Ruger GSR556 5.56x45mm Bolt-Action Gunsite Scout Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 8th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.







Scout rifle comes with buttpad spacers and scope rings.





Flash suppressor.





Accurate Mag ten-shot detachable box magazine.



Magazine release.







Ruger introduced their 7.62x51mm Gunsite Scout Rifle almost four years ago. The then-new take on the excellent Ruger Hawkeye bolt-action rifle was designed in cooperation with the staff and management at Gunsite Academy; the nation's premier gun-fighting school. Gunsite trains people to fight with firearms; handgun, shotgun, rifle, and sub-machine gun. The concept of the Gunsite Scout Rifle started at Gunsite with the founder, Jeff Cooper, many years ago. Ruger's effort to build the Scout Rifle has been met with great success, and is now being introduced in 5.56x45mm, for those who prefer the lighter cartridge.

The GSR556 will fire both 5.56 NATO and 223 Remington ammunition safely and accurately. The hammer-forged barrel is rifled one turn in eight inches (1/8) to stabilize bullets from the light 40 grain class up  through the 77 grain class of bullets. The barrel measures sixteen and one-tenth inches in length, and the muzzle is threaded 1/2x28 TPI to accommodate standard muzzle accessories such as flash suppressors, sound suppressors, and muzzle brakes. The rifle is fitted with Ruger's effective birdcage flash suppressor.

The GSR556 uses Accurate Mag pattern magazines, and is supplied with one steel ten-shot magazine. The rifle is finished in a matte blue, and the bolt is natural matte stainless. The receiver is machined to accept the included Ruger pattern scope rings, which are also a matte blue and built to accommodate a one-inch scope tube. 30mm rings are also available to fit the receiver, if desired. Ahead of the receiver is a section of 1913  Picatinny rail, to accommodate an optical sight or an extended eye relief Scout scope.

The stock is made of a gray laminated wood, with a comfortable butt pad and removable spacers, to allow the rifle to be fitted easily to a variety of shooters and also to allow for the wearing of heavy clothing, or a bullet-resistant vest. The stock is fitted with sling swivel studs fore and aft, to easily attach a sling or bipod. The pistol grip and forearm areas are well-covered with useful cut checkering, providing for a positive grasp in any weather conditions. Besides the utility of the checkering, it just looks good to me.

The GSR556 weighs in one my scale at seven pounds, fifteen ounces with an empty steel ten-shot magazine. The rifle balances very well, and feels about a full pound lighter in my hands. The overall length varies from thirty-seven to thirty-eight and one-half inches, depending upon the buttpad spacers used. The length of pull also varies from twelve and three-quarters to fourteen and one-quarter inches, again depending upon the buttpad spacers used.

The GSR556 comes with sights just like those on the 7.62 version. The rear is an adjustable protected aperture, and the front is a protected blade. The rear attaches to the rear ring base machined into the receiver, and the front is attached to the barrel, just aft of the flash suppressor. I prefer to mount a scope atop the receiver, but for those who prefer an extended eye relief scope mounted farther out, the Picatinny rail will accommodate that type of sight perfectly.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold VX-6 1 to 6 power scope using Leupold 30mm Ruger rings. Usually, I mount my 8.5 to 25 power scope for accuracy testing, but the 1 to 6 power VX-6 is ideal for such a rifle as this Gunsite Scout, as it works perfectly at close range with both eyes open, but the six-power magnification allows the rifle to perform well out to several hundred yards. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level.. Temperatures hovered around the eighty-eight degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing, with humidity in the ninety-two percent range. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired, and the results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. HP is hollowpoint. V-Max is a polymer-tipped varmint bullet. TSX is a Barnes Triple Shock homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. The handload listed uses the TSX bullet with 24.5 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, a Remington small rifle primer, and Winchester commercial .223 Remington cases.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Stryker V-Max 55 2778
Lake City M855 62 3042
Hand Load TSX 62 2833
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2798
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2876
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2703
Black Hills HP  69 2612
Wolf Gold HP  75 2495

Functioning was, as expected, very smooth and reliable. The cartridges fed smoothly from the ten-round Accurate Mag box magazine, and ejection was positive. There was no sticky extraction experienced with any of the loads tested. In addition to the ammo listed above, I also fired a lot of IMI military surplus stuff, as well as some PMC for function testing.

Accuracy testing really surprised me. As noted above, I usually use a much higher-powered scope for accuracy testing, so I was expecting nothing better than minute-of-angle accuracy from this rifle/scope combination, not because the accuracy potential was not there, but because it is harder for me to fire small groups without using my high-powered target scope, and minute-of-angle is very good accuracy. After getting the rifle on paper at twenty-five, then fifty yards, I settled into shooting at one hundred. My usual targets were not useful to me at one hundred yards, as I could not clearly see the aiming point with the six-power scope, so I walked out and placed two-inch orange dots over the aiming points on the paper target. Settling back in at the bench, I fired three shots on target. Looking through the spotting scope revealed a nice three-shot group in the one-inch range, so I was satisfied that this rifle was going to be accurate, but what happened after that was very unexpected. The next group fired was with Cor-Bon 69 grain match ammo. The three shots fired into a ragged hole. I called it good luck, and fired another, which did the same, followed by another just like it. Setting the Cor-Bon ammo aside, I reached for some Black Hills 69 grain ammo. The results were not hardly as good as the Cor-Bon, but still well under the magical one-inch mark, and I was again very happy, especially considering the relatively low magnification, my eyesight, and me pulling the trigger, which was by the way, very crisp and predictable, releasing with slightly over four pounds resistance. I next tried the Lake City green tip military ammo, and while it would serve for social work, it was not particularly accurate in this rifle. Winchester USA 62 grain ammo shot very well, under one minute. Trying Buffalo Bore 77 grain ammo, I was concerned that the one-in-eight rifling twist might not stabilize the bullet well, but it too shot well under one-minute at one hundred yards. Going back to a 69 grain bullet again, I reached for my favorite factory load, the Buffalo Bore Sniper ammo that uses the excellent Sierra Match King bullet, and was rewarded with half-minute and better groups at one hundred yards. Every time.

I immediately sent an email to a friend at Ruger, telling him that he was going to ruin what little reputation I have left, because no one was going to believe me when I reported the accuracy of this rifle. I remember a time when Ruger rifles were not known for fine accuracy. They have always been very strong bolt guns, plenty accurate for hunting, but not particularly match-grade rifles. Ruger has invested heavily in producing their own hammer-forged barrels, and it is apparently paying off. This particular rifle prefers 69 grain ammo over all others, and fired remarkably well with every 69 grain load tested.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout is an accurate, reliable, and very versatile bolt action rifle; one which brings the concept of the Scout rifle closer to perfection. For those who desire a Scout rifle, but do not need the power of the 308, the GSR556 is an excellent choice. Like all Ruger firearms, the GSR556 is made in the USA.

As I write this review, the GSR556 is being shipped to distributors, so they can be found in your local gunshop, or your dealer can get one for you shortly. MSRP as of the date of this review is $1039 US.

Check out the Gunsite Scout rifle online at

For magazines and accessories, go to

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

To order the Gunsite Scout rifle online, click on the GUN GENIE at

To look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

To order quality 5.56x45 and 223 ammunition, go to,,,  and

For more information on some of the best world-class firearms training available, go to

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.











Receiver is machined for included Ruger scope rings.



Leupold VX-6 scope is ideally suited for use on the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle.



The best and worst groups fired with the GSR-556 / Leupold VX-6 combo.