Gun Report

Ruger SR-556E Essential #5912 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem., $1375 (Grade B+ Jan 2012)

Read Gun Tests Rating and Recommendation

The fully outfitted SR-556FB got an ‘A-’ grade back in January 2010, and in the major areas, theûEssential is a match to that gun. But we did like the SR-556FB’s quad-rail setup, supplied sights, andûoverall package better. Still, money talks, and we wouldn’t mind saving several hundred dollars forûthe 556E if we didn’t need the 556FB’s package. It all depends on what your pocketbook can stand.

Ruger SR-556E Essential #5912 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem., $1375 (Grade B+ Jan 2012)

Gun Details

Model Name
Model Number
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Weight Unloaded
Length of Pull
Action Type
Action Finish
Trigger Pull Weight

Take the safety off the rest of now, free!

Get complete access to this firearms comparison, and weekly members-only newsletters.

That's just the beginning of your free exclusive benefits.

You're only one click away.

Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.

To gain functionality on the smooth handguard, we would want to add some rails to the tapped holes on the front of the gun. We’d probably pick the 3-inch SR-556E TR3 Picatinny Rail #18090, above, for the sides and the 5-inch SR-556E-TR-5 Picatinny Rail #18095 for the bottom rail. Longer rails are available. All are made of black-finished aluminum and come with instructions and hardware. The custom-drilled pieces are available at
In the Ruger’s piston system, gases from the barrel vent into the gas block and then against this piston, which in turn strikes an operating rod that replaces the gas tube.
The 4-position adjustable regulator can tune the rifle to ammunition.
The hidden winner in the test was the Ultramax 223 Remington 52-grain hollow points. This is a hot barrel 10-shot group fired with the Ultramax commercially remanufactured ammunition. There’s no stringing to be seen. Both the Ruger and the Adcor preferred this load over the others. It shot a 0.9- inch average group size in the Essential and a 0.7-inch average group size in the Elite.

Read Gun Tests Rating and Recommendation