Ruger 338LM RPR - First Impressions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by flyingtexan86, May 23, 2019.

  1. flyingtexan86

    flyingtexan86 Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    I recently acquired a new Ruger RPR chambered in 338LM. I've shot multiple RPR's and personally own two of them: one 6.5 Creedmoor and now 338LM. They're not without fault, but overall I tend to like them and definitely enjoy shooting the RPR.

    Here's my 2 cents:

    The RPR chassis reminds me a lot of an AR, and for good reason. It's compatible with AR pistol grips, forearm, buttstock and also has an ambi-safety which appears identical to the one you'd find on your favorite sport rifle, only the RPR's safety is a 45° throw instead of 90°... or 180° if you spent a pretty penny to have fun mode on your black rifle.
    The 338LM RPR is compatible with AI style magazines and includes two 5-round magazines from the factory. The included magazines are a little floppy in the magwell for my liking, but they seems to work fine.
    ***One concern I have is it appears the handguard set screws are not tapped straight (see photo below). I saw another post saying they had the same issue on their 338LM RPR. I'm planning on contacting Ruger about this and will update this post when I hear back.
    Ruger RPR 338 Handguard Screws.JPG

    Ruger has pushed more accuracy from their chromoly cold hammer-forged, 5-R barrel than what one would expect from a factory barrel of this type. They just shoot good. At long range I've learned to expect 1/2 MOA or better from my RPR's and bughole groups at close range.
    Specs on the barrel are 26" long, 1:9.375" RH twist rate and 3/4x24 threads.
    As mentioned the barrel is threaded from the factory and comes with a large, ported brake which does an excellent job at taming the Lapua's recoil.
    ***The brake was not mounted 100% straight from the factory. I'll pass this on to Ruger and update once I hear back from them. This seems to be a common issue with the first gen 338LM RPR's.***
    Speaking of recoil, the 338LM RPR is comfortable to shoot and has noticeably less kick than a factory Remington 700 LR 300WM. Don't get me wrong, it will definitely seperate the men from the boys, but I have no issue spending an afternoon shooting it. Keep in mind that being next to someone shooting the RPR 338LM will nearly nock the fillings out of your teeth due to the massive blast coming off the brake.
    Barrel swaps are easy as well due to the Savage style barrel nut which makes setting proper headspacing easy with a go no-go gauge.

    The buttstock looks great and works once it's setup, but is simply a pain in the rear to adjust. If you've ever used a Magpul PRS, or any other adjustable stock, you'll probably dislike the way the RPR stock adjustment works. It's not terrible, but it's not great either. Also be careful where you put your support hand as the acme style threads on the buttstock and the bottom picatinny rail will grade on on your hand after a few shots with the 338LM. Once adjusted and set, it's fine as long as you don't need to quickly adjust it again.

    Like all RPR's, dropping in a Timney trigger breathes new life into them. Ruger *almost* got it right with the RPR trigger, but creep, overtravel, the annoying "blade" and grit than feels like you dropped the rifle in your child's sandbox keeps me turning to Timney. If the RPR is your first "precision" rifle you'll probably think you're in trigger heaven, but if this isn't your first rodeo you'll quickly find yourself learning how to tear apart the RPR chassis to replace the trigger.

    I'm not a fan of the overall design of the RPR bolt due to the floppy bolt shroud that hangs off the back of the bolt like an ugly wart on a pretty girl's face. But then again, beauty is just a lightswitch away. ;) Ruger has had issues with this bolt shroud design as the early short-action RPR bolt shrouds were recalled (my 6.5 RPR was one of them).
    In its defense, I do like the fact that Ruger used a 3-lug bolt design rather than the 2-lug we're used to seeing on most factory rifles. The tac bolt knob on the RPR bolt is good as well and there are aftermarket shrouds that turn the wobbly bolt shroud into something you can be proud of. While I don't care for the bolt shroud design, it doesn't effect the operation of the rifle. But if you're like me and enjoy spending your hard earned cash for custom flutes and bolt knobs, you'll see where I'm coming from.

    Overall Impression:
    Overall the 338LM is a great chassis rifle for the money (mine was $1,451 delivered). They're accurate right out of the box and tac drivers with precision handloads. After a few upgrades like a Magpul K2+ pistol grip, Mapgul PRS buttstock and Timney trigger, all with a budget still under $2,000 (not including glass, bipod, etc), the RPR holds its own very well. I do have several small gripes about both RPR's I own, but I soon forget about those gripes when I send rounds downrange and hear steel ringing shot after shot. Ruger does seem to have a QC issue on these first gen of 338LM RPR's, but from what I've seen online, Ruger is either fixing or replacing them.


    Best group so far. Group could have been 1/4 MOA if it would have been a calm day, but I do not hold for wind during load dev. Still 3.2" horizontal spread @ 500y with a 6.5mph full value wind isn't bad in my book.
    004-T - 05-20-2019.JPG
    The blast from the muzzle brake has caused several tracking errors on the LabRadar as it tends to get bounced around. I've had to keep the brake a foot or so forward of the LabRadar to keep it happy.

    ****************************update 5/25/2019****************************
    I sent in a support ticket to Ruger about several issues I've seen on my 338LM RPR (muzzle brake mounted crooked, handguard screws tapped crooked and not flush with handguard, gritty trigger, etc). I'll update once I hear back from Ruger.
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    troy fairweather likes this.
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