07 June 2012Wasn’t all that long ago I got a call from Ruger firearms. “Got a new gun we want you to look at. Think you’ll like it!” Before I could say anything Ken Jorgensen continued, “Matter of fact we’ll bring it with us to the FTW in two weeks. We want you to take a serious look at it, and we want to shoot a bunch of video and photos with you and the rifle to use in ads and few other places.” Ken went on to explain Ruger’s CEO had used the rifle in Iceland on reindeer only a couple of week earlier and that the one they were bringing down was chambered in .30-06. A couple weeks later I was waiting at the FTW Ranch near Barksdale (Texas) with the ranch’s owner and my dear friend, Tim Fallon, when Ken and Nathan Richer arrived. It didn’t take long for them to pull the rifle out of a case to let us see it. Several things caught my eye quickly; a tang safety, detachable magazine, Weaver style mounts, and an interesting looking trigger arrangement. In addition it had a nice non-glare finish on the action and barrel, a comfortable feeling synthetic stock and a recoil pad that looked unlike any other I’d ever seen. Cool looking package. “Hammer forged barrel, unique action bedding system, free-floated barrel, consumer adjustable trigger down to 3 pounds, a rotary style clip, lightweight (it felt like something less than 6 pounds) and the trigger system is a trigger safety rather than a sear lock like the Accu Trigger on Savage’s guns; plus the obvious you’ve already seen, obviously and were commenting on.” Ken mentioned as Tim and I were doing a “go over” of the rifle. “Let’s put a Zeiss Conquest scope on it, grab some Hornady ammo and head to the range.” said Tim as he took the rifle from Ken. About 30 minutes later we were at the FTW’s main range right next to camp. Using a variety of 150 and 165 grain Hornady ammo we took turns seeing how tight a group we could get after sighting in to be dead on at 100 yards. During the next hour or so, we shot numerous groups (four in the magazine and 1 in the barrel) at 100 yards. Depending upon the shooter and the ammo used the group sizes ranged from slightly less than 2 inches to essentially one hole accuracy. I almost forgot to tell you the name of the rifle, “The Ruger American”! During the next three days when they weren’t shooting photos or taking video of me with the American I shot it at the various ranges at the FTW’s SAAM courses. And in so doing fell in love with the “American”. In so saying I have to tell you, I DEARLY love pretty wood on rifles, but I could also see why it would be important to have a synthetic stock on this particular model rifle. Later on, on several hunts I would realize why the lightweight synthetic stock on the Ruger American is so important, for I used my “American” rifle literally for everything it was intended for, to shoot; as well as a boat paddle and a rudder while sliding down a very steep, long icy slope in Alaska. Before leaving the FTW Ranch I took the opportunity to shoot it out of my favorite ground blind, one of several Nature Blinds found on the ranch. They like me fell in love with the Nature Blind the first time they saw one, because not only how well it worked as a blind and all the advantages it has over other blinds, but how well it “naturally” blended in with the surroundings and how quickly animals paid no attention to it. During the fall I used my Ruger American on mule deer in New Mexico, big whitetails in South Texas and Sitka blacktail deer in Alaska. And this coming June I’m taking my Ruger American to Namibia, Africa t hunt greater kudu and gemsbok. Then in August I’ll take it with me to Kyrgyzstan to hunt Siberian roe deer, then when I get back to the states... Actually I’ve got a second Ruger American coming my way as well (they’re chambered in .243, .270, .308 and .30-06 for the time being looking for short and long action in the future). My second American will be chambered in .270. I plan on using that one on mule deer this fall in Montana, New Mexico, and Sonora, Mexico. My current Ruger American .30-06 is topped with Zeiss Conquest scope as will be my .270 American! Why the .270 for mule deer this year? Many years I ago I shot a lot of .270 Winchester guns. And even though many may not remember the name I was a huge fan of Jack O’Connor who for many years was the gun/hunting editor for “Outdoor Life” and the first years of “Petersen’s Hunting”. I still am a great fan of his writings, even though he passed away in the 1970’s. It was O’Connor who brought the .270 Winchester to great fame. As to which Zeiss scope I’ll mount on the .270, I’m still trying to decide. As this is being written I’m waiting for the .270 Ruger American to be shipped, once I get it, I’ll head to my local gun shop to pick up some Hornady ammo, then head up to the FTW Ranch to “wring it out”. One of the things I really like about the Ruger American is it’s lightweight and extreme accuracy. On a “writer event” held on the FTW Ranch, I was the spotter and “wind caller” for Roy Huntington when he was able to hit the 1000 yard target with his .30-06 American rifle! Taking that into consideration and the light weight it’s going to work perfectly with the stalking shield Nature Blind will have available in the not too distant future. Next week we’ll likely tell you about my latest hunting adventure in Canada for black bear, but if not then the week thereafter. But then you never know for sure what topic will come up around the campfire!