Ruger has been on a kick the past several years: revisions to the venerable Mini-14, a wave of concealed carry type pistols, introducing a piston driven AR-15 platform rifle, and bringing back the takedown concept with the 10/22 Takedown. Most recently in the rifle world they decided to take on the much smaller .308 AR market with the SR-762. It's an interesting choice and a very specific price point they've targeted, trying to fly under the radar of the more expensive LWRC and much more expensive SCAR 17 but giving a specifically engineered piston system that the "entry level" AR-10 type rifles lack.
Here are some quick specs before I delve into the hands-on impressions:
- Barrel: 16.12" med. contour, 1:10" twist, CHF 41V45 steel, chrome lined and fluted
- Gas System: Two stage piston driven, fully chrome lined, 4 position gas regulator
- Weight: ~9 pounds with empty 20-round PMAG762
- Overall Length: ~34.75" collapsed, 38" extended
- Sights: Samson Mfg folding sights with Ruger branding
- Free float aluminum handguard with addon rails and covers, Hogue overmold grip
- Ships in padded soft case with 3x 20-round PMAG-762 magazines plus a sight tool
- MSRP $2195, street price around $1799-1999
Unboxing and Overview
After extracting the Ruger labeled box from the clutches of the tape and cardboard contraption I had received the rifle buried within, the first thing to take stock of was the very nice padded soft case the rifle shipped in. By the way, the third magazine bundled with the gun is hidden in the front pocket on the outside of the case, so you don't miss it like I did! The remainder of the bundled goodies and rifle are packed away inside tucked in pockets while the rifle is strapped in via velcro strips.
At a glance, the rifle looks like a solid, well finished .308 AR platform gun. The handguard and rail blend well with the look of the rifle and there's nothing but clean machining and quality anodizing all around. Ruger's... unique... flash hider is once more prominently featured here and Ruger fans will be happy to see nothing short of 7 Ruger logos adorning the rifle and its components. Unsurprisingly, the lower receiver has only "SAFE/FIRE" markings as opposed to the popular pictogram sigils that I'm fond of. No additional warnings or lawyer speak mar the gun, thankfully. The bundled folding sights, made by Samson, are known to be good quality.
One of the chief complaints for this rifle's 5.56 cousin was that the gun was rather front heavy due to the piston system, and that is even more apparent here. Though the gun isn't excessively heavy at just under 9 pounds unloaded, a lot of the weight is situated far forward where the large railed gas block and piston system reside. Admittedly, coming from the Tavor everything feels front-heavy but it's very noticeable on the SR-762. I look forward to a range review to see if that weight helps to soften the recoil as much as advertised.
Under the Hood
I mentioned earlier that the system is a two-stage piston with a four position regulator, which is kind of a departure from most piston systems on the market. The trend has mostly been to either self-regulate the system or to have as few settings as humanly possible to reduce complexity. The SR-762 hearkens back to the FN FAL and its gas dial system, including the fourth position on Ruger's gas plug allowing the user to disable it outright. I've always thought having a gas cutoff was a neat if somewhat niche feature, and have enjoyed shooting the Yugo SKS in the past as a mock straight-pull bolt action using the cutoff valve.
Ruger's bolt group is fully chromed (as are the piston components) and the image here shows just how substantial the piston lug on the bolt carrier is. When piston systems first debuted for the AR-15, it took a little trial and error to realize that just bolting and staking a new gas key to the existing carrier wasn't such a great idea. Ruger, like other quality piston driven rifle makers, has integrated the lug that the piston strikes directly into the bolt carrier.
Aside from the piston system, the rifle is entirely standard AR-10 territory; all of the rifle's controls and components are the same as any other AR platform gun. This means that aside from the barrel, gas block and bolt carrier everything else is perfectly interchangeable with standard AR platform parts. This example will be receiving a Magpul STR stock and MOE+ grip, to replace Ruger's default options. This leads me to the one major gripe I have this far with the rifle: the trigger is REALLY mediocre!
I am quite honestly amazed that Ruger would ship a rifle of this price tier with a mushy, gritty single stage mil-spec trigger that tips the scales at 8 pounds. For this kind of money a basic two-stage trigger kit should be a given, in my opinion. Ruger's own advertising continually focuses on the accuracy benefits of the barrel steel, the free float rail and the overall quality but completely forgot that a crisp trigger pull of reasonable weight can make or break a rifle's accuracy. While the cheap M4 buttstock is really an expected throwaway component you're going to change in all likelihood, a good trigger shouldn't be something that a $2000 rifle lacks. I will be polishing the trigger on this rifle simply to knock the grit out of it but also as a thank you to the owner who has been kind enough to let me tinker with his brand new rifle.
Dear Ruger: why the hell are the screws for the rail cover/guards made of PLASTIC? The addon rails have real screws...
