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Old October 9, 2013, 10:53 PM   #1
AL45
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Ruger SR556

I am a single action revolver, singleshot rifle/shotgun guy and know nothing about semi-autos. My son will soon turn 18 and is interested in an AR. Being a fan of Ruger, I would like some input on a SR556. Or if there are better options, please let me know. Thanks.
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Old October 10, 2013, 01:16 AM   #2
allaroundhunter
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Ruger SR556

It really depends on what he wants to do with it. The Ruger is a slightly different breed of AR being that it is piston operated as opposed to a DI gas gun, but it still works well.
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Old October 10, 2013, 06:59 AM   #3
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I own the carbine Version-I believe its the 5913 model.Have had it for about a year now and have maybe put 2000 rounds through it.All in all a good AR.I own both piston and DI gas Ar's seems to me that the piston stay's cleaner.Came with a nice case and 3-30 round mags.
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Old October 10, 2013, 07:17 AM   #4
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There's a billion different options in the AR market and trying to figure them all out before purchasing a first AR will just drive you to a SCAR.

The Ruger is a fine choice and will serve you very well. They're a great company who stand behind their work.

I've been in the AR game for years and you'll hear lots of companies get bashed but then they're a hero to someone else. Just find an AR configured how you like and it'll most certainly work for you.

Just don't go cheap on the optics. There's nothing like seeing a $1000 rifle with $50 optics on it. If you're going to get a red dot, go with a baseline EoTech or AimPoint Pro.
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Old October 10, 2013, 08:04 AM   #5
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Ruger might just make the best AR available on the market right now. Yes, it's a tall statement to make with so many options but it's true. The piston system is superior to any gas system. The gas guys will argue this but no piston owner will ever tell you they miss their gas operated gun. Of the Ruger's, I'd advise looking hard at the 556E. Quite a bit cheaper than the standard SR-556, has a much nicer hand guard, and comes without a CHROME lined barrel. Chrome lined barrels belong on shotguns, not rifles and nobody here is shooting corrosive ammo from the 60's LOL. With the money saved on the E model, it can be put into accessories to make it "his" which you'll end up doing with the standard 556 anyway.
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Old October 10, 2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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Lots of misinformation in the previous post.

But I'll just sit back and let other folks correct it.
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Old October 10, 2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Lots of misinformation in the previous post.
I'll keep my chrome lined barrel and I'm very happy with the DI on my 7.5, 10.5 and 14.5 inch uppers, even though I have a SCAR that's piston powered.

But I will agree that the Ruger is one of the better ARs on the market, unless you're stepping up to HK, LCW, Noveske or other premium platform. I find it just as good as Sig's AR-15 and I'm quite a Sig fan.

Unlike quite a few companies with their "me too" ARs, Ruger seems to of put quite a bit of thought into their ARs and made something that it's just another AR. Though I find it heavy, it's still a great gun and with the adjustable gas port, it's perfect for a suppressor.

I just wished Ruger would make an SBR length upper.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:19 AM   #8
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I'd pass on the Ruger and look at Colt, BCM and others if you're looking at that price range. Ruger had to be careful not to have their AR gut their Mini14 sales so had to jack up the price. You can buy a very good AR (PSA for example) at the Mini14 price or you can look at Colt or BCM.

BTW, I like Ruger and have three but I'd never buy their AR because there are better choices.
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Old October 11, 2013, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Lots of misinformation in the previous post.

But I'll just sit back and let other folks correct it.
Do tell, we'd love to hear about it.
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Old October 11, 2013, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Ruger had to be careful not to have their AR gut their Mini14 sales so had to jack up the price.
What? Where did you hear this? The SR556 / SR556E is an entirely different platform than the Mini14. There are still guys out there that love their M14's and wouldn't take an AR regardless. This is like saying they had to be careful with the LCP design so it didn't draw sales away from the Red Hawk revolvers. HAHA. As for price, I'm not aware of anyone selling a piston gun for $1100 like Ruger sells their 556E.

