Ruger SR-556C Review
Part 5 - Range Testing

April 3, 2011

For my range testing of the SR-556 rifle, I chose two basic optics configurations.  The first optic configuration I used had an EOTech XPS2-2 Holographic Sight and EOTech 3x Magnifier installed on the rifle.  You can see this configuration below.  Also, throughout this review, you can click on a photo to bring up a high resolution image showing greater detail.  This configuration will be the one that I choose after all is said and done.  I want something that allows for fast action and close quarters shooting.  I also like the fact that the 3x Magnifier has a quick release mount which allows me to easily add or remove magnification as needed.

Figure 1
Ruger SR-556 Review

I actually did my first shooting with this rifle while reviewing the EOTech XPS2-2 Sight.  Throughout this phase of my range testing, I used TulAmmo .223 Rem. 62 grain hollow points.  Being optimistic, I started sighting the EOTech in at 50 yards while using the EOTech 3x Magnifier.  The group below was my third 5-shot group and it measured 1.15".  I was pleased with this group size for the SR-556 using this inexpensive ammo and also pleased with how precise the EOTech performed at this range.  Since I was working towards a 100 yard zero, I didn't shoot any more bench groups at the 50 yard range.  I only adjusted the sights down and moved on to the 100 yard range.

Figure 2
Ruger SR-556 Review

While at the 100 yard range, I shot several groups fine tuning the sight zero.  I actually shot these using the magnifier because I wanted to get the sight zeroed as good as possible before shooting groups at 100 yards with just the EOTech XPS2-2 (no magnifier).  I shot two 5-shot groups using the 3x magnifier that measured 2.60" and 2.65".  Again, I'm pleased with these shooting results from the inexpensive ammo using the SR-556C rifle, EOTech XPS2-2 sight, and the EOTech 3x magnifier.  My next 5-shot group below shows what I was capable of doing on the first try using the EOTech XPS2-2 only (no magnifier).  As you can see, it is a larger group that measured about 4.1", but considering there was no magnification, I was very pleased with the results (on another day I shot another group measuring 2.27").  I'm sure if I would have spent more time and had more practice I could have gotten the group size down smaller, but I was pressed for time so again I moved on.

Figure 3
Ruger SR-556 Review

After several boxes of ammo and cleaning the barrel a couple of times during the process, I moved on to my second optics configuration.  For this configuration, I installed a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 Scope.  The only reason for putting this scope on the rifle was to have my best optics on it for the 100 yard range testing so I could get a feel for the accuracy potential of this rifle.  You can see in the photo below that the optics look a little out of proportion.

Figure 4
Ruger SR-556 Review

 

The first thing I needed to do was sight in the rifle at 100 yards.  For this, I continued to use the TulAmmo .223 Rem 62 gr. HP ammo.  After tweaking the zero and shooting several boxes, I ended up with four five shot groups that were 2.15", 2.21", 2.50" and 2.80" for an average of 2.42".  Clearly something I can live with considering the price of this ammo.

Figure 5
Ruger SR-556 Review

Next I switched over to shooting some higher quality ammo.  I wanted to get some real data on what to expect with this rifle for a couple of different weight defensive rounds.  I also wanted to push the limit and see what you might expect from shooting a heavier bullet than that recommended for the twist rate of the barrel (1:9) in combination with the overall shortness of the effective barrel length (14.62").

Figure 6
Ruger SR-556 Review

I selected three different types of  Hornady ammo for this portion of review; their 55 gr. and 60 gr. TAP® FPDTM and their 75 gr. MatchTM ammunition.  It is hard to dispute Hornady's reputation in the ammunition industry and what better ammo to evaluate than a couple of types specifically engineered For Personal Defense (FPD).

Figure 7
Ruger SR-556 Review

With the Hornady 55 gr. TAP PFD, I shot the four 5-shot groups below.  They measured 1.28", 1.55", 1.77" and 2.75" in the order that I shot the groups.  This average was 1.84".  I started with a clean cold bore and shot each group consecutively.  I also adjusted the zero after the first group.  Personally, I think the flyers were me, but this average of 1.84" is not bad.  If I would have taken the best 4 out of 5 shots in each group, I would have had sub MOA accuracy.

Figure 8
Ruger SR-556 Review

With the Hornady 60 gr. TAP PFD, I shot the four 5-shot groups below.  They measured 1.45", 1.85", 1.15" and 2.13" in the order that I shot the groups.  This average was 1.65".  I started with a clean cold bore and shot each group consecutively.  I also adjusted the zero some between groups.

Figure 9
Ruger SR-556 Review

Last I shot the Hornady 75 gr. Match ammo.  Again, I wanted to see what you may expect (best case) from a heavier bullet weight than recommended for the barrel twist (1:9) of this rifle in combination with it's short effective barrel length (14.62").  The groups measured 1.19", 1.80", 2.57" and 2.95" for a group average of 2.13".  Although I wouldn't recommend using 75 gr. ammo in this rifle, I feel that it can be effective if it were the only ammo available.

Figure 10
Ruger SR-556 Review

Overall, I was pleased with the results considering the Ruger SR-556C had a single stage 8 pound trigger pull.  Clearly this rifle is capable of under 2 MOA with defensive rounds.  I was able to get my best 5-shot 4-group average of 1.65" with the Hornady 60 gr. TAP PFD.  I believe this rifle could achieve even better accuracy results with match ammo in the 55 to 60-ish weights.  I consider this a close quarters combat rifle and my optics will be the EOTech products shown below, so I wanted to see what to expect from some ammo I plan to have in a magazine ready to go  (Hornady 60 gr. TAP FPD so the bullet weight matches my practice/budget ammo).  I did notice zero shifts at 100 yards as I went from the 55 gr. to 60 gr. to 75 gr. bullet weights.  The largest shift was between the 60 gr. and 75 gr. as would be expected and you can see it in the #1 group above.  Although I didn't chronograph the shots, the reduced effective barrel length does decrease muzzle velocities.

Figure 11
Ruger SR-556 Review

After installing the EOTech XPS2-2 Holographic Weapons Sight and EOTech 3x Magnifier back on the rifle,  I was able to shoot my final 4 shot 2.27" group at 100 yards using the TulAmmo 62 gr. HP.  From my point of view, this type of accuracy exceeds the primary role of this rifle (close quarters combat) and extends it's effectiveness beyond that of just close quarters.

Throughout my range testing, I put 300+ rounds through the rifle.  Although this number of rounds doesn't even scratch the surface on telling you how durable this rifle will last over time, I can say that I never had a single issue with the operation of the rifle.  I know that bolt carrier tilt is a concern with piston systems and the photo below shows the minimal wear (if any) on the end of the buffer tube at the conclusion of my range testing.

Figure 12

Overall, the receiver and bolt areas were very clean as shown by the photo below of the bolt carrier and bolt.  This is much cleaner than I would have had on my old Colt AR-15.

Figure 13 

I decided to show the next couple of photos to give you an idea on what to expect in the gas regulator, piston and  block areas.  With a little effort, the components cleaned up nicely.

Figure 14

Figure 15

 

Overall, I'm pleased with the Ruger SR-556C Rifle and it has proven to be accurate and reliable.  This is the last part of this review on the Ruger SR-556C rifle. See Part 1 for my final comments on this rifle.  You can navigate to the other parts of the review by using the links below.


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