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Old January 1, 2013, 05:32 PM   #1
Dan Newberry
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The Ruger American rifle... in a word, phenominal. :)

I picked up a couple of these over the Christmas season... Ruger American bolt action rifles. One in .243 Winchester for my son's 12th birthday which falls on December 25th (Christmas baby).... and it was of course his Christmas present as well... he got other stuff to go with the gun, including a nice Sightron S1 3 to 9 power scope with mildot reticle and some Burris Signature rings with offset inserts so we could get this gun to 1000 yards...

The other rifle which looks identical (of course) is a .308 win, and it ended up being my Christmas present.

Anyway...

The Ruger American is relatively new. And in my opinion, Ruger has knocked this one out of the park. I'm a tried and true Savage fan, I must admit... but this little Ruger gives *nothing* up to the Savage, or so it seems at this point.

I did a bit of research on the 'net to find out what folks thought of these rifles before I invested. I couldn't find anyone who had anything bad to say about them... everyone just went on and on about how accurate the Ruger American was. So I decided to go on and give it a try. I'm really glad I did.

While I've not pulled the action out of the stock, I'm told that the receiver/stock union is precision designed for a tight lock when the action screws are torqued down. The barrel is also free floating, which of course helps with accuracy a great deal. Ruger has gotten on the bandwagon with the Savage Accutrigger-esque bladed safety trigger, and this one is adjustable, presumably to around 2 pounds. The factory setting seems to break at around 3 pounds, or just a tad over that. We're not going to mess with that setting, as it breaks very crisp, with no notable over-travel--it simply works very well.

The Ruger American has a three lug bolt design, which accomplishes a couple of things. For one, it allows for a shorter arc of the bolt when cycling the action, and secondly, the three lug design makes for a better mating of the lug to receiver, negating to a large degree any real need for lapping this bolt. Savage gets around the need to lap the bolt with a "floating" bolt head, which squares itself in the receiver... but Ruger has chosen the three lug design, possibly in part as an accuracy enhancing feature...



We mounted the Sightron S1 3 to 9x mildot scope on the rifle and as mentioned gave it a 20 MOA lift at the rear with Burris Signature Zee rings (the rifle comes with Weaver style two piece scope bases, a nice amenity), and went out today to break the barrel in and of course get the scope lined up.

I had some "break in" fodder sitting around the reloading abyss... some Speer full metal jacket 90 grain bullets (these were given to me, I'd never think to actually buy something like this!) ... and some old Accurate Arms extruded powder, called "Magnum Rifle Powder" which purports to be much like 4831. It's been long since discontinued... the only load data around seemed to be the folded up slip of paper in the canister itself, which led me to conclude that 42 grains of the stuff behind the 90's in some Federal brass cases wouldn't blow the action... so that's what I loaded.

We did a "semi" break in... shoot once... clean... shoot twice... clean... shoot three times... clean... then we maybe shot half a dozen times and cleaned... I don't know if the break in was all that necessary, really, because this rifle just shot great right off the bat...



My son shot this group after the rifle was cleaned. It settled down after the two high shots from the cold clean (and somewhat wet with Hoppes number 9) bore... and put 4 shots into the dime sized cluster shown. And this was just an arbitrary "break in" load!

We also had some Federal "Power Shock" cheap stuff ammo... 100 grain spitzer type bullets... and these were the only three shots of that tested... I shot this MOA group right after the first half dozen or so break in shots...



Another thing I had wondered was if the standard (for .243 win) 9 twist barrel (presumably what Ruger is using here) would stabilize the 105 grain Hornady AMAX bullet, as we do plan to shoot this rifle at ranges out to 1000 yards, or just beyond... and it actually did--this load is 48.5 grains of Retumbo with magnum primers...



With a bit of OAL tweaking I'd say we can get the 105's shooting 1/2 MOA easily. Amazing... but sure seems like it'll work.

I did not expect this rifle to shoot anywhere close to this good. I figured it would be a consistent MOA to maybe 1.5 MOA rifle, and it would satisfy my 12 year old while he learns to handle a centerfire rifle... but to put it bluntly, I was blown away with the accuracy and handling of this Ruger.

The bolt runs smooth... it's got a very easily observed cocking indicator which slides out from the rear of the bolt when it's cocked (see the little silver tab in front of my son's thumb in photo below... you can even check the cocking status without looking, just by feeling for the indicator)...

...the safety is right there on the tang--a perfect place for a safety to be. It's got a rotary feed detachable polymer magazine, which seems to work very well (though I'll be ordering a couple extras so we'll have them in the event one gets lost)...

If I were asked to think of one bad thing to say about this rifle... at this point, I honestly can't!


my son working the rifle... I'm pretty proud of how well he's shooting, having really not had a lot of training at this point (though he's been shooting air rifles for about 3 years now)...



I got this one and the .308 for mid 300's... one local gun store here has them for 329 dollars each... Walmart has them for around 350 dollars.

