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Post-Obama-is-coming! Obama-is-coming! Now that he’s come and home defense sporting assault rifles are still for sale, black rifle mania has subsided. Gunmakers are fighting to carve up the way less manic market. In fact, there’s a black gun glut at the moment; prices are soft. But the number of people opting for the AR platform—as opposed to Ye Olde Bolt-Action rifle—is much larger than it was ‘afore. The AR is America’s rifle, and America’s gunmakers want a big ole’ piece of that pie. Enter the Ruger SR-556/6.8 . . .

It’s a new chambering in the Ruger’s SR-556 two-stage, piston-driven, AR-Style rifle. Given that the 556 fires a 5.56 round, you mighta thunk they’d a called it the SR-680. But the mysteries of corporate marketing are best left to people who can withstand five-hour meetings in which sweet FA gets decided. Anyway . . .

The new SR-556/6.8 brings the power and downrange authority of the 6.8 SPC cartridge in a two-stage piston rifle that runs cooler and cleaner than traditional gas-driven, AR-style rifles. Packaged with one five-round magazine and two twenty-five round magazines, the SR-556/6.8 is an ideal hunting rifle for those who appreciate the versatility of the customizable and ergonomic AR-style platform.

And for those who don’t! And God knows I love euphemisms. “Authority” is so much better than “killing power.” Unless you need killing power. Or want to hunt deer or antelope with 556 ammo in Wyoming. ‘Cause you can’t ’cause it’s illegal.

Here’s the here’s what you get bit:

A chrome-lined, cold hammer forged barrel provides accuracy and longevity, Troy Industries Folding BattlesightsTM, Quad Rail and rail covers add considerable value to the package, as does the Hogue® Monogrip®, six-position stock, sight adjustment tool, and the padded carry case, all included with the SR-556/6.8.

And the techie spec bit:

The SR-556/6.8 maintains the mid-length gas system and the heavy (.850”) barrel contour under the handguard of the original SR-556. The 1:10 twist barrel has a standard SAAMI 6.8 SPC chambering, is 16.12” long, is threaded 5/8-24, and is capped with the effective and distinctive Mini-14/SR-556 flash suppressor. The SR-556/6.8 weights 7.75 pounds without a magazine.

And the money shot? Same as the SR-556: $1995 msrp. Anyone care to tell us why they’d opt for 6.8 over 5.56?

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  1. Why would anyone want a 6.8 over a 5.56 you ask? It's an amazing round that delivers (almost) .243 Win. performance out of an AR-style rifle without having to go to a larger receiver or action length than an existing 5.56 AR. I've had the chance to shoot a friend's 6.8 SPC on two different occasions in the past couple of weeks and it shoots flat, accurate and far with a 90 or 110 grain bullet that bucks the wind much better than the 5.56. It uses its powder VERY efficiently in a 16 or 18" barrel.

    He was even able to use his existing 5.56 P-Mags to with the 6.8 SPC round and they functioned perfectly–including holding the bolt back on the last shot.

    The only downside I can see to the 6.8 is the cost of the ammo. My friend rolls his own for his rifle and it's still pretty expensive. This is what keeps me from committing and getting a 6.8 SPC upper for my AR just yet. Still gotta figure how to support my shooting habit without adding another buck a round caliber to the collection.

  2. Because most states won't let you hunt anything but small game with the .223 where as the 6.8 is legal for Deer in most states.

    That's not even taking ballistic properties into consideration.

  3. Armalite just released (well, re-released) a .243 chambered AR-10. It's pretty effective on deer if your state allows semi-auto rifles.

