For those who don’t have an unlimited spending account set aside for their firearms purchases, many firearms manufacturers have really stepped up to the plate to provide quality affordable options for today’s hunter and shooter. One excellent example of today’s outstanding options is the Ruger American Rifle. Available in both compact and traditional sizes, in myriad caliber choices ranging from 22-250 Rem, 223 Rem, 243 Win, 270, 7mm-08 Rem, 308 Win, and 30-06 Spg, the American family of rifles has something for just about everyone. In addition, they are offered in all-weather satin stainless, left handed, and compact models as well, and recently, the addition of Ranch, and Predator models have been added to the list as well.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good walnut stocked, deep glossy blue finished rifle. I don’t however enjoy dragging a gorgeous work of art through the harsh, foul weather, and rough terrain of East Tennessee during deer season. With this in mind, I set out to purchase a quality, yet affordable, composite stocked rifle for my hunting adventures last season. After reading numerous reviews, and checking out the many outstanding choices in person, I settled on a Ruger American Rifle in my favorite all around cartridge, the 30 caliber, U.S. government cartridge of 1906, also known of course as the 30-06 Springfield.
I’m fond of the .30-06 for several reasons. Having a collection that includes WWII veterans such as an M1 Garand and a M1903A3, both chambered for the classic cartridge, I already have the reloading dies and components on hand, not to mention the fact that the .30-06 is an outstanding jack of all trades, being enough for just about anything you’ll encounter, without being too much. Add to that the myriad .308” bullets available due to its commonality with most other .30 caliber centerfire cartridges, as well as advancements in powder, and you have a cartridge that can be custom tailored for just about any need you may have with peak performance approaching .300 WINMAG levels.
I purchased the rifle for a meager $347 at our local Wal-Mart. Yes, down here in ‘Murica (Tennessee), we can pretty much get anything at a Wal-Mart. You can buy an AR-15, 1000 rounds of ammo, thirty round magazines, myriad tacticool gear, a case of beer, get your oil changed, and buy your groceries all in one stop.
Upon getting the rifle home for inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to find a coupon for a free stock mounted cheek pad/ammo holder. I applied online, and within about a month, the free and unexpected gift arrived at my home. But back to the gun… Upon initial inspection, I found the trigger break to be smooth and crisp, albeit a little heavy for precision shooting—at least for my taste. With that in mind, I removed the stock with two simple Allen screws and adjusted the factory adjustable trigger called the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger down to its lowest pull weight of three pounds. To me, this is the ideal trigger pull for precision shooting in real world situations where you don’t want and can’t afford a premature discharge from a featherweight trigger.
In addition to the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger, the rifle features a lightweight composite stock that fit me like a glove. I especially like the cut and serrations of the fore end. It always felt right at home in my hands in the field. The stock also contains Ruger’s Power Bedding system, which positively locks the receiver and free floats the barrel. The bolt is of full diameter design with dual cocking lugs, the barrel is hammer-forged, the safety is conveniently located on the tang and the rifle utilizes a smooth operating removable rotary magazine.
After adjusting the trigger, I fitted the rifle with a Bushnell Banner 6-24x 50mm scope that I just happened to already have laying around unutilized and headed off to the range (Later to be fitted with a Redfield Revolution 3-9x 40mm). I fed the rifle a mix of Remington Core-Lokt and Federal soft point ammunition consisting of the common weights of 150, 165, and 180-grain projectiles. I was quite pleased with the recoil absorption abilities of the composite stock. It felt much less abusive than my other rifles chambered in the century-old main battle round. In addition, I found accuracy, even with the mid-level off the shelf ammunition I had on hand to be 1 MOA on average, and just a shade better with the 165-grain bullets.
Once the scope was sighted in and ready to go, the rifle and I immediately began to trek around on our very mountainous 6500-acre hunting lease. Being new to the property, I put a lot of miles on my boots with the Ruger American slung across my back. Dragging it through the thick brush, becoming drenched with rain and even ice and snow at times. Regardless of the harshness of the environment in never showed signs of corrosion and the finish even held up against the occasionally clumsy drag across a rock or the metal of a tree stand ladder.
All in all, I feel the Ruger American Rifle is the best dollar for dollar purchase I’ve ever made in a full powered rifle. It’s tough, accurate, comfortable, and quite frankly, does everything I could ever want a rifle to do, regardless of price. If you’re in the market for a new bolt action rifle, I highly recommend that you give the Ruger American family of rifles a look.