It's official; a few months ago Ruger unveiled their entry into the AR-15 style marketplace with the SR-556. Recently unveiled at the SHOT show in Las Vegas and currently available for sale to the public, the SR-556 is a gas-operated piston semi-automatic rifle chambered in 5.56 / .223. Ruger's version of the well known AR-15 is compatible with all AR-15 lower receivers, grips, and stocks, as well as most uppers.
The SR-556 comes from the factory with a plethora of parts that are popular aftermarket add-ons to the traditional AR platform. The rifle features an adjustable two stage gas piston system that significantly reduces the amount of fouling introduced to the receiver. The piston and gas tube are both hard chromed to ensure long life and reliability. In fact, chrome seems to be a common them with the SR-556; the bolt carrier, gas regulator, and barrel (hammer forged in-house from Mil-Spec 41V45) are all chromed. Ruger also includes a flash hider, folding detachable iron sights, M4 style collapsible stock, Hogue pistol grip and a quad rail forearm with rail covers sourced from Troy Industries. The sights feature a flip-up diopter type rear sight and a protected front sight. The Troy Industries manufactured sights are adjustable for elevation and windage. Not ones to skimp on the goodies considering the SR-556's $1,995 price tag, they include three 30-round polymer Magpul PMag magazines with the rifle. The rifle accepts all standard AR-15 type magazines.
This rifle isn't the lightest AR out there, but one would expect that with the full length rail system. It weighs in at 7.92 pounds (unloaded) and measures only 32.75" with the stock collapsed. The upper and lower receivers are constructed from an aluminum alloy and utilize a traditional cross-pin assembly. All of the controls on the SR-556 are in the typical places for an AR system. In fact, the lower receiver, stock, and pistol grip are all standard AR-15 design.
Ruger's SR-556 rifle is designed to come from the factory with all of the most popular accessories one might find on a tricked-out AR-15. They offer many more accessories for the SR-556 from their website including a one point sling, sling mount and a folding forward grip just to name a few. Its $1,995 price tag might raise a few eyebrows, but considering that well built ARs are selling for right around the $1,000 mark piston kits are running about $300, that price point suddenly doesn't seem so unreasonable.