Range Report: Ruger American Rimfire

As I mentioned in the last What Did You Prep This Month(ish) post, I picked up a Ruger American Rimfire chambered in .22 Long Rifle. This is a rimfire version of the Ruger American Predator in .308 that is my primary hunting rifle and the Ruger American Ranch in 7.62 Commie that is a fun rifle to shoot and could easily serve for hunting as well. The stock and trigger are the same between all three rifles. The action for the rimfire is (obviously) scaled down a bit but, for the most part, these rifles are almost interchangeable and time spent practicing with one translates directly to the other two.

This is one of the reasons I picked up this little guy. Even though 7.62 Commie is pretty cheap, .22 Long Rifle is still much cheaper. I can send 100 rounds of .22 downrange for the cost of 20 7.62×39 rounds and probably 250 rounds for the cost of 20 .308 Winchester rounds. The other reason is that there are times I may want to hunt smaller game. Squirrels and rabbits are not only plentiful but fairly tasty when properly prepared. This gives me a nice option for adding food to the pot or freezer. Plus .22 is much quieter than most centerfire rounds and that might just come in handy one day.

Three Ruger Americans (top to bottom) American Predator in .308, American Rimfire and Ranch in 7.62×39

To keep the little Ruger rimfire as consistent with its bigger brothers I topped it with the rimfire version of the Vortex Crossfire II 2×7 I use on the other rifles. Mounting the scope required removing the rear peep sight that came installed on the gun. Which was pretty straightforward once I located my punch set (can’t find anything in the house these days). I will also add a sling at some point to make it more convenient for hunting.

I was able to sight the little Ruger in pretty quickly. In less that 10 shots I was zeroed at 25 yards. It took about the same to make sure it was on at 50 yards. That’s about as far out as I care to take it so I spent the next 90 or so rounds just getting a feel for the rifle and what it can do.

As I mentioned before, the rifle is more accurate than I am. At the 25 yard line I could chew a hole into the bullseye all day. Say 35 or 40 rounds into about an inch or so. At 50 yards my groups opened up a little and this is where I will probably spend a lot of time with this little rifle to improve my accuracy. I tested it out to 100 yards and once I worked out the hold over I was doing surprisingly well by my standards. Hitting the steel target at 200 yards was an exercise in futility. I am sure that in the right hands the rifle is capable but mine are not the right hands. To be honest I have no idea if I hit the steel or not. I doubt a lowly .22 hitting steel at that distance on an active range could even be heard.

A pretty good group (for me)

Between the fact that this is a .22 and the contour of the barrel, I could send quite a few rounds downrange pretty quickly without heating up the barrel to any noticeable degree. Which means I can maintain a much higher rate of fire without affecting accuracy in any way. I can be more efficient with my practice time that way but, to be honest, I have to resist a tendency to just bang away at the target instead of taking my time with each shot.

The trigger on the American Rimfire is the same Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger as on the centerfire rifles. It is crisp and light (remember it is adjustable if you want it lighter) that has me spoiled as far as rifle triggers go. The MilSpec triggers on my ARs that I used to love so much feel heavy and gritty now. One thins I have noticed is that there is a good bit of variability between these triggers from Ruger. The 7.62 Commie and the rimfire triggers are noticeably better than the one on my .308 Winchester. Even after adjusting the trigger on the .308 it doesn’t feel quite as nice as the other two. It seems a bit heavier and seems to stick a little on occasion. I wouldn’t think there should be that much variability between the same triggers. Maybe the trigger in the .308 is a lemon. If it is it is still nicer than pretty much any other trigger on any other rifle I own.

I love the weight and balance of these rifles. While it doesn’t make much of a difference at the range the lightweight and shorter barrels make them much easier in the woods. Even in the winter months the woods around this part of Texas are filled with vines and scrub that wants to grab, scratch and trip you up. Lugging a heavy rifle or a long barreled rifled through the local brush is a lot like work and not all that fun. These handy little rifles make it a little less so.

The one thing about the Ruger American Rimfire than annoyed me (sort of) was the sound of the firing pin. I wear noise cancelling headphones when shooting so the loud noises like the actual rifle shots are blocked. Noises at no hearing damaging levels are not so I can carry on a conversation while wearing them. I can also hear a clear “ping” everytime I pull the trigger on this little rifle. It is probably the same volume as a centerfire rounds hitting a steel target at 200 yards so not very loud but somewhat annoying.

