Ruger Precision Rifle: Part 1

If Bill Ruger were still alive, I wonder if he would allow the Precision Rifle to see the light of day. Mr. Ruger, who departed this earth in 2002, loved the forms and shapes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Colt Peacemaker, Farquharson single shot, Luger Pistole 03) and might have strangled the RPR in its crib, so to speak, because it is a manifestly 21st-century rifle.

It looks like the result of a midnight union between an AR and a tactical bolt-action, and is one of the very, very few American factory rifles to be designed with a chassis stock. The basics are as follows: The RPR is based on a three-lug bolt action with a short, 70-degree lift, a two-stage, adjustable trigger, chassis stock that’s adjustable for comb height, length of pull, and buttpad cant. Right now it comes in .308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243, in right-hand only.

The rifle feeds from a plastic 10-round magazine, but the well is designed so that it will take a wide variety of magazines, and we’ll get into that later. Ruger hammer forges its barrels, which are described as medium weight and appear to be about No. 4 contour. In .308 they’re 20 inches long, 24 in 6.5 Creedmoor, and 26 in .243. The rifling is of the 5R type developed by Boots Obermeyer, and the muzzle has standard threads for a can, or a brake, or a flash suppressor, or a partridge in a pear tree. The barrel is not bedded; it’s simply held in place in the receiver by a barrel nut. There’s nothing to bed it into, which makes life a lot simpler.

There’s a 20 MOA Picatinny rail mounted on the receiver, and plenty of attachment points for a sling. The front handguard doesn’t come with a swivel stud installed, but Ruger provides one, along with a mounting platform that screws in place in seconds.

Perhaps the most striking innovation is the buttstock, which pivots out of the way for transport. You push a release button on the left side of the stock, swing the butt alongside the receiver, and are then able to remove the bolt for cleaning or whatever else you have in mind. There’s a separate release for the bolt so it won’t hit the floor when you swing the stock aside.

Weight. There’s no shortage of it. The lightest of the three RPRs is the one I had, the .308, which weighs 9 ½ pounds without scope. With scope and a full magazine, it scales 12 pounds. This is fine with me; in precision shooting of any kind, weight is your friend.

Now, what’s it for? In .243, it’s a beanfield gun. In .308, it’s a tactical rifle or a gun for competition in F-TR class formal target shooting. In 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s for plain old F-Class. Or you can just shoot it for fun.

The MSRP right now is $1,300, but everyone says it will actually sell for $100 to $200 less.

When the folks with whom I practice F-Class shooting every week found that I was getting an RPR to try out, you would have thought I was bringing Taylor Swift to the range, so great was their interest. And their question was, “How good is it?” I didn’t know then, but I do know now, and we will get to that in the next post.