Ruger American Rimfire Target Rifle
Specifications • Caliber: .22 Long Rifle, .22 Long, .22 Short • Barrel length: 18 inches • Twist: 1:16 inches RH (six grooves) • Overall length: 37 inches • Stock: Black laminate • Length of pull: 13.75 inches • Capacity: 10 • Weight: 6.7 pounds MSR
Marksman Adjustable Trigger that the 10/22 does not offer. The Ruger American Rimfire Target is a very different offering than its semiautomatic brother, making it a true apples-to-oranges comparison.
The Ruger American Rimfire Target is equipped with a .860-inch-diameter, coldforged barrel with a ½x28 threaded end. It is free floated to prevent any disruption in the barrel’s harmonics and, at 18 inches long, it is long enough to allow the gunpowder to fully burn before the projectile leaves the barrel; this will maximize the velocity of the ammunition used.
Its trigger breaks between 3 and 5 pounds and becomes noticeably cleaner and smoother as it is worked in with use. This trigger is far from those found on similarly priced rifles and more like those on pricier target firearms. The safety protrusion on the front of the trigger is reminiscent of Glock triggers, but it has far less travel before it breaks. If the user wants to increase or decrease the trigger pull, all that is necessary is to adjust a small screw at the front of the trigger face.
The Ruger American Rimfire Target stock features the same laminated wood found on its bigger brothers, such as the Gunsite Scout and Guide Gun. This stock is unaffected by the elements and works well with a Harris bipod for bench shooting, because the forend is contoured for accepting one. On the opposite end, the stock has a generous rubber recoil pad capable of absorbing the force of larger calibers. Nevertheless, it is used more for locking the rifle into place in the shooter’s shoulder pocket.
Every round counts, and every round has your life attached to it. It’s easy to
turn gunpowder into noise with a semiauto, and I won’t deny that rapid fire from that action or full-auto isn’t fun. However, because every round counts—especially in a survival or extended living experience in the outdoors—a bolt-action rifle forces the shooter to slow down and aim. Any trigger-happy person can sit behind a rifle and spray, but not everyone can learn the patience and skill to stack rounds on top of rounds on a single target or learn how rounds are affected by distance, wind and other environmental conditions. It is sad that the marksmen of yesteryear—those from Bradford Angier’s time—are few and far between, unlike the Internet spray-and-pray range monkeys of today.
The Ruger American Rimfire Target is an excellent gun for working on deliberate accuracy. It teaches the user to prepare each shot with correct body position, breathing, sight picture, trigger control and discipline. This rifle reminds us what it takes to be accurate, and we can apply the lessons learned on it to our other firearms platforms. We can also use it for what it is: an accurate range or varmint .22 rifle. With larger-caliber ammunition prices showing very little downward movement, the .22 rifle is the one we will need
to fall back on if we feel we are priced out of good training.
OPTIC PAIRING: BURRIS 2-7X DROPTINE
The Ruger American Rimfire Target is affordable, reliable and accurate. To evaluate it, a scope with matching attributes was necessary. The Burris 2-7x Droptine is the perfect match for a rifle-and-optic combination that won’t break the bank and still provide the shooter with the features of optics normally found mounted on larger-caliber centerfire rifles.
The Droptine 2-7x is constructed with precision glass that is finished to reduce glare, and the waterproof scope body is nitrogen filled. The rear focal plane in the Droptine 2-7x features the Burris Ballistic Plex reticle with ½-inch MOA steel-onsteel adjustments, providing the user with distinct tactile feedback instead of cheap plastic alternatives. The focus of the optic is set at 50 yards, and it is meant for the 22 Long Rifle cartridge. The 11.4-inch, overall-matte-finished, 1-inch tube has a 35mm objective lens and a 39mm ocular lens—at a total weight of only 12 ounces.
During the initial outing with this rifle, it was boresighted the old-fashioned way. Unlike modern semiautomatics, the design of the Ruger American allowed one shooter to remove the bolt and steady the rifle aimed downrange at a target. One excellent feature of this rifle is the ability to remove the bolt without having to squeeze the trigger. That feature will likely prevent negligent discharges associated with other bolt-removal designs.
The shooter aligned the image of the target through the bore with the image of the target through the optic. Changes in the windage and elevation were made, and the first shot registered about 3 inches, right at the 3 o’clock position. This method of boresighting has been lost on generations who never handled a bolt gun and who favored modern sporting rifles instead.