Seriously, that’s my biggest complaint about this rifle.

The rifle cost me $235 including taxes, shipping and FFL fees. The scope and rings were close to another $100 on top of that. Depending on your financial situation this may be cheap or it may be expensive. For me it is a reasonable price for this piece of equipment and I am very pleased with it.

Take care and God bless!


Range Report: A Herd Of Snubbies

Wonderful Wife bought me a Colt Cobra for my birthday and I was finally able to make it out to the range this week to spend a little time shooting it and comparing it to a few of the other snubbies that I own including a Colt New Agent form back in the 1980s which to me is the true precursor to the current Cobra model.

A herd of snubbies; (Left to Right) Colt Cobra, Taurus 85, Ruger LCR, Smith & Wesson 442, Colt New Agent, Ruger SP101

For anyone who has not had a chance to take a look at the new Cobra, it is an all steel snub-nosed revolver chambered in .38 Special. Unlike most snubbies on the market it is a six shot revolver. Also unlike most of the current offerings the front sight (a fiber optic on this model) is replaceable and held in with a small set screw in the front of sight.

The Cobra is a great little revolver. It is the most pleasant to shoot of anything in the “herd.” The trigger is amazing in either single or double action. Even new, out of the box it is smooth and light. The trigger compares well with my Smith & Wesson 442 that has aftermarket Apex springs installed. It also edges out the trigger on the Ruger LCR I carry on a daily basis.

The big over-molded stocks on the Cobra also contribute to the shooting experience and really help control the revolver and tame the recoil. The fact that this little revolver weighs in at 25 ounces also helps tame the recoil and makes this a much nicer shooter than anything else on the table. The flip side is that the weight plus the extra width of the six shot cylinder, exposed hammer and the huge rubber grips make this a little less appealing as a carry piece.

The bead blasted finish doesn’t compare to the rich finishes on most older Colts and Smiths. To me, it is not a pretty finish although it may be functional. Only time will tell on that. I will say that by the end of the time on the range the area around the forcing cone and the end of the cylinder was blackened. I assume it will clean off.

The big surprise to me was the little Smith & Wesson Model 30 with a 3 inch barrel and chambered in .32 Smith & Wesson Long.

Smith & Wesson Model 30

This gun was an absolute dream to shoot. The trigger was excellent in both double and single action. The old school stocks which are not terribly pleasant compared to many modern stocks were just fine with the light recoil of this caliber. Of course, like most old Smiths in decent condition the blued finish is amazing compared to modern finishes like that on the Colt. I don’t know if it is the gun itself or the combination of caliber and gun but this is one sweet little snubbie.

I could shoot it all day except for two things:

1. It is not mine and I had to return it to its rightful owner.

2. The price of .32 ammo to feed this little guy is pretty high and the availability is pretty limited. As a courtesy, and in hopes of being able to shoot this little snubbie more often I checked the availability and price of reloading dies and even those are tough to find and pricey where they can be found.

Oh well…

I wonder if the new .327 Magnums from Ruger would be as much fun to shoot? They would certainly be easier to find than an old Model 30 (and probably cheaper). But would they be as much fun to shoot? That’s the question.

Take care and God bless!

Range Report: Old Ladies…

In celebration of what would have been my grandfather’s 92nd birthday, we made it out to the range a few days ago. That’s the same day Wonderful Wife unloaded her logic bomb on me (link). We had a chance to do a couple of really cool things; shoot my grandfather’s Webley MKII and help my mom test a few revolvers. One of those was significantly more successful than the other.

My mom hasn’t been to the range in a while and was very nervous, hanging back and not getting too close to the firing line. She turned down the opportunity to shoot her father’s Webley. She even had to step out to the lobby for a bit to regain her calm. Definitely not a good sign.

It took her a while but eventually she decided she was ready to try her hand at shooting a revolver. I was a little concerned about what her reaction woud be and how she would handle it and started her out with a Ruger LCR in .22 Long Rifle. I showed her how to operate the button to release the cylinder, eject the rounds and reload it. The results were mixed. She was able to load and unload it easily and her accuracy was terrible.

The big problem, as I suspected it would be, was working the cylinder release. Ruger revolvers have a small button that must be depressed in order to release the cylinder. She had a lot of trouble with the small button. After about forty rounds of .22 LR I had her try and work the cylinder release on the Taurus 85. Although it takes more pressure to slide the release forward on the Taurus the release is much bigger and it was easier for her to operate.

Unfortunately, she was still very nervous and refused to try the .38 Special. I left it alone and she burned through another forty rounds or so of .22 Long Rifle. We had plans to meet the rest of the family for lunch so time was running short and I made one last attempt to see if she would try a center fire revolver. She reluctantly agreed.

I started her with a single shot in the Ruger SP101. I chose the SP101 because it is the heaviest revolver I have, other than the Webley, so it should have the lightest recoil. It took her a few minutes to work up the courage but she finally took the shot…

…and she was fine with it.

Next I loaded a single round in the Taurus 85 and let her have a go. No problem there either. She had time to burn through a few cylinders of .38 Special before we had to leave for lunch.

The bottom line?

She has no problem working the cylinder release mechanism and has no issue with the recoil. She loves the Taurus. She is not a very good shot anyway and a snubbie doesn’t improve that situation. Now that we know that this will be her new firearm of choice I’ll have to stock up on even more .38 Special so she can practice.

The primary purpose of this trip to the range was for my mom and my son to have a chance to shoot my grandfather’s Webley in celebration of his birthday. That didn’t go all that well.

The Webley is a Mark II that has been cut down to shoot .45 ACP. The issue is thet the pressure of the .45 ACP cartridge exceeds what this old gun was designed to handle. Continuing to shoot full power .45 ACP in this revolver will eventually result in a catastrophic failure. To avoid the destruction of the Webley (not to mention the hand of whoever might be holding it at the time) I have developed a light load to protect both. Unfortunately, I either made a mistake in my loading or the recipe was a little too light. In either case the result was a squib load…

I was able to shoot a full six rounds through the Webley but my son only managed a single round…

That shouldn’t be there…

Now I get to remove the failed round from the barrel. I will also be pulling all the other rounds that I made apart and testing them to see if I made a mistake or if the recipe is wrong.

Range Report: Annual Hunting Trip

Last weekend was our annual “guys weekend” hunting trip to North Texas and I wanted to share a few thoughts and observations…

The Good

The Ruger American Predator in .308 is a great rifle (for me).

The rifle is nice an light. Unlike some other rifles I have used, carrying it through the woods, mud and brush all day on was no problem. No wrist or shoulder pain like I have had carrying some other rifles. The “Claw” sling from Quake did a great job keeping the rifle in place so I didn’t have to worry and hold it in place all day.

Little rifle, little piggy and a big round…

Accuracy, as long as I did my part, was dead on and the Vortex Crossfire II 2×7 scope was perfect for both the the tighter shooting needs on a stalk through thick brush as well as longer ranges from a stand in an open field.

The first pig I took was in an open field but I had to stalk through some heavy brush to get to the field. The light weight and short length of the rifle made it much easier to make it close enough to take the shot without making enough noise to spook the pigs. We happened upon a small group of pigs while tagging along with my grandson and his dad while they were squirrel hunting. The light weight means I didn’t leave it back at camp and again the small size made it easier to sneak through the brush for an easier shot. The power of the .308 put the piggy down even with a less than stellar shot on my part. The third hog was across an open field from an elevated stand. The stationary, elevated position allowed for an easy and clean head shot even over the longer distance.

The steaks.

There is very little that can top a perfectly seasoned 16 ounce ribeye cooked over an oak fire with potatoes and onions on the side…

Fellowship with my son, grand son and son-in-law.

Father and son spending time together in nature

It was a great time and we were able to spend some quality time together without TV, Internet, iPads or any of the other distractions of modern life to interrupt. My grandson got to learn more about hunting and cleaning animals. He know where his meat comes from and what goes into killing and preparing it. He spent a lot of time practicing with his new .22 and is getting pretty good with it. I have a standing offer to him that if he can hit a soda can at 50 yards with open sights in five shots or less I’ll give him $20. He almost took it from me this trip.

The Bad

Nikon scopes with exposed turret adjustments.

My son was adjusting the green light mounted on his AR and the light mount twisted on his scope turning the elevation turret an unknown number of clicks. I may be missing something but turret adjustments should not be exposed like that on a rifle, especially one that is used outside of the controlled space of a range. We were able to re-zero the next day but that burned hunting time and ammo.

Forgetful old men.

Between the repairs to the house, work, the holidays and everything else we have going on this old man forgot several things this weekend…including ammo for his rifle. If you’re going hunting, remember to bring ammo. It was thirty plus miles to town for ammo which also ate into our hunting time although we did find a good burger place.

New boots.

Most of my shoes were lost in the flood including the boots I wear when hunting. I picked up a new pair just in time for the trip but didn’t have time to break them in. No blusters, but not very comfy either. The right one also squeaked when I walked making it tough to stalk quietly.

The Ugly

Diseased Pigs

The hog I shot on the last night, from the stand, looked good in the scope and under the green hog light but once we retrieved her we knew something was wrong. A pig that size should have weighed in around 150 to 175 but I doubt she even made 100 pounds. Even in the dark we could see her ribs. No idea what was wrong with her but we took no risks and disposed of the carcass without bothering to get the little meat she had on her. On the good side maybe whatever she was suffering from won’t be passed along to any other hogs or deer.

God bless

Range Report

As the weather starts to cool off a little along the Texas Gulf Coast the outdoor rifle ranges are starting to get pretty busy. A lot of guys are getting ready for deer season and the rest are just taking advantage of those rare times when you can get outside without suffering heatstroke. Although I probably won’t make it out to bag any deer this year, we will still probably make our annual hunting trip to north Texas to bag a few hogs. It looks like that will be in January or February again this year but it is never too early to start getting ready, especially when you will be carrying a new rifle into the fields.

The Ruger American Predator in .308 Winchester will be my “go to” rifle this year and last time out I ran into a bit of an issue. Ruger, by design or oversight, didn’t use any thread locker on the scope rail and under recoil from the .308 the screws backed out leaving my scope on less that solid footing and my shots were all over the paper.

With the rail re-attached (with a generous application of thread locker on each screw) I wanted to see how she would do.

A few shots at 50 yards showed I was at least on paper so then it was time to head to the 100 yard line (100-125 yards is about the outside distance for me when hunting). I was having some issues with consistency at first which had be rechecking the scope rail but after a bit I was able to settle down and she should be about zeroed in. 

I spent quite a bit of time practicing with the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39. To be honest I really prefer the “short .30 caliber” to the .308 as the recoil is significantly less and the ammo is cheaper. Which was the plan after all, since other than caliber and color the rifles are identical.

One of the things I wanted to do was test some ammo other than the Brown Bear and see what the difference would be in reliability, point of impact and the groupings. My AR in 7.62×39 is very sensitive to different ammunition brands and types. There can be several inches difference in point of impact at 100 yards and significant differences in the accuracy of each round with that rifle and I wanted to see if that was still the case with the Ruger.

I tested super cheap TulAmmo, my standard Brown Bear, Fiocchi brass cased ammo, Hornady 7.62X39 123 gr SST® Steel Case and some reloads. The little Ruger hand no issues feeding or firing any of them. Picky, it is not and it was very consistent too. There was very little, if any, difference in the point of impact regardless of the ammo. The group did tend to spread out with the cheap TulAmmo resulting in groupings of around 2-3 inches instead of the 1-2 inches I could get with the other types of ammunition. I continue to be impressed with this little rifle.

Since the Ruger has no issues with the brass cased Fiocchi or my reloads that means I can use it at indoor rifle ranges as well which opens up a lot more of the year for practicing with a rifle. As much as I love shooting, outdoor ranges when it is almost 100 degrees outside with almost 100% humidity are a lot less enjoyable than sitting in air conditioned comfort…

I can’t wait to make it out into the field with one (or the other) in a few months time and back to the range sooner than that.

God bless

Say Hello To My Little Friend (Part 2: Range Report)

I guess I should have said range reports in the title since I have been to the range a couple of times already…

Range Report 1

I was able to sneak away for a quick range trip while Wonderful Wife was taking a nap. I was back at the house a bit more quickly than I had expected though.

My first test was with the 7.5 inch 5.56 upper. I have had this little fire-breather and I know it works. It’s just really loud and obnoxious. The first round chambered properly and fired as expected. The second round chambered but the trigger was dead. I ejected the round manually and the next round fired but the subsequent round did not.

I switched to the 10.5 inch 300 Blackout upper and the results were the same with both subsonic and supersonic rounds. Just to be thorough I even tried swapping the bolt carrier groups between the two uppers. No change. It seemed like maybe the hammer was not being reset properly. I figured I had just reversed a spring or something.

