First Look: Ruger AR-556
September 26, 2014
Ruger's new AR-556 marks the company's first M4-style rifle with a direct-impingement gas system.
The best part of all: The AR-556 is manufactured by Ruger in the USA, and you won't have to refinance your house to own one. At an expected retail price of $599, Ruger is making it easier than ever for people to get into the AR-15 platform without breaking the bank.
The Ruger AR-556 has anodized upper and lower receivers, both of which are forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Lower components include a single-stage trigger, a beavertail grip, an enlarged triggerguard and a six-position collapsible stock on a Mil-Spec buffer tube.
Its upper receiver features a forward assist, dustcover and brass deflector. The upper also houses an oxide-finished bolt-carrier group with a staked gas key and a 9310 alloy steel bolt.
Chambered for .223 Rem./5.56 NATO, its 16.1-inch barrel is cold-hammer-forged from 4140 chome-moly steel and has M4 feed ramps. The barrel has a 1:8-inch twist, capable of stabilizing 35- to 77-grain bullets. Barrel contours measure .850 inch under the handguard, .750 inch at the gas block and .700 inch from the gas block to the 1/2"-28 threaded muzzle with a Ruger flash suppressor.
The AR-556's folding rear polymer sight is adjustable for windage, while its A2-style front sight is elevation adjustable with an included front sight tool. A pinned gas block has multiple sling attachment points, a QD port and a bayonet lug.
The most unique feature of the AR-556 is a proprietary barrel nut with a threaded delta ring for simple handguard removal. Ruger's patent-pending barrel nut design accepts standard handguards and uses a standard-size barrel nut wrench. It's also interchangeable with Mil-Spec barrel nuts if so desired.
During initial testing, the Ruger AR-556 repeatedly hit a 6-inch steel plate offhand at 100 yards with standard factory sights.
Ruger's affordable new AR is packed with quality features and also includes a 30-round Magpul PMAG. At an expected retail price of $599, we anticipate users buying this rifle and customizing it as they please with aftermarket accessories and optics.
For more information, check out our exclusive video and photos below.