Ruger 22LR Precision Rifle

Intro to the Ruger RPR 22

Steal his look with a jacket from KUIU

Sometimes we get the cart before the horse, and I’ll admit that I’ve done a few things out of order over the years. One instance where I think I started at the wrong end was a few years back, when I first put my hands on a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Normally I like to start with a light recoiling rifle, get comfortable and proficient with its function, and then step up to the next bigger platform.
The first RPR I ever shot was the big one, in 338 Lapua Magnum. I later was able to shoot one chambered in 308 Winchester, which was obviously a little softer. And finally today, I have reached the small end of the RPR family, chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

A Natural Evolution

I remember when the first RPR hit the market, it started gaining fans immediately due to its many features and benefits. Ruger’s design quickly caught on to several large groups of rifle shooters, and in the process helped open new shooting activities to those shooters. The RPR at a glance could be mistaken for a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) or an AR type rifle, it’s simple yet handsome aesthetics appeal to the Black Rifle crowd just as much as it does to the precision rifle shooting crowd. Ruger was clever in the way the gun was made and marketed, the price-point of the RPR brought affordability to a shooting class that before then had been reserved to expensive custom rifles, or actual sniper rifles.
As the popularity and success of the RPR soared, additional models and calibers were introduced using the same basic idea, and it was only proper to have a rimfire version.

The Ruger Precision Rifle .22LR

The RPR .22LR is a bolt action magazine fed rifle, built in a chassis with fully adjustable comb and recoil pad. The rifle uses an eighteen-inch hammer forged steel barrel which is threaded 1/2-28 at the muzzle to install your favorite muzzle furnishings. The chassis utilizes a free-floating handguard with M-Lok slots for adding accessories, and also uses standard AR type pistol grips so you can install whatever model you desire. The rifle has a built in optics mounting rail atop the receiver and in a brilliant stroke of genius, it was designed to use the incredibly popular Ruger 10/22 magazines, with fifteen and twenty-five round magazines shown in this article. All these intuitive features come with an MSRP of $579.00.

Getting Started

I’m currently on a rimfire kick, so this rifle couldn’t have fallen into a better lap. Upon receiving the rifle, I promptly started the process of fiddling and figuring it out. The rifle came to me with a Vortex scope already mounted in a one-piece scope mount, and a few extra magazines. All I needed was a bipod and my Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 22 suppressorĀ  and an Atlas Bipod to make this rifle complete.

Luckily for me, I had several great options for ammunition testing. Plenty of the cheap bulk-packed ammo from manufacturers like Federal and Winchester, as well as match grade ammo from companies like Aguila and CCI. I was excited to see how it all came together in the little RPR. Once I had rifle, ammo, and everything else I needed, I headed to my shooting line to get it warmed up.

Once there, I bore-sighted the scope and started loading magazines. I started with some of the Winchester bulk packed ammo, just to get a close zero. At one-hundred yards it was not particularly impressive, with shots dodging between two and four inches across a five-shot spread.
Running the bolt on the RPR was just a tiny bit glitchy, which I believe is simply getting used to it, and breaking in the action. One thing that I’ve noticed on most bolt action rimfires is that the shorter bolt is more susceptible to binding in the short action, I believe this is due to distribution of force being focused on just a few small surfaces. I have run the bolt on other RPR’s and found the bolts to be perfectly smooth, so it could simply be that this gun is new and needs some working.
I usually don’t use safeties much, I prefer to simply keep it empty until ready to fire. But when talking about 22’s, there will almost invariably be children around. In fact I used the RPR 22 for one of my kids hunter safety course, as it was a perfect fit for him. The safety on the RPR was a little stiffer than I would have liked, the kids actually thought there was something wrong with it. But this again could just be needed to be broken in, not a deal breaker for me.

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Still, the adjustments of the buttstock of the rifle made it easy to match it to other shooters like my kids, making their shooting experience even more enjoyable. Though, one otherĀ small concern I had was mag feeding. Particularly when loaded to a full 25 rounds, the first few rounds were a little finicky when feeding. This also varied with different ammunition, so it could have had something to do with that as well.

ACCURACY

After trying four different types of ammo, there was clearly a winner. The cheap bulk-packed ammo worked fine but didnā€™t produce the best results as you might imagine. Both the Winchester and Federal produced groups around 3 to 4 inches at 100 yards, and the CCI was a little better but not much.

Get you some high quality Lapua 22lr Match ammo here

As you might imagine, the Aguila Match ammo was superior, producing 10-shot patterns around 1.5 inches. Five-shot groups were even better, some of them even shooting 1/2-inch groups. I was happy with the results, but I would have preferred better accuracy with the cheap stuff. At least I know what to use should I need to head-shoot squirrels from across the creek.

.22 Aguila Ammo and a target
With the right ammo, you can achieve some very nice groupings.Ā 

SUPPRESSED

Bolt-action .22 LR Ruger Precision Rifle

Nowadays, suppressors are becoming more and more popular, so I had to shoot the rifle with a couple of different suppressors just to satisfy my curiosity. First was the Dead Air Mask, followed by my favorite Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 22. Both of them worked perfectly, making the report of the little rifle comparable to the BB gun I got when I turned 10.

In the open Rocky Mountains, it is hard to discern the difference between two rimfire suppressors, but the YHM wins because of it weighs a third less. Shooting suppressed rimfires is addicting, and the Ruger RPR makes it even better with great accuracy and the ability to adapt to each member of the family.

CONCLUSION

It should come as no surprise that the RPR 22 is an excellent choice for a good shooting rimfire rifle. Ruger has near-legendary experience in the rimfire market and adding a .22 LR rifle to the Precision Rifle family was exactly the right move. Despite the few hiccups I had with the rifle, I can hardly see a reason to own a different .22. Unless you have an extremely small budget, or desperately need a semi-automatic .22, you will love the Ruger Precision rifle in .22 Long Rifle.

-CBM

 

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