After looking at the new Ruger SR-556 on Saturday, I went back to the booth today to ask a few questions I had and ask a few asked by readers. Unless specifically quoted, all questions and answers are paraphrased from notes.
1. The MSRP is $1995. Why so much? ARs are commonly available in the $800-$1,200 range.
Other piston-driven ARs are considerably more expensive, often starting at more than $2,500. An MSRP of less than $2,000 for a piston-driven AR from a reputable manufacturer is quite a bit more affordable than other similar guns.
The SR-556 was made to compete with HK 416s and Sig 556s, not common gas-driven ARs.
2. Do you intend to offer the SR-556 in other calibers, specifically .204 Ruger and 6.8 SPC?
Ruger is a publicly-traded company, which limits what we can disclose at this time.
3. Is the SR-556 upper and lower receivers compatible with other upper/lower receivers.
Our upper receiver will fit on mil-spec lowers, and mil-spec uppers will fit on our lower receiver. The SR-556 takes standard STANAG/M16 magazines.
4. Does Ruger intend to sell just the upper receivers to those who already have mil-spec lowers and want a piston-driven upper?
Not at the moment. Again, we’re a publicly-traded company and so cannot disclose certain things.
5. One reader mentioned that he shoots blackpowder .223 loads from his current AR. I have no idea why he does this, but he wanted to know if it was possible to do the same with the SR-556.
[hearty laugh] Honestly, I’ve never heard of anyone doing such a thing, and so cannot say if it’s possible or not.
6. Is the SR-556 compatible with registered Drop-In Auto Sears?
Not from the factory, no.
(At this point I asked him if I could look inside the lower, though he asked that we not take pictures of it. It had the standard cut-out at the rear of the lower where a DIAS would normally go, but without measuring equipment I was unable to tell if it was the proper size or not. Some machining may be required, but it doesn’t look like Ruger went out of their way to make DIAS installation difficult. Basically it looks like any ordinary lower one would buy from other manufacturers.)
7. Any plans for a longer-barreled target version?
8. Any plans for a ban-compliant version that could be sold in California, Massachusetts, etc.?
This is something that Ruger could theoretically do, but I have no further comment on the topic at this time.
At this point, other people were clamoring for his attention and I felt like I had occupied enough of his time, so I thanked him and wished him a good day. (( I feel guilty for wasting people’s time. Does this make me a bad journalist? ))