REVIEW: Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 NATO

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Following the success of its bigger brothers, this new package from Ruger is sure to find a host of fans. Read alll about it HERE

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

by Major Pandemic

Ruger shocked and stunned everyone when they 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 $1500 on the street…and now they offer this great gun in .223/5.56 NATO.

The Ruger Precision Rifle is 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 and if you do want to upgrade the design the grip, buttstock, forend, and selector are all AR15-compatible items. Swapping out triggers is easy as well and rebarreling to one of the many aftermarket options only requires a barrel block and some leverage.

It is all included — billet precision chassis, fully adjustable buttstock, folding stock adapter, outstanding factory trigger, tri-lug style bolt, free floated AR15-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 Creedmore and 6mm Creedmore. Now of course Ruger has the RPR in the insanely cheap to shoot .223/5.56 NATO chambering.

RPR stock
A folding fully adjustbable stock make this one of the most comfortable out-of-the box rifles.

FINALLY… ALL THE RPR OWNERS SAID
Sure the .308, .243, and Creedmore 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 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. 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.

RPR mounts
Included in the box are a QD and picatinny mount.

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 AR15 and shoots the same caliber.

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

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 Creedmore ELD Match rounds are not cheap. The Hornady .223 equivalent are 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.

I have a lot of friends in the other category of potential .223 RPR owner 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.

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

FEATURES OF NOTE
Most would expect that the .223/5.56 NATO Ruger Precision Rifle would 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 gove 1:7 rifling to stabilize heavy longer bullets better. One feature which 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, and is only compatible with Remington Short Action .223 AICS size magazines. Personally this is disappointing that I cannot run any of the hundreds of GI spec AR 15 magazines 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 round with 77gr or heavier .223 bullets to fit, function and feed. If you are going to create a precision rifle, then I suppose the compromise 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 have tested. Our primary tester jokingly noted that 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.

Bushnell Elite
A Bushnell Elite helped deliver crystal clear images downrange.

ACCURACY TEST
As with all the other Ruger Precision Rifles, the .223 model is also a tack driving 1/2-MOA gun with the right match ammo. We tested a number of .223 Hornady and Federal rounds including Hornady 68gr, 75gr, and TAP 55gr, PMC Bronze 55gr, Federal Match 68gr Sierra Match King, 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 68gr .383-in., and Hornady Match 75gr. at .375-in.. Notable the Federal SMK 68gr round was the clear accuracy favorite in our test averaging .453-in. across all three of the three-round groups.

Sure were were able to punch some plinking grade groups with PMC Bronze and the M855 Steel Core rounds were about the same, but feed the RPR the right high grade match ammo and suddenly you are greeted with considerably better than 1/2-in. groups at 100-yards. The Federal 69gr Sierra Match King rounds consistently delivered the best groups. Unfortunately we did not have any 77gr rounds to test with.

RPR TARGET

RPR TARGET

RPR TARGET

RPR accuracy test

FINAL THOUGHTS
In my reviews of the first RPR, I asked where my .223 version was and Ruger delivered. The total Ruger Precision Rifle package adds up to a gun which 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…simply amazing gun for the price…now where is my rimfire variant?

RPR specs

LEARN MORE HERE

Check out ammo HERE

Major Pandemic

[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. Click HERE to learn more.]

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