Ruger Precision Rifle .223/5.56 NATO RPR Review

Ruger shocked and stunned everyone when they introduced the Ruger Precision Rifle dubbed RPR for short. It was a rifle that featured loaded top end upgrades all in a rifle that can actually print tiny groups and retails for around $1500 on the street… and now they offer this great gun in .223/5.56 NATO.

The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) is a competition killer in the factory precision rifle market. It includes everything you could possibly want in a custom target rifle. If you do want to upgrade the design, the grip, buttstock, forend, and selector are all AR-15-compatible items. Swapping out triggers is easy as well. And re-barreling to one of the many aftermarket options only requires a barrel block and some leverage.

Ruger Precision Rifle .223 5.56

It is all-inclusive –

  • Billet precision chassis
  • Fully adjustable buttstock
  • Folding stock adapter
  • AR compatible safety
  • Outstanding factory trigger
  • Tri-lug style bolt
  • Free floated AR-15 compatible forend
  • AICS-compatible box-fed magazine

Ruger offered the RPR in .308 and .243 (now discontinued), but also kept up with the competitive precision shooting market demands for 6.5mm Creedmore and 6mm Creedmore. Now, of course, Ruger has the RPR in the insanely cheap to shoot .223/5.56 NATO chambering.

Finally, All the RPR Owners Said…

Sure the .308, .243, and Creedmore rounds are fun to shoot, but there are a lot of us who want a “trainer” gun that feels and shoots like our precision gun, but does it at greatly reduced per round price. Maybe there are even a few of us that just want a really accurate .223 bolt action that still feels like a full-sized rifle. Though the 6.5 and 6mm Creedmore rounds are “the new .308” and can do everything in a hunt the .308 can, I will say first hand that 6.5 Creedmore is not cheap to shoot by any means. Now we have the .223/5.56 NATO Ruger Precision Rifle that is a delightful duplicate of the other models that you can shoot all day long without a getting sore shoulder or emptying your wallet.

Without question, varmint hunters are going to love the exceptionally accurate .223 RPR. However, I believe this is going to become a hit with two other types of customers – customers who want a trainer for their larger bore guns, and customers who want a precision rifle that feels like their AR-15 and shoots the same caliber.

As a trainer, even if the Ruger .223 Precision Rifle is only used to practice trigger pull, grip, shooting position, general marksmanship tactics, and perhaps hammer a few critters in the process, the gun would pay for itself in ammo savings in only a few thousand rounds. Really, I have to tell you those insanely accurate Hornady 6.5 Creedmore ELD Match rounds are not cheap. The Hornady .223 equivalent is half the price of 6.5CM and a good reload recipe could deliver further savings. This is the category I fall into—wanting a training gun that will allow me to fiddle around with shots and shooting positions to find my sweet spot all without blasting $2 rounds down range. There are a lot of range days where we want to feel like we are shooting the big gun or are training a new shooter but just do not want to shell out the cash.

I have a lot of friends in the other category of potential .223 RPR owner who does not want to add managing yet another caliber to their firearm inventory. For them, the huge selection of .223 ammo for match, plinking, hogs, and other game is enough. The price point, precision, and user-friendly nature of the .223 RPR makes it a perfect fit for these shooters.

Features of Note

Most would expect that the .223/5.56 NATO Ruger Precision Rifle would duplicate the larger calibers in size, length and weight and it does. In fact, this rifle is exactly the same weight as the .308 model. Ruger did go with a .223/5.56 NATO chambering and presumably, some type of .223 Wylde chamber which Ruger notes is completely cross-compatible between the calibers. Ruger has really set up this smaller caliber RPR to extend the precision range with a 5-groove 1:7 rifling to stabilize heavy longer bullets better. One feature I really liked on the original, larger caliber, rifles were their cross-compatibility between Magpul LR20 and AICS magazines.Ruger Precision Rifle .223 5.56

The .223 is not cross-compatible, and only compatible with Remington Short Action .223 AICS size magazines. Personally, it is disappointing that I cannot run any of the hundreds of GI spec AR-15 magazines on this gun. There would be some real cross-compatibility advantages to that in the field. Alas, the Ruger only feeds from AICS mags. The reason Ruger went with the much more expensive AICS sized magazines was to allow rounds with 77 grains or heavier .223 bullets to fit, function, and feed. If you are going to create a precision rifle, then I suppose the compromise is you should be able to shoot the best heavy bullet you want.

The trigger on this unit was not as good as previous RPR triggers I have tested. Our primary tester jokingly noted that the trigger felt like Ruger’s three-stage trigger. There was a noticeable second stage before the third stage break. In this case, I would say a Timney trigger upgrade is in order.

Accuracy Test

Ruger RPR .223 Hornady Ammo

Ruger RPR .223 100-yard Test Target

As with all the other Ruger Precision Rifles, the .223 model is also a tack driving ½ MOA gun with the right match ammo. We tested a number of .223 Hornady and Federal rounds including Hornady 68-grain, 75-grain, and TAP 55-grain, PMC Bronze 55-grain, Federal Match 68-grain Sierra Match King, and standard M855 steel core penetrator rounds. The RPR performs its best with high-grade match ammo. The best two 100-yard groups were Federal SMK 68-grain .383”, and Hornady Match 75-grain. at .375”. Notably, the Federal SMK 68-grain round was the clear accuracy favorite in our test averaging .453” across all three of the three-round groups.

