UPDATED – 9/7: A new semiautomatic modern sporting rifle from Sturm, Ruger will undermine one if not two of the longest-running, and demonstrably false contentions of the gun prohibition movement, and do it with no small amount of fanfare.
Ruger just announced the introduction of the Small-Frame Autoloading Rifle (SFAR™), a rifle chambered for a genuine North American big game hunting cartridge, the .308 Winchester. The legendary cartridge has been used to take literally every type of game animal on the continent and is one of the four or five most popular choices among American deer and elk hunters.
While people have been hunting game with AR-type semi-auto rifles for years, the SFAR should slam the lid tightly shut on any claim by the gun ban crowd that “you don’t hunt deer with an AR rifle.”
Well, you definitely can now, and the 6.8-pound weight (unloaded) puts this new entry in the category of a lightweight mountain rifle good for backpackers.
This new rifle model comes less than two months after Ruger CEO Chris Killoy testified before Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s House Oversight Committee during which she virtually demanded that Killoy and another gun manufacturer—Marty Daniel at Daniel Defense—publicly apologize to victims of mass shootings. Neither man would have none of it, further infuriating Maloney, who will not be back in Congress next year, having lost a primary contest to fellow anti-gun Democrat Jerry Nadler, after their districts were merged via re-districting.
Killoy told Maloney’s committee, “We firmly believe that it is wrong to deprive citizens of their constitutional right to purchase a lawful firearm they desire because of the criminal acts of wicked people. A firearm, any firearm, can be used for good or for evil. The difference is in the intent of the individual possessing it, which we respectfully submit, should be the focus of any investigation into the root causes of criminal violence involving firearms.”
As if to add frosting to this cake, Ruger says the rifle will come standard with a 20-round PMAG magazine from Magpul. This type of magazine has long been considered the standard (as opposed to so-called “high-capacity”) for a modern semi-auto rifle.
Ruger’s Paul Pluff advised Liberty Park Press that for hunters in states that prohibit standard-capacity magazines, 10-rounders are available for after-market purchase from, Shop Ruger, the company’s online sales site.
For fans of the modern sporting rifle platform, this new entry seems to cover lots of bases. According to the company’s announcement, the SFAR features “many mil-spec-compatible components and (is) fitted with the Ruger® Elite 452® trigger.”
Additionally, Ruger says SFAR rifles “are fitted with a 4-position regulated gas block to achieve ideal function across the wide range of ammunition available in the marketplace today, whether running the rifle dirty or clean, suppressed or unsuppressed.” Ruger includes an “on-board 3/16″ ball-end wrench” for making “easy regulator adjustment, while the 2-port Boomer muzzle brake makes the SFAR exceptionally soft shooting.”
Ruger added, “The upper and lower receivers are both CNC-machined from 7075-T6 forgings and feature an oversized magazine well, forward assist, dust cover and brass deflector. Barrels are cold hammer-forged with 5R rifling, a 5/8”-24 muzzle thread, and finished with black nitride for accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning. CNC-machined from high-strength super alloy steel, the bolt and barrel extension feature tapered lugs that strengthen the breech by adding material in key areas.”
“Over the course of this rifle’s development, we fired hundreds of thousands of rounds to assess and enhance real-world performance and wear,” noted Ben Parker, Lead Design Engineer for SFAR. “The proprietary design and material selection of the bolt and barrel extension help deliver a rugged, reliable, and safe rifle that we are proud to call a Ruger.”
There’s a full-length Picatinny rail on top for mounting a riflescope, and the handguard “features Magpul® M-LOK® accessory attachment slots at the 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 positions and sockets for QD sling swivels on both sides.”
There are two versions, the Model 5610 with a 16-inch barrel and the Model 5611 with a 20-inch barrel. The short model would be a good choice for hunters working brushy environments, while the longer barrel might be more at home in the wider open spaces one finds across much of the West.
The semi-auto is a rifle platform with which today’s generation of outdoorsmen and women grew up. They are familiar with the style and operation. The SFAR may not look like a traditional bolt-action, but it is definitely capable of field use by hunters, and bucks, bulls and bruins won’t know the difference.