Hey guys, it’s your favorite bearded Norseman from the north again. This time I’m here to talk about the Ruger Precision Rifle, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The very first thing I need to do is point out that this is a rifle people are either going to love or hate. There really doesn’t seem to be any between with people. Well that’s not entirely true because I was definitely ready to love the ruger precision rifle, but hated some things about it. Now that I’ve had some time with it to change the things I didn’t like about it, I’m actually pretty happy with it. I’m going to start with what I think are the problems, and what I’ve done to change it around and improve it.
Ruger Precision Rifle: The Ugly
First thing that needs to be pointed out about the Ruger Precision Rifle is a prime example of the Project Triangle and the battle between being feature packed, quality, and cost. One thing that I’ve immediately noticed is that the finish on the rifle is not durable at all. In the short amount of time I’ve personally known this rifle there has been an incredible amount of wear in some points where the finish is obviously going to take the most abuse. In addition to that the handguard is pretty miserable.
I personally experienced this one being very much off center relative to the barrel. On top of all that though my biggest gripe is that the handguard flexes. The sling stud to mount a bipod to the handguard is attached via Keymod. This method of attachment is generally good, but in this case even if you torque the crap out of it you still have slop in the rail. Combining the slop in the rail, along with the general thinness of the handguard and it’s noticeable flex, translates into a cant in the rifle, and no way to lock it down to prevent it. That was kind of a mortal sin in my book when it came to a precision rifle.
The handguard of the Ruger Precision Rifle also presents another pretty noticeable problem too with that continuous rail on the top. By continuing the rail at the same height right next to a 20 MOA rail this causes what I feel is a level of pain in the ass that’s not needed when it comes to optics. I’m going to be getting into some geometry here so bear with me. Okay so the bore axis is on one single plane, and on a standard rifle with no change in MOA for the base the axis of the scope is on a parallel plane. In order for us to really stretch the legs on some of these cartridges we use our 20 MOA rail to get some extra elevation out of our rifle. By putting the scope on a 20 MOA rail we are putting the axis of the scope on a completely different plane than that of the bore. They are no longer parallel, but intersecting.
“Thanks for the lecture Don, but what the hell does this actually mean for me?” I can hear you saying to your screen. Well it means this: In order to mount the large objective lens diameter optics we use for long range shooting, we need to mount our scopes relatively high in order to make sure that our objective bell actually clears that extended rail. Mounting a scope as low as it can go means it’s closer to the bore’s axis. The closer to the bore axis, the more consistent the sight picture will be.
Also by mounting a scope high we increase the torque forces on the scope and mounts during recoil. To me it really feels like the full top rail was a sacrifice in performance capabilities for the sake of aesthetics. As you can see from the above pictures by putting the extended rail in front of a 20 MOA, and with the blue and orange lines representing the same scope at different heights, you can see how we need to raise the scope so it does not contact the handguard.
Ruger Precision Rifle: The Bad
The stock I felt was a nice try, but a poor implementation. Once again the wear factor in the finish came to the front with some noticeable wear already present on the finish in areas where wear is to be expected. I also didn’t really like the level of adjustments in the stock. It really felt like the length of pull had to coarse of adjustments. The plastic upside down U-shaped piece that made up the comb height I felt was too flimsy. In addition while I like the idea that the tools to take down the bolt and adjust the trigger were stored on the rifle, I was most definitely not a fan of the bolt shroud.
Ruger Precision Rifle: The Good
There are actually quite a number of good pieces about the Ruger Precision Rifle as far as I’m concerned. First off the fact that it is compatible with AR-15 stocks, free-float handguards, and grips is a huge bonus, as well as the fact that barrels can be switched using tools that any gunsmith that has dealt with an AR-15 should have on hand. To me this meant that I was able to change out the parts that I felt were huge detriments to the rifle extremely easily. The barrel comes threaded with 5/8-24 standard, which gives us an enormous amount of available muzzle devices to choose from. Suppressors, flash hiders, brakes can all easily be mounted to this gun right out of the box.
The magazine well design is a huge advantage because of it’s ability to take M110, SR25, DPMS, Magpul, and AICS magazines gives us a huge availability of magazines to run with. Additionally I also tested this rifle with the new Magpul AI magazines and they work just fine and with no problems. The fact that I can stick a Magpul 20 round magazine in this thing and have to reload half as often as the guy next to me with the AICS 10 round magazines, for roughly 1/4 his price is extremely attractive to me. And overall I’d say disassembly of this rifle was pretty easy. This had two effects for me, the first being I could change the parts I wanted to pretty easily, and the second being I could take it apart completely in order to Cerakote it.
Alright. Now what?
I really hate to be that guy, but I’m going to call an intermission on this piece. I’m going to give you guys some time to digest as well as comment on my take on this rifle while I prepare the next piece detailing the modifications I’ve made!