uger came out with their low cost American line of rifles a few years ago and because they were all lighter sporter style rifles we initially had no real interest in them. It was about a year after their introduction that they announced a new model in their American Rifle lineup called the Predator, which featured a “heavier” weight barrel that was even threaded for a suppressor or muzzlebrake, all at a very low cost. These rifles were advertised as being made in the USA and so we had hope that perhaps a very low cost rifle might be available for long range shooting, or even a BOPR style rifle. So we waited for them to become available so we could do an evaluation. And we waited, and waited, and waited for over a year. Finally, earlier in 2016 they finally became widely available and we ordered one up for evaluation here. Unfortunately, when it arrived, we were immediately disappointed. The barrel may be “heavier” as advertised, but “heavier” does not mean heavy. The barrel is only slightly thicker than their sporter barrel profile, at least we are assuming it is since that is how they advertise it. We here would classify it as a sporter barrel. That was a let down, but we had the rifle here, so we figured we would run it through the tests anyway just to see how it did.
Right off the bat, the first thing that came to mind when we started looking at the rifle in detail was “cheap”. The stock is molded from plastic, which is considered synthetic, and you can hear the hollow sound of it when you tap on the buttstock. There is also a squishy rubber recoil pad that does absorb some of the recoil. The comb of the stock where your cheek rests is not elevated and has a sporter style shape to it. The rifle is not advertised as any sort of tactical rifle, but is billed as a predator rifle to be used for coyote hunting and the such. Typically predator rifles are similar to a varmint rifle with heavy barrel, but perhaps with a smaller profile stock for lighter weight. The Ruger Predator rifle seems to be more sporter and as such the stock is very sporter like. This theme continues up through the pistol grip as well as it is thin and swept back, doing away with a vertical style grip. The green colored plastic stock does have a semi-rough texture to it to help provide friction to hold your cheek in place when firing. The pistol grip also has some triangle like raised designs to it for added gripping surface.
In front of the pistol grip the stock is molded into a trigger guard, removing that separate part of the rifle and reducing manufacturing costs. Provided the plastic can hold up to the abuses of field use, it should work fine, though after-market stock makers will now have to deal with providing a trigger guard as well. At the bottom of the pistol grip there is a plastic cap with the rugger logo on it. This cap doesn’t provide any functional use and its not really noticeable, but we thought we would mention it anyway. The stock maintains its thin profile through the action area as well and located directly in front of the trigger guard is a detachable box magazine, which we would not expect to find on a lower priced rifle like this. The magazine is a rotary box magazine which should surprise no one as Ruger has been making rotary magazines on their 10/22 rifles for many decades. The magazine for the American Predator rifle reminds us of the 10/22 design but on a larger scale. The magazine only holds four rounds, and it detaches simply by pulling the lever at the front of the magazine back toward the rear and then removing the magazine from the rifle. It is a simple system and since all of the moving parts are contained on the magazine, it means the stock remains simple and more affordable to manufacture. The magazine well consists of nothing more than a smooth sided opening being molded into the stock. That is it, there are no other parts to manufacture. It was no surprise that the magazine is made of plastic as well.
There is a depression molded into the stock at the front of the magazine well to allow access to the magazine release lever and once you get used to where it is located, it becomes easy to operate, though a bit different than what most might be used to on a tactical rifle. Again, it is very much like a 10/22 magazine, so if you have experience with 10/22s, it’ll feel more natural. The forearm of the stock maintains the thin sporter profile with no widening of the forearm to allow a more stable shooting platform. The top of the forearm even pinches in, though we are not sure why beyond aesthetical reasons and maybe it saves a few grams of weight. Some more of the triangle style raised gripping texture is present there as well, but beyond that, the forearm is pretty standard fair. There is only a single sling stud, and one in the rear, so if you plan to use a bipod, then the sling would need to be attached to the bipod itself. It does need to be mentioned that while there is no aluminum bedding block, the stock is of sufficient stiffness to allow the barrel to be free floated all the way back to the lockring/action. The barrel remains free floating even when using a bipod or sandbag up front. The stock does have two V shaped small blocks in the stock that sit in two machined grooves at the bottom of the action to mate the stock to the action in a way that allows the action to be properly aligned in the stock. Ruger calls this the Power Bedding integral bedding block system, but beyond easily aligning the stock to the action, they probably act more like pillars than a bedding block. This system does allow for a free floated barrel and it can be considered similar to doing a two point bedding on a wood stock.
