Ruger American Rimfire™ Review
Part 3 - External & Operational Features
August 28, 2013

Ruger American Rimfire Review

In this part of my Ruger American Rimfire Rifle Review, I will cover all the externally visible and operational features of this rifle.  As always, clicking on a photo will bring up a high resolution image showing the finer details in the photo.

 

At first glance, the Ruger American Rimfire rifle looks like a standard sporting/hunting rifle with its 22" barrel, sights, composite stock and trigger.  It is not until you look a little closer that you see this rifle is a rimfire platform.  The full size configuration along with satin finish on the alloy steel parts and the black polymer stock gives this rifle a sleek look that seems to convey sporting accuracy.

Figure 1
Ruger American Rimfire Review

As mentioned in Part 1 of this review, Ruger has blended some of the best features from the American Rifle and 10/22 Rifle platforms into this new bolt action rimfire platform that I expect to be extremely popular in the future.

Figure 2
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Ruger has also taken the polymer stock from their standard American Rifle to a new level by keeping the original slim lightweight form and adding the ability to change both length of pull and comb height with replaceable recoil pads (more on this feature later in the review).

Figure 3
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 4
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The rifle measured 41.0" in length and has a 22.0" sporter barrel.  Excluding the bolt, the maximum width across the stock was about 1.78".  With the bolt closed, the bolt handle sticks out about 1.28".

Figure 5
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 6
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 7
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 8
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The empty rifle weighed in at 5.89 pounds.  The high comb recoil pad is about 0.14 pounds greater which would give the rifle a weight of 6.03 pounds.

Figure 9
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 10                                                              Figure 11
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

The end of the barrel comes with a recessed crown to protect the rifling to maintain maximum integrity.  The front sight is actually the same as that on Ruger's Single-Ten® Revolver.  In the photo below, you can see the slight change in barrel finish that I mentioned in Part 2.  The lighting I used to take this photo makes this difference more pronounced than is seen under normal lighting conditions.

Figure 12
Ruger American Rimfire Review

This sight is a high visibility Williams™ fiber optic sight and really does a great job of standing out when using the iron sights.  Sad to say, but with my bi-focal eyes, the focus in the photo below is fairly realistic for my eyesight.

Figure 13
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The front sight is held in place with a single screw.  I did my normal torque check to make sure it wasn't loose and found it to be tight.

Figure 14
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The barrel is cold hammer forged from 4140 alloy steel and has a black satin finish. The barrel measured 22.0" in length and has what I think of as a traditional sporter profile.  This barrel length should come close to getting the maximum velocity out of high velocity ammunition.  The barrel length also provides room for an 18.3" sight radius.

Figure 15
Ruger American Rimfire Review

At the muzzle, the barrel measures 0.600" in diameter and at the receiver it measures about 0.860" in diameter.

Figure 16
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 17
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The forend includes a ridged area along with texturing to give a somewhat "anti-slip" grip.  The reason I say "somewhat" is that because the stock is all polymer, there is still a slight slickness to the touch, even in these textured areas.

Figure 18
Ruger American Rimfire Review

There is no doubt by looking at the clearance between the front of the forend and barrel that the barrel is fully free floated.  The forend also includes a sling swivel point that is screwed into the polymer stock.

Figure 19
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The barrel has stamped into it Ruger's standard warning statement "BEFORE USING GUN READ WARNINGS IN INSTRUCTION MANUAL AVAILABLE FREE FROM RUGER, NEWPORT, NH USA."

Figure 20
Ruger American Rimfire Review

At the rear of the barrel is stamped the caliber "22 L R".

Figure 21
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Ruger decided to use their folding leaf rear sight assembly from their Ruger 10/22 Carbine for this new rifle.  This sight is adjusted for elevation by loosening the two screws and moving the sight blade in the direction you want the bullet impact to move.  Each graduation on the scale represents about 1" at 25 yards.  The blade of the sight can also be reversed to give a square notch rear sight picture.  Windage adjustments must be made by drifting the sight in the direction that you want the point of impact to move.

       Figure 22                                      Figure 23                                 Figure 24
Ruger American Rimfire Review  Ruger American Rimfire Review  Ruger American Rimfire Review

The receiver and bolt assembly have the same general looks as that of the American Rifle, but they have both been redesigned to be optimized in size for the rimfire calibers.  The receiver is made from 4140 alloy steel and comes drilled and tapped to accept Weaver #12 bases.  I was a little surprised to see that this rifle didn't come with the #12 bases like the American®, but since Ruger machined 3/8" dovetails integral into the receiver for standard tip-off mounts, the lack of #12 bases does make a little more sense.

Figure 25
Ruger American Rimfire Review

If you are planning to use the 3/8" dovetail mount, then be warned that all 3/8" dovetails or mounts are not the same.  It seems there are low radius 3/8" dovetails and high radius 3/8" dovetails, in addition, there are also slight differences in width between these two style mounts.  The combination of these differences made it hard to locally find 3/8" tip-off mounts that properly fit the American Rimfire™.  After trying four different sets of rings, I finally found a set made by Millett which were part of their Angle-Loc series that seemed to work great on the Ruger high radius 3/8" dovetails.  I show these rings in detail in Part 6 of this review.  Ruger has plans to setup a web page to identify which rings work on this rifle so that you don't have to go through multiple rings before you find the right ones.  I hope they also update their instruction manual with this same information.

