Ruger American Models

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by high country, Jan 12, 2022.

  1. high country

    high country Member

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    I have decided to finally pick up a Ruger American as my first purchase of the new year. I am settled on either a 7mm-08 or 6.5 Creedmoor, leaning towards the 6.5. Either round will be new to me, so I will be settling up to reload for either.

    I have handled a few, and am torn between the compact, standard, and predator models. I handled a 7mm-08 compact at a LGS yesterday, and it felt really nice, very quick pointing and short with the 18" barrel. I looked at a predator last summer and it was definitely heftier.

    Although I don't love the green stock (and I would probably stick with the factory stock for the time being), the barrel profile is my primary hangup.

    The purpose of the rifle would be some occasional mid range informal steel/target shooting (300-500 yards, maybe further if the opportunity presents), deer hunting in CO with likely shots in the 300 yard range, and potentially an elk if the opportunity arises, although it isn't currently in the works.

    I wouldn't anticipate ever shooting more than a 5 - 10 shots (slowly) without time for cool down. For those that have worked with these: given that I don't plan on bench rest shooting long strings of shots is there any advantage to the heavier barrel of the predator? I assume they are all made to the same standard with the same process, just a different profile, so there wouldn't be a significant accuracy advantage to the heavy barrel assuming cool barrel?

    Any other advice, thoughts or other recommendations on these would be appreciated as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  2. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Ive only actually owned the "predator" weight rifles, tho never a predator. Those have all been very sub-MOA with most of the ammo i could find. My RAM in 7mm was slightly over MOA, but my RAM in .300 (and the other 3 barrels i have fitted) is sub-MOA.
    The standard models ive worked on have all be sub-MOA.

    Quite honestly i would expect a "Pred" weight gun to shoot better for most folks simply because the balance is farther forward and its a bit heavier. Ive found that to make them easier to shoot. In mechanical accuracy i honestly doubt theres a whole lot.

    If you dont need the compact or regulars lower weight and smaller size (in the case of the compact) then id get a pred weight gun..... probably a Go Wild.
     
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  3. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    My inclination is to go with the standard weight.

    If you carry the rifle a lot you will want the lower weight even at the cost of increased recoil.

    I have the American Ranch in 450 BM and it is very light and handy. I have not done much walking with it but when I do, I am glad it is a sub-7lb rifle fully outfitted.

    It is true that a heavier rifle may be more user friendly but so far I am happy with the weight and the sub-MOA groups I also get from mine.
     
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  4. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    300-500 yards? That’s a decent poke. Either rifle can handle it. But you lost me at elk. I know it can be done. I know it’s been done. And 6.5 boys are gonna flame me to no end. But I don’t like the 6.5 for elk. “But the BC, and SD, and penetration, and and and”. I know. It’s still a really small hole on a pretty dang big animal. If it runs, I wouldn’t count on much blood. I’ve shot the RAM in everything from 223-450BM. They are great shooting rifles. Even the x39. The stocks are kind of flimsy but can be upgraded.

    Ok, I’m ready. Flame suit on. Lemme have it.
     
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  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I have 3 Predators. A 223 that takes AR magazines, a 308 that takes AI style magazines and a 6.5CM that uses standard 4 round magazines. The 6.5 shipped with the older style rotary magazine, but Ruger is now offering a 4 round staggered mag that is supposed to be better. I have a couple of the staggered mags as spares.

    My only complaint is that I've had minor issues with both mags in the 6.5. Never a single issue with the 308 or 223 mags. With the Predator version you can buy an insert for the stock and convert it to use the AI magazines. Not sure you can do that with the standard rifle. All 3 shoot exceptionally well.

    I REALLY like the Predator barrel profile better. It isn't a heavy barrel, but more of a lightweight varmint barrel. The standard rifles are a touch too light in my opinion and the Predators perfect.

