Review: Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter

by
posted on May 27, 2024
Review Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter Lead

If you’ve ever built an AR-pattern rifle, you’ve likely passed parts with the Aero Precision label on them. As tinkerer’s tinkered, Aero quickly gained a reputation for being one of the affordable brands that was actually worth a damn. The typical conversation went to the tune of, “I’m trying to save money, so I’ll just get a receiver set from (insert junk brand here),” which would receive a response like, “Don’t get that, for a few bucks more you can get an Aero.” Aware of their reputation, Aero realized that their fans would respond if they built a premium line of products, and after shooting the SOLUS Hunter at an industry range day, I shook the collective hands of not only the engineers but the marketing team for understanding what we wanted and delivering.

Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter bolt action rifle facing right.

Aero’s SOLUS series of rifles is built off its brand-new, proprietary action. I know the “P” word evokes a bit of anxiety, and so does Aero Precision, which is why its new action exhibits the familiar and uber-popular short-action Remington 700 footprint. That means finding aftermarket parts like triggers, stocks, etc. won’t be much trouble; however, after spending some time with it, I couldn’t think of anything that would need to be upgraded.

Borrowing from their AR building experience, the SOLUS’ rail is machined into the receiver, meaning there is no possible way for it to loosen up. This becomes important during long firing sessions, as heating metal parts is the preferred way to break them free. Built with a 20-MOA slope, there shouldn’t be a need for any additional canted hardware or shimming to get the adjustment needed for conventional hunting distances.

The bolt of the SOLUS is interesting, as it features dual ejectors on a replaceable bolt head. Although bolt heads don’t really wear out, it’s a great option to future-proof yourself when the newest hot-rod cartridge is introduced. In most cases, all that would be needed is that bolt head and the appropriate barrel to chamber whatever the ammunition wizards dream up. It’s configured with three lugs, which produces a smooth, short, 60-degree bolt lift that I find more pleasant than a conventional 90-degree two-lug design. This is further aided by the oversized and removable tactical-style bolt knob. Although there is nothing wrong with the classic, the less effort needed to unlock an action, the smoother it will be right off the bat.

Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter rifle barrel.

While we give most of the feeding credit to the action, it’s important to note that unless the proper magazine system is chosen, even the best parts won’t run. Aero spared no expense in this area and designed the SOLUS to push its rounds off the top of an AICS-style detachable box magazine. Picking Accurate Mag as their supplier, my test sample included a double-stack single-feed (DSSF) metal four-rounder. Specially designed with patented feed-lips, it maximizes bolt-to-casehead contact for trouble-free operation. Holding it in place is an ambidextrous mag catch located just in front of the trigger guard. It, like the rest of the bottom metal components, is comprised of aluminum to ensure its durability under harsh field conditions.

Feeding ammunition is important, but only if it’s going into the chamber of a properly built barrel. The Hunter is designed to be the lightest of the SOLUS series. Nonetheless, it’s built with a rigid light-sendero barrel to ensure accuracy. This is simply threaded into the action, making use of its integrated recoil lug. Aero hones and polishes these at the factory, saving you the trouble and ammunition associated with a traditional break-in. As we’re learning now that button-rifling can be superior to hammer forging in many ways, they elected this as the rifling process of choice. With great attention paid to this area, Aero is comfortable offering a sub-MOA guarantee with every SOLUS rifle.

Understanding that its accurizing efforts must be able to be realized by the user, they went with a TriggerTech unit for the bang switch. I have used these in a number of rifles and have always found them to be consistent, clean and free of any creep or overtravel. Additionally, they can be adjusted without removing the stock, which saves you the trouble of re-torquing the action screws, re-settling the rifle and re-zeroing. A helpful addition would be a hole bored through the trigger guard. Then, you can crank on it with the long side of an Allen wrench instead of fishing it through and doing it two clicks at a time.

