn’t the sailing blog?

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Great writeup. I would love to see how the DT SRS-A1 Covert’s 16″ barrel stacks up to this platform. People seem to be ringing 1000 no problem.

  • Bob

    “Excellent customer service”. Not in my experience. I worked with George, the owner, twice. Never again. Guy was an a-hole, did work I did not need that did not fix my issue, and was downright awful in communicating and just plain taking care of the customer. Taste left was “I can’t be bothered, not to talk to you and not to actually solve your problem.” As said, two jobs- which were two too many. Go on over to Snipers Hide and look at some of the other reputable builders on there- I’ve worked with a few and they are leagues above this arrogant, too good for you shop. You can get the same accuracy from several different builders. Avoid this prima dona at all costs!

    • Rusty S.

      Sorry to hear you had that experience, but they have been helpful and professional in all my interactions with them.

      • Nashvone

        I’ve not had any interaction with this company but I can tell you this. When and industry journalist comes around, you pass out plenty of lip balm.

        • Bob

          That was one of my biggest gripes with the guy- he seems plenty friendly to those willing to drop 4K on a rifle, but downright dismissive and annoyed if you contact him for smith work, which he clearly advertises on his site! As said, two times too many with this guy. Would not recommend at all.

          • george Gardner

            Bob, Id love for you to share your story as I dont remember anyone getting any work done here and us not resolving the issue? I have not answered the phone here in 10 years so Im assuming this was a while back if you did infact talk to me. We have a vault full of Smithwork and have for 17 years, weve been arround for that long becouse we do take care of our customers. Please share or feel free to call the shop to discuss.

            G.A. Precision

        • Rusty S.

          In the interest of disclosure, I was not a journalist when I purchased the Gladius.

  • I have used a GA Precision “Rock” .308 rifle with a 18″ barrel based on the Remington 700 action for 8 years as a Law Enforcement SWAT sniper. GA Precision reduced the barrel length from 22″ to 18″ for greater maneuverability in various environments. GA Precision assured us the accuracy would not be affected until extreme ranges beyond 600 yards. We have found that to be absolutely true.

    I have fired thousands of rounds through that rifle, and she had at least 2 snipers before me. I am still able to make 0.50 to 0.75 MOA groups on a regular basis.

    Obviously as an law enforcement officer I have to know that my point of aim (POA) is going to equal the point of impact (POI). When a hostage is on the line, there can be no recognizable margin of error. GA Precision delivers that.

    If you’re just hunting or shooting, than I completely understand the argument for a rifle that is thousands of dollars less. When you shoot professionally, with lives on the line, you cannot afford anything less than sub-MOA accuracy. On that note, I shot the Ruger Precision Rifle at SHOT Show this year, and I fully believe this rifle ($1400) is capable of sub-MOA accuracy.

    • Rusty S.

      Thank you for your continued service to the community. I fully agree that I expect great things from the Ruger precision rifle, and I believe Mike Fifer has Ruger headed in an excellent direction.