Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR)
Selecting a precision rifle depends on the user’s wants and requirements. If the rifle is to be used in a law enforcement capacity, you can add the agency’s general orders and/ or permission. Choosing the operating system, cartridge, and sights comprises the other considerations. Operating systems are limited mainly to self-loading and bolt-action, but optical sights and calibers offer many choices.
While the 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) and 5.56x45mm NATO (.223 Remington) cartridges are the most prolific, both for logistics and use out to 500 to 1000 meters, others, such as the 8.6x70mm (.338 Lapua) extend useable distance to 1,500 meters. And there are many useful cartridges in between.
With the bolt-action precision rifle more than holding its own among the myriad self-loaders on today’s market, most of the current ilk are based on designs emanating near the beginning of the 20th century.
Sure, classic bolt-actions are great and I love ’em all. I love mid-20th century muscle cars too, but I don’t drive one every day. Like automobiles, the boltaction rifle has changed, and in the fall of 2015 it took a quantum leap in design if not in its name, which was simply the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR).
In a nutshell, instead of using a conventional bolt-action rifle in new clothing, the new Ruger has combined features of the AR-10 self-loading rifle with a state-of-the-art three-lug bolt-action that is super fast to operate.
With match-grade cold-hammerforged barrels in 4140 chrome-moly steel, these barrels come in three lengths and as many calibers, including .308, 6.5mm Creedmoor and .243, all using six-groove 5R-type rifling. Also standard is a free-float KeyMod alloy handguard by Samson Mfg.
Made in two halves, the RPR lower receiver’s left side is removable using a hex wrench to access and clean the modular trigger group when necessary, leaving the universal magazine release undisturbed.
Manufacturing the frame in two halves also allows machining that could never be accomplished with a one-piece billet. Using the trigger system perfected in Savage’s Accu- Trigger, this one can be adjusted from 2.2 to 4.8 pounds using another hex wrench stored in the back polymer extension of the bolt. Our sample rifle’s trigger had a let-off of just under 2.9 pounds.
The RPR accepts a variety of dual-position- feed magazines, including Magpul, M110, SR25, and DPMS AICS. It may also work with some, but not all, original AR-10 and M14 magazines. With most of these magazines, the bolt is held open after the last round is ejected.
But if you read any firearms magazine, you know all this already. The point is, where can you find another bolt rifle with such features and accuracy, and at the price of the Ruger Precision Rifle? In my opinion, you can’t. Plus there’s much more!
It seems that from the start, Ruger designed its RPR to welcome aftermarket components at the preference of the user. While the rifle’s lower receiver comes with its own separate pistol grip and folding/adjustable buttstock, most any AR-15/AR-10-type pistol grip and stock will interface and replace them.
It is likewise with the barrel, boltedon receiver top rail, removable bolt knob and Samson handguard, as well as a parade of other small components that have arrived on the market seemingly overnight. Such accessories can make over the RPR to suit your needs and desires. Yes, if you decide you don’t quite like the Ruger Precision Rifle Ruger’s way, you can have it your way!
This is what happened with the Ruger Precision Rifle I received in August 2015. Chambered in .308 Winchester, this RPR was selected to be used in an NRA Police Precision Rifle Course in Montrose, Colorado. Attended by officers from several police and sheriff agencies on Colorado’s Western Slope, bolt-action precision rifles dominated the class, but the officer who used the RPR was unbeatable.
The NRA course instructor told me this man operated the RPR faster than any other bolt-rifle shooter and seemed to be as fast as those with self-loading rifles. But after putting over 700 rounds through the RPR, the officer decided to see just how friendly the rifle was to aftermarket products, many of which were designed for the AR platform.
After disassembling the rifle, he shipped the barrel to Marvin Pitts of Nefarious Arms in Arkansas to have it dimpled. This lightens the barrel while retaining strength, and also has great cooling properties. Many years ago, Pitts designed dimpling for C. Reed Knight, Jr. of Knight’s Armament Company in Titusville, Florida. Knight patented the process, and Pitts is authorized to dimple barrels for his own customers. Pitts also cut the RPR’s barrel to 18 inches and rethreaded the muzzle. Accessories added were as follows:
- Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm M5B2 with Tremor 2 reticle
- Leupold Integral RH Mounting System (NVD compatible)
- BCM KMR ALPHA 15-inch KeyMod free-float handguard
- BCM GUNFIGHTER Grip Mod 1 in Flat Dark Earth (FDE)
- BCM KeyMod Rail Cover Kit in FDE
- BCM GUNFIGHTER Vertical Grip Short KeyMod in FDE
- Magpul PRS Gen2 Stock in FDE
- LaRue M110/SR-25 20-round magazine
- LaRue Tactical Harris Bipod Adapter, LT130
- Delta Team Tactical aluminum bolt shroud
- Surgeon Rifles round bolt knob
- Manta TAC-Wrap handguard cover
- Manta suppressor cover
- Advanced Armament Corp 762-SD suppressor
- DSG Arms ambi semi-auto safety/selector
- DSG Arms Micro Lever for Harris bipod with spacer
- Harris Swiveling Bipod, 6- to 9-inch bench rest with leg notches
Being quite adept with design and manufacture of small components himself, the officer made a BCM-type spacer to fill the tiny gap between the receiver top rail and the KMR handguard.
When all components were in hand, most of those that were not factory finished in FDE were finished in FDE Cerakote, with others in FDE with 5% Black, and all such metal parts were baked at 250 degrees F for four hours. The contrasting components created a beautiful and long-lasting finish to this “fullhouse” custom Ruger Precision Rifle.
With an AAC combo flash hider/suppressor mount attached to the RPR’s threaded muzzle, the 7.62-SD Suppressor with Manta’s new camouflaged suppressor cover was attached to the muzzle. The Leupold Mark 6 Scope and mount were secured to the rifle’s top rail, and the makeover RPR was ready for the range.
Since the Ruger Precision Rifle had previously produced consistent 1/2 MOA accuracy throughout almost 1,000 rounds of Federal 168-grain .308 Match ammunition, we expected nothing different from its slightly shorter barrel.
And we weren’t disappointed, as the same ammunition again went into three holes with no light between them at 100 yards and produced a clean inch center-to-center at twice that distance. Walking to and fro in snow to the 400-yard target was worth the trip to see silver-dollar-sized clusters on targets there, and all functions of the RPR were even smoother than before with no lubrication necessary on the Cerakote.
As I write this, it is January in Colorado. When the snow disappears, we plan to put Federal 168s and Black Hills 175-grain Match projectiles on paper at 1,000 yards and see what it will do at 1,500 yards. Using the Leupold Mark 6 Scope will help make getting hits at all such distances a cinch.
Whether you’re a hunter, competitive long-range shooter, law enforcement officer, or just love precision, there’s a lot you can do with your Ruger Precision Rifle.