Chrome lined barrels are a funny subject. For some reason the AR community has been conditioned to think they need a chrome lined barrel. Think about this for a minute. WHY do you need one? Any leading bolt gun manufacturer has sold their rifles with steel barrels, no chrome lining for many, many years. All the custom target barrel manufacturers are button rifling regular steel barrels. Go to any of the matches, Camp Perry for example and you wont see a chrome lined barrel anywhere on the line. A chrome lined barrel doesn't last any longer than a regular steel barrel, doesn't run any cooler, and are not as accurate. I don't think anyone here is going to be sleeping in a swamp in in Vietnam, shooting yesterday's corrosive european NATO rounds with no access to a cleaning rod. It's fine if you like a chrome lined barrel, but don't think an AR automatically needs one....at this point it's a marketing point and that's all it is.

Anyway, I'm off topic. I was just mentioning that you can get a very nice piston driven AR in the SR556E for almost half of what the standard SR556 goes for, at least around here. The standard SR556 here is $1900 to $2100, the 556E is $1100 down to $950. The only difference between the two is the E come without a chrome lined barrel, none of the Troy crap, and 1 mag instead of 3. PMags are $14 so... Anyway, lots of great choices out there. Good luck to you and your son whichever way you choose to go.
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Old October 11, 2013, 08:05 AM   #11
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all misinformation aside.

I'm also a big ruger fan but in this case I would recommend against them. the piston system gives them hit or miss reliability that you have to constantly fine tune and there are much higher quality ARs out there for the price range. I would recommend for a first time AR something cheap like a DPMS sportical or oracle, Smith and Wesson M&P sport or Palmetto State armory PSA15. all of these can be had for between $600 and $700 and are all decent quality.
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Old October 11, 2013, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
I'm also a big ruger fan but in this case I would recommend against them. the piston system gives them hit or miss reliability that you have to constantly fine tune
No disrespect, but you clearly don't own one of the Rugers. They are very reliable and NEVER require any fine tuning. You can find a score of "torture tests" that people have done that back up my reliability claim. I do own a 556, and have fired around 1000 rounds through it give or take. I shoot military stuff, my own hand loads, old varmint .223 rounds....basically anything I can find. It have never jammed, never failed to chamber or failed to fire. I leave the piston setting on #2 and then pull the trigger. 50 grain up to 70 grain reloads...as long as you can fit them in a magazine they'll function right through it.
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Old October 11, 2013, 08:38 AM   #13
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While I like you am a huge Ruger fan, I would buy a Colt and let it be. I even own two piston guns, they are my favorite of my AR's. Piston guns are built for a very specific purpose. Some will say they fixed a non-existent problem. I believe a good piston gun improves upon a few things but they have their down falls. They are heavy and parts are not interchangeable. I own 6 AR's now. Unless you are going SBR suppressed then the Colt,BCM,PSA,DD,etc are a better choice. That being said my next AR will also be a piston gun, a Sig 516.

99% of all AR owners will have a benefit from a DI AR. The interchangeability of the parts is the main reason. Please do not think I am knocking piston guns, my HK's would be my first choice if I grabbed an AR. They are just usually more expensive,heavier, and for the average shooter not worth paying up over a good DI gun.

The Ruger is a great rifle and has a superb warranty I am not knocking it at all. If it is what you want, buy it. I just think any of the DI guns listed above will be just as good.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:30 PM   #14
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I agree with Fishbed77; there was a lot of misinformation in post #5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
The piston system is superior to any gas system.
I get so tired of this myth; it's managed to convince many first-time AR buyers that they NEED a piston rifle to be ahead of the curve.

Here's the thing: Piston rifles are superior to DI in a few ways, and inferior in several other ways. The question is, what's important to you? For me, I prefer the DI gas system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
Chrome lined barrels belong on shotguns, not rifles [...] A chrome lined barrel doesn't last any longer
Not true at all. Yes, chrome-lined barrels are slightly less accurate than stainless barrels, but they're more durable, easier to clean, and resist corrosion better (whether or not you're using corrosive ammo).

But there are now even better coatings than chrome lining. Nitrided barrels are more durable than chrome-lined barrels and don't have the slight accuracy loss, but the military still uses chrome lining so that's what everyone wants.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
What? Where did you hear this? The SR556 / SR556E is an entirely different platform than the Mini14...
Think about it. Ruger certainly must have before offering an AR. There are thousands of Ruger fans out there who are quite loyal. Ruger had a popular 5.56/.223 semiauto rifle selling for around $800. Did they want to chance cannibalizing existing sales of a popular model with another $800 5.56/.223 semiauto rifle ... or position the new rifle at a higher price point where they'd have less canceling effect on each other. Obviously Ruger chose the second path.

