Ruger's Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor Breaks the 1,000- Yard Barrier

Ruger's Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor Breaks the 1,000- Yard Barrier

Ruger's Precision Rifle in 6mm
Creedmoor Breaks the 1,000-Yard Barrier

Check out all of articles in the Fall
edition of Long Range Shooting, GunsAmerica's newest specialty publication.

Until recent years, owning a high-end
chassis rifle was restricted to those with an excess cash problem, as many such
rifles easily hit and surpass the $10,000 mark. For the most part, these rifles
- used in both Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competition and among hardcore
long-range enthusiasts of all stripes - have been produced mostly by small
manufacturers and custom shops, hence the crushing price tags often associated
with them.

The game all changed several years
ago with Ruger's entry into the long-range marketplace and the introduction of
the
Precision Rifle, a chassis-type rifle
that partly mimics a bolt-gun and simultaneously employs many features
typically found on the AR-type platform.

Originally introduced in .308 Winchester
and 6.5 Creedmoor, the Precision Rifle has already proven itself as a serious
long-range workhorse. It's also highly affordable, with an MSRP of $1,900, and
comes in four calibers: .308 Win., 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor and
the hot new 6mm Creedmoor.

 

Ruger's Precision Rifle in 6mm
Creedmoor, topped with the Nikon Black X1000 4-16x50mm scope and launching
Hornady's 103-grain ELD-X in the Precision Hunter line, is built to break the
1,000-yard benchmark for long-range performance.

SPECS



  • Type: bolt-action, centerfire

  • Caliber: 6mm Creedmoor

  • Capacity: 10 rds., accepts Magpul-type magazines 30 rds  (ships with two)

  • Barrel: 24-in., 5R rifling, 1:7.7-in. twist

  • Overall Length: 43.25-46.75 in.

  • Folded Length: 35.60 in.

  • Weight: 10.8 lbs. (w/out scope)

  • Stock: Folding buttstock w/ adjustable comb/length of pull

  • Handguard: Ruger Short-Action

  • Trigger: Ruger Marksman, adjustable 2.25-5 lbs.

  • MSRP: $1,900

The
Perfect Pairing

Nikon's Black X1000 riflescope is
ideally suited for the long-range game and includes dual elevation and windage
turrets with ¼ MOA adjustments. It comes with an illuminated reticle (red) with
10 different brightness settings and carries a very reasonable suggested retail
of $700.

As they say in business and life,
timing really is everything. While many rifles and cartridge designs have come
and gone, the ones that last usually capitalize on good timing, popular
acceptance, and elite performance. Case in point: the 6mm (originally the .244
Rem.) and .260 Rem. While each remains an incredibly capable cartridge, neither
has garnered overwhelming or widespread popularity. Compare that to Hornady's
introduction in 2007 of the 6.5 Creedmoor, an offspring of the .30 TC and .308
Win. Realistically, it's the ballistic equivalent of the .260 Rem., with the
exception that it can seat long, sleek bullets farther out in the case and
still fit in an AR-10-type rifle or short-action. Similar as it may be in
performance, however, the 6.5 Creedmoor outshines the .260 in popularity,
especially among long-range shooters (the .260 still has a solid following).

The same is true of Hornady's newest
cartridge, the
6mm Creedmoor. It's ballistically
equal to the .243 Win., yet again allows shooters to seat longer bullets
farther out - creating greater accuracy potential - in an AR-10-type,
semi-automatic rifle, something that doesn't jive with the .243. The 6mm is the
brainchild of Outdoor Life editor John Snow, who hatched the idea for
the cartridge while brainstorming for an article about wildcatting. He teamed
up with Hornady on the cartridge, which was shortly thereafter discovered by
PRS shooters and quickly caught fire.

The other major development in the
popular rise of the Creedmoor, especially among the competition crowd, came via
Ruger, which started manufacturing Precision Rifles in both calibers, as well
as rifles in their American line. Now you can buy a sub-$2,000, off-the-shelf
rifle capable of breaking the 1,000-yard barrier with factory-loaded ammunition
that's also very reasonably priced. This review is based on Ruger's Precision
Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor.

The rifle features a two-way
adjustable Ruger Precision MSR stock with adjustable cheek piece and super soft
buttpad. The stock is tapped for a QD sling swivel point and features a lower
Picatinny rail for monopod attachment. With the push of a button, the buttstock
folds to the left.

