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BarryinIN

New: Ruger American Rimfire Series

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One of the regulars showed up at the range with one today. A .22 Magnum. He paid $250 for it.

I was prepared to not like it. I wouldn't say I like it, but it wasn't too bad.

The trigger was OK. Not great, but OK. He and another guy really liked the trigger, so it may be better than most then.

Feeding was stiff, to say the least. More precisely, stripping a round from the magazine took a LOT of effort. He warned me, but I had no idea how bad it really was. I had to hold the forend hard with one hand, and push against the bolt with the other hand to get it to move. Once the cartridge is picked up, it's fine. Empty it's fine.

He said its a lot better than it was. Okay.

Accuracy was pretty good. I shot five rounds of CCI HPs at 100 yards. Using a front rest only, four of the five went into 1.25". With a full rest and a few more shots, I think it would have cut an inch easy. Maybe it's just me, but I haven't seen that good from other .22 Magnums.

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BarryinIN,

Was the bolt stiff due to tight tolerances as it moved through the reciever or do you think the cartridge was pressing on the bottom of the bolt causing friction?

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Neither really. It was the process of stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine.

Take the magazine out, or leave an empty one in, and the bolt worked fine.

It was bad. He warned me, and I watched him working at it, yet when I shot it, I stopped pushing on the bolt because I couldn't believe that was it. I thought something broke. "See? Keep pushing" was all he said. I did, and it moved.

He and I both have 77/22s that use the same 10/22 based magazine and neither are anywhere close to that way.

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I've shot Marlin XT-22 and Savage Mark II bolt guns, along with my CZ 452 and they are fairly smooth when working the bolt. Strange how that Ruger would be so stiff picking up a cartridge. Wonder if it would smooth out after some use? This one has me puzzled?

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One thing I wish I had done was look at his magazine a little closer. I really hope for him that's the culprit, since its easiest to fix. If it were mine, I'd probably buy another magazine to try before I did anything.

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I guess I’m an owner now.  I was out searching for a CZ Saturday when I saw one of these in the used rack at my regular shop.   He shot me a price of $200, and I said why not.   I still have him looking for a CZ  

 

Our county 4-H club has one of these and I like it pretty well.  It gave us a full-size rifle for the HS-age kids, has decent sights, and I don’t think it cost any more than the single shots we have.   It can take the tough life of going in and out of a crowded safe, being hauled to and from the range, and getting slobbered on by kids, and doing this all summer long.   It’s a great rifle for us.

I’d never taken that one out of the stock and examined it.  I almost wish I hadn’t done that with mine now.

This is one cheap rifle.  Wow.

 

Well, it doesn't have to be mechanically beautiful inside to shoot well.  I never have put the 4-H Ruger to paper to see how it really does.  Being basically a safe gun handling program rather than a marksmanship one, accuracy requirements aren’t too high there.  In practical accuracy terms, I think it shoots great.  Aim at that plate, press the trigger, pop-ting. 

 

We've got one on loan to the Youth Program at the gun club to see what we think.  Two of us have shot it for groups a little bit.  We like it generally, but accuracy-wise, its one of those frustrating rifles that shows you a little promise then yanks it away.  

We’ve both shot some nice 4-shot groups. Always one flyer.   Occasionally it will give us three in a group, and two out.  Those two will be touching, in their own little group.   Usually it’s four and one.  We change ammo, technique, and we’ll swap places at the bench, but it does the same. 

There are some things we’d try if it were ours, but we’ve avoided the tools so far.  

 

From what what I read online, you get a roughly 50-50 chance of getting a good shooter.  Maybe after using this frustrating one, I’ve helped my odds.  

 

Until skimming through the earlier posts here, I forgot about that one that fed so hard from the magazine. Now that I’ve had one out of the stock, I have a theory about that.  

I said it was a cheap rifle.  One reason I say that is from how it’s bedded in the stock.  The stock has two blocks of mystery metal (aluminum...maybe?) that I guess you’d call bedding blocks.  They drop into their own recess in the stock, action screws run up through them and into the action.   The action is seated in these blocks.   I guess it works.  

 

The potential problem I see is these blocks aren’t fastened into the stock in any way.  They just drop in.  Neither of mine fit tight in their recess, but the rear one is particularly loose.  Since the rear one contains the magazine catch, I think that guy’s rifle may have been assembled with the block a little out of line, which caused the magazine to be misaligned.  

 

Needless to say, I wonder what it does to accuracy too.  If it doesn’t shoot well, I’ll just loosen the action screws, shake the bedding blocks around, and try again.  

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I’ve been messing with this thing some.   It takes some tinkering, but it also seems to respond to the tinkering.  I can’t say the same for all the .22s I’ve been fooling with lately.  

