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Ruger American Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor

By Nik Maxwell

affiliate-product-images/Ruger-American-Hunter-Magpul.png

Ruger American Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor

  • 4/5

A standard short-action, bolt-action rifle available in two chamberings, .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor.


affiliate-product-images/Ruger-American-Hunter-Magpul-Stock.png

Magpul Hunter American Stock for Ruger American Rifles

  • 4.5/5

Compatible with Ruger American short action rifles; Requires no bedding and is a true fixed stock "drop-in" solution

Where to buy

Amazon $260.68 USD

Many of the major rifle brands are really stepping up their game in terms of rifle design and production. Firearms manufacturers are now offering the full complement of configurations and builds which I suspect is born from the increase in popularity of custom-built rifles.

 

Ruger are no exception and offer a vast array of rifles to suit almost every shooting style and discipline. It is truly a buyers’ market and we are spoilt for choice, this I like! Latest out of the rack is the Ruger American Hunter. A rifle positioned in the lower tier price range yet providing out-of-the-box near benchrest accuracy.

 

OVERVIEW

The American Hunter is a standard short-action, bolt-action rifle available in two chamberings, .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor which are both ideal calibres for shorter barrels. On that note, the heavy contour barrel measures in at 20” and a considerable .850” in diameter at the muzzle. It also features the Ruger Precision® Rifle Hybrid Muzzle Brake. It is a ruthless looking brake that proved to be “lively” on the range - well for the other range users that is...

 

A factory fitted muzzle brake tames recoil. The muzzle blast is brutal so consider the person next to you when shooting at the range!

 

The receiver is alloy steel with an angled, hexagonal shape. It is topped with a factory-fitted Picatinny rail making scope mounting simple. Blessed with a 70° bolt throw, the one-piece, full diameter bolt utilises a 3-lug set-up for both smooth feeding and secure locking. It’s a solid unit that cycles and feeds rounds reliably.

 

Due to the height of the comb you cannot pull the bolt straight back to remove it, instead you’ll need to rotate the bolt 180° to extract it. You will also need to set up the scope far enough forward so that you can rotate the bolt.

 

The bolt head features 3 robust lugs.

 

As it happens, I mentioned this with Will Furley (JPB Furley & Co. Ltd) who recommended using quick-detachable rings to mount the scope in the optimal position - then remove the scope/rings when removing the bolt.

 

Alternatively, removing the top screw on the rear left side of the stock allows the comb to be removed and the bolt removed. Sound advice and great to have input direct from the importer.

 

The Ruger Marksman™ trigger is adjustable from 3-5lbs and feels pretty good. I’d like a little more adjustment though, maybe down to around 2lbs.

 

“Blessed with a 70° bolt throw, the one-piece, full diameter bolt utilises a 3-lug set-up for both smooth feeding and secure locking. It’s a solid unit that cycles and feeds rounds reliably.”

 

The trigger incorporates an inset safety blade device that needs to be pressed to fully engage the trigger. There is an easily accessed and operated top tang safety that allows the rifle to be loaded and unloaded in the safe position.

  

The Hunter version of the Ruger American comes factory fitted with the drop-in Magpul Hunter American Stock. What?! An American Hunter action in a Hunter American stock, go figure! The Magpul stock is the standout feature and with good reason. It’s rigid structure and its next level bedding has created a platform for accuracy.

 

Modern is how I would describe the stock. From the sharp-edged lines to its Gray Matte colouring it is, in my opinion, more tactical than hunter.

 

The stock is length adjustable and the inserts are easily fitted.

 

The stock is length adjustable which is achieved using spacing inserts (included), so you’ll be able to get your length of pull just right. The comb is also height adjustable to ensure a good cheek weld. These are available through either the retailer or distributor. A thick rubber butt pad mitigates felt recoil and large hex-head bolts keep everything together.

 

The fore-end is extra wide and has an almost benchrest rifle look and feel to it. Missing is a bipod attachment which surprised me, hunting rifles ‘need’ bipods or should at least have the option to fit one.

 

--- Article continues below ---

“It also features the Ruger Precision® Rifle Hybrid Muzzle Brake. It is a ruthless looking brake that proved to be “lively” on the range - well for the other range users that is...”

 

The bedding block is next level. Utilising cast aluminium, it contacts the entire receiver. There are two separate steel recoil lugs that drop into the main block upon which the receiver rests. Everything about it looks purpose designed and built for out-of-the box accuracy.

 

The Mapgpul stock’s cast aluminium bedding block and dual recoil lug system.

 

Hold on, what about the magazine! The Magpul PMag (marked for the military 7.62x51) is constructed from polymer and houses five rounds. It is very well made and loading and unloading shells is effortless.

 

There is a large ambidextrous magazine release lever located behind the magazine. It works fine but there is the potential for it to inadvertently drop the mag if it gets caught on some scrub etc. You’d have to be very unlucky for that to happen though.

 

The Magpul PMAGs have a reputation for high quality and excellent durability.

 

ON THE RANGE

To get things running, I fitted a Swarovski Z8i 2-16 P 30mm scope. This is a fantastic optic kindly loaned to me by Swarovski Optik NZ. With my scope and mount setup, I had to compromise the mounting position of the scope to allow for the bolt to be removed. No dramas there though, it was only a little way forward from my preferred length.

 

I was heading off for a sika hunt in a couple of days so I had to purchase any 6.5 Creedmoor ammo I could get my hands on. I ended up with some Hornady Precision Hunter 143gr ELD-X rounds.

