Ruger American Ranch Bolt-Action Rifle in 300 AAC Blackout

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 15th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





American Ranch Rifle comes with optics base attached.



Bolt release (top), cocking indicator (bottom).



70-degree bolt lift.



Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger.



Trigger can be easily adjusted.






Five-shot rotary magazine.



Soft recoil pad.



Three-lug bolt.



Muzzle is threaded 5/8x24 TPI.



Excellent but discontinued Tactical Solutions sound suppressor.



I will admit to having an unnatural affinity for the 300 Blackout cartridge. The cartridge is just such an efficient little jewel, with effectiveness all out of proportion to its diminutive size. Prior to receiving this new Ruger for review, I already had three Blackout rifles in my possession; two of them AR-15s, and the other a handy little single shot.

The 300 Blackout and 300 Whisper are technically not the same cartridge, but for practical purposes, they are. The little cartridge achieves its potential in shorter barrels, but my rifles wear sixteen inch nominal barrel lengths, to lessen the paperwork, time, and tax burden imposed upon those who want shorter barreled rifles. Even a sixteen inch barreled 300 is very handy, and also very effective. While most 300 Blackout rifles are built for social work, they are also very effective on game. The efficiency of the cartridge pays off in ammunition costs, and reduced recoil and noise. Suppressed, a subsonic round fired from a Blackout rifle is very quiet, but even a non-suppressed supersonic load is not excessively loud. With a good hunting bullet, like the Barnes TAC-TX or Atlanta Arms 110 grain tipped bullets, the cartridge is very deadly on medium game, and what works well on a deer, does equally as well on bipeds.

For a while, 300 Blackout ammunition was hard to find, but I just did a bit of inventory checking while writing this review, and the ammunition suppliers listed at the end of this piece have plenty in stock and ready to ship, as of the date of this review.

Ruger introduced their American Rifle back in January of 2012, and it has been very successful for them. The American has several features that make it a great rifle, regardless of price, but to those whom price is important, as it is to most of us, the American is one of the most-affordable hunting rifles ever produced. Compared to higher-priced bolt-action hunting rifles, purchasing the affordable American, the buyer gives up...........nothing. The American Rifle was not introduced to just be a price leader to get people into buying Ruger rifles. The American Rifle is a series, with Ruger intending to cover most every practical purpose for a rifle. So far, all American Rifles have worn synthetic stocks, so those awaiting a good piece of walnut on this rifle will have to wait, but synthetic has advantages over wood, from a practical point of view. Synthetic is more stable than a solid piece of wood, and stability translates into consistent accuracy and point-of-impact in the field. Synthetic is also lighter, at least in most cases.

The American wears an excellent trigger, a hammer-forged barrel, and has a detachable rotary magazine. It has one of the best bedding systems ever put into a rifle. Proper bedding also contributes to accuracy, and in a hunting rifle, accuracy is very important. When it comes to accuracy, The American Rifle delivers. The low bolt lift of the American allows for a lower-mounted scope, and is easier to operate. Finally, on the American, Ruger placed the safety exactly where God and Bill Ruger intended it to be, on the tang, centered for equal use by either left-handed or right-handed shooters. The American Rifle comes equipped with sling studs, as should any hunting rifle, and the barrel is free-floated, as I and many others prefer in a hunting rifle. Again, a shooter or hunter who decides to save a few hundred dollars by purchasing the American is giving up nothing in performance.

As stated above, the American is not just an entry-level rifle, and Ruger has added variations since it was introduced, with other variations in the works. The latest is the Ruger American Ranch version shown here. I first saw and had the opportunity to fire the American Ranch rifle last week at a range in New Hampshire, near the Ruger factory. Available in 5.56x45mm or 300 AAC Blackout, the Ranch is light, handy, reliable, and accurate. The American Ranch wears a sixteen and one-eighth inch hammer-forged, free-floated barrel of medium taper, measuring 1.15 inches diameter at the barrel nut, and tapering to .694 inch just to the rear of the nuzzle. The barrel is threaded at the muzzle to accept a sound suppressor, flash suppressor, or muzzle brake. Industry standard threads are used, with the 5.56 threaded 1/2x28 TPI (threads per inch), and the 300 threaded 5/8x24 TPI. The synthetic stock is colored Flat Dark Earth (FDE), formerly known as "tan", and has Ruger's patented Power Bedding System to secure the barreled action into the stock. The stock also, thankfully, wears sling studs, as do all American rifles. The steel barreled action is finished in a matte black, and to me, looks good with the tan stock. Please note that the black stock shown in the photos is not correct for this rifle. I first learned of this Ranch model of the American rifle while on that visit to the Newport, NH factory last week, and the good folks at Ruger rushed this rifle out for me so I could get right on the review when I arrived back home. The rifles that are at distributors and dealers right now have the correct FDE stock.

