September 2014

308s: Ruger’s SR-762 Versus Springfield Armory’s Socom 16

We recently tested these two production rifles built on familiar, but vastly different, gas platforms to see which one we’d buy as a handy rifle for self defense, hunting, and all-round fun.

308s: Ruger’s SR-762 Versus Springfield Armory’s Socom 16

In search of a deluxe semi-auto truck gun, we ended up with a comparison of the $1900 Springfield Armory Socom 16 (top) and the Ruger SR-762 carbine swaddled in Realtree Xtra camouflage seat covers with rifle loops from

If you haven’t noticed, what used to be called the AR-10 platform has made a comeback. Eugene Stoner’s design in 308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) has gone on to unprecedented popularity with military and civilian consumers. But many shooters prefer an even older military-style platform — a compact variation of the M1A rifle, with lineage credited to the John C. Garand M1 rifle. We recently tested two production rifles built on these different platforms, the $2200 Ruger SR-762 and the $1900 Springfield Armory Socom 16, to see which one we’d buy as a handy rifle for self defense, hunting, and all-round fun. Both had barrels around 16 inches long and used gas-piston mechanics to operate.

We began by breaking in each rifle using a variety of rounds featuring different bullet weights. We tried two different types of less-expensive 150-grain 7.62x51 NATO jacketed ball ammunition from MagTech and variety of rounds, such as Black Hills 175-grain boattail hollowpoints that have been known to excel in bolt-action rifles. We settled on three Black Hills rounds that shot the best, the company’s 168-grain BTHP, 165-grain Gold Nosler Ballistic Tip, and 155-grain Gold Hornady A-Max ammunition.

For break-in and accuracy shooting, we used the same $310 Leupold FX-II 2.5X28mm IER (extended eye relief) Scout scope No. 58810 on both rifles. That was in part to accommodate the Socom 16, which offered only a short Picatinny rail above the forend. The Ruger SR-762 had a long top rail able to accommodate any type of scope. We could have added a receiver mount to the Socom 16, but, in our view, that would change the platform significantly. For accuracy, we fired five-shot groups from the 100-yard benches at American Shooting Centers in Houston (

Beyond accuracy and reliability we also compared the rifles based on practical handling. This included methods of loading and switching magazines as well as reviewing each gun’s strengths and versatility.

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