Ruger® AR-556 Review
Part 4 - Disassembly and Internal Features
November 28, 2014

Ruger AR-556 Review

In all honesty, I feel that Ruger's Instruction Manual on this rifle may be the most thorough one so far.  Because of this, I'm going to refer you to the manual found at this link or by clicking on the photo below to show the details of disassembly.  Also, disassembly is the same as most other AR rifles because the Ruger AR-556 utilizes a traditional gas impingement system.

Figure 1
Ruger AR-556 Review: Instruction Manual


These next photos give you a look at some of the internal features on the Ruger AR-556 Rifle.  Removal of the handguard is easy and done by screwing the polymer delta ring towards the receiver and then prying the handguard halves apart and rotating them out of the front cap.

Figure 2
Ruger AR-556 Review: Handguards Removed

These next two photos show the polymer delta ring and barrel nut.  Although the barrel nut is Ruger's new design that works specifically with their delta ring, a standard barrel nut could be used if you wanted to replace your handguard system with aftermarket components.  This screw style barrel nut makes it easy to remove the handguards without the need for tools.

Figure 3                                                                Figure 4
Ruger AR-556 Review: Delta Ring  Ruger AR-556 Review: Barrel Nut

The steel bolt carrier is matte black oxide finished.  The gas key seemed properly staked, but I would have liked to see a little more deformation on the staking marks.

Figure 5
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Carrier Top

Figure 6
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Carrier Right

The rear portion of the bolt carrier profile is somewhere in between what I might call an AR-15 enhanced and M-16 bolt.  The carrier also has an un-shrouded firing pin.

Figure 7
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Carrier Bottom

Figure 8
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Carrier Left

The exterior of the bolt carrier profile has an interesting arrangement of flat surfaces which is different from other carriers and gives this carrier a unique look.  This is not an issue because the carrier does not ride on these flat surfaces in the upper receiver.

Figure 9                                                             Figure 10                               
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Front  Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Iso

The inside diameter of the bolt carrier and gas key are chrome plated, although it is not as obvious on the gas key by looking at the photo below.

Figure 11
Ruger AR-556 Review: Chrome Plating Bolt Carrier

The rear end of the bolt looked similar to several others that I had on hand.

Figure 12                                                           Figure 13                                     
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Rear  Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt Carrier Rear

The bolt is made from 9310 Alloy Steel and is shot peened for hardness/strength and pressure tested at the same time as the barrel when the rifle is proof pressure tested.

Figure 14
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Figure 15
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Figure 16
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Figure 17
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Figure 18                                                    Figure 19
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt  Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Since it was easy to do, I pulled the extractor pin and show this extractor removed from the bolt.  It may have been a better photo if I would have also shown a side view of the extractor spring with O-ring.

Figure 20
Ruger AR-556 Review: Bolt

Figure 21
Ruger AR-556 Review: Firing Pin

Figure 22
Ruger AR-556 Review: Cam Pin

The aluminum charging handle is pretty standard with the only significant feature being the Ruger logo stamped into the handle head.

Figure 23
Ruger AR-556 Review: Charging Handle Top

Figure 24
Ruger AR-556 Review: Charging Handle Bottom

These next photos show a little more detail on the upper receiver.

Figure 25
Ruger AR-556 Review: Upper Receiver Right

Figure 26
Ruger AR-556 Review: Upper Receiver Lower

Figure 27
Ruger AR-556 Review: Upper Receiver Left

The upper receiver has the M4 feed ramps machined into the receiver.

Figure 28
Ruger AR-556 Review: Feed Ramps

These next photos give you a look at the trigger group and lower receiver components.

Figure 29
Ruger AR-556 Review: Lower Receiver

Figure 30
Ruger AR-556 Review: Lower Receiver

Figure 31
Ruger AR-556 Review: Trigger Group

The buffer weighed in at 3.0 ounces.

Figure 32
Ruger AR-556 Review: Buffer

The buffer spring measured around 10.85" in length uncompressed.

Figure 33
Ruger AR-556 Review: Buffer Spring

The rifle comes with a 6-position Mil-Spec buffer tube which would allow you to easily upgrade your buttstock if desired.

Figure 34
Ruger AR-556 Review: Buffer Tube

The polymer pistol grip attaches like any other AR pistol grip and has a beaver-tail portion puts your finger in a better shooting position.

       Figure 35                                                          Figure 36
Ruger AR-556 Review: Pistol Grip  Ruger AR-556 Review: Pistol Grip

Figure 37
Ruger AR-556 Review: Lower Reciever Pistol Grip Attachment



The Ruger AR-556 seems to be a good entry level AR rifle.  The components are directly compatible with aftermarket parts which will allow you the ability to upgrade your AR if desired.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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