The .22 LR Ruger American Rimfire
Nicolas Lenze 11.24.21
I’m not new to firearms, but I am fairly new to hunting. Not long ago, my friend Brett invited me to go on my first rabbit hunt (with a side of grouse, if we see them). I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try out a rifle that I’ve been curious about; The Ruger American Rimfire. This rifle is from the American line of Ruger rifles, which were introduced in 2012. These were meant to give premium performance at reasonable prices, as well as being made 100% in the U.S.
The Ruger American Rimfire: Specs
Model: 8351 Caliber: .22 LR Capacity: 10 Overall length: 37″ Barrel length: 18″ Action type: Bolt Weight: 5.3 lb MSRP: $519.00
That New Rifle Smell: First Impressions
Starting at the muzzle end, the barrel is threaded 1/2×28. I would love to put a can on this rifle, and this gives me the option to do so down the road. The texture on the stock is moderate, which I like. I only need to help me not drop the rifle. Recoil is a non-issue with a .22 LR rifle, especially coming out of an 18” barrel.
The fit and finish are on par with what I’d expect from a giant like Ruger. The bolt handle is large and beautifully made. There’s no wobble or rattle when moving the gun. There were a few spots with small amounts of material leftover from the manufacturing process, but that’s an extreme nitpick. I’ll probably end up removing it. Overall, I’m very pleased.
I was disappointed to find that the gun only came with one 10-round rotary magazine. Fortunately, the American Rimfire uses the same magazines as the 10/22, so they are widely available. You probably already have a bunch at home.
Over the River and Through the Woods: Field Use
I love looking at my guns, but I love using them more. I was ready to take it for my hunt. For the purpose of grouse and rabbit, I outfitted the Rimfire with some simple improvements. Up top, I mounted the Strike Industries SIOPTO SCOUTER. It’s a non-magnified red dot sight with a two MOA dot. I threw on a Magpul RLS sling, loaded my mags with copper-plated, 38-grain Aguila Super Extra Hollow Points, and I was ready to roll.
In the specifications, I wrote that the rifle weighs just over five pounds. In practical use, it might as well weigh nothing. I walked around with this thing in my hands for two days and several miles. I only slung it over my shoulder on a couple of occasions. The rifle never felt heavy in my hands, nor did it cause any fatigue. On our first day, within 30 minutes, I was fortunate enough to test the rifle in its intended role. Five feet in front of me, a rabbit darted out and settled next to a log about 30 feet away.
I shouldered the Ruger American Rimfire, pulled the sling tight, put my dot on the rabbit, and pulled the trigger. When I say “pulled”, I mean yanked. I was so excited, not only did I smash the trigger, but I forgot that I was zeroed at 50 yards. I missed, sending the shot right over his head. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say, I missed the follow-up shot, as well. He didn’t move, so I took a breath and slowly squeezed the trigger. The 38-grain bullet zipped down the hill and into the rabbit, killing it.
The Ruger American Rimfire, in my mind, accomplished its goal. It’s a reasonably-priced rifle that delivers accurate shots and can withstand the abuse of days of hiking through the woods. I was not kind to this gun but it continued to function as intended. Combining the $519 MSRP, $20 sling, and $250 red dot, this hunting setup cost a fraction of what some precision rimfire rifles can cost on their own. It’s a great entry rifle for those who are looking to start hunting small game.
Its lightweight body was great for carrying around for extended periods and helped me get on target quickly. Adding to its handiness was the light but positive texture on the grip and forend. Unfortunately, the lower optics mount that I wanted didn’t show up in time for this hunt. I was worried that relying on a chin weld could lead to wounding an animal. The combination of the sling, texture, and a stable rest made sure that didn’t happen. Those misses were 100% my fault and 100% a learning opportunity.
The action remained smooth and workable, especially due to the beautiful bolt handle. I don’t know if it was my imagination, but the trigger didn’t feel as crisp as it did when I first took the gun to the range a couple of months ago. I suspect that the cold had something to do with this. It was a little bit tougher to squeeze slowly but was ultimately usable enough to bring home some meat for my family.
The Ruger American Rimfire is exactly what I always look for in a gun. It’s a high-value tool that I’ll be using for years to come, and maybe even in some NRL22 competitions. If you want to find out for yourself, you can find a dealer on the Ruger website. Follow Ruger on their social media pages for more content from the company. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. I’m so excited to put some food that I harvested on the table this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for this rabbit’s life and for all of you who read this. I hope you all enjoy the coming season!
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