When I worked full-time for the Illinois National Guard I was on their rifle and pistol team. At the time I was only 18 years old – but I was an Expert (military earned) shot with a long gun. We were issued match-grade M14s and all matches were shot with open sights – and our team used to beat the pants off of other shooters, with scoped rifles. I was a “novice” or so they rated me as such, and I handily bet every shooter I was placed against. I can’t attribute my shooting skills to the military training. I was trained by two country cousins, Moe and Abner – their real names – down in Kentucky when I was only 15 years old,. And it was their training stayed with me. Moe was confined to a wheelchair after an auto accident, and Abner, had just recently returned from Vietnam, where he was a military police officer. Shooting came easy to Abner, and he taught me not only aimed shooting, he also taught me point shooting.
There aren’t a lot of tricks or secrets when it comes to long-range shooting with a rifle. You have to have a good sight picture, and proper trigger control, and control your breathing. And, of course, it helps when you have a good rifle and ammo, too. I think it might be a toss-up, as to which is the most important skill to master – trigger control or sight picture. I believe,in my case, trigger control was the hardest to learn and master. I’ve shot some long-range matches in my neck of the woods–if you can call 200-yards “long range”–and handily beat those who invited me. They haven’t invited me back fora rematch, either. I’m not a spring chicken any longer, as a matter of fact, I collect Social Security these days. However, I believe my shooting skills have improved over the years, instead of degrading.
If a rifle (or handgun) isn’t accurate, I’m not the least bit interested in them. Most rifles off the rack, are okay shooters, and will get the job done hunting deer in the field. I’ve personally never shot a deer beyond 150 yards,and most were taken at 100 yards or less. That is not much of a challenge.However, I’ve seen many slob hunters out there, taking 500+ yard shots at deer and elk, and they didn’t even come close to hitting them. They had no idea where their bullets even went, and had no idea the drop or trajectory of the ammo they were using. Most deer hunters sight their rifles in at 1″ high at100-yards and call it good – and it doesn’t matter what caliber they are using- they sight their guns in the same – hitting 1″ high at 100-yards. Guess that is good enough, if you aren’t shooting at game more than a couple hundred yards away. However, I like to know where my shots are going to hit – at any range.
The Ruger Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. Precision Rifle was recently released, and I’m here to tell you, it is one of the hottest sellers on the market these days. Ruger is doing all they can to keep up with demand.the Ruger Precision Rifle is available in three calibers, .243 Winchester, 6.5Creedmoor and .308 Winchester, and I understand that, the 6.5 Creedmoor is currently the hottest seller. I readily admit that, I have never fired any rifle chamber in 6.5 Creedmoor, but I understand it is an outstanding round that many long-range shooters use in competition.
I requested a sample from Ruger, and it shipped right away. The gun has so many features, I don’t even know where to begin, and I won’t cover them all,you can read more on the Ruger web site. I’ll start with what I usually save for last, and that is the retail price. Full retail is $1,399.00 any model. Now, don’t get too upset over this, until you read more about this rifle. First of all, this rifle was not designed to be a “hunting” rifle, although it can sure be used as one–with a 5-round magazine–since many states restrict you to5 rounds in the magazine. And, here’s where the Precision Rifle shines, it comes with two MagPul 10-round mags, however, because of the clever design,this rifle will also function with SR-25, DPMS and some modified M-14 magazines- which means you can probably find a 5-round mag for hunting if you wish to use this rifle for big game hunting.
The Ruger Precision Rifle, is, without a doubt designed for long-range target/competition shooting. And as such, it is priced far less than anything else in it’s class. If you’ll take a close look at several of the pictures attached with this article, the complicated-looking stock, just smacks of one designed for long-range shooting, and it would be one heck of a sniper’s rifle for our military, or or any military. I thought that the stock was complicated,however, once you get it adjusted for length of pull and height – you don’t have to adjust it again. Oh sure, perhaps tweak the adjustments, as needed,based on your clothing – but it really isn’t all that complicated as I first thought it was. Additionally, the stock folds to the left side of the receiver.
We have a medium contour barrel that is .75″ at the threaded muzzle. The muzzle actually has a cap protector on it, and if you elect, you can add a flash suppressor or even a registered sound suppressor attached to the 5/8″-24threads. The barrel is also easily replaced by a trained gunsmith, with an AR wrench and proper head space gauges. The barrel is also cold hammer forged 4140chrome moly steel. The handguard is the popular KeyMod, that is rapidly becoming the standard on ARs these days – easy to attach accessories to it. The rifle’s bolt has three locking lugs, and a 70-degree throw – pretty short for fast follow-up shots. The bolt operates very smoothly, too. I should also mention that, the barrel is free-floated, giving you every ounce of accuracy you can wring out the gun.
