The Ruger American Rifle

“Pretty bold to call your rifle the American, Mike,” I told Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer. He just grinned at me. Product Manager Mark Gurney and the engineers at Ruger’s Newport, N.H. factory, had given me a full briefing on the design, features and construction of the company’s latest model. Finally I am able to talk about the newest all-American-made bolt-action rifle. In case you haven’t put the puzzle pieces together, it is called the Ruger American Rifle, and it reflects the growing trend toward the economical bolt-action hunting rifles that are dominating the firearm industry. Ironically, it started in 1963 with the Savage Model 110, and has been dog piled on by Remington, Marlin and others. Last year, the hottest selling rifle in this class was the Savage Axis.

The Ruger American Rifle is an affordable rifle.

The Ruger American is designed to be affordable (its suggested retail is $449, but judging from Ruger’s suggested retail pricing versus what dealers actually charge, expect to see it for around $350 or less). Basically, it is a combination of features we have seen on other economical (and some not so economical) bolt-action rifles blended together with a few new innovations, too, in particular to the bedding system.

Ruger’s engineers Bruce Rozum, Scott Warburton and Dwight Potter all contributed to the design and brought features such as the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger, which has a passive trigger blade safety (much like a Glock pistol) in its face that allows adjustments from a claimed 3 to 5 pounds. There is also an excellent four-round capacity, polymer rotary magazine. It is a Ruger, after all.

The heart of a rifle is its barrel, and this one is cold-hammer forged, 22 inches long with a sporter contour, no sights, and it is made on the same Ruger barrel-making machines that do the Model 77 Hawkeyes. The barrel is attached to the receiver by a locking nut (much like the Savage 110) that is unobtrusive and allows for precise headspacing in assembly. Initial chamberings are .243 Win., .308 Win., .270 Win. and .30-’06 Sprg. The sample received here is a long-action .30-’06. This Ruger comes with Weaver style bases only, so you have to supply your own rings. And while I put a Redfield scope on it in Weaver rings, I have not had a chance to shoot it … yet. We’ll see how crowded the range is on January 2.

It has a full-diameter bolt, where the bolt body’s outside diameter acts as the guide surface, and three forward locking lugs for a 70-degree bolt throw. The bolt release/guide lug is on the receiver’s left. The bolt’s travel is surprisingly smooth. There is a sliding plate extractor (Sako-style) and a plunger-style (Model 700) ejector.


Ruger calls its new bedding system “Power Bedding” and there are bedding block inserts molded into the stock that mate with V-shaped surfaces cut in the receiver’s underside. It allows for tight consistent bedding of the action and leaves the barrel free-floating. Pretty slick.

It follows the trend of being aesthetically modern, but ergonomically excellent. It has the modern injection molded stock that one would expect, which aids in its 6 ¼-pound weight, empty and unscoped. The rifle is all black, save for the Red Ruger eagle on the grip cap. The stock has a palm swell at its pistol grip, but its front is thin through the wrist and its radius is fairly open. The stock is textured to help you hold on, and there is a groove for the weak side hand on the fore-end. And its butt is topped by a very good, soft recoil pad. In the hands, the American points remarkably well. Also, the flush-fitting magazine allows the gun to be carried comfortably with the hand just forward of the integral trigger guard.

As I chidingly told Mike Fifer, “I think your baby is ugly,” and continued with “But not as ugly as everyone else’s.” Sorry, I allowed my own personal tastes toward wood and walnut to creep in there for a minute. All black and modern is where aesthetics are heading. I guess I will just have to get used to it.

But how does it perform? Groups I have seen from the factory are in the one-hole to 1 ½-inch range, and Fifer took it with him to Greenland last year and used it on a fine Musk Ox. This rifle has a very good barrel, an excellent trigger, smooth operation and good ergonomics. It also went from concept to full production in less than a year. This is not the Ruger of old, this is a company with the drive and talent to react to market trends and then become a leader. You will be hearing a lot more about the Ruger American Rifle.

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47 Responses to The Ruger American Rifle

Josh White wrote:
March 04, 2014

I bought the 22-250 and had to send it back to Ruger. The bolt jams the bullet and the Sako style slide extractor would not slide over the bullet without hitting the bolt really hard forward. Ruger is repairing at no charge but I will have to wait to see what the outcome is.

Donovan wrote:
November 15, 2013

I have 4 rugers all fine guns. I bought the cheaper all american 30/06 today. Put it on the bench fired and the trigger gaurd broke. Really a turn off really cheap plastic. I sent an email to ruger to see if they will send a replacement. I love ruger said day for my birthday

aj wrote:
October 19, 2013

I love my Ruger American 30-06. Can shoot 1'ish groups with factory and hand loads all day. Incredible value. Probably going to pick up one in .243 next year.

