OK, first off, I was a bad boy…
A Very bad boy…
We’re not sure how we are going to cover all the costs of repairing our home and replacing the stuff we lost in the flood and I bought a new rifle. I could not resist the temptation and I purchased a Ruger American Rifle Ranch Model in 7.62×39 (Darn It Ruger, Why Now?). Then I broke down and ordered a Vortex 2×7 scope for it along with a set of rings. Oh, and I also ordered two extra magazines and they should be in shortly…
Yes, I feel a little guilty about buying a new rifle…
However, I do plan on selling another rifle I have had for a while and that should cover the cost of the rifle, scope and magazines. There might even be a little left over.
First, a quick refresher on this rifle. Bolt action rifle based on the budget “American” series of rifles from Ruger. The Ranch variants all sport short, medium weight barrels. The barrels are cold hammer forged and threaded for suppressors or the muzzle device of choice. The 7.62×39 feed from standard Ruger Mini-30 magazines. These rifles also come with a scope rail already installed and the actions are set in lightweight polymer stocks.
How do I like it?
Well, let’s start with the bad.
The action on the 7.62×39 is nowhere near as smooth as on its .308 counterpart. I don’t know if this is a function of feeding from a magazine designed for a semi-auto or if it is because I bought one of the first ones manufactured or what. I will say that as more rounds went down range the action did get much smoother but still not up to the standards of its bigger brother.
I also had some feeding issues. There were times that the rounds didn’t feed properly. That could have been operator error as I tend to tilt bolt action rifles a bit when cycling the action. It was definitely operator error when it failed to feed an entire magazine of ammo, each one jamming up before it entered the chamber. That was because there was already a round in the chamber…Doh!
The action seems to work best when worked quickly and with some force (you are chambering a Russian designed round after all).
I tested a couple of rounds of dirt cheap TulAmmo and it seemed to feed and run fine but I would need to run more rounds through the rifle to really determine how well it works in the little Ruger. I didn’t test any American made ammunition either although I am sure it will work fine. I sent almost 100 rounds of Brown Bear (Barnaul) 123 Grain soft point down range today and there were no issues with feeding or extraction.
This is a good thing because I like this ammunition. It seems to be very consistent, accurate and reliable. In side by side testing it has been just as reliable and accurate as American made ammunition but with significantly more punch. The manufacturer loads this round close to the maximum specifications for the cartridge. Plus it runs less than a quarter of the price of American manufactured 7.62×39 ammunition!
How about accuracy?
I used a laser boresight to “get me on paper” before my trip to the range so I wasn’t expecting much from my few first shots. I started out at the 25 yards line to get started and to my surprise the fist shot was on the upper edge of the bullseye. Thinking it was a fluke I dropped four more shots into the target and ended up with a single ragged hole. I am not a great shot with rifles and, to be honest, this was one of the best groups I have ever shot at this distance.
Next up 50 yards:
Again, this little rifle was right on target.
How about 100 yards?
Again, I am not a great rifle shooter and 100 yards is a long shot for me but again this rifle helped my put together on of the best groups I have ever shot at that distance. So, yeah, I think the accuracy is there.
All in all I like this rifle. The action could be smoother but I can live with that. The accuracy is there, It is lightweight, around six pounds including the scope. Since it uses the same magazines as the Mini-30 I have the option of 5, 10 or 20 rounds magazines and although they are not as cheap as AR or AK magazines they aren’t super expensive either. It would be a fine rifle for hunting deer or pigs, especially in the East Texas Piney Woods where shots would rarely be more than 100 yards and would more likely be less than half that. At around $400 it could serve as a truck gun for whatever needs a medicinal dose of lead applied around the property.
For me, this rifle will probably spend most of its life at the range. It is essentially identical to the Ruger American Predator I plan to hunt with this year but the ammo costs are a fraction of what .308 costs. It’s already topped with the same scope as I have on the .308 and the trigger is identical. So this will be my go to practice rifle allowing me to get a lot more range time at a lower cost.
So about that Ruger American Predator…
I did a quick range report on this rifle back in June (link). The action is very smooth and at 25 yards I was able to do pretty well but at longer distance I was really having trouble with it. My groups were a bit more like patterns, although still better then the Marlin 336 I used to hunt with. To be honest I was getting pretty frustrated with it once I moved over to the 100 yard line.
After a fair amount of frustration, I noticed that there was a tiny bit of play in the scope. Upon further investigation I finally discovered that the scope rail (attached at the factory by Ruger) was loose. I didn’t have the tools with me needed to remove the scope at the range so I packed it away after only about 10 or 12 rounds.
Once I got it home and took the scope off I found that all four screws holding the scope rail to the rifle had backed out. It didn’t appear that any sort of thread locker had been applied at the factory and the screws had backed out under recoil (which is pretty stout in such a light rifle). Needless to say they are now secured by Loctite now and I doubt they will back out again and I can’t wait to check the accuracy now that the scope is mounted solidly.
That’s it for this little range report.