5 Common Ruger AR 556 Problems You Must Be Aware of

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I’ve had the opportunity to take the Ruger AR 556 out for some field tests. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid gun with a lot to offer. But, like anything, it has its ups and downs. And, well, I’ve stumbled upon a few issues that seem to be common among users.

During my time with this firearm, I’ve experienced many Ruger AR 556 Problems, including double feeding, Bolt troubles, slide lock hiccups, misfires, and gas issues.

This article aims to break down these common issues and offer you solutions that work. 

Overview of Ruger AR 556 Issues & their Solutions

Double FeedingOil the bolt, test ejection, and check recoil spring-magazine sync.
Bolt Not Staying OpenReplace stock magazine with a standard GI magazine.
Slide Lock ProblemReplace worn-out gas block screw and install stronger buffer spring.
Misfiring IssueSwap stock trigger with a CMC drop-in, single-stage, 3.5-lb pull trigger.
Under-Gassed RifleInstall an adjustable gas block or opt for a lighter BCG.

Top 5 Ruger AR 556 Problems & Solutions

1. Double Feeding Issue

Ah, the dreaded double feed. I’ve run into this problem more than once, and trust me, it’s frustrating. There you are, enjoying some range time or even in a more crucial situation, and bam! Two rounds try to load into the chamber at once. 

Suddenly, your Ruger AR 556 turns into a stubborn mule that refuses to shoot. You’re left with a gun that’s jammed up and not ready to go. This can happen for various reasons: poor maintenance, internal flaws, or even a faulty magazine.


So, what did I do? First off, I checked if the bolt was well-oiled. A little TLC can solve a lot of these issues, you know. 

Once that was sorted, I did a single-round test to check the ejection. Worked like a charm! Then, I double-checked the sync between the recoil spring and the magazine spring.

If you’re still experiencing issues after doing all of this, consider replacing the extractor. Worked for me, and I bet it’ll work for you, too.

2. Bolt Problem

Here’s another hiccup I bumped into: the bolt not staying open after the last round. You’d expect the bolt to lock open once you fire that final bullet, right? But nope, not always with the Ruger AR 556. 

I found that the bolt catcher wasn’t doing its job. It’s supposed to rise and hold the bolt, but that just wasn’t happening, especially with the stock magazines that came with the rifle. Another culprit? The recoil spring which seemed too eager to slam that bolt back into place before the catcher could do its job.


So what’s the solution? The first thing I did was switch out the magazine. The stock mag seems to be the weak link in the chain, causing the bolt catcher to fail. 

I tried a standard GI magazine, and, like magic, the bolt stayed open as it should after the last round. If you’re picky, you can try other variants, but make sure they’ve got a good reputation for holding the bolt catcher up. 

This simple change made a world of difference. It’s that easy!

3. Slide Lock Problem

Alright, let’s talk about the slide lock problem. First, kudos to Ruger’s customer care for admitting this issue exists in their older models—transparency’s a nice touch. In my experience, this problem was super annoying. 

You’re aiming; you pull the trigger, and oops—the slide fails to lock back. Believe me, it’s a bummer when that happens. Either the gas block screws were loose, or the bolt stop was giving me grief.


So, what to do? First off, if you’re considering buying one of these, maybe skip the older models. Just saying. But if you’ve got one and you’re dealing with this problem, it’s not the end of the world. The fix for me was twofold. 

First, I replaced the worn-out gas block screw. That thing was causing most of my troubles. Second, I installed a stronger buffer spring. And let me tell you, it was like night and day! So, if you’re dealing with this issue, try those two solutions. Trust me, they work.

4. Misfiring Issue

Well, let me tell you, nothing gives you a start like squeezing the trigger once and hearing two or three shots burst out. Yep, that happened to me with the Ruger AR 556. It’s a bit scary and totally unexpected. In my deep dive to discover why this was happening, I discovered several possible culprits. 

A trigger group pin could fall out, causing the trigger mechanism to tilt sideways. Two, something might be messing up the disconnector. Or three, it could be the way the hammer was installed.


So, how do you tackle this? For me, the root issue was the stock trigger, which seemed inadequate in keeping the retaining pins in place. My go-to fix was to swap it with a CMC drop-in, single-stage, 3.5-lb pull trigger. 

This specialized trigger eliminated the problem. But if you’re not up for that, at least ensure your hammer is properly installed. 

A simple visual check can confirm it. After these adjustments, I got back to a reliable, single-shot experience.

5. Gas Issue

Alright, here’s the deal: Sometimes the rifle just doesn’t seem to have enough “oomph” to eject a shell. Ever experienced a sluggish ejection? That’s a classic sign of an under-gassed rifle. And yes, it happened to me. 

In my quest to solve it, I discovered it could be the barrel and gas tube messing up, or perhaps the bolt carrier group (BCG) is too heavy. 

And don’t even get me started on the ammo. You’re out of luck if the ammo doesn’t generate enough gas.


I figured, why not nip it in the bud? First, I tried an adjustable gas block, which seemed to solve most of the issue. 

The gun ran smoother, the ejections were clean, and life was good again. If that doesn’t work for you, there’s another route. 

Consider switching to a lighter BCG. I tried this, too, and the rifle performed noticeably better. Trust me, either of these solutions could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Final Verdict

Alright, let’s wrap this up. The Ruger AR 556 is a rifle that brings a lot to the table. It’s well-crafted, affordable, and generally reliable for beginners and seasoned users. 

But no gun is perfect, and I’ve had my share of headaches with this one. From double feeding to gas issues, you might encounter a range of problems. That said, the good news is most of these problems have straightforward fixes, and a little elbow grease goes a long way. 

Whether you need an adjustable gas block, a different magazine, or a quick bolt check, your solution is usually just a few tweaks away. I’ve tried these fixes myself, and they do work. 

So, while the Ruger AR 556 has its downsides, it’s nothing that can’t be addressed with smart, simple solutions.


Is the Ruger 556 reliable?

Yes, it’s a reliable M4-style AR-15 rifle that’s gained popularity quickly.

How often to clean Ruger 556?

At least once a month, depending on how much you shoot.

Is the Ruger MPR reliable?

Yes, it’s accurate, well-equipped, and worth its price.

What is the difference between Ruger AR-556 and SR 556?

The SR-556 comes with a quality carrying bag and three 30-round Magpul magazines, while the AR-556 comes with a single magazine.

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I'm Micheal, an avid shooter and hunting enthusiast from Texas. I'm a recreational shooter who loves to spend time at the range and enjoy learning about new firearms and gears. I love to write about guns and share my passion for shooting with others.

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