  4. Well, let me see. Why would anyone want a 6.8 rem SPC?
    A .277 cal bullet that still fits in a standard ar-15/M16 receiver/action?
    A 110g+ bullet vs. maybe 70g bullet?
    Our soldiers overseas using a .22 vs. 7.62 (in most cases)?
    A .22 bullet enter a shoulder of an enemy can come out one hand?
    An enemy can still pull the trigger with the other hand?
    By the way, to shoot that .243 (6mm) round needs a distended ar-15/m16 design.
    You can’t take the .243 upper and plug it in to a standard 223 lower.
    The 6.8 makes the AR-15, and Ruger Sr-556 6.8, a more legitamate hunting platform.
    People have taken up to elk with 6.8SPC and legal at that.
    I don’t mind paying an extra $100 per thousand for a more versitle and effective round.
    Why would anyone want to use the 6.8 rem SPC?

  5. I am going to get one. I have read the reviews til my eyes bled, and I have shot some of the ar’s at the range. I like the LWRC, and the DPMS, and R River products, but for the $ and the reputation of Ruger how can I go wrong? I will buy this, and if it doesn’t stove pipe me, or fail to eject rounds, or crap out on me when I put a lot of rounds downtown at the range on day 1 then I will buy another one. I will post back here after that happens. And, from experience-a 5.56 round kills. I agree that sometimes you need more than one or two, and I too want to increase the odds my enemy isn’t capable of killing me after he gets one. And….I will take it out back this fall and see if I can one shot kill some deer. $1/round OUCH!! But, 75 cents per reload helps my habit along. Maybe we can all go in a big order of these and get a good deal????

  6. One more thing…..Anytime the guys in the field say they really like something then I take note. They say they really like this round, and it has eliminated a lot of injuries from wounded enemy fire. That appeals to me. Now, if I can just get my accuracy fine tuned without going broke lol.

  7. Estavan,

    You might want to hold off on purchasing a Ruger SR-556 in 6.8 SPC. For whatever reason, they decided to use the older SAAMI spec chamber, rather than one of the newer chamber designs (SPC II, ARP, or Noveske). The difference is debatable (20-30 fps vs. 200 fps extra), but most will agree you can load higher pressure and therefore faster loads in one of the newer chamberings. As an example, most SAAMI factory loadings for 6.8 fall in the 2400-2500 fps range, while SSA and Wilson Combat “tactical” loads designed for the SPC II chamber hit in the 2500-2700 fps range. Rather than limit yourself to just some of the 6.8 loads available, purchase a rifle with a newer chambering to shoot the 6.8 SPC as it was originally intended.

  8. I really dig this rifle, but having spent some time and a few hundred rounds with it, I have some criticisms . The SR556 6.8’s have been a bit stripped down since late 2012. I was disappointed that it came with defective Samson Iron Sights (look it up on a ruger forum) as opposed to the originally included Troy BUIS. I convinced Ruger customer support to replace the front sight with the formerly included Troy BUIS, but they did not replace the rear (!*%#). Even though the Samson rear sight is still working, I’d obviously prefer the complete matching Troy system that practically EVERY reviewed/advertised SR556 has included/featured!
    I called them again about the rear sight and was given the impression that they’d fix the problem. Try the exact opposite: They cheaped out even worse, and sent me front and rear off-brand plastic sights that I’d sooner use with an air gun. In fact, I’ll probably sell the plastic sights to an airsoft enthusiast I know, and get the Troy Rear on eBay – but I digress…

    Other things to consider about this rifle are the fact that it is front-end heavy. There’s lots of rail realty to work with, but if you don’t plan on adding lots of accessories then that unnecessary added weight might be something to factor into your decision. I got a sling and fore grip and that helped a lot – very comfortable now. Also, the SR556 is not nearly as simple to fully disassemble as the LWRC M62 and other piston guns. This probably won’t ever be a major issue for my purposes, but it was almost a deal breaker for my Marine buddy. The only other things I might upgrade to would be a B.A.D. lever, and trijicon tripower.

    On the positive side, Ruger has apparently corrected the issues that lead to the earlier makes having problems with carrier tilt. Internal wear is no longer a serious concern.

    Ultimately this rifle is still a preferable choice if you’re looking at a piston gun (especially in 6.8 SPC). No regrets here. Overall – considering price, build quality, and performance – I would highly recommend the SR556 chambered in 6.8 SPC.


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