Ruger American Rifle Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
June 6, 2012

I will admit that I'm a big fan of Ruger firearms, have been for years, and my enthusiasm for Ruger firearms only seems to grow with each new product they bring to the table.  Over the last several years it appears that Ruger has decided to take on the firearms market by coming out with products that veer from Ruger's traditional past.  A few examples of their new products would be their SR line of rifles and pistols, their LC pistols, and their Gunsite rifle.  Based on the way Ruger's stock price (RGR) climbed earlier in the year, they must be doing something right and it is clear that there are a lot more fans out there than just me.

Figure 1 - 5 Year Ruger Stock Price
Ruger American Rifle Review

This year Ruger introduced a new bolt action rifle called the "American Rifle" which provides a full featured bolt action rifle at a value price.  Some of the key features are the adjustable trigger, full diameter bolt, tang safety, power bedding, rotary magazine, light weight stock, and drilled & tapped receiver with scope bases.  The amazing part is that they are providing this platform at a suggested retail price of $449.  I was able to find it online for as low as $359 plus shipping & transfer fees which is a great price for this full featured rifle and even more so when you consider you are getting an American made Ruger rifle.  Currently (at the time of this review) Ruger offers this rifle in .243 Win, .270 Win, .30-06 Sprg. and .308 Win. I was able to get one in .308 Win for this review.

 

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Ruger website on 4/21/12 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications for the Ruger American Rifle.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview

  • The 100% American-made, Ruger American Rifle™ is the latest engineering innovation from America's leading firearms manufacturer.
  • Offered in short- and long-action calibers, the Ruger American Rifle combines the rugged reliability of Ruger's past with the award-winning ingenuity featured in so many of Ruger's new products.

Key Features

  • Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger offers a crisp release with a pull weight that is adjustable between 3 and 5 pounds, allowing shooters to make the perfect shot. The trigger on the review rifle was adjustable from 3.5 to 6.0 pounds.
  • Ergonomic, Lightweight Stock (designed for quick, easy handling) blends a classic look with modern forend contouring and grip serrations.
  • Soft Rubber Recoil Pad is crafted for maximum recoil reduction.
  • Three-Lug 70 Degree Bolt provides ample scope clearance and utilizes a full diameter bolt body and dual cocking cams for smooth , easy cycling from the shoulder .
  • Power Bedding, an integral bedding block system that positively locates the receiver and free-floats the barrel for outstanding accuracy.
  • Hammer-Forged Barrel , resulting in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning.
  • Features An Easy-To-Actuate Tang Safety that provides instant security, visibility and accessibility.
  • 4-Round Rotary Magazine fits flush with the stock and offers the smooth feed that has become the hallmark of Ruger rotary magazines.
  • Also features drilled and tapped receiver for mounting the included scope bases , sling swivel studs and Free cheekpad offer .

Specifications

  • Catalog Number: AMERICAN
  • Model Number: 6903
  • Caliber: .308 Win.
  • Stock: Black Composite
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Sights: None-Bases Supplied
  • Weight: 6.12 lbs. The review rifle measured 6.13 pounds including the rotary magazine and scope bases.
  • Barrel Length: 22.00"
  • Overall Length: 42.00" The review rifle measured 42.25".
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Length of Pull: 13.75"
  • Twist: 1:10" RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • Capacity: 4
  • Suggested Retail: $449.00 You can find online prices for about $359 plus S&H and transfer fees.

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • My first impression was how lightweight the Ruger American Rifle feels.  Weighing in at 6.13 pounds, this rifle would be a pleasure to carry in the field. 
  • I was impressed with the smoothness of the action on the bolt, the crispness of the trigger and the soft recoil pad.
  • The trigger had a crisp feel and only travels 0.03" throughout its full range of motion.
  • Disassembly and reassembly of the Ruger American Rifle is quick and simple just like nearly all bolt action rifles.  The instruction manual was easy to follow and I'm glad Ruger provided instructions and torque values for retightening the stock screws.
  • My range tests proved that this rifle is 1 MOA capable.  I had a 5-shot group average of 1.41" at 100 yards with a $15.97 box of inexpensive Federal 150 gr Soft Points.
  • I didn't show any real accuracy decline with my 5-shot groups through the lite profile barrel, but if you're needing that many shots in a row, you must be in a pack of coyotes, shooting on the run, or just a really bad shot.

Pro/Con/Comment? (you decide):

  • The trigger pull was set at an average of 4.05 pounds on this rifle based on 5 pulls from a Lyman trigger pull gauge.  I determined the adjustable range for this trigger and found it to be from about 3.7 to 6.0 pounds out of the box.  This was heavier than the 3 to 5 pounds advertised.  During the process of this review, the trigger pull weight has reduced to an average of just under 3.5 pounds.
  • The stock on this rifle was fully floated until I rested the rifle on a bipod.  On the bipod, the stock was lightly touching the barrel.  I feel this is something that can be easily fixed at home and is also something you can check at the store by placing your hand under the rifle at the front sling mount and then resting the rifle on your hand and toe of the stock.  If the stock touches the barrel, you should ask the gun store to bring out another rifle, be prepared to modify the stock yourself, or send it back to Ruger to resolve after your purchase.  I was able to correct this by wrapping some 80 grit sandpaper around a AA battery and sanding the area.

Cons:

  • The only issue I found was that the empty cases appear to be flipping around and sometimes impacting the receiver causing marks just behind the ejection port.  Clearly this is not a show stopper, but I didn't want to seem biased by not having any cons.

 

Bottom Line:

Recently a local gun store had the Ruger American Rifle on sale for $349 and I was shocked at the value you get from this rifle at that price.  I really like the approach that Ruger took with the bolt, receiver and new magazine and hope to see this same approach on future centerfire rifles.  This new American Rifle from Ruger lived up to my expectations and I'm sure it will see real field time over the years to come.  If you are in the market for a value oriented quality rifle, make sure you take a look at the Ruger American Rifle the next time you are at a gun store.


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