Review: Ruger AR 556 MPR | Outdoor Channel
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Review: Ruger AR 556 MPR

Ruger fills a niche in a very competitive and over-stocked market with the AR 556 MPR

The Ruger AR 556 MPR (Photo courtesy of The Ruger AR 556 MPR (Photo courtesy of

By: Ed Head

It’s hard to believe the AR-15/M-16 design is still with us after some 50 years of military and civilian use. In a world where guns come and go, especially in military service, 50 years is a really long time. How could a rifle conceived so long ago be relevant and in high demand, even today? I think it has to do with several factors, not the least of which is how easy the rifle is to shoot. I first shot the military qualification course and earned an Expert rating with the AR-15 when I was a junior in High School, a very long time ago. Then there’s adaptability; the rifle has undergone constant upgrading and improvement and is available in a huge number of variations. I like to think of the AR as the ’57 Chevy of rifles – if you want to customize it to your own needs there are gazillions of parts and accessories available. Too, the rifles are easy to take apart and put together. Lots of folks buy parts and build their own unique rifles.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the prices for ARs have tumbled in the last year or so and some very nice rifles are available at bargain prices. A case in point would be Ruger’s new AR 556 MSR. As you may recall, Ruger began making high end ARs of the gas piston design several years ago. These rifles are called SR 556s and the gas impingement designs that followed are AR 556s. What’s the difference? Some folks think piston guns are more reliable and possibly more accurate but you can’t prove it by me. The gas guns use the original AR system where hot gas from the barrel is transferred by a gas tube to the bolt carrier while the piston guns use that gas to operate a piston striking an operating rod that interacts with the bolt carrier. If light weight and low cost are your goals, stick with a gas gun, as piston guns are generally heavier and more expensive.

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