First Impressions: Ruger SR-762

Ruger has been on a kick the past several years: revisions to the venerable Mini-14, a wave of concealed carry type pistols, introducing a piston driven AR-15 platform rifle, and bringing back the takedown concept with the 10/22 Takedown.  Most recently in the rifle world they decided to take on the much smaller .308 AR market with the SR-762.  It’s an interesting choice and a very specific price point they’ve targeted, trying to fly under the radar of the more expensive LWRC and much more expensive SCAR 17 but giving a specifically engineered piston system that the “entry level” AR-10 type rifles lack.

Here are some quick specs before I delve into the hands-on impressions:

  • Barrel: 16.12″ med. contour, 1:10″ twist, CHF 41V45 steel, chrome lined and fluted
  • Gas System: Two stage piston driven, fully chrome lined, 4 position gas regulator
  • Weight: ~9 pounds with empty 20-round PMAG762
  • Overall Length: ~34.75″ collapsed, 38″ extended
  • Sights: Samson Mfg folding sights with Ruger branding
  • Free float aluminum handguard with addon rails and covers, Hogue overmold grip
  • Ships in padded soft case with 3x 20-round PMAG-762 magazines plus a sight tool
  • MSRP $2195, street price around $1799-1999

Unboxing and Overview

After extracting the Ruger labeled box from the clutches of the tape and cardboard contraption I had received the rifle buried within, the first thing to take stock of was the very nice padded soft case the rifle shipped in.  By the way, the third magazine bundled with the gun is hidden in the front pocket on the outside of the case, so you don’t miss it like I did!  The remainder of the bundled goodies and rifle are packed away inside tucked in pockets while the rifle is strapped in via velcro strips.

At a glance, the rifle looks like a solid, well finished .308 AR platform gun.  The handguard and rail blend well with the look of the rifle and there’s nothing but clean machining and quality anodizing all around.  Ruger’s… unique… flash hider is once more prominently featured here and Ruger fans will be happy to see nothing short of 7 Ruger logos adorning the rifle and its components.  Unsurprisingly, the lower receiver has only “SAFE/FIRE” markings as opposed to the popular pictogram sigils that I’m fond of.  No additional warnings or lawyer speak mar the gun, thankfully.  The bundled folding sights, made by Samson, are known to be good quality.

One of the chief complaints for this rifle’s 5.56 cousin was that the gun was rather front heavy due to the piston system, and that is even more apparent here.  Though the gun isn’t excessively heavy at just under 9 pounds unloaded, a lot of the weight is situated far forward where the large railed gas block and piston system reside.  Admittedly, coming from the Tavor everything feels front-heavy but it’s very noticeable on the SR-762.  I look forward to a range review to see if that weight helps to soften the recoil as much as advertised.

Under the Hood

I mentioned earlier that the system is a two-stage piston with a four position regulator, which is kind of a departure from most piston systems on the market.  The trend has mostly been to either self-regulate the system or to have as few settings as humanly possible to reduce complexity.  The SR-762 hearkens back to the FN FAL and its gas dial system, including the fourth position on Ruger’s gas plug allowing the user to disable it outright.  I’ve always thought having a gas cutoff was a neat if somewhat niche feature, and have enjoyed shooting the Yugo SKS in the past as a mock straight-pull bolt action using the cutoff valve.

Ruger’s bolt group is fully chromed (as are the piston components) and the image here shows just how substantial the piston lug on the bolt carrier is.  When piston systems first debuted for the AR-15, it took a little trial and error to realize that just bolting and staking a new gas key to the existing carrier wasn’t such a great idea.  Ruger, like other quality piston driven rifle makers, has integrated the lug that the piston strikes directly into the bolt carrier.

Aside from the piston system, the rifle is entirely standard AR-10 territory; all of the rifle’s controls and components are the same as any other AR platform gun.  This means that aside from the barrel, gas block and bolt carrier everything else is perfectly interchangeable with standard AR platform parts.  This example will be receiving a Magpul STR stock and MOE+ grip, to replace Ruger’s default options.  This leads me to the one major gripe I have this far with the rifle: the trigger is REALLY mediocre!

I am quite honestly amazed that Ruger would ship a rifle of this price tier with a mushy, gritty single stage mil-spec trigger that tips the scales at 8 pounds.  For this kind of money a basic two-stage trigger kit should be a given, in my opinion.  Ruger’s own advertising continually focuses on the accuracy benefits of the barrel steel, the free float rail and the overall quality but completely forgot that a crisp trigger pull of reasonable weight can make or break a rifle’s accuracy.  While the cheap M4 buttstock is really an expected throwaway component you’re going to change in all likelihood, a good trigger shouldn’t be something that a $2000 rifle lacks.  I will be polishing the trigger on this rifle simply to knock the grit out of it but also as a thank you to the owner who has been kind enough to let me tinker with his brand new rifle.

Parting Shot

Dear Ruger: why the hell are the screws for the rail cover/guards made of PLASTIC?  The addon rails have real screws…

The next time you see this rifle it should be good and dirty with a new stock, grip and color filled markings.  Here’s hoping the weather warms up a little, or I might be doing a cold weather test instead!