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Old January 8, 2018, 09:33 PM   #1
Pistola Pedro
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Ruger American 7.62x39 review

I'll try to keep this short and to the point. This review is for those considering this rifle as a purchase.
Let me start with a year recommendation for purchase. Overall, I'm very happy with this rifle. The idea behind it seems simple enough, but if it isn't obvious.... This is a lightweight, very handy, low recoiling, cheap to shoot rifle that is perfect for medium sized game at medium range shots.
Cons-
- cocking the bolt and general bolt operation takes far more effort and is less smooth than even a run of the mill Savage 10
- the bolt hold open feature means no single feeding on this rifle
-the trigger is adjustable but even at it's lightest is too heavy in my opinion
- probably should've offered irons in this type of rifle, but it doesn't really bother me
- the rail as installed from the factory quickly shook loose during spring which I suspected it would. Loctite fixed that

Pro's
+ ACCURACY!!!!! I've been blown away. I get 2 inch groups at the worst with even the crappiest ammo I can find. My last several outings have provided sub inch 100 yd. 5 round groups with Golden Tiger. That ammo would probably be the best if they had better quality control. Inevitably, I get a horrific flyer once in every 10 rounds. Not the guns fault. Hornady Black is ALWAYS an inch or better at 100 yds. That's just unexpected for this round. If this was a .308 I'd probably be less blown away, but dang! I didn't expect to want to keep such nice glass on it, but it has a $500 scope on it that is going to stay there.
+ So small and handy that it is almost funny. Very compact. Very light.
+ The mags are nice to work with. They eject smoothly and lock in firmly.
+ Threaded barrel is great for throwing on a brake or linear compensator (I did the comp and can recommend it). The gun doesn't recoil too much and I'm not sure how much a brake will change things.
+ Cost of shooting!

I bought mine in early October and have fired close 500 rounds through it. No problems with feeding or ejecting for me. This rifle likes to be handled with authority. No slow sniper wannabe pulls of the bolt or soft closing. My friend tried that and had a failure to properly eject where the shell basically just turned itself backwards in the open action.

Changes I wish Ruger would make..... Not many
_ better trigger for sure
_single feed ability?
_open sights?
_better bolt handle (feels tiny and cheap)

Buy it
Pete

Last edited by Pistola Pedro; January 9, 2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Old January 9, 2018, 05:18 AM   #2
std7mag
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Thanks for the review!!

Still not sure i understand about not being able to feed single. Never hear of a bolt hold open on a bolt gun. Auto pistols sure.
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Old January 9, 2018, 06:02 AM   #3
LilHog
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I came so close to buying one of these in 7.62 as I have the same model "ranch" in 5.56 and its a good shooter. I agree about the open sights, this rifle needs them. The reason I didn't buy it is because I didn't want to stock another caliber. I'm sticking with the 5.56 version as it does everything I need, but I'm sure glad to see Ruger making a bolt action in 7.62 and the good reviews it's getting.
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Old January 9, 2018, 07:25 AM   #4
hodaka
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Many military bolt guns have magazine followers that prevent the bolt from closing on an empty chamber. You just need to push it down, either with your thumb or a round, to close. I think that is what is meant.
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Old January 9, 2018, 07:53 AM   #5
Jack O'Conner
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A short carbine chambered for this Soviet cartridge makes a lot of sense for deer hunters who keep their shots within reasonable distances.

Jack
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Old January 10, 2018, 05:30 PM   #6
seanc
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Thanks for the review!

I didn't shoot one, but at the fun store, I dry fired the 5.56 RAR (all they had). It felt like a toy, it was so light! It shouldered easily and the trigger seemed pretty decent, if not too light. The only complaint I had was how the bolt was finished: it seemed rough and there was some grittiness in working the bolt. I had no other issue with the rifle other than that. Is that the case for the 7.62x39 RAR?
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Old January 10, 2018, 06:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Still not sure i understand about not being able to feed single. Never hear of a bolt hold open on a bolt gun. Auto pistols sure.
This rifle uses the same mags used in the Ruger Mini-30. I've not handled one yet, but can see this as a quirk.
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Old January 10, 2018, 09:33 PM   #8
bamaranger
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x39mm bolt rifle

I don't have an American in the x39mm cartridge, but I have an earlier Ruger 77 MkII lightweight, bolt rifle, that I have been singing the praises of for some time on these pages.