At first glance, the Ruger Precision Rifle, looks all the world like a big-bore AR-15 style of rifle, until you notice the bolt on the right side.There is also a pistol grip, and the safety control is in the same spot, where you’d find it on an AR-15 style rifle – so if you are familiar with the AR-15,the Ruger Precision Rifle will be familiar to you. I also liked the over-sized bolt handle, easy to find and operate, even with gloves on. Nice touch, Ruger!
The upper receiver has Picatinny Rails, for easy mounting of a scope and anyWeaver rings easily attach. In-hand, the rifle just feels, for all the world,like a slightly large AR-15, and that’s a good thing, if you’re already an AR owner/shooter. Ruger also added their Marksman Adjustable Trigger, and it can be set from 2.25-lbs to 5.0-lbs. My sample was right at 3.25-lbs and I left it there. The Hex wrench for adjusting trigger pull is stored in the bolt shroud,as is a bolt disassembly tool.
The .308 Win sample has a 20-inch barrel and weighs in at 9.70-lbs without a scope, Overall length varies, depending on where you adjust your butt stock,but it can be from 38.25-inches to 41.75-inches. With the stock folded to the side, it is 30.60 inches in length. Length of pull can be adjust from12.00-inches to 15.50-inches, so it should fit most shooters of all sizes.
There are other features, that I don’t want to bore our readers with, so please check out the Ruger web site for complete information and instructions.
I was anxious to get this Ruger Precision Rifle, out to the range, and see what it could do. I mounted a (borrowed) Night Force 5.5-20X56mm scope on it,and it was more than I needed. Unfortunately, we had several heat waves in my part of Oregon this past summer, and most of the spots I used for long-range shooting were closed so I had to limit my shooting to only 100-yards – sad! I only had two types of ammunition on-hand for testing, both from Black Hills Ammunition – one was their168-gr Match Hollow Point, and their other their slightly heavier 175-gr MatchHollow Point.
I shot the rifle over the hood of my pick-up truck, using a rolled-up sleeping bag for a rest. Not the best way to get the most accuracy from any type of firearm, especially when testing a rifle designed for long-range hooting. I’m sure with a bipod and going prone, I could have gotten a bit more accuracy out of the Ruger. The gun, in .308 Win weights in at 9.70-lbs and the weight helped me stabilize the rifle a bit more. It did take me a while to get the buttstock adjusted to fit me just perfect, and perfectly it didfit…I made sure I had it adjusted to my liking, before I even fired the first shot.
With a target down range, at 100 yards, I easily had all shots under one inch – without trying all that hard. The Black Hills .308 Winchester Match Grade ammo, is outstanding, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The rifle liked the 168-gr Win Match Hollow Point ammo just a touch better than the175-gr version. However, on a different day, I might have had different results. Due to the extreme fire danger in our area, I was only able to get out shooting one time – ONE TIME! And, as of this writing, in the middle of September, all the logging roads are still closed to any foot or vehicle traffic – no long range shooting!
The Ruger Precision Rifle and the Black Hills 168-gr Match Hollow Point ammo, gave me some groups that were almost one hole “groups” – one group was slightly under 3/4″ and all the rest, were easily under an inch, and I know that this rifle and ammo combination can do much better than that. I can easily see this gun and ammo shooting under half an inch with a bipod, and going prone.
If you’re looking to get into long-range high-powered rifle competition, you
don’t have to spend many thousands of dollars, to get an outstanding rifle.
With a full-retail price of $1,399 for the Ruger – and you can usually find
Ruger’s discounted from retail-price, you can afford to get a great rifle –
just add a really good scope and you’re good to go. The rifle would also be an
outstanding sniper’s rifle – and I would love to see the US military – all
branches – take a close look at this rifle. It’s a lot less expensive than any
other sniper rifle the military is currently using, and the accuracy is there,
with the right ammo. As I stated at the start of this article, I’m only
interested in accurate rifles and handguns, and the Ruger Precision Rifle
didn’t let me down in this respect.
Right now, the Ruger is in short supply, however, I understand that Ruger is adding more machinery, so they can turn out more rifles to meet the great demand. Ruger not only hit a home run, they hit it out of the ballpark on this Precision Rifle, and the price is totally unbelievable for so much gun, with so many features, and with more accuracy than you can probably squeeze out of the gun. But it will be fun trying to your hand at it. Now, as is the usual “problem” I have: this rifle isn’t going back to Ruger, and I have to find a way to raise the funds to purchase it. Life is tough!
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio