Piston Powered: Ruger SR-762 Review

Piston Powered: Ruger SR-762 Review
The SR-762 is capable of excellent accuracy with iron sights. These groups were shot from a bench at 50 yards using only the irons. Author Photo

Ruger SR-762

In this Ruger SR-762 review, see why Ruger's piston-driven .308 is a standout in the crowded AR-10 platform market.

The Piston Driven Part

The SR-762 is capable of excellent accuracy with iron sights. These groups were shot from a bench at 50 yards using only the irons. Author Photo
The SR-762 is capable of excellent accuracy with iron sights. These groups were shot from a bench at 50 yards using only the irons. Author Photo

The system runs cooler and cleaner than a gas one, and there are a number of serious AR fans who prefer piston systems to gas systems. Among them is Kyle Lange, a crack helicopter hog pilot from Texas (see page 64). Lange sees dozens of AR’s firing thousands of shots every week, and he believes that the piston system is the very best.

The SR-556 is a reliable, accurate rifle, and plenty of shooters understood why the gun cost a little more. On the heels of the success of the SR-556, Ruger has now introduced a bigger, beefier AR-10 version of the rifle, the SR-762. It’s chambered in 7.62×51 NATO (.308 Winchester), and it has the same type of high-performance piston-powered operating system you’ll find in its little brother, the SR-556.

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The SR-762 is a hefty gun, but it’s not heavy by typical AR-10 standards; at 8.6 pounds, it’s still actually light enough and portable enough to be carried in the field. Furniture wise, the SR-762 has a telescoping M4 stock with 3.25 inches of adjustment and Ruger’s lightweight aluminum handguard that is comfortable and easy to grip and is drilled and tapped to accept additional accessory rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions.

The flattop receiver has a Picatinny rail that extends to the front of the handguard, so you’ve got more than enough space for mounting optics and other accessories. The flip-up combat sights are easy to adjust and are surprisingly accurate; at 50 yards from a fixed bench, the sights were dead-on and produced tight groups.

Ruger SR-762 review.

Ruger SR-762 Sights

The front sight is adjustable for elevation and has a square blade profile, and the rear aperture is windage adjustable. In addition, the rear sight has two different aperture sizes, a large one for close shooting, and a smaller peep for shooting at longer ranges.

Rotating the rear aperture allows the shooter to switch between aperture sizes, and both the front and rear sights fold down and lock securely in place if you opt for a different sighting system.

When you need the irons, simply pressing a button raises them and you’re ready to fire. The sights are biased toward battle, and the flat-topped front sight isn’t designed for precision shooting.

No matter, you’ve got about a mile of Picatinny rail to mount whatever sighting system you’d like, and the sights will serve as backup for close-range work. From a fixed rest, the iron sights were plenty accurate. During the course of the test, the piston system didn’t need adjustment, and it fired Winchester Razorback XT ammo without a hitch.

The real beauty of the piston system is the ability to adjust the piston to match your desired load. If you’re shooting suppressed and you choose to shut the system off that’s easy to do as well.

Ruger SR-762 Maintenance

The piston system is also extremely easy to maintain, and cleaning the rifle primarily consists of wiping down the internal parts without the need for hard scrubbing or heavy solvents. The bolt and bolt carrier are chromed, so the SR-762 is an easy gun to keep in working order.

The rifle sports a 16.12-inch fluted barrel that is cold hammer forged and chrome lined, topped with a flash suppressor with 5/8-inch 24 threads. If you’ve got a suppressor and you want to tone down the SR-762’s impressive bark, you can simply remove the flash suppressor, install your suppressor and turn off the piston system.

Each SR-762 rifle comes with a zippered carrying case that unfolds into a fine shooting mat and has three pouches that house 20-round magazines and a trio of rail covers. Overall, I was impressed by the SR-762. I think Ruger made a rather unexpected move by utilizing a piston system and pricing their guns higher than most of the competition.

Shooting the SR-762

The Ruger SR-762’s piston system is easily adjustable and can be customized to match different loads. Author Photo
The Ruger SR-762’s piston system is easily adjustable and can be customized to match different loads. Author Photo

But there’s a reason that the gun costs a bit more because of that piston system, which the more I shot, the more I really liked. Accuracy was pretty good with the iron sights, and I spent quite a bit of time firing the rifle at different ranges and from a variety of shooting positions.

No matter how I positioned myself, I never felt uncomfortable shooting the rifle. I am a big fan of the soft Hogue Monogrip, which is comfortable and offers a secure grip on the rifle, which also helped in maintaining the rifle’s comfortable impression.

Admittedly, the trigger wasn’t exactly the best, breaking at roughly six pounds, a bit stout for my preference. That was about the only negative I could find, because otherwise this is an extremely nice shooting and carrying rifle.

Despite the uninspiring trigger, the SR-762 is a solid choice for a tactical rifle. I think that the handguard, stock and pistol grip are all well thought out (and if you disagree you can swap them out; this is, after all, an AR rifle).

The sights are pretty good, and the rifle has a lot of nice features like the removable flash hider and the chrome-lined bolt.

To me, however, the functional and effective piston system is what sets this rifle apart. It runs clean, and it can put up with some serious punishment.

Is it worth the money? That is hard to say. It is, however, a functional and effective piston-powered AR-10 platform rifle that is worthy of the Ruger name.

This article is an excerpt from the July 17, 2014 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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  1. Will RUGER off this rifle in the Army’s new 6.8 x 51 round? AND would it handle the very high pressure (80,000 psi) version? i.e. can it be as reliable s the SIG M5?
    RUGER rifle barrels are all cold hammer forged and quite accurate and durable. The SR 762 has good quality and design so possibly all that is needed to handle a high powered 5.6 x 51 cartridge is a better recoil spring and buffer system. NO?


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