Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) Review (GEN III) 6.5 Creedmoor
Ruger deserves a lot of praise for the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Introduced in 2015 the RPR was the first purpose-built chassis-style precision rifle available from a major manufacturer. The gun tested in this post represents the latest, third generation RPR. Since the introduction of the RPR, the rest of the industry has taken note, and responded with similar products of their own.
Since they are so common I never reviewed or tested an RPR on rifleshooter.com. In fact, I never shot one until I started testing for this post (I know, shame on me). Part of that was I didn’t have a relationship with Ruger where I could request a demo gun, and part of that was just me being stubborn. Frankly, I’m skeptical of the reviews I read in print and online. I’m immediately suspect when the commercial print and online gun media starts to push a product (that’s why I started this site).
So why review an RPR? Why now? I recently opened a retail store with my friend Doug Hansen (782guns.com). When we were ordering inventory, Doug was adamant that we stock Ruger RPRs. Since he has a strong background in retail firearm sales, we ordered some for inventory. After handling some of the generation 3 guns we had in stock, I decided it was time to pull one off the shelf and head to the range.
The test gun shown in the post is a Ruger Precison Rifle part number 18046. It is a standard RPR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and coated from the factory in Barrett Brown Cerakote. It is an exclusive run made for Davidson’s, a firearms distributor. While its color is different from a standard RPR, all other features should be considered the same (this one will probably look a little bit cooler in pics through).
This test gun is equipped with a 24″ barrel that is threaded 5/8-24 and includes a muzzle brake. Ruger offers the precision rifle in additional calibers including 308 Winchester, 243 Winchester, 6 Creedmoor and 223 Remington (you can find a selection of rifles here).
Better late than never
If you work around guns, the first thing you’ll notice about the RPR (or current Ruger products in general) is they don’t try to nickel and dime you. As far as accessories, Ruger includes 2 magazines and a piece of Picatinny rail that has a provision for a QD stud so you can either run a standard Harris bipod or one with a Picatinny adapter. The box the rifle ships in has a Styrofoam insert that fits the rifle and its accessories well.
I equipped my RPR with a Nightforce 8-32x56mm NXS held in a Spuhr mount (both are available through Brownells). A great scope in what may be the best scope mount ever produced. The results I achieve with this rifle will truly be indicative of the rifle’s capabilities and cannot be attributed to a substandard optic or mount.
Getting behind the RPR
Settling in behind the RPR I began to adjust the rear butt stock to fit me. The folding stock is adjustable for stock weld and length of pull, two adjustments I feel any precision rifle would have. Each adjustment is controlled by a cam with a lever attached. On the opposite side of the cam is knob that can adjust the amount of force it takes to close the cam. Adjustments are made quickly and easily with this system. While I understand many RPR owners upgrade to MAGPUL PRS stocks, the one that comes with the factory rifle works fairly well.
The RPR folds to allow removal of the bolt. In my opinion this is a critical feature. All too often you’ll encounter precision rifle products that require disassembly and removal of parts to take out the bolt, inspect the bore, or bore sight the old-fashioned way by looking down the tube.
The trigger on the RPR has a blade-type safety, similar to a Savage AccuTrigger. Trigger pull measured 2 pounds, 11.5 ounces averaged over five pulls. While it isn’t quite as nice as a custom aftermarket trigger like the Timney, the trigger is far better than the majority of factory triggers on the market.
Each RPR is equipped with an ambidextrous safety located above the shooter’s thumb. The safety has a 45 degree throw and doesn’t impede the path of the shooter’s trigger finger when he is on the rifle.
The three-lug bolt has a short, 70-degree throw. The enlarged knob is located fairly close to the trigger. In my opinion it is in the perfect location allowing for rapid manipulation of the bolt.
While the RPR is fairly expensive (over $1,000), it is, in the world of precision rifles fairly inexpensive. To meet this price point you’ll see a reliance on molded plastic and MIM steel parts. The best example of this is the very molded looking”firing pin back”, similar to the Ruger American (I believe that they may be the same part).
The RPR uses AICS style magazines. It includes two MAGPUL magazines from the factory. When the magazine is empty and the bolt is racked to the rear, the magazine follower locks the bolt open, preventing it from closing on an empty chamber. This makes loading individual rounds into the RPR difficult. Substituting a standard metal AICS style magazine allows the RPR bolt to close on an empty magazine without having to push the follower down.
Shooting the RPR
I headed to the range with 19 different hand loads using two powders (H4350 and Varget) and 4 different bullets (Hornady 147 ELD M, Sierra 142 SMK, Lapua 120 Scenar-L and the Sierra 107 TMK) loaded over Starline brass. I’ll be writing about the performance in a different post, Loading for the Ruger Precision Rifle, which will be published shortly. In the interim, I must say, despite the relatively thin factory barrel shank the RPR performed well.
Average group size for all nineteen 5-shot 100 yard groups was .878″ (.839 MOA) with the smallest group being .521″ (.498 MOA)! Impressive for an out of the box rifle.
Due to the design of the RPR, the recoil impulse is inline with the barrel. This is very similar to the MDT TAC21 chassis system, making the shooting experience pleasant and enjoyable.
So what are my thoughts on the Ruger Precision Rifle?
- Great entry level rifle. While for entry precision rifles, I still prefer to thread and chamber a custom barrel on a factory action and place it in an MDT LSS stock, the RPR is a great first precision rifle. My rifle had a decent trigger, cycled well and was accurate; 19 loads averaged .839 MOA and the best load was just over 1/2 MOA!
- Nice factory trigger.
- Bolt location is prefect.
- Smooth recoil impulse. Shooting the RPR reminded me of the first time I shot a rifle in the MDT TAC21 chassis. Moving the stock in line with the barrel makes for a smooth shooting rifle.
- Focus on what it does well. While it isn’t a full house custom build, let’s focus on what it does well and not the areas that could use some improvement. Could the RPR front end benefit from a redesign that would end up with a thicker barrel shank, less plastic and MIM parts? Absolutely, but that would drive up costs and defeat the purpose of the RPR.
Are there alternatives to the RPR? Certainly. The rest of the industry has been responding in force. The RPR deserves praise for helping steer the major manufacturers in the right direction.
To order a Ruger Precision Rifle, check out Brownells. They’ve been a big supporter of this site and we wouldn’t be able to create the content we do without their help.
If you’d like to order this particular model of RPR, you can send us a message through our retail website, 782guns.com for pricing and availability.
I’d also like to thank Tuffy Security Products for their support of the site. You’ll notice their pick-up truck vault system in the background of many of the photos. This is a great system that provides a secure option for the storage of your firearms when you are on the road.
I’ll be running more Ruger Precision Rifle content on rifleshooter.com, to include load data and customization. Please check back soon to read about it.