New Gun: Ruger AR-556 MPR (Multi-Purpose Rifle)

New Gun: Ruger AR-556 MPR (Multi-Purpose Rifle)

The AR-556 MPR (Multi-Purpose Rifle) is Ruger's take on a custom build and provides the features of a quick-handling, smooth-shooting rifle.

  • The AR-556 MPR has a long gas system to reduce recoil.
  • The Ruger DI rifle boasts a slim and stiff handguard with M-LOK slots.
  • The rifle comes with Ruger's enhanced fire-control system — the Elite 452 AR Trigger.
  • The AR-556 MPR is very affordable at $899 MSRP.

And now, another AR-15: The Ruger AR-556 MPR. 

But take it easy little shooter, there’s no need to wail and gnash teeth as Ruger widens the saturated market for America’s most popular rifle by one. Because, if anything, the New Hampshire gunmaker earns brownie points for trying something different with the AR-556 Multi-Purpose Rifle … and not breaking the bank along the way.

In particular, Ruger’s latest semi-automatic rifle has a gas system configuration that should raise eyebrows. While not without precedent, it’s rare to find a rifle-length gas system on an 18-inch barrel, which typically would boast a carbine- or mid-length configuration. But there’s method in Ruger’s madness, with the company shooting for improved handling (read: less recoil) by the unorthodox barrel-gas system match.

AR-556 MPR - 1

And there's an added bonus to reducing the dwell time by lengthening the gas system — reduced wear. With a drop in pressure, the MPR shouldn’t batter its bolt carrier, thus it will last a few more miles.

The unique twist on a factory rifle isn’t a surprise on a firearm Ruger bills as its custom-build AR. The company has gone out of its way to really doll up the MPR with the functionality shooters generally have to provide themselves with aftermarket upgrades and accessories. And it looks to be a sensible addition to Ruger’s direct impingement line, the perfect foil to the very Mil-Spec and spartan flagship AR-556.

Like all custom builds, there's a definite theme behind the AR-556 MPR. Ruger might say it’s the rifle that can do anything, but overall its configuration looks to facilitate fast target transitions and accuracy shot-to-shot when it’s away from the benchrest.

In addition to the gas system, Ruger has outfitted the AR-556 MPR with a light taper cold hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel barrel. This trims down the rifle’s overall weight to a very manageable 6.8 pounds while retaining mass where shooters want it — the muzzle. This should do quite a bit in making the MPR intuitive to move from target to target, and dampen the firearm’s muzzle flip. If it’s not, Ruger has added an insurance policy in the form of a radial port muzzle break, which should help in keeping it on target after each trigger pull.

AR-556 MPR - 2

The handguard should also do its part in making the AR-556 MPR a shooter. It's free-floating and slim and stiff, adding to the rifle’s controllability and overall rigidity — nice attributes to have on an AR. But obviously, the M-LOK slots are the star of the show and offer plenty of real estate for lights, lasers and other goodies.

Not only does the handguard have slots at the usual 3-, 6-, and 9-o’clock positions down the entirety of the 15-inch length, but also on the angled surfaces near the muzzle. To top it all off, the handguard has a Picatinny rail that runs seamlessly into the receiver, permitting the easy addition of an optic.

As is becoming more common with new AR-15s, the MPR has 5R rifling — 1:8 twist — meant to enhance its accuracy potential. The improved configuration of the lands and their tapered design causes less bullet deformation, thus increasing a projectile’s ballistic potential. Additionally, the rifling is more resistant to fouling and easier to clean, allowing for a more reliable platform.

AR-556 MPR - 4

What should get shooters excited about the new rifle as well is Ruger veering away from a Mil-Spec trigger. Instead, the company has slapped in its Elite 452 AR Trigger, a two-stage model that has a crisp 4.5-pound break and minimal overtravel. Better than the usual gritty alternative. And finishing off the rifle is Magpul furniture — an MOE grip and MOE SL buttstock.

Given the bells and whistles Ruger has included on the rifle, it might be expected that the rifle would be well over the $1,000 mark. But the company appears to be offering a square deal on the AR-556 MPR with an MSRP of $899. Not bad, given rifles similarly configured vastly pass that price point.
Ruger AR-556 MPR
Stock: Black Synthetic, Collapsible
Front Sight: None
Rear Sight: None
Barrel: Length 18 in.
Thread Pattern: 1/2-28
Handguard: Free-Float M-LOK
Twist: 1:8 RH
Capacity: 30
Finish Type: III Hard CoatAnodized
Height: 8 in.
Weight: 6.8 lbs.
Overall Length: 35-38.25 in.
Length of Pull: 11.10-14.40 in.
Grooves: 5
Suggested Retail: $899


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