WITH FEW MOVING PARTS, CHAMBERING IN THE MOST POPULAR RIFLE CALIBER OF ALL TIME AND A REASONABLE MSRP, THE NEW RUGER AMERICAN TARGET IS … IDEAL FOR THE OUTDOORSMAN …
I had the opportunity to try out the Ruger American with a variety of ammunition in a few different range settings. From CCI Standard ammunition to Remington Golden Bullets to the new CCI Copper and even some nasty Russian ammo I found in the deepest and darkest corner of my random ammo box, the reliable bolt-action fed, fired and ejected everything. This rifle will operate ammunition that repeatedly fails to extract and feed in others.
The short, 60-degree bolt throw was at first unfamiliar to me, as well as to other
shooters accustomed to centerfire short and long actions. There were multiple occasions when we visually checked the chamber to see if the bolt cleared the magazine and that we had achieved a complete cycle of the action.
Once we trusted the feel of a short .22LR action, we immediately focused on the accuracy the little rifle could produce and that we were able to cycle the bolt in a fluid motion.
Shooting from a standard Harris bipod without a rear stock bag, dime-sized groupings were common with all shooters from 25 yards. Shooting from from a backpack, groups were slightly larger—attributable to the less-stable base. The trigger initially felt grainy, but with use, it cleaned up some and was respectably crisp for a rifle with a moderate price tag.
The Ruger American magazines release in the same manner as a Ruger 10/22 and are easily manipulated with some practice. Larger, 25-round magazines fit and won’t bottom out when used with the legs extended on a standard Harris bipod.
While evaluating the Ruger American, I traveled to the Yankee Hill Machine factory and had the opportunity to use its Stinger .22LR suppressor. Because the .22 round has very little escaping gas, .22 suppressors can offer excellent noise reduction.
To test the limits of the rifle equipped with that suppressor, various ammunition with velocities of 1,200 to 1850 fps were used. The ammunition with the highest velocity created a distinct crack! similar to a cap gun or primer exploding; but it didn’t bother our ears. Lower velocities were noticeably quieter and similar to a hand clap. We didn’t have any subsonic ammunition that day (which would have been ideal), but I was assured by the YHM crew that using it in conjunction with the Stinger is even quieter. It is notable that the rifle performed slightly better with the suppressor than without it.
All in all, the shooters who had a chance to use this rifle found it incredibly fun—and challenging—to shoot. Instead of focusing on speed shooting or sloppy plinking, sitting or sprawling out behind the little, scoped .22 forced shooters to take more-careful aim. Each shooter who tried it remarked how enjoyable it was to use.
In an age when “bigger” is often associated with “better,” a little .22 rifle can still hold its own. There is no doubt that this rifle can provide hours of fun at the range, put meat on the table or clear out a field of varmints.
The Ruger American is an excellent rifle that packs a lot of performance into a budget package. It is well made, respectfully accurate and easy to use for shooters of all sizes. Perhaps the only downside is its weight—which, if accepted as a trade-off for accuracy and stability in a target rifle, isn’t an issue at all. It is slightly heavier than its brother, the 10/22, but not an impossible burden to carry around the woods.
This rifle isn’t the rifle you will shoot off hand for extended sessions; it is the rifle that will deliver repeatable accuracy, shot after shot, when every shot matters.
Whether that is on the firing line or out in a survival situation that Bradford Angier envisioned, this rifle is an excellent choice for the modern American.
THIS RIFLE ISN’T THE RIFLE YOU WILL SHOOT OFF HAND FOR EXTENDED SESSIONS; IT IS THE RIFLE THAT WILL DELIVER REPEATABLE ACCURACY, SHOT AFTER SHOT, WHEN EVERY SHOT MATTERS.
Accuracy was fantastic, and groups such as this one from 25 yards were not uncommon. Each grid on the target is ½ inch.
Twenty-fiveround magazines can be used with the Ruger American Target and won’t bottom out when used with a Harris bipod.
The author takes aim behind the Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle at the Yankee Hill Machine range.
The Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle comes standard with a nicely finished laminate wood stock.
Left: The rifle was used with a Harris bipod during evaluation for this article.
Far left: A closeup of the Ruger American Rimfire Target bolt removed from the receiver. The design allows it to be removed without squeezing the trigger.
Far left: The Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle is equipped with a generous buttpad that helps the shooter lock it into the shoulder pocket.
Right: The Ruger American rifle comes equipped with a threaded barrel and a knurled thread protector.
Far right: The trigger features a small protrusion that serves as a safety. As the rifle was fired more and more, the trigger break cleaned up a bit.
The Harris bipod used has adjustable legs, which allowed the author and the other shooters to test the 25-round magazine without bottoming out.