In this episode of "Gun Of The Week," we're on the range with Ruger’s Small-Frame Autoloading Rifle or SFAR. This is an AR-15-size rifle chambered for the short-action .308 Winchester, and that means Ruger’s packed a lot of power into a pretty small package.
Credit where credit’s due, Ruger’s not the first company to come out with this rifle concept. Patriot Ordnance Factory has been out with several shrunken AR-10-style rifles over the last few years, and while these are great guns, they cost a bit more than most folks would like to spend. Ruger elected to bring the small-frame .308 semi-auto rifle to the masses with the SFAR, which is priced affordably and is still loaded with features. Watch the video above to see the Ruger SFAR in use on the range.
The basic layout of the SFAR trims much of the space that used to exist in the back portion of traditional AR-10 lower receivers, bringing the rear takedown pin much closer to the milled pocket where the trigger, disconnector and hammer sit. The AR-10 and AR-15 have always shared parts commonality when it comes to drop-in trigger units, and the SFAR is no different in that regard. The upper receiver and bolt have been subsequently shortened, bringing the rifle to an overall length not much different than your standard AR-15.
In addition to the size, the weight has also been trimmed down significantly, and the 16” barreled version of the SFAR we have on the range here weighs in at just under 7 lbs. It’s equipped with a mid-length gas system, and at the gas block, there’s an adjustment screw that allows you to choose one of four settings to fine-tune gas flow.
Surrounding the gas tube and barrel is a long handguard that runs just behind the muzzle, and the threaded muzzle is topped with Ruger’s two-port Boomer brake to reduce recoil. The handguard is outfitted with M-Lok attachment slots at the 3-, 6-, and 9-o’clock positions, and there are short lengths of Picatinny rail at the front and rear that provide a bit more real estate for mounting optics and open sights.
Despite the more affordable price point of the SFAR, Ruger includes some nice touches on the gun, including an upgraded Magpul MOE-SL buttstock and MOE-SL pistol grip, which comes complete with a storage compartment inside that secures the adjustment wrench for the rifle’s gas block. The trigger, Ruger’s Elite 452 design, is also a welcome step up, providing a clean pull that measured just under 5 lbs.
Shooting a lightweight .308 rifle is definitely an experience you’ll feel, but thanks to Ruger’s included brake, we found the gun to be pretty manageable on the range. The 16” version was handy, easy to carry, came up on target quickly and was controllable through quick follow-up shots. All in all, we thought the SFAR is a great new addition to the market and will make a superb general-purpose rifle that’s adaptable to any role.
Ruger SFAR Specifications
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Action Type: direct-gas-impingement-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire rifle
Chamerbing: .308 Win.
Receiver: 7075 aluminum
Barrel: 16.10" 4140 chrome-moly steel, nitride-treaded, 1:10" RH-twist rifling
Sights: none; Picatinny rail
Magazine: 20-round detachable box
Trigger: two-stage; 4-lb., 5-oz. pull
Length: 34" to 37.25"
Weight: 6 lbs., 13 ozs.