May 18th, 2009

Ruger Offers New SR-556 with Gas-Piston Upper

Ruger has jumped on the “black rifle” bandwagon. One of the more popular (and unexpected) product releases at the 2009 NRA Annual Meeting was yet another AR15-style rifle, Ruger’s new $2000.00 SR-556 carbine with gas-piston upper. For tactical applications the gas piston design is a good idea. It keeps vented gases away from the bolt/bolt carrier assembly, allowing the gun to run MUCH cleaner and cooler. This is something the U.S. military should have adopted 40 years ago, and in fact, the father of the M16, Gene Stoner, employed a gas piston on his Stoner 63 back in the ’60s. More recently Heckler & Koch (and other smaller companies) have developed gas-piston uppers for the AR platform. Ruger’s new SR-556 represents the first time a major American gun-maker has offered a complete AR-style rifle with the gas-piston technology.

Ruger SR-556 AR

CLICK HERE to watch Ruger SR-556 Video.

The Ruger SR-556 does offer some nice components, including a full-length Picatinny-style rail on top, folding Troy Industry battlesights, and a comfortable Hogue pistol grip. However the SR-556 still uses the common six-position adjustable AR stock, something we consider a poor design (the cheek weld is too low for use with scopes and the stock’s underside has many projections that can hang up on slings and gear). Doubtless Ruger will sell many SR-556 rifles to a market starved for AR-style inventory, but we wish Ruger had gone a step farther in design evolution and done more than just slap a piston upper and rails on a 40-year old design. We also wonder if many buyers will be deterred by the SR-556’s hefty $1995.00 (MSRP) price-tag.

CLICK HERE for Ruger SR-556 Spec Sheet (.pdf file).

Ruger SR-556 AR

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