    I paid $350 each for mine and at that price felt it was a no-brainer. Nothing else at the time could match the performance at that price. I've seen the standard rifle as low as $250, with around $300 being the norm, but that was a few years ago. IMO they are now overpriced. I'm seeing the Predators at $500-$550 now. I can't recall the last. time I saw a standard American. That is more than I'd pay when I can get a Tikka for $600. My Tikka's are ever so slightly more accurate, about the same weight, and the mags work on Tikka's.

    I'd advise resisting the urge to "upgrade". While the Ruger's look cheesy, they work. Any upgrades will mostly be cosmetic and not improve performance. It's easy to end up with $800-$1000 in one of these rifles. If I'm putting that much in a rifle there are better options.

    For what you want to do I'd go 6.5CM. Ammo is much more readily available and at better prices. Even if you handload brass is easier to find. The round is exceptionally accurate. I've had a chance to fire 4-5 different rifles in 6.5 CM and every single one was more accurate than any other rifle I've ever fired in any cartridge. Recoil splits the difference between 308 and 243 but is a bit closer to 243. It is a great dual-purpose cartridge for informal long-range target shooting and then you can use the same rifle for big game hunting.

    I wouldn't choose an 6.5 as a dedicated elk rifle. But if that is what I had, and I had a chance to elk hunt I'd not stay home. It should be about ideal for most everything else. It will do anything a 270 will do and the 270 has been killing everything in North America since 1925. A 270 shoots the same bullet weights about 200 fps slower at the muzzle. Essentially, a 6.5 CM is the same speed at the muzzle as a 270 is at 100 yards. But as range increases the 6.5 closes the gap and by the time you're at 300 yards they are basically the same speed.

    A .277" bullet is about the thickness of a sheet of paper larger in diameter than a .264" bullet. A .308" bullet is only a little larger in diameter than the thickness of a fingernail. Even a 35 caliber bullet is making a small hole relative to the size of an elk. The advantage of larger calibers is that you can use heavier bullets, not the size of the hole.
     
  6. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'm not a rifleman so I don't post much in this section, but I have to put in a word for the short Ranch model. If you are hunting in brush country or crawling in and out of a jeep or utv the compact ranch rifle is a joy. I like the way it handles too. The threaded barrel could be an advantage too. I like the box mag and usually use the 5rd that doesn't gouge your side when carrying on a sling, but the 20rd is fun in 7.62x39.
     

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  7. high country

    high country Member

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    I generally trend towards lighter rifles and haven't found that I shoot weight forward rifles any better off hand. From a bench or prone with a tripod I don't notice much difference. That said, one of the things that has me looking at one of these is my 2022 plan of pulling out stuff from my reloading room that I have "forgotten" about and either putting it to use or getting rid of it. It is getting cramped in there... I uncovered an older Hawke 4.5-14x42mm Sidewinder scope that needs a home, and I have been oogling an American rifle for a while, so I decided it was time to take the plunge on an American, add one one of the cartridges I had been considering (yeah, yeah, I know, I am going to spend $450 on a rifle and lord only knows how much on dies, components, comparator, etc. to put on old scope that I got in a trade to use. I am confident that I am not the only one here that sees complete logic in that lunacy).

    The reason that scope ended up on the shelf is that it is heavy, around 1.7lb. If it weren't for that, I would definitely be looking to keep the rifle light, but it seems a little silly to get the lightest version of the American then strap that heavy scope to the top of it. I should probably take the scope over to the LGS and see if they will let me put it on the 7mm-08 I looked at the other day to see how it impacts the handling. But, even the 6 lb compact would be around 8 pounds with that scope, a sling, and loaded. Definitely not the sub 7 pounds earlthegoat has in his. At ~8lb for the compact, or ~8.5lb for the predator, it will really come down to balance since the lightweight ship has pretty much sailed at that point. Not that either of those cartridges are recoil heavy, but a little extra weight can't hurt take the edge off that.