Protruding out past the rear tang of the action is a two position safety. When the bolt is cocked the safety can be pulled to the rear to cover the red “F”, placing the rifle in a safe position. When the safety is engaged the trigger can be depressed but the rear striker on the bolt is not released to engage the firing pin. While in this safe condition, the bolt can still be cycled in order to remove a round from the chamber while keeping the rifle safe. Move the safety forward, exposing the red “F” and the rifle is prepared to fire. The trigger itself is a blade style trigger, meaning there is a “safety” blade that protrude through the center of the trigger that must be pressed during the trigger squeeze in order for the trigger to allow the rifle to fire. We are not huge fans of this style of trigger, but a number of rifles use them now and they have become a part of the industry. The extra means of liability protection that this trigger system enables, allows manufacturers to ship their rifles with a lighter weight trigger pull, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the trigger on this Ruger is not that light, breaking at 4.25 lbs. Fortunately the triggers are adjustable from 3-5 lbs, you just need to remove the stock and then use a small Allen wrench to adjust the weight of pull via a single set screw at the front of the trigger mechanism. Though we noted that when we lightened this trigger, it seemed to introduce some creep into it, which there are no adjustments to fix.
The action has a hex shape to the top profile with the sides cut flat. There is a bolt release button on the left hand side of the action that fits flush to the action until the bolt is pulled to the rear which causes the rear portion of the button to protrude up allowing the operator to depress it and then pull the bolt from the rear of the action. It works well, though it can be a bit hard to depress if wearing thick gloves. As was mentioned earlier, the action has groves machines into the bottom of it that mate up to the aluminum V blocks mounted in the bedding area of the stock. The action also has a few pressure release ports on the sides in the case of a catastrophic failure to help protect the shooter. The rifles also come with a single piece aluminum picatinny style rail, with zero cant, mounted at the factory.
The bolt is a three lug design which allows for a short rotation stroke giving plenty of clearance for the scope as well as allowing for quicker bolt manipulation. The bolt handle is turned down and slanted back toward the shooter as just about all modern rifles are today. The bolt knob is a small traditional shaped round knob finished in black. The rear shroud is made of plastic, though it is unlikely it would ever come under heavy abuse to where it might fail, but it is something to be aware of. The bolt body is actually a bit different than normal as it is a very thick body that steps down at the very front where the bolt lugs and face are located. There is one grove cut into the left hand side of the bolt where the bolt release lever slides and guides the bolt. As was mentioned, the bolt has three lugs, versus the normal two found on Remington, Mauser and Winchester actions, and located on front of one of those lugs is a M16 style clip extractor with a plunger located on the opposite side of the bolt face. This provides a good positive extraction and appears that it will hold up well over prolonged use. The entire bolt body is in the bare metal, where the plastic shroud and bolt handle are black.
We already expressed our disappointment at the beginning of this review in the fact that the barrel was a “heavier” sporter profile and not a true heavy barrel. According to our caliper, the diameter of the 18″ barrel at the muzzle is only .725″, where as a Remington heavy barrel is .820″ on a 26″ and .850 on the 20″. The barrel reminds us a little of the thinner profile Steyr SSG-69 PI barrel, so we decided to measure that barrel and it came in at the same .725″. But the Steyr barrel felt and looked heavier, and then we recalled that the Ruger barrel was only 18″ long, where as the Steyr was 24″. When we measured the Steyr barrel at 18″ of length it was .820″ diameter. So what makes the Ruger barrel appear thinner, which it is, is that it tapers down quicker, going to .725″ in only 18″ of length. If the same profile were to be used on a barrel that was 22″ or 24″ in length, then it would likely have a “heavier” look and feel to the barrel profile, being very similar to the Steyr. That heavier weight also would provide additional stiffness and would reduce the heating time of the barrel when firing multiple shots.
The barrel is mounted to the action using what appears to be a similar setup to the Savage and other lower cost rifles using a lock ring setup to easily establish the proper head spacing. This system saves machining labor which in turn saves cost. A surprising feature is the threaded barrel and it is not only surprising because its on a low price rifle, but more so because it is on such a thin profile barrel. If it is to be used for a muzzlebrake then its understandable, but to use it for a suppressor would be surprising. It is certainly doable, and has been done, but putting all that weight out front on a thin sporter barrel will cause dramatic point of impact shift, though it should be repeatable so it can be compensated for. The rifle comes with a thread protection cap as well. The entire barrel, and the action, are finished using a matte bluing that appears to be good quality.
The overall feel of the rifle is like a light weight hunting rifle. Without optics it only weighs 6.2 lbs, which is extremely light for a tactical rifle. The light weight is a result of the cheap plastic stock, and the short 18″ sporter weight barrel. The fit and finish of the rifle is crude when compared to higher end sniper rifles, but for the low price point of the rifle, it isn’t bad. The cheap stock is perhaps its biggest shortfall in terms of the cheap appearance of the rifle. It is short and handles fairly well, as you would expect from such a small and light hunting rifle. But we needed to find out how the rifle performed in order to draw any sort of overall conclusions.
For our tests we mounted one of our test mule scopes, a Leupold Vari-X III 6.5-20x50mm that had seen a good life mounted on a police sniper rifle for a number of years. We use this scope often on our test rifles and it mounted up quick using a pair of Leupold Mk4 steel 30mm rings on the provided Ruger one piece rail. For the shooting portion of the test we had very favorable weather conditions with 60 degrees F, overcast and very mild winds from 1-3 mph. If you are not familiar with the tests that we perform on our rifles, go ahead and read about them on the how we test page.
For our 100 yard accuracy tests, we brought out four different 308 loads: Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr, HSM M118LR (equiv) 175gr, Swiss-P Match 168gr, and some Sellier & Bellot M80 147gr. The results of these tests are listed below.
|Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr||1.749″ (1.670 MOA)||1.635″ (1.562 MOA)|
|RAUG Swiss-P 168gr Match||0.746″ (0.713 MOA)||0.548″ (0.523 MOA)|
|HSM M118LR (Equiv) 175gr||0.713″ (0.681 MOA)||0.400″ (0.382 MOA)|
|Sellier & Bellot M80 147gr||1.089″ (1.040 MOA)||0.688″ (0.657 MOA)|
The first obvious point that we will talk about is the fact that this Ruger hated the Federal Gold Medal Match ammo, which is very odd. The Federal GMM has long been the gold standard of match grade ammo that all others are compared against, but for this rifle, it was the dog of the group. Not a single group came close to going under 1 MOA which had us worried that the performance of the rifle was not going to be good at all. But then we switched to the Swiss-P ammo and it is as if it was a completely different rifle. It was the opposite with this ammo, there was not a single group over 1 MOA and it was a pillar of consistency. The Ruger has a 1:10″ rate of twist which means it should handle the heavy weight bullets, including heavy sub-sonic loads, with any problems. So we were curious to see how the HSM M118LR ammo would perform with the 175gr bullets, and it did not disappoint delivering the best group, and average, of the bunch. Though the M118LR was not as consistent as the Swiss-P with some wider groups offset by the tight ones. Finally, with the S&B M80 ball ammo, the rifle did not do too bad, averaging just over 1 MOA and out performing the Federal GMM by a wide margin. We are still baffled as to why the rifle will not shoot the GMM and we have to think it is this rifle only and should not be indicative of all the Ruger Predators. The accuracy performance of the rifle at 100 yards was not bad at all, especially for the price point and we would have to say it outperformed our expectations.
