There’s always a group of people in whatever field of interest that wants to try to push things to the extreme. For cars, it’s drag racing. For people into food, it’s people wanting to try “extreme” foods (you know, the kinds that most folks won’t even consider eating). For music, it’s the latest variant of “shock rock” (or whatever has the most shocking, offensive lyrics and imagery).
In firearms, though, it’s distance shooting, and the Holy Grail of that is something with the distance ability of sniper rifles (presumably for distance target shooting. We’re not advocating sniping anyone, thank you).
With that in mind, one manufacturer has released a model of precision rifle cambered for ammunition that was actually developed for military sniper use: .338 Lapua. Chris Parker writes,
This RPR [Ruger Precision Rifle] was box fresh in its padded carton. It’s a big chunk to lift out, at just under 8kg, and with a suitable scope and bipod added comes to 9kg/20lbs overall when ready to shoot. The first factor is the big Magnum muzzle brake which can be turned through slight rotation at the threaded muzzle to modify muzzle reaction to your taste. It’s a laterally ported unit with twin vents left and right directing blast almost perpendicular to the bore axis. It’s locked in position with Allen screws and a rear nut but the 3/4×24 thread beneath can also be used to add a moderator, if that is your preference; it would definitely be mine in the long term.
Mods don’t cut as much recoil as brakes but are a bit more sociable. Physical recoil from an unbraked or moderated .338 is tolerable from a heavy rifle anyway. The barrel is cold hammer forged with 5R rifling, which is supposed to offer gentle jacket handling and its 1 in 8.375″ twist rate stabilises long bullets up to 300gr. The barrel is 23mm diameter at the muzzle with a slight taper towards the action through its 26″/660mm length.
Minimum bore and groove dimensions, headspace and centralized chamber are advertised for maximised performance from the 4140 Chrome-Moly, rather than coated stainless steel. RPRs were one of the first mainstream chassis rifles with a proprietary stock from the maker, and here the octagonal forend is 58mm wide by 52mm tall. It extends 480mm/19″ from the action’s face and shows masses of space for M-Lock accessories as well as a full-length underside 38mm dovetail compatible with RRS ‘S.O.A.R.’ and similar QD systems.
Parker notes that this is a loud rifle to shoot (something also noted in the video below), but still came to the following conclusion:
I found the Ruger to be surprisingly refined in use and feel, if perhaps not in terms of looks. I would go as far as to say it’s one of the most pleasant .338’s to use with superb recoil and noise handling with exceptionally tactile bolt operation. The biggest RPR has really grown into it’s skin and it’s £1000 cheaper than I expected, Bravo!
You can watch the rifle in action in the video below.
Now, is this going to be the kind of rifle for everyone? Certainly not. This is a rifle for someone who specifically craves accuracy at as extreme a distance as possible without having to enlist or re-enlist with the hopes of being trained as a sniper.
But if you have a bit of extra cashflow (it has an MSRP of $2,599) and a place where you can practice distance shooting safely (and without your neighbors calling the sheriff on you for the noise or for having the “scary looking gun”), then, the Ruger Precision Rifle chambered in .338 Lapua may be one to consider.