Ruger is one of the most recognizable names in the firearms industry and for good reason. In addition to top-selling revolvers, pistols, rifles, and accessories, shooters flock to Ruger for their affordable price tags and American-made products. While many of their products aren’t winning any serious awards, they’ve done a commendable job in arming Americans with affordable firearms. The Ruger American bolt-action rifle is the perfect example of this commitment to affordable American guns. Today, we’re going to take a look at the expansive American Rifle line and see how it measures up to scrutiny. 

Ruger American Rifle

The Ruger American Rifle was launched in 2011 and was met with modest success. The brand recognition, affordable price tag, and popular design made it an easy sell to the American shooting enthusiasts. This line currently has 7 models available in countless configurations and calibers. As a collection, these rifles share the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger which many hunters and long-range shooters applaud. The ability to have an adjustable trigger pull on a budget firearm was a great touch that paid off big time for Ruger. 

When it comes to the construction of these rifles, the lower cost is more evident. The synthetic composition is lightweight but it’s not particularly durable. Nevertheless, wielding the rifle was intuitive and shooting was pretty comfortable thanks to a decent rubber buttpad. However, the bolt action could be better but it’s still not bad for a budget rifle. They built it with a 70-degree throw with dual cocking cams so it does cycle pretty smoothly with most ammo. 

Bolt-action lug bolt
Ruger American Bolt Action Mechanism

These rifles come equipped with a Picatinny scope base and no iron sights so shooters are left to pick their optic of choice. While Ruger claims these can achieve MOA accuracy, it’s a claim that is tough to back up. They did invest in their barrels which definitely helps thanks to the cold hammer-forged build and precision rifling. 

Shooting the standard Ruger American rifle is a positive experience but there’s no wow-factor at all. I like the 22” barrel and 42” overall length design that weighs in at just over 6 pounds. The rifle feels good and it shoots well, so I think it’s one of the better budget rifles on the market. I will say that I felt disappointed to a degree handling these weapons. I felt like Ruger’s other budget firearms were more impressive than these rifles.

I think many shooters should consider the other models in the series to get more bang for their buck, especially for those with a specific shooting purpose in mind. I don’t think a regular hunter should rely on this rifle, but a new or young hunter may benefit from starting with an American rifle. I also like that the Standard model is available in a nice selection of calibers including 30-06, 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and more. Note that the Standard ships with a flush fit 4-round magazine that’s not too shabby.

Ruger American Standard Model
Close Up of the Standard Model
  • Model: Standard
  • Caliber: 30-06 Springfield
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42.5”
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • MSRP: $489

Ruger American Ranch Rifle

After getting my hands on the standard model, I decided it was time to explore the other models. I started with the Ranch rifle and I was pleasantly surprised. It felt very similar to the Standard but with a few nice additions. Besides the different finish, one of the biggest differences was the threaded barrel and optional Ruger hybrid muzzle brake. Unlike the Standard series, many of the Ranch rifles offer increased capacities ranging up to 10 rounds with the 5.56 NATO and 300 BLK models. 

Ruger American Ranch Rifle
Close Up of the Ranch Model

While the Ranch rifles are more expensive than the Standard models, I’m not sure they offer enough that they warrant a higher price tag. They were nice guns and all but it’s not a big step up from the Standard series. It’s important to note that these rifles are about 6” shorter than the Standard models which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference. I think the main attraction to this series would be the more compact build, flat dark earth synthetic composition, diverse caliber choices, slightly upgraded barrel, and increased capacities.

  • Model: Ranch
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity: 10
  • Finish: Flat Dark Earth 
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 16.12”
  • Overall Length: 36”
  • Weight: 6.1 lbs
  • MSRP: $549

Ruger American Compact

The Ruger American Compact series is interesting because it has basically the exact same specs as the Standard models minus a few inches. The Compact rifles are available in just 4 calibers with 4-round capacities in a matte black build. They share the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger, user-friendly design, bolt action configuration, and barrel construction. I think this series was simply meant to be for shooters who like the Standard rifles but need a shorter length of pull. I’m not sure why that warrants a separate line but that’s probably a marketing ploy. 

Compact Ruger American Rifle
Ruger American Compact
  • Model: Compact
  • Caliber: 308 Win
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Overall Length: 36.75”
  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • MSRP: $489

Ruger American Hunter 

The Ruger American Hunter is probably the most interesting rifle in the American collection. For starters, the design is completely different due to the inclusion of the Magpul Hunter short-action stock with a fully adjustable comb height and LOP. The Magpul stock provides greater comfort and accuracy, especially for careful long-range hunters. Like the other American rifles, Ruger kept the popular adjustable trigger and bolt-action assembly but made a few other small changes. 

For instance, they contoured the tip of the barrel to fit the Ruger Precision Rifle hybrid muzzle brake. This is a nice touch on this rifle but they don’t really give you the option to have it. I get that it’s a budget rifle and they believe they are providing a nice addition to hunters who may not otherwise have a muzzle brake or suppressor. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty good muzzle brake and has been shown to reduce recoil by over 50% and improve long-range accuracy. I must admit that I was really impressed that they included a PMAG 5 7.62 AC mag. This is really a nice touch and helps give this rifle more appeal compared to the other Ruger American models. Keep in mind that all of these extras means that the Hunter rifles are going to be heavier and more expensive than the other models.