Several decades ago, Remington decided to come out with a budget priced rifle, to go after that niche in the market. They came up with the Remington 788... and it sold for less than 100 dollars when it hit the market. It didn't take long before folks were realizing that 788's were literally *embarrassing* 700 owners at the range, and even at rifle matches. Perhaps Ruger has, with the Ruger American, unwittingly meandered down that same road... because I'm here to tell you, if the other Ruger Americans shoot like this one does, Ruger's own higher dollar bolt guns are definitely gonna have some 'splaining to do...

Dan
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:04 PM   #2
ohiomossyoak
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I have yet to hear much bad about these rifles...I do wish they came with stainless as a option and some other caliber options...
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:25 PM   #3
reynolds357
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I have looked at them on the shelf and questioned why Ruger is making this rifle. They can not keep up with their demand on their high end rifles and they are diverting resources to building a cheap rifle that shoots as good as their expensive ones. I will never figure that out. From a numbers game seems counterproductive. Having said that, I have heard nothing but good things about the "American." I dont think I would rely on it for a 1k rifle, but who knows?
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:35 PM   #4
TheoShooter
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Yep, have two of these my self. 30-06 and .308. Absolutely love both of them and yes, they are freakishly accurate for the money. And by the way, looks like your son is getting the hang of things very well! Good job Dad.
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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There have been a few good threads here on the forum, but now that You Dan Newberry have dived into it, people like me Got to have one..... thanx. probably started something that I'm going to get into trouble for now..... It's with tongue in cheek, that I say Thank You Dan Newberry!... and my wedding anniversary is on the 6th, and now since I'm saving for the Ruger American, I might have to take the wife to "Ronnies Steakhouse" Mcdonalds, instead of the regular BBQ joint we always like. Thanks......
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:35 PM   #6
Dan Newberry
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hooligan... good luck on the rifle purchase... you won't regret getting one, I'm sure...
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:20 PM   #7
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Everything I've read says that they're great rifles, and the .243 is a great caliber. I shoot a Model 10 in that caliber. Try Reloder 22 with those AMaxes. I'm getting better than 3100 fps from my barrel with nicely radiused primers, smooth bolt lift and easy extraction.

I believe that we're living in a golden age of rifle manufacturing. Both Savage and Ruger have come out with extremely accurate rifles, manufactured using innovative methods and they're really holding down the cost. Other manufacturers are also making rifles that shoot really well for under $500.00. This is a great time to be a rifleman.

I bought two left-hand Savage Axis rifles (.25-06)for teenaged grandsons for Christmas. We've had a chance to only shoot one, and it looks like it will hold MOA with my standard reload recipe for that caliber. If Ruger had made a left-hand American, I might have had to agonize more over the decision.
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
Dan Newberry
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Paw Paw... thanks for the tip on the RL22... I may give that a try.

By the way, your blog is great... I check it often these days.

Dan
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:55 PM   #9
kutz
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Ruger american

My American is in .270. I sighted it in at 3" high for 100yrds. POA is POI at 200, 300,& 400 yards on 18" metal discs, fast &flat. For fun at a recent turkey shoot I shot at a one quarter inch bull &still POA was POI, amazing at only 25 yards. So this little gun is flat from 25 to 400 yards of course I only know I'm hitting the 18" kill zone not where I'm hitting it. The Elk knew though ,briefly,that it did put him down At 255 yards.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:05 PM   #10
reynolds357
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In all fairness, that is a testimonial to the ballistics of the .270Win and not necessarily the rifle it is shot out of. I will eventually buy one. Just waiting for them to add a few more chambering offerings.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:37 PM   #11
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I bought my American in March and have a review here at TFL . Mine is in 308 and like yours shoots great .




I only have about 250/300 rounds through it and there is one thing I have found to be an issue . The stock will make contact with the barrel when I used a bipod or a rest . It has just enough give and not enough space and mine DID touch and it effected my accuracy .

What I did was sanded the barrel Chanel in the stock using a piece of 1/2" rubber conduit as a sanding block . It worked great and I was able to give the barrel about 1/16 to 3/32 of more room all the way around it . The stock is still just as ridgid as before but it's pretty hard to make the stock touch the barrel now . Before just semi light pressure on the stock with my fingers and I could make the stock touch the barrel .

These are some after sanding pictures



This picture from the under side , you can really tell how much room there is now for the barrel to float http://imageshack.us/a/img525/1159/guns084.jpg

All in all I love the rifle and would recommend it .
.
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Old January 2, 2013, 06:48 AM   #12
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I'm happy that the all seem to be shooting well. That said I'm done buying cheap rifles unless it is a Stevens 200 or Savage that I'm going to build on. Nothing against the other cheap rifles out there but there isn't much after market support. I'm just not that willing to limit my options that much.
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Old January 2, 2013, 12:02 PM   #13
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Great review on the American. I've handled them in the store over and over and over. I'm sure I'll have one in the future. I do love my M77 Mk II all-weather .300 Win Mag in it's new Boyds stock. I had the Gander Mountain gunsmith glass and pillar bed it and free float the barrel and now it is a one hole group rifle if conditions are right and I'm shooting good. That's with cheapo factory ammo. It's 20 years old also. Ruger engineering is excellent.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
but Ruger has chosen the three lug design, possibly in part as an accuracy enhancing feature...
Saw an interview with the Ruger rep on this rifle...the one piece bolt; simple and effective.

