OK, it’s August and it is time to get the cobwebs out of my Gun Safe. My two most accurate rifles for the price are the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor ( around $400 retail) and my Ruger African M77 in .375 Ruger ($900 retail). Today I am about to shoot them when I met fellow rifleman Joe Chicarello shooting his bull barrel .22 Long Rifle. I am sure he was having a great time and nearly done shooting when I arrived at our club range. Joe was easy to talk to and we resonated on shooting and safe handling practices. He has a Browning .223 that he has yet to shoot due to a scope ring issue. I hope you get the rings soon Joe! I invited him to check out my Ruger Rifles. He has never shot any of them so after putting a round down range in the larger bullseye at 50 yards off the Caldwell bench rest with the 6.5, I invited him to try it. I said, it does kick a bit more than the .223 so my bullet hit the center target just off the dead center by a half inch. I put three rounds in the clip with an open bolt and got Joe ready to try it, again at 50 yards, but to shoot a smaller target in the upper right corner. The scope was my Leupold VX-3, a superior hunting scope ready to hunt anywhere in the world
So he shot and I put my binoculars on it and grinned. Joe it is dead center in the bull, I said excitedly. Kicks more than I expected, he exclaimed. So I put a neoprene pad on his shoulder and he fired again. Just that one hole there, I observed. How did the pad work? I asked. Much better, he added. You’ve got another shot left Joe. So he took aim again and fired. He said, “maybe I wiggled on that one!” Accordingly, I observed that same one hole there. Lets take a look Joe and see what’s up. The range was made cold and we walked to the target.
Arriving at the target, here we are looking for strays but when we looked close enough there was one tri-cloverleaf hole in the upper right target. All the time Joe said, I’m a bit shakey. I assured him that was not the way the bullets saw it,and congratulated him on such fine shooting.
In my testing this rifle a year ago, I shot 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards with other hand loads in the Ruger American and was thinking these were hand loads too but not so. They were right out of the Hornady Precision hunter box which features ELD-X™ bullets (Extremely Low Drag) that I used this past summer in a different rifle where I popped 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards at the NH Sig Sauer Academy with my son Jason.
Then I shot a .375 Ruger light hand load (2200 fps) of speer 235 grain heads out of the stone cold gun and it hit 1 7/8 high from the dead center. I invited Joe to try but he said he was done. Perhaps a bit fearful, I dunno. Doesn’t kick any more than my T/C Encore muzzleloader with 100 grains of Pyrodex I said. Nope, Joe wasn’t ready.
So I proceeded to put 2 more shots in the center bullseye using the same aiming point. If you look close you can see my first shot from the 6.5 in the center bull as well.
All said and done that was a nice short walk in the park (range) and made a new friend I too. I asked his permission to use his name in this article. Of course, he said.