What do you think?
First, some perspective. While many of us believe — and rightly so -— that when a firearms manufacturer talks up their “affordable” rifles, what they often mean is “put together quickly and inexpensively and, thus, you can expect subpar performance.” After all, you get what you pay for, right?
In this case, however, Ruger did something else — they built a rifle that is easy to handle afield, shoots very, very well, and has some upgraded features that they can sell for very little money and still make a profit. The Ruger American Rifle is a departure from the company’s iconic Model 77, with the investment-cast, controlled-round-feed action with twin, opposing locking lugs and an average-at-best trigger. The American is a svelte 6½ pounds and has eye-pleasing lines. It functions and shoots as good as it looks.
What are the obvious changes? First, there is a new bedding system that replaces the recoil lug and is one of the American’s biggest innovations. Ruger calls it “Power Bedding,” and it’s one of two patented features on the rifle. Here two sets of slots have been machined into the underside of the receiver in front and behind the ejection port, and matching cast stainless-steel V-blocks have been set into the molded stock. In this system the V-blocks cannot move an eyelash — and they also enable the barrel to be free-floated. Also, two Allen-head screws secure the action to the V-blocks, which also grab the stock. This results in a solid steel-on-steel-on-steel system that simply cannot damage plastic or wood.