 

There were half a dozen other shooters at the range and among other topics, we all got talking about the new firearm legislation. The consensus was that we were unhappy with the overall treatment of our community. Laws aside, the vilification and lack of respect has been appalling. But I digress.

 

The Nosler Trophy Grade 140gr AccuBond ammo shot extremely well.

 

At the bench I quickly got the rifle on paper at 25m before moving out to 100m. From there I proceeded to shoot a ¼” 3-shot group, bloody hell! Better shoot another group, again a very tidy but ever so slightly larger 3-shot group, nice.

 

While all that was happening I received a ‘look’ from one of the shooters next to me. Querying him, he politely told me that the muzzle blast had practically given him a new hair style! I offered to let him know when I would be letting off a shot which he greatly appreciated.

 

OK, let’s get to 200m and see what happens. A couple of shots to get the Swarovski Ballistic Turret dialled in and then I followed them up with a 1” group, and another. OK, this gun can shoot. So, with that sorted, I was ready to go hunting!

 

The best 100m group of the day. The inner White square measures 1".

 

NOTE: Curious to try out some other loads, I did spend another session at the range slinging some Nosler 140gr AccuBond factory ammo at targets. I also rolled up a handload using some Vihtavouri N550 and Sierra 130gr TMKs, just to see if a generic book load would group, which it did.

  

The results were very pleasing with both the Nosler and the reloads shooting sub MOA at 100m. This rifle ate up everything I offered it. Thanks to Paul Clark and Craig Wilson (NZ Ammunition Company) for suppling the ammo, powder and projectiles. Shout out also to Robert Jackson (Workshop Innovations Ltd) for the loan of the Redding dies.

--- Article continues below ---

  

IN THE FIELD

My first hunt with the Ruger American Hunter involved a four-day trek into the Southern Kaimanawas. As the details of that trip are featured in the Sika Hunting Tips & Info article on page 42 of this issue, let’s focus on how the rifle felt while I carried it walking the hills and stalking the bush.

 

I’ll cut to the chase; the weight quickly became apparent. I use a Vorn Deer 42L pack for almost all my hunting. The 42L has a rifle scabbard that allows the wearer to go hands free when say, tramping into an area.

 

The amount of gear and food (and their weight) for my 4-day excursions is almost always the same. I have a standard menu and only occasionally will I add more food, in the winter months for example.

 

The Ruger American Hunter on location in the Southern Kaimanawas.

 

Due to this setup, it’s very noticeable when extra weight is added and the rifle’s couple of extra pounds were noticeable. But let’s be fair, you’re expecting to carry additional weight (meat!) when you’re hunting - it’s one of the goals, right?

 

I only mention this because I assumed prior to receiving the rifle that with its “Hunter” title, it would be more lightweight than heavy. With the rifle in hand, the horizontal carrying balance is ever so slightly favoured to the rear. That is non-negotiable due to the position of the magazine.

 

The textured pistol grip is narrow yet comfortable, while the small lip at the bottom of the grip provides additional hand support. That wide fore-end locks in well when in hand and shouldering the rifle felt good. My only issue (no detriment to the rifle) was with the low-rise scope mounts I was using. However, a lower comb or a medium rise set of mounts would have that easily sorted. The reality is, the more I handled the gun, the more I liked it.

 

Oh yeh, the hunting! Well I did see a couple of young sika stags during my Southern Kaimanawa trip that both presented shots. However, I felt they deserved a few more years. I did manage to harvest a fallow spiker during an evening mission at my Te Puke local. There is a sweet little clearing there that often has a deer or two lingering around.

  

I hit the spot just on 5.30pm, loaded the rifle, walked literally less than 50m in and around onto the clearing and 15m away was a fallow head down eating. Rifle up and safety off, the deer’s head pops up but no fancy headshot here.

 

I line up on the shoulder and touch off, KABOOM! Holy hell, that brake is brutal with no muffs on! Result, one very dead deer and some venison sorted for Christmas. The 143gr ELD-X projectile passed completely through both shoulders and kicked up dirt a short distance behind the animal.

 

Nik managed to secure this fallow buck during a hunt in the Te Puke foothills.

 

CONCLUSION

The Ruger American Hunter is quite the rifle. It packs excellent out-of-the-box accuracy and has a modern/tactical appearance that I find appealing. The purchaser of this rifle is looking for something particular, something different. Generic it isn’t, it’s a head-turner and with that brake, a potential hairstylist!

 

Nik

 

SPECIFICATIONS:
Stock: Gray Magpul® Hunter American
Magazine: Magpul® PMAG®
Capacity: 5 rounds
Sights: None - scope rail installed
Thread Pattern: 5/8”-24
Finish: Matte Black
Weight: 9.2 lbs
Overall Length: 41.25” - 43.25”
Barrel Length: 20”
Twist: 1:8” RH
Grooves: 5
Length of Pull: 13” - 15”

 


affiliate-product-images/Ruger-American-Hunter-Magpul.png

Ruger American Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor

  • 4/5

A standard short-action, bolt-action rifle available in two chamberings, .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor.


affiliate-product-images/Ruger-American-Hunter-Magpul-Stock.png

Magpul Hunter American Stock for Ruger American Rifles

  • 4.5/5

Compatible with Ruger American short action rifles; Requires no bedding and is a true fixed stock "drop-in" solution

Where to buy

Amazon $260.68 USD

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