Three new large-caliber big-game rifles for 2012
Hunters have a lot to be excited about this year. One of the trends currently seen in this market is lower-cost rifles. Manufacturers are producing more and more inexpensive models, and the competition for the under $400 to $500 market is expanding rapidly.
The year 2012 also marks the anniversary of a couple of the most famous-and best-selling-hunting rifles in U.S. history. One of those two rifles is the Remington Model 700, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Also celebrating a 50th anniversary is the 7mm Remington Magnum caliber.
Another trend in the world of big-game hunting rifles is the proliferation of “black guns” (AR-15 style) showing up in hunting circles in larger numbers. While many traditional hunters would never consider showing up in deer camp with an AR-type rifle, there is a growing segment of younger hunters doing just that.
RUGER AMERICAN RIFLE
The Ruger American Rifle was one of the first new rifles introduced for 2012. It is a completely newly designed bolt-action hunting rifle with many new features and a real departure from the model M77 rifle. And the American Rifle is even lighter than a full-sized Ruger Hawkeye.
One of the first notable features is the trigger. The Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger is adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds; however, a closer look reveals that it looks a lot like a Savage AccuTrigger with the little blocking tab in the center of the trigger shoe. That tab is the (lawyer-approved) safety feature.
Although the Ruger American rifle has a full-length hammer-forged barrel of 22 inches, the new, lightweight synthetic stock has the new rifle tipping the scales at a mere 6Â½ pounds, even in long-action calibers. Within the new stock is the Power-Bedding integral bedding block. In addition to the bedding block, the barrel is totally free floated for accuracy.
The tang safety, a favorite of many Ruger M77 shooters, has returned on the American rifle. The all-new receiver features a full-diameter, three-lug bolt, dual cocking cams and a 70-degree bolt lift. The new receiver is also designed to allow greater clearance for scope mounting. A newly designed flush-fit rotary magazine that holds four rounds complements the new stock.
The Ruger American rifle is available in four of today’s favorite calibers. The short-action calibers include the .243 and .308 Winchester; the long-action calibers include the .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield. Suggested retail is $449.
I received a sample Ruger American rifle in .270 Winchester caliber for testing and mounted a Redfield 4-12 Revolution scope to it using Millett Angle-Lok rings on the supplied Weaver bases. The rifle was tested using Barnes Vor-TX 130-grain TTSX, Black Hills 130-grain GMX, Cor-Bon 130-grain DPX, Double-Tap 110-grain TTSX, Federal 130-grain SP, Hornady 130-grain SP, Nosler 130-grain ETip, Remington 130-grain PSP, and Winchester 130-grain Power-Core and 130-grain Power-Max.
After zeroing the Ruger .270 at 100 yards, it became obvious that although this is an inexpensive rifle, it shoots as well as many rifles that cost much more. Several groups were under the 1-inch mark. The single best three-shot group measured .582 inch using the Winchester 130 Power-Core load. It had a velocity average of 2,875 fps. The next best group measured .645 using the Double-Tap 110-grain TTSX. It had a fast velocity average of 3,347 fps.
By Richard Folsland