Sometimes available as a rifle only, and often available with a middle-of-the-road optic, they are very popular. Among these rifles are the Remington 783, Savage Axis and Mossberg Patriot. Ruger’s rifle is the Ruger American.
It is a very good rifle and while it cost more than some, it almost doesn’t fit in the package gun category. The combination of features for the money is very good. The design is modern and makes for a fast-handling and smooth-operating rifle.
The rifle and scope combination offers good value, saving a few bucks on purchasing each separately—plus the matchup is bore-sighted.
This doesn’t mean it will be dead on the money at 100 yards, but, often enough, a package rifle is dead-on and sometimes it needs a bit of fine-tuning.
Features and Specs
The Ruger is a fast-handling rifle that weighs just a bit over six pounds. This makes the Ruger American well-suited for hunting medium game at modest range. It isn’t a burden on the shoulder. On the other hand, the rifle is plenty accurate to 200 yards or a bit beyond.
(In most cases, the 7.62x39mm rifle is more accurate than the average AK-47, but not as accurate as .308 rifles.) The three-lug bolt offers rapid uplift and scope clearance. The tang mounted safety is smooth and operates easily.
This isn’t a rifle that needs additional bedding from the factory. The synthetic stock is well-bedded using aluminum V-blocks. The rotary magazine has proven reliable in feeding factory loads and handloads as well.
The adjustable trigger is a modern type that allows for considerable adjustment. The lever set in the trigger prevents the trigger from being pressed by lateral discharge. Into this platform, Ruger has chambered a number of interesting cartridges.
Among the most useful cartridges I have tested in a Ruger American is the 7mm-08. The original or parent cartridge, the .308 Winchester, is among the most popular rifle cartridges of all time. The 7mm/.308, now known as the 7mm-08, was developed in 1958.
The wildcatters involved simply necked the .308 down to 7mm, or .284 inches. They formed a kind of short .270 Winchester. In 1980, the cartridge was introduced as the 7mm-08 Remington in a factory-loaded cartridge and factory rifle.
The result is a relatively light recoiling, high accuracy and flat shooting that makes the cartridge well-suited for deer-sized game. With a 20-degree shoulder, the 7mm-08 feeds well and offers real efficiency in any short-action rifle.
The 7mm-08 offers one of the best cartridges in a short-action, relatively light rifle.
There are plenty of good 7mm bullets. Among my favorites are the factory load Hornady 139-grain GMX, a solid copper bullet, and the 139-grain Hornady Interlok.
The Superformance loads are among the most effective and accurate loads for hunting thin-skinned game. In general, I find these bullets the most useful for my kind of shooting and hunting, which includes thin-skinned game inside of 200 yards.
Bullet weights of 120 to 150 grains are useful for different chores in the 7mm-08. If you are a careful handloader, the 7mm-08 has advantages.
The cartridge case is an efficient design, demonstrating good velocity for a modest powder charge compared to larger long-action-type cartridges. While the .270/.277 caliber has great appeal in long actions, the .284/7mm is also a great caliber.
When you are able to combine this kind of efficiency with a short-action rifle, you have a crackerjack loading.
The 120-grain Hornady bullet may be jolted to 3,000 fps. This makes for a flat-shooting combination and would be a great choice for deer-sized game at longer range. The 7mm is available in bullet weights up to 190 grains.
The heavy bullets may seem best for the 7mm Magnum. In the 7mm-08, perhaps the heaviest all-around bullet might be the 154-grain Hornady. This bullet weight may be sent to 2,650 fps.
While this isn’t a screamer in velocity, it is comparable to .308 150-grain loads, but with less recoil and greater sectional density. While they don’t break 3,000 fps, the 139- and 140-grain bullets may be delivered at 2,800 fps.
That is solid velocity and, when coupled with modest recoil, offers excellent performance. I think that the great advantage of this cartridge is modest recoil for the power the shooter is able to harness.
The 7mm-08 Remington just may be your new favorite cartridge if you give it shot… or more. As for accuracy in the Ruger American, the Hornady 139-grain Interlock loading has demonstrated groups of .9 to 1. 25 inch in my personal Ruger American rifle.
The Hornady GMX loading is slightly more accurate on average and very consistent. That is good enough to ride with.
What are your thoughts on 7mm-08 Remington rifles? Let us know in the comments below.