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Posted: 8/23/2010 1:35:50 PM EDT
I have around 200 rounds thru my Ruger SR556, and I am not happy with the size of the groups (off the bench). At 50 yards they are around 2 inches and at 100 yards around 5 inches (55 grain ammo - last batch was Remington.223 HP). I have done lots of searching on the internet and have called Kreiger and White Oaks Armament and Ruger, but I still have questions I hope you can help me with:

1. If I buy a higher quality SS barrel (16-18 inches), can I still use the Ruger piston system, or not? Will it take a lot of gunsmithing to get it to fit the new barrel, or should it be simple? (The people I have called above can't answer the question).

2. Will a Kreiger or WOA barrel likely improve my groups to 1 MOA at 100 yards? I don't usually shoot longer than 100 yards.

3. Am I trying to do something that is not going to work? I can invest $500 or so, but I don't want to do it if I am unlikely to succeed.

4. Suggestions from other SR556 owners?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 1:46:55 PM EDT
First, try better ammo.

Second, these high end match barrels are not made to run with the piston system. They may be able to be made to work, however that will take more effort.

Third, a WOA or Kriger barrel would be overkill for 100 yard shooting.


Try getting some higher quality match ammo, that will give you a better idea what your rifle is capable of doing.
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 1:49:37 PM EDT
talk to Ruger. They are typically pretty good, but you will be without a rifle for a while.
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 2:01:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2010 2:02:05 PM EDT by autocrat]
Postal: Thanks. Can you suggest some options?
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 2:03:25 PM EDT
NAM, are you suggesting that there is something wrong with the Ruger barrel and I should work with Ruger to get it fixed?
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 2:40:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By autocrat:
NAM, are you suggesting that there is something wrong with the Ruger barrel and I should work with Ruger to get it fixed?


Yes. I would recommend contacting Ruger. I have heard of other folks having problems with different Ruger firearms, and Ruger is usually pretty good at taking care of it. That is one reason that I purchased a Ruger Machinegun...decent service. However, Be aware that if you ship it to Ruger, make sure it is in factory configuration. They typically will not work on firearms that have been modified from factory config.
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 2:56:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Postal0311:
First, try better ammo.

Second, these high end match barrels are not made to run with the piston system. They may be able to be made to work, however that will take more effort.

Third, a WOA or Kriger barrel would be overkill for 100 yard shooting.


Try getting some higher quality match ammo, that will give you a better idea what your rifle is capable of doing.

All of this. The Ruger's gas port is in a different location than any other AR barrel. It can be done, but it'd be a PITA. Get better ammo. Black Hills 68gr stuff would be my recommendation.
Link Posted: 8/23/2010 6:40:36 PM EDT
Thanks 87GN...good info...just what I needed.
Link Posted: 8/24/2010 2:47:20 AM EDT
Ruger will likely tell you your accuracy is well within acceptable limits for the weapon. Or they'll recrown the barrel and send it back and it'll shoot the same as ever. If you want anything beyond that I think you'll need to find a smith who has worked out some of the inherent accuracy challenges with the platform.
Link Posted: 8/24/2010 3:43:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ChillyB:
Ruger will likely tell you your accuracy is well within acceptable limits for the weapon. Or they'll recrown the barrel and send it back and it'll shoot the same as ever. If you want anything beyond that I think you'll need to find a smith who has worked out some of the inherent accuracy challenges with the platform.


They may. But once you've sunk your own cash having another gunsmith rework it, Ruger is out of the question. Why not give them a try?
Link Posted: 8/25/2010 12:10:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ChillyB:
...If you want anything beyond that I think you'll need to find a smith who has worked out some of the inherent accuracy challenges with the platform...


What inherent accuracy challenges? I've found the SR556 to be capable of some really decent accuracy with good ammo. As an example, I recently used my SR556C in a TAPS/Pat McNamara carbine and pistol course. Our focus on the first day was primarily accuracy with the rifle. I took top shooter for the day and won the coveted "Certificate of Victory."

Most people complain about weight, propriety parts and things like carrier tilt. This is the first complaint that I can recall seeing regarding poor accuracy. That doesn't mean that there isn't something wrong with this particular rifle but I think you might want to try some different ammo, as has been suggested. If nothing else, having personal data that you can give Ruger might help them determine where the problem lies if you do have to send the gun back.

Link Posted: 8/25/2010 2:58:18 PM EDT
Maybe I missed it, but are you using a magnified optic? If not, do you have any other AR platforms with iron sights that you shoot better than the Ruger? What I'm driving at is that accuracy is determined most by the shooter and less by the equipment (within reason of course). I'm not knocking you, but for an iron sighted AR that isn't terrible. Add to that the Remington 55gr. HP's you're using aren't exactly the most consistent load out there.

