The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) is something of a phenomenon!
In the world of precision rifles, Ruger has a respectable presence. But usually, they are associated with calibers such as .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor. We don’t typically put “.22 LR” and “precision rifle” in the same sentence.
But, as Bob Hope said, I gotta tell ya – “they do go together, like peanut butter and jelly”.
Why a Ruger Precision Rimfire?
Well, to be a smart-alec, why not? There are some awfully accurate .22 cartridges out there. Matter of fact, .22 competitions for years have stressed precision in both the handgun and long gun categories. I was looking in my friend Duane’s gun case the other day and saw an S&W Model 41 Target Pistol. This particular one has an extra barrel with a red dot atop it. Wow…talk about a great small-game gun! I know, that’s not what it’s for but it sure would work for that purpose. What’s a Model 41 got to do with this RPR, you ask?
Obviously, they are very different guns but they have two things in common… they are both very precise, competition-ready guns and are both chambered in the ubiquitous .22 LR. You can have a lot of fun with a .22, be it in a handgun or long gun format, and you can win lots of competitions with those.
One of the best reasons for the RPR .22 LR rifle’s existence is that it makes a great trainer for its centerfire counterparts. Many parts between the rimfire and centerfire versions are similar. The bolt handle, for instance, is basically the same size as the centerfire bolt handle and has an adjustable throw – stick with a standard throw, for the .22, of an inch and a half.
Remove a “C” clip and the bolt goes to a full 70-degree throw just like the short-action centerfire versions. This is described in the owner’s manual on page 28. (You may download the Instruction Manual for Ruger Precision Rimfire if you are interested). What a great way to practice for your .308 RPR! The AR-style safety is reversible, just like the centerfire models. Buttstock and comb adjustability are built-in, as well. You can set up your rimfire to feel and handle just like your centerfire rifle.
Before we go on with this Ruger Precision Rifle Review, let’s look at some specifications. Most are from Ruger’s website, with a couple added by me…
|Stock:||Quick-Fit Precision Rimfire Adjustable|
|Capacity:||15 (10 in restricted states)|
|Overall Length:||35.13″/38.63″ (stock collapsed/extended)|
|Handguard:||15” Free-Float With Magpul® M-LOK® Slots|
|Handguard Finish:||Black, Hard-Coat Anodized|
|Length of Pull:||12″ – 15.50″|
|Barrel:||Threaded Cold Hammer-Forged 1137 Alloy Steel|
|Trigger:||User-adjustable from 2.25 to 5 pounds. It is factory-set to 3.5 pounds.|
(The .22 RPR is eight inches shorter and 3.8 pounds lighter than its .308 centerfire cousin).
Here are some photos I shot. The gun certainly looks like it means business!
Shooting The Ruger Rimfire Precision Rifle
I have a Ruger Precision Rifle .308 waiting for me to test, which will happen soon. But, until I set that forend on a shooting bag, this rimfire version is a very suitable stand-in and will help get me familiar with the RPR platform. As mentioned above, it has a lot in common with the centerfire versions. Here are some factors that contribute to this rifle’s shootability:
The gun comes with no sights so I stuck a simple 4x scope on the rail. With the rail, a scope or red dot is a no-brainer in terms of adding an optic. I set up a few targets close in and fired a few shots to see how far off the scope was. Once I was close, I moved the targets back. I’ve shown one typical target below.
This is one accurate rifle, to be sure. The gun’s length makes it a two-bag proposition in terms of resting it on a bench. The long handguard gives you ample room to rest the forend in order to attain the most stable shooting platform that you can. Or, opt to stick a bipod on it – that would offer a distinct advantage in the field, for sure. With the M-LOK handguard, a bipod is no big deal.
Not sure which scope to get? Check out our Rifle Optic & Scope Reviews
Another thing that is good about the gun is its adjustable buttstock. I know, adjustable buttstocks are not new but they are usually confined to the world of AR-type rifles. You will see them on bolt guns, but not too many. The comb adjustment is a good thing, too… you are able to get your eye exactly where it needs to be in relation to your optic. You can move the comb a total of one inch. The small rail on the bottom of the stock is a good place to put a sling adapter.