Ruger American Hunter Rifle
Ruger American Hunter
  • Model: Hunter
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 5
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Magpul Hunter
  • Barrel Length: 20”
  • Overall Length: 41.25” – 43.25”
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • MSRP: $799

Ruger American Rifle Predator 6.5 Creedmoor

Although the Ruger American rifles haven’t met the success Ruger predicted, the Predator model has seen positive sales and is arguably the most popular rifle of the series. The Predator features many of the same American options such as the Marksman adjustable trigger, lightweight compact design, bolt-action assembly, and tang safety. However, Ruger changed things up with a heavier tapered, threaded cold hammer-forged barrel. I think this barrel is the best of the collection and offers solid long-range accuracy.

Another reason why many shooters like this series is because of its variety. In addition to several mag variations, the Predator rifles are offered in multiple thread patterns, stocks, capacities, finishes, lengths, and calibers. However, one model has become the go-to and that is the 6.5 Creedmoor Predator rifle. This configuration makes for a decent hunting rifle and is good for other long-range shooting activities. Now these still feel like budget rifles, but I wouldn’t say they feel cheap. They are good guns but they certainly aren’t great either. 

Ruger Predator Rifle
Ruger American Predator
  • Model: Predator
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Moss Green Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42”
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • MSRP: $529

Ruger American Stock

While many people focus on the barrels or triggers of the Ruger American rifles, there is what to say about the stock options. For starters, most of these stocks feature a simple but effective soft rubber buttpad that is comfortable with most calibers. These synthetic stocks aren’t the most attractive on the market nor are they particularly durable, but they do work and it is a budget firearm after all. In fact, you can buy a brand new Standard stock (which is basically the entire shell of the gun) for just $100

On the other hand, the upgraded Hunter American Magpul Stock will take you back $300. This is understandable considering it’s a Magpul product with excellent features. For example, the drop-in design is M-LOK compatible, includes a bolt-action mag well and PMAG, and is reinforced with a type III hard anodized, machine finished cast aluminum bedding block. Plus, this is by far the most ergonomic Ruger American Stock with plenty of adjustability and reliability. 

If you’re looking for a most custom stock option then Boyd’s Gunstocks is considered the best place to go. They have a great selection of hardwood gunstock options and allow customers to even create custom products to their liking. Besides the fact that these are surprisingly affordable, they offer so much and it’s a great way to make an American Rifle truly your own. 

Boyd's Hardwood Gunstocks Stock
Example Stock From Boyd’s

Ruger American Rifle Extended Magazine

Because many American rifle models don’t have high capacities, many shooters look for extended magazines. The most popular choice is the Magpul PMAG 10 7.62 AC for the American Hunter rifles. The PMAG is a great quality magazine designed for the .308 Winchester-based family of cartridges. 

Ruger American 6.5 Creedmoor

Ruger offers a few American rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor but it’s hard not to like the Hunter model. 6.5 Creedmoor is a popular hunting round and as the most specialized rifle in the family, it’s a great pairing with the Ruger Hunter. 

Ruger American 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle
Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle
  • Model: Hunter
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 5
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Magpul Hunter
  • Barrel Length: 20”
  • Overall Length: 41.25” – 43.25”
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • MSRP: $799

Ruger American 308 Rifle

.308 Winchester is a versatile cartridge but it’s particularly useful in compact rifles. While having solid power and reasonable size, it is one of the best rounds to use in moderately sized rifles. That’s why I really like the Ruger Compact in .308.

  • Model: Compact
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Moss Black Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Overall Length: 36.75”
  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • MSRP: $489

Ruger American 450 Bushmaster

Like 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster is a fantastic round for dropping large game at long distances. I was disappointed to see that Ruger doesn’t offer a 450 Bushmaster in either their Predator or Hunter line but they do have a Ranch model chambered in 450. My issue with this is that The Ranch rifles are compact and I honestly wouldn’t hunt big game at long-range with these rifles. 

  • Model: Ranch
  • Caliber: 450 Bushmaster
  • Capacity: 3
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Flat Dark Earth Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 16.1”
  • Overall Length: 36”
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • MSRP: $549

Ruger American 30 06

30-06 Springfield is a classic cartridge with a wide range of hunting applications. Again, I found myself disappointed that Ruger would only offer 1 rifle in the American series chambered in 30-06. 

  • Model: Standard
  • Caliber: 30-06 Springfield
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42.5”
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • MSRP: $489

Ruger American 223 Remington

.223 Remington is among the most popular and versatile hunting cartridges used to hunt a variety of game. Plus, its ability to be substituted with 5.56 in some cases makes it a great cartridge to use. While Ruger doesn’t offer .223 Rem rifles in their Standard, Compact, or Hunter series, there is a .223 Predator that is a solid firearm. The Predator series is fair, but the .223 Rem chambering fits the bill quite well for these rifles.

