Testfire: Ruger Precision Rimfire 22LRBy Brendon Cappely
- 30th Sep, 2020 Sep 30, 2020, 1:23 PM
- 2 Comments
When Nik gave me a call about reviewing the Ruger Precision Rimfire in .22LR I jumped at the opportunity. Having been a reasonable smallbore rifle shooter and representing the Wairarapa while at college I felt that I could extract the best from this rifle.
Upon picking up the rifle from Nik, he opened the clean white Ruger branded box to reveal a very tactical looking rifle. It was nicely packaged with two BX-1 10 shot magazines, a receiver lock, and the bolt all separately inset in the solid foam formed inset.
I immediately thought to myself that if I owned this rifle, I could make a plywood case and use the inset to make a very safe and sound box for transportation.
When first holding the rifle and glancing over it, I saw styling that gives the impression of an AR style rifle. However, on closer inspection I realised that the .22 rifle receiver is actually set into a diecast alloy chassis and not the upper and lower receiver setup used in AR rifles.
It has the safety catch in the same position as the AR receiver although in this case the safety catch is actually mounted in the chassis not the receiver. Like the AR platform the safety catch can be installed for either left or right hand operation.
The safety catch switch is done by simply unbolting the chassis, lifting the spring tension from the safety catch pin notch then sliding out and installing from the other side and releasing the spring.
If you plan to switch sides of the safety catch, I would advise to do it in a clean light area so if the spring should accidentally make a ”jump for freedom” you will able to easily locate it for reassembly. If you are not competent on the tools take it to your local gun store and they should be able to help you out.
The hexagonally shaped handguard has provision (Magpul® M-LOK® slots) to add rails for accessories on the top, bottom, and sides. It comes with one swivel post mounted on the bottom forward position.
On our review rifle, some of the top, bottom, left and right-side M-LOK slots on the shroud had quite sharp edges on the finishing that could potentially cause an injury while handling the rifle, especially for smaller hands.
Interestingly the ventilation holes running adjacent to the M-LOK slots are chamfered. If it were my own rifle, I would consider chamfering the edges and look at getting the shroud re-coated with Cerakote or a similar coating system.
Called the Quick-Fit adjustable (from 12" - 15.50") Precision Rimfire stock, the buttstock and pistol grip are injection moulded glass filled nylon that feel sturdy and are well finished. It is adjustable for length of pull and cheek raise.
The adjustment system is secured by a single camlock that has a hand wheel on the rear to adjust the cam pressure. Once the stock is adjusted to fit the shooter it is comfortable. On the downside it can a little bit fiddley to adjust as both the pull length and the cheek raise are locked by the same cam.
Individual locks would make adjustment easier especially if multiple shooters are using the same rifle. Secondly, although it has index marks for positioning, it would also be an advantage to have a number system on the marks so stock position could be recorded for different shooters or positions.
If this were my rifle, I would be painting the index marks for my preference of positioning. The trigger has a 2-stage system with an inner safety release, then the fire release. Dry firing the Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger had a very small amount of creep, though not too heavy (factory set at 4lb). When firing the rifle, it was not so noticeable.
The trigger is adjustable from 2.25lbs-5lbs. The bolt is a standard type item with the firing pin cocking on opening the bolt. The action feels a little raw brand new but should improve with use. It has an enlarged plastic bolt knob that is easy to locate and complements easy cycling of the rifle while in the prone shooting position.
A cool feature with the bolt is that is has an adjustable bolt throw. Coined the ‘Big-Gun bolt throw’, this allows the shooter to change from a 1.5” rimfire to a 3” centrefire bolt throw. An excellent ammo saving option when training for competition shooting.
The magazine, or should I say two, provided with this rifle are a box type rotary magazine with a 10-round capacity. The magazine receptacle is tucked up inside the chassis with a single movement release lever. While shooting in all positions, the magazine was easy to locate and swap out.
ON THE RANGE
Time to do some shooting. For testing purposes, Nik had supplied a Vortex Diamondback HP 3-12x42 and I fitted one of my own bipods to the supplied M-LOK attachment. The scope is mounted on a 30 MOA Picatinny rail with a locking slot.
This rifle has a heavy barrel with a 1/2”x28 thread for fitting a suppressor. I hoped to use my rimfire suppressor however the thread on that is 1/2”x20. At the bench, a quick bore sight put me within a few of MOA of the bull at 25m. Adjustments were made resulting in shots now stacking in the bull. With the zeroing completed, it was on to the testing phase.
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At the 50m mark the shots grouped well in the horizontal plane but revealed a few fliers in the vertical plane, most likely due to variations in the Winchester Power Point 42gr ammunition used. I moved out to 100 meters for the next round of shooting with the results directly proportional to the 50m targets.
The setup was effective in delivering horizontal groupings of 1 MOA but with a much larger deviation of 2 MOA vertically. I think conducting some ammunition trials for more consistent velocities would probably reduce the vertical grouping significantly.
I did enjoy the shooting the rifle but found it tricky when attempting to use a stabilising bag in the underside of the butt for stabilising the vertical plane. This is due to the parallel to bore Picatinny Rail being moulded into the stock making it impossible to slide the bag forward and aft to adjust the elevation.
This is the same as most “Precision” type rifles of other brands, but it is worth considering depending on your typical shooting application. This issue would be solved by fitting a monopod to the rail, for which it was designed for.
“I have been considering the best function for this rifle and it most likely intended use. With its target shooting, mil-spec look, I think it would sit just nicely in the bench rest/target rifle category.”
I have been considering the best function for this rifle and it most likely intended use. With its target shooting, mil-spec look, I think it would sit just nicely in the bench rest/target rifle category.
Ed’s Note: I’ll admit to being somewhat envious of Brendan as I handed over the RPR to him for review. Having received the rifle myself, I was very interested to see how this rimfire version performed as everything I had heard about the Ruger Precision Rifle was very favourable.
While performing my KRISS DMK22C review, I shot the following ammunition; Winchester Power Point 40gr, Winchester Subsonic 40gr HP, CCI Suppressor 45gr HP and CCI Mini Mag 36gr HP. For whatever reason, I swapped out the Vortex scope that Brendon had used and instead used my Vortex Diamondback Tactical 3-9x40 scope.
This is standard 22LR ammo that I would expect most 22LR chambered rifles to shoot accurately and shoot it accurately it did! I put through about 150 rounds and averaged under an inch 10-shot clusters at 50m with all the ammunition.
At 100m the group size increased proportionality to between 1.5”-2” but were still consistent in their group shape. The CCI Suppressor 45gr HP shot the best groups of the day with the CCI Mini Mag 36gr HP ammo a close second!
In an effort to improve my groups, I decided to adjust the trigger which couldn’t be simpler. The externally adjustable hex head screw is located right in front of the trigger guard and is easy to access.
The trigger was factory set to 4lbs which I dropped down to just over 2lbs. This removed any discernible creep and it felt really crisp after the adjustment. There was arguably an overall improvement in my groups but any rate, it certainly felt nicer to shoot which is only a good thing!
While the bolt cycling and magazine feed was generally good, there were a couple of occasions where the bolt felt a bit ‘scratchy’. I’ve experienced this with new bolt action rifles before, particularly rimfires. The bolt cycling will only improve with time.
Due to the pistol grip protruding lower than the bottom of the stock, the use of a bipod/large front bag and rear bag set up at a height that prevents the pistol grip from touching the ground or bench is required. This isn’t unique to the RPR, almost any rifle that has a pistol grip will use a similar setup. For my shooting I fitted a Buffalo River Harris style bipod.
“The trigger was factory set to 4lbs which I dropped down to just over 2lbs. This removed any discernible creep and it felt really crisp after the adjustment.”
With this setup I was able to get a really solid shooting platform. It was also easier and more comfortable to shoot from a prone position instead of using the bench. Like Brendon, I also found it a bit tricky get the vertical plane to the height I wanted. You can’t simply slide the stock back and forth like you would a standard stock. This is where an adjustable monopod would be ideal.
There is an aftermarket monopod available that can be fitted to the rail on the stock but I wonder if Ruger should look to supply a factory one. To achieve the best results in accuracy, I would almost consider it an essential item for this rifle.
Curious to see how other shooters fared, I had a look online and it quickly became apparent that plenty of other shooters were either using a bag or a monopod. I don’t see this as a negative as there are a lot of rifles of this configuration on the market. I guess you could say it is a little more purpose built than your typical bolt action rimfire rifle.
Overall, it was pleasant experience on the range. The RPR shot very well and I was amping to get out on the hill with it! - Nik
IN THE FIELD
Taking a break from my work beside a river at a remote location somewhere in northern Hawkes Bay, I observed 2 goats browsing on the river’s edge about 180 meters away. I quickly removed my Hi-Viz overalls and pulled on a camo jacket, grabbed the range finder, rifle, and loaded the magazine. The stalk was on.
Treading quietly and staying low as I moved in closer, the rifle felt well balanced in the hand. Constantly ranging as I went, I was able to sure up with the bipod on a grass covered silt outcrop opposite the goats and at a range of 80m. I carefully pulled down the high stalks of grass in front of me and in a controlled manner, quietly loaded a cartridge in preparation to fire.
With the thumb of my right hand resting on the contoured safety catch I didn’t have to visually check I was in the right place. Having previously punched paper at 100m I felt confident to take a shot, though not head or high neck due to the variations in elevation with this particular ammunition.
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The first goat moved side on to me and I settled the crosshair in the lower area of the chest behind the front leg. I moved the safety catch to fire followed by a couple of deep breaths.
On the third exhalation of air from my body I steadied the crosshair and sent the shot. A direct hit. The goat instantly fell to the ground followed by a few kicks and then still, confirming a successful shot placement and humane kill.
The second goat jumped and ran a few meters before stopping for a look back. I grabbed the bolt handle and quickly cycled the action to load a charged cartridge. With no time to waste, the cross hair was steadied on the kill zone, safety released and shot taken!
The second goat was on the ground within seconds of the first. The rifle and ammo performing as it should in the field regarding accuracy and performance.
It is important to note that taking medium sized game with a rimfire requires a level-headed approach and good shot placement. These goats provided an opportunity and conditions were such that I felt confident in both the rifle and my shooting ability to make clean and humane kills.
Ed’s Note: Me again! A shoot on the range wouldn’t be complete without some time spent on the hill and I was eager to continue my rabbit control using the Ruger. The CCI Mini Mag had shot best out of the high velocity stuff, so using what ammo I had left, I headed out to Te Puke.
I have two neighbouring properties on which to shoot on. The rabbits on the farm I mainly hunt on had been subject to quite a bit of recent pressure and were becoming shy, with good reason.
On that note, I decided to focus my efforts on the next farm. It was a calm and clear afternoon, and no sooner had I parked the truck and begun to walk up the track, rabbits were skittering off in front of me.
“The CCI Mini Mag had shot best out of the high velocity stuff, so using what ammo I had left, I headed out to Te Puke.”
My first opportunity was a 50m standing shot. With the Vortex on 9x, I settled the crosshair on the rabbit’s chest and squeezed off. A solid hit greeted my ears and a clean kill resulted. Moving on, I popped up over a small bank near track and carefully peered over the edge. A rabbit at 65m followed by another quick and clean kill. The CCI Mini Mag ammo putting them down with authority.
An additional part of the afternoon hunt was to head to the bush edge and set up my UOVision Glory LTE trail camera. There was quite a bit fallow sign about and one particular deer trail had plenty of marks and sign on it!
With the rifle in carry mode, I was alerted to two things; one, that the short length of the barrel meant I could hold the rifle by the pistol grip in a vertical position without it touching the ground. I like this in a rifle as it provides a more ‘relaxed’ carry.
Secondly, just forward of the trigger guard are two stepped notches that your fingers slot into nicely. For me, this is right at the point of balance when carrying by your side.
Upon reaching the farm edge, I quickly set up the trail camera and then it was back into the hunting. Looking back to where I had shot the second rabbit, I spotted another and put the stalk on.
Using the fence to break up my outline, I moved into within 60m, dropped into the prone position, lined up and took the shot. The rabbit dropped instantly. Moments later another rabbit made the mistake of showing itself, it too suffered the same fate.
On the field shooting side of things, I found that with my left arm/hand supporting the butt stock, I was able to establish a solid shooting position.
With four rabbits removed from the farm and the light fading, I called it a day. The Ruger Precision Rimfire had performed great and my reservations regarding the stock were somewhat negated! ~ Nik
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is nicely engineered and shoots well. For my own use, I would consider this a great rifle in which to practice my range shooting with, more so than a rifle I would carry all day on the hill.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire has some unique features and styling that will appeal to those familiar with the AR platform. Overall, it is a fun rifle to shoot and its stylish and tactical appearance will certainly make it a talking point with your hunting and shooting mates!
For more information and to check out the full range of Ruger Precision Rimfires, visit:
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