This is the promo pic of the Ruger SR-762, with the included handguards and rail sections mounted. The rifle is like a larger version of the AR-15, but like this rifle’s little brother the SR-556, it has a gas system that pushes a piston instead of directly forcing the bolt carrier. This results in a cooler running and softer shooting 7.62/.308 CQB hammer of a firearm.
The rifle comes with a nice soft assault bag and 3 Magpul P-Mags, as well as three handguards and two rail sections, with all the screws.
What makes the SR-762 different is the same gas block and piston system that you’ll find on the SR-556.
The chrome plated piston and rod system is pushed on by the gas bled from the barrel. A regular AR-15 funnels the gas directly to the bolt carrier, heating it and dumping burnt powder on it. The Ruger design is unique in the American AR market and very welcome in a 7.62/.308.
The lower of the SR-762 takes standard AR trigger groups, safeties and Mil-Spec buttstocks and buttstock tubes.
The SR-762 comes with excellent adjustable flip up AR type sights, and a front sight adjustment tool.
It is a handsome rifle with Ruger emblems on the receiver, the chromed bolt carrier, the upper rail, and molded into the handgrip. Made at the Ruger rifle factory in Newport, NH, Ruger fans will love this gun.
Sturm Ruger & Co. knew back in 2009 that they needed to be in the semi-auto rifle market with more than just the Mini-14. They wanted an AR-15-type rifle, but soon discovered that the“Mil-Spec” AR-15 left a lot to be desired. A standard AR sends its hot gases back to the bolt, pushing on the bolt carrier and opening it for the next shot. This makes for a very hot and very dirty bolt group after only a few rounds, and this can and does hurt both short and long term reliability. So while most of the market was busy copying the standard AR-15 design with their own branded product, Ruger decided to take the less beaten path, and create their own design. That design was the SR-556, in 5.56 NATO, or .223 Remington. Instead of just gas, the 556 employed a rod to move the bolt, this rod rode above the barrel, and was controlled by an adjustable gas block. The design is very similar to the rifle that used to be called “the right arm of the free world,” the FN-FAL. This new Ruger rifle contained the gas/rod system of the FAL, yet had the weight advantage and ergonomics of the AR-15. Out of the gate the SR-556 was a hit for Ruger, and several variations of the SR556 are still extremely popular today.
The only thing is, the FAL is a 7.62×51 (.308 Winchester), not a 5.56. So since the introduction of the SR-556 the market has been screaming for a SR-762. About two weeks ago Ruger finally introduced one into the market, based on the exact design of the SR-556. The MSRP of the SR-762 is a hefty $2195, but as an “all you’ll ever need” rifle, we found it to be just that, and worthy of a lifetime purchase decision. There are other good 7.62/.308 battle rifles out there. But the SR-762 brings the smart, cool running design of the SR-556 to a larger and more punishing caliber, thereby making the engineering of the original rifle more relevant. There is a big difference in the design of Ruger’s SR-762 and the rest of the 7.62/.308 field. . The 762 is lighter and more accurate than an AR-10, the FAL and even the M1A. And though Colt, DPMS and others make an good AR design in 7.62/.308, they are purely gas driven, like their 5.56/.223 counterparts. If you are going to spend $1,500 to $3,000 on a battle rifle a little homework wouldn’t hurt, and judging by our testing of this SR-762 and the impeccable reputation of the SR-556, the Ruger just may be the most gun for the money.
Something many people don’t realize is that there is no “Mil-Spec” design for the 7.62 NATO AR-15 clone. There is also no “Mil-Spec” design for any“piston driven” AR-15 type rifle of any caliber. So if you want either of those things, you have to entrust your choice to the company that makes it, because each has its own, usually patented, design and engineering specification. I’ve always found that kind of scary because guns break down when you use them a lot, especially semi-autos. If I am to trust both the engineering of a firearm design, and the longevity of the manufacturer, I may or may not trust Colt, who I love, but who has come and gone from the firearms market for the last two decades, and I doubt that I’ll trust DPMS after their “Freedom Group” owners went jellyfish in the latest and unprecedented attack on our 2nd Amendment rights. Even the Armalite AR-10 has undergone several changes since the original Stoner design, and the year after I bought my AR-10, they switched the spec to take P-Mags. Now that company has been sold. Sorry to digress a bit into a tangent, but these are important points when you are deciding to buy a gun that costs two grand, and I think that when you look at the picture as a whole, the facts favor Ruger and the SR-7.62. I trust Ruger to be there in 10 years when I finally bend my op rod from running 50 round X-Products mags through it with my bump stock.
None of that would matter, though, if the gun didn’t perform really well, and this week I was able to put the SR-762 through its paces. What makes this gun so unique is the FAL-like rod and gas block system, so I’ll explain how that works. When you fire a round in any AR style firearm, the bolt doesn’t immediately open. It is locked. After the bullet passes a port drilled into the barrel, towards the end, some of the gas from your shot bleeds off into a tube. This tube carries that gas back to the bolt carrier, and pushes it open, ejecting the shell. With the SR-762, instead of the gas coming all the way back, it pushes on a gas piston, which is connected to a pusher rod. Ruger’s design does this in two stages, though I don’t know what that means, and this makes for a smoother stroke, presumably than the FAL and other piston guns like the AK-47. The rod then engages the bolt carrier and pushes it back, just like the gas would in a standard AR, but because of the piston the gas never reaches the bolt, so it doesn’t heat it up and dump particulate from the burnt powder into the action. The gas block in the front of the SR-762 has numbers on it, 0-3, and this controls the size of that hole through which the gas bleeds from the barrel into the tube that holds the piston and rod.
