Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle

Review: Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle


The Ruger American Rimfire Long Range Target is a rimfire rifle that’s been purpose-built for shooting targets at distances out to 150 metres, chambered in .22 LR, .17 HMR or .22 WMR.

Precision .22 rimfire shooting is growing more popular because ammunition is much less costly than centrefire calibres and competitions from 50 to 150 metres make things a lot more interesting.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
The Ruger American .22 Long Range Target was tested with six different types of ammunition and gave good accuracy at ranges from 50 to 150 yards

The gun is businesslike and a tack-holer. The foundation of this unique rifle is a brown laminated stock with black speckled finish. 

It delivers a true custom fit for each individual shooter. The comb is not only adjustable for height but can be moved back and forth to suit the shooter’s cheek and neck conformation. 

Length of pull can be varied from 32cm to 37cm by rearranging three black plastic spacers in front of a 25mm thick over-moulded butt pad.

The stock includes a thick, sharply curved, vertical grip designed for prone shooting and a target forend with a beaver-tail configuration that’s fat and flat. 

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
Comb can not only be adjustable for height, but length of pull is adjustable with spacers to suit almost any shooter’s build

The forend extends 30cm in front of the magazine well and an extended release lever protruding from the rear of the magazine well makes magazine changes fast and easy.  

The bottom of the forend on the Ruger is fitted with a flush-fitting full-length M-Lock rail equipped with slots which make attaching an ARCA rail possible. An ARCA rail allows the shooter to attach a bipod or tripod anywhere along its length. ARCA accessories are popular in many competitive rifle circuits.

The adjustable stock will appeal to a wide range of shooters, including family members like fathers and sons of different heights and physiques who want to shoot the same gun. 

It is also a top choice for parents looking to buy a rifle for a youngster who can shoot it as they grows into adulthood.

The Ruger’s quick and easy adjustability is convenient for shooters who want to change shooting positions during the same range session, or as they transition from shooting in warmer weather to wintry conditions, when extra layers of clothing can affect the length of pull.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
The Ruger Marksman trigger is a lever-in-blade design made by Timney. It is adjustable

The rifle is fitted with Ruger’s Marksman trigger, which is made by Timney and seems to have successfully made the transition from the company’s centrefire line to their rimfire models. 

The stock has to be removed to allow access to the trigger adjustments which allow weight of pull to be adjusted from 1.3-2.3kg with complete safety. The let-off of the test gun’s trigger was set to 1.36kg at the factory.

Given the inherent accuracy of .22 LR ammunition, the Ruger’s crisp, light Marksman trigger offers a distinct advantage when wringing out the very best the 4kg scoped Ruger Long Range Target rifle has to offer. 

The Marksman trigger is the familiar lever-in-blade design originated by Savage, but which differs by having a sliding two-position safety mounted on the trigger housing tang. A pivoting central lever blocks the main trigger itself rather than directly engaging the sear or cocking piece, thus ensuring that the fire control system remains in the ready-to-fire mode at all times.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
A two-position safety is handily located on the tang. A pivoting lever blocks the main trigger, but not the sear or cocking piece

The 56cm (22”) stoutly contoured cold hammer-forged Ruger barrel, with a diameter of almost 22mm, is threaded for ½-28 with a knurled thread protector and 1:16 twist. 

The fully floated barrel is mounted in a thick-walled tubular receiver. 

The bedding system in the Ruger rimfire utilises a notched V-shaped investment-cast stainless-steel block moulded as an integral part of the stock at the front which is a permanent fitting. 

But whereas the Ruger American centrefire has two blocks, only one is needed for the rimfire which since there’s not much recoil to absorb. Instead, the rear of the receiver behind the magazine well is supported by a contoured steel plate. It could be described as half of Ruger’s Power Bedding System.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
Block bedding system at the front is bolstered by plate at the rear which cradles rear of receiver

Like the vast majority of rimfire .22s, this target rifle has the barrel fitted friction tight in the receiver and locked in place by a pin that extends through the front ring of the receiver and through a groove in the barrel extension. Today, only a few rimfire rifles have barrels that are threaded into the action.

Ruger uses a target chamber in its Rimfire Long Range Target, but although the gun is tightly headspaced, it still allows the rifle to digest all types of ammunition without hesitation or stoppage. Bullets were barely engraved with rifling by touching the lands when the bolt is closed, but cartridges cycled through the rifle without any problems. 

The minimum-spec chamber did not cause any type on ammunition to be difficult to load. 

An interesting feature is a gas release port located in the left side of the receiver. About the only other .22 rimfires that I’ve seen with this feature are the Savage Mark II FXP and CZ 457. It’s been decades since I’ve heard of a ruptured rimfire case head, but Ruger has taken care of that remote possibility with sound safety engineering.

The bolt is the standard half cutaway design with a single extractor and spring clip. A chisel-nosed firing pin is housed in a groove along the upper bolt body.  

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
Tubular receiver has flats milled along its upper edges and boasts a factory-fitted Weaver-type scope rail

Lock-up is by the root of the bolt handle turning down into a notch in the action sidewall. This is a common locking system amongst rimfires and it is a good idea to lubricate the bearing surfaces of the lug and the cocking cam surface in the side of the receiver. 

The bolt handle is slightly swept back. A large pear-shaped knob makes working the action easy. 

Bolt lift is a low 60 degrees and the action cocks on opening.

A nice touch: The bolt can be extracted from the receiver without having to pull the trigger. A bolt release lever is located on the left side of the receiver. It prevents the bolt from rotating and also acts as the bolt stop. 

The action of the Ruger is superb, and the fit and finish of the bolt is very good. 

The safety selector is a sliding button on an added tang which is an extension of the trigger housing.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
Ruger’s flush-fitting rotary 10-shot magazine is released by pushing forward on a lever at the rear and drops out easily

The rifle comes with a flush-fitting 10-shot rotary magazine. I am sincerely grateful that Ruger hasn’t changed the magazine since designing it for the 77/22 all those years ago.

A full-length one-piece Picatinny scope rail is factory installed. 

For testing, a Simmons Pro Target Rimfire scope was attached using Weaver-style rings which are included. This scope features an interchangeable ballistic elevation cap regulated for 50, 100 and 150 yards and has ¼ MOA click adjustments for the .22 LR, .22 WMR and 17 HMR.

When velocities for a number of .22 LR ammunition are analysed, it is found that the 40-gn solid bullets have ballistic coefficients of approx. 0.140 to 0.160. The velocities of target loads are almost always almost exactly that specified by the manufacturer, averaging around 1080fps. The only exception I know of is Lapua Scoremax which has a 48gn solid bullet. This load is intended for target use, specifically silhouette shooting where a heavier blow is needed to knock over the metal animals.

Nioa supplied 100 rounds each of Eley Tenex, SK Long Range Match and Lapua X-Act, but I included Eley Edge, Eley Club and Eley Sport to make a wider selection. The accuracy results are listed in the table.

In accuracy testing, not unexpectedly, Eley Tenex turned in the tightest group which measured 0.299” for five shots at 50 yards and 0.806” at 100 yards. No surprises there, but the less expensive Eley Club was treading close on its heels in overall accuracy 0.58” at 50yd and 0.82” at 100yd.

Review of the Ruger American .22 LR Long Range Target rimfire rifle
Eley Tenex lived up to its awesome reputation with five shot groups measuring 0.299” at 50yds and 0.806 at 100yds

The Simmons scope was graduated for the intermediate ranges of 75 and 125 yards, but having no target holders for these distances I gave them a miss, but went to the trouble of erecting a target holder at 150 yards which was the longest distance.

The Ruger American Long Range Target grouped very well and there wasn’t a single malfunction over the course of shooting 500 rounds of ammo. The rifle is not only functional but well qualified for precision target work.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Manufacturer: Sturm Ruger & Company, USA
  • Type: Bolt action repeater
  • Calibres: .22 LR (tested), .17 HMR and .22 WMR
  • Barrel: 56cm (22”), 1:10 twist
  • Overall length: 102cm
  • Weight: 3.6kg
  • Stock: Speckled black/brown laminated, comb height adjustable
  • Length of pull: adjustable from 32-37cm
  • Trigger: Marksman, adjustable 1.3-2.3kg
  • Sights: None, Picatinny rail attached
  • Safety: 2-position on the tang
  • Price: Around $1200-$1400
  • Distributor: NIOA

 

 

 


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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.

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