Bringing the big-gun experience to the rimfire world? Stuart Wilson finds out if the Ruger .22 Precision can punch above its calibre.
Unboxing – whether a rifle or anything else new – is one of the purest joys of life. Some guys make a fantastic living from doing just that on YouTube, and every time a new rifle box arrives I always get a little bit giddy. The bigger the box, the giddier I get.
This box was suitably big for me to neck a strong, sweet coffee before going any further – I had to ensure I was fully prepared. The contents? The Ruger Precision in .22LR, along with the Leupold rimfire scope complete with mounts. Popping the rifle out of the box revealed a tactical-style rimfire that closely matched the dimensions of its centrefire bigger brothers, and I get the feeling that this is fully intentional, offering a cheap-to-run rifle that offers all the feel of a larger calibre.
The Ruger Precision is very tactical to look at, and in the hand, even more so. There is a lot going on visually, and the fit and finish are quite unique, to me at least. The forend sports a near full-length shroud, a Free Float Magpul M-Lok aluminium hand guard, acting as a barrel tube ready to accept anything the shooter desires to add up front: laser, lights, swivels and even bipods that come in pairs of legs that clip straight into this M-Lok style slots.
After a quick browse on a couple of sites I had found myriad potential accessories, and I ordered Weaver rails, bipod studs, and flush mount sling points. These will not make it into this review but will feature in a second, longer-term review and certainly on theshootingshow.tv.
The butt stock is adjustable for length and cheek height, and further benefits come from a natty tool-less cam lever that, once opened, allows the shooter to click the stock to their bespoke dimensions. The butt pad is a nice grippy rubber, and to the bottom of this a small section of weaver rail has been formed in the black plastic casting that most of the stock has been constructed from. Overall it’s neat, clean and simple once set up.
The pistol grip is rubber overmoulded, and is a good choice – good grip, perfect trigger hand positioning all enhance comfort and usability. When this all comes together, accurate and enjoyable shooting tends to flow. The main stock looks like a chassis, but the spec sheet states the stock is one-piece glass-filled nylon for strength. I enjoyed the look and feel of the stock, which is the middle man between shooter and barrel, and plays a huge role in accuracy.
Supplied is a 15-shot curved banana magazine, which I would most likely fill with 10 rounds, for easier loading and better round presentation, with the added benefit of soothing my OCD by allowing me to keep even rows in my .22 boxes if I need to squeeze a couple or three more in on reloading. The Ruger Precision .22 does accept all existing Ruger 10/22 magazines, which makes a refreshing change to see – a manufacturer rewarding its loyal followers.
The magazine has steel lips, which offer the best quality, giving a longer service life. Rounds are simply pushed into the wider opening to push the follower down and then slipping them back to fully seat them and repeat, I have had a reasonable amount of experience with this same Ruger design in the 10-22 semi-auto; the straight feed design performs better than its rotary cousin, and the lack of blowback debris based on the bolt-action design of the Precision should provide faultless operation.Barrel
The barrel is cold hammer forged, using 1137 alloy steel that ensures an ultra-precise rifled barrel. Continuing the ‘small rifle with a big feel’ theme, the barrel can be swapped out easily with AR-style wrenches and headspace gauges. At 18in it is very handy, and I expect it to remain so even when a moderator is added.
It comes screw cut with a ½”x28 thread, which is not standard in the UK, and presents less choice in rimfire moderator, but all the same it is an effective thread and the supplied knurled cap, which protects the thread and the crown as it ‘cups’ the front of the barrel, glides on and off with a feel that only comes from an excellent, precise thread.
The profile is varmint, and dare I say hefty. It’s built to last and to take a few knocks, and I expect great accuracy from this barrel. The report from this rifle unmoderated was quiet anyway, and I would hazard a guess that 18in lets a complete burn occur before the bullet exits the barrel, minimising blasts while giving near optimal performance.
The action sits in its glass-reinforced tough nylon stock, a conventional square-sided Ruger .22 action, with a few additional features and some enhancements. The bolt head is oversized and provides solid cycling to the shooter; it’s well placed, nicely engineered, and complements the overall look of the Precision.
The top of the action sports a pre-installed weaver rail that is 30 MOA inclined specifically to allow users to shoot at longer ranges, with the added benefit of being ready to take any night vision, which lends itself beautifully to this potential tack-driving bunny basher.
The bolt-action throw of this rifle is smooth, and the oversized black bolt handle further enhances the cycling of the action. The ‘big gun’ feel coupled with the 1.5in bolt throw has been designed to help this rifle serve as a training rifle. While that may be true, it’s not as relevant here in the UK, but that feel is good and will find favour among UK shooters. I certainly warmed quickly to using this rifle.
The trigger is Ruger’s own Marksman adjustable unit, breaking around 2.5lb and adjustable from 2.25 up to 5.0lb – a good range. I would always opt for the lower end, but in keeping with the ‘big gun’ feel, the upper end of the range may help matching this rifle as a training model for a larger AR brother. Any adjustment can be easily done with the wrench that is provided in the butt stock compartment.
The trigger breaks cleanly out of the box and is further enhanced by a two-stage feel, thanks to the safety blade running in the middle of the main blade. This design is growing in popularity, and after not being overly keen the first time I saw one, I am sold now. Two-stage feel with added safety benefits – job done.
The safety catch is a two-position lever, with a clear point showing the status as either safe or fire. It runs on a pin, which goes through the top of the pistol grip area – which makes it perfect for the thumb of the shooting hand. I did wonder if this pointer could be swapped out to the other side, which I will investigate further and include in detail in the longer-term review. Out of the box, trigger and safety don’t need any adjustment.
First field zeroing
The Ruger Precision .22 is a serious-looking rifle, with a distinct tactical feel. The forend that lends itself to infinite customisation possibilities will rest as standard until the gadgets I have ordered arrive. So for now zeroing will take place shooting from the bonnet of my truck using a shooting bag. I see future outings hunting with this rifle from vehicles and hunting boxes – expect a solid rested shot coming soon.
Moving into the summer, I look forward to some longer-range bunny sniping using a bipod. Satisfying groups soon turned into reassuringly repetitive ragged holes, and I mean that in a good way. Winchester subsonics cut just around half an inch at 50 yards for five-shot groups.
Once zeroed, this rifle will spit round after round to your chosen mark. The bolt cycles smoothly and sends spent cases flying out of the ejection port, swiftly plucking the next round from the magazine in an effortless motion, stopping shooting only when the magazine is empty to pop the magazine out for filling.
I have two minor gripes with this rifle: the thread being ½”x28, a small inconvenience, and I would prefer the safety catch to sit on the right side of the rifle.
Both very picky, and both cured easily with a new moderator and a little more use of the rifle to get used to the safety catch a little more. I am confident of being able to head-shoot rabbits out to good distances and maybe even get some chest shots out much further than that.
The whole package is complemented by the Leupold rimfire scope, and I have seen the potential of the graduated reticle here, but again, I will cover this in more detail later, along with one of the Leupold rangefinders, helping reach any rabbits or corvids that come within the Ruger Precision 22’s range.
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