Ruger SR556 Takedown – Cool Design – Problematic Performance – Full Review

Ruger SR556 Takedown
http://www.ruger-firearms.com/products/sr556TD/models.html
Find an SR556 Takedown on GunsAmerica
.300BK Kit $449 at Shopruger.com

I think every gunwriter should first ask the question, “Why did they make this?” when reviewing a new product. Because at some point, prior to holding one in your hand, someone in the company envisioned that this product would appeal to consumers, or that it filled a specific need or niche. Sometimes you can figure it out and sometimes you can’t. For me, takedowns have always an enigma in this regard. Generally you are taking an existing rifle design, be it a lever gun or in this case the very capable Ruger SR556, and forcing it to come apart and go back together in a way it was not designed.

Don’t get me wrong. When I requested this rifle for review, I actually asked Ruger to send me an invoice for it rather than expect it back. I’m a huge fan of the SR556 and SR762, and for me they represent a great American gun company moving forward in the market into new things that red blooded American gun owners have come to love. I don’t regret buying the gun sight unseen, but it wasn’t as good as I had expected.

Practically, the purpose of a takedown is to break up the outline of a full sized rifle and make it smaller, more convenient and inconspicuous to carry. That is why in the video, I talk about the new SR556 Takedown in the mindset of a shaving kit. I’m checking into a hotel, or I’m going on a community trip, and I though I’d like to carry some firepower, I’m not counting on those around me to share the same view. An AR already breaks down pretty small, but this takedown design shaves another 6 inches or so off of the footprint, making it much less likely that someone would expect that there is a rifle in there. African hunters have always loved takedowns, and those traveling to Alaska have always considered a 45-70 takedown levergun part of the standard kit.

This gun is a whole other deal. It is meant to be able to swap out barrels with other calibers, in addition to the regular old takedown stuff. I didn’t get into it for the video because I don’t have the .300BK barrel and magazine set, but these have been available from when the rifle came out in 2015. Since I own the gun, I’ll be following up with a review of the conversion kit at a later date.

From a design perspective, I think the SR556 Takedown is flawless. As you can see in the video, it goes together easy, comes apart easy. There are no special tools. Nothing sticks, even when the gun is hot, and nothing shakes loose. I have probably about 500 rounds through the gun now and I have not had one failure to fire, failure to cycle, stovepipe, bent brass, nothing. She is a smooth running machine.

I have to admit that I haven’t figured out how the gas system on the SR556 comes apart for cleaning, which I assume is a pretty good idea once in a while. The two stage piston design on the SR556 comes with an adjustable gas block, so you can run subsonic .300BK, run a can, whatever, without any significant change to the gun.

The trigger on the SR556 is a proprietary Ruger design called the Ruger® Elite 452™ and much better than a standard military trigger. For a rifle with a street price of almost $1,700 the functional ability to shoot the gun well I think matches up better with the pricepoint than you would think. This is not just a novelty gun with a premium pricetag.

Where it lacks is in accuracy. Call me crazy, but I think that if you are going to make a takedown, it really should perform close to the original rifle. I didn’t expect the gun to shoot MOA, but consistent 3-4 MOA would have been the outside of what I would call acceptable, especially at the pricepoint.

What I got was close to that when the gun was cold. It strung vertically, but overall the spread was within 4 inches or so, depending on the ammo. I shot the gun cold first with steel case Russian ammo, then some Romanian surplus, then Hornady Suprformance. The latter performed the best, but that is fairly standard with Hornady.

As the gun heated up, that accuracy turned into roughly “minute of basketball,” strung vertically about 8-10 inches and about 4-5 inches wide. This was rested fire, in a Lead Sled, using the stock iron sights. I verified this over 3 cold to hot shooting sessions, using mostly the same ammo.

If you have thought about buying this rifle for the novelty, or just to swap out the .300BK, and you are kinda flush with cash, I don’t think it won’t hold its value. You can hit a man sized target at 100 yards with it, and compared to some AKs I’ve shot, that’s not terrible. And with the Magpul hardware and Keymod forend, it’s a nicely balanced, sexy AR with what I consider the cream of the crop in proprietary gas systems. The regular SR556 goes for upwards of $1,500 street price, so you aren’t paying a ton extra for the takedown feature, and it can turn into a .300 BK.

These days you can buy some really nice ARs for under a grand, so I think to buy one of these guns you have to be a Ruger fan, you are looking for an investment gun, or you just need one of everything new, which is awesome. Comparing this SR556 Takedown on pure utility vs. price, it doesn’t stack up as well as I would have liked, but I’m not returning it either.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Dean Johansen August 5, 2017, 9:51 pm

    The author found a gun that strings shots 8-10 inches vertically, and 4-5 inches on the horizontal, acceptable! He didn’t send the gun back, but kept it!! Knowing this, what am I to make of his review? How could he possibly find this poor performance acceptable? And worse even, he paid to keep it. This review fits the definition of incomprehensible.

