I will admit to having an unnatural affinity
for the 300 Blackout cartridge. The cartridge is just such an
efficient little jewel, with effectiveness all out of proportion
to its diminutive size. Prior to receiving this new Ruger for
review, I already had three Blackout rifles in my possession;
two of them AR-15s, and the other a handy
little single shot.
The 300 Blackout and 300 Whisper are
technically not the same cartridge, but for practical purposes,
they are. The little cartridge achieves its potential in shorter
barrels, but my rifles wear sixteen inch nominal barrel lengths,
to lessen the paperwork, time, and tax burden imposed upon those
who want shorter barreled rifles. Even a sixteen inch barreled
300 is very handy, and also very effective. While most 300
Blackout rifles are built for social work, they are also very
effective on game. The efficiency of the cartridge pays off in
ammunition costs, and reduced recoil and noise. Suppressed, a
subsonic round fired from a Blackout rifle is very quiet, but
even a non-suppressed supersonic load is not excessively loud.
With a good hunting bullet, like the Barnes TAC-TX or Atlanta
Arms 110 grain tipped bullets, the cartridge is very deadly on
medium game, and what works well on a deer, does equally as well
For a while, 300 Blackout ammunition was hard
to find, but I just did a bit of inventory checking while
writing this review, and the ammunition suppliers listed at the
end of this piece have plenty in stock and ready to ship, as of
the date of this review.
their American Rifle back in January of 2012, and it has
been very successful for them. The American has several features
that make it a great rifle, regardless of price, but to those
whom price is important, as it is to most of us, the American is
one of the most-affordable hunting rifles ever produced.
Compared to higher-priced bolt-action hunting rifles, purchasing
the affordable American, the buyer gives up...........nothing.
The American Rifle was not introduced to just be a price leader
to get people into buying Ruger rifles. The American Rifle is a
series, with Ruger intending to cover most every practical
purpose for a rifle. So far, all American Rifles have worn
synthetic stocks, so those awaiting a good piece of walnut on
this rifle will have to wait, but synthetic has advantages over
wood, from a practical point of view. Synthetic is more stable
than a solid piece of wood, and stability translates into
consistent accuracy and point-of-impact in the field. Synthetic
is also lighter, at least in most cases.
The American wears an excellent trigger, a
hammer-forged barrel, and has a detachable rotary magazine. It
has one of the best bedding systems ever put into a rifle.
Proper bedding also contributes to accuracy, and in a hunting
rifle, accuracy is very important. When it comes to accuracy,
The American Rifle delivers. The low bolt lift of the American
allows for a lower-mounted scope, and is easier to operate.
Finally, on the American, Ruger placed the safety exactly where
God and Bill Ruger intended it to be, on the tang, centered for
equal use by either left-handed or right-handed shooters. The
American Rifle comes equipped with sling studs, as should any
hunting rifle, and the barrel is free-floated, as I and many
others prefer in a hunting rifle. Again, a shooter or hunter who
decides to save a few hundred dollars by purchasing the American
is giving up nothing in performance.
As stated above, the American is not just an
entry-level rifle, and Ruger
has added variations since it was introduced, with other
variations in the works. The latest is the Ruger American Ranch
version shown here. I first saw and had the opportunity to fire
the American Ranch rifle last week at a range in New Hampshire,
near the Ruger factory. Available in 5.56x45mm or 300 AAC
Blackout, the Ranch is light, handy, reliable, and accurate. The
American Ranch wears a sixteen and one-eighth inch
hammer-forged, free-floated barrel of medium taper, measuring
1.15 inches diameter at the barrel nut, and tapering to .694
inch just to the rear of the nuzzle. The barrel is threaded at
the muzzle to accept a sound suppressor, flash suppressor, or
muzzle brake. Industry standard threads are used, with the 5.56
threaded 1/2x28 TPI (threads per inch), and the 300 threaded
5/8x24 TPI. The synthetic stock is colored Flat Dark Earth
(FDE), formerly known as "tan", and has Ruger's
patented Power Bedding System to secure the barreled action into
the stock. The stock also, thankfully, wears sling studs, as do
all American rifles. The steel barreled action is finished in a
matte black, and to me, looks good with the tan stock. Please
note that the black stock shown in the photos is not correct for
this rifle. I first learned of this Ranch model of the American
rifle while on that visit to the Newport, NH factory last week,
and the good folks at Ruger rushed this rifle out for me so I
could get right on the review when I arrived back home. The
rifles that are at distributors and dealers right now have the
correct FDE stock.
Like other rifles in the series, the American
Ranch rifle has Ruger's Marksman Adjustable trigger that is
easily adjusted by the user to a range between 3.5 and 5 pounds,
more or less. The rifle shown here had a very good pull right
out of the box, releasing crisply with around three pounds of
resistance. Atop the receiver is an excellent one-piece scope
base, which will accommodate all Weaver style and most Picatinny
compatible scope mounts.
accuracy and velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541
feet above sea level, with temperatures in the 65 degree
Fahrenheit range, with calm winds and a relative humidity in the
ninety percent range. All accuracy testing was done firing from
a solid bench using a Target Shooting,
Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. For accuracy testing, I used a
Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope set to the highest
magnification. The scope was attached using an ArmaLite
one-piece base. All ammunition was tested for accuracy at one
hundred yards. Velocities are listed in the chart below.
Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights
are listed in grains. I apologize for the limited variety of
ammunition that I had available for this review. Had I been
expecting this rifle, I would have been better prepared, but
Ruger surprised me with this one. I did not know that they were
working up anything for the 300 Blackout cartridge.
The 220 grain subsonic Remington load had
some pretty wide velocity variations, sometimes as much as seven
percent. My 220 grain ammo is from an early lot, so hopefully,
the newer stuff is more consistent. Still, the accuracy of the
220 grain subsonic ammo is good enough for making head shots at
fifty yards, and it grouped in the two to two-and-one-half
inches range at 100 yards. The supersonic loads did much better,
exhibiting excellent accuracy at 100 yards; both loads grouping
well under one inch, and the Barnes ammo consistently around the
half-inch mark for three shots at one hundred yards. Excellent
The five-shot magazine loaded easily, and the
cartridges fed smoothly without a hint of a problem into the
chamber. All ammunition tested functioned perfectly. The
American Ranch rifle handled and balanced very well. Its short
overall length of only 36.125 inches is very handy, and the
length-of-pull (butt to trigger) measures 13.625 inches. A
shorter stock with reduced length-of-pull is available as the
Compact version. The test rifle weighs in at just under six
pounds, empty. It comes to the shoulder quickly, and handles
like a well-balanced bird gun. Perfect.
For most of my shooting with the Ruger rifle,
I used the excellent Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5 to 5 power scope
with the 300 Blackout reticle. This scope has a reticle that is
calibrated for holdover for both the subsonic and supersonic
bullet flight paths. It also has an illuminated semi-circle
aiming point in the center, with a rheostat illumination dial
for various brightness settings. It is the ideal scope for any
300 Blackout or 300 Whisper rifle, being useful from distances
of a few feet out to several hundred yards. The scope is very
handy in size, and adds little bulk or weight to the AAC
The Ruger American Ranch rifle is available
now, with a suggested retail price of $489 US as of the date of
this review, but a little shopping should find one for a bit
Check out the Ruger American Ranch Rifle
online at www.ruger.com.
For the location of a Ruger dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Ruger American Ranch Rifle
online, click on the Gun Genie at www.galleryofguns.com.
For a closer look at the extensive line of
Leupold optics , go to www.leupold.com.
To order quality 300 Blackout ammunition, go
magazines and accessories, go to www.shopruger.com.
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