The SR-556C from Ruger offers ARs enthusiasts a short, handy and reliable piston-operated 5.56mm rifle. The author equipped it with a Horus Vision Blackbird optic for testing.

MY experience with Sturm, Ruger & Company began in a way not dissimilar from tens of thousands of other young Americans. I had managed to graduate from a bolt action, single-shot .22 rifle to the semi-automatic Ruger 10/22. Vaguely similar in appearance to the venerable M1 Carbine and with a magical 10-round, circular box-magazine—that 10/22 became my inseparable hunting and shooting partner for many years. It was reliable, accurate and somehow always managed to fire and cycle the best low-budget ammunition I could afford. In fact, I still own it.

rugere28099s-sr-556c-556mm-bA flat-topped upper receiver makes mounting optics on the SR-556C a breeze. Note the standard-style forward assist and shell deflector.

Fast-forward almost 30 years to Ruger’s newest offering to the AR-market that promises to carry forward the same traditions of reliability and American craftsmanship—the SR-556C (carbine). And this is a rifle that should be just as at home in the gun rack of a police cruiser or in the hands of a SWAT team member as it is on the range.

rugere28099s-sr-556c-556mm-cThe barrel features an integrally machined
flash suppressor for an overall length of 16.12”. Note the gas regulator above.

Somewhat of a late entry into the AR-space, the SR-556C was led to market just over two years ago by the full-size version—the SR-556. Lighter and faster, the SR-556C is quick cornering, 1.75 inches shorter and weighs almost 8 ounces less than the standard model. Ruger managed these changes by fluting the 0.85 of an inch diameter barrel and integrally machining the flash suppressor rather than the threaded, screw-on version of the SR-556. The result is a quicker-cooling and snappier handling package that balances more tightly to the weapon’s center. The adjustment is a clever answer in manufacturing ingenuity as this machined suppressor allows for a shortened, adjustable overall length (31 to 34.25 inches, versus 32.75 to 36 inches) without sacrificing function or barrel length (still 16.1 inches). No change from the original material, Ruger stuck with its cold-hammer forged chrome-moly vanadium 41V45 steel for the 1-in-9-inch twist,
six-groove barrel.

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The SR-556C from Ruger offers ARs enthusiasts a short, handy and reliable piston-operated 5.56mm…