September 16, 2020
Every year at parent-teacher conferences, the conversation with some of my students’ parents turns to rifles. I teach biology to 11-year-olds who are turning 12, the age that kids can hunt big game in Wyoming.
Their parents, knowing of my love for the Second Amendment, often ask me for advice on what to buy their son or daughter for their first hunting rifle. Since its debut in 2012, I have recommended the Ruger American chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, because the gun came out of the gate punching well above its price tag in accuracy, dependability and precision. But it seems I’ll be making an adjustment to that recommendation thanks to Davidson’s Gallery of Guns, Ruger and Magpul.
Building on the Ruger American’s successful foundation, the three companies have teamed up to create an exclusive version of the Ruger American Rifle Hunter that is tailored to the long-range shooter. With a MSRP of $814, it puts precision long-range shooting within the grasp of almost anyone.
Davidson’s version utilizes the proven American action, but it adds a 22-inch heavy barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester. The barrel is capped with the effective muzzlebrake from Ruger’s award-winning Precision Rifle, and the action sits in Magpul’s Hunter stock. The resulting rifle is a testament to the effectiveness of today’s brilliant engineers and refined manufacturing processes. The proof being that the first group I shot with it measured .31 inch, a milestone that I would be ecstatic to achieve in a custom build that costs four to five times more.
The Ruger American features a simple push-feed bolt action that utilizes three lugs, a full-diameter bolt, dual locking cams and has a 70-degree bolt lift. It is magazine fed and a small ejection port increases rigidity. Its safety rides at the top of the tang where it is intuitive and handy. The action has proven so successful that it has been chambered in over a dozen cartridges and branched into several product lines.
Beyond the action, the Magpul American Hunter stock bumps this rifle to the next level in terms of shootability and practical accuracy in the field. I learned to love shooting Magpul’s Hunter stock when I used it extensively at Outdoor Solution’s long-range shooting school in the mountains of Utah where I made the farthest shots of my life.
The flat-dark-earth (FDE) stock has many features that contribute to its accuracy and shootability. Inside its polymer shell is an aluminum bedding block with steel recoil lugs that free-floats the barrel and increases rigidity. Its narrow grip has an anti-slip texture and a thumb groove at the top where the shooter can place the thumb in line with the barrel to resist torque, which makes the gun easy to secure and control from various field positions. The almost vertical grip angle naturally aligns the trigger finger for a straight rearward pull.
The wide forend sits steady on bags or backpacks and is slotted with M-LOK slots for attaching a bipod. The stock’s magwell is built around Magpul’s AICS-pattern detachable magazines that feed flawlessly and can be had in five- or 10-round capacities. The stock includes three spacers for customizing the length of pull and comes with two different size comb inserts to match a shooter’s cheekweld preference.
To test the gun, I ordered a case of Remington 140-grain Premier Match Ammunition and mounted a new Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x40mm ZL scopes to the included rail on Zeiss bubble-level mounts. At just above 9 pounds, the gun settled down nicely in my Caldwell TackDriver rest on the bench. The Ruger Marksman trigger on the American is one of the blade-type triggers that’s adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. The trigger on my gun came set from the factory at 3 pounds and broke cleanly and consistently. A bad trigger could not have produced groups like the ones this rifle provided straight from the box.
The rifle and scope combo proved to be easy shooting from the bench. To my delight, my group average at 100 yards for all three ammunition types I tested was under an inch. Accuracy remained stunning, with the Remington Match ammunition turning in a .61-inch three-shot group average, followed by the Hornady 143-grain ELD-X load averaging .75 inch.
After shooting groups on paper, I walked the gun out farther and farther on steel targets to 700 yards (the farthest my range permitted). I almost sensed it looking up at me saying, “Is that all you got?” It is easily a 1,000-yard gun. The glass on the VX-3i was crystal clear, and the crosshair on its Wind Plex reticle aided in the precision shooting.
Shooting from field positions was also rewarding. The gun sat down solidly on a Magpul bipod and nestled nicely into my backpack. The Magpul stock was comfortable to shoot from prone and sitting positions. Davidson’s exclusive Ruger excelled at every range, but the 2.25-inch three-shot group I made with it at 500 yards while lying in the sheep pasture was one of the best of my life.
The Ruger American Hunter is made in America, and Davidson’s includes their lifetime guarantee on every firearm they sell. Ruger also guarantees each of their guns for life. That’s double protection on your investment.
Based solely on its pedigree, I knew that this gun would be a good choice for budget-minded shooters and would shoot well, but I was blown away with the actual results. Now when my students or their parents ask me what long-range rifle they should buy, I will be sure to point them to this Davidson’s exclusive Ruger American Hunter.
Buy It Now! Log on to galleryofguns.com, select this firearm, pay a deposit and it will be at your local gun store in two days. When purchased from galleryofguns.com, Davidson’s guarantees to repair or replace this firearm for LIFE!
Davidson's Exclusive Ruger American Hunter Specs
- Type: Bolt-action repeater
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 5, 10 rds.
- Barrel: 22 in., 1:8-in. twist
- Overall Length: 43.25-45.25 in.
- Weight: 9.2 lbs.
- Stock: FDE Magpul American Hunter
- Finish: Matte black
- Sights: None
- Safety: Two position
- MSRP: $814
- Manufacturer: Ruger (Davidson’s Exclusive), ruger.com, galleryofguns.com
Davidson's Exclusive Ruger American Hunter Performance
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine