Ruger SR-556, good business or no?


December 29, 2009, 11:16 PM
Has anyone here bought one yet?

I noticed in the latest American Rifleman that Stag and SIG are both now offering piston ARs for a hell of a lot less than Ruger's rifle. Of course, there's a good amount of variation in standard features, between them. Still, Ruger entered a crowded market with a product that wasn't too hard to rapidly emulate.

Personally, I've never bought a whole AR. It's a modular gun, and that's how I've bought them -- by the module.

Do you think that it was a good idea for Ruger to sell their own AR as a whole package only? Was it a good idea for Ruger to enter this market at a similar price point to everyone else, as opposed to something more groundbreaking?

(Note that Ruger's old strategy was to make something either unique, or at a much better price than the other guns in the target market.)

I'm interested in others' thoughts.

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December 29, 2009, 11:29 PM
i think ruger flat screwed up. you used to be able to count on ruger to deliver a solid rifle at an everyman's or working man's price.

i haven't bought ruger's iteration of the ar because of price, only. seems to me ruger strayed a little off the working man's path...

December 29, 2009, 11:34 PM
If it was 1200 bucks and came with a CTR stock and MIAD grip it would be worth it. Those two additions should come standard on +1k AR. I mean 1500 bucks MSRP and you get bare stock furniture? Come on Ruger! The Troy sights and rail add value but to compete I think the rifle should be MSRP of 1200 and you should be able to get down to around 1100 but really needs some better furniture.

December 29, 2009, 11:38 PM
The No. 1 isn't exactly a "working man's price", but it is unique in the modern marketplace.

That's what I meant about Ruger's strategy in the past: either their product was unique like the No. 1, or it was a uniquely good value in its niche like the Blackhawk.

The SR-556 was only unique for a matter of weeks -- and the nature of the AR made this pretty easy to foresee. It's no longer a "killer product" for its uniqueness, so where's the "killer value" it represents?

December 30, 2009, 03:22 AM
I wonder if the price will come down. It was introduced at a time when everything AR was hard to find and big bucks. I get American Rifleman too, as soon as I saw the Sig I decided the Ruger was overpriced.

December 30, 2009, 03:46 AM
Honestly, I was a little put off by it. Personally, I would have rather seen them sink the R&D money into their Mini series. The Minis are cool looking guns that could benefit from increased accuracy and consistency. I feel Ruger would make more money selling a modified Mini that they would selling the 556. I'm not talking about painting it a different color and hanging a band-aid on the barrel either.

For the money of the SR556, you could buy just about anything else. I believe most people would trust the Sig name over Rugers for that type of weapon. It may turn out that the Ruger is the best thing since sliced bread, but I seriously doubt I'll ever plop down cash to find out.

December 30, 2009, 04:02 AM
Eversince Ruger shameless STOLE Keltec's design for the LCP....I'm kinda anti-Ruger.

I would never pay that kind of money for a Ruger AR. I'd buy Sig or even Stag over Ruger, for any price.

Lloyd Smale
December 30, 2009, 07:50 AM
i see nothing wrong with the ruger. I doubt youd put one together any cheaper. I dont have one as i allready have 7 ars and really dont need another but i think where ruger is missing the boat is by not adding a base line gun at a cheaper price to the mix.

December 30, 2009, 07:55 AM
I think anyone who introduces a new AR right now is too late to the dance. It's dumb to jump into a market at the peak. The AR marketplace is incredibly saturated.

December 30, 2009, 08:01 AM
I dont have one as i allready have 7 ars and really dont need another


too late to the dance

Put those two together, and I think you have a really good argument for why Ruger should have offered the upper assembly, not just the rifle. That was my first reaction: "Nice upper." I think that, by this point, most civilians who would appreciate and pay for a special AR variant probably have all the lowers they want, or at least don't think in terms of buying whole ARs with standard furniture and internals, just to get another lower. For those without an AR, just looking to "get their feet wet", the price of the Ruger is a pretty big barrier.

Maybe the SR-556 is really all about the LE market, and the MSRP for civilians is something that Ruger's management laughs about, around the office.

December 30, 2009, 12:40 PM
I guy I work with got a Ruger SR-556 for christmas he told me he cleaned real good before taking it to the range. And when he fired it the first time it jammed 3 times he figures it crappy ammo but he was shooting federal ammo

December 30, 2009, 12:43 PM
I shot one a few month back. It was accurate and there were no problems.

For the money, it really should come with a Magpul CTR.

