Pat’s Product Review: Ruger’s SR-762 Rifle, by Pat Cascio

Hands down, I received more requests from SurvivalBlog readers for a review of the Ruger SR-762 rifle than any other firearm, ever. Over my many years of writing about firearms, I’ve received quite a few requests from readers to test new firearms, and I try to accommodate those requests if possible. However, I honestly didn’t want to review the Ruger SR-762 for one major reason– I’ve already reviewed the Ruger SR-556 and SR-556E rifles, and this was nothing more than a “big brother” to those two rifles. It’s chambered in .308 Winchester/7.62NATO, and they are NOT the same caliber. However, Ruger advertises that their SR-762 will readily accept either caliber.

When the SR-762 came out about five or six months ago, I heard from there were some minor problems with feeding from the supplied magazines. However, Ruger worked through it without a recall. I was happy to hear this, as in the past Ruger rushed a few gun designs through, and there were some problems. That decision resulted in some major and expensive recalls. In this regard, Ruger does step-up to the bat and takes care of any problems. They have a fantastic customer service department. I’ve had some early production firearms that had to be returned to several gun makers, so I shied away from requesting the SR-762 until I could no longer ignore all the hundreds of requests I received for an honest review and test of the SR-762. So, I broke down and asked for a sample for testing.

A quick look at some of the specs of the SR-762 is in order. For all practical purposes, this gun is a scaled-up (but not so much) AR-15 in .308 Winchester, with a piston-driven system, instead of the direct impingement gas system. I’ve grown quite fond of piston-driven ARs over the past couple of years, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise, as many of my favorite battle rifles operate with this same type of system. Although, the Ruger piston-driven system appears to be one of the simplest and easiest of the bunch to maintain. While the SR-762 is larger than their SR-556 models, it honestly isn’t “that” much larger; it’s only slightly longer and a little bit heavier. The SR-762 weighs-in at 8.60-pounds when empty, with its 16.12-inch Bbl.

We also have a 6-position telescoping stock that is a standard, a Hogue over-mold pistol grip with finger grooves, and an aluminum quad-rail hand guard. However, the “quad-rail” doesn’t have rails at all the positions; only the top rail has a manner for affixing something to it. Ruger has brilliantly, in my humble opinion, simply drilled and tapped this hand guard at the three, six, and nine o’clock positions, and provides two rails that you can attach where you want to place accessories on the rail. Additional rails can be purchased separately, if you feel the need to attach a lot of toys to your SR-762. I’m old school, in that, I don’t feel the need to attach much to my rifles. I like to keep in simple. Additionally, I’m getting older, and I don’t want to pack around a rifle that is heavy any longer. The rounded hand guard is quite comfortable to hold, unlike many quad-rails that have sharp edges and have to be covered with a poly cover to not only protect the rails from damage but to protect your hand as well from getting cut.

I did attach a MagPul Angled Fore Grip to the six o’clock position and a sling swivel for attaching a sling to the front of the gun. Strangely, Ruger does not provide a front swivel sling attaching point. It wasn’t any big deal, as I found one at my local gun shop for $12.00. Still I would like to see this included in the complete package from Ruger. I don’t want to carry my rifle at the ready all the time. It’s nice to sling a rifle. Without the front sling swivel attachment you can’t attach a sling, and the SR-762 does not come with a sling. A $5.00 Nylon sling works nice for me.

The SR-762 also comes with an outstanding set of fold-down “iron” sights. In fact they are some of the best I’ve ever used. I added an inexpensive Sight Mark red dot sight to the top of the SR-762. I have this particular sight on several of my ARs. They run about $70.00, and you can find them on in a couple of different versions. They are tough, too. On more than one occasion, when an AR of mine that has one of these red dot sights has fallen over, the sights remained zeroed and still work. You can also co-witness the back-up sights on the Ruger SR-762 through the Sight Mark red dot sight. I like that should the red dot sight go down, I simply flip-up the back-up sights, and I’m still in the game. There is a nice flash suppressor on the end of the barrel, which is a Ruger proprietary design and does the job nicely of keeping flash down on many rounds.

