Ruger American: Top-Selling Bolt-Action Rifle of 2020

posted on February 3, 2021

Ruger introduced its bolt-action American Rifle in 2011, and it found success quickly. Part of the key was a pocketbook-friendly price tag, with an MSRP of $449 when American Rifleman introduced readers to it in 2012, but there’s no denying a major part of the attraction was the company’s reputation for making firearms with long-lasting performance.

It was the top-selling bolt-action rifle on in 2020, and its climb to the top has been a steady and methodical one. In 2016, it claimed seventh place in that category, jumping to No. 4 in 2017 and holding at third in both 2018 and 2019. Despite the steady demand and increased price of raw materials, MSRP for the standard model has increased an average of only $4 a year. Today, Ruger lists it at $489.

A month after American Rifleman introduced the rifle, contributor Dave Campbell tested one and concluded,” Nope, the Ruger American Rifle isn’t about forged and polished receivers, well-figured European walnut and jeweled bolt bodies. It is all about a shooter or hunter wanting an accurate and reliable rifle without breaking the bank. With an MSRP of $449 and street price in the mid to upper $300s, this rugged shooting tool can be ready to go into the field for around $500, and in today’s market, that’s a lot of gun for the money.”

Part of the rifle’s key to a steady climb to the top is the diversity of new models that have debuted since its introduction. There’s no shortage of chamberings available, either.

Standard models have a black synthetic stock with a matte-black finish on the alloy-steel metalwork. Barrel lengths are 22" and versions are available for .243. Win., .270 Win., .30-06 Sprg., .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor and 7 mm Rem. Mag. There’s also a model exclusive to distributor Big Rock Sports that wears a Cerakote finish, although its MSRP is likely a little higher.

Other versions of Ruger’s American Rifle now include the Predator, Ranch, Go Wild Camo I-M Brush Stock, Hunter, Compact and a Vortex Crossfire II. The top-end model of the latter will set you back all of $699, but it comes with a factory-mounted Vortex Crossfire II rifle scope. It comes in all the chamberings found in the Standard line, except 7 mm Rem. Mag., but adds .204 Ruger and .223 Rem. to the options.

There’s something for every application in the line. Some have receiver-mounted rails and you even find .450 Bushmaster and .350 chamberings in the Ranch models. That diversity is yet another reason the Ruger American Rifle claimed top honors last year.


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