Once I got home and took the trigger group apart I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way I had assembled it. I did notice that both the trigger and hammer springs seemed a little lighter than some of the extras I had laying around and the parts were not as well made. I also noticed that some of the rounds that I had ejected to clear the dead trigger had very slight indentations like it was a light strike which was odd since the trigger was dead so there should have been no marks from the firing pin. So it looked like the hammer was being reset but something wasn’t catching it to hold it in place so it would just bounce back and strike the firing pin with enough force to sent the primer but not enough to fire the round. I was surprised it didn’t go full auto on me at the range. With a stronger hammer spring it probably would have.

Rather than spend a lot of time replacing one part at a time I replaced the whole trigger group with one I took out of the 7.62×39 AR when I installed the ALG trigger (link).

Range Report 2

After my trip to Portland I took a day off to rest and recover (flying and sitting in airports for about 12 hours wears me out). What better to do on my day off than to head back to the range for some more AR pistol testing!

With the trigger group replaced everything worked perfectly.

Again I started with the 5.56 upper since it was a “known good” piece.

As you can see from this video, everything worked fine. You can also see how crazy the muzzle flash is on this little monster. What you can’t tell is how loud it actually is. Even with ear muffs it is a bit painful to shoot at an indoor range.

Next, I switched to the new 300 Blackout upper using supersonic ammunition. It also worked flawlessly. With the slightly longer barrel and the quicker burning powder I expected a lot less drama with this upper and I was not disappointed.

Almost no muzzle blast and although you can’t tell from the audio it is a lot quieter to shoot. The recoil was about the same as the 5.56, no change there.

Next up, the same upper with subsonic ammunition

You probably can’t tell from the video but the subsonic ammunition is a good but quieter than the supersonic stuff and orders of magnitude quieter than the 5.56 out of a 7.5 inch barrel.  The recoil is also noticeably less.

This little gun will primarily be a range toy for a bit until I get a lot more experience with it but I like everything I own to be capable of delivering hits when I need it to should something really bad hit the fan. I sighted it in at around 21 feet since that is about the longest shot I could possibly take within my home and I was able to put shots on target pretty quickly with this little guy but I also discovered something interesting.

While I was a little high at 21 feet (bottom targets) when I moved out beyond that my groups migrated north several inches. I was a bit confused at first but after checking a few resources I was able to confirm what I suspected, the bullet begins to rise after 21 feet and does so pretty quickly.

Left side supersonic/Right side subsonic Bottom at 21 feet/Top at 50

The other thing I found was that within these ranges there was no real difference in the impact point for supersonic or subsonic rounds. Which is something else I was very curios about.

All in all I like this little set up but I need to spend a good bit more time with it before I would bet my life on it.

God bless.

A Few Shots With The Hand Cannon

We had an event at a local gun range today and I was able to take a few shots with the new (to me) Hand Cannon.

I have to say that when loaded with .357 Magnum rounds this is a pretty exciting little gun. Now, I like shooting snub-nosed revolvers and I don’t mind recoil but this little guy raises the bar…a lot.

First thing I noticed is that the Crimson Trace laser grips are way off and I will have to spend some time at the range to sight it in (if I decide to leave them on). The second thing I noticed is that the trigger is fine. I had no issue with it probably because of all the dry fire practice with the Model 360. I didn’t have enough time to check night sights for accuracy as I only had a few minutes free between presenting and visiting with customers but I was able to keep my last group of .38 Specials within about a three inch spot on the target.

Now, let’s get back to the recoil…

This thing hits the hand hard when loaded with .357 Magnum rounds. It is not painful but it does sting. By comparison, I was able to shoot a nice .44 magnum with a six inch barrel side by side with the little hand cannon and while the recoil on the .44 was slightly more it didn’t snap or sting like this little guy did. Of course the .44 Magnum probably weighed in around two pounds heavier than the M&P 340.

With all that said, I had no issues keeping a good grip on the gun. I didn’t have to readjust between shots and it never wanted to jump out of my hand but like I said I like small revolvers, I practice with them a lot and enjoy the recoil. At the same time I will admit going through a box of 50 .357 Magnum rounds would be about all I could handle.

I let a co-worker try it out and based on the video evidence (since he denied it) he did have some issues with control; both of the firearm and the trigger:

He is a fairly experienced shooter (or claims to be anyway) but really only has experience with full sized, metal framed 9mm semi-autos. You be the judge.

Anyway, those are my first impressions. I hope to get out to the range again soon when I have time to send more than 15 or 20 rounds downrange.

God bless!