Ruger’s New American Rifle Bargain
I was wrong.
When I saw the new Ruger American rifle I thought it was a cheap step down for this venerable American rifle maker. But now I’ve shot the thing – and I’m impressed. Really impressed.
In .30-06 Springfield the American — sighted with a Zeiss 3-9×40 Conquest scope – is shooting a Hornady 168-grain A-Max Garand load (2,600 fps) one-MOA. Consistently. I fired one 200-yard group that went sub-MOA. That’s three bullets into a 1.2″ circle. And all shooting was done prone off a bipod, not a sand-bagged benchrest. Target distances varied from 100 yards to 500 yards, and no bullet landed more than 4.5 inches from point of aim until my 40th shot, which just missed high left at 500 yards.
Friends, that’s an accurate rifle.
But for less than $400 how can it be?
You read correctly. This rifle will retail for less than $400, perhaps even less than $300 during some sales.
Let’s outline this rifle’s features. First, it is 100-percent American made. Every barrel, screw and spring is made here, thus the American name. I like that. Second, the barreled action is set into steel V bases molded into the thermoplastic stock. The barrel is free floating, and the bedding screws pull the base metal against the screws and V bases without touching or stressing the stock. So, even though the inexpensive plastic stock is somewhat flexible, as are all molded stocks, bedding pressure is constant and consistent. A flexible, hollow recoil pad really soaks up recoil.
Third, each cold-hammer-forged barrel is tightened to the action with a locking nut for precise headspacing. Fourth, the bolt is a three-lug design. This might not contribute anything to accuracy, but it results in a 70-degree bolt lift for quick cycling. The bolt body is full sized, so it slides smoothly without the need for guide rails and without binding. Fifth, the trigger is a Marksman adjustable trigger (from 3 to 5 pounds pull via a single screw) with a passive trigger-mounted safety that blocks the trigger. There is a tang safety, too. With the tang safety “on,” the bolt can be manipulated to run rounds through the action. But that shouldn’t be necessary, since each Ruger American rifle wears a detachable, four-round magazine. Snap it out, run the live round out of the chamber and you’re unloaded and completely safe.
The black plastic magazine box is smooth, consistent, easy to attach and detach and equally easy to load. In addition, it’s rotary, much like the familiar Ruger 10/22 magazine. Each round rotates up, aligning dead center with the chamber for easy and consistent loading. During my 60 rounds of shooting I had no glitches. The magazine loaded smoothly every time, snapped into place perfectly every time, fed perfectly every time.
The cartridge ejection port in the receiver is minimal. This means there is a bridge of steel arching over the top where most rifles have been cut away, exposing more bolt body. While that looks proper to an old shooter’s eye, it isn’t as inherently stiff as this style. More steel means more rigidity, and that can aid accuracy.
Each rifle ships with Weaver-style bases included, and if you send in your warranty card Ruger will return you a nylon cheek pad and ammo carrier that straps onto the butt stock. It’s valued at $20.
If this rifle sounds too good to be true for this price, test drive one at your earliest opportunity. I’ll bet you’ll change your mind. I know I have.
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