December 30, 2009, 01:10 PM
The piston systen is excellent but...I own and compete with many AR's and the old impingment system can go hundreds of rounds with no trouble. Besides I like the option of swapping pretty much everything I own around

December 30, 2009, 01:13 PM
I've been a Ruger fan since I bought one in 1973 and now have three. Great guns, great value - that was their hallmark. But I can't warm up to the SR-556 when I can get a better AR for less money. That doesn't sound like the Ruger I knew in the past. If I ever get a piston operated Ruger .223 it'll be the Mini-14 and for a whole lot less money.

Also I can't warm up to this whole piston craze in ARs. If you buy into a proprietary design that doesn't make it, parts could be a real problem down the road. No thanks, I like the old system - it works just fine and there are millions of parts available from thousands of sources.

December 30, 2009, 01:22 PM
I'm seeing a lot of comments on pricing. Just keep in mind that the SR556 has a couple of premium, expensive features:
-Troy quadrail ($250-300)
-Troy BUIS ($200 ish)
-hammer forged, chrome lined, mil-spec-alloy barrel ($200 is a good estimate of the premium this commands in the marketplace, although it does not actually cost much more to make than a button rifled 4140)
-chromed bolt carrier ($50, again a marketplace premium)
-piston system with adjustable gas regulator ($???)

The more realistic comparisons for the SR556 are the POF-USA carbine, LWRC piston models, and to some extent the Robinson XCR. Those are all in the $1500+ range.

If you want to compare it to a conventional AR, the Colt 6940 (with rail system) or a Noveske are your most reasonable comparisons.

My one hesitation, which is big, is over the piston system and reports of carrier tilt and wear in the buffer tube. Once that is resolved*, I think the rifle will be a good value and a good product.

*we all know that Ruger has had too many issues with new models lately, but they do at least get the problems ironed out and ultimately provide a solid product.

December 30, 2009, 01:34 PM
I doubt youd put one together any cheaper.

no, but most people could put together a milspec or overall higher-quality one for that price. And to add on to the above post, the gas piston usually goes for $400 market premium as an aftermarket part. So, you can figure that you are getting a rifle that is worth substantially less than its add-ons (yes, that is a condition common for most ARs, but on an unproven rifle, it means a lot to me)

December 30, 2009, 02:18 PM
z-michigan validated lloyd smale's comments on the lack of a base model.

my counter to trying to justify the ruger's price is: i don't want a troy quad rail, and i damn sure don't want a buis... so, pull those 2 pieces off and we have a $450-500 savings (by z-michigan's count), and i'm buying at that point.

December 30, 2009, 02:25 PM
i don't want a troy quad rail, and i damn sure don't want a buis... so, pull those 2 pieces off and we have a $450-500 savings (by z-michigan's count), and i'm buying at that point.

Yeah, I can see that angle. I would guess that Ruger started this way for a couple reasons:
-it's an "all-out" effort with a high end AR
-there are probably thin margins, and we know there is heavy competition, farther down the options/price scale
-it may have cost Ruger a lot to develop their piston system, and they may be getting really good pricing on the Troy items, which may help them maintain a profit while presenting the appearance that it's a really good value. (I have to think that Ruger could have created a quadrail and BUIS in-house without too much trouble.)
-A basic piston AR without a quadrail and priced at $1000 or so starts presenting direct competition to their Mini/Ranch Rifle line, which they just redid a couple years ago and is presumably also profitable.

If anyone from Ruger is reading this, I would like to see a model with an 18.5" barrel, a simple free-float tube (no rails, but perhaps holes to attach rails) and no BUIS included.

Uncle Mike
December 30, 2009, 02:31 PM
I don't know about folks that pay $1500 for an AR! It is sad that the retail prices of these type firearms are so high.
If most knew how much cost was in the manufacture of an AR they would choke!

I think Ruger has put the el premium price tag on this thing because it is something different.
I have to agree with dakotasin, what IF you do not want the BUIS, or the Troy stuff.

Piston operation of firearms have been around for.... for ever, tell me why it is so special in the AR?

December 30, 2009, 03:09 PM
The Ruger 556 is a Mid level gun at high level prices. While the added troy stuff is nice, the Piston system adds un-needed complication and weight to the gun, the barrel is 1/9 twist and they still have carrier tilt issues.

All of this doesn't make it a bad gun but it does make it a bad buy at ~$1500.

I could build a BCM or LMT with a DD rail and all the trimmings for that price. It would be lighter and use better component.

They need to come off the price by about 400 bucks then it would be in the right proce point for the quality and features.

December 30, 2009, 03:25 PM
Its no different than what Smith and Wesson did. Their rifles were all over priced for no reason at all. After the new S&W AR shock wore off the prices dropped to be competitive in the market rather than ride the brand name hype. Ruger is in the same boat. Run at brand name hype prices until sales stink, then price yourself back into the market. Some people are going to buy a Ruger piston AR no matter what the price. Might as well make a mint off of them first, then drop price tiers and pick up the rest of the interested buyers. I can't say I blame them for trying to cash in on their reputation. I haven't bought one from them but I don't blame them for pricing where they have.