    Length is also consideration. I tend to like to stay closer to 40" over all length to stay comfortably inside my preferred carrying cases and because I find that a fairly important couple of inches when carrying in woods, etc. Again, not a rock solid rule, this is going to be more of an "open field" rifle. In bolt actions I have a Howa mini in 7.62x39 that is only 38" long that is my go to for eastern woods where shots are shorter. That is one handy good handling little rifle in a soft recoiling cartridge, so I do that that niche covered.

    Yeah, no flames from me. That is one of the things that had me leaning 7mm-08 for just a little more oomph. But, if I did get a chance to go after an elk, it would most likely be a cow, and I would go into it with the mindset that if I couldn't get close enough and get the perfect shot, that I would pass and be happy with the experience. Both cartridges have been used successfully, even though they are on the light end of the spectrum. My feeling is that they are both ethical, as long as you respect the limitations and don't try to make some 600 yard shot across a ravine that I have no business taking at anything more sentient than a steel plate or piece of paper. I am definitely not eyeing this as a dedicated elk rifle, but more of an "all-purpose" setup with more reach than the .223, 7.62x39, and .30-30 that I have in my safe at the moment, but less recoil than the couple of .308s that have come and gone over the years.

    Thanks for the tip on the magazines, I will try to figure out what the ones I look at have and get the newer version if possible. Your point about upgrading and just going to a Tikka is good. I do tend to upgrade stuff, and completely agree that if you are dumping money into triggers, stocks, etc. it makes a lot of sense to start with something that isn't in the "budget" rifle class. My plan is to slap a scope on it, maybe tinker with the factory trigger to get it where I like, dial in a couple loads then have it for a decent shooting all purpose rifle that I don't have a bundle of money tied up in with a plastic stock that I don't particularly care about.

    The 7mm seems to have a slight edge over the 6.5CM based on the load data and basic ballistic calcs I have been looking at. But, if I went to the compact, the 7mm ends up 2" shorter than the 6.5CM, which likely all but erases that difference. At the end of the day, for either one, it seems that they have reasonably flat trajectories with MPBR in the 300 yard range using an 8" target area, and over 1500 ft-lb of energy at that range. So, if you select a bullet that is well suited to the target, and put it where it needs to go, it is likely going to do its job.

    I would generally lean towards the 7mm just to be different. As I spend time looking, reading, and thinking on these calibers, I just keep coming back to the fact that 6.5CM performs well across the board, and components seem to be easier to find than the 7mm stuff. There are other cartridges that shoot flatter, have more power, have less recoil, use cheaper off the self ammo, etc. than 6.5CM, but the 6.5 seems to hit a bit of a sweet spot of doing all those things pretty darn well.

    Thanks all for the great input. From an accuracy standpoint, barrel heat aside, it sounds like there is negligible mechanical accuracy difference between the models. The search goes on, I think the next step is to put that scope on a compact to see how it balances. If it seems nice, I will probably either go compact and change out the stock to a standard if I can't get comfortable behind a 12.5" LOP, or go standard and have the barrel cut down if it bothers me (it may not). If the heavier scope throws the balance of the standard off, I will probably opt for the predator. Again, if the extra length bothers me I can have the barrel cut down. I don't care about the threading, I don't plan on a suppressor and have no need for a brake at this power level.
     
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  8. high country

    high country Member

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    Wow, that last post ran long, sorry about that, I tend to overthink some things...

    Thanks Armored Farmer. I have a .30-30 handi rifle and a Howa mini action in 7.62x39 that fill that niche. The Ruger Ranch was definitely a contender when I bought the Howa. Can't go wrong with either, and the 7.62x39 round in a bolt gun is really a nice little cartridge.
     
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  9. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I think the 7mm-08 is a better hunting round. Minimally more recoil but better performance at hunting distances, plus with more upside if you do want to dip into elk size game or larger with heavier bullets. The efficiency advantage the 6.5 has doesn't show up until you're well beyond ethical game range.
     