The next time you see this rifle it should be good and dirty with a new stock, grip and color filled markings. Here's hoping the weather warms up a little, or I might be doing a cold weather test instead!
Just a quick post to clarify some delays in the refinishing setup and bluing system. Unfortunately things sometimes come out of the blue and I've had to push back full scale launch of the refinishing services for a few months. In the meantime we'll be doing small jobs here and there as well as finishing some pieces to show, but will not be accepting any full blown finishing jobs for a while. Apologies to those waiting patiently for hot bluing, I will be contacting everyone on the list ASAP once we're rolling!
In my meager free time I've been working on some AR-15 build data and may be able to eventually integrate it into the site directly as a builder app. Currently in Google Docs format as a spreadsheet, the build data will hopefully allow customers to piece together a custom AR part by part with any option they like, drawn from wholesaler inventory. Pricing on components will be aggressive to give everyone quality rifles for (usually) less than the closest off the shelf brand name!
I was talking to a friend and customer of mine recently about putting together a light weight AR-15 that also has the features people really want in a good rifle. Typically the first thing is a chrome lined barrel, followed by replacing the rattle trap M4 stock and chintzy A2 pistol grip. I thought about it a bit and decided on what I would consider a personal baseline for a quality lightweight carbine.
Let's set up a couple of definitions first, to clarify what I mean:
- "Production" means an affordable, relatively quick to assemble rifle with available parts. This means no fancy custom components like JP bolt groups, though a Nickel Boron option or free float handguards could be doable.
- "Lightweight" means a pencil profile barrel and components selected for maximum weight savings. The overall unloaded weight with magazine should fall somewhere between 6.5-7.5 pounds but if possible the lighter the better!
Why a lightweight rifle specifically?
A lightweight carbine has a lot of possible applications ranging from home defense or ranch rifle use to breaking the gun down for backpack transport. For the latter, many people decide against a long gun for backpack trips due to the fact your average AR-15 weighs several times as much as a good magnum caliber pistol in a situation where ounces become pounds. For the former, not everyone buys into the idea that they should be loaded down with a Redi-Mag, variable power optic with offset RMR and an expensive aluminum railed handguard on their gun.
The modern tactical mindset has kind of pushed people into two divergent crowds: the ready for everything folks who spare no expense on accessories and the "KISS" group who usually just buy a bone stock off the shelf brand name rifle and call it good. We're here to think outside the box a little and explore the gap between them, where we still have a straightforward rifle but equipped with absolutely useful upgrades for a reasonable price.
What's the baseline?
Here is what I've come up with for a kind of baseline carbine, no frills but adaptable to a light mount and of course optics; I consider both of these must-have items on a defense gun of any kind.
- 16" Chrome Lined barrel, Pencil profile, Midlength gas, 1:9 twist (rarely found in 1:7)
- Standard phosphate bolt group, Nickel Boron optional and recommended
- Standard T-marked, M4 feed ramp upper (alt: 9mm upper with gas tube hole drilled)
- Lightweight lower receiver either polymer (I like New Frontier) or magnesium
- Magpul MOE handguards and MOE or K2 grip (matter of preference)
- Magpul CTR or BattleLink Minimalist stock
- Your choice of sling, minimalist mount using forward swivel and a rear paracord loop
This setup is easily adapted to an "Optics Ready" build using a low profile gas block (even less weight!) and could certainly be made to order with free float rails for a price. The rifle as described would weigh in at about 7 pounds with magazine, possibly lighter depending on choice of lower and gas block.
I'm sure anyone reading this far is wondering why I would opt for a standard bolt group and upper. The reason is basically cost effectiveness, and that the nickel boron BCG would be an easily added option for around $200. While a JP low mass BCG would be an excellent addition, the carrier alone costs $225. I used the standard upper because it's easy to find flat top A3 style uppers as opposed to my preferred slick-side or 9mm style uppers as well as the cost; a slickside or 9mm upper would likely add an additional $100 to the build that would be better spent on other features rather than shaving a couple of ounces. Remember, this is a baseline to work from!
Estimated retail cost: $750-1000 built to order
I wanted to put the idea out there for anyone who might be interested. After checking around it seems there are essentially no factory produced guns set up this way, and the closest thing in quality and features starts at around $1000!
I've been eyeing up the Sccy pistols for some time now, having heard a lot of pretty positive things about the company and products. I'm more than a little familiar with the design, having worked on several Keltec P11 or P40 pistols in the past. It's always seemed like a very good idea and design that just wasn't executed as well as it could be... and Sccy aims to fix that.
The pistol ships in a neat little box (embossed with a sadly necessary warning on it) complete with two mags, both flat and finger rest floorplates for each, a dinky but passable trigger lock and a small sampler of MFR-7 Pro Gold gun oil. The inserted card proclaims a lifetime no questions asked warranty, while another gives additional information on the included Pro Gold oil.
