Review: Ruger American Rimfire

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Reviews

The introduction of a new bolt-action .22 is a continuation of the classic American .22 caliber sporter. Despite the introduction of modern self-loading rifles, the Ruger American Rimfire has its place. The Ruger American Rimfire is a stablemate to the world’s most popular .22 caliber rifle, the Ruger 10/22.

The Ruger American Rimfire is a clean design.

The Ruger American Rimfire is a clean design.

The Ruger American Rimfire rifle is similar to the Ruger American centerfire rifles introduced a few years ago. The Ruger American Rimfire will be available in .17 HMR, .22 LR and .22 Winchester Rimfire Magnum. One model is supplied with a 22-inch barrel and another with an 18-inch barrel. The full-size rifle has a length of pull of 13.75 inches while the shorter rifle illustrated has a 12.5-inch length of pull. This makes for a good choice of both youth and full size models.

Magazine well on the Ruger American Rimfire Rifle

The new bolt-action rifle accepts standard 10/22 magazines.

The rifle may be modified with either a high or low comb attachment for the stock. The rifle uses the same 10-round magazines as the Ruger 10/22. This magazine is a model of reliability and efficiency. The rifle also accepts the Ruger X Magazines in 15-, 20- and 25-round capacity. The Ruger American Rimfire features the modern- fast release magazine catch used on the latest Ruger 10/22 rifle.

The rifle is a nice looking firearm with a molded one-piece, black synthetic stock. The stock features palmswells and a Ruger emblem in the butt cap. This isn’t a simple slab; the stock offers good human engineering. My compact versions weighs just under 5.5 pounds.

A nice addition to the Ruger rifle is a tang-mounted safety. This safety is well designed, positive in operation, and may be moved to the on position and the rifle cycled. The bolt is well designed to clear a rifle scope. The bolt throw is 60 degrees.

Ruger American Rimfire rifle tang mounted safety

The fit and finish of the rifle is excellent. Note the handy tang mounted safety.

Unlike many less expensive rifles, the Ruger is well bedded with a system that free floats the barrel. The barrel features a target crown—unusual for a rimfire rifle. The single bedding block and angled lugs are more than adequate to lock the rimfire cartridges the Ruger chambers. The trigger is the same design as the Ruger Marksman that has been used in the centerfire American rifles. Ruger is becoming known for excellent rifle triggers including the 452 in use in the AR-15 rifles. This trigger blocks the sear rather than the trigger bar which makes for greater safety and provides a very clean break.

The Ruger American Rimfire is provided with adjustable rear sights of the 10/22 type. The rifle also features a bright green fiber optic front sight. This fiber optic is easily picked up for close work such as dispatching garden pests at a few feet, but small enough to provide real accuracy at 50 yards or more. The rifle is drilled and tapped for a scope mount, but the mount isn’t included.

These are not expensive, and many will use the rifle with its fixed sights in place. As for accuracy, the Ruger American Rimfire isn’t a $200 rifle but a $300 rifle, plus a bit more, so it should be more accurate than the usual inexpensive bolt action rifle. I honestly do not know what I was expecting, but my comparison is the Ruger 10/22 rifle.

Ruger X magazines

Ruger X magazines in 15, 20 and 25 round types were tested with good results.

Now if you want a semi-auto .22, get the 10/22, but just the same, the Ruger self-loading rimfire is a gold standard as everyone seems to own at least one, some of us many, and its accuracy and reliability are well known. However, the Ruger 10/22 is an accurate rifle in its class with the average group with quality ammunition running about 2 inches at 50 yards from a solid bench rest firing position. So, is the Ruger Bolt Action Rimfire for those wishing to break youngsters in with a bolt action, which may easily become a single-shot .22 without the magazine, or is it accurate enough for hunting and other pursuits?

Initial testing involved Winchester Super X hollow points and the Fiocchi 40-grain HV loading. I was just playing and plinking. The rifle is definitely a fun gun. However, unlike many cheap guns, and this isn’t a cheap gun, I wasn’t frustrated by the accuracy. There is a downed pine at the range and I put a plastic bottle in the crook of a limb and fired at the bottle. As luck would have it, the pine lies on the 50-yard line. My shots range true and struck the plastic bottle dead center several times. That is a good start.

The rifle is smooth in operation and offers excellent handling and accuracy. As the test progressed, I found that I hit the target more often than I missed, firing at dirt clods and small targets. Most were squirrel-sized which means pot meat in the winter. I had the impression the rifle is more accurate than most. I confirmed this impression by firing off the bench rest at 50 yards, taking every advantage to deliver accurate groups.

Man shooting the Ruger American Rimfire rifle

The bolt action is very smooth and rapid to manipulate.

I fired three-shot groups with the CCI standard velocity loading, a proven tack driver, the Winchester Super X game taking load, and the Fiocchi 40-grain HV. Results were excellent. Remember, this is an iron-sighted rifle. I did not feel disadvantaged at all at 50 yards. The two high-velocity loads traded back and forth for top honors with averages of one-inch dispersion for three shots.

The CCI standard velocity was much the same. However, a single three-shot group with this load fell into less than an inch. This is uncommon accuracy for this type of rifle. Then again, the machining is excellent and the bedding is well done. The sights are excellent, high visibility, yet precise. The trigger couldn’t be better. This rifle is a keeper well worth its price.

Do you have a favorite .22 LR bolt-action rifle? Share it in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  • Pete


    For me a Marlin 780 bolt gun ma marlin model 60 semi, and a10/22. the 780 is a tack driver, and is my goto small game .22, but I’ve been known to take the others out for fun.


Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: