On February 26, 2013 I received a new Ruger American Rifle from Ruger to test and evaluate. Needless to say if you are an on-line hunting and shooting junkie, there are already evaluations of this rifle out there. Here at NH Rifleman if a product has area’s to improve upon we will tell you so.
Before I began testing Rifles nearly 10 years ago I came to the conclusion that the best shooting rifles must have a superior bedding system, whether free floating or the fore-stock is pressured against the barrel to prevent oscillation, that can add costs. The barrel should be capable of MOA accuracy most all the time and when custom hand-loaded with certain bullets, the shooter could achieve sub-MOA accuracy as wel, that can add costs. In addition I felt that “best in class” rifles had adjustable triggers and that can add costs. I personally like 3 pounds for a hunting trigger in a rifle that is capable of long range accuracy. Finally, the recoil pad should be significant to absorb as much recoil as possible no matter what caliber, and that can add costs. Weight of the rifle should be commensurate with the round. e.g. 7 plus pounds for a 308 or 30-06 and a bit lighter for a round such as the 243 Winchester for ease of carry in the field and shaving weight from a rifle can take more machining time adding costs. This rifle is under $400 dollars by some retailers my hunting friends. This rifle is in the budget of any main stream working American from sea to shining sea. I believe this rifle is the price it is because that is where the market is for starters. Secondly, this is a “Design for Manufacture” rifle via the stock, the bolt, the barrel by engineers and designers who are hunters. Every element of this rifle was designed for both quality and speed of manufacture, keeping costs way down. What we intend to share with readers is the question. Should I purchase this rifle?
The Ruger American is 100% American made rifle with a black polymer synthetic stock. It weighs in at 6.25 pounds. The Ruger American utilizes “Power Bedding ™: an integral bedding block system that positively locates the receiver and free floats the chrome-moly hammer forged barrel, essential for outstanding accuracy. The barrel is 22 inches, a great all around hunting rifle length for fast handling and optimum bullet speed.
Out of the box, the bolt worked smoothly and fast.
The new three lug 70 degree full body bolt design is innovative in its simplicity. The bolt provides ample scope clearance and utilizes dual cocking cams for smooth cycling. The Ruger literature offers that it cycles easily from the shoulder. Today I shot 3 rounds as fast as a deer hunter would care to cycle the bolt and get back on target. It was flawless. I sighted it in on paper with three shots then went for my first three shot 100 yard group out of the box with the .243 Winchester achieving an astounding sub-moa 3/4 in group in a snow/rain shower at 100 yards. Wow! Right out of the box!
The rifle comes with a Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ Trigger that can be adjusted from 3 to 5 pounds. Testing with my Lyman Digital Pull Gauge, the trigger weighs in at 4 lbs. 4 oz. and is very crisp. I like it!
This rifle has a 4 round synthetic rotary magazine that fits flush with the stock.
Literature suggests that the magazine offers the smooth feed that has become the hallmark of Ruger® rotary magazines.
The rifle comes with a dovetail scope mounting base. I installed a set of metallic colored Weaver rings and placed a brand new Leupold VX-1 in 3-9 x 40mm with Long Range Duplex Reticle we are also testing.
To add to the Ruger/ Leupold combo we are shooting Trophy Grade Nosler Custom® 90 grain E-Tip® Lead Free .243 Winchester rounds made by Nosler’s Custom shop.
Believe me my expectations were high, and I was not disappointed.
If you wish to purchase this Ruger American firearm, you may go to the “Links” in the article header and see the Local New Hampshire retailers where you can get one for yourself or for a first time hunter. The .243 Winchester is a great deer and varmint rifle for a novice or expert as recoil is minimal. An overall rating for use by young hunters, new hunters, old hunters,ease of carrying in the field and for the price? On a scale of 1 to 10. It gets a solid 10 as Ruger hit this one out of the park. © 2013
Spec’s From the Ruger Website