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By LB

Although I’m typically not one that’s interested in the lightest, smallest, or most generic offering out there, the Ruger American Ranch Rifle appealed to me. With a 16” threaded barrel and a weight of just under 6lbs, it seemed like a handy little rifle to have – either for a fun day on the range or for deer hunting. This rifle is equipped with a somewhat-standard 13 ¾” length of pull; although there is a compact version that is just over one inch less. In addition, the American series of rifles incorporate a rotary magazine design that, in the case of small case rifle rounds, holds five . . .

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The 300 Blackout cartridge has always appealed to me, though I’ve never ran out and bought one. Compact, good ballistics, the availability of brass, and other attributes make it a great cartridge. Over the past years, it has been well-received and increasingly popular with the AR folks. However, I’m not much of an AR shooter myself (gasp) and I’ve been waiting for a well priced bolt gun. The Remington 700 was a bit too heavy for my taste. I also liked the Remington 7 AAC but have seen varied accuracy reports. The Ruger American has made a great impact to the mass-produced rifle world and, with a street price of less than $400, I couldn’t pass on this one.

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Before going to the range, I cleaned the rifle ensured it functioned properly. I mounted a Nikon P-300 2-7×32 scope which uses Nikon’s proprietary SuperSub BDC reticle that ranges the drop out to 600 yards. This scope has great reviews and a street price of less than $200. In addition, it fits the rifle well, both in regards to looks and use. For what it’s worth, I installed the scope in Warne rings. I procured a variety of ammunition which included Barnes 110gr Tac-TX bullet, Nosler’s 125gr Ballistic Tip, and Remington’s 220gr sub ammo. From that point, I headed out to do some testing.

While I was moving the rifle around the range, I noticed there was a bit of discoloration on the left side of the barrel that was previously obscured by interior lighting. It took somewhat of a close look, but the finish was applied a bit thin in this area. Ruger did not use bluing on this rifle; instead, it appears to be a sprayed-on finish. Honestly, I’m not too concerned about this as long as the rifle shoots – but I know that many of you must maintain a pristine gun at all times, so this is of note.

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The ergonomics of the rifle are overall well designed and the stock has the appropriate amount of texture. The stock incorporates a unique bedding system that allows improved accuracy while reducing costs and lightening the weight. I am a bit upset that manufacturers still insist on using low combs for a rifle that requires the use of a scope. It prevents one from getting and maintaining a solid weld to the rifle when your head must nearly float around to see through the optic.

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Seated at the bench, I dry fired the rifle a few times to get the feel of the trigger. It’s heavy for my taste – around 4 1/2 lbs – but it’s well suited for a rifle of this type. On the other hand, the trigger is adjustable (I believe it’s advertised range is 3 1/2 – 5 1/2 lbs) for those wishing to lighten it a bit. In addition, there are many reports – written by experts, of course – floating around the all-knowing interwebs instructing you how to cut coils off of the trigger spring to lighten the pull. I’m not going to discuss that here and it sounds like an awful idea for multiple reasons. If I decide the rifle requires a new trigger, Timney already has an excellent replacement on the market.

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After bore sighting the rifle and using a few rounds to adjust my zero, I started shooting for groups. I used TTAG’s standards – 3 round groups at 100 yards. I shot my first two rounds of  the Barnes 110gr – which were touching – followed by another around ½” away. That group was just over .600”. Needless to say, I was pleased. The second group was around the same. By the fifth set, the groups were opening up considerably. I must attribute this to the barrel temperature as, after I let the gun cool down a bit, the group sizes diminished. This trend continued and it’s not uncommon for a barrel with such a light profile. The Noslers had a best group of .650”. I ended up shooting a five-shot group for the sub ammo and it was just a hair under 1”. I’d say this rifle exceeds the $1k-1 MOA requirement by a large margin. I’m excited to start working up some handloads.

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SPECIFICATIONS:

Caliber: 300 Blackout (also available in 223)
Barrel Length: 16”
Overall Length: 36”
Weight (unloaded): 6 lbs. (without optic)
Stock: Composite, flat dark earth
Sights: None, scope rail installed
Action: Bolt Action
Capacity: 5+1 via a rotary, detachable magazine
Price: ~$400 street

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Style * * *
Meh. Generic black finish with a generic FDE stock. +1 star for being somewhat tacticool.

Ergonomics * * * *
It fits me well, everything is within proper reach without hand manipulation. This would have been five stars if they included a higher comb.

Reliability * * * * *
Never had a problem.

Customization * * *
Aftermarket triggers are already available. You can screw a flash hider or suppressor on the end. Other than installing whichever optic you’d like, that’s about it.

Overall * * * *
This gun is very accurate. Very handy. Truly a great gun, especially considering the price point. I took it down a star for having a low comb in addition to the finish on the barrel being sub-par.

This is a summer content contest entry. Click here for rule and email your entry before midnight July 31.

35 Responses to Contest Entry: Gun Review – Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 300BLK

  1. I have the Ruger American in .243. With a cheap redfield 3x9x40 scope on it it shoots better than I’m capable of. At 300 yards it outgroups my sons savage .308.

    I have not noticed the barrel heating problem. But I shoot real slow with this rifle. Over all I’m quite happy with my mass produced rifle and scope combo.

  2. Would be an awesome little rifle for small whitetail, especially for youth/older/female/etc. I also don’t get the low comb thing. It’s not like it has irons on it. You always end up needing to slap on some kind of tie on cheek pad/riser. You think they’d anticipate that by now when designing the rifle/stock.

    • The low comb is kind of odd, especially since they ship a bolt action .22LR with both a high and low comb. Want to mount a scope instead of using the iron sights? Just swap the comb for the other one in the box.

    • The low comb is a non-issue with a properly mounted scope. Looking at the pictures of the mount, the scope should be further back to allow the ocular lens to clear the rail and drop the scope closer to the barrel.

    • You don’t have to get as square with a scope. And you’re not going to be shooting strings with a bolt-action. And there’s always the “Put the rifle higher on your shoulder” trick. Contrary to the way 95% of Tactitools shoot, you don not want to be hunched over and have your head and neck all knotted up trying to use an “optic” on a rifle you’re trying to brace against your armpit hair instead of your SHOULDER. Get the rifle UP where you can have your head UP and your neck as straight as possible and you’ll be amazed at how much easier and more enjoyable it is to shoot. You bring the sights up your eye, even if its a scope. You don’t try to get your head down and behind the sights.

      Either that or I learned wrong 35+ years ago and have been doing it wrong with countless rifles and shotguns ever sense. Because I never owned a single one with a ‘high comb” until I bought a vintage Remington 700 in a Monte Carlo stock. And since it’s a right-handed gun and I shoot left-handed, I still don’t use it.

  3. This is my new favorite rifle. Handy, lightweight, about as short as non-NFA gets, and a 5″ Thunderbeast suppressor makes for pleasant plinking. 10/10 would buy again.

    I found it grouped best with 110gr loads, both Vmax and Lehigh controlled chaos. It’s far more accurate than I can shoot it. I drilled into the stock to add a 2″ rail for a green light. It’s a sweet coyote/predator rig now. The trigger is easy to lighten up a bit.

    My only complaints are the comb height and lack of iron sights. Magpul BUIS, especially given the ballistics of 300blk, would make it perfect.

  4. Good thing you didn’t give any ratings for fit, finish, etc… It’s also interesting that somehow you give “meh” as a rating for the styling and yet find that enough to merit 3 stars despite the identified idiot level flaw of a low comb on a scoped rifle. Great, nice gun for getting a chin-weld on. You call it tacticool but it doesn’t look the least bit tactical other than being desert tan or sand or whatever that pale color is supposed to be. Fit and finish are terrible judging by the pictures and the trigger guard is plastic. All those casting lines and casting flash and drill hole flashing is hideous and shows no finish work is being done, just rapid manufacture. Not applying the finish evenly on the barrel is sorta ridiculous because it suggests a machine that does that is out of whack and nobody gives a shit enough to fix it because, “hey it’s the American line of rifles and those are all cheapo anyway so fuck em'”. Reviews that call out problems and compliment actually good things are useful. This one looks like a freebie hand-job for Ruger if you skip the text and go directly to the assessment. The review text basically tells us everything about the gun that we could give 2 shits about and discusses the glaring quality control and performance issues that were actually found but the ratings include nothing about those shortcomings and assess this seemingly pedestrian, cheaply made and inconsistent rifle as being goddamned near perfect. 4 stars? 3 stars would have been exceedingly generous but 4?

    • Lighten up, Francis (bonus points for getting the movie reference, I’m just saying) – it’s a sub $400.00 bolt action rifle – holding it to the same standard as one would apply to finely crafted firearm is just ridiculous. At this price point, you really should ask only a few questions. Does it go bang? Is it accurate enough to do the job for which I bought it? Is it rugged enough to last? From the review, it looks like yes, yes, and yes. So, it’s a solid 4.

