Review: Ruger SR-762
Pat Cascio 12.21.15
There appears to be a never-ending supply of new and improved AR-15 style rifles coming on the market these days. Just when you think the market has dried-up for ARs, another dozen or two new models pop up, as well as new manufacturers. My understanding is that most of the hottest new rifles at the last SHOT Show were almost all on the AR-15 pattern. My local gun shop believed mistakenly for a while that the AR market was flooded in our area. Not even close. There was a very slight slowdown, but the market has risen once again. Not too many years back my local gun shop didn’t even stock any type of AR-15 style rifle, but now they have a hard time keeping them in-stock.
Some years back I reviewed the new Ruger SR-556–Ruger’s take on the AR with a piston-driven system instead of the traditional direct impingement system. It was an immediate hit. Consumers wondered if Ruger would ever come out with their version of the AR-15, and when they did they did in Ruger-style: with many improvements and they are still having a difficult time keeping up with demand. (I also reviewed of the Ruger SR-556E coming to Alloutdoor, too!)
Enter the new Ruger SR-762, the big brother to the SR-556. While the SR-556 is chambered in 5.56/.223, the SR-762 is chambered in .308/7.62NATO. Now when I say bigger I don’t mean in all respects. The SR-762 isn’t really all that much bigger in overall size than the SR-556. How Ruger managed to keep the size down is a mystery. Some makers when they decide to produce an AR in .308 really up-size the new guns, making them much bigger and heavier than the smaller .223 models are.
Features and Specs
The SR-762 is has the patent-pending two-stage piston driven system that is short-stroke, and the piston is hard-chromed, too, to help keep it running cleaner and prevent rust.
The chrome-lined barrel is 16.12″ in length and has a 1:10 twist, so it will handle just about any bullet weight you want to throw at it.
The hand guard is very ergonomic and has a Picatinny-style top rail for adding red dot scopes or anything else you want to add. The 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions do not have rails to keep the gun lighter in weight. However there are holes drilled and tapped, and Ruger provides two rails with screws that you can position where you want. I put them on the bottom–the 6 o’clock position.
The SR-762 comes with back-up iron sights, and a 6-position telescoping butt stock.
The gas regulator has 4 positions, and a Hogue pistol grip makes the gun very comfortable to hold.
The entire gun only weighs in at 8.6-lbs–not too shabby at all for a .308 AR-style rifle.
The gas regulator is worth mentioning, and Ruger ships all their SR-762 rifles with the regulator set on position #2. I haven’t had to change it as the gun has functioned with a wide variety of ammo. However, if you have some hotter ammo, you might want to operate the gun on position #1, and if you have some puny ammo or your gun is starting to get very dirty, you can run it on position #3. Position #4 turns the gas system off for use with a suppressor. There is a hole in the regulator’s knob and you can stick a bullet tip in there for easier adjustments. It’s a bit difficult to turn by hand, and when the gun is hot you don’t want to even attempt to turn the regulator by hand.
The SR-762 is shipped with a nice soft-sided carry case, and Ruger includes three MagPul 20-round magazines with each rifle. There’s also a front sight adjusting tool and a lock and owner’s manual; the latter is geared towards the SR556, but both guns operate in the same manner.
Outfitting the SR-762
I waited several months after the introduction of the SR-762 before I ordered my sample as I heard there were some problems with Gen 2 MagPul magazines and the SR-762. I don’t know where the blame lies, but if your SR-762 isn’t functioning properly, contact the Ruger Customer Service folks and they will replace the MagPul Gen 2 mags with steel magazines. My SR-762 has had NO problems at all. It has functioned 100% with anything and everything I put through it. However, I wanted to try some metal .308 magazines so I purchased some at my local gun shop. They are for DPMS .308 rifles, but they fit and function perfectly in the SR-762.
I also purchased some ASC .308 metal magazines. They also fit and function perfectly, and the ASC .308 magazines only cost $17.99 each, a great buy these days. I run my SR-762 with metal magazines; they just seem to function smoother than the MagPul magazines, at least in my gun. With that being said I also purchased some additional MapPul magazines to have as spares. I like to have no less than 10 spare magazines with each of my rifles that are magazine-fed.
I believe that less is more when it comes to outfitting an AR-style rifle. I don’t hang a lot of unnecessary “toys” on my ARs. On my SR-762 I attached a MagPul Angled Fore Grip as it just feels really great on this gun. I don’t much care for vertical fore grips but this AFG makes the gun feel better in my hands. I also added a front sling attachment. The SR-762 strangely doesn’t come with one, but it only cost a few bucks and a minute to attach so I could add a traditional two-point sling.
The back-up sights are outstanding and give a great sight picture. However, I added a Sight Mark red-dot sight and I have this model (Ultra Shot Reflex Sight) on several of my ARs and love it. It’s very economical, too, and can be found for around $70.00. I’ve yet to have any problems with it on any of my ARs. To be sure on my SR-556 I’ve had the rifle hit the ground several times and the Sight Mark didn’t break or lose it’s zero either. The Sight Mark also has several brightness settings as well as 4 different reticles. The choice is yours to pick from. I really like the cross hair reticle myself.
Trigger pull on my sample was typical Mil-Spec in that it is heavier than it needs to be. However, it is very crisp so you can stay on-target easier. I added some Italian Gun Grease to the inside of the trigger group and it sure made the trigger pull feel lighter and even smoother–I swear by IGG!
The left-side safety flicked on and off with authority, as to be expected from Ruger. There is also a flash suppressor on the end of the barrel and it is of the same type that Ruger puts on some of their Mini-14 rifles. I added a slip-on butt pad to the 6-positon stock, not that I found the recoil of the .308 Win round to be punishing in the least. However, the rubber butt pad really secures the rifle in the shoulder when concentrating on longer distance shots.
To get the most accuracy out of my SR-762 sample I replaced the Sight Mark red dot sight with a Bushnell 3-9X40 scope, a very economical scope to be sure but they work. For ammo I had Winchester’s 147-gr FMJ USA white box fodder as well as their 150-gr SP hunting load. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition I had a small supply of their 175-gr Sniper load and from Black Hills Ammunition I had their outstanding 168-gr Match HP load. I had some PMC 147-gr FMJ and some Colt 168-gr FMJ steel-cased Russian-made zinc-plated ammo. So I had a good assortment of ammo to run through this gun.
I blasted away with 3-magazines full of the Colt 168-gr FMJ ammo as well as 3 magazines of the Black Hills 168-gr Match HP fodder for a fast and hot function test. Yes, the barrel did get very hot as the ammo was fired as fast as I could pull the trigger. I stopped and broke the gun down and the bolt was not hot at all. The piston-driven system really keeps the bolt carrier group cool compared to the direct impingement systems that allows hot dirty gases into the workings of the rifle. I was totally impressed at how cool the bolt carrier group was after firing 120-rds rapid-fire.
At 100-yards I got a group just under an inch with the Black Hills 168-gr Match load, and I wasn’t surprised in the least. This has always been an outstanding round in any .308 rifle I’ve tested it in. Hot on its heels was the Buffalo Bore 175-gr Sniper load, and it also broke an inch. I played around on and off switching between the Black Hills and the Buffalo Bore loads over the course of several weeks of testing, as the weather permitted. And one day the Buffalo Bore would beat the Black Hills load and the next time out the Black Hills load would beat the Buffalo Bore load. You can’t go wrong with either one of these loads for long-range shooting competition if you ask me. And you can also get the Black Hills load in 175-gr Match.
The Winchester 147-gr FMJ load was shooting slightly over 2″ groups; I thought it would do better to be honest. Ditto for the Winchester 150-gr SP hunting load. The Colt 168-gr FMJ Russian-made ammo was very consistent and stayed around 2-inches. I was impressed with this, as I bought this ammo for plinking and for “killing” rocks and other targets of opportunity when out having fun with the SR-762. The PMC 147-gr FMJ load hovered around the 3″ mark, about what I thought it would do.
All accuracy testing was done with the gun resting on a sleeping bag over the hood of my SUV, and weather conditions varied from chilly with fog to clouds to rain to some nice days with sunshine and blue skies. I believe the SR-762 is capable of even better accuracy with either the Black Hills or Buffalo Bore loads if I had a bi-pod set-up on the gun. In all I fired over 500-rds of various .308 ammo through my sample without a hint of a problem. I guess the only “problem” I face is having a good supply of .308 Winchester ammo on-hand at all times now!
I’m not easily impressed these days when it comes to any sort of AR-15 style rifle. It seems like many are about the same as the one next to it–or the one next to that one, or the one next to that one. I knew the Ruger SR-762 would be a good shooter. It’s from Ruger! However, I didn’t expect groups under an inch. It was just barely under an inch, but still under an inch so long as I did my part. And I believe the gun can do even better under better conditions and maybe with a better shooter than I am.
I can easily see the SR-762 as a big game hunting rifle with a 5-round magazine, as a Designated Marksman Rifle, or as a main battle rifle in combat. It would also be a great ride along gun for a rural deputy sheriff who might have to shoot through heavy cover or who might have to hold the fort down until back-up arrives. It could also be used as a sniper/counter sniper rifle with the right ammo, and the Black Hills and Buffalo Bore loads are sure the “right” ammo if you ask me.
Now the real problem I have is that this gun is not going back to Ruger. I’m keeping this hummer and have to convince my better half that we “need” this gun. Full-retail is $2,195.00, but you you can find ’em for less if you shop around. Yeah, it’s still a good chunk of change, but money well-spent if you ask me. A big bore AR-style rifle that is piston-driven from Ruger, and it has all you need to get started out of the box. What’s not to like here?
One last note: when the SHTF and I might have to bug out and I only have time to grab one rifle, the Ruger SR-762 will be the one I grab, along with my A-L-I-C-E gear with spare magazines in the mag pouches. It’s hard to beat this combination. It’ll get the job done and then some!
Yeah, I’m impressed with the Ruger SR-762!