Ruger’s new American Compact bolt-action rifle, which was announced earlier this year, is now available. These inexpensive, simple and accurate rifles are modified versions of their fairly new American series, but with shorter stocks and barrels.
The stock has been shortened down for a 12.5-inch length of pull and the barrel shortened to 18 inches, giving the new American Compact an overall length just under 37 inches. It’s slightly lighter than the standard American at an even 6 pounds.
It’s chambered for .243 Winchester and 7mm-08 Remington, and both cartridges are popular for having light recoil despite their high muzzle energy. With .243 you have a very versatile cartridge; combined with the American Compact’s 1-in-9 twist you can shoot just about any commercially-loaded ammo, whether you’re plinking, varminting or hunting small or medium game.
Chambered in 7mm-08 you’ll see a bit more recoil, but have a harder-hitting projectile with better range. It may not be appropriate for varminting, but most would agree that it’s better for hunting.
And honestly, at 6 pounds, we’re not sure how popular this gun would be if it were chambered in .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester. The full-size Americans in the big .30s aren’t the most shoulder-friendly rifles on the market.
Like the full-size American, the Compact does not have iron sights. Instead it comes drilled and tapped for scopes and includes Weaver rails, factory-installed. It feeds from four-round rotary magazines.
Otherwise it’s identical to the original American rifle. It’s based on an entirely new design that takes advantage of modern machining to keep costs down. Although it’s inexpensive, we expect it to be just as accurate as the initial American, which is to say we’re hoping for 1 MOA or less. All other things being equal, shorter barrels tend to group a little tighter, and both .243 and 7mm-08 are popular for their accuracy.
It also has a user-adjustable trigger that can be set from 3 to 5 pounds, which is another thing that contributes to accuracy.
The Ruger American Compact has an MSRP of $449, and we’ve seen them priced at under $350. If you’re looking for a simple, featured yet inexpensive gun for a new or small shooter, you should stick the American Compact on your list of guns to check out.