  • Model: Predator
  • Caliber: 223 Rem
  • Capacity: 10
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Moss Green Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42”
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • MSRP: $549

Ruger American 243 Winchester

Winchester’s .243 cartridge was built based on demand from hunters. The American hunting favorite can stabilize medium grain bullets designed to take down deer and other big game. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this cartridge was one of the most common among the Ruger American collection and can be found in the Standard, Compact, and Predator lines. Because it’s ideal for hunting, I like the .243 Predator model with its heavy, tapered, and threaded barrel.

Ruger American Predator Rifle
Ruger American 243 Winchester
  • Model: Predator
  • Caliber: 243 Win
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Moss Green Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42”
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • MSRP: $569

Ruger American 270 Winchester

There’s a ton of debate between fans of .270 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield. While 30-06 came first, the .270 cartridge was built to offer flatter trajectories, less recoil, and higher velocities. As a result, 270 is one of the most popular long-distance shooting cartridges and is available in the Ruger American Standard Rifle series. I would have liked to see this cartridge in the Hunter series but I’m not surprised at this point

Ruger American Standard Rifle
Ruger American 270 Winchester
  • Model: Standard
  • Caliber: .270 Win
  • Capacity: 4
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 42.5”
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • MSRP: $489

Ruger American 300 Blackout

Ruger decided to put some of the most popular and exciting cartridges exclusively in the Ranch series. For example, 300 BLK shooters who are considering an American Rifle are extremely limited in their options. The 300 Blackout Ruger is compact and just doesn’t feel right. I like 300 BLK but it has to be employed in the right machinery and I just don’t think the Ruger Ranch rifle makes the cut.

300 Blackout Ruger American
Ruger American 300 BLK
  • Model: Ranch
  • Caliber: 300 Blackout
  • Capacity: 10
  • Finish: Matte Black Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Flat Dark Earth Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 16.1”
  • Overall Length: 36”
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • MSRP: $549

Ruger American Rimfire Series

While the original Ruger American series saw unimpressive success, Ruger decided to take their affordable rifle designs to the rimfire market. I believe they saw the potential in selling affordable rifles in rimfire especially for younger shooters and plinking enthusiasts. I love some good ol’ fashioned plinking and I don’t need to use my Bergara or Seekins Precision to shoot some targets for fun. So while I didn’t love the centerfire American rifles I could actually see myself owning a rimfire Ruger American. I believe they are far more practical than their centerfire brothers. 

The rimfire collection comprises 5 different families, including the Standard, Compact, Target, Long-Range Target, and Wood Stock. The first thing I noticed was the difference in options, such as adjustable synthetic stock modules, magazine options, and new finishes. The rimfire series is currently offered in 17 HMR, 22 WMR, and 22LR, and we’re gonna look at the best rifle in each chambering.

Ruger American 17 HMR

17 HMR is arguably the best rimfire hunting cartridge thanks to its ability to shoot flatter at higher velocities at long-range. I like 17 HMR for varmint hunting and I think many shooters would agree that it’s useful to own one if you have pests. Unlike the centfire Standard model, the 17 HMR Standard rifle is actually a bit impressive. I could do without the Camo finish, but the highly adjustable stock, 9-round capacity, threaded barrel, and 60-degree bolt throw make this a solid weapon for under $500.

Ruger American Rimfire 17 HMR
Ruger American 17 HMR
  • Model: Standard (Rimfire)
  • Caliber: 17 HMR
  • Capacity: 9
  • Finish: Bronze Cerakote Alloy Steel
  • Stock: GO Wild Camo Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Overall Length: 38.4”
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • MSRP: $469

Ruger American 22 Mag

Many people like to call 22 Magnum the quintessential ranch round and I can get behind that. It can handle varmint shooting accurately at up to 150 yards and it carries a better punch than 22LR while still being easy to shoot. The ammo is generally available and inexpensive plus 22 Mag isn’t the worst option for home defense. I liked shooting the Target model in 22 WMR because it was simple, intuitive, and extremely accurate. I had on a Burris Riflescope which cost nearly as much as the rifle, but it was a pleasant shooting experience that I can easily recommend. 

Ruger American Rimfire Target Rifle
Ruger American 22 Magnum
  • Model: Target
  • Caliber: 22 WMR
  • Capacity: 9
  • Finish: Satin Blued Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Black Laminate
  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Overall Length: 37”
  • Weight: 6.7 lbs
  • MSRP: $499

Ruger American 22LR

There’s a thousand and one reasons to own a 22LR firearms, the only question is which one and how many. Whether you’re plinking or varmint hunting, I think it’s worth considering the Ruger American Rimfire Long Range Target Rifle. I happen to love shooting .22 but I think this rifle might be the best Ruger American Rifle on the market. While that may not be saying much, it is a quality firearm. It has good aesthetics, great ergonomics, fantastic accuracy, intuitive handling, and even decent durability (unlike many of these other rifles).

Ruger American long range target rifle
Ruger American 22LR
  • Model: Long-Range Target
  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Capacity: 10
  • Finish: Matte Blued Alloy Steel
  • Stock: Speckled Black/Brown Laminate
  • Barrel Length: 22”
  • Overall Length: 40.5”
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • MSRP: $599

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

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