Odd. I've heard mixed reviews over that rifle. Can't give anything on its recoil though as I've only played with it against bots for like 10 minutes. I've only used the DSR and the XPR for anything more substantial. The Ballista does have a quicker ADS time so that might be why quite a few shots are being placed in quick succession but it doesn't have the same multipliers as the DSR, so it's a trade-off.
There's the CPU Ballistics attachment which reduces recoil. Most of the guns have little recoil but it seems SMGs and SRs are the ones that get highlighted for this. The only way to tell if you can't tell visually with which SR it is would be the sound it makes.
MW3 was a good game for having easily identifiable SR sounds as they all sounded different.