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Old June 9, 2012, 05:20 PM   #1
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Ruger American 308 review - long & pics

I'm a pistol guy, most only experience I had with rifles was plinking at range with iron sighted 22s, SKSs, ARs. And in the Corps during range quals with the M16. Anyway, I had been wanting an inexpensive bolt action centerfire for range plinking, almost got a Savage. But saw the American was coming out, decided to wait on the 308 version. 308 for lower ammo cost, and more than enough for my purpose.

Since the rifle was low buck, decided the rings and scope would be low buck too. Chose the Simmons Whitetail Classic Truplex for the scope, good reviews and only $110 on sale. When it came in, popped it on the rifle with spacers, ~ 3/8" seemed about right for ring height. Bought some 10mm low rings off Amazon for 9 bucks. When installed, scope was a little too far forward for me when slid all the way back, so reversed the bases so notches would go to the rear, allow me to move low rings rearward. Pics:

Ruger gives you a free checkpad, added that. Ruger has a bipod for $25. Bought that with the American purchase discount, along with a T shirt and cap. Put it all together, had a peep. I was too low when looking thru scope, so stacked 4 strips of mousepad, taped them together lightly so they wouldn't compress, stuck stack on the stock with 3 discs of velcro to hold it on, cheekpad went over that. Much better. Popped out bolt, bore sighted on a doorknob at the end of my hallway. Ready to go, pic at range:

Had to wait cause it's been windy, all the calm days missed my weekends. Called for more wind today, but decided to at least go and pop off some rounds. It was kind if windy, but it was coming in almost directly from behind, just slightly from my right. Started at 25 yds shooting 150gr FMJ. 1st shot was near dead center! Took another shot to make sure it wasn't a fluke, high and right. Another shot, higher and righter. Checked rings, the mounting bolts were loose. Ruger pad has a zippered pocket, luckily I had popped a 12mm wrench and allen wrench for the rings in there. Tightened bolts (1st of 3 times), allen screws for ring tops were tight. Took another shot, dead center again.

Inexperience strikes: Took it out to 100 yds, couldn't hit the stick on target. Checked rings, slightly loose, tightened, tried again, no go. The backer was used, so couldn't tell where rounds were hitting. Brought it back to 25yds, near dead center shot. ??? Took it to 50 yds. I had stacked 3 stick ons vertically, 2 8" bottom, 1 12" top. I took a shot at middle one, hit the bottom third of the top target. About 10" high. At 100, I had been shooting at 12" top stick on thinking if I was on center at 25, I'd at least be on the target at 100. Wrong!

Adjusted scope, took another shot at middle target. Couple inches high, left. Adjusted, still a little high. But wind was getting worse, had to time my shots between gusts. Decided to run it back to 100 and break out the good stuff, Federal Matchking 168gr BTHPs. Only got off 3 shots before dust started to kick up. 1st shot high, adjusted, next 2 shots were touching, molesting the bullseye. Was happy to take that, called it a day. Pic of last 3 shots:

Rifle: very happy with it. Recoil didn't hit as hard as I expected with such a light rifle in 308, probably due to nice recoil pad. Bolt easy to work, plenty of scope clearance when cycling. Stock a little long for me (I'm only 5'7"), but it worked ok. Reports that stock flexes, hits barrel when on bag or bipod. Mine flexed a bit on bipod, but gap only closed up, didn't hit. Trigger was good at factory setting, might try adjusting later to lowest setting, but leaving it alone for now.

Scope: relief was lacking, had to position myself just right for a good picture. Adjustable objective was right on, very clear pictures at respective yard settings. Could easily see hits at 100 at 20x... once I was hitting the target. Some complain crosshairs too thick, seemed ok to me, but it was only out to 100 yds. Happy with it for my intended usage.

Rings: really loose that 1st time. Slightly loose 2 more times. Going to take rings/bases off, clean everything, use blue locktite on all threads, see if that helps next time. Allen bolts stayed tight. Black paint on bolt heads coming off a bit where wrench flats contacted.

Bipod: it's a Shooters Ridge Rock Mount. Went on easy, worked fine. Had to tighten mounting screw once.

Pad: pretty nice for free. Lacing stayed tight, tucked excess in zippered pocket. Left side/top has soft slightly padded surface, I like the Ruger logo on the right side. Probably not so good for lefties. Also has cartridge loops on right. Was going to pop some rounds in them to see how they would do thru range trip/shooting, but forgot.
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Old June 13, 2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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how was the over all groupings after shooting more rounds down range?

also, do yourself a favor and ditch the cheap rings and get some decent rings. even weaver makes rings for under $20.

if you put on a decent scope (check out SWFA or cameraland new york for the vortex scopes) you will more than likely get slightly better groupings because you wont be fighting the eye relief and hazing on the scope.
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Old June 16, 2012, 11:25 AM   #3
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I've been too busy to take it to the range again, will post up after next trip.

The rings got good reviews on amazon, but due to low cost, I gave them a good exam when they showed up. Including breaking out my calipers for some measurements. Quality looked fine, no taper or out of square, rings measured to each other to about half a thou.

I think the bases caused problem of the ring mounting bolts coming loose. When disassembling everything for cleanup, reassembly with blue loctite, I noticed raised machining burr ridges along the slots, few thousands high:

I didn't see them before cause they were anodized black, but tightened ring bases and recoil vibration took off the black, exposed them. Ridges wouldn't let the rings sit flush, probably allowed them to dance around. Filed the ridges off with a 4" fine file, lightly chamferred the slot corners. Re-examined rings, looked fine. Reassembled everything with loctite, see what happens next range trip.

The bases were supplied with the rifle, my mistake was not inspecting them. I doubt they are made by Ruger, so highly dependent on supplier quality. Should have examined them closely like I did the rings before mounting the scope. Suggest anyone that purchases an American do so.

I actually considered a Vortex, but went with the Simmons in keeping with the low buck theme of this project. The clarity of the scope was fine, relief was only issue I had. And that might not be a problem for someone taller. I had to crane my neck a lot due to my being mismatched to the stock. For all I know, would have same issue with the Vortex. Unless the Vortex had significantly more relief, I'm talking inches. If I could have slid the Simmons back a couple, three inches I'd have no complaint. So perhaps I should have listed that as a negative for me on the stock of the rifle in re getting a good picture, not the scope.

I might check for bases that would allow me to bring the scope back, but don't know how far I could go without bell getting too close to the barrel. Then I'd have to get taller rings, but I'm perfect on eye level now, so I'd have to add more pad for height, etc, etc. If Ruger ultimately offers a youth model with a shorter stock, that would be ideal for me. So for now leaving it as is, will see how it goes next time I can get a trip in. And hope the conditions are better.

Last edited by angel71rs; June 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM.
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Old June 16, 2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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I enjoyed your post. I think this Ruger American will end up being the preferred economy hunting rifle. I have had good luck with the Simmons Whitetail series of scopes. The big 20X you have is too much for a hunting scope, but nice for shooting groups at 100 yds and farther. From the picture, it looks as though it should work OK in terms of eye relief. You surely wouldn't want it a "couple inches" further back and there are no bases that would make that possible, anyway. Are you getting your cheek down on the comb where it should be? All you need is enough clearance that the scope doesn't bang your eyebrow upon firing. I don't know what kind of rings you are using but I would agree with the suggestion to get a good pair of name-brand rings. When tightening rings, if there are two screws per ring as with the Weavers. Go back and forth between the front and back rings. Snug them up on one ring, then go to the other, and keep going until they are tight. If you tighten a screw on one ring, it will loosen the other, which should then be snugged down equally. Eventually, all screws will be tight, and tightening one screw on a ring will not loosen the other. Then you are finished and the scope will not be moving.
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Old June 16, 2012, 01:21 PM   #5
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Scope doesn't come close to banging my eyebrow. Last time I got smacked was in boot cause they wanted you right up on that rear sight. You had to find out the hard way how close is too close.

Cheek is sitting solid on the mousepad spacer I added to the top. When I get down on it in most comfortable position, I'm looking right down the center of the scope, but I'm too far back, so have to slide head forward to get a good picture, stretches me out. Just due to my physical dimensions vs ideal for this rifle.

The rings have a single cross bolt per ring, and the bolt bottom extends down a bit thru the bottom of ring. Which is why I had to flip the bases around to get the single notch on the bases further back. I did tighten the bolts & allen screws evenly a little at a time.

When I first mounted rings, I felt a sudden give when tightening the rear ring. I thought the bolt threads had stretched. But I popped it off, checked everything on ring, looked ok. I now think it was the burr on rear base being crushed by bottom of ring as I tightened bolt. The burr on rear base was bigger than the one on front base, and at the range the rear ring was the one that got looser.