  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I wasn't really suggesting the caliber as much as the carbine length rifle...but it sounds like you have the carbine covered too.
     
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  11. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    For your purposes, I'd opt for the 7mm08 and in the Standard configuration. Unless you're a smaller stature person with short arms, the Compact version does not offer any advantages and you lose some velocity with the shorter barrel. The Predator model is good if you plan on doing some bench shooting or if you're hunting from a shoot house or blind, but would not be great for a hiking rifle. The Standard is pretty much the sweet spot in my opinion.
     
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  12. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Just my personal experience, I find heavier weight barrels easier to hold steady when shooting off hand. I can't hold them up as long, of course, but while I am I think I don't tend to bob around as much. There are exceptions to that, like the heavy barrel on my Savage 10. Between the Choate Tactical Stock and very heavy barrel, shooting that thing off hand is pretty much a no go. Aside from that, though, it tends to hold pretty true.
     
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  13. high country

    high country Member

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    Yeah, having trouble getting away from the compact rifle mindset on this project, I like my little carbines.

    As several have suggested, the standard rifle may be the sweet spot between the compact which will have a bit more recoil and may be short in LOP, and the predator with some extra weight that I might not need (also that green stock... not a fan, as picky as that might be). We'll see, hoping to get some time to go handle a few more, maybe with scope in hand.
     
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  14. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    1. Barrel profile is a matter if personal preference. Neither caliber is a heavy recoiled. The LW would be nice in the mountains or long hikes. The standard more a compromise between the LW and predator. Predator will net a little more velocity.
    My choice would be std or LW

    Caliber choice is easy. If you plan on elk, 7-08 is the way to go. I just haven't been a fan of the CM, .260 Rem is a better cartridge, matching a 7-08 ballistics. Loaded with 140gr Nosier Partitions, Hornady Ballistic Tips or Accubond; 7-08 and .260 outperform the CM. With .260 having a higher BC than 7-08.

    But, it is a personal choice.
     
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  15. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I have a standard American (black stock standard barrel) and it is light. I've reinforced the stock and it is still quite a bit lighter than My M70 Featherweight. I'd go with the Predator in 7mm-08. I'm sure 6.5 would be fine, but either way if it were me I'd opt for the Predator even though there will not be a noticeable difference for hunting.

    -Jeff
     
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  16. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I have had a couple of Americans. One was a 22 and the other was a 6.5 CM in the green-stocked predator. I put a 4-12X Vortex Diamondback on it and it was a deer killing machine. Not only great on deer but was the most accurate of the four Creedmoors that I have owned. My M18 Mauser and Bergara are close with their respective loads, but the Ruger didn't care what you fed it. It shot 120gr, 130's, and 140's very well. My Bergara would beat it at long range, but it took me a lot of work and several different bullets to find a load that it liked.
     
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  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have the predator in 6.5 and I absolutely love it. It is as accurate (or more so) than some of the sniper rifles I was issued in the military. I used mine to very effectively drop 2 nice bucks this past week. I dealt with that monkey poop green stock by having a friend of mine who is an unbelievable artist with spray paint and a mesh laundry bag do a fine camo job on it. I like mine so much that my very accurate 700 in 243 will likely become Mrs. Fl-NC's deer rifle.
     
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  18. high country

    high country Member

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    Well, the decision was made for me a bit today. An unfired standard model in 6.5CM popped up that someone was interested in trading for a handgun that I was selling, so a mutually beneficial trade was made. That puts me at a good bit less than I would have been buying a new one (with shipping, transfer, etc.). I was leaning towards the predator in 6.5CM because I was worried about the stock length of the compact, and because the predator seems to be the prevailing preference here, but am happy with the standard model given the money saved and that it stays in keeping with original scheme of this project.

    As much as I considered 7mm, the availability of components had me leaning 6.5CM anyway. If an elk opportunity ever presents itself, I can re-evaluate at that point. Its not like I would be out that much money to just go buy another one of these in a larger caliber when you compare it to all the other costs that would be involved in such a trip...

