Ruger AR-556 Gas-Impingement 5.56mm Semi-Automatic Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 29th, 2014


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Ruger has had great success with their SR-556 gas-piston semi-automatic rifle. While it is an excellent rifle, many shooters prefer the lighter weight and affordability of a direct-impingement gun, and with their new AR-556, Ruger has delivered. 

Made at Rugerís new Mayodan, North Carolina facility, the AR-556 is what an AR-15 should be. It has a 16.1 inch cold hammer-forged chrome-moly steel barrel, forged 7075-T6 hard-coat anodized upper and lower receivers machined to tight tolerances, and a machined billet A-2 gas block with sling stud attachment point and a bayonet lug. The rear sight is a folding adjustable unit attached to the flattop upper. Even at a low price point, the AR-556 is a full-featured AR, having an ejection port dust cover, forward assist, and empty case deflector. The barrel is threaded 1/2x28 TPI with a birdcage flash suppressor attached. The heavy-profile barrel is rifled one turn in eight inches, and stabilizes bullets up to the 77 grain class. The trigger is a single-stage military type, and the bolt carrier group is black-oxide finished, with a chrome-plated internal finish on the carrier and gas key, which is staked on to the BCG. The six-position buttstock rides on a mil-spec buffer tube, and is quickly adjustable to fit most any shooter. The pistol grip fills in behind the receiver for a more-comfortable hold. The patented barrel nut is easy to remove, and will accommodate any standard handguard. 

The AR-556 ships with one thirty-round PMag, and has a suggested retail price of $749 US, with an expected street price of just under $600 US, as of the date of this review. The AR-556 has endured extensive testing before entered into production, and the one reviewed here proved to be one hundred percent reliable, and very accurate. The AR-556 is in the distribution pipeline now. Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the AR-556 online, click on the GUN GENIE at

Jeff Quinn

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