Ruger SR556 Takedown
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.