At first glance the Sccy is immediately distinguishable from its Keltec lineage in the excellent machine work and finish on the slide. The polymer frame seems sturdier than the P11/P40 and has a somewhat more ergonomic shape to it. As someone who tends to strongly dislike finger grooves on grips, I actually don't mind the grooves present on the CPX-2.
The trigger is a wide, serrated affair that gives good purchase for a smooth pull and the slide stop is significantly larger than the P11/P40 slide stop. The pistol's magazine release is a simple rounded rectangle designed for minimal snagging, and could possibly benefit from a little texture as a matter of opinion. To round out the feature set, the pistol has basic three dot sights set up nearly identically to the Keltec design, with the rear held on by a setscrew.
Here's where we hit our first bump. Though the pistol's fit and finish is excellent particularly for a budget priced pistol, you may have difficulty using the flat magazine baseplates. The two magazines included with the gun were unable to lock in with the flat baseplate, while the finger rest baseplates functioned normally. I should note the finger rest style ship from factory installed on both mags, making the issue less obvious. Surely this is just an isolated issue with two baseplates in a bad batch? I have five additional mags as well, and every single one of them suffers the same issue!
Being the experimenting type, I hypothesized that the thickness of the flat plates might be to blame. The first set I compared were approximately .005" thicker than the finger rest plate paired with the mag, so I took a crack at simply sanding down a few thousandths from the flat plate. After a small amount of sanding with 120 paper and testing on the mag body without the spring installed, the mag nearly engaged. I took a bit more off and voila, a fully functioning flat baseplate magazine. When sanding it is immediately noticeable that the molded plastic is very uneven thickness wise, with the edges raised slightly and the middle (front to back) being somewhat bulged.
I'm currently working on the rest of the plates because I don't really think that the inexpensive baseplates are worth calling in a warranty claim for. I will however contact Sccy and inquire about the issue, since seven mags that don't work with the more concealable baseplate seems like a fairly serious concern even if it is relatively easy to fix.
More on the Sccy later as I get more time with it!
First, apologies to all the folks who have had delays in bluing their firearms. We've gotten really tied up in making improvements to the property and renovating, which has resulted in moving the bluing tanks around several times already. I'm continuing to add odds and ends to the bluing system and metal prep setup as time and budget allow, and hope to have all of it running full tilt "soon".
I've got a lightly used AR-15 on consignment sale, pictures forthcoming. Here's the spec sheet:
- Del Ton 1:9" M4 profile barrel, chrome lined 16", standard A2 flash hider
- YHM Smooth Carbine free float handguard (bottom rail)
- YHM HK-style flip up sight gas block assembly (rail wraps around it)
- Spikes Tactical lower, standard M4 stock and buffer
- Magpul AFG 2, Magpul BAD lever, Brownells Para folding charging handle
- Comes with a pair of C-products aluminum mags in a dual mag clamp
He's looking for $750 out of it, which is a good value for the feature set. May include 3 windowed PMAGs with ranger baseplates with the sale. Price is negotiable though, feel free to email or call.
Here's an oddball special! Beretta Nano 9mm subcompact in FDE (tan) frame. Price only good through Tuesday, if they're still in stock!
$450 OUT THE DOOR
Range use is now subject to a quick and hopefully painless release form and rules agreement. The rules are straightforward and largely focused on safety. We are still aiming to have some steel set up soon and have the range set up more officially when we can, but for now our country range is available by appointment.
The bluing system is complete, after having to take additional time to have our out-building safety checked and run LP lines through the wall to the burner racks. You can never be too careful around open flame and lots of heat, so it was a necessary delay. I've gathered several firearms to be reblued in the first batch and will be offering discounts to anyone who gets in on the first couple batches!
As a note to the bluing process, many firearms have non-steel components which cannot be blued. A good example is the trigger guard assembly on a Remington 870, which is aluminum and will literally dissolve in bluing salts! As part of a job quote I will mention this and give customers options for finishing those components using spray coatings such as Alumahyde or Cerakote. These finishes are of course available by themselves on whatever firearm you would like!
I just received my first M&P Shield after over a year on allocation! I have a prospective buyer for it but if he decides not to take it, it will be FOR SALE for $450 out the door, which is less than even Buds is selling them for due to extremely low supply and high demand.
First impressions are extremely positive. I've handled and shot a lot of the slim pistols like Kahrs or the XD-S but none were ever really comfortable to me. The Shield feels comfy, maybe because it's a bit larger than some of the other slim-line pistols or maybe I'm just used to the M&P ergonomics. The trigger is better than the original M&P, but still suffers from roughness and weight. Easily fixed, maybe without even needing the full trigger kit like its bigger brothers.