Ruger SR-556VT Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
June 16, 2013
Back in early 2011, I
reviewed the Ruger SR-556C
Rifle and have been pleased with it's performance over these
past two years. That is the main reason why I was
excited this year to see Ruger offer a new Varmint/Target model to the SR-556
line which is designated as the Ruger SR-556VT. I have several
AR style rifles, but none I would consider to be a target AR
style rifle. After studying the features of the new
SR-556VT, it was clear that this rifle was geared towards longer
range operation and accuracy. Some of the key defining
features of this model are the 20" 1:8 twist cold hammer forged
stainless steel barrel, two stage trigger, A2 style buttstock, slim
profile handguard and extended charging handle. Ruger lists
the MSRP as $1995 which is the same as their original SR-556 rifle.
Ruger is able to keep a common price point on their rifles by swapping some of the
features such as sights and case for the added costs of the barrel
and trigger, which I think was a good decision on Ruger's part.
In today's market, it is hard for me to say the common street price
for this rifle because it seems to range anywhere from about $1650 to
$2000 at various online sources. Hopefully in time the prices
will continue to stabilize, but until then, availability may be more
important than price point. Fortunately, I was able to get
Ruger to send me a rifle for review because I haven't seen a
any of my local gun shops.
During my reviews I like to compare my results
to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in
colored italics was taken directly from the
on 5/4/13 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications
for the Ruger SR-556VT Rifle. The
are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this
review with either photos, commentary or both.
The SR-556® offers Ruger's legendary
rugged reliability, and comes factory standard with a host of
accessories that today's shooters demand.
Employing a patent-pending,
chrome-plated, two-stage piston driven operating system that
provides the user with a cleaner, cooler running, reliable
firearm that is truly state-of-the-art.
The chrome-lined gas
block and chrome-plated piston and regulator work together to
provide a smooth power delivery stroke to the bolt carrier.
by-products of the gas system are vented out the bottom of the
gas block, away from the bolt carrier, keeping the action clean
and free from contaminants. The end result is significantly
improved performance over gas driven rifles.
The SR-556VT™ is a Varmint Target model of the two-stage
piston-driven SR-556.® Ergonomic features and accuracy
enhancements including a two-stage trigger are all designed to
do one thing: put you on target and keep you on target.
twist cold-hammer forged stainless steel barrel effectively
stabilizes a wide variety of bullet weights.
Two-Stage Piston With Adjustable Regulator provides a cleaner,
cooler running, reliable firearm with superior operating
endurance. The two-stage piston provides a smooth power
delivery stroke to the bolt carrier.
The four position gas regulator can be adjusted for optimum
reliability and superior operating endurance. The gas
system may be closed completely for manual operation during
training or when using a suppressor.
Lightweight adaptable handguard with
flattop receiver features a Picatinny rail at 12:00 position
that extends the full length of the handguard. Additional
rails for 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 positions are sold separately.
(the review rifle came with two 3" rail)
Two-Stage, Target-Style Trigger with a short "take-up" stage,
followed by a crisp, light target pull with no creep or
Fixed-Length, A2-Style Buttstock for a solid cheek weld.
Cold Hammer-Forged 410 Stainless Steel Barrel
with target crown
and 1:8 twist for the ultimate in accuracy, longevity and
compatibility with a broad range of varmint and target
MAGPUL® MOE® Grip for optimum trigger finger placement.
Extended charging handle for easier manipulation when optics are
Also Features: chrome-plated bolt, one-piece bolt carrier and
extractor, three magazines and soft case
(no case provided).
Model Number: 5914
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Stock: Black Synthetic
Black Oxide/Hardcoat Anodized
Length of Pull: 13.75"
None, Picatinny Rail
Height measured 7.18" from the top of the
upper receiver to the bottom of the grip.
Barrel Length: 20.00"
review rifle measured 38.5"
The 2.50" stated would be without the
extended charging handle. With the extended charging
handle, the width is 3.25".
Weight: 8.50 lbs.
Review rifle weighed in at 8.39 pounds
with an empty magazine and without the extra rails and covers
Twist: 1:8" RH
MA Approved & Certified: No
CA Approved: No
This review is broken down into multiple
parts with this page providing links to each part along with an
overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom
comments. Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts
of the review because they contain many photos and
lots of commentary. Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those
parts which is not covered on this page.
As you read these Pros and Cons below,
keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping into 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 more of a personal preference.
The trigger pull measured 3.7 pounds based on an average of 10
pulls using a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale. The two
stage trigger had a light initial take-up on the first stage, a very
slight bit of creep before it broke on the second stage and no detectable
overtravel on the second stage. Overall I think most people would be pleased
with the trigger pull on this rifle.
Sleek simple handguard with the ability to mount rails where
needed, if needed.
Disassembly of the Ruger SR-556VT Rifle was
quick and easy like most AR style rifles.
20" stainless steel heavy profile cold hammer forged barrel.
With my best 4-shot group measuring 0.53"
and best 5-shot group measuring 0.78", it is hard to dispute
that this rifle is capable of sub MOA accuracy.
Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:
The A2 stock is very simple and functional, but I think adding a
stock like the
Magpul MOE Rifle Stock would have been a nice touch to go
along with the Magpul grip.
It seems that there are strong opinions on both side for gas
impingement versus a piston AR style rifle. Ruger has
chosen to go with the piston system for their SR-556 platform.
Having owned a SR-556C for a couple of years and putting
thousands of rounds through that rifle, I have been pleased with
the performance of Ruger's SR-556 piston rifles.
The handguard is not considered to be removable by the consumer. Ruger recommends that removal of
the gas block assembly and handguard be performed by the Ruger
The barrel is not fully floated because
the handguard contacts the gas block.
Based on my range testing, the Ruger
SR-556VT Rifle has proven to be an accurate varmint/target platform.
In the hands of a real shooter, you should be able to obtain sub-MOA
accuracy based on my experience with this rifle. You may need
to adjust the gas regulator depending on the type of ammunition you
plan to shoot, but making an adjustment only takes about 10 seconds.
The trigger pull on this rifle was 3.7 pounds and clearly suitable
for this varmint/target role. The handguard is simple and slim
and I feel most people would be pleased with its features. I
wish Ruger had added a buttstock with a little more bling, but the
A2 buttstock is very functional for this configuration. As
always, if you are looking for a precision autoloading platform
rifle, do your research and read as many reviews as possible, but in
the end, the Ruger SR-556VT Varmint/Target Rifle should be one that
If you would like to be notified about future Gunsumer
Reports reviews via Facebook, make sure "You Like This" by clicking the Facebook "Like" button
at the bottom or top of this page. If it already says "You Like This"
beside the button, clicking it again will uncheck the "Like" status and you will not be notified.