Leave it to Ruger to make a user-adjustable trigger and then give you the tool needed. Yeah, right, you say – lots of makers do that. Ruger figured out a way to keep that tool (a 5/64” Allen wrench) with you, in the gun, all the time without just sticking it into a hollow pistol grip. There is a place that Ruger calls a “tool caddy” behind the bolt. Unsnap the cover and take the little wrench out. Turn the gun over (after clearing it and removing the magazine, of course) and find the clearance in the chassis. Next, you can put the end of the wrench in and turn the screw clockwise to increase trigger pull weight and counterclockwise to lighten it. If you have questions on this, the owner’s manual covers the process starting on page 27.
Thumb Safety Position
Lefties like me are always grumbling about having thumb safeties on the wrong side of the gun. Matters not what gun it is… a 1911, an AR, you get it. Well, like so many newer guns, we can move the safety to the right side of the receiver if desired. Separate the lower receiver and depress the safety selector spring. Then, pull the safety out and stick it in on the other side. Next, engage the spring and that’s it – the safety is now all of a sudden more easily accessed by your weak hand or by us left-handers. Instructions for all this are in the owner’s manual starting on page 29. They built ease of disassembly into this rifle, for sure. Even a ten-thumbed klutz like me could do this.
There are other factors that contribute to this gun’s reputation for accuracy, but the main points above are a start. I didn’t mention the barrel because Ruger has had the barrel thing figured out now for years and their tubes are some of the best.
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Ruger Precision Rifle .22 LR Idiosyncrasies
As for shooting the gun, I had time to shoot a couple of different types of .22 ammo (which I was lucky to find, given the current situation. For more on ammo, check out our Ammo Comparisons Resource). Anyway, I shot the Federal Champion 36-grain HP bulk and the Winchester Super Speed 40-grain roundnose loads.
I shot up close, around 40 yards, due to the fact that I didn’t have a lot of time to fiddle around with perfecting the mounting of an optic to the gun and I didn’t want to spend a couple of hours mentally “chasing” bullets that went off the paper at 50-75 yards. So, given the shooting conditions, I chose to include one representative 8-round group shot with the Federal load. The Federal looks like it would be worth following up on. The Winchester load shot well, but this Federal target was the best.
During “normal” times, I would try 8-10 different .22 loadings to find that just that one that was the most accurate. Obviously, I can’t do that now. This leads to the downsizing of my ammo sample. I think most everyone who shoots .22s knows that performance can vary widely among the brands of ammo, sometimes even within a brand. I’ve shot enough .22 over the years to know that, for my eyes and gun-holding ability, there are at least four main brands and types of ammo that tend to work across the board for many guns.
The top two are Remington Thunderbolts and CCI Mini-Mags. So, why didn’t I try them? I wanted to see if the second pair of the four, the Winchester and the Federal, would work with this 18-inch barrel. This barrel length is similar to that of a 10/22 – I’ve had good luck with those two ammo brands in that gun, as well. Your results will probably be different but, in this gun’s case, these worked for me.
Anyway, all this ammo talk is meaningless if you can’t find any to buy. Plus, all you .22 shooters out there already have your favorites, so what I list here doesn’t really mean anything. If you buy this Ruger Precision Rifle, you will want to try several brands and bullet weights to find the one or two that your rifle likes best. Your targets would undoubtedly look better than mine, and that’s fine. The point is to find ammo your gun likes, and then go have fun whether it’s on a formal range, in a pasture, or in the squirrel woods. This gun is definitely up to the task.
Looking for a .22 rifle that’s “off the beaten path?” Want something a bit different? How about the best of both rifle worlds – a tried and true bolt action married to a “black-rifle-concept” chassis? If you answer yes to any of these, you really need to check out the RPR Rimfire.
After you find the .22 load it likes, add an optic of some sort – I think this gun needs an old-fashioned scope to take advantage of its accuracy – and you should be good to go. Then, head to the range or the woods with the confidence that comes from knowing that you can hit that tiny squirrel’s head from way—-back—here.
Stick a good, well-zeroed optic, a sling, and maybe a bipod on it and you have one first-class .22 rifle to compete with, to go on a hunt with, or to win sucker bets with your friends.
One thing’s definitely for sure – with its dual heritage (bolt + AR), this rifle will be accurate, modular, and easy to upgrade. When you find the right ammo, I believe your RPR Rimfire will live with you for a very long time. If you own one, please tell us about it below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe.
Where to buy a Ruger Precision Rifle?
Most sellers are out of stock at the time of writing. The best you can do right now is to add yourself to the notification list at GritrSports or any of the other retailers.