The problem with the Ruger AR at $1200 or so, they compete with extremely good ARs at the same price point. Rifles made by Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense and others. And of course you can buy a very good quality AR at $800 such as PSA.

We can argue piston vs. DI or chrome lined barrel vs. non chromed or muzzle heavy vs. lightweight but in the end it comes down to Ruger vs. quality ARs at the same price or even hundreds less. Even though I have three Rugers I couldn't go with their AR.
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Old October 11, 2013, 02:35 PM   #16
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I have to agree with Quentin on this one and I love piston guns. The compatibility of parts is a big issue to me. I would trust a Ruger, but would rather put the money to a different brand. If I were hell bent on a piston gun I would rather pay $300 more and get the Sig 516. My advice is go buy a Colt or other brand mentioned and shoot the crap out of it. DI vs Piston is like comparing gas vs diesel vehicles. The DI platform is darn hard to beat with a good manufacturer. Are my HK's worth the thousands more, not to anyone but me. For that instance my RRA (24" Bull barrel) is just as reliable under normal conditions. I keep my rifles clean and lubed and have yet to have an issue from a gas system.

When I get my Sig, I will do a video review with it compared to my CMMG(my cheapest) and I can almost guarantee the Sig will not outshine it. But the heart wants what it wants. So only you can decide. Trust people like Quentin though, they have a lot of experience with the AR's. Mine was limited to a few years of an M4 and the ones I bought in the last 8 years or so. But I have seen an M4 run like a top using a bootlace with knots tied in it as a field cleaner and motor oil to lube the action.... If they will run that good full of sand and grit, they are all most will ever need.

Plus believe it or not, every piston AR I have shot has a sharper recoil. Usually less muzzle rise but that could be from the way the gas escapes or the extra two pounds of weight. Most commercial piston rifles have an awkward nose heavy feel.
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Old October 11, 2013, 02:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Yes, chrome-lined barrels are slightly less accurate than stainless barrels, but they're more durable, easier to clean, and resist corrosion better (whether or not you're using corrosive ammo).
So they resist corrosion even though nobody is using corrosive ammo? HAHA..too funny. Again, there's a reason why match barrels are NOT chrome lined. I've heard everything from "they cause less bullet friction so they run cooler" to "they're easier to clean". This is all bologna! I regular steel barrel is more accurate than a chrome lined one, and is superior in every way. If a guy wants a chrome lined barrel thats fine...but refrain from claiming they're superior to full steel barrels because that's simply not the case. If they were better, they'd be on the line at Camp Perry every year. My AR has a full steel barrel, no chrome and groups 1/2 groups at 100 yards. Should I unscrew it and go buy a chrome lined tube? I didn't think so.

By the way...can someone tell me one advantage that a gas system has over a piston? Just one please. As I said in my initial post, the gas guys get their feelings hurt awful easy and swear up and down that DI is better than piston but none of them can ever say why...well except the 8 oz weight savings. Again, get what you like but stick to facts because people are trying to learn stuff on here.
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Old October 11, 2013, 03:21 PM   #18
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One of my co-workers has a Ruger SR556. He likes his. He chases prairie dogs with it, so it can't be inaccurate.
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Old October 11, 2013, 03:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
So they resist corrosion even though nobody is using corrosive ammo? HAHA..too funny. Again, there's a reason why match barrels are NOT chrome lined. I've heard everything from "they cause less bullet friction so they run cooler" to "they're easier to clean". This is all bologna! I regular steel barrel is more accurate than a chrome lined one, and is superior in every way. If a guy wants a chrome lined barrel thats fine...but refrain from claiming they're superior to full steel barrels because that's simply not the case. If they were better, they'd be on the line at Camp Perry every year. My AR has a full steel barrel, no chrome and groups 1/2 groups at 100 yards. Should I unscrew it and go buy a chrome lined tube? I didn't think so.

