The 10/22, one of William B. Ruger’s most successful firearms designs, is 50 years old in 2014. Coincidentally, Ruger is launching another soon-to-be-classic on this occassion. Meet the Ruger American Rimfire, a .22-caliber line extension from the overwhelmingly successful Ruger American centerfire rifle.
Like its centerfire counterpart, it’s a synthetic-stocked bolt-action stainless rifle with an MSRP of $329. Early indications are that street price could be in the $280 to $290 range. That’s an entry-level price for many .22s on the market, but this is much more than your typical economy-grade gun. And the good news keeps coming: It is also available in .22 Magnum.
Features include a Marksman trigger adjustable from three to five pounds; a hammer-forged, free-floated stainless steel barrel; a Power-Bedding integral bedding block system; and a synthetic stock with two interchangeable insert modules to provide a low- or high-comb height option for using iron sights or a scope. It also sports scope-ring dovetail grooves machined into the drilled-and-tapped receiver.
The interchangeable insert modular stock-system options can be changed out in seconds by simply removing the rear sling swivel stud. Comb height and long length-of-pull (13¾ inches) options are available for the 22-inch Standard model, and a short length of pull for the Compact version is 12½ inches. All four stock modules are available for $20 at shopruger.com.
The Marksman trigger, which was adjusted down to 3½ pounds before checking accuracy with the .22LR model, locks and blocks the sear, compared with other designs that block the trigger bar. This system apparently contributes to the crisp, clean-finishing trigger pull. And a conveniently placed tang safety offers familiarity with other sporting rifles.
The push-lever bolt release located on the left side of the receiver allows one to remove the bolt without pulling the trigger, which is a smart safety feature.
Its Power Bedding integral bedding system has only one bedding block, unlike the centerfire Ruger American, which has two. Two are unnecessary with a rimfire-chambered rifle.
The bore of the free-floating barrel is crowned to protect accuracy, and for those who mount a scope to extract the most from its potential, the receiver is drilled and tapped. Weaver No. 12 rings will work and are available separately. With a scope mounted, users may appreciate that this rimfire has a short, 60-degree bolt throw to help with bolt-scope clearance.
The one-piece molded polymer stock has palmswells, and the forend has a molded, no-slip grip for complete control when transitioning between multiple targets.
Ruger is so serious about building rimfires, they’ve decided to dedicate a new plant in Mayodan, North Carolina. The official launch date didn’t come until September 2013, and as with any new product, it only took a few weeks for Guns & Ammo to acquire three samples for everyone’s tests and evaluation.
Upon running a cross section of .22LR and .22 Magnum loads over Oehler’s Skyscreens to check velocities (ranging from a low of 1,045 fps with Eley 40-grain FN Edge to 1,324 with CCI 40-grain GDHP Velocitor), the G&A staff settled into the shooting bags and zeroed in with the .22LR version first.
We’ll let the targets accompanying this article tell the story, but it can be simply said that we were impressed. To randomly select and fire an assortment of .22-caliber ammo and get these-size groups with not one failure to feed, well, that sums it up. The Ruger American Rimfire may also be just the boost in interest that the .22 Magnum has been looking for.
Groups hover an inch at 50 yards, and, amazingly, some of the smaller groups came from some of the least expensive ammo.
If you’re in the market for a .22-caliber rimfire repeater, take a close look at this package before spending more money on something less. If you already own a Ruger centerfire American, so much the better. You’re just keeping it all in the family.
Check out how the Ruger American Rimfire performed at the range in this segment of Guns & Ammo TV: