Ruger Precision Rimfire
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 22/10/2018
If you read the American gun press, there always seems to be stories on the rising cost of centrefire ammo. The outcome, certainly with AR15 shooters, is turning to exact 22 rimfire, semi-auto copies of the 223 guns, making training and usage much cheaper, without losing the essential feel and handling of the bigger item. I subscribe to this theory, but still reckon that 22 LR rifles are far more than an economy measure, as they are fun trainers, plinkers and competition guns; plus, the perfect small game/vermin tool.
But there seems to be less cross-over in the world of boltactions, with perhaps one notable exception, I speak of course of Ruger’s Precision Rifle (RPR). This chassis system rifle came out of the left field to surprise everybody and offered a fully adjustable butt and free-float barrel. With its AR15-style layout, it’s chambered in 308 Win and 6 and 6.5 Creedmoor. Now you can have a 22 LR version as a companion for the big gun, or just as it is; a good looking mini tactical/precision machine, with bags of potential.
Called the Precision Rimfire, the action is taken from Ruger’s American Rimfire sporter, but they have substituted an 18-inch, heavy barrel and dropped it into a rigid glass-filled nylon chassis with free-float MLOK forend. As I discovered, features are near identical. So, let’s start at the back end.
The butt is adjustable for both length of pull (LOP) and comb height and visually a tad different, plus it does not fold. There’s a dog leg, half-length, skeletonised strut that the rear telescopic section slides into. The rubber pad is good and thick and shows a lower gripping hook with Picatinny rail for a monopod with ambi, QD sling swivel sockets. The comb is a horseshoe shape and as well as vertical adjustment it also offers a bit of fore and aft movement too. Nice, is the fact both axes are controlled by a single lever, with LOP going from 12- to 15.5-inches.
The grip is AR-like with a fill-in back strap, but anything AR will fit; always useful! I tried a Trinity Force; rubber over-moulded unit that went straight on. The safety angle is 45⁰ for FIRE and flips down to 90⁰ parallel to the bore for SAFE and is reversible. Feed uses the generic 10/22 magazine with the original 10-round rotary or the 15 and 25-round BX banana sticks; it comes with the BX-15 as standard. The mag release catch is extended and positioned at the rear of the large and flared well. A Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger is fitted, which can be adjusted from 2.25- to 5lbs, with the Allen key for the job stored inside a trap in the tang; sweet. It shows the Glock/Savagetype blade-in-blade lever that negates the risk of accidental operation, though cannot account for operator-error!
The receiver sits on two alloy bedding blocks cast into the action void, and with it removed you have access to the trigger adjustment Allen screw. A point to note when removing the action, the safety must be on SAFE, otherwise it will not come free. It’s best to remove the trap door on the tang compartment too, also when you put it back ensure its front lug engages otherwise it will fowl the bolt run.
The bolt has an extend handle with a large tapered knob, which gives a low lift angle and slick manipulation. One anomaly; is the fact you can change the cycling length (bolt throw) by removing a C-clip at the rear of the bolt body. With it in place, the throw stops just after the ejector blade (22LR length) of 1.5-inches; removed, it increases to that of a short action centrefire at 3-inches. Ruger did this for familiarity for full-bore RPR owners. I chose this position, as I have never liked the short movement and sudden stop of a rimfire throw. It makes no difference to feed or function. The bolt release catch is rear/left of the receiver.
The barrel is made from, cold, hammer-forged, 1137 alloy steel and threaded ½ x 28 UNEF with a protector for a moddy, it sits inside a free-floating MLOK tube. It has the usual 1-16-inches, right-hand 6-land rifling twist rate. Unusually, Ruger fit a one-piece 30MOA Picatinny base, which seems a bit odd for a rimfire and means that the scope you pick better have a lot of elevation correction. Importers Viking Arms provided a Leupold VX-6HD 2-12 x 42 in QD mounts and by the time I was sorted I had just 10, ¼-inch clicks left in depression at my 100m zero point. But then again, with the increase in longer range use of 22LRs, you will get enough to push it out to 200 yards +.
As a comparison, a 20-inch RPR in 308 Win weighs 9.8lbs (bare backed), the Precision Rimfire tips the scale at a more agreeable 6.8lbs. Though fully bombed up with scope, bipod and moderator it’s probably the thick end of 10lbs.
At first, I was unsure about the rifle, as it seems a bit over the top for a rimfire bolt-action, but its more radical looks won me over; as I’m a big black rifle fan. However, the more I played with it, the more I liked it. Everything is easy to do and well explained in the manual, so switching the safety from left to right takes minutes. Equally, adjusting the trigger is just a matter of twiddling an Allen key and it takes longer to remove the action, which is quick anyway. Butt adjustments are a doddle and I like the fact that you can move the comb piece forward, something few like it offer.
With the Leupold up top, I wanted to fit a bipod but did not have an MLOK base. As luck would have it, Rifleworks had sent me two Leapers UTG RECON bipods, one of which was MLOK-compatible. I tested one last month, suffice to say they are separate, hinged/ adjustable leg assemblies that attach to the slots in the forend. They are much lighter than a Harris or similar and surprisingly rigid, which would suit the lighter build of the Rimfire Precision. I also added an A-TEC Modular Rimfire moderator.
Ammunition was supplied by Viking, in the form of Lapua Center-X (match) and SK standard and Match loads all using 40-grain bullets. I also added Winchester 42-grain MAX sub-sonic hollow point and Eley’s Contact, 42-grain round-nosed subs (for semiautos) and their 38-grain High Velocity Hollow (hollow point).
I soon had the butt adjusted with the comb pushed forward, to give an even cheek/head support, with the LOP more than generous for my long arms. I wound the trigger down to its minimum 2.25lb pull and it offered a superb and crisp break, equally so at maximum, though a bit heavier. The inner blade acts like a guide, as that’s taken up first and you know the break is on the tip of your finger.
I decided to zero at 100m, with all loads grouping into an inch, some better; I found that the 42-grain loads gave just a tad more accuracy and consistency. For me, this rifle is an accurate and fun trainer, with its primary purpose being a high accuracy rabbit gun that can easily nail head shots at 100. So, I’d run it for all uses on the Winchester 42 MAX. Plus, a good bet for longer range work on targets with a suitable scope, as is becoming more popular these days.
One thing I did notice, was the lower extreme velocity spread (ES) from all but one of the loads and even that wasn’t too bad, indicating to me the barrel is a good un’! (See ammunition performance table)
My only niggle was that occasionally I’d get a hard feed from the BX-15 magazine, with the cartridge stiff in the feed lips that required a bit more effort on the bolt. This might just be a case of the mag needing running in, Ruger’s original rotary 10-shot had no such issues. Overall, I was most impressed with the Precision Rimfire and am considering one.
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