Most importantly for this price-point rifle- CHEAP to manufacture as it's one piece. Shorter bolt throw gives it an advantage over others...win, win...
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:28 PM   #15
riche
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I see today on Rugers website that they are offering the American in 22-250 and also a youth model.
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Old January 5, 2013, 08:57 AM   #16
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My buddy also got one of these rifles for X-Mas. His is in 30-06, topped with a Nikon 3-9x40. Planning on taking it to the range later today.
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Old January 5, 2013, 09:58 AM   #17
Dan Newberry
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boogie man... let us know how it shoots.
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Old January 5, 2013, 10:05 AM   #18
ohiomossyoak
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Quote:
I see today on Rugers website that they are offering the American in 22-250 and also a youth model.
My wife wont be happy upon hearing this news....I might just have to get one now
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Old January 5, 2013, 05:05 PM   #19
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I got an American 30-06 and stuck a Redfield Revenge Hunter scope on it. I've hunted enough to be completely comfortable with a 600 yard-hunting accurate rifle....and this one meets that.

It's a nice rifle, very accurate till it heats up, as it is a light weight barrel. It's good for two shots...the third goes off track as the barrel needs to cool. For the price, that's fine.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:51 AM   #20
Dan Newberry
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Inside look at the action/stock union...

I pulled the action out of the stock to see how light the trigger would adjust down to (couldn't resist tinkering, I guess) ... and it seems to be somewhere around 2 1/2 pounds. It really didn't go a whole lot lighter than factory, but it did back down some.

Here is the receiver/stock mating system... "V-blocks" I would call it...






Note the absence of a traditional recoil lug on the barrel/receiver union... the steel v-blocks in the stock fit into the notches in the receiver, and the action screws pull it all together really tight... seems like a good idea. No aftermarket stock possibilities, however...

Here is what was in the stock hollow...


I removed the styrofoam block (well, at least they put something in there, most gun makers just leave it hollow)... and as I often do with hollow, plastic stocks, I filled the stock with about a half pound of plumber's putty to give it a "deader", more solid feel. This has always helped with recoil... and mitigating recoil generally helps with accuracy as well. I came up with the plumber's putty idea some years ago... it stays relatively soft, and it'll come out easily. It's good for making dams when glass bedding as well.

Balance on the rifle is better with the extra stock weight as well... (though it's plenty nice right out of the box).



You can "knead" some BB's or lead shot into a blob of the plumber's putty if you're wanting more weight...

The forearm was *almost* touching the barrel at times, especially if you bore down with any weight at all on the barrel... so I took Metal god's suggestion and opened up the forearm channel just a little with some sandpaper... and the forearm is plenty stiff enough not to bend or touch the barrel... it's just that it was a mite too close in factory configuration, as MG mentioned...

We're working on a good 100 grain "all around" load for this .243... using Hornady 100 grain BTSP bullets and RL22 and also trying some Ramshot Magnum, which is showing promise.

Dan
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Old January 7, 2013, 12:42 PM   #21
Joe Chicago
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I am glad that you are getting such great accuracy out of the Ruger American. Every review I have read about it are that it is an accurate rifle, with the only complaints being that the front of the stock flexes and the stock feels 'cheap'. I look forward to Ruger offering the rifle with a laminated stock with the bedding blocks, or an after market company offering drop-in laminated stocks with bedding blocks.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:23 PM   #22
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Hey Dan, with those 100 grainers try some Winchester Supreme 780. I currently shoot 100 grain Sierra Gamekings using the 780, and the recoil is fine as well as sub moa accuracy in our Mark X.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:41 PM   #23
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I might think about buying a Ruger American in a heavy/varmint-barrel .223 if that ever comes to pass. I like the bolt, hate the stock, like the trigger and safety, and don't need any of the calibers they offer.
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:50 PM   #24
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Interesting design for transferring recoil forces (gotta have something, right?).

I think I like it better than Savage's Axis budget stick, where the recoil lug (traditional) is actually part of the stock, and fits into a recess in the action. The exact reverse of the traditional design.

All of this is possible now with the extreme accuracy of CNC machinery- exacting tolerances and consistency on the stock end, and the receiver end are required to make this concept work.

Same reason aluminum bedding blocks- which were the shiznit just a couple of years ago- are rapidly being replaced by all- aluminum precision chassis systems perfectly machined to fit the actions they're designed for.

We're all beneficiaries of this better technology, advancing- and becoming cheaper- every day. Who would have thought just a few years ago that you could buy a mass-produced rifle- for $300- that could shoot sub-minute with factory match ammo? Not to mention the accuracy/consistency of the factory barrels obviously being a part of the system...
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Old January 7, 2013, 09:10 PM   #25
Dan Newberry
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true... things have improved a lot, and you can get a rifle today that will get the job done very well, for a lot less money than they used to cost.

I had not mentioned it yet, but the barrel on this .243 seems pretty smooth... can't seem to get much copper from it at all... going on 100 rounds down the tube at this point, and it's cleaning up very easily... Butch's with a few wet patches seems to get all there is in there to get...
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