The entire assembly is dropped into a carbon-fiber stock made by AG Composites. This material provides the perfect balance of weight reduction, rigidity and weather resistance while offering all of the comfort features we would find on a target rifle. These include a Decelerator recoil pad, oversized palm swell and an adjustable cheekpiece. Excellent metal accouterments adorn this stock, such as a trio of sling studs and aluminum pillars, ensuring that the connection between it and the action remains solid.

Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter rifle butt stock.

Setting up the SOLUS was simple, as all I needed to do was add a scope and rings before hitting the range. I chose a Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10x30mm optic for its unrivaled clarity and realistic adjustment range for close to mid-range hunting. As my sample was chambered in 6.5 PRC, I found the 5x zoom ratio to be extraordinarily useful for long-range hunting, and as far as tight wood’s work is concerned, you can’t get better than 2X. Moving onto ammo, I chose loads that would meet both of those needs as well as an option for range use because the gun is too fine to be tucked away in the offseason. For the long-range game, I picked Berger’s 156-grain Outer Limits load, as it carries its punch to distant targets and beats the wind extraordinarily well. On the lighter side was Winchester’s Copper Impact load, which is great for thinner-skinned game at closer distances, particularly in lead-restricted areas. Lastly was Hornady’s Match ammo load, topped with its 147-grain ELD bullet, as this has been one of the most accurate 6.5mm-diameter bullets that I have ever tested.

Being that all of the work was done by Aero, little to no break-in period was required. I simply wiped away the packing oil with a dry patch, fired a shot, gave it one more dry patch and punched a three-shot sub-MOA group. I performed a formal accuracy test from a bench-rested position. I found the SOLUS Hunter to be pretty picky with ammunition. This isn’t really so much of a fault as it is an observation. Also, for what it’s worth, this isn’t my first 6.5 PRC to exhibit those characteristics, so a good bit of this quality lies within the chambering. However, when fed a load it likes, it’s an incredible shooter. Hornady’s Match ammo met the sub-MOA guarantee with all five groups, while Berger’s ultra-heavy load still managed to pull it off three out of five times. The SOLUS struggled with the Winchester Copper Impact, but only by comparison. Nonetheless, it was well within minute-of-antelope, even if we stretched it to 300 yards.

I finished my day by taking it through my 10-station woods walk, engaging targets from 85 to 136 yards. Overall, I found it effortless to operate and incredibly soft to shoot, even without anything screwed to the muzzle. It was the kind of gun that I wanted to shoot all day, and despite the high volume of fire, the barrel remained relatively cool, thus displaying the effectiveness of the fluting. At the end of the day, I was even more impressed with the SOLUS Hunter than I was when I first picked it up. Aero set out to show us what they were capable of, and I believe hit their mark in spades. Those looking for a well-built rifle that is rugged, dependable and utterly accurate ought to give this gun a look. Or, if you’re one of Aero’s loyal builders, consider this as your next DIY project, as the parts and tools for the SOLUS are available on the company’s website.

Aero Precision SOLUS Hunter rifle accuracy results chart with three factory ammunition loads.

Technical Specifications
Type: bolt-action centerfire rifle
Caliber: .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC (tested)
Magazine: detachable AICS-style; 4-round capacity
Barrel: 24"; 416R stainless steel; light-sendero profile; button-rifled, honed and lapped; 1:7.5" RH twist, 6 grooves; fluted; threaded ⅝"-24
Trigger: single-stage, adjustable pull weight 2 lbs., 7 ozs. to 5 lbs.,13 ozs.
Sights: none; Picatinny rail for mounting optics
Safety: two-position
Stock: AG Composite; carbon fiber; adjustable cheek riser; Carbon Black/Tan finish (tested); 13.675" LOP
Metal Finish: Elite Cerakote
Overall Length: 43.75"
Weight: 7.8 lbs.
Accessories: none
MSRP: $2,570; aeroprecisionusa.com

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