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RANGE REPORT!! Ruger American Rifle in .308

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Stomper, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    OK, a few different folks have asked me to post my range findings as they are considering buying one of these Ruger American Rifles...

    Weather was around 68-70*F, humidity was (how the he11 should I know, I'm not a meteorologist...LOL) and an intermittent breeze from the right @ 5-10mph-ish


    Here is the bench setup I was using; just the range rests and sandbags, no fancy vices or anything.

    ShootingRig.jpg

    Here's the photo of the best performing ammo: Hornandy SST 150gr. - 1st Group(RED) = 1.25"(w/flyer), the 2nd Group(BLUE) = 1"!

    HornandySST.jpg


    The second best performing ammo: Remington Core-Lokt 180gr. - 1st. Group(GREEN) = 2.5"(w/flyer), 2nd Group(YELLOW) = 1.5"(w/flyer) 3rd Group(PURPLE) = 1", 4th Group(BLACK) = 1.5"(w/flyer)

    The least perfroming ammo : Remington Core-Lokt 150gr. - 1st Group(BROWN) = 2"(w/5"flyer), 2nd Group(TURQUIOS) = 2", 3rd Group(GREY) = 2.5"(w/flyer)


    Here's the photo of the target for your visual pleasure:

    TargetAnnotatedResultsCropped.jpg


    To date, Hornandy SST 150gr. was hands down THE BEST ammo for this rifle. I was pleasantly surprised with the Remington 180gr. Cor-Lokt which wasn't too far behind the Hornandy SST. The 150gr. I'm going to chalk up to shooter error, and a hotter barrel as this is the last category I fired, and not giving my barrel enough time to cool down.

    The bottom line is that if you feed this rifle quality ammo that it "likes", practice with it and do your part on proper marksmanship discipline, you can just about pick what tooth to shoot out in the T-zone!

    Did Ruger come through with a 1 MOA (possibly even sub-MOA) rifle for a RIDICULOUSLY GREAT PRICE? Oh, yeah... they did. :thumbup:
     
  2. Creeper

    Creeper Ravensdale, WA. Member

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    I figured you'd find a load that'd do MOA or better. Good on ya' Stomper. :thumbup:
     
  3. Glockman19

    Glockman19 Hillsboro Active Member

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    So I two am in the market for a Hunting rifle and this rifle caught my eye. So how was the gun itself? Parts fit, fit and finish, overall quality of the gun? Just trying to get a feel from others with first hand experience!!
     
  4. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    "Did Ruger come through with a 1 MOA (possibly even sub-MOA) rifle for a REDICULOUSLY GREAT PRICE? Oh, yeah... they did."

    I would reserve judgement before assigning the American the 1 MOA title. The SST ammo does look promising, and if the preliminary evidence continues to pan out as here, it is VERY GOOD, but it still falls short of the mark. (Or, I may grant that our definitions of a "MOA" rifle are different.)

    An MOA rifle in my opinion will AVERAGE 1" groups consistently with a chosen load. This means the AVERAGE size of all the groups the rifle produces with that load never EXCEEDS 1". A high standard to achieve, no doubt. (Much easier to verbalize.) Yes, an MOA rifle may occasionally shoot 1.25. But every time it produces that group, it must also produce AT LEAST ONE OTHER GROUP of .75" to maintain its MOA title.

    What you have here, truthfully, is a rifle that shot a three-shot 1" group once. Given that as the standard, I don't think I own any rifles that are not "MOA".

    Having said this, I AM impressed. I also realize that this was done somewhat "under the gun" , is preliminary, and not absolutely meticulous. (No criticism here, just observation that actually grants the rifle may well be capable of even better).

    However, let's not allow our shared enthusiasm to dispense titles not quite earned yet.
     
  5. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    I hear what you are saying, and yes this was by no means done with an established process. I can account for the random flyers as shooter error, plus not waiting for the barrel to cool down in between shot groups, plus some of them being 3 round and some being 5 round groups.

    I plan to get a proper shooting bench/vise to solidly hold the rifle stationary through shot groups for starters. I'd also love it if you PM'd or emailed me a proper process check list for testing proceedures on group size potential so we can really determine what this thing can do with respectable scientific precision.

    I'm confident this rifle is going to hum along as I get more practice with it. For starters I hardly noticed the recoil and followed the shot right on down range... Not quite the "event" on each discharge in my last report. LOL!