  • Full Time RVer August 5, 2017, 12:33 pm

    My wife and I live full time in a 40 foot motor home. Space is key. Before my SR556 Ruger Takedown my go to gun was a Ruger 1022 Takedwon topped with a Leupold Mark Mod-1 1.5 x 4 x 20 mm. When Ruger came out with the SR556 takedown I topped it with a Leupold Mark Mod-1 1.5 x 4 x 20 mm,with a LaRue OBR Detachable mount. The takedown became my go to gun. Same footprint, less Ammo but much more firepower. When I was ‘young’ my idea of a carry gun was a North Hollywood 44Auto Mag. Different time different ‘tools’. I don’t think I will ever be in a sustained firefight. So my little SR556 takedown shooting with my old tired eyes 2 inch groups at 100 yards and less than 1 inch groups at 25 yards should get me by. Thanks Ruger for giving me the right tool at the right time.

  • Rocky De Witt February 11, 2017, 8:13 am

    I am a dealer and I have YET to find Ruger firearms to me consistently accurate. One customer sent his pistol back to them for repair because it would not shoot LESS THAN 4″ groups from a rest at 25 yards. It was sent back with a letter stating that that was within Ruger’s accuracy limits. 4″ is not acceptable accuracy for me at 25 yards. Ever notice on gun accuracy tests that Ruger handguns are fired for accuracy at 15 yards? Even The American Rifleman magazine testers test at 15 yards, while testing nearly ALL OTHER BRANDS FROM 25 YARDS. And believe me, I have called them on it, to be told that Ruger’s advertising dollars have no effect on their test reports. So from 15 yards they look like good shooters: read the fine print. I cringe when I see a Mini 14 walk in the door, I don’t want them, and other area dealers will not take them because they sit on a rack forever and/or sell them then come back again as the customer “can’t hit **** after the barrel gets warm”.
    So, thank you for the honest appraisal of another “R” product. Even saying the name makes me want to spit.

    • No1hunter February 24, 2017, 1:12 am

      “I am a dealer and I have YET to find Ruger firearms to me consistently accurate.”

      apparently you have never seen a Ruger 10/22, assuming “me” s/b be.

  • Eric Holder February 6, 2017, 6:24 pm

    Nice review. Fair. You prefaced your statements regarding your experience with the Ruger. I would consider this product and will look into it further.

  • Gowan February 6, 2017, 5:42 pm

    Looking for a recommendation. I have and SR556. I like the idea of iron sights within 75 meters or so, but to reach out beyond 100 or 200 yds, I would like to add an optic. I am looking for a low profile, quick release, 3X red dot. Can anyone recommend an optic that fits my criteria under $250? Thanks for any feedback.

  • Larry Kelley Jr. February 6, 2017, 3:58 pm

    Is the Gas block adjustable. If so did you try to adjust it. I purchased a gun from fleet farm about 1-year ago and it was a Huldra 5.56 and I had similar problems, I only shot Hornady and 5.56 American Eagle ammo. 55,and 69 grain bullets and it was all over the place .we both have Quick Detach scopes, tried open sites at 50 yards and shot great for the first 100 to 150 rounds then after that it was always shooting down at about 4 o’clock to the right, then we tried at 100 yards and it shot at about 5 o’clock . Then we put on the Vortex 1-6×24 took about 25 shots to get about 1 inch from bullseye. Wife decided to field clean it also did a magnum fan cool down cleaned the barrel. Reloaded back up with 20 round magazine she shut it 5 times and it shot it at 100 yards and with the first 5 shots it registered at 7/16 to the right of the bullseye. Then took Magazine out and put my 69 grain bullets and she shot 5 rounds at 100 yard and it shot low at 1″ inch to the right of the bullseye.so now we decided to try 200 yards it was all over we tried 15 rounds and it woul shoot at the right at 5 o’clock. That was Hornady 55 grn FMJ . Then I tried and it shot about 4 o clock to the right, so we field stripped it again and she cleaned the barrel.s next I tried again to shoot 55 grn Hornady at 100 yard and all of a sudden it was way off far right 4 inches to 5 o’clock and then went directly to 50 yards and it shot directly to the black of the bullseye about 4 inches low, then I tried to adjust the gass block read the direction and made a small adjustment. It sot terrible, an readjust it back ant it was not even close to the last 5 shots.it shot at 5 inches directly to the right . This was the same ammo me and my wife shoot through my Bushmaster 5.56 and her Anderson 5.56 rifle.
    So then I took it to a gun shop and they shut it at 50 yards and 125 rounds of 55 grain Hornady and about 100 rounds of 69 grain and the man said he took one of there hous barrels with a adjustable gas block had no problem. Then checked the barrel and could not find any problems took apart the adjustable gas block and said there is a burr inn the gas block but said it should still not happer the gas block from doing its job. So I had to have fleet f arm shipp it back to I think it was called Adams Industries. They sent me a Email and a letter asking if I wanted a refund or a replacement. I Emailed them back an they would not say what was wron just that there Qualty assessment group had looked at it and would not return it but ship a new rifle or a refund. So I took the refund and I asked twice what was the issue he said he was not at lieberty to say.

