Ruger SR-556C Review
Part 1 - Introduction and Summary
April 3, 2011

Ruger has been the creator of a couple legendary autoloading rifles such as their 10/22 Rifles and their Mini 14 Rifles. Each of these represents a basic platform with a full range of variant models to appeal to nearly any consumer.  When Ruger set out to create their third line of autoloading rifles based on an AR style platform, they had a couple of tough acts to follow.  Back in 2009 Ruger introduced their new autoloading rifle, the Ruger SR-556.  My first impression was that Ruger was serious about maintaining their autoloading reputation.  When you combine a Mil-Spec lower receiver with a custom upper receiver, add in a four position gas regulator that drives a two stage piston, and toss in some quality components from Troy Industries, Magpul and Hogue, you are looking at a formula for success.

As with any successful rifle platform, variants will be spawned as a result of the success of the platform.  Currently Ruger has four models in this rifle platform which are shown below.  Their newest model being their 6.8 SPC caliber rifle.  This review is for the SR-556C which was the version prior to the 6.8 SPC.  The SR-556C is based on the 5.56mm NATO caliber and represents their shortest and lightest version of this rifle platform.  The SR-556C incorporates a flash hider which is machined integrally into the barrel to reduce total length and weight.  Also the SR-556C includes fluting in the barrel under the forward hand guard rails to reduce weight.  The combination of these features makes this an ideal close quarters rifle that is extremely point-able.

Ruger's suggested retail on the SR-556C is $1995, but you will be able to find this rifle in the $1390 to $1550 price range depending if you are willing to do online purchasing versus heading to a retail store.

 

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the pros and cons and with my final "Bottom Line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because with 100+ photos and commentary to go along with them, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not be covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep preference from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be preference to you personally.

Pros:

  • The gas piston system provides a cleaner and cooler receiver/carrier/bolt area and should increase the operating endurance of the firearm.
  • Quality materials and coatings are used throughout such as the hammer forged 41V45 steel in the chrome lined barrel, the 8620 case hardened steel  in the chrome plated bolt carrier assembly components, and the 7075-T6 aluminum alloy in the Type III anodized receivers and handguard.
  • The rifle comes with quality components like the Troy Industries Battlesights, Hogue Grip, and 3 Magpul 30 round PMAGs, along with a Ruger soft case.
  • The rifle has an attractive (my opinion) and spacious 10+" full quad rail handguard which with the upper receiver and gas block produces a full upper rail from the magazine latch to the end of the gas block.
  • This Ruger SR-556C has a 16.12" barrel which includes the length of the flash hider, making the overall barrel plus flash hider length shorter than other rifles without the integral flash hider.
  • Range testing shows this rifle to be better than 2 MOA capable with non-match ammo with my best 5 shot group measuring 1.15" with Hornady 60 gr. TAP FPD.

Cons:

  • The quad rail handguard is not removable for extensive cleaning.  Ruger recommends that removal of the gas block assembly and handguard be performed by the Ruger factory.
  • The trigger pull measures 8.2 pounds out of the box and at the end of range testing it measured 7.9 pounds.

 

Bottom Line:

The Ruger SR-556C Rifle is a member of what I believe to be the beginning of another legendary autoloading rifle platform for Ruger.  The rifle is packed with quality components and comes with an assortment of features that make it an attractive value.  Overall accuracy is clearly good enough for the intended close quarters purpose of this rifle and could probably be better if you were willing to put in a two stage trigger.  Don't let the MSRP of $1995 scare you off because it can be found around $1400 if you are willing to make an online purchase.  Next time you are out looking at AR platform rifles, make sure you checkout the Ruger SR-556 rifles.


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