 

In our club’s youth program, we are starting to shoot outside with .22s after a winter of air rifle.  This is the first year we’ve ventured outside with them.   Since the two .22 matches held at our club are silhouette and BR-50, that’s what we are working them up to.  Coming up with suitable BR rifles wasn’t much trouble.  Between us instructors we have rifles for that after pooling our resources.  We thought getting them into silhouette rifles would be the easy part.   It hasn’t been. 

 

Our problem is since the kids have to shoot silhouette from standing, we have to have something light enough they can handle but accurate enough for the game.  The size and weight part eliminates most of the rifles we instructors have.  Accuracy is always helpful, but naturally requirements for silhouette aren’t all that tight compared to BR so we could loosen up the standards quite a bit.

 

We weren’t too worried about having suitable silhouette rifles.  The club has some Savages of various types, and they happen to be what I call medium-sized.   Not small rifles really, but on the small side for most adults.   None of our kids are big, so they were almost perfect.   We assumed once we moved the scopes from the airguns to these, we’d be set.   We were stuck leaving the scopes on the air rifles until we finished there.   

 

Monday, we moved the scopes to the .22s to see what we had to work with.  We needed them ready to go Thursday evening.   The results?

Panic ensued. 

 

We had already decided that having the kids adjust scopes for each target and distance was asking for trouble, so we’d designate a rifle for each target distance, zero it accordingly, and leave it alone   The kids can rotate from rifle to rifle.  That would require at least four rifles- one for each target/distance- and four is exactly what we had.   Spares would be nice, but we didn’t have them.  

 

This would also allow us to use the most accurate rifle on the farthest targets.   If we had a particularly crummy rifle, we could designate it the chicken rifle.   The next one better could be a pig rifle, etc.   We thought this would give us even more wiggle room in the accuracy standards, but three of the four weren’t capable of even the chicken.   At least the one we ended up with was good for the ram at 100.

 

So the scrambling began.   All had wood stocks and they must’ve shrunk over time because all their stock screws were loose.   They have thin bottom metal, so you can’t  give them much torque, which means you can’t play around with that much to see if it helps.   Nobody has shot these rifles in years, yet the barrels were filthy.  Lead deposits crusted the muzzles.   Adding insult to injury, our scopes blocked off the ejection ports so single loading was almost impossible and we’d have to shoot from the magazines...which distorted the ammo in feeding.   

 

The frustrating part was none of the tricks the two of us knew helped.  The rifles just wouldn’t respond.  After running around this week tuning, adjusting, and testing these rifles, we got another one usable, but only for chickens.   Now we had two.

My buddy in this fiasco did some stock swapping to lighten up an accurate Savage he has to give us three rifles.

 

Now we get to where this ramble applies to the Ruger American Rimfire.

 

There was also a Ruger American rifle in the club safe.   We broke it out and scoped it before finding out it belongs to a board member (why it was there, we don’t know) but he said we could use it.   Unlike the Savages, I don’t think this one had seen any use at all.   I think there is a curse on that safe since it couldn’t shoot very well either and we had to give up on it.   I know it’s only been a small sampling, but the stories I read and hear that you have a 50-50 chance at getting a good shooting one with these Rugers is looking true.

 

Our situation caused me to get to work on my Ruger American Rimfire.   If we could get it shooting well enough, it might have to be the fourth rifle.  This one actually responded to tuning.  The big helps were action screw torquing and adding shims between the barrel and stock.   Two in-lbs of action screw torque change was enough to change things.  FWIW, it likes them light: 18 in-lbs front and 16 rear.   

 

The lighter trigger spring I ordered helped a lot.   Shooting the other Ruger at the same time really drove that home.   I doubt the seller has more than three cents in each spring, so while it hurt to pay $10 for it, I sure got more than that in improvement from it.

 

We are going to use it, along with two of my rifles that may or may not prove to be too heavy for the kids.  After all our trouble, we delayed silhouette a week and shot only BR last night.

So... my impulse-purchase, unimpressively-built, cheap-as-dirt Ruger may not have rescued us, but it is giving us a cushion.

 

There is one big thing that kept sticking out.   I had three different scopes on this Ruger this week as we shuffled things around.   Not three examples of the same scope, but three different brands.   Each one needed a LOT of up elevation to zero.   Once, I tried it at 100 yards and ran out of elevation about three inches below point of aim.   It has standard 3/8” grooves and is drilled and tapped.  I was using the grooves each time.

On this one at least, either the scope groove machining or the barrel install is a little off.  I might buy some bases and use the tapped holes just to see if that eliminates it.   

 

 

 

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