If you have an extra scope laying around toss it on there just to see what the gun will do when you remove any inherent vision limitations from the mix. Combine it with some heavier (read 69-77gr HP's) from a manufacturer known for more consistent loads (read Black Hills, Hornady) and see what it prints.
Link Posted: 8/25/2010 5:01:50 PM EDT
Thanks Buckshot. I have a 1-4 Hi-Lux scope that seems very clear and stable to me. I am following the advice of trying better ammo first. I have ordered 100 rounds of Black Hills Remington 68 grain ammo, which will be here next week. I don't know anywhere near me (Nashua, NH) to buy it locally. After I have a few rounds of the new ammo thru the barrel, I will shoot some groups at 50 and 100 yards and post pictures here.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:38:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 6:01:54 PM EDT by autocrat]
OK guys, I went out and shot some targets with the Black Hills ammo suggested by 87GN. The groups improved but they are not anywhere near what I think they should be. These are 10 shot groups. I am going to attach the targets (I hope) for your feedback. 1 square = 1 inch. My aiming error seemed to be less than 1/4 inch (at the target) at 100yards. Do these groups seem reasonable to you? Are they likely to improve with more rounds thru the barrel (around 250 so far). Thanks.

http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab77/wlowman/Targets/BlackHills50YardsNo1.jpg?t=1283392161

http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab77/wlowman/Targets/BlackHills50YardsNo2.jpg?t=1283392161

http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab77/wlowman/Targets/BlackHills100YardsNo1.jpg?t=1283392161http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab77/wlowman/Targets/BlackHills100YardsNo2.jpg?t=1283392161
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:27:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 6:28:12 PM EDT by 87GN]
OK. The next thing that comes to mind is the scope and its mount. Beyond that, though, the reticle may not be conducive to really accurate shooting. And small groups most often come from big magnification.

I don't mean for you to continue to spend money just to chase your tail, perhaps you could borrow a different scope? Sorry that the ammo was not as good as you/I hoped.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 6:33:54 AM EDT
87GN, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ammo. I feel like I have good control with the reticle, because I can clearly see the center dot within the white inner circle of the target. I am thinking it is the barrel...maybe I should just sell the 556 and get a non-piston gun so I can change barrels if I want? Does that seem reasonable to you?
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 7:24:14 AM EDT
Do you have a sturdy vice or gun rest? Take everything out of the equation. Lock the rifle down to a bench. fire 3-5 shots. If the rifle cannot physically move, and is shooting tight groups, it's the shooter, scope, etc. If it is still shooting loose groups while locked down, it has to be the barrel/stock/ammo.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:15:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By NAM:
Do you have a sturdy vice or gun rest? Take everything out of the equation. Lock the rifle down to a bench. fire 3-5 shots. If the rifle cannot physically move, and is shooting tight groups, it's the shooter, scope, etc. If it is still shooting loose groups while locked down, it has to be the barrel/stock/ammo.


Good idea, but I don't have anything rock solid enough to keep the gun fixed.

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:22:05 AM EDT
Make some sand bags. cost is about 10 bucks.

Link Posted: 9/5/2010 4:13:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By autocrat:
87GN, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ammo. I feel like I have good control with the reticle, because I can clearly see the center dot within the white inner circle of the target. I am thinking it is the barrel...maybe I should just sell the 556 and get a non-piston gun so I can change barrels if I want? Does that seem reasonable to you?


Are you using the Hi-Lux with the red-dot in the center? In my experience, a red dot on a red/orange target always hindered my performance even when I thought it was clear. Get some targets with a small (2.5"-5") black circle in the center and try that.

About the groups- For ten shot groups that really isn't half bad. Don't forget that when most people talk about group size, it is usually 3 or 5-shot groups. When you open that up to ten shots, you're bound to get a wider spread as each shot has it's own set of variables to introduce.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 9:14:25 PM EDT
I find your groups to be A OK. I bet they will tighten up after a lot more practice.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 9:22:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By buckshot1220:
Originally Posted By autocrat:
87GN, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ammo. I feel like I have good control with the reticle, because I can clearly see the center dot within the white inner circle of the target. I am thinking it is the barrel...maybe I should just sell the 556 and get a non-piston gun so I can change barrels if I want? Does that seem reasonable to you?


Are you using the Hi-Lux with the red-dot in the center? In my experience, a red dot on a red/orange target always hindered my performance even when I thought it was clear. Get some targets with a small (2.5"-5") black circle in the center and try that.

About the groups- For ten shot groups that really isn't half bad. Don't forget that when most people talk about group size, it is usually 3 or 5-shot groups. When you open that up to ten shots, you're bound to get a wider spread as each shot has it's own set of variables to introduce.


I am using the Hi-Lux with the green dot, but I have been shooting on sunny days with the dot turned off. There is a black center dot, and I can see it within the white circle when I trigger the shot...but I am going to try the earlier suggestion and put a 4-14 Nikon Monarch from another [bolt] rifle on it temporarily. I will post pictures when I do.

Thanks to all for the opinions on the groups.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:10:43 AM EDT
Thought you all might be interested in the response I got from Ruger:


Thank you for using the Ruger On-Line Customer Support Request Form.

This e-mail is in response to your question or comment of 09/06/2010
Request No: [snip]

Comment / question:

On July 26, 2010, I purchased a Ruger SR-556 at State Line Gun Shop in Mason, NH. The gun has never shot what I consider to be small enough groups. Most recently I shot a series of 10 shot groups with Black Hills 68 Grain Match ammunition and there were 2 targets at 100 yards and 2 targets at 50 yards. The 100 yard groups were 3 1/2 inches and the 50 yard groups are 1 1/2 inches. Can you do anything to help improve accuracy?

Response:
The factory specifications for this model is a 5 shot group, 2" at 50 yards.

If you need further information, please visit our website at www.ruger.com or contact us at:

Revolvers, shotguns, rifles, 10/22 Charger Pistol: (603) 865-2442
Pistols: (928) 778-6555
Serial Number History Information: (603) 865-2424

Please note: This e-mail is sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.

Sincerely,
Ruger Firearms
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 12:45:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 12:46:33 PM EDT by 87GN]
That's interesting. 4 MOA 5 shot groups aren't much to write home about.


Originally Posted By autocrat:
87GN, I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ammo. I feel like I have good control with the reticle, because I can clearly see the center dot within the white inner circle of the target. I am thinking it is the barrel...maybe I should just sell the 556 and get a non-piston gun so I can change barrels if I want? Does that seem reasonable to you?


It would seem that if you want to shoot smaller groups, continuing to work with the SR556 may not bear much fruit.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 12:54:13 PM EDT
try a fixed 4x or 6x traditional scope. lock the gun down in a vice. allow time for barrel to cool between shots.

squeeze the trigger not the grip.

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 1:07:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 1:09:18 PM EDT by Wespe]
I think your groups are perfectly acceptable. Are you an accomplished enough shooter that you know it isn't you and not the rifle?
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 2:53:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Wespe:
I think your groups are perfectly acceptable. Are you an accomplished enough shooter that you know it isn't you and not the rifle?


Yes, I know it isn't me. Are you saying you think 4 MOA is acceptable in an AR15?

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 2:57:40 PM EDT
Personally, I've not found the Hornady 68gr BTHP to be as accurate as the Sierra or Nosler 69gr counterpart.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 3:23:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By autocrat:
Originally Posted By Wespe:
I think your groups are perfectly acceptable. Are you an accomplished enough shooter that you know it isn't you and not the rifle?


Yes, I know it isn't me. Are you saying you think 4 MOA is acceptable in an AR15?



According to page 15 of MIL–DTL–70599B , the 10 shot group extreme spread at 100 yards (91.4 meters) for the M4 carbine is 5.6 inches.

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:37:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 4:35:20 AM EDT by buckshot1220]
It is also a piston upper, so it isn't a free float system, something to keep in mind.

Like I said in an earlier post you can try a different scope and try to find an ammo it likes. Keep in mind though that it will never be a sub-MOA match rifle. If you don't think you won't be happy with it, sell it and move to an SPR/RECCE build.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:56:04 AM EDT
I have come to the conclusion, thanks to input from you folks, that I am trying to push on a rope. From my research I had thought that a standard AR15 would shoot something like 2 inch groups at 100 yards. I can see now I was wrong. I will probably sell the Ruger and get a more specialized version of AR15. I am thinking RRA Predator Pursuit.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:46:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By autocrat:
I have come to the conclusion, thanks to input from you folks, that I am trying to push on a rope. From my research I had thought that a standard AR15 would shoot something like 2 inch groups at 100 yards. I can see now I was wrong. I will probably sell the Ruger and get a more specialized version of AR15. I am thinking RRA Predator Pursuit.


Do some more research before getting the RRA. Tier 1 manufacturers/retailers like BCM, Rainier, Noveske and White Oak can get you setup with a rig that will out shoot that RRA at a similar price or even less.
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