This week Ruger initiated a voluntary product safety warning and recall notice on their popular SR-556 series rifle to correct an issue with the gun's trigger system. This recall does not affect all models of this rifle, only variants of the Varmint Target series with its two-stage trigger.
According to Ruger, the cause of this was improper heat treatment by an unnamed vendor:
"We have determined that the disconnector in the two-stage trigger system on our SR-556VT was not properly heat treated by a vendor and that this can wear prematurely. This, in turn, can result in an unsafe condition in which the rifle delays firing (there is a delay in firing after the trigger is pulled) or doubles (discharging once when the trigger is pulled and again when the trigger is released). Although no incidents have been reported from the field, this is an important safety issue and we are recalling the rifles."
Is your rifle affected?
Now remember that Ruger has made several models of the 556 over the past few years. The only model that is the subject of this recall is the VT series. These guns are very distinctive and feature a brushed stainless steel barrel, extended charging handle, Magpul MOE grip, and fixed M16A2 style butt stock. The serial number range for SR-556VT rifles subject to the recall is 590-32501 through 591-18704. See image below for more detail on these features:
(Image from Ruger)
In short, if your rifle looks like the picture below, it IS subject to the recall. If you have any other model SR-556, then your rifle is not likely subject to the recall. If you have questions about whether your rifle is subject to the recall, you can contact Ruger's Newport Customer Service Department at 603-865-2442, or by email at email@example.com.
What happens next?
If you do have one of these recalled rifles, refrain from shooting it, unload it, and get with Ruger at the above email/phone number. Since they are the manufacturer and it's a covered repair, you don't have to ship it through an FFL and generally can send the rifle direct to Ruger, who, once they fix it, will mail it back to you. They'll ship you the package to send it in along with a shipping label to eliminate cost out of your pocket.
The fix consists of a retrofit to have the disconnector replaced and the company advises that they will return the gun within two weeks. As a bonus to help cover the inconvenience of having your 556 out of pocket for a half-month, Ruger will ship it back with a new free five-round magazine.
We know, we know, why not a 30? Why not a 60-round SureFire coffin mag? We guess it's to get around the various state 'large capacity magazine' rules in places like New York and California. Just saying.
For more information including what to do if you are a dealer with some of these guns still in stock, whether or not Ruger will allow you to trade of sell the gun back to them, or how to drop it off at a FedEx location if you want, go to the website that the company has set up for this recall here.
And by all means, be safe out there.