The Ruger American Hunter is one of Ruger’s seven, yes 7, Ruger American rifles and, in my opinion, the best all-around option in the Ruger American lineup. While we won’t cover all seven versions individually in this Ruger American review, we will hit on the other model types and their most notable differences.
While I’ve done several reviews on Ruger firearms, including the popular SR22 and my favorite, the Mark IV, this is only the second bolt action rifle review I’ve done, with the Thompson Center Compass II being the first.
So I’m no expert, but I’ll do my best to give you the information you want/need to make an informed purchase.
Ruger American Hunter Overview
The Ruger American was first released in 2012 and has grown in model numbers and number of available calibers every year since.
The draw of the Ruger American is the fact that it’s so affordable but also a quality rifle.
While you can tell the difference in higher quality, more expensive rifles, this Ruger American is one of the best bangs for your buck bolt action rifles on the market.
When you first pick up the Ruger American Hunter, you’ll notice that it’s no featherweight.
The rifle is rather stout and a little on the heavy side. But that isn’t necessarily a dig at the gun because the heavier the gun is, the better it’ll be from a bench rest shooting position because it will move less.
It feels solid right out of the box and is a quality gun at first glance.
Talking about the look of the Ruger American almost isn’t necessary because if you are considering purchasing this rifle or have already purchased this rifle, you know, she’s a beaut’.
The main difference in the Ruger American Hunter model is the Magpul Hunter stock.
The Magpul Hunter American stock is a short-action stock with an adjustable length of pull and enhances the overall ergonomics of the gun. Plus, it looks awesome.
The Ruger Hunter comes in three color combinations: Gray Stock/Black action and barrel, Black Stock and Silver Barrel, and Tan Stock/Black Action and Barrel.
The Ruger American Hunter comes in two caliber options:
- .308 Winchester
- 6.5 Creedmoor
Both rifles are the same except for their chamber.There’s not much that Ruger has to do different for these two calibers and they are very similar rounds which is why many people compare the 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester.
This review is of the 6.5 Creedmoor version, but either round you go with this review will be the same either way, except for recoil.
Build quality for bolt action rifles is an extremely large part of the price for most guns. You can tell best on how well the action sits in the stock and how well the action moves and locks into place on the rifle’s quality.
I’m not going to dive deep into the stock quality or the action here because they have dedicated sections, but I will say that the overall build quality on this rifle is solid.
This is more of a workhorse rifle than an heirloom item, but you are getting a quality bolt action rifle for the price point.
The Magpul Hunter Stock is a work of art, a real thing of beauty! But does it perform, or does it just look nice?
The function is arguably more important for most people than looks, but the good news is the Magpul Hunter Stock for the Ruger American seems to do both.
I like the length of pull that the Hunter stock has, and the adjustable length of pull with simply changing out the buttstock pad is extremely easy.
The stock has three MLOK slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions on the front of the stock. These could allow you to attach flashlights, bi-pods, or other accessories to your rifle.
The back of the stock features a loop-through on both sides for a sling attachment. This look will require you to thread your slings webbing through it as there is no quick attachment option on this stock.
If you want to attach a sling to your rifle, you will need something attached to the top MLok system to attach the sling, such as the TuFok adapter.
The action of a bolt action rifle is one of the major components used to determine quality.
Typically the smoother the action the more “expensive” or “quality” the gun is, or is considered.
While this may be disputed it is a theory held by many.
So how does the Ruger American stack up?
It’s okay, for the price point of this gun it’s about what you would expect.
There is some grit in the action but as far as function it works well.
Using the Action
The lever on the bolt works well and is relatively smooth, however, it does have a stopping point where you’ll have to add a bit more force to get it to the unlock position.
Some may not like this but I’ve had no issues with the function.
The Ruger American comes with a single 5-round polymer Magpul magazine. As for magazines, this is about as standard as it gets, and you won’t be doing any fast swaps, but do you need to?
The Magazine release sits just in front of the trigger well and is easily pressed when you reach out to pull the magazine out of the gun.
Does the trigger make a gun? Well having a bad trigger on a bolt action rifle is like having a crappy gas petal in a race car.
The trigger reminds me of the Savage Axis trigger and has a middle take-up lever before you reach the trigger face.
When pulling the trigger there is no take up and is simply a clean crisp break. This is actually one of my favorite triggers on a bolt-action rifle in this price range.
The safety on this rifle is in a fairly common spot on bolt action rifles which is right behind the bolt.
It functions pretty flawlessly, however, there is nothing exceptional about how it works or its use.
It just works, which is really all I need my safety to do.
The nice thing about the Ruger American platform is the number of accessories and aftermarket parts for the rifles.
The Ruger American Hunter comes standard with the aftermarket Magpul stock, so swapping that on this model is unnecessary.
Bipods are a solid investment for any bolt action rifle because they will help steady the rifle while you shoot.
Bipods are typically an essential add-on for bolt action rifles, so grab your favorite.
Optic and Optic Mounting
What scope you use on the Ruger American is completely up to you and nearly any scope will work great on the Ruger American.
With its built-in 1913 rail you can easily attach nearly any scope and scope rings.
You can even use a mounting solution like the wide selection of QD Cantilever mounts.
If you have ever tried to remove the stock muzzle device on the Ruger American Hunter you know it’s a PIA!
I had to do my fair share of googling to realize I was trying to turn the wrong area!
The area that you actually have to turn to remove the muzzle is pictured below:
Below is a picture of it separated, as you can see there muzzle device itself and the nut at not one piece. The muzzle device is threaded and you cannot get the muzzle off by turning the nut with a wrench.
Crazy, I know. What gives, Ruger?
I hope these photos help save someone else the heartburn while trying to remove their muzzle device.
I removed my muzzle device to direct thread a Dead Air Nomad Silencer. Just FYI it’s awesome and I highly recommend it.
Shooting the Ruger American Hunter
Shooting the Ruger American is like cutting butter. The weight of the stock mitigates a lot of the recoil from the 6.5 Creedmoor round.
Given the weight of the Ruger American Hunter, I don’t see myself climbing into a tree stand to hunt deer with it.
A sold ground blind or a location where the hike-in isn’t bad, absolutely, but this bad boy isn’t lite.
Should you buy the Ruger American Hunter? If you’ve read through this article you’ll know that it’s not a lite gun by any means but it is a solid and reliable rifle.
If you are looking for a rock-solid rifle that gets the job done but might not be the top-of-the-line, this is a great rifle.
I don’t know of a better value for the money than the Ruger American.
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