January 13, 2012
By J. Scott Rupp
A couple days ago I Tweeted (@jscottrupp for those who care about such things) about Republican candidate for president Newt Gingrich's photo in my local paper of him holding a rifle — albeit awkwardly since he's never actually owned a gun. I looked at the full-body bolt, enclosed receiver and modern-looking black synthetic stock, and I was stumped for a second. Then I realized he was in New Hampshire and also recalled a press release Ruger had sent out the day after New Years, one I really hadn't paid much attention to at the time because it was, after all, the ultimate day for a college football fan. Hey, I thought, this is the new Ruger American.
Sure enough, Newt was holding Ruger's entry into the so-called low-end centerfire rifle market. I say so-called because as several companies such as Savage, Marlin, Mossberg and Thompson/Center have proven, a "low-end" rifle made with today's manufacturing techniques is easily capable of shooting sub-inch groups and will be reliable as rifles costing much more.
I expect I'll be seeing the rifle next week at SHOT Show, but here's a sneak peak based on the press release. As mentioned, it's got a full-body bolt, which is of three-lug design and features a lift of 70 degrees for good scope clearance. It's got a new trigger, the Ruger Marksman Adjustable — the latest in the long list of Savage AccuTrigger knock-offs, judging from the lever safety in the trigger-shoe face and the fact that it's adjustable (from three to five pounds, in this case). In addition to the trigger safety, the American sports a tang safety that allows the action to be cycled while on Safe.
The 22-inch barrel is cold hammer forged, and the barreled action mates to the stock courtesy of a patent pending Power Bedding system — stainless steel blocks that are insert-molded into the black synthetic stock. The stock has a 13.75-inch length of pull and features an ambi palm swell, fore-end groove and soft rubber recoil pad.
The Ruger American feeds from a four-round rotary magazine. Overall length is 42.5 inches, and weight is a perfect-for-hunting 6.25 pounds. As of this writing the only chambering is .30-06, and suggested retail on it is $449.