  • fuzznuts February 6, 2017, 1:50 pm

    If your going to say that the accuracy sucks, you need to put an optic on it and prove it- otherwise leave your opinion out of the review. You said yourself that your eyes are not good. 100 yds with irons is not a good review for accuracy. If you review battle guns for a hobby or even a living, you should make it a point to have a QD mount and proven optic available for all the guns you test. Would you test a bolt gun with iron sights to determine accuracy?

    • david hamilton February 6, 2017, 3:18 pm

      “What he said….”

    • Paul Helinski February 6, 2017, 3:19 pm

      If you can shoot a 2″ group when the gun is cold, then it stretches out to 8″, how far does your head need to be up your ass to not understand that you don’t need an optic to tell you that something is wrong?

    • david hamilton February 6, 2017, 3:34 pm

      I really don’t see the few inches of upper length reduction being worth the extra purchase price. My AR pistol is shorter from the start, and cheaper. My 16″ light weight BCM carbine even ‘takes down’ to an acceptable OAL. From my experience, unless spending custom rifle amounts of $$$$, accuracy often-times suffers with increased disassembly points, especially the barrel to receiver interface. HOWEVER! I LOVE my Ruger 10-22 take down . It is not lost on me that this type of gun ‘review’ is a simple way for a reviewer to buy a rifle at discounted prices in exchange for their supposedly ‘objective’ review. I have a buddy who has been doing it for years. He rarely writes a bad one, surprisingly. Tongue firmly planted in cheek.

  • Steve G February 6, 2017, 1:17 pm

    When I tested mine it shot .223 just fine (3 shots right at 1.0 inches at 100 yards). The 300 BLK shot 2.5 inches at 100 for 3 shots, but was not as consistent as the 5.56. This was right out of the box. Not sure what’s going on with yours, but I’d consider contacting them at a minimum because what you are getting is not the accuracy the rifle was designed for. I’m using Fiocchi 50 gr VMAX on the .223.

    • Paul Helinski February 6, 2017, 3:20 pm

      Yea Ruger was actually in touch first thing this morning offering to take a look at the gun because those results were not what they were testing themselves. It’ll return I’m sure.

  • Thunder February 6, 2017, 11:57 am

    MGI Hydra IS the original ” take down ” AR 15 with caliber kit changes at @$400 cheaper . I love my Ruger so don’t get me wrong , Just over priced a bit . The gas system is cool on the Ruger 556 . I would buy it for $1300 to $1400 range . DPMS , I believe Knocked Off MGI’s original idea at 2X’s the cost ,.., doubt they sell many at Their price point … ,America as a whole Loves their Rugers … Cost effective and always reliable .

  • Michael Dugas February 6, 2017, 11:16 am

    Final impression: a really expensive Mini-14.
    It has more parts than the Saint and wretched accuracy to boot.
    Clever shaving bag notwithstanding, this is just a cute little kit with abysmal shooting results. For that same reason, the IWI Tavor X95 is a clever gun, but a lousy shooter; it, too, can stay at the store.
    The whole point of a gun is to put that little piece of lead where you want it to be. Everything else is secondary.

  • Charlie February 6, 2017, 11:12 am

    Great concept, but not sure the juice is worth the squeeze. Probably rather have a normal SBR AR, that of course takes down with two pins & not mess with the barrel….at end of day you’d likely have a cheaper rig even with the stamp. But to each their own, and with out innovation the excitement goes away- so kudos to Ruger for continuing to push the envelope. Am I nuts or did the last round hold open not function?

  • Robert February 6, 2017, 10:44 am

    I’d like to see more of a comparison between the Ruger and the Hydra, and the DRD takedowns . Then see which one if any has any advantage over the other. The take down idea is great it just has to be repeatable especially with an optic.

