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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|Overall Length||39.25 – 42.75″|
|Length of Pull||12 – 15.50″|
Are you a fan of Ruger’s Precision Rifles? What is your favorite caliber? Share your answers in the comment section.
Major 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