Ruger hit the long-range shooting world by storm last year with the introduction of the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Its affordable entry price and feature-laden modular platform make this firearm a popular choice. Ruger went through great lengths designing their precision rifle to be modular. Allowing the shooter to easily change parts that better suit the mission or user preferences. Because of these features, I decided last winter to purchase a RPR and learn the skills needed to effectively employ this weapon system. I’ve chronicled my journey through equipment selection and training featuring both an overview article as well as an upgrade path for the RPR on The Loadout Room. This article will demonstrate how easy it is to swap barrels in under an hour with basic tools. In a sea of aftermarket match barrels, the current king of the hill is? The Proof Research Carbon Barrel for the Ruger Precision Rifle.

Proof Research is a company born from the aerospace industry. Creating next generation composite materials for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as well as the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Currently located in a state of the art facility in Montana, this science based company is applying their proven techniques to build precision rifle barrels. Utilizing aircraft-grade carbon fiber in conjunction with high-temperature aerospace resins, Proof Research produces a truly game-changing product for todays precision shooter.

Proof Research Carbon Barrel
image courtesy of proofresearch.com

A recent addition to their long list of carbon fiber barrels is one specifically designed as a drop in replacement for the Ruger Precision Rifle. The RPR has become wildly popular since it’s release and with that, several aftermarket barrel manufacturers are vying for your hard-earned dollar. In fact, you can now find many aftermarket steel barrels that will greatly improve the accuracy of the RPR. But only one manufacturer can offer match grade accuracy, zero point-of-impact shift during high volume fire AND a significant reduction in weight. Proof Research.

Traditionally, a precision rifle requires a trained gunsmith to perform a barrel swap. However, the RPR is unlike a traditional rifle and changing barrels can be performed by the shooter with basic hand tools and a chamber gauge. No gunsmith required. I chose to replace the 24″ OEM steel barrel with a direct replacement 24″ Proof Research Carbon Barrel 1/8 RH twist. This will allow me to compare apples to apples against Rugers steel barrel. A barrel that I’ve used for several long-range blocks of training and data collection. Additionally, I have a stockpile of Hornady 6.5mm Creedmoor match ammunition so sticking with this effective caliber only made sense. However, if you decide to change your rifles original chamber, Proof Research offers 5 different options to choose from.

Proof Research Carbon Barrel

Proof Research Carbon Barrel Specs:

Caliber Cartridge Length Twist Muzzle Thread Price
0.243 243 Win 24 8 ⅝-24 Thread $940
0.243 6 CM 24 8 ⅝-24 Thread $940
0.264 260 Rem 24 8 ⅝-24 Thread $940
0.264 6.5 CM 24 8 ⅝-24 Thread $940
0.308 308 Win 20 10 ⅝-24 Thread $940

Tools Required:

  • A solid barrel vise to secure the rifle while loosening and tightening the barrel nut
  • AR-15 Armorers tool. Magpul makes an excellent wrench
  • Torque wrench capable of 70 ft/lbs
  • Breaker bar. I used a 3′ galvanized pipe from Home Depot $11
  • Propane torch. This may or may not be needed based on the condition of the barrel nut
  • Anti Seize paste. For new barrel threads
  • Allen wrenches. To remove the RPR’s lower receiver and hand guard
  • Crescent wrench. For removal of hand guard nut
  • Painters tape. To protect barrel within the vise 
  • Go/No-Go gauges. Specific to your rifles caliber

 

With the barrel swap complete, here are the important weight numbers; The original steel barrel tipped the scales at 3 lbs. 14 oz. While the Proof Research Carbon Barrel nudged the needle to only 2 lbs. 8.8oz. That shaved 1 lb. 5.2 oz off the nose of my RPR which now totals 13 lbs with the Sig Optics Tango Six mounted. You also may notice the Silencerco muzzle brake I installed. Hopefully I can get my hands on the Omega suppressor for review this summer. Unfortunately, with over 100″ of snow already fallen, Northern Michigan looks more like the planet Hoth than Earth. So it may be a couple of months before I can access a range suitable to zero and test the Proof Research Carbon Barrel. But stay tuned for another article once winter passes. Until then, happy shooting and stay safe!