    • Thunder February 6, 2017, 12:03 pm

      Point well taken . I own 2 * reg SBR lower and Standard lower . Aged past the Author birthday , right out of the box , MGI Hydra @100 yards off s Bach pack shot a tighter group . Iron sights , But WE Americans Love our Rugers . Always reliable American made by Americans . Right ?

  • Toothy February 6, 2017, 9:11 am

    They must have been shooting for the Mini 14 crowd re accuracy.

    • Rocky De Witt February 11, 2017, 8:15 am

      Exactly. Minute-of-coyote (lack of) accuracy

  • Sal February 6, 2017, 8:37 am

    A better rifleman could have made a big difference. I was shooting 9 ” groups w/ my Rem. ib 308. I left my stepson shoot and he shot a 5″ group. Sometimes it’s just the shooter and not the guyn.

  • ClubberL February 6, 2017, 7:35 am

    I will just stick to my sig brace, it fits into a smaller bag than this thing and is a heck of a lot more accurate.

    • Bill P. February 6, 2017, 10:30 am

      I agree! I built two AR pistols (5.56 and .300 BLK) , and they both stow very easily into small spaces. Even the AR-15 Carbine with a 16″ barrel breaks into two small pieces, small enough to fit into my motorbike saddlebags and tour pack. Or into a backpack.
      My father and I were both in the gun business, with about 80 years combined, and we both have seen many products from gun companies that make you ask “Why?”. I think it simply breaks down to the companies need that new “gimmick” to increase sales. The gun industry tries to re-invent the wheel constantly!
      I suppose the caliber change of this Ruger rifle will appeal to some, just not me. But that’s the appeal of gun collecting, there’s something for everyone!

  • Terry February 6, 2017, 5:52 am

    The answer to another unasked question!

  • ace February 6, 2017, 5:46 am

    \”Minute of basketball\” seems wrong, unless you\’re shooting hoops. You should call Ruger. (I don\’t work for them). $1700 of mediocrity is hard to say with a straight face.

    • Thunder February 6, 2017, 12:12 pm

      These Gun Authors ALWAYS … Are Hawking their Wares as New .. Improved .. but they do take the time to show New Products to US busy masses that don’t get the World Wide Gun notices info . Still Most shooters Love OUR Rugers . Right ? Cause I love my old Security Six ,,, back from the early 80s . 357 smooth lines , smooth trigger , just s cool old reliable wheel gun . And Ruger made a very reliable full auto we used In Service . Way more reliable action than the just introduced M 16 .

  • Joe February 6, 2017, 4:09 am

    Yeah, I kinda sorta like it. But what have you saved over a 16″ carbine gas impingement AR 15 upper .
    About six inches is my guess without putting a tape measure to my Bushmaster .
    Oh, and the nifty carry bag…

  • John February 6, 2017, 3:01 am

    I love Ruger as a company but I really dont see the market for this rifle. An AR-15 is already pretty much a “take down” firearm, its also already extremely easy to swap calibers with the use of a different upper receiver.

    • Alan February 6, 2017, 9:32 am

      Agreed! And why are more gunnies not pointing this out?!!?!?!
      I “take down” my AR’s all the time, so they fit in a short locker in the back of my Jeep.
      Even a Carbine won’t fit without disassembly.
      Are we to believe that the two pins are somehow an inconvenience??

    • Thunder February 6, 2017, 12:20 pm

      I Love my Rugers ,! Take down is convenient pretty much when Traveling . I own 2 MGI original take downs . When Traveling via back pack , I carry a 24in barrel . My choice was weight via back pack . Honestly the take down IS popular with S. F. Troops . And deployed in the field LEOs ” In The Field ” as in Humping for days at a time , on your own type Humping where weight is a huge factor . And the Franklin Trigger System works Great in these .

  • Will Drider February 5, 2017, 11:01 pm

    I guess you can say the accuracy is repeatably, Lol. The better the takedown system is the rore repeatable the point of impact will be and you could actually see changes in pattern. This rifle could not establish a solid baseline. To be fair though bulk import ammo is extenuating the accuracy problem along with the iron sights. If it was treated like other rifles first: scoped, grouped for accuracy with various match loads in bullet weights that complement the barrel twist and allow cooling the potential could be defined. Then we could run through the takedown/setup and look for POI shifts. The barrel to upper “lock-in” may be overly simple and just not secure enough to repeat any shot to shot repeatability. Clicking-in is not putting any significant rigidity between the upper and the barrel. The bolt head may lock but it is not anchored either. The barrel/upper may feel secure to your fingers but they don’t exert the forces a firing round does.

    Would a simple QD cam lever have been better? Maybe Gen II.

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