For our 300 yard rapid fire head shot test, we decided to go with the more consistent Swiss-P ammo over the HSM as we tend to favor good consistency when possible. Consistency Equals Accuracy. So we set the Figure 14 target up at 300 yards, adjusted our scope up 5 MOA and prepared for the engagement. The three shots took us 23 seconds to fire, which is a decent time, but we were slowed down bringing the rifle back on target. The light six pound rifle and short 18″ barrel lead to a rifle that bounced around with a good amount of muzzle flip when fired. Even when setup nicely behind the rifle to try and mitigate recoil, it still hopped around causing a delay locating and aligning with the next target. The thin forearm also contributed to this as it is not a stable platform even when on a sandbag and a bipod is likely a better option. The short bolt rotation did help with rapid bolt manipulation though. The accuracy at 300 yards in a rapid fire engagement opened up a little over the 100 yard results, which is to be expected. The group measured 3.818″ (1.216 MOA) and was nicely centered on the head.
|300y Head Target Test|
|Time Score (23 secs)||31.3|
|Accuracy Score (1.216 moa)||37|
|Energy Score (1635 ft-lbs)||25|
The rifle is very light which contributes to a stiff recoil for a 308 rifle, though it does help when carrying the rifle in the field. The cheek weld is also right on bare plastic and the recoil, muzzleflip, and stiff plastic contributed to a sore cheek when the firing was done for the day. The trigger reach is long on the rifle which for those shooters with smaller hands it may be a bit more difficult to get a good trigger squeeze. The bolt feeds smooth from the magazine and we had no failures to feed or problems with the magazine. But we also noticed that you cannot single feed the rifle buy just dropping a single round into the magazine area and then pushing the bolt forward. You must feed from the magazine, or start the round into the chamber using your hand before closing the bolt. During our firing, we also noticed one of the shortcomings of a thin barrel profile, it heats up very fast and becomes very hot without a lot of rounds fired. As barrels heat up, the metal moves and it can negatively effect accuracy or cause a point of impact shift. We did not notice any of these traits, but the quickly heating barrel still caused us some concern.
So what are our thoughts on the rifle? Well, keeping it in perspective, we have to remind ourselves it is a LOW budget rifle. It feels low budget and we do not expect the plastic parts to wear particularly well over time. But the accuracy is there and we did not find any major faults that would prevent it from be used if needed. If Ruger were to ever put a true 18″ heavy barrel on the rifle, or keep the same “heavier” profile barrel and lengthen it out to 24″, then I think they would have a more enticing proposition for us. At that point we would consider it a modern version, and cheaper, of the Steyr SSG-69 PI, rotary magazine and all. But as it is now, even with the decent accuracy, we are not too excited about it. We really wanted to be as we have a new conceptual idea we are working on and we wanted to use this rifle for it. Maybe if they do the 24″ version we’ll give it a whirl.
Seeing this review, it has answered many questions that I had. However, what are the other options for a 5.56/223 platform that are standard AR mag fed that can be used as a precision rifle? I know this review was on 308 but I figure it would have the same review in all platforms. Would love to know how the “ranch” compares. Or, is this an all right combination for 5.56/223 with the right glass?
Great review! Very in depth and has all the answers to the many questions out there.
The Mossberg MVP rifles might fit what you are looking for….
I have the Ranch in 300blkout. Converted to AR mags. Love it! Ruger sent my the mag and other piece needed for conversation because the rotary style was faulty right out of the box. Wouldn’t chamber the first round. No complaint now.
My first response after reading this article is that the author is both a gun snob and a non predator hunter. He is confused between a varmint rifle and a predator rifle. I have been hunting predators across the midwest and upper midwest since the 70s. My circle of influence lables a predator rifle as one that you will be carrying while tracking predators for great distances in a jump and shoot on the run situation. A varmint rifle is for sniping prairie dogs or spot and stalk applications on fox and coyote.
The Ruger American is very utilitarian but very effective for it’s intended purpose.
Often when tracking I carry both a shotgun and a short barreled modest in weight bolt action in a suitable clambering.
Varmint rifle applications usually involve shooting at a still target off of a solid rest. Predator rifles involve shooting at moving targets in which case you can throw all of the sub MOA business out the window. Lead and hold over are of utmost consideration.
My favorite predator rife is a Howa 1500 in 243. It has a 20 inch buggy whip barrel and sports a 6X Zeiss scope. It carries very nicely on a sling.
My predator rifle is like a hammer in a tool box. It lives life behind the seat of my truck where it can be made available in seconds. I paid $325 for my Howa about 10 years ago from an outfit in Texas via gunbroker.com.