The Precision Rifle utilizes an
AR-style buttstock design and a three-lug bolt with 70-degree throw, dual
cocking cams, and oversized bolt handle. The rifle also comes standard with a
20-MOA Picatinny rail for extended long-range capabilities.

What makes the 6mm Creedmoor so
effective is that it creates little recoil, launches a high BC bullet at
roughly 3,000 fps, and functions well in AR-type rifles that are ideal for PRS.
But all that ballistic prowess remains unrealized potential without a premium
platform, which is why the Ruger Precision Rifle is such a critical component
in the long-range equation.

The rifle features a push-button
release for a left-collapsing stock. It also utilizes a standard AR-style
safety selector and beveled mag well for easy loading of Magpul AR-10-type
magazines.

The Ruger Precision Rifle Hybrid
muzzle brake by as much as 58 percent, according to Ruger, and locks into place
with a jam nut (7/8-inch wrench). It can be removed for use with a suppressor
and greatly reduces noise and blast to the side of the shooter, something
that's particularly helpful if you're shooting prone on a line or spotting off
to the side. The brake utilizes standard 5/8-24 threading.

The Precision Rifle features an
AR-10-type receiver, but instead of semi-auto, gas-operation relies on a
manually operated bolt. The safety is identical to that of the AR platform,
while a beveled mag well makes for easy, no-look loading of magazines. The bolt
itself features a three-lug design with 70-degree throw and dual cocking cams,
and when operated drives rearward into an AR-type buffer tube in the stock. An
oversized bolt handle is ideal for rapid fire without lifting your head from
the stock, a sheer necessity in timed long-range competition. The bolt handle
can be replaced via Allen wrench, and the bolt is removed by folding the stock
and depressing a lever on the left side of the receiver (same release as
American rifles).

The stock is a proprietary Ruger
design, which the company dubs its Precision MSR stock. It features cheek piece
and length of pull adjustments, which are easily made by releasing a lever and
turning one of two dials. The rear of the stock features a lavish rubber butt
pad and an underside Picatinny rail mount with QD sling mounting options. The
stock folds to the left with a simple push of a button, which is located at the
rear of the receiver.

No long-range rifle would be complete
without a stellar trigger, and the Precision Rifle is no exception. It features
Ruger's Marksman Adjustable Trigger, which can be set between 2.25 to 5 pounds.
The trigger on the rifle reviewed here was just below 3 pounds, which is
exactly what you want for a tack-driving setup. Whether in the American rifle
or the Precision, the Marksman trigger is fully capable of accuracy at and
beyond 1,000 yards.

The rifle is anything but light,
weighing in at 10.8 pounds without scope or magazine. For long-range shooting,
however, that added weight helps stabilize the shot. I found the rifle very
stable even when shooting prone from a backpack at 600 yards, and with a proper
sling the additional weight would not be that big of a deal. Keep in mind,
weight will go up with bipod, scope or other accessories.

The Short-Action Handguard is
designed to allow for plenty of clearance on long-range scopes. At 15-inches in
length, it is relatively lightweight (12.7 ounces) and utilizes Key-Mod
attachment points at the 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions.

Accuracy testing was conducted at 100
yards from Caldwell's BR Pivot shooting bench with sandbags. Like all AR-type
rifle designs, the pistol grip interferes with the older style Caldwell Lead
Sled, hence the sandbags. Caldwell's Lead Sled 2 solves this problem with a
split center rail that accommodates magazines and pistol grips.

The other essential accessory to any
long-range platform is, of course, a quality optic. For this review, I utilized
Nikon's Black X1000 with X-MOA illuminated
reticle. A 4-16×50 scope, the X1000 features a second focal plane (SF) reticle
and ¼ MOA adjustments on externally operated elevation and windage turrets. The
lefthand turret features parallax adjustment from 50 yards to 1,000 and,
finally, infinity. The turret cap unscrews for battery placement (CR 2032); the
outer knob controls 10 illumination settings, with every turn in between as an
"off" setting. All adjustable rings, including magnification, are oversized and
highly contoured for better grip, and I found that all were fairly easy to
operate.