    I know I can easily hit game with this puppy as it sits right now.
     
  6. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    You took my reply precisely as it was intended: constructively. Thanks for that! (Sometimes I come across a bit abrupt for some people.)

    Avoid anything you might refer to as a "vise". You don't want to "solidly hold the rifle stationary...". The gun must recoil naturally to shoot its best. Observing your good pictures, in your shoes I would invest in a good tripod for the forearm (check Midway for various types, and go mid-price, not cheapie). Then an "ear-bag" sandbag that is compatible with the tripod's cradle (they usually lace or velcro on). then another "ear-bag" for under your buttstock. These are lifetime investments, durable and you won't likely wear them out: again, don't go cheapie. I prefer leather.

    At that point, you are in business at the business end. For downrange, use a consistent target. I have a master copy that is 3/4" black squares (five of them on a sheet of typing paper). 1-3/8" on the outside. I did this on graph paper, run copies as I need. I reduce the interior square size to .5" when I have a highpower scope (10x or more). Each target has a "data" area on it to list gun,caliber, load, etc., etc. If your targets aren't comparable, your data is not comparable.

    Always start with a squeaky clean, cold, dry bore, then use "crappy" ammo (two or three shots) to foul the bore before testing. Give a full 3 minutes between each shot for cooling. At least 5 minutes between each group. (Yes, it takes some time.) I have an egg timer on my bench. 3 shot or 5-shot groups?? Depends on the gun. Big game gun (like your American), 3 shots is a practical group. You will almost NEVER shoot 5 times at anything in the field, and if you do, something has gone terribly wrong. Varmint guns (expected to deliver shot-after-shot-after-shot consistency for long strings) may be better served with 5 (or even 10!) shot groups.

    Write everything down. Even if it seems unimportant now. Five years later, the tiny detail becomes the crucial data when you refer back to what you did this day.

    Light guns sometimes prefer to be held hard on the bags during the shot (this sort of approaches your "solidly hold the rifle stationary...", but not really). The gun is still allowed to recoil naturally: it is just that the shooter is insulating the light gun from things like trigger tension, breathing, heartbeat, etc. This takes experimentation, and document your experiments with groups produced by each technique. Heavy guns most usually prefer a lighter hold on the bags.

    Your front bag (and I say this looking at your picture) should be under the forearm in exactly the same place your hand would be if you were naturally shooting the gun with no rest. Forearm checkering gives good reference points. Be careful to not allow the front sling swivel to interefere in any way.

    A good trigger can be the difference between a tack-driver and a pattern-caster. Adjust your trigger (or have it adjusted) to a 3lb pull for a big game gun (I like 'em lighter), and very crisp.

    You already were well on your way. All this is gravy to help things go.

    img045.jpg
     
  7. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Sorry for the late reply! I would say that the fit and finish on my rifle is pretty decent. The bolt is not sloppy when its cycled, yet not too tight that it binds up, but I will say that the body of the bolt is not mirror smooth.

    Although it looks like the barrel is parkerized it is actually a matte black bluing and you need to take the appropriate maintenance precautions against surface rust.

    The receiver is nicely machined w/no milling marks, the finish is nice and smooth. If you are expecting a Weatherby cadillac grade rifle, and by that I mean shiny and pretty and ready to go to the prom, then save your $350 and build it up to around $1,500.00+ to get that.

    A couple of things I think I will do is Ceracoat the barrel for better rust protection, and polish the body of the bolt so it is as slippery as ice.


    Hope that helps!
     
  8. 1stIDFMP

    1stIDFMP North of Salem, south of Portland Active Member

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    Stomper, good report. I was impressed with your colored circles, for each type of ammo, on the target pics. Did your lovely wife help you with that? ;)
     
  9. Glockman19

    Glockman19 Hillsboro Active Member

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    Thanks Stomper for the reply:thumbup:
     
  10. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    There is a pretty good article on the Chuck Hawk's website covering the Ruger American. The author gave it a favorable review. The article provides some details that anyone considering buying this rifle might want to know.

    Ruger American Rifle
     
  11. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    I'm liking this shooting rest, and may get one for my next round testing so I can tame those flyers... LOL!


