Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 Nato RPR Review

Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 Nato RPR Review

Ruger shocked and stunned everyone when they introduced the Ruger Precision Rifle dubbed RPR for short. It was a rifle that featured loaded top end upgrades all in a rifle that can actually print tiny groups and retails for around $1500 on the street… and now they offer this great gun in .223/5.56 NATO and it can freaking shoot.

The Ruger Precision Rifle is competition killer in the factory precision rifle market from a number of perspectives. It includes everything you could possibly want on a custom target rifle and if you do want to upgrade the design the grip, buttstock, forend and selector are all AR15 compatible items. Swapping out triggers is easy as well and rebarreling to one of the many aftermarket options only requires a barrel block and some leverage.

It is all included - billet precision chassis, fully adjustable buttstock, folding stock adapter, AR compatible safety, outstanding factory trigger, tri-lug style bolt, free floated AR15 compatible forend, and AICS compatible box fed magazine. Ruger offered the RPR in .308 and .243 (now discontinued), but they have also kept up with the competitive precision shooting markets demand for 6.5mm Creedmore and 6mm Creedmore. Now of course Ruger has the RPR in the insanely cheap to shoot .223/5.56 Nato chambering.

Bushnell ERS First Focal Plane
Optic is the perfect optic to take
advantage of the
accuracy potential of this rifle
Sure the .308, .243, and Creedmore rounds are fun to shoot, but there are a lot of us who want a “trainer” gun that feels and shoots like our precision gun, but does it at greatly reduced per round price. Maybe there are even a few of us that just want a really accurate .223 bolt action that still feels like a full sized rifle. Though the 6.5 and 6mm Creedmore rounds are “the new .308” and can do everything in a hunt the .308 can, I will say first hand that 6.5 Creedmore are not cheap to shoot by any means. Now we have the .223/5.56 Nato Ruger Precision Rifle which is a delightful duplicate of the other models that you can shoot all day long without a sore shoulder or emptying your wallet.

Without question, varmint hunters are going to love the exceptionally accurate .223 RPR, however I believe this is going to become a hit with two other types of customers - customers who want a trainer for their larger bore guns, and customers who want a precision rifle that “feels” like their AR15 and shoots the same caliber.

As a trainer, even if the Ruger .223 Precision Rifle is only used to practice trigger pull, grip, shooting position, general marksmanship tactics and perhaps hammer a few critters in the process, the gun would pay for itself in ammo savings in only a few thousand rounds. Really, I have to tell you those insanely accurate Hornady 6.5 Creedmore ELD Match rounds are not cheap. The Hornady .223 equivalent are half the price of 6.5CM and a good reload recipe could deliver further savings. This is the category I fall into; wanting a training gun that will allow me to fiddle around with shots and shooting positions to find my sweet spot all without blasting $2 rounds down range. There are a lot of range days that we want to “feel like we are shooting the big gun” or are training a new shooter but just do not want to shell out the cash.

I have a lot of friends in the other category of potential .223 RPR owner who do not want to add managing yet another caliber to their firearm inventory. For them the huge selection of .223 ammo for match, plinking, hogs, and other game is enough. The price point, precision, and user friendly nature of the .223 RPR makes it a perfect fit for these shooters.

Most would expect that the .223/5.56 NATO Ruger Precision Rifle would duplicate the larger calibers in size, length and weight and it does. In fact this rifle is exactly the same weight as the .308 model. Ruger did go with a .223/5.56 NATO chambering presumably some type of .223 Wylde chamber which Ruger notes is completely cross compatible between the calibers. Ruger has really set up this smaller caliber RPR to extend the precision range with a 5 gove 1:7 rifling to stabilize heavy longer bullets better. One feature which I really liked on the original larger caliber rifles was that they were cross compatible between Magpul LR20 and AICS magazines.

The .223 is not and is only compatible with Remington Short Action .223 AICS size magazines. Personally this is disappointing that I cannot run any of the hundreds of GI spec AR 15 magazines on this gun. There would be some real cross compatibility advantages to that in the field, but alas the Ruger only feeds from AICS mags. The reason Ruger went with the much more expensive AICS sized magazines was to allow round with 77gr or heavier .223 bullets to fit, function and feed. If you are going to create a precision rifle, then I suppose the compromise you should be able to shoot the best heavy bullet you want.

The trigger on this unit was not as good as previous RPR triggers I have tested. Our primary tester jokingly noted that the trigger felt like Ruger’s three stage trigger. There was a noticeable second stage before the third stage break. In this case, I would say a Timney trigger upgrade is in order.

As with all the other Ruger Precision Rifles, the .223 model is also a tack driving ½ MOA gun with the right match ammo. We tested a number of .223 Hornady and Federal rounds including Hornady 68gr, 75gr, and TAP 55gr, PMC Bronze 55gr, Federal Match 68gr Sierra Match King, and standard M855 steel core penetrator rounds. The Ruger Precision Rifle performs its best with high grade match ammo. The best two 100-yard groups were Federal SMK 68gr .383”, and Hornady Match 75gr. at .375”. Notable the Federal SMK 68gr round was the clear accuracy favorite in our test averaging .453” across all three of the three-round groups.