    • While I agree the low comb on a factory rifle with no irons is stupid and leaving the plastic swarf around the trigger guard is less than what I’d expect from American manufacturing standards, you’re still getting a $400 rifle that shoots sub-MOA with the right ammo. That’s a pretty solid deal. Hell, I might have gone with this instead of my Mossberg MVP if not for the proprietary mags and lack of iron sights.

      • Try moving the rifle up on your shoulder in line with your eyeball and see where your cheek ends up on that “low comb”. Not to mention it’s a .300 Blk. compact rifle with a 16″ barrel. Not a target rifle you’re going to be shooting offhand 500 meters. I own a dozen or more rifles and I’ve fired a few dozen more from ARs to my AR-50 from the shoulder. I haven’t come across a rifle yet that I couldn’t get up to eye level or that I needed some kind of rock solid cheek weld to shoot. Not to mention 95% of those “Ranch Rifles” will be RANGE RIFLES with asses owners asses planted firmly behind benches or standing on the “firing line” for 5 minutes shooting targets with a rifle at handgun distances. Its what .300 Blk. guys do.

    • The scale changes depending on the rifle. I am not comparing it to a Westley Richards. For a $380 rifle, I believe it deserves four stars.

    • Handily Sub-MOA, under 4 clams, threaded barrel, sling studs. 4 stars in my book, too, mold flashing or not. In this price range that’s appropriate or at least entirely acceptable and is a welcome compromise to achieve that accuracy at that price.

    • The fact of how well this rifle shoots and how angry that guy is about the 4 outta 5 stars, I conclude he probably has a modded out Rem 700 that shots maybe 1.5 moa on a good day…after he spent 2k. (Sorry to the Rem fanboys, they went downhill after freedom group…and when they started getting materials from China and Russia for their “Made in USA” guns”)

      • Yep. My ruger has no mods and a cheap scope and it shoots like a champ. It’s kinda scary to think how it would do with a good rifleman and a few mods.

      • Since when is 4 out of 5 stars “angry”. Jesus, at least there’s somebody reviewing a gun that isn’t chicken-shit to dare to not call it PERFECT.

        Seriously, I intentionally paged down to find a non-5 start review and there must have been a hundred or more before I got to 4.5 stars. The odds of anyone who is honest and experienced and knowledgeable enough to do a legitimate review finding something PERFECT without a single complaint worth taking a star away for are not good. And it doesn’t have to be a COMPLAINT. It could be something you’d like to see added or the PRICE or the packaging or SOMETHING THAT SAYS YOU’RE NOT A TOOL EITHER TOO CLUELESS OR TOO BOUGHT OFF TO FIND A SINGLE THING WRONG.

        Manufacturers actually like these kinds of deals and they like honest reviews which is why they send guns to people. Not to get a A+ grade since there are probably things they focus-grouped that were well-received that they didn’t put on the gun for cost reasons but if they sell well they MIGHT but only IF they get some legit feedback from outside a conference room.

        Just like going online and WHINING about a gun or product or manufacturer in a video or in the comment section of a video does NO GOOD. Pick up the phone or send an email and CONTACT THE PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP.
        If more shooters and gun owners did that instead of say….buying aftermarket shit for their pistols that are “Perfection”, that company that makes them product they won’t say a stinking negative thing about might start listening. But if you sit there and say “I LOVE MY GLOCK!” and proceed to rattle off a list of things that have been modified longer than the list of whats original, two things happen. The company that made or did all of the “upgrades” has even more of an incentive to build more parts to keep unhappy Glock guys happy and therefore keep them from complaining. And Glock has absolutely no reason whatsoever to value tour opinion in the slightest after you paid $500-$550 for a brand new pistol, another $100-$300 on “upgrades” and spent probably hours of your life undoing what they did that you didn’t like and installing something else you only like because it’s not as bad as the factory stuff. And if you do stupid, irreversible “upgrades” like stippling, take one $100 bill that you’re “paying yourself” for the work you’ve done and another $100 you’d have paid to buy it that way, wad them up, wipe your @$$ with them and throw them in the trash. Because that is what you’ve just don’t to the “value” of that gun you didn’t even like that much to begin with and already had $750 in. Because if you do decide to sell or trade it, that’s what you’re giving away when the $450 you could have gotten for it turns to $250 because nobody wants a stippled Glock with somebody else’s melted holes all over it. They might WANT a stipple Glock, but they’re not going to want yours.

        • Get over yourself guy. No one gives a shit what you think. Why don’t your take your comment (or should I say novel), print IT out, and YOUR ass with it.

