The Ruger Precision Rifle hit the market by storm in mid-2015, filling a latent demand for an affordably-priced, modern-looking precision bolt gun. Indeed, it ignited a whole new category of accurate rifles that bring the chassis gun look without the eye-watering chassis gun price tag.
As TTAG has already reviewed the RPR in .308 and in 6.5 Creedmoor, my review of the 5.56 or .223 or whatever hybrid chamber this RPR actually…but I digress. This review will be abbreviated. If you want to learn more about the excellent function and features of the RPR, check out the .308 or 6.5 CM reviews linked above.
So what is this thing? It’s officially marked “5.56 NATO” on the barrel and most of the paperwork, but it ain’t exactly that. Ruger’s website says, “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.” Is that a .223 Wylde? Something custom? I don’t know, but it sure can shoot.
With the superb SIG Optics TANGO6 5-30×56 scope mounted up, I proceed to shoot accuracy groups with a bipod and rear bag:
Sub-MOA all day long. Heck, I shot multiple sub-half-MOA, 5-shot groups with 77 grain Federal Gold Medal Match, and I know other shooters have had great success with the 69 grain GMM load as well. The RPR was also comfortably sub-MOA for me with 75 grain Hornady Match and 60 grain CapArms with Hornady’s V-Max projectile.
The only place it really wavered was with M855 (62 grain steel tip 5.56 NATO), where the best group I got out of it was the 1.75 MOA affair shown above. The average, though, was more like 2.5 MOA. I think it even shot a 4-inch group that day.
If you want to handload or shoot really heavy or really long bullets, go for it. The 10-round magazines have plenty of room for cartridges loaded extra long, and the barrel’s 5R rifling with a 1:7″ twist should be able to stabilize just about any 0.224″ projectile.
At the end of that 20-inch barrel is Ruger’s RPR Hybrid Muzzle Brake. Not that a 9.8-pound (before optic, bipod, etc) .223 needs much help in the recoil reduction department. Then again, there’s something to be said for a rifle so stable that you can see impacts on your target even at short ranges (i.e. 100 yards). I also didn’t find the blast or concussion of this brake to be particularly bothersome.
With the cost of .223 so low compared to most any other centerfire rifle caliber appropriate for this sort of gun and the light recoil associated with it, the 5.56/.223 Ruger Precision Rifle makes a fantastic precision trainer. For practicing the fundamentals of precision shooting and long range shooting, the RPR lets you shoot all day without bruising your shoulder or your wallet, and it has the accuracy chops to provide meaningful feedback.
Additionally, it would make a great varmint gun for taking care of pests on the ranch or for long-range coyote hunts.
If you’d rather forgo the muzzle brake, fear not, the 5.56/.223/whatever-it-is RPR ships with a thread protector as well. But wait, there’s more! Also included in the box with the two Ruger AI-pattern magazines (with dust covers) is a section of KeyMod-attach Picatinny rail, a KeyMod-attach QD sling socket, and a standard sling swivel.
There’s a heck of a lot of bolt here for .223 (or even 5.56), but it runs smoothly with its 70° throw and dual cocking cams. That makes it easy to shoot fast. A nice touch, the bolt knob is screwed on (rather than integral) and can be easily replaced with any 5/16-24 threaded, aftermarket knob.
Really, my only gripe with the RPR is the adjustment lever system on the stock. Once locked in place it was absolutely fine, but finding that sweet spot between adjustment notches after performing the actual adjusting was somewhat frustrating — they won’t lock down unless they’re over a groove rather than a land, if you will.
Other than that, in terms of customization, I suppose I’d swap the AR-15-compatible pistol grip out, throw a suppressor on its 1/2-28 threads, and call it a day. It’s a great rifle that’s incredibly accurate for a mass-produced gun. Or for any gun, really. Sub-half-minute for as low as $1,125? That’s a heck of a deal.
Specifications: Ruger Precision Rifle in 5.56/.223
Caliber: some flavor of 5.56/.223 hybrid target chamber
Capacity: 10 + 1
Trigger: Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger — externally adjustable pull weight from 2.25 to 5 lbs
Barrel: 20″ cold hammer forged 4140 steel with 1:7 twist 5R rifling, medium contour
Stock: folding, adjustable length of pull and comb height. Compatible with other AR-style stocks.
Length of Pull: 12″ to 15.5″
Overall Length: 39.25″ to 42.75″
Folded Length: 31.6″
Weight: 9.8 lbs
MSRP: $1,599 (available for $1,125 at 1800GunsAndAmmo)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy * * * * *
It hits the mark. Five-shot groups under a half inch maximum center-to-center spread at 100 yards shooting factory ammo from a mass-produced, barely over a thousand dollar rifle is five-star performance.
Ergonomics * * * *
I’d really fall in love with this thing if it had a shorter bolt throw, though 70 degrees isn’t in complaint territory. I do like the 45°, reversible safety selector, and everything else about the rifle is laid out very well. I like the stock, but the adjustment mechanism was a bit annoying.
Customize This * * * * *
The RPR arrives with the ability and parts to accommodate a good amount of custom configuration. With AR-style compatibility for stocks, grips, safety levers, and handguards, plus fairly easily-swapped barrels and a mess of KeyMod points, the RPR leaves the doors wide open for customization.
Reliability * * * * *
Hundreds of rounds of .223 and 5.56 straight out of the box without an issue at all. It ran smoothly and easily the entire time it was here.
Value * * * * *
The rifle represents a solid value for what it offers and so does the ammo it shoots. Yes sir, the value is here. The RPR is an ideal precision trainer, target gun, varmint gun, plinker, or even PRS-style competition gun.
Overall * * * * *
Honestly, I was never a fan of the Ruger Precision Rifle and I’m still not excited by it. It just doesn’t really “do it” for me. But that doesn’t change the fact that the RPR hits it out of the park in 5.56. Or .223 Wylde, or whatever it is. It’s an affordable, affordable-to-shoot, tack driver.