100-yard Groups
Federal Match 68gr Sierra Match King - .437”, .383”, .54”
Hornady 68gr Match - .602”, .687”, .531”
Hornady 75gr - .743”, .375”, .773”
Hornady TAP 55gr - .700”, .756”, .649”
PMC Bronze 55gr - 1.908”, 1.717”, 1.386”
GI standard M855 - 2.49”, 2.81”, .699” - Not really sure what to make of this inconsistency

Sure were were able to punch some plinking grade groups with PMC Bronze and the M855 Steel Core rounds were about the same, but feed the RPR the right high grade match ammo and suddenly you are greeted with considerably better than ½” groups at 100-yards. The Federal 69gr Sierra Match King rounds consistently delivered the best groups. Unfortunately we did not have any 77gr rounds to test with.

In my reviews of the first RPR, I asked where my .223 version was and Ruger delivered. The total Ruger Precision Rifle package adds up to a gun which shoots extremely well, is stunningly accurate for the price and is loaded with pretty much everything you could want in a precision rifle for far less than any other offering on the market. 

Ruger… simply amazing gun for the price… now where is my rimfire variant?

Stock Folding, Adjustable Length of Pull and Comb Height
Barrel Length 20"
Barrel Cold Hammer-Forged, 5R Rifling
Handguard Ruger Precision Rifle™ Short-Action
Twist 1:7" RH
Grooves 5
Weight 9.8 lb.
Capacity 10
Height 7.30"
Overall Length 39.25"-42.75"
Length of Pull 12" - 15.50"
Folded Length 31.60"
Width 3.30"
Suggested Retail $1599.00

  • 5.56 NATO "Target" chamber safely accommodates 5.56 NATO cartridges while providing maximum projectile control and accuracy for both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem cartridges.
  • Medium-contour barrel features a Ruger Precision Rifle® Hybrid Muzzle Brake to effectively reduce recoil while minimizing noise and blast to the sides of the shooter (thread protector included).
  • Cold hammer-forged 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel with 5R Rifling at minimum bore and groove dimensions, minimum headspace and centralized chamber.
  • 20 MOA Picatinny rail secured with four, #8-40 screws for increased long-range elevation capabilities.
  • "Upper" receiver and one-piece bolt are precision CNC-machined from pre-hardened 4140 chrome-moly steel to minimize distortion.
  • Three-lug bolt with 70° throw features dual cocking cams and a smooth-running, full diameter bolt body.
  • In-line recoil path manages recoil directly from the rear of the receiver to the buttstock, not through a traditional bedding system, providing maximum accuracy potential.
  • Ruger® Precision MSR stock with QD sling attachment points features a bottom Picatinny rail and soft rubber buttpad. The left-folding stock hinge is attached to an AR-style buffer tube and accepts any AR-style stock. Length of pull and comb height are adjustable.
  • Equipped with a Ruger Precision Rifle® Short-Action Handguard for improved scope clearance for long-range scopes.
  • Magazine well front is contoured for a positive grip for bracing against shooting supports.
  • Oversized bolt handle for positive bolt manipulation, with 5/16"-24 thread for easy replacement. Bolt disassembly tool is stored in the bolt shroud for easy striker channel cleaning. Also features a Ruger Precision Rifle™ Billet Aluminum Bolt Shroud.
  • "Lower" magazine well halves are precision machined from aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminum and are Type III hard coat anodized for maximum durability.
  • Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger is externally adjustable with a pull weight range of 2.25 to 5.0 lbs.; wrench is stored in the bolt shroud.
  • Extended trigger-reach AR-style grip and 45° reversible safety selector. May be configured with any AR-style grip and selector.
  • Barrels can be easily replaced by a competent gunsmith using AR-style wrenches and headspace gauges.
  • Also includes: Two, 10-round, Ruger AI-Style Precision Rifle magazines compatible with longer, higher ballistic coefficient projectiles.


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Ron said...

Now that we have a Ruger Precision rifle in 5.56. Its only a matter of time until an aftermarket barrel maker chambers a 22 nosler barrel for this rifle.


I'm up in Alaska , I'll be field testing my 223 version this fall.


Hmmmm hope this isn't a second/repeat comment......anyway I just got my RPR in 223 . I'll try and field test this fall as the weather drops. There will be several variations on equipment. Scope will be a shepherd p3 3x10x40. American defense mount, a radius range finder. And and YHME Phamtom suppressor. ventually as far the sale of ,more guns, then I'll put on the NVG CLIP ON.
Big plans got to get ready for the next call up

This comment has been removed by the author.
exwhiskeyhouse said...

Like you, I am quite impressed with my rifle. I topped mine with a Nightforce SHV F1. I put 20rds of Hornady Match 68gr thru it and was delivered 1/2-3/4moa groups at 100yds. Unfortunately it also gave me cratered primers on 15 of 20 rounds and pierced the primers on the other 5. I called Ruger, got an RMA number and FedEx label, shipped it on a Wednesday and had it back in under 2 weeks. They replaced the barrel, bolt bolt shroud (safety bulletin to replace anyway) and test fired. I am in the middle of moving into a new house, so I haven't had time to shoot it, but am looking forward to it. I got some 77gr and 80gr ammo loaded up :)

Unknown said...

Never mind a 22lr, where is the 300WMag?

Unknown said...

cant find any info what magazine this RPR takes 223? I am not from the US does it take p mags 10 x round 20 round 30? what about:AICM110/SR25/DPMS/M14 style?? just want looking for a mag higher than 10 + rounds info please thanks