There are a few tradeoffs to the SF
reticle design. First, it usually provides a more cost-effective scope option,
so if you're on a tight budget this is a good selection (the Black X1000
carries a very reasonable MSRP of $700). The major pain in the butt, in my
opinion, is that the MOA markers on your reticle will be different for every
change in magnification because the reticle itself does not increase or
decrease in size as you change power. Unless you're a high-level savant with a
penchant for mentally storing and recalling hundreds of mathematical equations
at a given moment, this means you'll need to set your power to max and keep
track of elevation adjustments in the reticle at full power. For a competition
shooter who intends on using the reticle to make elevation adjustments at a
vast number of differing distances and powers, that makes the SF design a
trickier proposition. That's the ideal situation, in my opinion, for a first
focal plane scope in which the reticle grows or shrinks with magnification adjustments.

For accuracy testing in this review,
I simply set the power to max and left it there. Realistically, for anything
past 200 yards and a 16-power scope, that really isn't too much of an issue.
When it came time to dial up the elevation turret for 450 yards and beyond on
steel, the turrets operated outstandingly and adjustments were precise with
every click. The wind that day was between 5-10 mph, and the windage marks in
the reticle were exceptionally accurate.

Down
Range

The Precision Rifle, which features a
cold-hammer-forged chromoly steel barrel and 1:7.7-in. twist rate with 5R
rifling, proved to be exceptionally accurate on paper at 100 yards and out to
1,000 yards on steel. I tested the rifle with two different loads, both of
which came from Hornady: the 103-grain ELD-X in the Precision Hunter line, and
the 108-grain ELD Match.

While many long-range shooters will
prefer to work up their own loads, Hornady also produces exceptional rounds in
its Match and Precision Hunter lines, with either the ELD or ELD-X bullets. The
Match ELD bullet is of the 108-grain variety, while the Precision Hunter is a
103-grain ELD-X. Both are highly accurate right out of the box.

Hornady
Precision Hunter 103-gr. ELD-X

Best
Group
: .350 in.

Avg.
Group
: .882 in.

Avg.
Velocity
: 3,037 fps

Extreme
Spread
: 68

Standard
Deviation
: 33.2

Hornady
108-gr. ELD Match

Best
Group:
.312 in.

Avg.
Group
: .640 in.

Avg.
Velocity
: 2,926 fps

Extreme
Spread
: 23

Standard
Deviation
: 14.8

(All data comes from 100 yards, at
the bench, and was measured with a digital caliper from five three-shot groups.
Velocity was measured with a ProChrono digital chronograph. Data was collected
at roughly 6,200 ft. with a temperature of 84 degrees. Winds ranged from 5-10
mph.
)

Accuracy was measured from five three-shot
groups from each load at 100 yards, and velocity was measured with a ProChrono
digital chronograph. The average group with the Match ammo came in at .640
inches, while the Precision Hunter ammo averaged .882 inches. The best group
for the Match ammo was an uber-impressive .312 inches, and an equally miniscule
.350 inches for the Precision Hunter. In terms of consistent velocity, the
Match trumped with an extreme spread of 23 fps and a standard deviation of just
under 15 fps. Velocity was just shy of 3,000 fps, whereas the Precision Hunter
was a touch faster, on average, and slightly less consistent (extreme spread
was 68 fps, standard deviation 33.2 fps).

The best group with Hornady's
108-grain Match ELD measured the best among any group for the day at .312
inches.

Parting
Shots

Given the price tag and build, the
Ruger Precision Rifle does not disappoint. Smacking steel at 450 and 600 yards
was almost too easy, and when the moment of truth finally came to dial in the
proper elevation for that 1,000-yard shot, I had high hopes that the rifle
would still deliver. The first shot was a hair low, but with an adjustment, the
second made solid contact. I'd like to take credit, but it's got way more to do
with a quality load from Hornady and a quality build from Ruger. Combine that
with custom loads and countless hours of practice and the ceiling on this rifle
is pretty high.

I can also see why so many long-range
competition shooters love the 6mm - it's incredibly light-recoiling, especially
with Ruger's Hybrid muzzle brake, and it's highly accurate even in considerable
winds. While ringing steel is fun, I'll admit the hunter in me automatically
started fantasizing about how great the rifle and round would be for long-shot
coyotes. Fortunately, the rifle is capable and the loads from Hornady are ideal
for steel or fur.



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