    The barrel profile on the standard model is not a light as I had envisioned, I think I will be happy with it. I mounted the Hawke scope on it, and it definitely makes it less svelte and messes with the balance a bit. It balances around the front action bolt which isn't bad, due to the lack of any weight in the butt of the stock. The light stock combined with the heavier scope makes it a bit top heavy, so it wants to flip over resting on a bag. The stock is the newer honeycomb style, so it is relatively stiff for a plastic stock. I will be making sure there is plenty of clearance around the barrel, then maybe play with the balance using some ballast in the butt. With all that, I think it will be quite serviceable, I like the shape of these stocks, they are nice and thin generally all over which I prefer.

    The trigger is not great at all, but I will try cleaning it up and adjusting. I should be able to get it into the acceptable range I think. All in all, a success, I now have an American rifle in 6.5CM and I traded into the scope originally and now the rifle so none of it had to go through my "treasury department". Should make a nice little shooter that I don't have to worry about dinging up. My next task is getting dies, some brass, a couple bullet options, and some powder... That may prove to be a little more challenging (and expensive).

    At any rate, thanks everyone for all the great advice given!
     
  19. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    The 7mm/08 is the one I would want to take hunting but the 6.5C is the one I would want to take target shooting, in both cases because of bullet selection. I agree with you that for the actual uses you have for it right now a 6.5c makes more sense and if you actually get the opportunity to go elk hunting you can re-evaluate at that point.
     
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  20. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Remove the factory Weaver-style mounts and rings and go with a Talley Lighweight mount. Gets the scope sitting lower than the factory mounting option and looks a lot cleaner. Also, your choice of optic may also be making the gun feel more top heavy than it should. Not sure what size Hawke scope you're using. A nice, light Leupold VX Freedom in 3-9x40 would be more than enough for a hunting rifle.

    Also, you can remove one single spring inside the American trigger that drops the trigger pull down to 1lb and still keeps the rifle bump/drop safe. Plus, putting the spring back in is quick and easy and returns the trigger back to factory specs. I have done this mod to all 3 of the American rifles I own. It doesn't cost any money and providers and crazy crisp and light trigger. Just google Ruger American trigger spring removal.
     
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  21. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

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    Some good advice here. If you do get that elk hunt down the road the 6.5 PRC would flatter your reloading supplies and provides added horsepower to really feel comfortable taking an elk with a good bullet. And would let you buy another rifle, I mean your significant other wouldn't want you wounding an elk on your hunt, right? :D

    I don't have a 6.5 PRC but it's ballistics are very close to the 280ai which is my preferred big game cartridge. My buddy has a 6.5 PRC and has taken elk at great distance (he's an excellent shot) with good results.
     
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  22. high country

    high country Member

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    Elk definitely was not the main driver behind this project, and this is a great point about 6.5PRC. If ethical harvesting of game is not a good reason to add to another rifle, then what is?
     
  23. high country

    high country Member

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    It is 100% the optic that is causing this. As mentioned in the original post, the goal here was to add a budget rifle to my collection to mount a Hawke 4.5-14x42 that I have had for a long time and never put to use, as part of a "clean out the reloading room and put stuff to use or get rid of it" effort. Older used scopes from lesser known makers don't bring much money, and it is really a pretty nice one so I decided to use it. But it is super heavy at 27 oz. On this rifle that is bound to cause some imbalance. Getting it mounted lower would probably help. I will shoot it first to see if it bothers me in actuality. It probably won't, and I will just live with the fact that it wants to flip over sometimes if you don't keep a hand on it. Part of it is that it isn't a rifle I care much about aesthetically, so it isn't like I am tipping over a nice walnut stock and scratching it up.

    Thanks for the tip on the trigger, I figured there were likely some tricks out there, and that I could probably tweak the factory unit to work decently. Definitely not planning on spending drop in trigger money on this gun either.
     
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