    Model 500 Rifle Rest - TargetShooting.com - Makers of Rifle Rests, Portable Shooting Benches, Target Stands, Targets, and Accessories


    Here's another straight forward review on the American: The New Ruger American Rifle


    I may be starting to sound like a Ruger American fan boy, but all I was looking for was a decent rifle to go hunting with because the way our country (and the rest of the world) is going its a skill many will need in order to get by. So far this rifle has given me an excellent weapon/tool for an exceptional value, and in today's economy this rifle is easily within financial reach of even those going through cash strapped times.

    On another note in reference to "the way the world is going"... This rifle is suitable for "reach out and touch you" duty as well. ;)
     
  12. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    don't care for the plastic stock, but, I have been keeping an eye on these for a while. I would love to see one in a laminate stock, it would be worth the extra money.
     
  13. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    No doubt Boyd's will make your wish come true very soon if not already, Coop.

    As for the "Model 500", to each his own, but my recommendation would be away from such a device, and toward a very good mid-price range tripod (Caldwell The Rock, for example: see Midway), and ear bags front and rear. Much more versatile, and MUCH more comfortable: allowing you to put your (left?) arm where you want it comfortably.

    Many bench shooters adopt a style where the unused arm rests directly under the rifle on the bench: the Model 500 has those annoying rails right in that spot. Other parts of such a device are certain to modify unnaturally your grasp of the rifle, cheek weld, shoulder contact, etc. as a result of the encumberments.

    Although bench shooting can never be presented as a "natural" form of firing a rifle (since we don't often carry benchrests with us in the field), it is important that the shooter's handling and interaction with the gun on the bench be as "natural" and comfortable as possible: not only to improve the shooter's precision, but also to allow the gun to react against (and with) the human body much like it would in the field.
     
  14. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I agree with Spitpatch's assessment of the rest you mention. I have a similar rest called a BenchMaster that cost about half the price. I still use it on occassion for varmint hunting and at the range, but my two peice setup with a tripod style front rest and Protector rear bag is a much better option for benchrest shooting.

    The good news is that these one peice rests work great to hold your gun for cleaning, mounting scopes and other minor gunsmith work. So even if you do buy one and find you don't like it or want to upgrade to a different rest, it will still serve a purpose.
     
  15. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    Boyds won't do one for quite a while, already called and checked. It has to be out there in numbers and show some model longevity for them to invest in making a stock for it.
     
  16. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Stomper can take accolades for wringing out the American and coming to a very valid conclusion with his spur-of-the-moment tests well before the article just this week in Rifle magazine by John Haviland. Haviland's test gun was a .30-06, but certainly he showed without a doubt what Stomper already claimed: The Ruger American is a MOA gun. Haviland showed this unequivocally with 6 out of 10 loads tried. Best group? .54" . The load? 56.0g of IMR4350 behind a Hornady 168g A-Max.

    Ya nailed it, Stomp! (Worth snagging this issue off the rack if you are not a subscriber!)
     
  17. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    I'll grab an issue and read up on that article. Seriously though, I do appreciate the input and suggestions on using a consistent process, and bench rests. I decided to just invest in some rabbit ear type sand bags when I get to that point (and shoot it like a man... LOL). I plan on taking the rifle out again within the next month or so... My OCD has taken root on mastering some precision shooting discipline... I may even get back into reloading (haven't since the early 90's)

    My military career focused on hitting the target, "where" wasn't as a big concern as opposed to "that" you hit it... makes tactical sense. Anyway, "punching paper" has been B-O-R-I-N-G to me for over a couple of decades (I suspect because of military training), but I must say that the mixture of science and finesse to smack a dime sized target THE FIRST TIME is addicting... and useful. ;)
     
  18. mrbook

    mrbook Battle Ground, Washington Member

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    I talked to Boyds as well and they told me probably early 2013 for the stock.
     
  19. acamelo1

    acamelo1 Lakes Region NH New Member

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    I have been shooting the Remington 150gr Core Lokt and having no success. Shot the 168gr Federal and it seemed to like it. Have you tried this ammo? Thanks


     
  20. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Holy Cow!! Sorry for the late reply and necro-thread!!


    No, I have only shot the Hornady and Core-Lokt outlined above.

    FWIW, I did bag a Blacktail buck this year with "one shot-one kill" through the heart @50 meters while standing unsupported with the 180gr Core-Lokt... because the Hornady was at the bottom of the stack of my .308 stash which would have meant moving 20-30 boxes of .308 to get to it!! LOL!