Ron wrote:
August 28, 2013

Purchased mine in a .308. Holds a one inch group @ 100 yds like its nothing. I am very impressed. Trigger is incredible.This the biggest, best bang for your bucks as you can get.

Justin wrote:
July 30, 2013

Ruger hates lefties

jeff wrote:
July 07, 2013

I bought this riffleand I love it. At 100 yards I can keep a1' pattern consistently. For the price what more could you want :-)

B. Swift wrote:
March 14, 2013

Have owned the 308 for 2 months now. For the $350 I paid I got one heck of a rifle. Light weight, great bolt action, pretty good trigger, but the kicker: less than 1" groups printing at 100 yards. 2 in the same hole, 1 touching. Shooting Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr. Needless to say: I am pleased.

KWD wrote:
February 05, 2013

I just got one in .308, geez this thing shoots better than my weatherby lazermark. Adjustable trigger, super smooth bolt and detachable magazine, at $359.00 it just can't get any better this. 5 rounds at 175 yds 1' moa

Owen wrote:
December 06, 2012

The Glock of bolt action .308's. Great rifle, great price, great performance. Nothing flashy, but the rifle delivers on what it promises.

Greg T. wrote:
November 30, 2012

Although I have not held nor fired this rifle I gave seen it in action on one of the many sports mens shows. Gun writers/reviewers from several different magazines and such gave it a good work out at the bench and in the field shooting very long distances with surprising accuracy! I don't understand the comments from some who have called this rifle "cheap" or not a "real rifle"! This gun might be inexpensive but it's not cheap and is most certainly a REAL GUN! Features I have seen on Voere rifles (made in West Germany)(and Kliengunther in Texas would take Voere's and did some additional work, increased the 3 shots in a 1/2 in @ 100 yds to 5 shots in a 1/2 in @ 100 yds guarentie plus a much higher price tag!) This rifle minus the wood stock and deep bluing Voere was/is famous for takes the bolt system, detachable magazine and excellent adjustable trigger and such very similar Voere/Klinegunther would have. Pull the the bolt all the way back and there is MINIMAL play back n forth. Even SAKO rifles have play back n forth and there are not cheap! Also, tilt the gun forward just like a Voere and the bolt will glide forward! I've not seen any other rifle do so except for Voere and now this new INEXPENSIVE Ruger!! Add in the different size actions, the detachable internal magazine, the safety, short throw of the bolt and you have the qualities of VOERE all over it for less than USED Voere's are selling for! With all due respect, before one calls an inexpensive but high quality rifle cheap should really know a little bit of information. I certainly hope as time goes by Ruger will make different heavy barrel and appropriate stocked rifles available. Great job all at Ruger. I'm sure Mr. Bill Ruger is smiling knowing his company is in good hands.

Quentin estridge wrote:
November 14, 2012

Just got the American in .308 love how it feels the only problem is the bolt sometimes binds the rounds resulting in a jam but all in all very nice rifle

OhioPrepper wrote:
September 25, 2012

Yes this rifle is Ruger quality it is excellent go watch nutnfancys review of it on youtube I have put 60rds through mine. This is above excellent quality for the price. Remember what you need to expect out of a $300 rifle. This rifle went above and beyond.

Jack wrote:
September 11, 2012

Lefties are 10[%] of your market. So where is the leftie American. Need more calibers also.

steve phillips wrote:
August 07, 2012

I have the 30-06, and the 308. Shooting a 3x9x40 at 500 yards I'm just over a 1 inch pattern with factory ammo. Hope my 308 is just as good...

stephen wrote:
June 25, 2012

This rifle looks like the perfect choice for me! A nice and solid hunting rifle that doesn't give up the accuracy but is still rugged enough to be dragged through the woods. I'm going to wait for a left handed model though.. good job ruger! Now just add a lefty version and you've got me sold.

TexasFrank wrote:
March 01, 2012

Great article & I found some additional coverage on the Ruger American that may be of interest - http://www.realguns.com/articles/383.htm

Mike janczak wrote:
February 28, 2012

Looks and balances well Length of pull adjustments would be well received by shooters Beading system is a plus Rifle does not look cheap and machine work is more than expected in this price range

S Peabody wrote:
February 18, 2012

Great looking entry level rifle. I'd buy one if it has some iron sights on it. Doesn't anyone make a rifle with iron sights anymore?

Al-New Hampshire wrote:
February 11, 2012

Bought one today in 30-06 and could not be happier. Added a Bushnell Trophy XLT 3-9X40 and a simple nylon sling. Ready for long range zombies and tasty deer.