Like other rifles in the series, the American Ranch rifle has Ruger's Marksman Adjustable trigger that is easily adjusted by the user to a range between 3.5 and 5 pounds, more or less. The rifle shown here had a very good pull right out of the box, releasing crisply with around three pounds of resistance. Atop the receiver is an excellent one-piece scope base, which will accommodate all Weaver style and most Picatinny compatible scope mounts.

All accuracy and velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with temperatures in the 65 degree Fahrenheit range, with calm winds and a relative humidity in the ninety percent range. All accuracy testing was done firing from a solid bench using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. For accuracy testing, I used a Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope set to the highest magnification. The scope was attached using an ArmaLite one-piece base. All ammunition was tested for accuracy at one hundred yards. Velocities are listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. I apologize for the limited variety of ammunition that I had available for this review. Had I been expecting this rifle, I would have been better prepared, but Ruger surprised me with this one. I did not know that they were working up anything for the 300 Blackout cartridge.

Subsonic Ammunition

Bullet Weight Velocity (with suppressor) Velocity (without suppressor)
Remington OTM 220 861 850

Supersonic Ammunition

Bullet Weight Velocity (with suppressor) Velocity (without suppressor)
Remington OTM 125 2221 2207
Barnes TAC-TX 110 2319 2292

The 220 grain subsonic Remington load had some pretty wide velocity variations, sometimes as much as seven percent. My 220 grain ammo is from an early lot, so hopefully, the newer stuff is more consistent. Still, the accuracy of the 220 grain subsonic ammo is good enough for making head shots at fifty yards, and it grouped in the two to two-and-one-half inches range at 100 yards. The supersonic loads did much better, exhibiting excellent accuracy at 100 yards; both loads grouping well under one inch, and the Barnes ammo consistently around the half-inch mark for three shots at one hundred yards. Excellent accuracy.

The five-shot magazine loaded easily, and the cartridges fed smoothly without a hint of a problem into the chamber. All ammunition tested functioned perfectly. The American Ranch rifle handled and balanced very well. Its short overall length of only 36.125 inches is very handy, and the length-of-pull (butt to trigger) measures 13.625 inches. A shorter stock with reduced length-of-pull is available as the Compact version. The test rifle weighs in at just under six pounds, empty. It comes to the shoulder quickly, and handles like a well-balanced bird gun. Perfect.

For most of my shooting with the Ruger rifle, I used the excellent Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5 to 5 power scope with the 300 Blackout reticle. This scope has a reticle that is calibrated for holdover for both the subsonic and supersonic bullet flight paths. It also has an illuminated semi-circle aiming point in the center, with a rheostat illumination dial for various brightness settings. It is the ideal scope for any 300 Blackout or 300 Whisper rifle, being useful from distances of a few feet out to several hundred yards. The scope is very handy in size, and adds little bulk or weight to the AAC single-shot rifle

The Ruger American Ranch rifle is available now, with a suggested retail price of $489 US as of the date of this review, but a little shopping should find one for a bit less.

Check out the Ruger American Ranch Rifle online at

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

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

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

To order quality 300 Blackout ammunition, go to,,  and

For magazines and accessories, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



The black stock shown is incorrect; the American Ranch Rifle wears a Flat Dark Earth synthetic stock.



Ruger American Ranch Rifle weighs just under six pounds.



Warne torque wrench assures proper tightening of scope base nuts.



Leupold 300 Blackout scope.



Author's favorite hunting load for the 300 Blackout is the Barnes Vortex 110-grain TAC-TX.



100-yard groups show that the Ruger will shoot very well, with good ammunition.