I have had quite a few Ruger firearms over the years, and for the most part my experience with the company has been a good one. My first real rifle was a Ruger, and both family and friends have also used a bunch of different Ruger models over the years. 

I have always thought Ruger produced a good firearm for the price. So, today, we will be taking my first look at the Ruger American line of rifles. I’m curious to see if they match up to my decades of experience with Ruger.


Table of Contents

Intro: Go Wild
Range Time
Pros & Cons
Conclusion

Intro: Go Wild

 

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle
The Ruger American line of rifles, like this Go WIld rifle, is one of the more budget-friendly but still high-performing bolt-action options on the market right now. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


There are many different Ruger American models, but the one I will be looking at today is the Go Wild model. This model comes with custom Cerakote and camouflage, and it’s chambered in the very popular 6.5 Creedmoor. As I opened the box, I thought it had a handsome look to it, but looks don’t go very far in these mountains. So, I wanted to see how it performed more than anything.

I lifted the gun from the box, and the first thing I thought was it seemed lighter than it looked – if that makes sense. It was noticeably lighter than I expected it to be, and I had other comparable rifles nearby. This is obviously a good thing in my estimation, as I had planned on having my wife use this rifle during our hunting season. She is quite petite, so smaller and lighter is better.

With the gun shouldered, I ran the bolt a few times, which felt better than I expected. The three-lug bolt of the American needs less lift to unlock from the breech, 60 degrees of lift instead of the standard 90 degrees to be more precise. The smooth raceway had the bolt sliding very clean, and the short lift made it quick to reload.

The synthetic stock got my attention next. It came as no surprise that the stock felt a bit cheap. It’s unfortunate that many gun manufacturers are using these very flexible polymer stocks, but it is also very predictable. Plus, to be fair, if the gun shoots well, I probably won’t be complaining about the flexible stock too much. 

The barreled action has a nice Burnt Bronze Cerakote color that goes well with the camo pattern on the stock. The muzzle of the 22-inch barrel is threaded at 5/8-24 TPI and comes with a radially-ported brake to aid in recoil reduction. The barrel twist is a pretty standard 1:8.

The rifle is fed through a detachable box magazine compatible with AICS-type magazines. This came as a pleasant surprise as I have an assortment of magazines I’d like to try in the rifle. The tang-mounted safety was easy to reach and manipulate, as was the bolt release on the left-rear side of the action. 

The simple design was easily understood, and I was ready to outfit it in no time. The gun came with a scope rail already mounted, which made mounting a scope much easier. I mounted one of my scopes in a pair of Warne low rings, the US Optics TS-25X fit perfectly on top of the rifle. Though, I think I will also add a stock pack to get a better cheek weld.
 

Range Time
 

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle
MOA shooting is certainly an option. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


After getting the rifle set up with a scope, bipod, and some ammo, it was time to get it hot. I arrived at one of my shooting spots with an assortment of ammunition, some Hornady 120-grain match rounds as well as some Federal 130-grain Gold Medal ammunition. 

I had also brought some of my favorite hunting handloads, which consisted of Cayuga solid-copper bullets. I’ve used them several times in the past on both deer and elk, and if my better half was to use this rifle for hunting, I wanted to see how it shot these bullets. With a target set up at 100 yards, I laid on my shooting mat to zero the little Ruger. Using the Hornady ammunition, I zeroed the rifle and fired a quick three-shot group.

I corrected the point of impact to correlate with my point of aim, and then it was time to have some fun. I tested my other ammo selections, and all of them shot very comparably, which is always nice. I then turned my attention to the hill beyond my target. Surely there was an opportunity to test this rifle at some longer ranges. 
 

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle
I took the rifle out into the mountains and started chasing targets out to 800 yards. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


With my binoculars, I picked out a couple of targets that were about 10 inches in diameter. One of them I ranged at 460 yards, not too far but definitely something realistic for a deer in these mountains. After zeroing the turrets on my scope, I adjusted 2.1 MRAD of elevation to correct for the distance. The wind was dead calm, so I held center on the target and pressed the trigger.

I haven’t mentioned the trigger yet, but it was better than I expected it to be. I’m not a big fan of blade safeties on bolt-action rifles, but this certainly hasn’t prevented a clean and easy break on this rifle. The trigger had no discernable friction, and the only movement I noticed was when it broke.

I watched the bullet impact my target a little high of center. I need to chronograph these bullets from this rifle, as I think they are flying a little faster than I expected. I fired another shot to confirm, and then began a search for an even further target. 

I found one that measured 800 yards away according to my rangefinder. This was a shot I was confident the little Ruger and I could make. I dialed 5.2 MRAD into the riflescope and leveled up the rifle on my rear bag. Adjusting the parallax on my scope made a clear image of the target. All that was left to do was get a clean release.
 

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle
The gun is wieldy and fit for long hunts. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)

I could do this all day. The Ruger American was just a hoot to shoot. I was impressed with how much I liked it. I made this and several other shots at similar distances until I was quite sure that the rifle would be suitable for a spot on our hunting team. 

The fun factor doubled when I installed my Yankee Hill Machine Nitro N20. The titanium suppressor added mere ounces to the rifle and took away the need for hearing protection in this wide-open country. Watching and hearing bullets impact at these great distances was very satisfying.
 

Pros & Cons
 

Ruger American Go Wild Rifle
The action is nice, but I do wish the gun had a more solid stock. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)



There was much to like about this rifle – the weight, reliable function, perfectly reliable detachable box magazine, reliable accuracy on par with the price point, and a great trigger. It is just a handsome little rifle as well.

The strikes I might score against the American would definitely be the flimsy stock. While it wasn’t obvious that it reduced the shooting performance, I can’t help but think it would shoot better in a more rigid stock or chassis. I think this would be an excellent choice for a rifle with a very short barrel. I was tempted to cut it off at 16 inches to make it even lighter and more maneuverable. But obviously, that is my selfish purposes showing through.
 

Conclusion: Final Words

I was optimistic that this rifle wouldn’t let me down. After spending a good deal of time shooting it, I feel it has lived up to my expectations from Ruger rifles. The only thing I wasn’t able to test was the rifle’s durability over a few seasons of hard hunting. 

For sure, the rifle will get at least one chance to go on a hunt, and I am really looking forward to it. I know I wouldn’t feel under-gunned with this rifle, so if the $769.00 MSRP is within your budget, give this handsome little Ruger a try.

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