As Pedro advises, such a rig gives up very little inside 100 yds on deer sized game, is cheap to feed, and very pleasant to shoot. Great as a boys rifle, easy to carry into the steep and thick places for those of us that are older than we used to be. Because mine is so portable (and I'm sure the American is too) I take it into places that heavier rigs would be cumbersome. Accordingly, the biggest whitetail I've ever shot, and another nearly as big, have fell to that Ruger and the x39mm cartridge.

I read some press thta the x39mm cartridge will fade, since the .300 Blk is on the scene, but I really doubt it. The American, affordable, and by reports, a good rifle, will help extend the cartridge even longer.
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Old January 11, 2018, 06:46 AM   #9
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7.62X39 is a historical proven battle round with hefty stopping power in a short cartridge. I can definitely see the attraction to a hunting round, however take note if you're relying on millsurp that's a gamble at this time with all the Russian sanctions. I would suggest getting into handloading and stock up on x39 brass for future shooting sustainability. Good luck with the new rifle. I have a Yugo Opap and have a very nice stash of millsurp and handloading components. The x39 can be made accurate with 150+ gr flat base bullets. I did some testing with my Opap, but didn't get real serious.
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Old January 11, 2018, 08:50 AM   #10
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I often thought of getting the RA in 7.62X39 simply because I dont have a 7.62X39, I've shot a ton of AKs and SKSs and never saw one that suits my accuracy requirements.

Since I have 4 other RAPs in different calibers I've become quite impressed with their accuracy so I figured, Why Not?

Until I shot a Ruger American in the Russian Caliber. Not impessed. I'm not talking surplus ammo, I'm talking carefully crafted hand loads with quality ammo. ( I refuse to shoot surplus ammo even in my Mosin).

I've just never found a 7.62X39 rifle that would compete with an 223. And for hunting, its accuracy is no where near that of the 6.5 CM or 308.

When people talk of the 762/39 they talk of Minute of Man. I'm no longer a soldier, I but I'm concerned about Minute of Prairie Dog. MOM doesnt cut it when you're shooting PDs at 400 or so yards.

There is a reason you never see the 7.62X39 winning any sort of rifle matches.
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Old January 11, 2018, 01:28 PM   #11
Rmart30
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Quote:
There is a reason you never see the 7.62X39 winning any sort of rifle matches.
Not the reason the round, or guns in 7.62x39 were intended for. Be like saying the same thing about a 30-30 or 45-70.
Under 200 yards make for a fine cheap to shoot hunting or plinking rifle.
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Old January 11, 2018, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
When people talk of the 762/39 they talk of Minute of Man. I'm no longer a soldier, I but I'm concerned about Minute of Prairie Dog. MOM doesnt cut it when you're shooting PDs at 400 or so yards.
Wrong application. Nothing that's .30 caliber or over is meant for shooting Prairie Dogs at any distance.

Quote:
take note if you're relying on millsurp that's a gamble at this time with all the Russian sanctions. I would suggest getting into handloading and stock up on x39 brass for future shooting sustainability.
This is a big concern for me as well. Idk if or when these sanctions will affect the 7.62x39 or other Russian made ammo market, but if it's anything like post Sandy Hook panic times, I just can't see the point in getting a 7.62x39 Ruger American.

When I heard about the sanctions I said, "Shoot, if I can't shoot Wolf or Tula or Brown/Silver Bear, what am I gonna do? Reload?" Even reloading isn't worth it because I could easily reload .308 down to 7.62x39 power, but then the question is why would I load it down when I could use my time more wisely and reload .308 target loads that will be more accurate and more powerful than 7.62x39 anyway?

Without cheap steel case 7.62x39 ammo, there's no appeal to me to own or spend money on a gun chambered in that cartridge.

Quote:
I read some press thta the x39mm cartridge will fade, since the .300 Blk is on the scene, but I really doubt it. The American, affordable, and by reports, a good rifle, will help extend the cartridge even longer.
.300 BLK will never replace the 7.62x39 unless the price drops or 7.62x39 gets more expensive in the future. The .300 is great for subsonic shooting, but when suppressed shooting is taken out of the equation, the .300 has nothing on 7.62 or .223 for that matter, unless we're talking about a pistol or SBR with a 10 or 12 inch barrel.

