Ruger AR-556

Ruger has announced their latest AR-15 style rifle – the AR-556. The new carbine will feature direct impingement gas system (DI) instead of a gas piston and appears to be aimed squarely at the budget end of the AR-15 market. Many of the decisions were obviously made to hit a price point and that is okay. I suspect they will sell a ton of them with a street price likely to be well below $700.


I suspected that this day would come and, when it did, I hoped that Ruger would use a mid-length gas system given that their piston carbines use something like a mid-length system. However, the AR-556 uses carbine length gas.

The 16″ hammer forged, medium contour contour barrel is not chrome lined. The lack of chrome-lining is often sold as a “feature” since it makes the barrel “more accurate” but it is usually just a way to cut cost. Chrome lined barrels can be very accurate. The 1 in 8″ twist should stabilize just about projectile you can find on the shelf.

The front sight base has been machined instead of forged. There is a QD sling swivel socket integrated into the bottom and it is proper “F” height. It looks like a fairly nice unit and the barrel is .750″ beneath it so it should be easily replaceable.

The upper looks fairly standard and does have M4 feed ramps. It also has a brass deflector and forward assist which are not found on some competing budget rifles. It has an interesting (and a little strange) delta ring assembly that threads into place to retain the hand guards rather than being spring-loaded like a standard delta ring. Unfortunately, this means that the barrel nut is not standard and will have to be replaced in order to nearly every free-float hand guard on the market.

The grip and rear back up sight appear to be Ruger’s own design and the rifles will ship with a Magpul PMAG.


3 Responses to Ruger AR-556

  1. ensitue September 29, 2014 at 11:40 #

    A ruger w/o a $70 magazine?
    paint me pink and call me Mable!
    otherwise Yawn

  2. Kyle September 29, 2014 at 15:25 #

    Suggested retail on there web site $749.00

  3. jurmond October 1, 2014 at 01:30 #

    The front sight base is pinned on top, not on the bottom. I don’t know if that’s important, but it’s something worth noting. It may make the barrel awkward to use with aftermarket gas blocks.

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