So that's why I think the machining burrs on bases were the root cause of rings getting loose. I have a background in machining/mechanical design, kick myself for not checking the bases and spotting burrs. I think that I let them slip by because they were supplied by Ruger, so I didn't see them with the same suspicious eye that I did the rings. I should have.

Now that I deburred/chamferred the bases, will see if that theory holds up after next range trip.
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Old July 7, 2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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Finally got it to the range again, very happy with results. Shooting at 100 yds right from the start, conditions much better than last trip. Cloudy, light wind blowing in, slightly from the right. Learned from the 1st trip and used a virgin backer so I could see any whiffs. Good thing cause 1st shot was 10" right, 5" high. Adjusted, took a shot, adjusted again, pretty much there. This was with cheap Freedom Munitions 150gr reloads. Checked all the hardware, nothing loose.

Since I had it close, switched to Federal Matchking 168gr BTHPs. POI was higher, 1st shot is upper right in pic. Adjusted left, too much, upper left shot. Brought it back right a bit, and adjusted down. Highest center line shot. Adjust down, hit the X! Took another shot, hit just above the X. Then last shot at that target wandered up, 2nd highest center line shot. Pic of 1st target:

I'd taken a lot of shots without much time between rounds, so decided to let the rifle cool off. Checked hardware, ok. Shot 1st rounds thru my new Kel-Tec P32, excellent little pistol, ran like a champ. After barrel on the American cooled to slightly warm to the touch, shot 3 Federals at a fresh target. I didn't have anything to measure with, but group looked to be under an inch. Couple of pics with a quarter for scale:

Had a couple of shooting buddies there, they wanted to try it out. Both got decent 3 shot groups. 1st guy did about 1 1/2" group. 2nd guys 1st shot was an inch low, 3/4" left. But his next 2 shots were right on the money, one right above the other, touching. After that, I tried out some more Freedom Munitions ammo. The 168gr A-Max was a waste, about as accurate as the 150gr reloads. Typically 3" groups. The 168 gr HPBT-Match was almost as good as the Federal on some shots, but then I'd get a flyer an inch or inch and a half out of the group.

Hardware never came lose, so I'm convinced burrs on bases were the root cause of problems I had last time out. Again advise anyone buying an American to give them a good eyeball. I've decided to pop off the stock and adjust the trigger lighter. I sometimes had a hard time taking the shot when I wanted to. I'd have to regroup and try again. Going to see if adjusting helps. As far as the rifle's accuracy, shoots great if you give it time to cool off a bit between groups.
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Old July 10, 2012, 08:56 AM   #7
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I've seen and handled this ruger model and wanted one pretty bad........

but no left hand bolts........However, Savage has this model (11 trophy hunter xp) in a number of calibers in left hand bolts..........

I've had it just a few days. Before this, I had another savage (same model, a copy) with an ejection problem. I then swaped it for another copy from gallery of guns..........this one works better but still drops a spent case on rare occasion in the receiver which then jams things up unless I turn the rifle over to dump the spent case.........

other than that, it's a great piece.....but if I could, I would swap it for a ruger since this ejector thing bothers me..........rifles out of the box just ain't what they used to be and one sometimes gets a spud that needs work.

I don't know if this ejector is an issue common to this new model or what......but I got a new ejector assembly from midway and installed's now working great but we'll see again after a few rounds on the range........
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Old July 24, 2012, 08:40 PM   #8
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Flexing stock

Hi, today was the first time I took my American to the range. Another shooter helped me get on the paper target. I had a really hard time keeping the gun on the bullseye when trying to zero it. I want to blame the flexing the stock does above the bipod. When it flexes the target through the scope moves half the width of the target! I will try again using just sand bags to see if I can hold it steady. Ruger American 30-06. Blackhawk bipod 71BP06BK. BSA MD6-24x40 Scope. Winchester sand bags. Will try homemade kitty litter bags next time. I noticed this thread mentioned the flexing stock so that's why I replied. I await more posts in this interesting thread. Angel71, do you have difficulty holding the rifle still while the stock flexes on the bipod? How have you solved the problem? Thanks.

I went today and using sand bags let me adjust zero pretty good.

Last edited by pcmentor29; July 27, 2012 at 12:38 AM.
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Old July 26, 2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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I just got .308 American and couldn't be any more impressed. It's IMO the best intro rifle and could compete with some mid range rifles. Ergonomics and handling are excellent. Good trigger. Was able to get sub MOA groupings at 100yds (125 gn hand loads and Leupold rifleman scope).

I just wish it was available in more calibers ESP 22-250.
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:09 AM   #10
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Can't believe I missed this thread, before. I've been wanting to see some reviews and range reports on the American.

It's good to see that it's performing well.

If you have any more problems with those rings, pick up a set of the Weaver "Grand Slam" rings (and make sure the bases are tight, of course). The Grand Slam rings look pretty decent, and have treated me better than any other brand of weaver-style rings (including "premium" brands like Leupold). As a bonus... they're on sale quite often.

Speaking of which.... I used my last set of "spare" weaver-style rings on a new rifle, earlier this year. Time to keep an out for the Grand Slams to go on sale.
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Old July 28, 2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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pcmentor29: I read where others had the stock touch the barrel when resting on bipod. Checked mine before 1st range trip, while stock did flex, did not touch barrel. Did come close. When I take stock off to adjust trigger, I plan on sanding off a bit for added clearance, just in case.

Are you getting a good solid cheek weld? I couldn't until I added the mouse pad spacer on top of the comb. Otherwise I'd be too low on the scope and have to raise my head, losing stability, picture thru scope would move around. Pic of mouse pad stack on top of comb, I know it looks goofy, but free Ruger cheek pad covers it up:

FrankenMauser: I think removing the burrs on the bases took care of issue, but I'll keep the Grand Slam rings in mind should I have further problems.
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Old December 1, 2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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Hadn't taken it out for a while, been shooting new stuff I've been getting while the getting is good. I had adjusted the trigger lighter, didn't feel much different. But I forgot to sand more clearance on stock while I had it off. Today was spectacularly nice, a bit chilly in the morning, but just a light breeze directly from behind. Started with Freedom Blaster 150gr reloads. All were shooting right and a bit high. Was going to adjust scope, but decided to shoot one Federal Match 168gr. It was high and slightly left of center. Shot 2 more Feds, both high and a little right, right on each other. Did not adjust scope. Pic:

Let it cool a bit, then a couple of shooting buddies wanted to give it a try. Each shot 3 Freedom 168gr A-Max reloads. They made a string along the bottom of the X, ~ inch low. I fired a couple more 150gr reloads, right high again, then let it cool while we shot my new GP100 I did a trigger job on (excellent) and new SD9 (jammomatic).

Went back to shoot it again before putting it away and I knocked it over on it's side! Wow, did I feel dumb. I did manage to sort of slow the fall, but scope did hit the metal table with a clunk. Looked thru it to see if I'd busted the scope, seemed ok. I was sure the adjustment must have been thrown off. Put one round of the Fed downrange, slightly high, slightly left. No harm from my ham handedness. Shot another, slightly high, dead center. Took a 3rd shot and couldn't see the hole, on the target or the virgin backer. Thought I'd whiffed. Buddy with a spotting scope thought he could see the 2nd shot hole oblong a bit. We walked down there and sure looked like I put 2 in one hole, pic:

Checked hardware after getting home. Nothing loose, I think it's good to go. I continue to be impressed with the American, lot of value here.
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Old September 18, 2015, 03:19 PM   #13
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ADI is good stuff!

I bought some of the Australian ADI stuff that is supposed to be temperature stable. This stuff was expensive when it 1st came out, but guess it didn't sell well at that price, SGAmmo has it for a very reasonable price now:

Hadn't had the American out of the safe for a long time, decided testing the ADI would be a good reason to drag it out. Beautiful day, light breeze from the right front. Started with the cheap Freedom reloads to see if anything had gotten out of whack. Nope, good to go, so so groups as usual with this stuff. Next, Federal Matchking 168gr BTHP group was nice and tight. Friend that is a range officer then shot 3 Federals, about a 3/4" group. He was very impressed with the American.

Time for the ADI, and wow, this stuff was just as accurate as the Federal! POI was about the same too, no need to adjust the scope. At ~ $150 for a case of 200, the ADI is a bargain.

I'm planning on a winter experiment: bag some ADI and Federal Matchking, put in freezer overnight. Pack in ice for trip to range and see if:

a. POI of Federal changes, if so, by how much.
b. POI of ADI changes, if so, by how much.
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