There was a gap in our firearms portfolio which I was recently able to fill. We needed a .22 for small game, target practice, and education. Last autumn, I had seen the Ruger American Rimfire in Cabela’s at Hammond, Indiana. Its immediate appeal was the modular stock system which allowed a change in length of pull from 13.75 inches to 12.5 inches: just what we needed for the grown and the growing in the family. Recently, our local gun shop listed the Ruger on its website. The response was a whirlwind trip to Underwood before Wife could think of a reason against it and someone else bought the rifle.
There is something ironic about the Ruger American series of centrefire and rimfire rifles: they appear to be very European. When one considers the Ruger 77 mark II or Hawkeye, the original concept was to provide “the Rifleman’s rifle” at a working man’s price. There was the three position safety and controlled round feed of the Winchester model 70 at a lower price point: an American icon for the average American. With this new series of rifles, were one to look for influences, one’s gaze would turn to Finland and then to that portion of Utah which is Belgian owned.
Taking the American Rimfire in hand (which I am able to do thanks to my new voice recognition software package), the first thing which comes to mind is that this is a grown-up’s rifle. It has a 22 inch barrel, a 13.75 inches length of pull, and a pistol grip proportioned for even a gloved adult hand. The stock is made of a black composite material; and the barrelled action is blued steel. The overall shape of the rifle is reminiscent of the Tikka T3 Lite and the Browning X Bolt Stalker. There are the moulded ledges, or flutes, with raised stripes in the forestock and raised ribs on the pistol grip so that the fingers won’t slip. Just like the Tikka, the trigger guard is a moulded part of the stock.
The shape of the action, with its flats and ejection port again remind one of the Tikka and Browning. The top of the action is grooved for .22 scope rings. That is a common enough feature; however, very little imagination is needed to see Sako or Tikka dovetails.
Putting the rifle to one’s shoulder, the tang safety and the bolt shroud filling the end of the action bring to mind the Browning. The bolt shroud itself is like the Sako and Tikka. Working the 60° bolt, one cannot but be reminded of the advertising which went along with Browning A bolts and now goes along with the X Bolts and the Tikka T3s.
The American Rimfire uses the 10/22’s detachable rotary magazine and has the 10/22 style magazine release. On the one hand, that is pure Ruger; on the other, the afore mentioned manufacturers all use detachable magazines, and a rotary magazine in a bolt action rifle can only say Mannlicher. While the magazine release lever does rather spoil the lines of the rifle, it does work well even with cold or gloved fingers.
The trigger looks like that of the better Savage rifles. I am informed that it is different. What it does is to allow for a lighter trigger pull together with an extra measure of safety. I really like the shape of the trigger.
Now that the Ruger Hawkeye and the Winchester model 70 are on a par when it comes to the manufacturers’ suggested retail price, Ruger have brought out a rifle series at a lower price point which has the features of some of the most modern sporting rifles around today. Admittedly, the lines, fit, and finish are not as stylish nor as smooth as the Browning, Sako, or Tikka. Nevertheless, this is a very nice rifle. Indeed, it is contemporary rather than classic; but at least it is not tactical.