    • I bought mine for $366. It shoots less than an inch for 5 at 100yds. 6 1/2 lbs with 2×7 32mm. scope. Short. Threaded for my Omega. I have older, superbly finished guns from the 60’s. They serve a purpose. THEY ARE WORKS OF ART.They are also NOT $366. And some don’t shoot as well. This is a superbly designed, knock around, Truck gun. It’s disturbing you would compare it to a Cooper, Schultz&Larsen or Sako. Sounds like you have a problem with workin’ guns. I love this little gun; it shoots damn well.

      • Update on my Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 300 Blk. The rifle retains it razor sharp accuracy. However, the magazines on this rifle don’t work. About 60% of the time. it experiences FTF jams….Yes that’s correct, this rifle jams MORE than 1/2 the time. Different Factory mags. Same result. Ruger needs to develop a magazine that works…..This one is a disgrace. It’s a shame because the rifle is so handy, light and accurate.

    • Zeroed for 110-130gr loads at 85yds (odd, I know, but that’s my backyard bench rest setup) I saw Rem 220gr subs hit 6″ low and hornady 208gr Amax hit 12″ low.

      • Yeah the last .300 BLK I was shooting (16″ AR platform) was zeroed for 110-grain supersonic and subsonic loads (like 220 grn Sierra) were a good 14″ lower if not a bit more at 100 yards… and they drop like a rock past 100.

  5. Why the heck would anyone want a .300 blk bolt gun? the entire point of this ammo is to work in AR’s with only a barrel change. Its pointless is a gun like this when there are already so many other good calibers for these kinds of guns.

    • It was designed for use in an AR, true. There are other good calibers for small bolt guns, true. But this combo offers a unique setup that I find perfect.

      300BLK is a caliber choice, like any other. I’ve already invested in it with other pistols and rifles, so I’ve already got ammo/reloading stuff for it.

      300BLK’s general benefits as a bolt gun round are short action = less weight, trim case = good mag capacity in a relatively slim stock. You can get the same benefits in similar offerings, such as 7mm-08.

      Now to the real benefit: suppression. The muzzle pressure is so low compared to other calibers in a short action, that even supersonic loads are hearing safe with a suppressor. I can’t do that with my AR, since the bolt cycling lets gas spill out the side and increases noise higher than I’ll allow without ear pro. Subsonic loads are even better.

      I can do similar things with a 308 bolt gun suppressed, but it’s heavier (medium action length and heavier barrel), and subsonic loads are either $2/rd (corbon) or difficult to hand load. And supersonic 308 loads are loud.

      So, a 300blk bolt gun is perfect for my use. A common-ish caliber, short overall length without compromising ballistics, lightweight action, and hearing safe even with a short suppressor. It’s the most fun I’ve had plinking since ruger introduced a reliable 25rd 10/22 mag. I plan on using it on a whitetail this fall (small deer here in TX).

    • What excuse is there for ANY calibers other than 22LR, 243 Win, 30-06, and 458Win Mag? Why are there any other cars besides, Ford Focus, Toyota Camry, Cadillac ATS, and Corvette?…..Variety is the spice of life, man. Sometimes we just want something different.

  6. Thanks for that review.
    I have no use for the 300 BLK, but I’d like to see a review of the Mossberg Patriot in .308.
    Initial reports are promising.

    • Look into the Tikka T3, CTR in 308. Mine shoots a 168 Hornady HPBT over IMR 4064 under 3″ for 5 shots at 1/4 mile, off the roof of my car on sandbags with Silencerco Omega screwed on. The range finder said 443 yds. These guns come with SQUARE receivers from the factory and good barrels screwed on straight. They shoot straight.

  7. I cant wait to get one, there always out of stock at buds guns. Like others said perfect tx deer and hog gun, sspecially now that tx allows suppressors for deer huntin…..

  8. I ordered this Ruger when I first learned of the .300blk loading early this year.
    The short stock arrived first and I opted to press for the longer version before spending my money.
    The fit was better on the short one, but they both suffered mould flash around the wrist and trigger guard areas.
    Nothing that a few minutes scraping wasn’t able to cure.
    My only real complaint is that the barrel doesn’t show center in the inletted groove on the muzzle end.
    It would take quite a bit of scrape/cut to make it seen proper & will upend the Ruger warranty if I do it, the paperwork explicitly warns against this sort of thing.
    I don’t recall that the short stock example was like this, but I don’t believe that it was.
    I’m waiting for the low height Leupold QRW rings I ordered to mount and zero my Burris E1 with the 33mm objective , I hope it all goes smoothly when my parts arrive.
    Overall the American series looks to be a swell value, I would be nicer if the bolt tail cap wasn’t a flimsy piece of hollow plastic though.
    After the stamp is generated I will be twisting on a Saker 7.62 to try out the subsonic properties of the Blackout rounds. Looking forward to firing the best choice from among the available bolt guns in this caliber.