100-yard Groups

Federal Match 68gr Sierra Match King | .437”, .383”, .54”

Hornady 68gr Match | .602”, .687”, .531”

Hornady 75gr | .743”, .375”, .773”

Hornady TAP 55gr | .700”, .756”, .649”

PMC Bronze 55gr | 1.908”, 1.717”, 1.386”

GI standard M855 | 2.49”, 2.81”, .699” —Not really sure what to make of this inconsistency.

Sure we were able to punch some plinking-grade groups with PMC Bronze, and the M855 Steel Core rounds were about the same, but feed the RPR the right high-grade match ammo and suddenly you are greeted with considerably better than half-inch groups at 100 yards. The Federal 69-grain Sierra Match King rounds consistently delivered the best groups. Unfortunately, we did not have any 77-grain rounds to test.

Final Thoughts

In my reviews of the first RPR, I asked where my .223 version was and Ruger delivered. The total Ruger Precision Rifle package adds up to a gun that shoots extremely well, is stunningly accurate for the price, and is loaded with pretty much everything you could want in a precision rifle for far less than any other offering on the market. Ruger… simply amazing gun for the price… now, where is my rimfire variant?

Ruger Precision Rifle Features

Ruger Precision Rifle Hybrid Muzzle Brake

Ruger Precision Rifle Hybrid Muzzle Brake

  • 56 NATO target chamber safely accommodates 5.56 NATO cartridges while providing maximum projectile control and accuracy for both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem cartridges.
  • Medium-contour barrel features a Ruger Precision Rifle hybrid muzzle brake to effectively reduce recoil while minimizing noise and blast to the sides of the shooter (thread protector included).
  • Cold hammer-forged 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel with 5R rifling at minimum bore, and groove dimensions, minimum headspace, and centralized chamber.
  • 20 MOA Picatinny rail secured with four, #8-40 screws for increased long-range elevation capabilities.
  • Upper receiver and one-piece bolt are precision CNC-machined from pre-hardened 4140 chrome-moly steel to minimize distortion.
  • Three-lug bolt with 70° throw features dual cocking cams and a smooth-running, full diameter bolt body.
  • In-line recoil path manages recoil directly from the rear of the receiver to the buttstock, not through a traditional bedding system, providing maximum accuracy potential.
  • Ruger Precision MSR stock with QD sling attachment points features a bottom Picatinny rail and soft rubber buttpad. The left-folding stock hinge is attached to an AR-style buffer tube and accepts any AR-style stock. Length of pull and comb height is adjustable.
  • Equipped with a Ruger Precision Rifle short-action handguard for improved scope clearance for long-range scopes.
  • Magazine well front is contoured for a positive grip for bracing against shooting supports.
  • Oversized bolt handle for positive bolt manipulation, with 5/16″-24 thread for easy replacement. Bolt disassembly tool is stored in the bolt shroud for easy striker channel cleaning. Also features a Ruger Precision Rifle billet aluminum bolt shroud.
  • Lower magazine well halves are precision machined from aerospace-grade 7075-T6 aluminum and are Type III hard coat anodized for maximum durability.
  • Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger is externally adjustable with a pull weight range of 2.25 to 5.0 lbs.; wrench is stored in the bolt shroud.
  • Extended trigger-reach AR-style grip and 45° reversible safety selector. May be configured with any AR-style grip and selector.
  • Barrels can be easily replaced by a competent gunsmith using AR-style wrenches and headspace gauges.
  • Also includes two, 10-round, Ruger AI-style Precision Rifle magazines compatible with longer, higher ballistic coefficient projectiles.


Stock | Folding, Adjustable Length of Pull and Comb Height

Barrel Length | 20 inches

Barrel | Cold Hammer-Forged, 5R Rifling

Handguard | Ruger Precision Rifle™ Short-Action

Twist | 1:7 RH

Grooves | 5

Weight | 9.8 lb.

Capacity | 10

Height | 7.30 inches

Overall Length | 39.25–42.75 inches

Length of Pull | 12–15.50 inches

Folded Length | 31.60 inches

Width | 3.30 inches

MSRP | $1599.00

What do you think of the Ruger Precision Rifle in .223/5.56? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

6 Comments On This Article

  1. The firearms industry as a whole must become creative if it’s going to survive tomorrow’s market. Customers today demand quality, & preferably arms Made in the USA.
    Major Arms Industries will not save itself moving overseas for hope of larger profits.
    Hopefully they come up with better idea’s like Ruger to stay in the game.

  2. I have heard the argument before that it is so much cheaper to shoot the 556 RPR than the 6.5 Creedmoor. This is true if you decide to shoot crap 556 ammo, but why bother shooting crap out of a precision rifle? I get Hornady 6.5C 140 for 1.15 and the Federal 69g matchking 223 for 1.00. Not so much savings comparing apples to apples.

  3. When a guy pays $1500 for a rifle, he should not have to start replacing parts to “upgrade” the rifle so it functions well. e.g., replace the “three stage” trigger with a Timney upgrade.

  4. I just purchased this same rile .It states on page 16 that the ruger precision rifle takes (1) M110/SR25/Dpms/Magpul and (2) AICS mags . Asa matter of fact my rifle came with two Magpul magazines .