Being able to effectively and effortlessly break down the Ruger SR-556 Takedown into segments, this gun could very well be the definitive knapsack AR. It is conservative and discreet, to be sure. It's no secret that Takedown rifles have an alluring appeal, what with their Transformers-like construction and operation.
In just a few twists and snaps, the SR-556 is ready for action. It's a polished AR that you can take to task and revert back to its original form in a matter of seconds. But is it the right weapon for your needs? And how does it compare to other best AR pistols out there? Let's jump right into my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review and find out.
Is the Ruger SR-556 a Good Rifle?
As it stands, the general makeup of the AR-15 platform basically makes it a takedown rifle. As you likely already know, you can remove the lower receiver from the upper receiver, thus breaking the AR down into two components.
What's more, the regular AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel has an upper receiver that measures 24.5 inches in length. And if you're using a muzzle, that length becomes significantly more. It's difficult enough trying to comfortably stow away more than 24 inches of weaponry.
But where the Ruger SR-556 Takedown shines is in its ability to let consumers take off the barrel from the upper receiver, thereby reducing the lengths to around 18 inches. With the stock collapsed, the lower receiver measures 15.75 inches.
In doing so, you're left with a highly portable unit that is a breeze to carry in a knapsack. Moreover, the simplicity of Takedown's design makes it a compelling entry into the AR universe.
- Breaks down into three main components
- Three 30-round PMAG magazines
- Piston-driven operating system
- Chrome-lined mil-spec barrel
- Includes convenient knapsack
- Ruger's Elite 452 AR-Trigger
- MOE SL collapsible buttstock
- Front and rear folding sights
- Magpul MOE pistol grip
- KeyMod handguard
- Flash suppressor
Break Down the Takedown
When breaking down the Ruger SR-556 Takedown, the task is complete in a matter of seconds. About ten, in fact. This design is ingenious, serving to give you an easy-to-use AR that means business.
The Ruger SR-556 breaks down into the following three components:
- Upper receiver assembly/Handguard assembly
- Barrel/piston system assembly
- Lower receiver assembly
Pull and Twist
The first step you need to take in disassembling the SR-556 Takedown requires you to pull out the pivot and takedown pins. Then, you need to separate the lower assembly from the upper assembly. Follow this up by removing the bolt carrier group from the upper assembly.
Now you're ready to move the slider bar that's located near the rear of the rifle and under the handguard. Once complete, simply twist the barrel assembly in a clockwise direction. With the muzzle facing away from you, you then need to pull the barrel off of the handguard.
And that's it. You're left with three pieces that easily fit inside an included knapsack. It comes equipped with pockets that accommodate each component. There are even MOLLE straps on the knapsack, giving it a tactical appeal.
Easy, Discreet Storage
Best of all, once the SR-556 Takedown is broken down and placed in the knapsack, you can't tell that you're carrying an AR rifle. Thanks to pockets for each component, there is no noticeable rattling or clanging when you're in motion.
This is the kind of discreetness you want when carrying a weapon of any kind. Measuring 22.5 x 7 x 7.5 inches, you don't have to worry about a massive unit weighing you down. Inside, there is room for three 30-round Magpul mags, which just so happen to be included with the Ruger SR-556 Takedown.
Even with all three SR-556 Takedown rifle components fitted into the knapsack, there's room for more. I've evident that Ruger carefully studied the takedown concept to ensure that the breakdown system was repeatable and reliable.
Toward the end of the barrel, you'll find lugs that are designed to fit into grooves located in the upper receiver. Thanks to these components, each piece locks securely into place, even after plenty of extended use.
What's more, all of the parts snap together, so you don't have to worry about losing any pieces in the process. Even better, there are absolutely no tools needed to assemble or disassemble the SR-556. How's that for convenience?
Piston AR Platform
I appreciate that Ruger used its piston system AR platform for this rifle. It's a tough and sturdy design that has construction you can count on to stay in place, even after rough use. You certainly don't have to worry about this gun exploding into pieces if you drop it.
When using a rifle, you want peace of mind that you don't have to use extreme care. Caution, sure. But no one wants to have to treat their rifle like it's a fragile piece of equipment. Another big plus is the fact that Ruger lets you swap out calibers.
SR-556 Takedown Conversion Kits
You just need to buy Ruger's conversion kit options to make it happen. Thanks to these convenient kits, you can switch over to 5.56mm NATO or .300 AAC Blackout. Although not entirely unique, it's a clever idea that essentially gives you more shooting options at a lower price range.
They're still not cheap, but they are more affordable than going out and buying a whole new firearm. If you have these kits in your arsenal, you'll be able to freely plink, hunt, and defend your home with the Ruger SR-556 Takedown without having to invest in additional weaponry.
I appreciate this kind of versatility. Although some argue that it's easier - and sometimes cheaper - to just buy a new gun with each caliber. That's up to you and what kind of deals you're able to find. But as the SR-556 Takedown stands, it has flexibility that other firearms don't have.
What Is the Difference Between Ruger AR-556 and SR-556?
This is a common question that pops up from time to time and understandably so. To the uninitiated, it's easy to confuse the two. Essentially, the AR makes use of what is known as a direct gas impingement system.
With this, gas is tapped off of the bore whenever a bullet passes through the gas port. It then gets directed back through a tube and into the bolt carrier. From there, it gets thrust backward by the force of the gas in order to eject the spent casing.
The SR-556, on the other hand, uses a gas piston system. Not only that, but the AR-556 is technically a pistol, not a rifle like the SR-556.
Does Ruger Still Make the SR-556?
Ruger ended production on the SR-556 in 2016 for a total seven-year run. In fact, Ruger discontinued all SR-556 rifles in favor of the SR-556 Takedown variant you see before you today. Moreover, the SR-556 Takedown's tactical benefits make it significantly better in my opinion.
You'll notice as much the moment that you take it out of its knapsack. There isn't anything you have to do to prepare the rifle for use. It's ready to rock and roll from the word "Go" and performs well from start to finish.
The Ruger SR-556 in Action
In the last section of my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review, I want to talk about my time with this weapon on the range. And that includes mention of the two-stage trigger.
The Ruger Elite 452 AR Trigger is the company's proprietary two-stage trigger. You'll need about 4.5 pounds of pressure to actuate it and get going. It's has a crisp, balanced feel that complements the SR-556 Takedown rather well.
Another big plus is that the trigger plays a significant role in ensuring accuracy and precision on the range. And let me tell you, this gun hits its targets well.
The upper receiver comes equipped with Ruger’s proprietary KeyMod handguard. Thanks to this, it feels thin in your hands and is very comfortable to hold. There are also folding sights that are mounted on the top portion of the upper receiver.
You can adjust the front sight for both windage and elevation. The rear sight is adjustable, as well, giving you better control and precision in your shooting experience.
As you can see from my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review, there's a lot to like about this rifle. The AR-style is a home run, and the versatility of the gun gives it an edge over other similar rifles. While the weapon itself and its conversion kits aren't cheap, you can't beat the convenience and accuracy that Ruger delivers here.