.300 is a very niche cartridge. It's in the same league as 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and .50 Beowulf: cool, but their practical value doesn't exceed their cost factor.
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Old January 11, 2018, 05:47 PM   #13
seanc
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^True dat^

I differ on the .308 vs. 7.62x39 argument: The RAR in 7.62x39 (556 that I handled) is a lot lighter than my .308 rifle. The recoil is a lot lighter too. Per your right tool for PDs observation, 7.62x39 is more than capable of putting down deer under 200 yards and the RAR is hunting accurate (MOA-ish by most reports). For a lot of hunters, this is a good combination. Cheap plinking is a bonus.
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Old January 13, 2018, 12:44 AM   #14
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Bought one for my 7yo to shoot and learn to deer hunt with. I have a bunch of Wolf ammo and it looks more like a shotgun. Switch it over to some Winchester 123grn FMJ and the group shrinks to 1” at 100. Feed it some 123grn Federal SP and you’ll stack them on the head of a dime. I’ve been very impressed with that little gun. Kind of hoping he outgrows it soon. I have plans.
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Old January 13, 2018, 10:49 AM   #15
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@ truthtellers

Quote:
.300 is a very niche cartridge. It's in the same league as 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and .50 Beowulf: cool, but their practical value doesn't exceed their cost factor.
On the .300BO, I might agree with you, but to lump it into a niche category with 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel is a little far fetched. I cannot speak to the .50 Beowolf, as I've not shot it or considered it.

The 6.8 carries 1000 ft/lbs of energy to 300 yards and the 6.5 Grendel to 400 yards. Now lets put that into practical perspective with a common loading most are familiar with.

Consider that a 30-30 in a traditional round nose loading only carries 1000 ft/lbs to 150 yards and with lever-evolution extends that close to 250 yards.

Both the 6.5/6.8 fit into the AR-15 magazines and turn the AR into a practical deer rifle in states where 5.56/.223 is not permitted, or for those who don't subscribe to the .223 as a practical deer cartridge.

All of this data was taken from the Hornday website and is based on their offerings... SSTs for the 6.8 nd 6.5, and 150gr interlock round nose and 150 gr lever evolution for the 30-30.
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Old January 16, 2018, 12:46 AM   #16
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In have one and it is a light, reliable carbine. For the distance I shoot, the 7.62 x39 is a pretty good cartridge. It both cheap and plentiful, something the 300 BK will never be.
The bolt will hold open with a 30 round Mag, but I see no reason to have one. My intended use is for deer and other small game and the 5 round Mag works just fine.
While there are tons of Russian ammo, all steel case, I use Hornady brass case for my hunting.
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Old January 16, 2018, 06:22 AM   #17
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Too bad they don't make a version with a 20" barrel. The 16" tube just seems too short for best efficiency from the round...

Tony
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Old January 17, 2018, 09:43 PM   #18
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Yeah but you can make 300 blk brass from .223/5.56 brass and there are a lot of .308 projectiles out there.

Guess the cost of shooting is all about perspective
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Old January 17, 2018, 10:49 PM   #19
Model12Win
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Very nice combat style defensive bolt carbine.
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Old January 18, 2018, 07:08 PM   #20
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I bought one of these little Ruger rifles early last fall. It's been hunting several times. So far, just one pig has fallen victim. I started out using TulAmmo soft points. Graduated to Hornady steel case SST, and now am loading my own. I use Hornady cases, IMR 4198 powder, Winchester small rifle primers and a Sierra 125 grain, .311 Pro Hunter bullet.
Accuracy is good. I have a Weaver 30mm scope mounted, 1-4.5X.
I have no negatives to report. Every thing about the rifle functions as it's supposed to.
It's not a target rifle. Was not intended to be. I hunt short range, heavy cover for hogs and deer. It's close to perfect for my needs.
I have, ahem, a few rounds of milsurp ammo around. I can shoot the rest of my life and not run out.
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Old January 19, 2018, 12:13 AM   #21
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Do me a favor. See if you can figure out the maximum over all length cartridge that mag will take.

1:10 twist?

Thanks
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Old January 20, 2018, 11:22 AM   #22
Mannlicher
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Published specs call for a COL of 2.20. I have been loading to 2.150. The Ruger twist for the 762x39 is 1:9.5. Right hand twist. All this info is readily available with a casual search,
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Old January 21, 2018, 08:55 PM   #23
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I have never been a Ruger fan but had a chance to pick up a compact in 7mm08 and was to slow on the trigger, it was a real nice gun I still think about it, maybe I should try an American ??
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Old Yesterday, 09:38 AM   #24
jaysouth
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Manlicher,

Is the COL you posted specifically for this magazine or from a manual? A 'casual' search didn't give me any magazines to measure.
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