Ruger's NEW American Predator Bolt-Action Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 15th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





Seventy degree bolt lift.





Tang safety.



Cocking indicator.



Sling studs.



Flush-fitting rotary magazine.





Soft recoil pad.



Marksman trigger.



It has been about two and one-half years since I was first shown a prototype of the then-new Ruger American Rifle. Followed up shortly thereafter with a full review on a production rifle, I was impressed by the rifle's light weight, fine accuracy, excellent trigger, and affordable price. Other features that I really liked were the top tang safety, and the low-lift bolt handle. The Ruger American Rifle has proven to be very popular with hunters, and I currently own two of them myself.

Now, Ruger has introduced a version of the American Rifle that is purpose-built to fill the needs of vermin and predator hunters, appropriately called the American Predator Rifle. While marketed towards hunters of vermin and predators, the Predator Rifle would also perfectly fill the role of a rifle for deer, hogs, and antelope, as it is still relatively light in weight, compared to many of the popular game rifles on the market today.

The American Predator rifle shown here is chambered for the popular 223 Remington cartridge, and its free-floated twenty-two inch hammer-forged barrel is rifled one turn in eight inches (1:8), with a right-hand twist. While not excessively heavy, the Predator barrel has a heavier profile than the barrel used on the original American rifle, and is just about the ideal weight for a predator rifle, allowing very good repeatable accuracy, while still being light enough to carry comfortably in the field. The barrel measures 1.15 inches diameter at the receiver, and tapers to .664 inch, just behind the threaded portion at the muzzle. The muzzle is threaded 1/2x28 TPI, to accept standard sound suppressors, as well as muzzle brakes and flash suppressors, if desired. Sound suppressors are legal to own in at least thirty-nine states now, with thirty-two states allowing the use of sound suppressors for hunting, so having a threaded muzzle on the Predator Rifle is a useful feature, especially for hunting vermin and predators.

The 223 American Predator rifle has a five-shot rotary magazine that fits flush with the bottom of the stock. The Moss Green stock is a lightweight synthetic that incorporates Ruger's excellent Power Block bedding system, as used first in their American Rifle, which was introduced a little over two years ago. This has proven to be a very rigid and precise system to secure the action into the stock. The butt of the stock is fitted with a soft synthetic rubber recoil pad, and wears a set of sling swivel studs, as should every hunting rifle, and I am glad to see that Ruger supplied them on this budget-priced rifle. The American Predator rifle also has Ruger's excellent Marksman adjustable trigger, which is one of the better triggers available on a factory rifle, at any price. The American Predator rifle wears a one-piece aluminum scope rail atop its receiver, which will accept any Weaver-pattern scope rings.

Like the original American Rifle, the Predator has a full-diameter bolt body, with a seventy degree bolt lift. I like a low lift on a rifle. A ninety degree lift puts the bolt handle really close to the scope, but the lower seventy degree lift makes for faster bolt operation, at least for me, and it also allows the scope to be mounted as low as possible, for a better cheek weld on the stock. One of my favorite features of the American centerfire rifles is the location of the safety. It is centered right on the tang, just as God intended it to be. The safety is easy to reach, and is easy to operate, for both right-handed and left-handed shooters. The safety pushes forward to fire, and makes it very quick to release to get the rifle ready to fire.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule, the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target scope using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. This is my “go to” scope for all accuracy testing of AR-15 rifles, to reliably evaluate the accuracy of the rifle, with as little human error as possible, and with the one-piece mount atop the Ruger bolt action, I was able to use this same scope and mount to evaluate the accuracy of the American Predator Rifle. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level. Temperatures hovered around the sixty-five degree Fahrenheit mark during all testing, with one hundred percent humidity. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired, and the results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. HP is hollowpoint. TSX is a Barnes Triple Shock homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. The handload listed uses the TSX bullet with 24.5 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, a Remington small rifle primer, and Winchester commercial .223 Remington cases.  Accuracy testing was done at a distance of one hundred yards, firing from a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore HP 69 3127
Hand Load TSX 62 3121
Winchester USA FMJ 62 3072
Black Hills HP 69 2878
Wolf Gold HP 75 2782
ATI FMJ 62 3209
Cor-Bon HP 69 2940

The Ruger American Predator Rifle function flawlessly with all ammunition tested, with one exception, which I credit to shooter error. The scope mount that I was using for accuracy testing hung below the top edge of the ejection port, and I had one empty case deflect off the scope mount back into the ejection port. With a proper set of rings, this would not have happened, but I like to use this ArmaLite base with the Leupold Target scope, to achieve the best accuracy from a rifle. My fault. Every round fed smoothly from the detachable rotary magazine, as expected. Perfect. Accuracy was excellent, also as expected. Every Ruger American rifle that I have fired has proven to be exceptionally accurate. A couple of months ago, while I was shooting the Ruger SR762 semi-automatic rifle at the FTW Ranch in Texas, I had the privilege of shooting alongside two shooters who were using two Ruger American bolt guns chambered for the 308 Winchester cartridge, and they were making very accurate shots, out to 1000 yards. This American Predator rifle did not disappoint. Pictured are representative groups of some of the best-performing ammo tested, along with the largest five-shot group fired, which measured one and three-eighths inches. The smallest group fired was under one-half inch, for five shots at one hundred yards. There are rifles on the market which cost several times the price of this Ruger, which will do no better. The Ruger American Predator Rifle is reliable, lightweight, accurate, smooth, easy-to-use, and very affordable. The manufacturer's suggested retail price, as of the date of this review, is only $499 US.

In addition to the 223 Remington chambering, the American Predator is also available chambered for the 204 Ruger, 22-250 Remington, 243 Winchester, 6.5mm Creedmoor, and the 308 Winchester cartridges, which should easily cover the needs of any varmint or predator hunter, as well as serving as an excellent deer and antelope rifle. The smooth-feeding detachable rotary magazine holds five cartridges in the 223 and 204 rifles, and four cartridges in the 22-250, 243, 308, and 6.5 Creedmoor rifles.

Check out the Ruger American Predator Rifle online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the Ruger American Predator Rifle online, click on the Gun Genie at

For a closer look at the extensive line of Leupold optics optics, go to

To order quality ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.





Free-floated barrel.



American Predator comes with scope rail.



Groups shown include the best and worst groups fired with the American Predator rifle.



Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope was used for accuracy testing.



Muzzle is threaded for the attachment of a sound suppressor or other muzzle device.



Power Bedding System securely beds the action into the stock.