For years hunters and shooters have begged for a small frame .308/7.62×51 AR rifle, and Ruger has delivered, reducing the overall size and weight of their new .308 AR rifle, the SFAR, or Small Frame Autoloading Rifle.
Externally, the SFAR looks very much like a standard AR-15 rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO. Ruger’s SFAR, with a 16-inch barrel, weighs 6.8 pounds; the company’s AR-15-pattern SR-556 weighs 6.5 pounds. The SFAR measures 7.2-inches tall, which is very close to the SR-556. As Ruger says, except for the larger magazine well, it’s tough to tell that the SFAR isn’t an AR-15 rifle.
To accomplish all this, Ruger made several modifications to the standard AR-15 design. The SFAR’s bolt and barrel extension are made from an extremely tough steel alloy used in the aerospace industry that is more durable than the traditional C158 steel used to manufacture AR bolts. In addition, Ruger tapered the lugs on the rifle to add strength. This bolt/barrel extension redesign allowed the SFAR .308 to be built to AR-15 dimensions without overstressing the component parts. The SFAR features a chrome-lined 8620 bolt carrier and a nitride processed gas key that is staked in place for improved function and longevity.
There are two SFAR models available: one with a 16.1 -inch barrel and a mid-length gas system; the second sporting a 20-inch barrel and rifle-length gas system. The gas adjustment valve is easily accessible and can be regulated using the included 3/16 -inch ball-end wrench stored in the pistol grip. There are four gas adjustment positions: 1, 2, 3, and closed.
Other desirable features include a MAGPUL MOE SL stock and MOE pistol grip with internal storage, a 7075 T-6 hard-coat anodized forged upper and lower receivers, and a 15-inch lightweight aluminum handguard with M-LOK slots for mounting accessories. The 4140 chrome-moly steel barrels are hammer forged and feature 5R rifling. All SFAR rifles come with Ruger’s two-port Boomer muzzle brake; barrels are threaded 5/8 by 24 for easy mounting of accessories like suppressors.
The Ruger SFAR Rifle comes with Ruger Elite 452 two-stage trigger assemblies offering a crisp 4.5-pound trigger break, and SFAR rifles are compatible with mil-spec MSR trigger assemblies, stocks, grips, and other accessories. A full-length top rail makes mounting an optic easy, and a 20-round MAGPUL PMAG is included. These rifles will also operate with AR-10/SR-25 pattern .308/7.62 mags.
For my testing, I mounted a Holosun AEMS solar sight on the Ruger and fired both from a bench and from standing and kneeling positions at distances ranging from 25 to 100 yards. The SFAR is lighter than other AR-10s, and recoil is a bit stiffer than heavier .308 AR rifles. However, the trade-off for reduced mass is well worth the added recoil.
From the bench, I rang steel at 100 yards, and the SFAR is light enough to shoot accurately at that distance from an offhand position. It’s also more nimble than any AR-10 I’ve shot, and except for the increased recoil it handles very much like an AR-15 carbine.
My test rifle had the 16.1-inch barrel, and with the optic weighed just over seven pounds. Expect the 20-inch version to add about a half-pound more with a similar optic. The trigger is very good and broke at exactly 4.5 pounds on average, just as advertised. Function was reliable throughout testing. Ruger’s decision to outfit this rifle with an M-LOK handguard was a sensible choice given the many M-LOK accessories available.
The Magpul MOE SL stock features a comfortable rollover comb design. The stock’s ambidextrous slide release latch allows for 3.3-inches of length of pull adjustment. The stock doesn’t rattle like some other carbine stocks, and the angled toe prevents it from hanging up while mounting the gun.
For years, many believed that a .308 rifle simply could not be built on an AR-15 footprint, but Ruger has proven otherwise. The new SFAR is going to be a win for the company and shooters alike.
SPECS: RUGER SFAR
ACTION: Gas-Operated Semi-Auto
CHAMBERING: .308 WIN/7.62 NATO
RECEIVER: 7075 T-6 Forged, Hard Coat Anodized
STOCK: MAGPUL MOE SL Adjustable
BARREL TYPE: 4140 Chrome Moly Steel, Hammer Forged, 5R Rifling, 1:10 RH Twist, Threaded
BARREL LENGTH: 16.1” (as tested)
MAGAZINE: 20 Round PMAG inc.
TRIGGER: Ruger Elite 452 Two-Stage, 4 lbs., 8 oz.
SIGHTS: None. Full-Length Top Rail
WEIGHT: 6 lbs., 13 oz.
LENGTH: 34” (Collapsed)