December 30, 2009, 05:34 PM
The Ruger isn't badly priced. The only problems I've seen with them is that they tend to suffer from carrier tilt, which is easy enough to rectify.

December 30, 2009, 06:02 PM
I thought Ruger fixed the carrier tilt problem by making the carrier longer or something. Maybe It was someone else, im not sure.

December 30, 2009, 06:21 PM
Ruger has fixed the carrier tilt the rear of the carrier is made fatter and works kind of like a bearing or bushing.

December 30, 2009, 06:23 PM
First of all, I don't think Ruger has a dime into developing the piston on this. I strongly think they just bought an existing system, get it with their name on it, and ship.

Considering the track record with the LCP ( I have one ) Ruger is more into getting another product in the mix right now, not spending tens of thousands on new product development. And with the potential introduction of a 1911, I rest my case.

Sure, the 556 is pricey - again, it's a flagship for the AR line. Dump the fancy (and unnecessary ) options, use all Magpul MOE or milspec parts, it's competitive with the other entry level AR's.

After all, look what happens when they do cater to the "working man's price." They get too much demand and a lot of heat for it. So price it high with justifiable accessories and cut down on the most troublesome customers, keep profits reasonable, and be happy.

I think this new corporate team has been learning it's lessons.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 30, 2009, 06:39 PM
Do you think that it was a good idea for Ruger to sell their own AR as a whole package only?

Sure, I don't think it's a bad idea - then they get the profit on both upper and lower; if you want one, you gotta shell out for the whole shebang. Coupled with good marketing making people want any part of the shebang, it works. For us, it might not be so good, but on the whole for them yeah, I think.

Was it a good idea for Ruger to enter this market at a similar price point to everyone else, as opposed to something more groundbreaking?

No, I don't think so. Ruger's are "value guns", and this one ain't. Doesn't make any sense to me. We'll see how they sell, I suppose. They oughtta be about $250-$400 less than similar high-end competitor's models to be a traditional Ruger.

December 30, 2009, 06:48 PM
4 pages of discussion of this rifle at:

January 9, 2010, 08:39 PM
Don't know about good business, but I'm about ready to drop my dime on one. Of all the new piston systems out there, I'd trust Ruger's the most. Not necessarily because it is the best, but Ruger has been around for well over half a century, and they have always stood behind their products, to the best of my knowledge. I couldn't care less if it is someone else's design, it has Ruger behind it. Now if I were going into battle, then I might reconsider. Probably the only better supportability is going to be a DGI gun. But as far as pistons on the AR, it is probably the way I'd go. If it only came with a 1 in 7 twist, it would be a no-brainer.

Boba Fett
January 9, 2010, 09:12 PM
nutnfancy has some reviews on the Ruger 556:

Specific to the Ruger 556

About piston vs DI, and uses the 556 as one of the guns to discuss the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both systems:

January 10, 2010, 11:25 PM
Wow, Boba Fett. EXCELLENT links.

I still think I'm gonna get an SR556, though, even though all the real advantages of it will likely be lost on me. I like Ruger.

January 11, 2010, 10:35 AM
FWIW the SR556 is going for $1800+ in my area due to limited availability.
I think that is WAY too much to pay for any AR.

A close friend of mine has one that I've put a couple hundred rounds through. It worked flawlessly and was very very accurate. If it was $1000, and not $1500-1800, I would probably own one.

One nice thing if you reload is the SR556 doesn't throw brass a quarter mile away.

January 11, 2010, 10:56 AM
It worked flawlessly and was very very accurate.

That's a pleasant surprise (the accuracy part). Still, you can certainly get an AR that works flawlessly and is very accurate for under a grand, so I have to agree with what you say about price.

What's the trigger like? Anything special, or a regular military trigger? I have nothing against the regular military trigger, myself, it's just readily available for literally a few dollars, so not worth a premium price.

If Ruger were to offer the upper for $800, I'd probably be saving for one.

January 11, 2010, 04:26 PM
The trigger was average to good and broke clean at about 4 to 4.5lbs. Too heavy for my taste, but about right for a battlefield rifle. It took some though in grip position and tension to get repeatable unexpected breaks, but once you have a feel for it, it became natural. There are better AR triggers for under $150 IMO.

January 11, 2010, 05:29 PM
how much does it cost to make a ar-15?

Boba Fett
January 11, 2010, 05:44 PM
how much does it cost to make a ar-15?

Piston or DI AR-15?

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