The zero setting on the gas block allows no gas through at all, making the SR-762 a single shot that doesn’t eject its shell (for wet work where you don’t want to leave a casing). Settings 1-3 allow gas, measured in a little to a lot, with 1 being the least. This allows you to control the action of the rifle and tune it to your ammo. All ammo is not created equal, and one size does not fit all, despite the fact that in other ARs there is no setting like this. A regular AR is set to cycle the action using the lightest bullet and the lightest pressure that meets SAAMI specifications. That means that if you use a very heavy bullet, or hot military surplus machinegun ammo, the gun is being battered far more than it needs to be. This isn’t a huge issue with 5.56 NATO, because it is after all a woodchuck cartridge, but 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. is a bruiser, and will beat the daylights out of your gun if the action is set too light.
The SR-762 gas block ships on setting 2, which is medium. If the fired brass from your preferred ammo lands behind the shooter, this means that the action is running a bit slow, and you can turn it up to 3. If it is landing in front, it means that the ammo is too hot for 2 and should be dialed back to 1. In our testing, both Hornady TAP 150gr. and Hornady American Whitetail had to be dialed to 3, yet their velocities were not the same for the same weight bullet, so there is some leeway in there. Setting 3 will work on everything, but on hotter ammo it will beat you and the gun up more than is required. By easing back the size of the gas hole, to 2 or 1, you can take advantage of the rifle’s ability to adapt to different ammo, and save you and the gun some wear and tear. If you put the setting on 3 with hot military ammo, the bolt carrier group comes back harder than it needs to, and will shorten the life of all of those moving parts, and kick harder. Overall the SR-762 is light for a piston rod gun, but at just over 8 ½ pounds, with the delayed gas system, the recoil is manageable for even a timid shooter when the gas system is properly adjusted.
Before we go on, I have to come clean that I am a Ruger fanboy, and I wanted nothing more than to write a great review on this gun. The trouble was, I didn’t think it would be accurate. The barrel is heavily fluted under the handguard to reduce weight, and the gas block system is attached to the barrel forward of this. To me this looked like a recipe for accuracy disaster in such a heavy caliber with a strong shock wave and the ensuing “barrel harmonics,” which are the bane of good rifle accuracy. Then I tried the trigger, which is a standard AR drop in. It is very heavy, later measured at almost 9 lbs. I thought this would add insult to injury, and I figured I’d be lucky to get 2MOA (minutes of angle) out of the gun, which would be roughly a 2” dispersal at 100 yards. I was wrong, but let me explain.
We try to be realistic with accuracy testing here, so I mounted a
Meopta ZD 1-4×22 on the top rail, in between Ruger’s open sights. The Meopta is one of the best “CQB,” or close quarters battle scopes on the market, clear as a bell even in low light, with a 1 MOA illuminated dot. At 4 power, the dot covers the center dot of these green targets at 100 yards but it is probably the type of scope that most people would put on this gun. The 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. cartridge is effective to 1000 yards, but most people would think of this rifle as a CQB powerhouse that can punch through just about anything, and take a long shot if needed. The holdoff markets on the Meopta are points, not dots, so you can use it on 1x for open eyes, right up close and personal CQB, as well as a 600 yard holdoff shot. The average police sniper shot in the US is only 80 yards, so with this type of scope, the rifle is set up for most every urban situation you will encounter. The 3-Gun shooters also use this type of scope, though they would not use a 7.62/.308 rifle for competition.
After zeroing the SR-762 at 50 yards I decided to shoot a 5 shot test group. To my surprise, it measured under an inch across, center to center. Hmmpfh. Let’s try 100 yards. Several 5 round groups later, my average with 150 grain Hornady TAP ammo was about 1 ½ inches, which would translate to 1.5MOA. Then I tried Hornady American Whitetail in the same 150 grain weight. It was even better. Looking around the web, I see that my friend Jeff Quinn at Gunblast put a 20x scope on his Ruger SR-762 and got MOA accuracy out of the gun, even with what he also measured as an unusually heavy trigger. The trigger is heavy, but crisp, and there is no pull-through drag at all. As Jeff noted, the lower on this gun is a standard AR configuration, and it can therefore take drop in triggers to improve performance. Do you need sub-MOA accuracy? It never hurts I guess. But it is amazing that this rifle is already at 1.5 MOA with a 4x scope on the existing trigger, and more like 1 MOA at higher magnification.
The rest of the rifle is fairly straightforward. Ruger put the Mini-14 birdcage flashider on the SR-762′s 16 inch 6 groove 1:10 twist barrel. The stock is a standard six position M4 style, and the tube is Mil-Spec (so yes, we can try the SlideFire on this gun). It comes with a Ruger branded Hogue Monogrip, and there is also a nifty Ruger logo on the chromed bolt carrier. The forend comes out of the box bare, but has pre-drilled positions for 3 included plastic handguards and two rail sections. The upper has a forward assist button and brass deflector, and the gun takes MapPull P-Mags, not a proprietary alternative, which is awesome. Magpul makes 3 and 5 round hunting mags, so you can get right out this season if you are so inclined. As you can see from the pictures, the Ruger SR-762 comes with a soft black tactical case, 3 mags, 20 rounds each, the handguards, rail sections, and all the screws you need to mount the optional parts, as well as a U bolt locking system. We couldn’t get the gun to fail over about 150 rounds, but that was expected. Just remember, if your hunting ammo doesn’t seem to be ejecting right at setting 2, turn her back to 3. These guns should be available in the market now, or soon, so ask your dealer to get you on a list if you want one for Christmas.
For accuracy testing we mounted a
Meopta ZD 1-4×22. This is a great CQB scope for this gun, with realistic hash marks reaching out to 600 yards.