My experience tells me that in this day and age you do not need to spend big bucks to get a predator rifle that will serve you well for years. The lock ring head spacing technology has been in use by Savage for years. It is a less expensive way to get the head space perfect than the traditional chamber reaming with gauges. The margin of error is less with the lock ring method and much easier to remedy should it be encountered.
The “cheap plastic hollow stock” is just the author’s pitch words to degrade the Ruger American. I for one don’t care what the stock sounds like when you tap on it. The bottom line is that they are durable. Ruger sells very few replacement stocks.
It is what it is guys. You can enjoy the heck out of predator hunting without going high dollar and this Ruger American will get the job done for a lifetime!
Rod, thank you for your comments. But let me clarify. We are not reviewing this rifle as a predator rifle, we are reviewing this rifle as a POTENTIAL candidate for an affordable SNIPER rifle. We are well aware that the rifle is not intended for, nor built for sniping, but that does not mean it cannot work. But the point of the review is to point out where the potential problems are for using this rifle as a low cost sniper rifle. We know there are going to be issues when compared to more expensive sniper rifles, but that is the point of the review, to point those issues out. We are not like the typical gun review magazine that talks up any rifle they review. We are specifically talking about the virtues of the rifle if used for sniping. Yes, we can be hard on rifles, and it has nothing to do with who makes it, and everything to do with who might be putting their lives, and others, on the line when they use it.
Sorry you did not like our honest review of the rifle for sniping, and we know it would work just fine for predator hunting, just not the two-legged predators.
I’ve used this rifle for long-distance shooting and have no issues hitting a 10″ steel target at 700 yds – using the Federal Gold Match ammo. From 700-1,200 yds it doesn’t do well though. For the longer ranges Spark Munitions .308 winchester did very well. I could hit a standard chest-sized target fairly well. I did upgrade the base stock to a Magpul stock and used a Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308 scope. So, I think this would be a pretty good low-budget sniper rifle if properly configured.
With very few modifications to this gun she is a solid shooter. I swapped the stock for a magpul stock and then took her to sniper school. She shot 1/4 moa with custom loads. She shoots about 1/2 moa with fgmm. I think you just got a bad one. This is a really good rifle to buy on a budget and with less than $1000 in it you will have an 800 yard gun. It will shoot 1000 but the short barrel doesn’t make it the right tool for that job.
I absolutely agree with you on this rifle!! I did the same with Magpul Hunter stock and paired with a Vortex HST 6.24×50 and did some trigger work and it’s a solid tack driver
I would like to see a review on the ruger american predator 22″ 6.5 creedmoor with a magpul stock and muzzle brake. I think the results would make a big difference. 🙂
Thank you for the suggestion. We’ll get one here
[…] the bill. We even reviewed a few of them here at Sniper Central. These included rifles such as the Ruger American Predator, Mossberg MVP Long Range and the Thompson Center Venture […]
[…] rifle that could be used as a sniper rifle. This search lead us to recently do a review of the Ruger American Predator rifle which instilled some mixed feelings to its suitability to this role. This time around we […]
I appreciate the honest review of the Ruger American rifle. I own a standard Ruger American in .308 and have shot it some. I have not really spent the time to see the rifle’s accuracy potential. I do like the short bolt throw (70 degree bolt rotation) and a detachable box magazine. I have taken two deer with the rifle and my hand load (46 grains of Varget powder, Winchester brass, Winchester primer, and SIE 165 grain GMK bullet). At one hundred yards and from the bench I can print 1.5 inch three shot groups. Yes, the barrel heats up quickly & the stock is cheap, but not bad. It’s light & a pleasure to carry. I don’t think this rifle would qualify for a precision target/sniper rifle. It’s a great hunting rifle and one you will reach for when wanting to do some big game hunting.
I found your article to be biased from the start. You kept downgrading the rifle based on the fact that it came up short as a tactical rifle, when it is not meant to be one. You also chose .308 instead of a lighter predator round, again because you wanted a tactical rifle, but then you complain about recoil. Muzzel brake! I have two Ruger Americans, one a standard in 243 and the other a predator in 6.5 creedmoor, with the 22 in barrels on both. They shoot great on a cold bore, like hunting rifles which they are. They do not shoot as well as tactical rifles where you shoot 20-30 rounds at a time through those thin barrels. Also what break-in did you give the rifle, because if these results are from the first rounds fired through the barrel, then they are meaningless. Don’t complain because your Camry doesn’t ride like a Lexus. Ruger brought a hunting rifle to the market that is affordable, light weight, and accurate. I have killed everything I have ever shot at with mine and ugly or not, that is how I judge a gun. Does it shoot as well as a custom tactical rifle? No, but then they didn’t cost me $5,000, either.
Yep, we are indeed biased. We are sniper central, so we evaluate rifles based on that premise and as was indicated at the start of the article, we were looking for a low cost rifle that “COULD” serve the tactical role for low cost. But we still have to evaluate it as a tactical rifle. We never expected it to perform as well as a high end tactical rifle, but that does not mean we do not evaluate it as a tactical rifle and report what we find. Some might think a “predator” rifle can work as a tactical rifle, this review simply answers that question.
I have 2 Ruger Americans in 243 and 30-06. They both shoot extremely well as I’ve shot them both out to 400 yards. I replaced both bolt handles with ones from Glades Armory and smoothed the actions with some rubbing compound.
Considering snipers in WW2, Korea and Vietnam used pencil barrels and still made miraculous kills, I think your being a little hard. Compaired to a standard Remmy700 hunting barrel, this Ruger barrel is noticeably thicker. Also…. as far as recoil is concerned, once you add a good bipod on it and brake it, most of the harder recoil will be gone……
Yes, we are may be a bit hard, but we are comparing the rifles against its peers and other rifles today. Yes, some impressive shots were made in WWII and other early 20th century conflicts, but there were many, many misses as well. And many of those were due to inconsistent rifles and ammo. The Predator is not bad, but just not as good as it could be with minor changes. But we also have to be aware that the rifle is NOT a tactical rifle and we were looking at it as a suitable very low cost rifle that could do tactical work in a pinch. And it can work in that role.
The Predator rifle I have came with 4 round standard mag and I purchased two 10 rounders from Ruger. It also has an 18″ barrell. This rifle is light and will be great for hogs and coyotes. Thank you for a great article. I don’t think you were too harsh. Before my Dad, a former gunsmith, passed away in August, was unimpressed with the short barrel, plastic stock and did not like the trigger. But, we both shot good groups and he agreed that it is a great beginner. 308 rifle. Next outdoor shooting, I will compare it with his old Steyr model 1912 with custom thumb hole stock in .308.
This thing seems like it’s in a weird place; I’m not arguing that it’s designed or well suited for the traditional tactical role, but it seems like it might be a good fit for something like your BOPR concept, especially since the current ones can have the magazine wells that take AICS magazines swapped over. Definitely compromised but it’s nice that there’s enough options where you can pick your compromises.
That is a fair point and it certainly could fit in that role. Everything is a compromise…
I have to agree that this rifle is very light. I cannot complain its accuracy though.
My rifle likes 168 GMM the best. It will group 1/2-MOA, 3 shot groups @100 yards reliably. It does not like the lighter weight bullets. Lighter weight bullets average 2-MOA+ groups out of this rifle.
I replaced the stock with a Magpul Hunter on my .308 Predator due to the original stock touching the barrel. This actually helped my groups from opening up after the third shot. I can now shoot 8 shots in a row and maintain a 1-MOA group at 100 yards. After the 8th shot, 9 and 10 drop an additional 1/4″ low and right.
I added an Odin Works brake to the rifle which helped mitigate some of the felt recoil. I have been able to confirm the accuracy of this rifle at 200, 350, 550, and 716 yards at our local range in Wabash Indiana. My average groups at 716 are 6-inches on average if I do my part.
I, like a lot of folks, have just got into shooting at longer ranges. I am doing this on a budget and happy with my setup.
I look forward to a review of using this rifle in a tactical capacity.
I just recently found your article, but after I already purchased a Ruger American Predator in .308 for a project budget precision rifle. When I first shot it I was disappointed with its accuracy, with a less than stellar average shot group of 1.78” at 100 yards. I also had issues with smoothly chambering a round out of the AICS mags during rapid fire testing, as it appeared that the bolt face would end up with the back of the round under the bottom of the bolt head on occasion. Slowing down the chambering stroke slightly cured that issue (so I’ll maintain the mindset of slow is smooth and smooth is fast now).
Due to the long stroke on this trigger system, I lightened it up as much as possible, where I got it down to 3.2 lbs. I think that is just fine for a hunting/sporting rifle, but I was wanting something a little less than that. I eventually replaced the trigger spring and it is braking right at 2 lbs now, which is right where I wanted it to be.
To improve the accuracy I replaced the original stock with a Magpul American Hunter stock, and torqued it to specs. I then checked the bolt lugs, and found that 2 of the lugs were making about 80% contact with the chamber lugs and the other was contacting in the 60-65% range, so I lapped the bolt and bolt lugs until the lugs were all making close to 100% contact with the chamber lugs. Now the action is silky smooth ( just like a new girlfriend’s legs on the first night she lets you sleep over at her place).
After making those changes I added an EC Tuner Brake and took her back out to the range, where she’s consistently shooting 0.26” groups that open up only slightly if I get the barrel hot doing rapid fire drills.
After reading you article I don’t see where your bias any effect on the overall review. The reality of what your stock test rifle was out of the box is what needed to be reviewed, and to do a proper review there needs to be a standard. This is Sniper Central, so common sense would dictate that the standard for a rifle to be reviewed here would and should be compared to purposefully built tactical and/or other Sniper weapon systems. I think this article was spot on in It’s assessment, and hit the target in the head (pun intended).
After shooting my tweaked Ruger American Predator for a couple of months, I’ve come to the conclusion that this rifle has some pretty good potential as a tactical rifle, but it would have to have some fine tuning and a couple of upgrades (like a heavy contour barrel, just as you articulated in your article). I can say 100% though, if I had read this prior to buying my RAP, I never would have got it. I’m glad I saw this after, because I like mine so much I went and got another. With this new one I’m going to do a cost comparison of the RAP with the wok of fully blueprinting and trying the action and the upgraded parts, compared to some of the higher end factory precision rifles.
To contain the recoil, couldn’t one add weight to the stock, which is hollow?
Yes, this could be done, though it might be easier just to replace the stock with something better. There are options now.
Good job on the review. I bought a new stock and shopped longer barrels before reading this and before shooting the gun. A longer heavy barrel made sense to me just looking at the gun. You know, if you want to reach out and touch something. Thanks.
Ruger American Predator 308
My Ruger American in .243 became the favorite on my TX ranch. Now I want to shoot sub-sonic, suppressed. I bought the Predator in .308 and just got the Suppressor adaptor installed. We will swap the can onto a .300 BLK AR-15. We will use the .308 as a quiet rifle to take along bow (deer) hunting to (nearly) silently head shoot hogs with a large front lens scope and carry it nights as a 2nd to the 300 BLK which will have an infrared scope. When visibility is nil, we will either use a green rifle light clamped to the scope or demure to the infrared equiped AR. With only one can, we can’t hunt suppressed as a team but will split up and take what we get (for noise) with the unsupressed rifle. If recent SCOTUS decisions, if we (especially TX ) see more Suppressor availability, we will have two! In both roles, carrying at night or maneuvering in a tree or pop-up blind, we value the light weight and short barrel (which isn’t short with the can on it!). As a bonus, we can use standard velocity .308 ammo which makes the rifle a fine choice for longer range shooting, as needed. In these roles, the barrel heating up is NOT an issue. In summary, I agree with the comments about feel of the stock but at the price (well below the MRSP) paid, I got a threaded short barrel but, accurate, (your finding) rifle. Just what I wanted. So, despite your misgivings, (usually and appropriately mitigated by recognition of the budget pricing) I found your review VERY useful and illuminating, even for an owner (who has yet to shoot it as we have waited way past promised for our digitally requested tax stamp! Obviously, it was not the process…the ATF just doesn’t want to make Suppressors easy under the current administration.
I found your review to be very consistent, honest and thorough. What I don’t understand are the comments/complaints: “snipercentral.com” should be a tip off to most. If I want reviews of rifles that are perfect for predators not sniping I would look elsewhere. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Myles, we appreciate your support.