Not to be confused with National Public Radio, the new Ruger MPR stands for Multi-Purpose Rifle. It is based on the firm’s AR-556, and it is a direct-impingement rifle with more capabilities than a standard, entry-level, 16”-barreled carbine.
This new Ruger is following the trend of upgraded rifles straight from the factory, joining mainline companies such as Springfield with its Saint, and Savage with its MSR. In a very crowded marketplace, Ruger has put together an aggressive package of features at an equally aggressive price. Don’t let the MSRP fool you.
Starting with the barrel, Ruger has put in an 18”-long cold-hammer-forged and then nitrided barrel with 5R rifling and a 1:8” twist. The barrel is topped with Ruger's radial point muzzle break. The MPR has a low-profile front gas block, and a rifle length gas system. The bolt—made of 9130 steel, shot peened and proof tested—and gas key are both chrome plated, and the latter, of course, is staked. The carrier then gets a black oxide exterior finish.
For furniture, Ruger has taken the M–Lok plunge, and is making its own fore-ends out of forged aluminum. The 15”-long fore-end has Picatinny rail running its entire length on the top and M–Lok slots on the sides and bottom. The rest of the furniture is from Magpul, and includes an MOE SL buttstock and an MOE pistol grip.
The company decided to go ahead and upgrade to the Ruger Elite 452 AR-Trigger. This two-stage unit, which breaks at about 4 1/2 lbs., has a full strength hammer spring and it said to have a 30 percent faster lock time than a standard, plain-Jane AR trigger. And it is a good trigger.
Suggested retail price will be $899, which is not what they will likely sell for across the counter. The fact that Ruger's Elite trigger—typically used in its upgraded piston SR-556—is also in the MPR shows that Ruger is serious about making the rifle attractive to consumers.
Our test range was down when I had a window to wring it out, so I have not had a chance to wear the MPR out yet, but I will. Maybe while listening to “All Things Considered.”