Ruger Precision Rifle Review: Part 2

Ready, aim, fire... Find out if the Ruger Precision Rifle passes our test.

Ruger Precision Rifle
Ruger Precision RifleF&S

If you just want to shoot it for fun and ring gongs at vast distances, there’s no particular standard that the Ruger Precisioin Rifle has to meet. However, if you want to compete with it, there’s a very precise standard. A rifle that is capable of shooting a possible 600 points out of 600 points on an F-Class target, fired in stages of 20 rounds each at 300, 500, and 600 yards (in some cases, longer) has to be able to put all 60 rounds in ½-minute of angle. This is very fancy shooting, and only a small number of competitors are able to do it, from what I’ve seen. Just about everyone gets a 9 once in a while.

The rifles you see in the hands of the Masters and High Masters are invariably custom guns that cost $4,000 without the scope and $6,500 with the scope. Ordinary mortals, or those less dedicated, use heavy-barrel Savages or highly customized ARs. They may or may not be able to meet that ½ M.O.A. standard, but they come pretty damned close, and they don't cost nearly as much. This is the arena for the Ruger Precision Rifle.

By coincidence, gunsmith John Blauvelt got a 6.5 Creedmoor RPR on the same day I got my .308, and we have been corresponding about what we’ve found, so from time to time I’ll interject John’s intel.

Basically, it’s a very good gun, thoughtfully designed and minus (save one) the glitches and errors that often come with this much machinery. Everything operates with snap and certainty. The trigger on my rifle broke at 2 ½ pounds (it can be adjusted by the user from 2 ¼ to 5 pounds). It had a very slight amount of creep that did not bother me at all. I left the poundage right where it was. John felt his trigger could be slicked up a bit and so he did, but he is a gunsmith and I am not. He says it’s a very simple trigger to work on if you’re a gunsmith.

The stock adjustments work quickly and hold solidly. The only tweak I made to mine was to increase the length of pull.

I mentioned what I regard as a glitch. That concerns the Magpul P-Mags, which incorporate a bolt stop that locks the bolt open when the magazine is empty. Perhaps this was done because the RPR is a tactical rifle. Fine, but in a match where you’re required to single load, it’s a pain in the ass, as it prevents you from leaving the magazine in the rifle so you can use the follower as a loading ramp.

However, one of the RPRs unique features lets you get around this. The well is equipped with Multi-Magazine Interface (!), which allows you to use either rear- or side-latching box magazines. I found that I could substitute Badger Industries mags or Ruger Scout mags, both of which lack the bolt stop, and they worked flawlessly. I understand that you can also use issue M-14 mags, although if you do so and are unlucky enough to live in a state where 20-round mags are prohibited, the state police* will kick in your door, take your magazines, throw you in prison, and beat you twice a day until you die.

When working up a load for a tactical rifle such as this, I start with three attractive match bullets of different weights and see what shoots. Eventually the rifle will show you that it prefers one over the others. For the RPR I used 155-grain Lapua Scenars, 167-grain Lapua Scenars, and 175-grain Sierra MatchKings. The winner was the 167-grain Lapua Scenars, and I was able to squeeze them down into 5-shot groups that averaged .573-inch. John is testing 140-grain Berger VLDs, and reports that he’s getting about the same results, with the occasional group that goes into the .300s.

For the obligatory factory ammo, I tried Federal Gold Medal Match 168-grain SMKs, which gave me .970, and Lake City XM118 sniper ammo which grouped in .624.

At no point in my testing, during which I took care to get the rifle good and hot, did it show any sign of walking, stringing groups, or shifting point of impact. Your 20th shot in a string is going to go right where your first one went.

So, unless you are a Master or a High Master and expect to get every single bullet into the Land of Ten, the RPR will not disappoint. I like it a bunch. For a thousand dollars and change, it is a hell of a lot of rifle, and I think Ruger is going to be back-ordered on RPRs for a long time.

My guess is that Old Man Ruger would have said, “Yeah, make it,” because he was a businessman, and knew a winner when he saw one.

*In New York State, the troopers may not be able to do this, as they may be busy escorting members of the New York State Assembly to trial, sentencing, or prison. You’ll have to rely on the local cops.