L

With revolvers there is an added factor to consider in sizing cast bullets. That is the size of the cylinder's chamber mouths (above, left). When casting handgun bullets Duke only checks their bases (above, right) for defects. Duke feels with handguns it's more important to have enough cast bullets than to have perfect ones so he uses multiple cavity moulds for handgun bullets.

With revolvers there is an added factor to consider in sizing cast bullets. That is the size of the cylinder's chamber mouths (above, left). When casting handgun bullets Duke only checks their bases (above, right) for defects. Duke feels with handguns it's more important to have enough cast bullets than to have perfect ones so he uses multiple cavity moulds for handgun bullets.

Lead alloy bullets need lubrication. Otherwise they leave lead fouling in a firearm's barrel. There are dozens of blends on the market from soft ones meant for black powder shooting, wherein the lubricant also helps keep fouling soft, to hard ones requiring the lube/sizer machine have a heater to get them to flow. I keep three lube/sizing machines on a bench. One is always set up for .40 caliber rifle bullets, one is always set up for .45 caliber rifle bullets, and the third is changed around for all other bullet sizes I cast. All three of those Lyman lube/sizing machines are filled with SPG Lubricant; a soft type often considered "just" a black powder lubricant but which I have found works well for everything. Besides SPG stands for Steven Paul Garbe, owner of the company, who has been a friend for over 25 years.

I just did an inventory, finding I currently cast bullets for 19 rifle cartridges and 19 handgun cartridges. Collectively those cast bullets go into more than 100 guns. For handgun sizes they range from .30 Mauser to .455 Webley and for rifle rounds they range from 6.5 Japanese to .50-70 Government. Some guns such as my BPCR Silhouette match rifles are never fired with anything but my own cast bullets and others such as my military rifles see them only occasionally. As long as I am a shooter and handloader I will remain a bullet caster — and a darn good one even if I say so myself. Fflira

Dave Douglas

It was a dark and stormy night — no really — it was a dark and stormy night. Ruger flew a group of writers to their New Hampshire facility in the middle of the worst ice storm in 20 years. The early December storm cut power to millions of homes and our hotel was dark as well.

The 16.12" barrel (above) is chrome lined and mounted with a flash suppressor. Note the 4-position gas regulator at the front of the handguard. The Troy Ind. BattleSight is adjustable for windage and is removable should optics be desired. To dismount the gas system, push the regulator cam pin from left to right until the detent stops any additional travel. Remove the regulator, regulator detent, and piston by rotating the regulator until the flat lines up with the hook on the gas block. Ruger recommends not trying to remove the gas block, which needs special tools.

The 16.12" barrel (above) is chrome lined and mounted with a flash suppressor. Note the 4-position gas regulator at the front of the handguard. The Troy Ind. BattleSight is adjustable for windage and is removable should optics be desired. To dismount the gas system, push the regulator cam pin from left to right until the detent stops any additional travel. Remove the regulator, regulator detent, and piston by rotating the regulator until the flat lines up with the hook on the gas block. Ruger recommends not trying to remove the gas block, which needs special tools.

After a night of indoor ice camping we were shuttled to the Ruger plant, dodging downed trees and power lines along the way and placed in the conference room to await the Ruger marketing team's arrival. We were told the non-disclosure forms we signed were active until the SHOT Show, only a month and a half away; then we could write about their new little revolver we were being introduced to, the LCR.

But interestingly, covering the conference room walls were all sorts of diagrams, mechanical drawings, project management workflow charts and parts photos of an AR — with the Ruger logo on it! Holy smoke, does this mean the company producing the Mini 14, the main, equal-in-caliber competitor to the AR system, was "going to the dark side?" Were they going to produce a black gun? Yes and yes.

"Oh and by the way, the nondisclosure forms you signed cover the depictions on the wall of our other project too," we were told. Now a month and a half to keep the secret about the LCR was one thing — the time frame was short and somewhat manageable. But, we were told the AR project would be months away.

After much sniveling and gnashing of teeth we did get to fondle preproduction models of the new AR. But, I really think they were just teasing us — and derived a great deal of pleasure in doing so. With gun writers, it was like handing a lollypop to a 4-year old and telling him he couldn't take the wrapper off — or eat it. Sadistic! Finally, four months later, the Ruger SR556 debuted at the NRA show in Phoenix, Arizona. We were all sent e-mails lifting the embargo and they even sent us one of the first productions guns to evaluate.

