Ruger SR 762 Review: Piston Powered

Over the last two or more decades Armalite style rifle production was taken up by numerous manufacturers including S&W and Ruger. This represented a shift among established companies that had, to that point, stayed out of the tactical rifle market.

Ruger SR 762

Ruger introductory large caliber rifle jumped ahead of the curve with the SR762: an AR10 platform firing the .308 Winchester - and by association, the 7.62 NATO - cartridge that employed a two-stage piston system rather than the traditional gas impingement system. 

This form of cycling was popularly received as it reduced, that is not to say eliminated, the amount of carbon spewed into the chamber to move the bolt carrier group (BCG). While of questionable cost to benefits ratio for the casual shooter, the piston system does decrease build up: so if one is planning to be airdropped into a war zone without any expectation of being able to clean their weapon, a piston system does become an attractive option. To weekend warriors, casual shooters and plinkers however, it is more an interesting alternative with an increased cost.

That said, the manual adjustment capability DOES make use with different types of ammunition easier.

The AR762 was well received for its mechanics and construction: characteristics that Ruger is known for paying detailed attention. At the same time, the rifle also was belittled for its gritty, stock trigger: another feature Ruger is often associated with. However, it is an AR platform: virtually any part of the rifle can be replaced or upgraded, and that includes a large number of after-market triggers out there.

Its closest competitor is the FNH SCAR, which costs up to 50% more, and on the other side of the spectrum, the DPMS AR10 series, which could cost around 30-50% less. Ruger successfully put themselves right in the middle with the AR762 in cost though in actuality, above the median for quality.

Ruger SR 762 Review

Sight plane

Ruger-SR762-Review-Sight-Plane

The rifle is a flat top with flip up back up sights. This offers nominally 24” for sight radius to use with open sights. To be honest, however, the predominant reason for going with the 7.62 NATO capable platform is to reach out further to knock things down, so a telescope is going to be the more popular choice for sights. The SR762 has ample room on its full length top Picatinny rail for any scope selection, and flip up sights are easily mounted and stowed out of the way, just in case (JIC).

Barrel Length

The barrel is threaded at 16.12 inches. The standard provided flash hider can be swapped out for a brake or even a suppressor if desired where allowed.

Ruger SR-762 Barrel

Grip frame size

Ruger provides a standard sized AR style grip with the rifle, but because it is an AR style, it can be replaced with any manner of after market options to better fit the individual be it Magpul, MFT, CAA, Hogue, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Ruger SR 762 Grip frame size

Balance of the build

This rifle embodies all the great qualities that Ruger is well known for: reliable and durable construction at a price that will not break the bank. Well, not too much anyway: this IS a .308 caliber auto loading “battle rifle” after all. The rugged features and dependable performance capacity is balanced by standard – read as mediocre - features such as the stock and furniture along with a trigger that has not won many hearts, to say the least. That just means it is not a precision rifle with all the bells and whistles but is made with an eye on use and abuse. As a “battle rifle” out of the box, it is ready to roll.

 Many customers, however, will be ready to customize the rifle with whatever they can, and that as quickly as they can. This rifle’s price seems to take that into account: marked at ready to go as is or spend as little or as much as desired how and when funds allow.

Ruger SR-762 Build

Sight choices and accessory options

The simple answer is this: it is an AR10. As with the ubiquitous AR15 model, customization options are potentially endless for back up sights, optics, etc. The Troy railed handguard allows for additional accessories up front such as foregrips, lights, lasers, battery operated chainsaw; the usual options that could also include a [comparatively mundane] folding bipod.

Capacity

Typically, this rifle would have a 20 round magazine, but areas with magazine restrictions will find 10 rounders available as well. One boon to those familiar with the AR10 platform, it readily accepts PMags making it much easier (and cheaper) to feed than Armalite magazines.

Conclusion

The .308/7.62 market, specifically with AR10s has always been a bit more lackluster when compared to the more affordable AR15 option that is often fueled by politics no less frequently than new mods (like the piston system). Those looking for a larger diameter, hard hitting self-loader have a lot of choices in battle rifles from the 1950-70s as well as modern commercial options. Ruger’s SR762 is that company’s contribution to the modern options to what some still consider a niche’ market. Especially with alternative calibers like 6.5 Creedmore. Further, it seems many precision shooters are perfectly content with a bolt action instead of a self-loader. Yet newer sports (hog hunting and competitive shooting) still offer a welcoming place for a .308 self-loader and those who have yet to commit to a specific platform would be doing themselves a favor to consider an SR762 if possible.

Pros

As mentioned above (and below) the quality for the price is a great motivator for this rifle. While cheaper options exist, this rifle offers further up the shelf quality without hitting top shelf prices. As expected, however, this means cutting a few corners, but only on feature that are probably replacements anyway on a tock platform: that is to say the furniture and trigger. The adjustable piston system also offers a versatility not found on those less expensive options, but usually reserved for rifles that are another 20-50% in price.

Cons

Ruger does have a talent in not making enough of their models that are really in a potential demand, so finding an SR762 may prove challenging enough on its own. Because of the disparity of available product, demand may increase the price to a point that the cost to benefits ratio may be less appealing. The only other issue are the parts that may be replaced for better comfort and trigger function. Out of the box, however, the rifle is ready to perform as readily as any 7.62 NATO rifle pressed into service. Which of course may wrinkle the nose of anyone expecting luxury SUV performance and gets a strong work truck instead.

​This is best for

Someone looking for a SCAR on a budget. Even after replacing the trigger (which is a personal choice, not a mandate), the SR762 comes in under the SCAR by a comfortable margin. While many AR makers make an AR10 variant, they use gas impingement and there is often considerable tweaking involved to get any one of them to work reliably across different ammunition types. Ruger’s piston system allows for the shooter to adjust the rifle to answer any kind of cycling issues without having to find a different box / brand / weight / etc. of bullets. This is a feature common to the $3k+ level rifle but not often seen on an out of the box budget rifle. While the Ruger is not budget priced, it is a competent competitor to someone looking to have a reliably performing, hard hitting rifle capability of an M1A with the modern modularity of an AR platform.

Watch a Ruger SR 762 review from hickok45

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