By the way...can someone tell me one advantage that a gas system has over a piston? Just one please. As I said in my initial post, the gas guys get their feelings hurt awful easy and swear up and down that DI is better than piston but none of them can ever say why...well except the 8 oz weight savings. Again, get what you like but stick to facts because people are trying to learn stuff on here.
MJFlores, I suggest that you copy and paste this entire post over at M4carbine.net and tell us how that works out for you.
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Old October 11, 2013, 03:59 PM   #20
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I'm getting popcorn for this.
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Old October 11, 2013, 04:24 PM   #21
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OK, I'll bite:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
So they resist corrosion even though nobody is using corrosive ammo? HAHA..too funny.
Ummm, there are other kinds of corrosion that can affect a barrel. Do you honestly believe that the only way to corrode a barrel is by shooting corrosive ammo through it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
but refrain from claiming they're superior to full steel barrels because that's simply not the case.
I never said they're superior; just like a DI gas system they have pluses and minuses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
If they were better, they'd be on the line at Camp Perry every year.
There are other uses for rifles than just competition. Sure, if I'm at Camp Perry I want a stainless match barrel. But if I'm in adverse environments running a rifle hard, I want chrome lining. Yet again, it's not about which is superior, it's about what you're using it for. I love my stainless barrel AR, but I'm also not in the military anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
By the way...can someone tell me one advantage that a gas system has over a piston?
Advantages of a DI gas system is lighter weight, fewer parts, much greater parts interchangeability, no carrier tilt, higher accuracy potential, quieter when suppressed, and slightly less muzzle climb under rapid or full-auto fire.

Disadvantages are that a DI runs hotter and dirtier; if I'm doing hours of rapid or full-auto fire with no chance to clean, then I might want a good piston setup.

Again - just like chrome lining- it's not a question about which is superior, it's a question about what you need it for.
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Last edited by Theohazard; October 11, 2013 at 05:41 PM.
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Old October 11, 2013, 05:00 PM   #22
Arocholl
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Ruger SR556

I've owned a Ruger SR556 now for about 6 months and have put probably 500-750 rounds through it (actually went to the range and shot it yesterday). It's been a very fine shooting firearm with no FTF, FTE or anything of that nature. This was my second AR (the first being a DI Bushmaster) and I really do love the Ruger more.

Pros:
The internals of the gun stay cleaner; a good wipe down with Hoppes #9 cleans the bolt and carrier right up (no combustion gases in the receiver).

Ability to tune the gas system for different types of ammo (it has 3 settings and also an off position which essentially turns in into a straight pull rifle). I've found that on setting 2 it will shoot pretty much anything.

They designed it as a piston rifle so I have not seen any of the telltale signs of carrier tilt on my rifle.

Cons:
It is a heavy rifle, I haven't weighed mine but I would guess it's at least around 9 pounds.

Price, with an MSRP of around $2000 for the non-E models it is an expensive gun. Although I got a great deal on mine as a factory refurbished model.
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Old October 11, 2013, 05:58 PM   #23
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DI ARs are really not that complicated once you get past the grip, hand guard or rails, and the stock. They are all essentially the same from the barrel to the buffer tube. The only real choices are barrel length, gas system length and buffer tube length rifle or carbine......ok maybe they are complicated.....lol
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Old October 11, 2013, 07:56 PM   #24
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Ruger SR556

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto-Pride View Post
DI ARs are really not that complicated once you get past the grip, hand guard or rails, and the stock. They are all essentially the same from the barrel to the buffer tube. The only real choices are barrel length, gas system length and buffer tube length rifle or carbine......ok maybe they are complicated.....lol
You forgot about buffer weights and m16 weight bolt carrier groups too lol and the pandora'a box those open up
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Old October 12, 2013, 03:13 AM   #25
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
Ruger might just make the best AR available on the market right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
The piston system is superior to any gas system
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
Chrome lined barrels belong on shotguns, not rifles
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
A chrome lined barrel doesn't last any longer than a regular steel barrel
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
Go to any of the matches, Camp Perry for example and you wont see a chrome lined barrel anywhere on the line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
So they resist corrosion even though nobody is using corrosive ammo? HAHA..too funny.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
A regular steel barrel is superior in every way
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
By the way...can someone tell me one advantage that a gas system has over a piston? Just one please.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFlores
get what you like but stick to facts because people are trying to learn stuff on here.
One of the things I like about The Firing Line is that most people here are adults and are interested in a civil discussion about firearms. Many other Internet forums have a lot of trolls - people who purposely make ridiculous and outlandish arguments solely for the purpose of angering other members.

You don't see a lot of trolls on TFL. However, I think I might have been trolled here in this thread...
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