When it comes to hunting with an AR rifle perhaps many shooters prefer a lever action or bolt gun. That’s fine there is nothing so serious or life threatening about a wrong choice in game shooting that I need to counsel you. Handle the rifle safely and respect your game and you will prosper in the field. Perhaps you don’t need an AR for hunting. But some of us have come to strongly appreciate the handling durability and easy accuracy of the type. My favorite four rifles are all AR types. A .22, a 6.8 SPC, a .223 Remington and the .308 covered in these pages. For deer hunting to 200 yards- perhaps a bit more if I change the optics- hog hunting and even predators the Ruger SFAR .308 is a fine rifle. The rifle is functional well fitted and finished and reliable. It is more accurate than expected light enough and may be customized at the user’s whim.
The SFAR is a different type of .308. This isn’t an AR 10 type but an AR 15 or .223 size rifle. Weight with an empty magazine is 6.8 pounds. Metallurgy engineering and design combine to make the SFAR a tremendous rifle. This is a mature design but also one with enough bling and innovation to make it a sure seller. At an asking price of just shy of one thousand dollars the Ruger isn’t a compromise but a very good rifle. I have seen scalpers asked as much as twelve hundred for the rifle. Be patient and look around they are in production and hitting the shelves on a regular basis. The rifle features a nicely contoured adjustable stock, an aluminum M Lok forend, the Ruger 452 custom grade trigger, and an adjustable gas block. Leave the block set on 3 for factory ammunition. Study it more for suppressor or heavy load use. The rifle features a 16.1 inch barrel. A 20 inch barrel isn’t on the shelves in my area- the first half dozen I saw were all 16.1 inch versions- but should be available soon. The rifle uses the readily available SR25 type magazine from MagPul. The rifle features a well designed muzzle brake. It seems efficient as recoil was not a problem at all. Objectively not quite as heavy as a bolt action .308 of similar weight. More in the .30-30 WCF class. The trigger on my example breaks clean at 4.0 pounds. Specified weight is 4.5 pounds. Clean the trigger of shipping grease and give it a modest break in and you will be pleased. Lock time is excellent.
Ruger enjoys an excellent reputation for durability and customer service. Ruger firearms are among the least trouble prone of firearms. As I looked over my personal SFAR I considered which optic I should use. I have a well set up AR rifle for personal defense. While there is much crossover in competition hunting and personal defense in these versatile rifles I don’t need a combat light in the deer stand and I don’t need a 9 power scope on the home defense rifle. The Ruger SFAR .308 was set up with a Vortex StrikefireII red dot. The size of the dot means a lot in hunting and personal defense and this optic limits the shooter to accurate fire at a range far short of the rifle’s capability but it is ideal for my personal use. Hunting from a stand, taking hogs, and even dusting off coyote is easily accomplished with set up. The Vortex was on hand and proven. Adding about a pound to the rifle didn’t affect handling. The SFAR is well balanced even when fully loaded.
The bolt is a unique design that allows shoe horning the .308 Winchester cartridge into such a light platform. The bolt is relatively compact but robust. A tapered bolt head is a unique feature. Twin vent holes are a unique safety feature. The bolt release and safety are one hundred per cent AR for rapid handling. The muzzle brake doesn’t add ear splitting DCBs or muzzle blast. It is subdued in my estimation. Recoil remained manageable to comfortable with all loads. As for the .308 Winchester cartridge this is the ideal mix of power accuracy and readily available affordable ammunition. I ran the rifle through a number of drills, beginning with affordable handloads. Affordable when put up but now priceless since powder and primers remain difficult to come by.
I think the rifle has much merit in area defense against the odds. Rapid follow up shots are important, although exfiltration would also be a consideration if faced with a gang. But that isn’t the primary role for this rifle. Hunting within 200 yards is the role of my rifle. I sighted for 100 yards and then ran the piece through its paces. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject with loads using bullets from 150 to 178 grains. Accuracy is good with three shot groups under two inches at 100 yards. I found a spent case not fully ejected laying in the ejection port during the first 100 cartridges, this did not repeat during the test. Recoil is less than the heavier AR 10 rifles I have fired. This is because of efficient gas operation stock design and the muzzle brake. I took stock of the rifle and carefully headed toward the denouement portion of the report. Having been hit in the head with fists, sticks, and rocks I am not always certain where I stand cerebrally but I do know how a rifle should shoot. I like the Ruger SFAR very much. It does the work of a good bolt action rifle and also the 6.8 SPC I really really like! It is a versatile rifle with much to recommend. The SFAR will have a bright future.
- Caliber: .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO
- Barrel Length: 16.1 inch, 1 in 10 inch right hand twist
- Overall Length: 34 to 37.25 inch.
- Length of pull: 11 to 14.25 in.
- Weight: 6.8 pound with magazine
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