Ruger American Rifle goes “Magnum”

The author's bull went just 50 yards after a through the shoulder shot from the American and the Hornady payload that completely passed through.

The author's bull went just 50 yards after a through the shoulder shot from the American and the Hornady payload that completely passed through.
The author’s bull went just 50 yards after a through the shoulder shot from the American and the Hornady payload that completely passed through.

One of the best deer rifles in the country just got an upgrade.  Here’s a report from one of the first users.

Sometimes a fellow gets lucky and that’s how I felt when I had the chance to hunt elk with Ken Jorgenson, marketing director of Sturm Ruger.  The American Rifle was introduced in two magnum cartridges for the first time and what better caliber to hunt elk, than with the .300 Winchester Magnum?

The author received the rifle just prior to the hunt with limited time to bench test it, yet got a 200 yard MOA group on the first try.

Unfortunately, the rifle arrived just prior to the hunt with enough time to sight it in properly, but not much experimentation.  I teamed the Ruger with Hornady Superformance ammo and quickly learned that the Ruger American Rifle was one MOA (Minute of Angle) at 200 yards.  This equates to approximately two inches of accuracy at 200 yards (similarly, one-inch at 100 yards, three-inches at 300 yards, etc.).

The hunt I booked was a do-it-yourself event in the White River National Forest during the second bull elk season when tags were available over the counter.  Typically, a hunter in this area sights a rifle in at 200 yards so that an elk from zero to 300 yards is at “point blank” range.

We discovered that Hornady Superformance magnum ammo provided consistent accuracy and an extra margin of knock-down for big game animals when teamed with the Ruger American Rifle.

Ironically, the hunt nearly ended after 20 minutes.  I walked a buddy to a likely elk crossing and then sneaked back toward a ridge top overlook and walked smack into a nice 5×5 bull at 40 yards.  Sometimes elk can act unresponsively when they first see something they can’t identify, but not this one.  As we came eyeball-to-eyeball on the ridge top, the bull whirled and crashed into nearby oak brush in a heartbeat.  I tried to circle back and out flank the fleeing animal, but it was in high gear and completely gone.

I had taken every precaution to maximize opportunity in long range conditions with an accurate rifle, powerful Hornady Superformance ammo, and Nikon optics, including a 2.5-10X Prostaff Scope, Prostaff 8×42 binoculars and rangefinder.  If I could see a bull, it was probably within range.  Ironically, I’d fill my tag at 50 yards and a broadside shot.  Not complaining, mind you, but not the long range shot I’d prepared for.

Since I also had a mule deer tag, I spent seven full days with the Ruger American Rifle from dawn to dusk and quickly learned to appreciate its assets.  Here’s a quick rundown of the rifle’s merits in bullet point fashion:

  • Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger offers a crisp release with a pull weight that is user adjustable between 3 and 5 pounds, allowing shooters to make that perfect shot.  In the field, this is one of the most critical variables of accuracy.
  • Ergonomic, lightweight nylon synthetic stock designed for quick, easy handling blends a classic look with modern forend contouring and grip serrations.  It didn’t reflect light and looked great after banging it on the rocks.
The Ruger American series includes a variety of models and calibers. New are the 7 mm Rem Mag and 300 Win Mag.
  • Soft rubber buttpad is crafted for maximum recoil reduction and came in hand with the recoil of the .300 Win Mag
  • The one-piece, three-lug bolt with 70° throw provides ample scope clearance and utilizes a full diameter bolt body and dual cocking cams for smooth, easy cycling from the shoulder.
  • Patent-pending Power Bedding®, integral bedding block system positively locates the receiver and free-floats the barrel for outstanding accuracy.
  • Offers ONE minute-of-angle accuracy that can make every hunt a success.  My first 200-yard group was MOA.
  • 5/8″-24 threaded barrel is cold hammer-forged, resulting in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning.
  • Features a visible, accessible and easy-to-actuate tang safety that provides instant security.
  • Single-column detachable box magazine.
  • Also includes – magazine; sling swivel studs.  A rifle strap is a must when climbing in difficult terrain.
  • Factory-Installed One-Piece Aluminum Scope Rail.  This sounds like a small item, yet if a base comes loose, accuracy heads due south to a warmer climate. If you are looking for a big game rifle at a very modest price, give one of the new Ruger American magnum rifles a look.  I’ll bet you won’t be disappointed. Check