It’s a „Tactical” World Part Two: Tactical bolt rifles become afordable
As mentioned in the first part, one of the week spots of the tactical bolt rifles is their relatively high price.
This is about to change. This time change comes from the US.
The US producers are used to producing high numbers of units (and attributing a lower portion of the research and development cost to each unit) and, thus, to a good control of cost. This is one of the reasons why sometimes US rifles are priced competitively by comparison to their European counterparts.
Ruger went one step further: it brought the Precision Rifle (http://www.ruger.com/products/precisionRifle/models.html) to the market.
Announced in Summer 2015, now the first units started to arrive at European Dealers.
The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) is based on the bolt system of the American Rifle. A three lugs 70 degrees bolt runs into a steel „upper” receiver that provides the required rigidity.
The upper also includes a detachable 20 MOA Picatinny rail that allows using the optics on even longer distances as it adds a lot of clicks to the ones that the scope already has on its vertical turret. The „lower” receiver is made out of 7075-T6 aluminum.
The barrel is medium (i.e. semi-weight) contour (measuring .75 inch = approx. 19 mm) and it has different lengths for the three calibers: 20 inch (.308 Winchester), 24 inch (6.5 Creedmoor) and 26 inch (.243 Winchester). It runs special rifling called 5R, meant to improve accuracy.
The stock is fully adjustable in length and height. It also folds to the left, which certainly makes the rifle easier to store and transport.
The trigger is adjustable.
Is it an AR?
No, it is not. But it looks very similar.
And the guys at Ruger were very clever as the way they built the rifle allows the use of the myriads of aftermarket options for ARs:
a. The stock sits on an AR-style buffer tube. While the tube holds no buffer, it allows mounting of any of the numerous AR stocks on the market.
b. The grip can be replaced with any AR grip.
c. The barrel has the same retention system as any AR barrel and can be changed just the same.
d. The handguard is an AR-style Keymod, allowing any sort of rails and accessories to be mounted while keeping the weight at a minimum.
e. Magazine well accepts the magazines from: Accuracy International, Remington, Magpul-style, etc.
Even the safety will be very familiar to people used to ARs.
Being professionals in marketing, the Ruger people know that what sells rifles best are stories about rifles, particularly the ones about how good a rifle shoots.
So they have launched the RPR challenge. Results are posted on Ruger’s web-site: https://www.ruger.com/dataProcess/rpr/challenge.php.
One can find there tiny groups on paper or gongs hit at 1,600 yards (= approx. 1462 meters).
Many of the long range (i.e. exceeding 600 yards) results are shot with the 6.5 Creedmor.
A creation of the last decade, the 6.5 Creedmor is basically a necked-down .308 with a 30 degrees shoulder and a typical fat belly of the long rangers.
If the rifle would have been European, it would probably been offered in the European counter-parts of said caliber: 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5-284 Norma or even the 6 mm Bench-Rest calibres.
Leaving the good marketing by Ruger aside, rifles started recently to arrive at dealers on European mainland.
The results of the tests run look promising: groups of 50 to 70 mm out of five shots at 500 meters speak for themselves.
We are looking forward to test the rifles in Romania as well.
The cherry on the pie comes last: the suggested retail price in the US is 1,400 USD. In Germany Heinz Henke offers the rifle for a little less than 1,700 EUR.
Even so, the price is very competitive given the features the rifles offers.
Ruger managed to show what it takes to produce a rifle that shoots good groups: a good free floating and sturdy barrel with a good rifling and chambering on a stable receiver and chassis in a precise caliber. The adjustable trigger also plays a role.
If you manage to build the rifle using components (a) that you have already (e.g. bolt and system) or (b) you don’t have to develop yourself but are already developed by others (stock, handguard, grip, rails) you land a sensational price.
This leaves a lot of room for the average shooter to replace any of the interchangeable features with aftermarket alternatives of his choice.
Let’s hope that the competitors of Ruger feel challenged and start offering products at prices competing with the one of RPR!
The winners of this other type of Ruger-started challenge can only be the shooters.