Tony Ruger wrote:
January 31, 2012

Looks like a great rifle. The features seem very well selected, but what 's up with the vanilla calibers. How about 6.5 Creedmore and 338 Ruger or .308 with an 18" barrel?

fergie wrote:
January 14, 2012

lefty please!!!!!!!!!!!! this gun makes sense i like it!

Southerner wrote:
January 07, 2012

The light flexible forend of the Ruger American may not be compatible with the use of a shooting sling. Perhaps it doesn't matter since most hunters have no idea how to use a shooting sling.

Craig_PHX wrote:
January 06, 2012

This is exactly the kind of bolt action rifle I have been looking for: I want an accurate, inexpensive .308 with a short bolt lift, light weight, plastic stock, metal bedding, good trigger, hammer forged barrel and soft recoil pad. You can keep your expensive heavy rifles that you have to worry about getting scratched. I want the Glock of bolt action rifles.

james shaffer wrote:
January 06, 2012

I have a marlin with the same barrel that shoots groups at 200 yards better than 1500.00 rifles. everyone that has seen me shooting it ask where did I get the barrel done. it feels good to say it came on the gun.

C. Barnes wrote:
January 05, 2012

I can't wait to buy one soon!!!

Jeff Davis wrote:
January 04, 2012

I don't like them going away from the mauser type action. And I'm ashamed that they would compete with savage. However, If this makes them run their business model and these rifles put americans to work and not some kid in asia somewhere I have no problem with them adding it to their line so long as they keep their model 77 line in tact for when I want a real rifle.

Scott L. Simmons wrote:
January 04, 2012

Just what we needed, another cheap rifle. Ruger has always made a solid rifle, now they're putting out a cheap push feed action. What a shame. Are they going to make it in China too?

mr. brock wrote:
January 04, 2012

I cant wait to get my hands on one.

RugerOwner wrote:
January 04, 2012

I am wondering will this be available in a left handed model chambered in 25-06 caliber?

yotebutcher90 wrote:
January 04, 2012

Well I don't really like where Ruger has been going, but they better keep the quality as well. There is one thing that I love about this gun is the tang safety is back!

Rodeobro wrote:
January 03, 2012

I have been waiting to buy a .308. The wait is over!

Patrick wrote:
January 03, 2012

Please make this in a left handed version.

K. Farris wrote:
January 03, 2012

I want a LEFT HAND model. I had an Axis and an XS7...both are nice but not LEFT HAND.

el ka-bong wrote:
January 03, 2012

why in the world do they not put a bull barrell on these rifles,,this I do not understand,,as surely a quality firearm it is,,,,,what do I know tho,,

Smoakin Gun wrote:
January 03, 2012

How about a 7mm-08 or 6.5 Creedmoor?

Your NameJames wrote:
January 03, 2012

I just found my rifle

CptPoly wrote:
January 03, 2012

Yes. It IS ugly. Bill Ruger IS turning in his grave. The 'American Rifle', is decidedly Un-American features. It is either a Glock, or a Yugo. Certainly not representative of MY idea of a quality American sporting rifle. I understand the marketing idea.....lower cost, but couldn't Ruger have mad a 'stripper' M77? Plain hardwood, flat matte finish, rings not included, no extra fluff? I am just sick.......

2ndAmendment wrote:
January 03, 2012

Will Ruger make this rifle in a left hand model?

Mack Missiletoe wrote:
January 03, 2012

Just don't let it replace the M77 and M77 Hawkeye! There are those of us who refuse to buy these cheap rifles and demand high-quality rifles like the M77 Hawkeye. For a few extra $100's you have a rifleman's rifle that'll outlast you yourself and ye. Trust me, the M77's are worth it!

Robert wrote:
January 02, 2012

I'm searching high and low for a 338LM. it would be to easy if this rifle came in this. Something I can afford.

Larry Durbin wrote:
January 02, 2012

If this rifle compares favorably with the Mod 110, then you have a winner,especialy for the price!!

Rod wrote:
January 02, 2012

Pretty is as pretty does. If it is a Ruger and it is a shooter I am sold.

Jeff Willis wrote:
January 02, 2012

Ruger: A company building what the shooter wants

Jason Blanton wrote:
January 02, 2012

The rifle sounds great for the money. I'm sure it is with having a synthetic stock but is the barrel factory floated? How long before we see a .223 or 22-250?

Chalmers wrote:
January 02, 2012

How about 26' barrel and. 338cal

Michael Cotton wrote:
January 02, 2012

I think you have to trust a little bit, yet seems okay on price and if it shoots like a Ruger usually does. It is a good buy/

Jim Felmlee wrote:
January 02, 2012

Hope someone makes a nice aftermarket walnut stock for it. Seems like a nice affordable rifle. See how it shoots and get back with us please!