Range Report: Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 RPR

By Major Pandemic published on in General

Ruger shocked and stunned everyone when it 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 $1,500 on the street… and now, it is offering this great gun in .223/5.56 NATO.

Ruger Precision Rifle laying on a bed of rocks

The V2 Ruger Precision Rifles now include a lower profile handguard and a few extras.

The Ruger Precision Rifle is a 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. If you want to upgrade the design, the grip, buttstock, forend, and selector are all AR-15 compatible items. Swapping triggers is easy as well, and rebarreling to one of the many aftermarket options only requires a barrel block and some leverage.

Everything is included—billet precision chassis, fully-adjustable buttstock, folding stock adapter, AR compatible safety, outstanding factory trigger, tri-lug-style bolt, free-floated, AR-15 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 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor. Now, of course, Ruger has the RPR in the insanely cheap to shoot .223/5.56 NATO chambering.

Finally… All the RRP Owners Said

Sure, the .308, .243, and Creedmoor 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 a 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 Creedmoor rounds are “The new .308” and can do everything in a hunt the .308 can. I will say firsthand, the 6.5 Creedmoor is not cheap to shoot. 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.

Muzzle brake

The Included brake on the .223 is extremely effective in negating any recoil of the little round

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 AR-15 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 Creedmoor ELD Match rounds are not cheap.

The Hornady .223 equivalent is 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 owners 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.

Close up of the receiver on the Ruger Precision Rifle RPR

Just like the big brother, the .223 has the same size and feel

Features of Note

Most would expect the .223/5.56 NATO Ruger Precision Rifle to 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 grove 1:7 rifling to stabilize heavy longer bullets better.

One feature that 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; it is only compatible with Remington Short Action .223 AICS size magazines. Personally, it is disappointing that I cannot run any of the hundreds of GI spec AR-15 magazines I own 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 a round with 77-grain, or heavier .223 bullets to fit, function, and feed. If you are going to create a precision rifle, then I suppose the compromise is that 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 tested. Our primary tester jokingly noted 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.

Quick detach and picatinny mount

Included in the box are a QD and picatinny mount

Accuracy Test

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 68-grain, 75-grain, and TAP 55-grain, PMC Bronze 55-grain, Federal Match 68-grain Sierra MatchKing, 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 68-grain .383”, and Hornady Match 75-grain at .375 inch. Notable the Federal SMK 68-grain round was the clear accuracy favorite in our test averaging .453 inch across all three of the 3-round groups.

100-yard Groups

Federal Match 68-gr. Sierra MatchKing – .437”, .383”, .54”

Hornady 68-gr. Match – .602”, .687”, .531”

Hornady 75-gr. – .743”, .375”, .773”

Hornady TAP 55-gr. – .700”, .756”, .649”

PMC Bronze 55-gr. – 1.908”, 1.717”, 1.386”

GI standard M855 – 2.49”, 2.81”, .699”

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

Final Thoughts

The total Ruger Precision Rifle package adds up to a gun that 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’ RPR .223 a simply amazing gun for the price—now where is my rimfire variant?

Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 RPR
Stock Folding, Adjustable Length of Pull and Comb Height
Barrel Length 20 inches
Barrel Cold Hammer-Forged, 5R Rifling
Handguard Ruger Precision Rifle Short-Action
Twist 1:7″ RH
Grooves 5
Weight 9.8 pounds
Capacity 10
Height 7.30″
Overall Length 39.25 – 42.75″
Length of Pull 12 – 15.50″
Folded Length 31.60″
Width 3.30″

Are you a fan of Ruger’s Precision Rifles? What is your favorite caliber? Share your answers in the comment section.

Gas maskMajor Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com

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Comments (22)

  • RobNob


    What optics did you use in this setup?


  • Jeffrey Koon


    Apparently no one thought about the key-holing/fragmenting of 55 grain in a 1in7 barrel!! Yes it happens and more often than most want you to know about. I have 3 sets of paper where my mini14 shot 55 grain and each has numerous itty, bitty holes and a few sideways holes.
    Sounds like a great rifle for those wanting precision and inexpensive ammo to practice/hunt with but personally I like training with what I’m shooting so everything is exactly the same every time. (feel wise anyways)heehee


  • joefoam


    Got one of the first generation units in 308. It does everything Ruger says it will. You don’t need anything but a good optic to do some seriously accurate shooting. A low cost entry into long range shooting for us regular folks without a ton of cash.


  • Hammer


    Yeah wood like to see that in a 357 cal.! Am I rite ! Yeah heck yeah ok let’s do it ok call me!!!


    • Deplorable Robert


      Would like to see one in a 7mm.Remington Mag. What a killer that would be.


  • Bronson


    How much for a .223. I want one for hunting


  • FeMANmikey


    Looks like a small oversight. There is a picture of two boxes of 22LR with the caption reading “The rifle was accurate with a variety…”. Now if the .223 RPR shot 22 lr accurately as well, that indeed word be a heck of a rifle.


  • Edward Allen


    Would have been a better article if he included longer distance results. 100 yrds is nothing. What was the group size at 500 or 600?


  • George Dean


    Great rife, my .308 delivered .443 right out of the box with Federal Gold 168gr.


  • G-Man


    Good article. I own both the .308 (Gen 1) and the 6.5 Creedmoor (Gen 2) versions of these rifles. They are truly beautiful platforms. It was a bit disappointing to read this 5.56 model won’t accept PMAGs, but it is understandable given the “Precision Rifle” characteristic it was designed for.


  • Deplorable Robert


    Nice rifle. Would be a good thing to have one. I like the 1/7 twist barrel and the fact that it can shoot the heavier 69 and 77 grain bullets. Can NEVER have too many toys!


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