The piston-driven system is worthy of mention in that it has four different positions. The SR-762 and SR-556 rifles come with the regulator set on the #2 position, and I’ve yet to have to change it. However, if you are having functioning problems with a certain type of ammo, you can open-up the regulator to the #3 position, if the ammo is a bit too hot or the gun is running extremely dirty. Also, you can dial it down to the #1 position, if the ammo is a bit under-powered. The #0 position turns the gas off, and the gun will not feed any rounds. This is used in many instances with sound suppressors. I like that this piston-driven system is easy to clean, too. It only takes a minute or two to take it apart for cleaning. The two-stage piston is also chrome-plated for easier clean-up, and it helps resist rust and dirty, too.

On some of the newer piston-driven AR designs, there has been a problem with carrier-tilt in that the design of the AR operating system wasn’t meant to operate with a piston. It was a direct impingement system, and the piston-drive systems were causing the bolt carrier to slightly “tilt” downwards, causing unnecessary wear and tear in the buffer tube area. Ruger has resolved this problem with a newly designed bolt carrier that doesn’t allow this problem to happen.

The SR-762 comes in a nicely padded carrying case, along with 3 MagPul PMags that hold 20-rds each of .308/7.62 NATO rounds. To be sure, I believe the MagPul .223 mags are some of the best in the world for use in an AR type rifle. However, while I had zero problems with the mags that came with the SR-762, I did purchase some metal mags, and they just seemed to feed the rounds smoother into the chamber. I used some DPMS magazines as well as some ASC metal magazines. For my money, the ASC mags worked great and were less money. So, I now have a good supply of the ASC mags on-hand. Plus, I also purchased some additional PMags as well, just to have around.

For my shooting enjoyment, I had some Black Hills Ammunition .308 Winchester 168-grain Match HP ammo, some Buffalo Bore .308 Sniper 175-grain ammo, and Winchester’s white box, USA brand 147-grain FMJ fodder. I ran several 20-rd mags of ammo through the gun as fast as I could pull the trigger, and there were no functioning problems. The gun remained cool, too. I took the bolt-carrier group out, and it was cool to the touch. Try that with any direct impingement AR and you will burn your fingers and find the bolt carrier group to be dirty, too.

I settled down for some accuracy testing with the SR-762 at 50-yards because of terrible weather conditions– heavy, low-hanging fog. I only used the Sight Mark red dot sight for my accuracy testing, and with the Black Hills and Buffalo Bore loads mentioned above, I could place three shots touching into a nice clover leaf at 50-yards if I did my part. My method is to place a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my SUV and use that as a rest for accuracy testing. At the 50-yard distance, there was no clear winner; both the Black Hills and Buffalo Bore loads shot the same, “almost one hole” groups. The Winchester load opened the groups up a little bit more but not by much at that distance.

In all my testing, I ran more than 250 rounds of .308 Win ammo through the SR-762 with zero problems at all. I will say that, for many years, I have had a love affair with another brand of .308 battle rifle. However, that “affair” is over. There is a new love in my life– this Ruger SR-762. I must say, I do kind of kick myself in the behind for not requesting a sample sooner. To be honest, I mistakenly thought it was just another .308 Win AR with just a different name on it. I was wrong, and it pains me to admit that. The SR-762 is a lot more gun than I thought it would be. It has all the innovation of the AR-15 family of rifles, as well as being able to accept all manner of accessories, plus it is piston-driven. The SR-762 is just one of “those” rifles that grows on you, in very short order.

How much did I like the SR-762? Well, that is easy to answer. I’m buying my sample, and I don’t purchase a lot of firearm samples these days because I have all the guns I need, but I don’t have all the guns I want. That’s a big difference. If I were to have to bug out right this very moment and only had time to grab one rifle, the Ruger SR-762 would be that rifle. My A-L-I-C-E gear would be 4 Nylon magazine pouches, each holding two twenty round magazines for a total of 160-rds, and another magazine in the gun. That would sure get me out of just about any trouble I might be in. To be sure, while the SR-762 is a bit heavier than my SR-556E and the .308 ammo is heavier than .223 ammo is, I’d still reach for my SR-762 for a SHTF scenario. The .308 can do so much more than the .223 can, and I’m not here to debate which round is better. In my humble opinion, the .308 is a better round for a SHTF situation…simple as that!

The SR-762 doesn’t come cheap. It has a full-retail of $2,195.00. However, you can find them for a lot less on as well as at your local gun shop, if they have one in-stock. They are a very popular .308 Battle Rifle these days, and I’m not the least bit surprised, either.