When Ruger first announced their post an article featuring the incredible upgrades offered at such a reasonable price. However, at the time I had been unable to fire the RPR, so all of the accolades and positive features were just window dressing for the real question – how does it shoot?
Well, Ruger must have heard my frustrations, as they offered the media a chance to shoot the Ruger Precision Rifle at the Industry Day at the Range at the start of SHOT Show last Monday. I was fully expecting to see the Ruger American Pistol at their booth (which I was also able to shoot), but I was even more excited when I saw the RPR waiting to be test driven.
I was not disappointed when my turn came to get behind the Ruger American Rifle and get a real close up look and feel at what I had previously written as an outstanding mid-level sniper rifle. The features were all there, and they all performed very well. I was a little surprised to find out that the fully adjustable stock was just a slide adjustment and not the finer screw adjustment that it appeared to be from early pictures. The machined guide rods are simply to add to the RPR’s visual appeal.
The Ruger Precision Rifle is offered in .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243 Win. The model I was able to shoot was in the highly popular .308 Win., which is likely the most popular law enforcement caliber for sniper rifles. For the specifics on the Ruger Precision Rifle’s features, and specifications, check out my previous article.
SHOT SHOW 2016 UPDATE: The National Rifle Association (NRA) American Rifleman Magazine has awarded the Ruger Precision Rifle the prestigious 2016 Golden Bullseye Award for the best new rifle of 2015. This award is considered one of the highest achievements in the firearms industry, and recognizes the Ruger Precision Rifle’s significant addition to the firearms market. Read our Ruger Precision Rifle Review (click here), from SHOT Show for our own experiences with this really remarkable rifle.
Ruger Precision Rifle Set Up
If the sliding LOP adjustment, and loose bolt manipulation were the detractors to the RPR, the accuracy was not! Ruger was set up on a 100-yard range at the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club outside of Las Vegas.
The Ruger representatives had mounted a very nice Burris XTR II 4-20x50mm scope on top of the Ruger Precision Rifle. During my test firing the magnification setting was left at 10x. I did this to ensure I had enough magnification to gauge accuracy, while not going so far to be unrealistic.
Thankfully when I sat down the line of shooters was low, and there were no other shooters waiting. This allowed me to shoot more rounds down range with no pressure from waiting shooters. I took the time to make sure the LOP and comb height were just right, and then settled in behind the RPR to see what could it would do.
Ruger had a pretty standard steel upper torso target at the 100 yard line. The chest area was pretty well dotted by other shooters, which was just fine for me. I settled the crosshairs on the center of the head. Though I was not able to get a close look at the target the head portion appeared to be a 7″x7″ rounded square on top of the larger rectangular torso.
Ruger had the front of the Precision Rifle set up in a rifle rest, so I rested my off-hand on the bottom of the stock right next to my shoulder. Shooting the Ruger Precision Rifle was a very enjoyable experience. I’m sure the rifle rest contributed to that, but that was fine with me. I wanted to remove as much bad input from me as possible, so this set-up was good.
Ruger Precision Rifle Accuracy and Function
Accuracy of the Ruger Precision Rifle was stupid good! I don’t know how else to describe what I experienced, the accuracy of the rifle was just fantastic. Out of about 10 rounds I was able to fire I landed 3 shots literally right on top of each other. Two of those shots were back-to-back and caused me to pause, because I heard the steel hit, saw the target sway a bit, but could not see my hit initially.
The other shots were in a very tight grouping around the larger mark where the 3 shots on top of each other landed. I deliberately sent two shots to a different position on the steel to just confirm what I was seeing, and sure enough those shots hit very close to my point of aim (POA). I have absolutely no hesitation in stating the Ruger Precision Rifle is sub-MOA in accuracy. With good optics and using the proper foundations of precision shooting, the Ruger Precision Rifle will be a rifle that has every opportunity to reach 1/2 MOA accuracy.
For a rifle that is “mass-made” to the mid-level rifle market this is an incredible endorsement on the engineering prowess from Ruger. Although the name has “Precision”, this Ruger rifle is not classified as a “custom-built” rifle. On the contrary, Ruger is putting their Precision Rifle on the front lines of the main market. The fact that this rifle could compete with true “custom” rifles that cost 2-3 times the cost of the Ruger Precision Rifle could be a real game changer.
To be fair, as I mentioned above, the Ruger Precision Rifle bolt is a little loose for my preference. This causes the action of manipulating the bolt for case ejection and new cartridge loading a little jerky and not as smooth as I would have liked. Could it have been because the bolt was dirty from plenty of shooting, yes. I hope so. However, to be fair I need to report it to you so it can be independently evaluated by you if you choose to consider the RPR for your own use.
Fully Adjustable Stock
To adjust the length of pull (LOP) the shooter simply flips the locking pins outward and slides/guides the stock to the new position. To lock the stock into its new LOP the shooter then simply folds the locking pins down again and you’re ready to rock-n-roll. The machined slots provide the solid brackets of measurement adjustments, and locking positions. Though not as good as a fully screw adjustment system, the RPR stock is still a very nice feature.
The adjustable cheek rest worked in the same manner, and allowed the shooter to customize comb height to their needs. After flipping the locking pin out, the cheek rest simply slid up or down to accommodate the individual shooter. The cheek rest slides in an open slot, so the adjustments can be much more fine tuned than the LOP. I’m confident that almost any shooter can find a good fit from this fully adjustable stock.
Everything else was as expected. The folding stock feature is an incredible benefit for packing and carrying the RPR through tight situations, and is easily manipulated by the press of a button. The stock will not unlock to fold unless the bolt is fully closed. Adding this feature to the RPR is outstanding. Though most shooters will never really have the need for the folding stock, law enforcement snipers, and back country hunters who have to move across difficult terrain to set up for that perfect shot will benefit greatly.
The enlarged rubberized butt pad fit securely onto my shoulder, and assisted greatly in reducing any felt recoil during firing. Ruger was using Magpul magazines as their standard, but also had other options available for use. Magazines fit and secured into the magazine well easily, and were just as easily released using the release lever at the rear of the magazine well.
The AR-style safety selector switch and grip felt comfortable and familiar, and it was easy to get a solid shooting position on the RPR after making a minor LOP adjustment. The grip and shooting position felt very good once I was in position, despite being a different set-up from my standard GA Precision Rock (upgraded Remington 700) rifle.
Manipulating the safety was very easy, though the lever only moves 45-degrees rather than the more common AR-style safety lever that moves a full 90-degrees. This actually could end up being a very wise design feature, particularly for law enforcement snipers, as it makes placing the rifle on “safe” much easier.
The Ruger Precision Rifle is designed with a patent-pending magazine interface allowing a variety the use of several different popular magazines. In addition, the magazine well is flared for easier magazine insertion, and contoured specifically to brace the rifle against supports.
Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger
The Ruger Adjustable Trigger (RAT) allows the shooter the range of 2.25 to 5.0 pounds of trigger pull. The range model had the trigger set at 2.5 pounds, which is nice, but below the minimum for a police sniper rifle in my opinion. I support the American Sniper Association’s recommendation that a police sniper rifle not have a trigger pull below 3.5 pounds.
The RAT has a trigger bar that sticks out in front of the actual trigger allowing the shooter to make positive contact with the trigger, and begin to feel the pull without being in danger of firing.
This is not exactly like a Glock-like trigger bar safety. The Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger bar safety blocks the trigger itself instead of being the block. When depressed in a natural trigger pull, the safety unlocks the actual trigger to engage the action and fire the rifle. The feature is a really good one in my opinion, and I had no problems acquiring a smooth squeeze. In fact, it provided a great reference to the trigger pull, which felt continuous and smooth from beginning to break.
The Bolt Action
The enlarged bolt handle was awesome, allowing the shooter to very quickly make positive contact with the bolt handle, and greatly assisting in operating the bolt. I have long advocated for this simple upgrade to be a mandatory item on police sniper rifles. Law enforcement snipers must be ready to send an immediate secondary shot, and fumbling with the bolt is not acceptable. The enlarged bolt handle not only makes grasping easier, it actually assists with bolt manipulation.
If there was a disappointment with the Ruger Precision Rifle, I would have to say it was the action of the bolt. The bolt opened just fine, assisted by the enlarged handle, and secured just as easily. However, the action of sliding the bolt backwards and forward was a little loose and wobbly in my opinion. I would have preferred to have a tighter tolerance, with a well greased bolt, providing a very smooth ride as the bolt ejected spent brass and loaded up for the next round.
Having said that, the RPR bolt had no issues with loading or locking. The important functions were flawless, but fit could be improved. It really is just my finicky tastes and preferences that picked up on a movement not as smooth as I would have liked it to have been. To put it in perspective – the Ruger Precision Rifle had so many great features and shot so well, I would take the time to get used to the action that was a little less smooth than I would have liked.
The Ruger Precision Rifle is a very impressive rifle, and has serious considerations as a police sniper rifle. Though marketed towards the mid-level rifle market, the Ruger Precision Rifle produces serious sub-MOA accuracy and enough amazing features to compete with “custom” rifles.
Ruger has produced a rifle that will, in my opinion, set the bar for mid-level rifles in the future. Packed with very impressive features that would often be upgrades on other manufacturers’ rifles, the Ruger Precision Rifle is a definite winner. The NRA has awarded Ruger their Golden Bullseye Award for best new rifle, and I would have no hesitation in recommending this rifle as a law enforcement sniper rifle, or a personal precision rifle.
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