Ruger Precision Rimfire Review
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is a rifle that surprised me with its existence, even though, upon reflection, it makes perfect sense. I have long been an advocate of practicing with rimfire rifles and pistols to maintain proficiency with carry and defensive firearms due to the significantly lower cost of 22LR ammo as compared to 5.56×45 or 9mm. This still holds true even with increases in rimfire ammunition costs over the last several years.
Ruger would have us shoot 22LR in place of 6.5 Creedmoor or 308 Win in a bolt action for precision work, and if that sounds weird to you, it shouldn’t. Decades ago, it was common for the US Army and Marine Corps to shoot rimfire rifles at reduced targets on 1000 inch ranges to simulate, in some fashion, the difficulty of shooting extremely long distances with full-size firearms. Of course, windage and elevation don’t come into play nearly as much with 22LR at 83.3 feet as they do with 308 at 1000 yards, but that’s the math side of shooting. The shooting fundamentals side can prove to be extraordinarily difficult when your target is tiny, even at under 30 yards.
Enter the Ruger Precision Rimfire. Modeled after the Ruger Precision Rifle, it even allows you to switch bolt throw from an inch and a half to three inches, just like the full-size RPR, so that when you do choose to go back to your centerfire rifle, you won’t be short stroking the bolt. Also like a full-size rifle, the Picatinny rail atop the Ruger Precision Rimfire receiver has a 30 MOA elevation cant built right in. They aren’t kidding when they say they want you to practice long range shooting with this rifle.
As always, our reviews are broken down into six parts – Accuracy, Shootability, Suitability, Maintenance, Abuse, and the Nutshell. I’ve waxed philosophic long enough – it’s time to get started.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is accurate. How accurate? Very accurate.
I took it to the range qual day for the Rifle Shooting Merit Badge put on by adult leaders of my old Scout troop, with which I occasionally volunteer as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Although the Council provides very good Savage target rifles for the task, other rifles may be used as long as they are bolt action and meet other guidelines, such as caliber and trigger pull weight.
Unsurprisingly, the Scouts gravitated to the Ruger Precision Rimfire over the Savages, even though they were, from a functional standpoint, nearly identical rifles. It may have also helped that on the end of the Ruger’s 18 inch cold hammer forged barrel I had attached a Bowers USS suppressor, adding to the overall mystique of the package.
I’m proud to say that either due to the inherent accuracy of the Ruger Precision Rimfire or the superior quality of my coaching, quite a few Scouts checked off the last box to earn their Rifle Shooting merit badge that day. Some of the older Scouts are very fine shots, and we engaged in an impromptu marksmanship competition at 50 feet. Naturally, I won, but their group sizes were incredibly small as well.
All of this seems even more impressive to me given that I had attached an Aimpoint Micro to the Ruger – in a lower 1/3 co-witness mount intended for an AR15. This height over bore and height over comb would have been uncomfortable for anyone except a giraffe to use were it not for the Ruger’s adjustable cheek riser, which, in combination with the finely toothed adjustable stock, allowed me to fit the Ruger to each individual shooter. As the Scouts ranged from tiny midget to gangly, angsty teenager, this was a very useful feature indeed. None of them were either too small or too large to comfortably shoot the rifle.
As mentioned before, the bolt throw can also be adjusted, along with the trigger pull weight, ranging from 2.25 to 5 pounds. You can even adjust the sound of the rifle thanks to its 1/2×28 threaded muzzle which quickly accepted a sound suppressor. The Ruger Precision Rimfire is one of the most adjustable, and therefore most shootable, rifles I have ever encountered.
This rifle is suitable for rimfire competitions, general plinking, training for the use of a centerfire rifle, varmint hunting, and just about anything you would use a bolt action 22LR rifle for. I believe it would excel at any of these tasks. There is not much more I could say in this regard. It’s just excellent for a lot of things.
Disassembly of the Ruger Precision Rimfire proved quite easy, allowing me to clean the necessary components if I had desired to do so. For long-term use where round counts are extremely high, the barrel can be changed using an AR barrel wrench and standard headspace gauges, according to Ruger. Although I’ve put a lot of ammo through this rifle, I’m nowhere near needing to replace the barrel.
Well, it would be pretty dumb to run a rimfire bolt action target rifle through our standard battery of abuse tests, but putting a silencer on the end and firing several bulk packs of ammo through it without cleaning would also be considered abuse in some circles. Although the bolt felt a little gritty to cycle after the third bulk pack, it did not malfunction, and a few drops of oil returned it to its previous feel and motion.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire is a bit of a departure from how I like my 22LR bolt actions. Normally, I prefer beautiful wood stocks and even the concentration and deliberation required from a single shot action, disallowing even the possibility of a quick follow-up shot. This rifle turns my preferences on their head with its glass-filled nylon chassis and stock along with the ability to accept even the largest of Ruger 10/22 magazines.
Yet I do not hate it – in fact, I find it to be an excellent firearm. It was clearly developed with input from serious shooters who know what they’re doing, and Ruger seems to be on a roll with this sort of thing lately. Although primarily intended as an affordable facsimile for shooting long range with a precision bolt action rifle in a centerfire caliber, it is ready and able to do anything you would expect from a bolt action rimfire.
Bolt action 22LR rifles are something that just about everyone with an inclination towards gun ownership should own. Not everyone who shops for such a rifle needs everything the Ruger Precision Rifle offers, which is quite a lot. With that said, if you believe you could find a use for this rifle, do not hesitate to pick one up.
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