Range Report: Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 RPR

Close up of the receiver on the Ruger Precision Rifle RPR

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.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (22)

  1. hello I am the new owner of a ruger precision rifle .223 over in Europe. I see there is some issues with the magazine compatibility of the rpr 223. to get to the point does it take a P MAG 30? round magazine I am looking for a higher capacity magazine greater that 10x before all the questions why I just do end of. what would happen if you fit in a p mag magpul 223 556 30x rounder does it fit? would it chamber? what a bout ope bolt last feed? please explain us European have not the info on this thanks.

    1. John Be – The RPR uses the AI (Accuracy International) style magazine. It is not compatible with the normal MagPul magazine. You will want to look specifically for magazines that are AI compatable. Magpul does make them, but they are more difficult to locate.

  2. @Stuart Good to know about the 77 gr SMKs, Hornady just released a great 223 bullet, the 88gr ELD Match, I am curious about how the RPR will do with an 88gr bullet. Not sure about twist rates (1:7) with an 88 grain.
    Can’t wait until my RPR shows up!

  3. Okay time to cut the BULL! Why would you say in “Range Report: Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 RPR” that the 6.5 Creedmore and the 6 Creedmore can take any animal the 308 can? I have reloaded since the mid 80s and commercially since 1990. Not even close is my say!

    6.5 mm has a good bullet selection from 87 to 160 gr and could possibly take most game up to the Mule Deer and Elk, but is very minimal in the Black Bear category and not what I would use on Grizz at all And most of the reload specs I have seen on 6.5 Creedmore do not go over 140 gr. 160 gr balances better at long flight in the 6.5 Swede as well as the infamous 6.5 Carcano, and yes they can be shot with the correct load in a good gun!

    But the 6mm Creedmore is very lacking on bullet weight, you have from 55 gr up to 110 gr, not a mid-weight hitter at all! Please do not tell people that these 6 tp 6.5 mm calibers are equal to the 308! It just ain’t so!

    1. @Chet – First I recommend you learn to spell “Creedmoor”; that way you can do a proper Google search that will undoubtedly return the thousands of posted results by actual hunters that have confirmed the Creedmoor “can do everything in a hunt the .308 can.”

    2. My misspelling does not count out the fact that the Creedmoor is not up to hunting Big Brown Bears or Moose. I have seen calibers come and go. Every one hypes the new calibers, but time will prove them out.

      The military has already given up on the “Creedmoors” and several police departments have dropped them as well.

    3. @ Chet,

      In other words you didn’t do any research. Because I know if you had done so, you would have found hundreds upon hundreds of posts where hunters are in-fact taking down, “Big Brown Bears or Moose” with their Creedmoor caliber rifles.

      While the hunting round selection/load is always important, any experienced hunter will tell you there is far more to it than just the round itself. It is knowing shot placement based on each animal type and skill getting the round placed where it is most effective.

      The Creedmoor aptly does this job every bit as well as a .308 in the hands of a knowledgeable hunter. And given the Creedmoor’s irrefutably documented accuracy beyond the .308, often it becomes the preferred round by hunters that have mastered it.

      As for your military and law enforcement comment – having a career in both law enforcement and as a Military Reservist (concurrently), I can speak for both and tell you we simply don’t shoot that many “Big Brown Bears or Moose”. In other words, our needs are completely different which renders your analogy to be quite silly.

      Despite that, I can tell you that aside from some ongoing testing of this round, law enforcement never had to “dropped it” because they never adopted the 6.5 to begin with. The reason being is our snipers rarely find themselves engaging targets beyond 100 yards and therefore would never have a need to fully acquire such a weapon platform for such a round.

      The military also never adopted this round; however it is still very much interested in its capabilities and thus continues its active testing to date. Therefore in no way, shape, or form was it accurate of you to state the military has “already given up” on this caliber.

      I implore you to do some actual and extensive research before you continue to assert opinions into things you are obviously not capable of accurately commenting on.

  4. To start with i dont have the ruger…. i do have the diamonback …223/5.56 ……. and i love it…… i have a nikon 3x9x40 with bdc….. and i love it….. i found for hunting the 64 grain works thw best for me….. i know its not a ruger but being on disability the money only goes so far….. it is an ar style weapon….. very light and with neck and back issues that is a plus…. thx.. charlea

  5. I have the RPR in 6.5 Creedmore and was able to achieve a .8″ group at 300 yards with my handloads using Hornady ELD Match bullets. Awesome rifle for the price.


  7. Which optics did you use for this setup? Which Timney trigger upgrade do you recommend? Thanks.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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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