Engineering

Early in the project, Brian Vuksanovich was asked if he wanted to participate. Being one of Ruger's chief engineers and an avid AR shooter he jumped at the chance. He told me, "What we wanted to do was make a more durable rifle, but we wanted everything to fit in the same envelope. I also wanted everything to work with all the older stuff. That's part of the reason we kept the lower receiver standard and Mil-Spec. We made significant changes to the upper. We took things that were wrong with the design and improved them and we kept things that worked well. One of our goals was to make the improvements without screwing up the things that were good in the original design."

Brian is an avid reader of a number of Internet AR forums and commented on the amount of traffic carrying erroneous information. He said, "Some folks have been saying the receiver is cast and the barrel isn't up to Mil-Spec standards. They were guessing, but they guessed wrong. Everything on the gun is high quality. The receivers are forged aluminum and the heavy contour, chrome-lined barrel is cold hammer forged from Mil-Spec 41V45 Chrome-Moly-Vanadium steel. Also, we chambered the gun in 5.56 NATO, which, as you know, also fires .223 Remington ammunition.

"When we introduced the gun at the NRA show in Phoenix, we put 20,000

rounds through it. No one cleaned the it and we used a bunch of different ammo, Hornady, Black Hills, Remington, Winchester USA and Federal. There were no malfunctions at all," Vuksanovich commented. Brian is pretty proud of the SR556 and rightfully so.

Quality Parts

The SR556 comes standard with a 1-piece, 10" Troy Industries Quad Rail Handguard providing ample room for mounting sights, optics and accessories. The handguard is made exclusively for Ruger and is pinned to the upper receiver giving the piston-driven transfer rod a rigid platform. It's so solid that after 100 rounds fired from a grenade launcher attached to the handguard rail there was no wear and the attachment was still as tight as when first attached.

Troy Industries folding BattleSights are also included. These are easily removed or replaced, rugged, high-quality sights allowing co-witnessing with Mil-Spec optics. They can be folded down with the push of a button, or quickly flipped to the up position. The rear sight is windage adjustable and includes short and long-range apertures. The front sight is elevation adjustable and protected by encompassing wings.

The list of included quality features for the Ruger SR-556 is a long one. It also comes with a 6-position telescoping M4-style buttstock housing a Mil-Spec buffer and spring. The pistol grip is a Hogue Monogrip and three Troy Industries rail covers are part of the package.

Also supplied are three, 30-round Magpul PMAGs. They feature a storage/ dust cover, stainless steel springs and a self-lubricating, anti-tilt follower. These are true 30-round mags — not the load 28 and call it a 30 rounder type. They stand up to a lot of abuse and when dropped from the mag well during a rapid reload you won't need to worry about tweaking the mag lips — a major source of failure-to-feed malfunctions.

The rifle is shipped in a padded carrying case sporting the Ruger logo, hook-and-loop fasteners to hold the rifle in place and it includes internal magazine pockets.

The lower is a standard AR system receiver. Everything is Mil-Spec allowing you to accessorize as far as your wallet will take you. The upper receiver is where Ruger put their stamp on the design significantly improving function.

The patent-pending, 2-stage, piston driven, operating rod system delivers a smooth power stroke to the bolt carrier while venting combustion residue out the bottom of the gas block. The gun runs cooler, cleaner and is easier to maintain than gas-driven rifles. This

All the controls are in the same place as an AR's. Folding BattleSights are provided on the M1913 Picatinny rail. The Troy Ind. Quad Rail also comes with three rail covers should you decide not to mount a host of accessories.

All the controls are in the same place as an AR's. Folding BattleSights are provided on the M1913 Picatinny rail. The Troy Ind. Quad Rail also comes with three rail covers should you decide not to mount a host of accessories.

Folding BattleSights allows for a variety of optics to be mounted and can be co-witnessed in some cases. Here, a Trijicon ACOG is mounted to the M1913 rail. A LaRue Tactical Forward Universal Grip is mounted to the forearm.

significantly improves operability and most importantly, reliability. It has an adjustable 4-stage gas regulator allowing the shooter to select single shot with no ejection, a position for suppressor use, one for normal operation and finally one for difficult operating environments. The latter uses the widest gas vent and provides absolute reliability under heavy use or with difficult or heavily fouling ammunition.

Energy is transferred by the piston-driven, electroless nickel and Teflon infused coated transfer rod to a 1-piece bolt carrier with integral transfer key thus operating the bolt. This was where a great deal of work went into the SR556. One of the more significant problems encountered in the op-rod design is carrier flip. Vuksanovich and the design team put many hours into solving that issue — and did a pretty good job of it as far as I can see.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment