Ruger American Rimfire Bolt-Action 22 LR Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 29th, 2013

 

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

Marksman Trigger is the best that Ruger has ever put into a rimfire rifle.

 

 

 

 

Modular stock allows for adjustment of comb height and length-of-pull.

 

 

 

 

Free-floated barrel.

 

 

Magazine release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been almost two years since I first saw Rugerís centerfire American rifle. The American was an all-new rifle for Ruger, differing greatly from the design of their 77 Hawkeye rifles, but allowing Ruger to sell a one hundred percent American-made rifle at a very competitive price. The American centerfire has been a huge success for Ruger, and they have now followed suit with a rimfire version of the American that is chambered for the 22 Long Rifle, 22 Magnum, and to come later, the 17 HMR cartridges.  The Rimfire American is built in either a full-sized or a compact version, and it has some unique features that make it a very versatile and accurate bolt-action rifle.

The American Rimfire uses a tubular receiver, as does the centerfire version. The Rimfire also uses the excellent Power Bedding integral bedding block system that assures a solid attachment of the stock to the barreled action, and free-floats the hammer-forged barrel in the synthetic stock. The full-sized rifle wears a twenty-two inch barrel, while the compact version has an eighteen inch barrel. Both versions have a folding adjustable rear sight, along with a fiber-optic front sight. Another great feature is that the 22 LR rifles use the time-tested Ruger 10/22 magazines. The ten-shot magazine fits flush with the bottom of the stock for easy carrying. The magnum rifles use the nine-shot rotary magazine from the Ruger 77/22M and the discontinued Ruger 10/22 Magnum. The Ruger American Rimfire rifles also have the excellent Marksman Adjustable Trigger, which is easily adjusted within a range of from approximately three to five pounds resistance, and it has a very crisp release. The black synthetic stock wears a set of sling studs, as should any hunting rifle, and the rear sling stud is utilized to attach the two included stock modules. The steel receiver and barrel wear a nice blue/black finish that is a semi-gloss or satin finish; not brightly-polished, but not a dull matte finish either.

Ruger has four different stock modules. With the full-sized rifle, the two longer ones are supplied, and the compact version gets the two shorter modules. The modular stock allows the shooter to use the low comb for comfortable shooting with open sights. The module can be switched out quickly to install the higher comb for use with a scope or other optical sight. The high comb is a welcome feature for those who use scopes, as it places the shooterís eye in line with the scope, while still allowing for a good cheek weld on the stock. The modules for the compact rifle are like those of the full-sized, but have a shorter 12.5 inch length-of-pull. The length-of-pull on the full-sized is 13.75 inches. Any of the stock modules will work on either the full-sized or the compact stock. Extra modules will be available at www.shopruger.com.

I first got to handle one of these American Rimfire rifles in November of 2012, but did not get to shoot one until a couple of weeks ago while at the Hunter Prep course at Gunsite in Arizona. There, I did not get to put it on paper, but did get to fire successfully at steel targets out to two hundred yards, and the rifle performed wonderfully. As this is being written, I have only had the American Rimfire shown here for a few days, but it has performed very well, feeding smoothly from the supplied ten-shot magazine, as well as from a twenty-five shot Ruger BX-25 magazine. I like this full-sized American Rimfire. It feels like a real, full-sized rifle in the hands, yet still weighs just under six pounds on my scale. The rifle has a grooved receiver to accept tip-off rings, but is also drilled for Weaver # 12 bases, which I attached. I prefer a standard scope base to the grooved type, and am glad that the American offers both options. For most of my shooting, I mounted a Leupold Compact VX-II 2 to 7 power scope in Leupold Rifleman lightweight rings. This is a dandy scope, weighs very little, and looks great on this Ruger American Rimfire rifle. The high-comb module places my eye right in line with the scope, which is very conducive to accurate shooting. The power range is just right for a 22 rifle, allowing easy viewing for close-in shots, and plenty of power for the longer ranges, within the capabilities of the cartridge.

I tested the Ruger American Rimfire rifle with several brands of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the fifty-two percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the rifle. Bullet weights are listed in grains. Accuracy was tested shooting five-shot groups at fifty yards, with the rifle rested in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest. A Leupold 8.5 to 25 power Mark 4 scope was used for accuracy testing.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Federal Bulk HP 36 1143 0.93"
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 1162 1.25"
PMC Match Solid 40 1034 0.43"
Wolf Match Solid 40 1032 0.56"
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 1243 1.37"
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 1222 1.12"
CCI Velocitor HP 40 1376 1.75"
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1403 1.95"
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 1223 1.87"
American Eagle HP 36 1154 2.12"
PMC Zapper HP 38 1230 2.25"
Olin Solid 40 1021 0.87"
Winchester XPert  HP 36 1167 1.37"
Hansen Solid 40 1109 1.00"
CCI Blazer Solid 49 1232 1.50"
CCI Stinger HP 32 1515 1.75"
CCI Quiet22 40 660 2.50"
RWS Match Solid 40 995 0.75"
Armscor HP  36 1184 1.12"

The American Rimfire proved to be a very accurate rifle, with several types of ammunition averaging less than one inch for five shots at fifty yards. The superb trigger contributes greatly to the rifleís practical accuracy. Even the cheap Federal bulk ammo from Wal-Mart turned in a stellar performance from the Ruger rifle. Every type of ammunition fed, fired, and ejected perfectly, with the exception of Remington Yellow Jacket. It occasionally hung up on feeding, due to its unusual truncated cone bullet shape. Everything else ran perfectly. The rifle is very easy to use. The bolt lift is a low seventy degrees, leaving plenty of room between the bolt handle and the scopeís ocular bell. The tang safety is perfectly placed, and pushes forward to fire. The bolt can be cycled with the safety in either position. The magazine release works very well, easily dropping the mag into the hand for a quick reload.

The Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered for the 22 LR and 22 Magnum are shipping, and are at distributorís warehouses and on dealerís shelves right now. The suggested retail price on the Ruger American Rimfire, in either the full-sized or compact, Long Rifle or Magnum versions, as this is written is only $329 US.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms online at www.ruger.com.

For Ruger magazines and accessories, go to www.shopruger.com.

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Ruger American Rimfire rifle online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Rimfire uses Ruger rotary magazines.

 

 

Ruger Power Bedding System.

 

 

Excellent set of adjustable folding rear sight with fiber-optic front sight.

 

 

Receiver is grooved for tip-off scope rings, and also drilled for Weaver #12 bases.

 

 

Leupold VX-II 2 to 7 power Compact scope.

 

 

Five-shot 50-yard groups represent the most accurate ammunition tested.