Ruger AR-Lower Elite

Ruger AR lower

Sturm, Ruger & Co. announced a new offering: the AR-Lower Elite. The AR-Lower Elite is a complete AR lower that includes a full fire control group, buffer tube assembly and stock. All you need to do is add an upper and magazine to start having fun. Back in December, Ruger began offering stripped lowers, so it is no surprise to me that it is now offering completed lowers.

The lower is forged 7075-T6 aluminum with a Type III hard coat anodized finish. This is pretty typical for AR lowers. For the grip, it selected the Magpul MOE grip. A MOE 6-position carbine stock was used on back.

Ruger uses its own Elite 452 AR trigger in this assembly. The Elite 452 is a two stage trigger with a 4.5 pound pull. It is not adjustable by the user. According to the company, it has a 30% faster lock time than standard MSR triggers. I’ve tried this trigger previously and found it to be a nice upgrade over typical milspec triggers.

Since this is a complete lower, it is a serial numbered product. That means you must transfer this through a licensed firearms dealer just as if it were a complete rifle. The suggested retail price is $299. I would expect that “street” prices may be around $250. Yes, you can build a complete lower for less money, but for those that are looking to save a little time or are not comfortable with building their own, this would seem to be a fair price.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Glenn Bellamy

    “Since this is a complete lower, it is a serial numbered product. That means you must transfer this through a licensed firearms dealer just as if it were a complete rifle.” But since legally it is not a rifle, it’s a receiver, you must be 21 to buy from an FFL.

    • Rick O’Shay

      If I recall correctly, the stock legally makes it a rifle.

      • PK

        For purposes of the NFA, yes. For purchase as a title 1 firearm, no. That goes for stripped receivers and partially built guns including the receiver but no barrel. Go figure!

        • Rick O’Shay

          That makes sense. So it’s basically recorded on the 4473 as an “other firearm.” Technically speaking, could one remove the buffer tube and stock and put on a pistol tube and still be in the clear, as long as you don’t put an upper on the the receiver first? (Not that the ATF would have any way of determining whether or not you had, but since we’re speaking in hypotheticals, please humor my argument)

          • PK

            In a nutshell, no, what you describe would make it a firearm made from a rifle or an SBR. If the lower was assembled with a stock, it’s a long gun legally speaking.

          • Rick O’Shay

            Then why can’t you buy it until you’re 21?

            Jesus Christ the ATF sure knows how to make everything so convoluted.

          • PK

            Because the same rules covering both concepts overlap. It’s not a rifle for GCA considerations as to the purchaser’s age, but it’s a rifle for NFA considerations.

            This isn’t an arbitrary idea from the ATF, in any case. It’s a natural consequence of the 1934 NFA and 1968 GCA overlapping.

      • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

        Incorrect. I have a letter from the BATFE answering this query.

        • Anonymoose

          BS. Write more letters. We need to keep writing letters until they ban everything.

          • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

            Then just read the law.

            NOTHING in the law supports the idea of separate “rifle” or “pistol” receivers.

    • Phillip Cooper

      I am pretty sure the receiver must be sold as either a rifle or a handgun receiver.

      IE: the two lowers I have are in no way marked “rifle”. But siince I didn’t specify them as handguns, if I put a barrel shorter than 16″ on them, I’m a felon.

      correct me if I’m wrong, but please do cite BATFE regs… much as I hate to have to follow them.

      • PK

        The current 4473 and the last revision or two has a box marked “Other Firearm (frame, receiver, etc. See Instructions for Question 16.)” along with boxes for “Handgun” and “Long Gun”. If there’s no barrel, it can’t be either a handgun or a long gun and falls under other firearm.

    • PK

      Exactly the case, yes. Instructions under Section B, Question 16 make this abundantly clear.

  • Phillip Cooper

    For that price, why not just save up another payday and buy a complete rifle?

    No reason this should go for more than $180.

    • Aric

      Considering the trigger is roughly $140 retail, this actually falls in line with similar offerings, just with a nicer trigger.

      • Vhyrus

        Is it worth $140 though? I can get a really nice ALG trigger for $70, or a rise drop in pack for about $100.

        • Aric

          The ALG is an enhanced mil-spec trigger, while the Rise drop in single stage appears to be priced between $120 and $130, very similar to the Ruger. As the Ruger is a two-stage, I’m not sure that the comparison is all that apt in either case.

    • Jared Vynn

      Spikes complete basic m4 lowers go for $275, BCM go for $400, S&W go for $332.

      For having a two stage trigger I would say Ruger is shockingly low compared to others.

  • Jose

    Nice thing for Ruger, but I wish that they should bring back the SR-556 upper units; only that they should redesign it to accept polymer furniture, like the Magpul, or the new Alien Armor railguard. Now that will gonna make a cool, tactical, rifle. Don’t you agree?

  • Henry Reed

    When I built my SR-15 here in California, I had to find an SR-30 lower since the SR-15 is actually banned by name. I kind of regret doing that since it turns out we will NOT be able to remove our bullet buttons if we register “assault weapons,” which makes the ambi mag release feature kind of moot. The ambi bolt release is pretty sweet though, as well as the trigger and roll mark, but $750 on just a lower minus a buttstock could’ve been spent elsewhere, in hindsight. Shoots great though.

    • crossover1

      Well we don’t know if we can’t remove bullet buttons yet or not until regulations are released. But you can probably install the ambi release with the bullet button still installed since neither the bill or retracted regulation made any mention of ambidextrous release, and since a bullet button is now considered a detachable magazine.

      If the SR-30 is anything like my POF415 lower you could probably use the BB tool to push the magazine catch out far enough to slide the ambi release button into place. Or just remove the bullet button install the ambi and reinstall the bullet button.

  • valorius

    Why not just spend $200 more and get a complete Ruger AR-556 rifle?

    I have an AR-556 and i have to say i’m thrilled with it so far.

    • Cal S.

      Indeed. Considering most lowers are either machined in the same shop or just plain identical (regardless of pricetag), then it doesn’t make a lot of sense these days to buy it because it’s got the Ruger name on it.

  • LGonDISQUS

    Palmetto blem lowers with MOE furniture (lowest I paid : $129.99) are like $150.

    Thank goodness Ruger has a good, trusted name.

  • jerry young

    You can buy this or a stripped lower and pieces and parts and still have to deal with using an FFL or you can get adventuress and buy an 80% lower and a jig, use a drill press and build your own pieces and parts gun with no FFL, I’m not really sure on the age thing I know it use to be you had to be 18 for shotguns and 21 for handguns in Ohio not sure where rifles fall, since I’m way past the 21 mark I really haven’t paid any attention to age limits.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    “includes a full fire control group”

    You are one very special four-letter word shy of a massive reader spit take.