Figure 26
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The single greatest feature carried over from the Ruger 10/22 platform is the use of their standard 10-shot rotary magazine.  I still use my first 10-shot rotary magazine from a rifle I received as a graduation gift over 25 years ago.  Using the 10/22 magazine not only gives the Ruger American Rimfire Rifle a 10+1 capacity, it also gives this rifle the ability to use Ruger's 25-shot BX-25® magazines or any other aftermarket 10/22 magazine available.  Ruger also incorporated their 10/22 extended magazine release to allow quick magazine changes.  The area around the magazine has some molded recesses that I feel are more cosmetic in nature, but they do give it a nice look.

Figure 27
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Engraved on the left side of the receiver are the serial number, Ruger logo and "RUGER AMERICAN".  The bolt stop lever is also located on this side.  Also notice that on the left side is a vent hole to allow the release of hot gasses in the event a case ruptures.

Figure 28
Ruger American Rimfire Review

These next two photos are intended to show the bolt in the closed and open positions.

Figure 29
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Total bolt travel measured 1.54".

Figure 30
Ruger American Rimfire Review

In the left photo below, you can see the bolt face, firing pin, extractor and positioner spring.  The right photo shows a magazine installed and the entrance into the chamber.

Figure 31                                                           Figure 32         
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

One deviation from the American Rifle is the ejector mechanism.  On the American Rifle, the bolt used an ejector plunger to flip the case out of the chamber as soon as the end of the case passed the rear of the chamber.  On the American Rimfire, the case or cartridge is held firm against the bolt face by the positioner spring as the bolt is moved to the rear.  You see this in the two photos below.  One shows a live round being removed and the other shows an empty case being removed.  As you continue to pull the bolt rearward from these positions, you pull the rear of the case into a fixed ejector which flips the case out the ejection port.

      Figure 33                                                          Figure 34
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

The Ruger American Rimfire™ appears to have a relatively short bolt throw and based on my measurements it appears that the bolt has a 60 degree throw as advertised.  The bolt handle also has a smooth rounded end that sticks well away from the stock to help with quick cycling of the bolt when shouldered.

Figure 35                                                           Figure 36
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

The Ruger American Rimfire™ comes with a tang safety which is easily accessible with your thumb and accommodates both a right and left hand shooter.  The photo on the left below shows the safety "on" (in "safe" position).  The photo on the right below shows the safety "off" (in "fire" position).  Once fired, the bolt must be cycled to cock the firing pin before you can move the safety back to the "on" or "safe" position.  The bolt can be cycled with the safety in either position after the bolt is initially cocked.

Figure 37                                                            Figure 38
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

The Ruger American Rimfire™ comes with the Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ Trigger which is user adjustable between approximately 3 and 5 pounds.  The "as received" trigger pull on this rifle measured 4.3 pounds based on an average of 10 pulls using a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale.  I was able to adjust the trigger down to 3.3 pounds which is where I will keep it for my range testing and most likely for the future.  The trigger was extremely crisp with no perceivable creep or overtravel.  This trigger system also incorporates a trigger release (trigger safety) which must be pressed before the trigger can be pulled.  The trigger guard is integrally molded into the stock.

Figure 39
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The grip on the stock has a raised pattern similar to the forend and also has a textured surface on this pattern.  The bottom of the pistol grip has the red Ruger eagle logo inlayed into the polymer stock.

Figure 40
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Looking inside the magazine well looks similar to that of a Ruger 10/22.  You see the same 10/22 latching mechanisms and the bottom of the bolt has a similar profile to that of the semi-automatic rifle.  By pushing forward on the magazine latch, the plunger is retracted into the housing.

Figure 41                                                            Figure 42
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

The front of the magazine is held in place by the recess in the metallic bedding block.

Figure 43
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Although the basic shape of the buttstock is the same on this new rifle, there is a significant deviation from the American Rifle.  Ruger has added the ability to replace recoil pads to achieve different lengths of pull and comb height.

Figure 44
Ruger American Rimfire Review

You can see the outline of the removable recoil pad in the photo below.  With this recoil pad installed, the length of pull measured about 13.88" and the comb height is near perfect for using the sights on the barrel.

Figure 45
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The rear of the stock includes a sling swivel stud which also acts as the screw which holds the recoil pad in place.

Figure 46
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 47
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Since the recoil pads on the American Rimfire are made of all polymer material, there is no rubber absorbing material to reduce recoil.  Since the recoil on a rimfire rifle is so small, no reduction in recoil is needed.  The grooves in the recoil pad are cosmetic in nature and match those on the forend and grip.

Figure 48
Ruger American Rimfire Review

To replace the recoil pad, you first must remove the rear sling swivel stud.

Figure 49
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Using a firm grip, I was able to pull the recoil pad off the rear of the stock.

Figure 50
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The photo below shows the high comb recoil pad installed on the stock.  This high comb gives you a good cheek weld when using a scope and would not be practical for using the iron sights.

Figure 51
Ruger American Rimfire Review

The Ruger American Rimfire™ rifle comes with Ruger's standard 10-shot rotary magazine which has proven itself for years as the most reliable 10/22 magazine I have ever owned.  Ruger recently came out with their new Ruger BX-25 magazine and so far it has also proven to be reliable, but it will take many years of putting it to the test to see if equals the reliability of their standard 10-shot rotary magazine.

Figure 52
Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 53                                      Figure 54                                    Figure 55
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

Figure 56                                      Figure 57                                    Figure 58
Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review   Ruger American Rimfire Review

 

Thoughts

The American Rimfire feels good to shoulder and the 3.3 pound trigger is crisp.  The addition of the removable recoil pads to change the comb height ensures you have a good cheek weld when shooting either the iron sights or when a scope installed.  Using the 10/22 10-shot rotary magazine was a great choice by Ruger and gives the consumer immediate aftermarket magazine choices if desired.  I wish Ruger had included a set of Weaver #12 bases.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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