  9. 300blk, here we go…

    I have zero need of a rifle in this caliber, so much in fact, I purchased both the Ruger, and the HR/AAC single shot as well.

    I have grown to love the 300blk, mainly because it does nothing that can’t be done better with most any other center fire round to be had. It’s like the bastard step child, somebody has to love it…

    Both of these rifles are stupid accurate beyond what they have a right to be. I use the HR for subsonic work, and the Ruger for all other 300blk missions.

    Both rifles are a good attempt by both manufactures in catering to the purposes both are geared toward. In all honesty, as expected, the Ruger will outshoot my HR, but in field conditions, not enough to matter.

    I commend Ruger in bringing us a capable rifle at a price point the common working person can purchase while receiving above average performance. My $380.00 drive out on this dirt color model made the deal even sweeter. I have the excellent Nikon BDC scope on both rifles. This scope was specifically  designed for the BLK chambering, and the uneventful ballistics it offers.

    At this point, both purchases have been enjoyable and above expectations. 
    I’am not a fan of the .223 / 5.56 mm, but I like this Ruger so much, I can see this rifle’s brother in the safe one day soon.

    All in all, this Ruger is a great little gun indeed!

    If I still had kids around the house, all of them would have one of these. I can’t think of a better deer, or pig gun for a young’un. Accurate, hits hard, (enough)
    Inexpensive to load for, and relatively low noise.

    What’s not to like?

    I call these rifles, ” a thirty caliber version of the ever loved .22magnum” whenever people ask about them. Ballistically, this is a backwards thought, but most get the idea…

  10. Well I realy don’t know about the ruger or Remington, I’ve looked at both and for the price I like the ruger. I’m realy thinking about buying one for my wife she needs something lighter and less bulky. The ruger overall needs to be dependable accurate to the best of the shooters ability. So personally I may buy the ruger for the price over the remaining version.

  11. I got a 223 American ranch last week My 2 friends and I went out to sight it in.100rounds 2 scopes 3 shooters best group was 4 inches at 50 yards.I got it to hunt chucks with.It is junk so far.I will put a new scope on the dam thing and try again.If it don’t shoot this week it will be for sale next week.I really liked Ruger until now.

  12. I finally got this rifle, and was able to shoot it after a month of sitting in the safe. I mounted a 2-7 redfield and added a velcro cheek riser. 3 shots free hand of cheap 120 fmj to get centered on paper at 25 yards, moved back to 50 yards switched ammo to barnes 110 vortex, 3 shot (less than 1/2 inch) clover leaf 3-4 inches right, moved scope appropriate clicks, another shot bullseye. Switched back to cheap ammo and destroyed the target. This rifle is amazing for $389.99 and a $150 scope, both from Cabelas.

  13. Bought this last year and thought I’d share my experiences.

    Down here in New Zealand we pay a big premium for our firearms, (being just a little country in a big ocean at the bottom of the world). So any relatively reasonably priced firearms are always welcome. When I say this in a gunshop last year for $799NZ (about $530, like I said we pay a premium here). I thought I’d give it a go. I liked the idea of a short barrelled supressed bush gun that I could shoot sub sonic or super, depending on what I was hunting.
    Fitted it with a Burris Fullfield 3-9 and a DPT muzzle forward suppressor (made here in NZ, we love our suppressors down here 🙂 ).
    After sighting in, it easily manages 5-6 shot sub inch groups with 130Gr spear HP @100m. Been using it for hunting Deer with the supersonic and keep the Remington 230 Gr subs for knocking over goats or pigs when the dogs are nearby to save their and my hearing.

    Just a few things to watch out for:-

    The mags are a bit finicky at times, occationally won’t feed but I’ve not noticed this too much, it certainly flings the brass out there, and not sure if this is just mine but I soon noticed I can load 6 in my mag without issue (bonus).

    If you’re using factory ammo I’ve also had issues with Hornady by which I mean 4 consecutive boxes with light strikes on the primer. One box of 110Gr Amax had four missfires in one box. I actually though it must be the rifle at first but after trying out numerous boxes of American Eagle, Remington and Bellmont(NZ ammo) have not had a single missfire with those. Maybe the hornady uses harder primers for the AR15s not sure, I’ve steered clear of .300Blk Hornady since.
    Second issue was the bolt, recently had it fall apart on me when taking it out of the rifle and after attempting to put it back together it now feels really loose. Have sent it back to find out the issue, hopefully won’t be too long, it is a great little, compact functional rifle, and is great to shoot. Just don’t be suprised on it having the odd hiccup now and then.

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