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Review: Ruger American Bolt-Action .22 Magnum

Ruger American Rimfire Rifle

Recently I tested one of the finest bolt-action rimfire rifles I have used. I purchased it, as I often do, based on looks.

The Ruger features a Go Wild camo stock and bronze cerakote finish.

It may not be any more accurate than a standard dull black Ruger American Rimfire, but it certainly has plenty of bling!

The rifle features excellent fit and finish, and a smooth action, all we may ask.

The rifle may cost a little more than price leaders, but it is affordable and certainly offers all of the performance I need for small game.

After an appraisal of the performance of the rifle and the newest .22 Magnum ammunition, I may move it from small-game to small-game and varmint category at modest range.

Ruger American Rimfire Rifle
This is one good looking hunting rifle!

Features and Specs

The rifle is quite similar to the Ruger American Rimfire .22 Long Rifle.

I liked the original well enough, but just did not see replacing my long-serving 10/22 rifles with the bolt-action Ruger American.

The new rifle is a different matter! The .22 Magnum is more accurate than the .22 Long Rifle Ruger I tested, and the .22 Magnum does things the .22 LR will not.

Bling aside, the action is very smooth, but also locks up tight. The fit of the stock to the action is good. Bedding is everything for accuracy.

The stock-to-action fit is ideal for accuracy, as my testing bore out. Humidity will not warp the synthetic stock. The barrel is free-floated.

The rifle weighs but six pounds, a useful weight for keeping a steady hold and carrying in the field.

The rifle also features the new Ruger Marksman trigger. I like being able to adjust the trigger action for my own ‘sweet spot’ in feel.

I set the trigger for a smooth 2.5 pounds. The Ruger American Rimfire rifle features a ‘big gun’ type of safety, with safe and off-safe positions.

The bolt may be manipulated with the safety in the on position.

bolt-action rifle safety
Ruger’s adjustable trigger is a model of crispness.

Scope Options

The rifle, surprisingly enough, was delivered with a nice looking muzzle brake. The Ruger American Rimfire rifle has practically no perceived recoil.

The barrel is threaded for other devices as well.

My rifle wears an excellent optic for the type of shooting I envision, mostly fun stuff at 100 yards or a little more. The Burris Fullfield E1 is my choice.

The Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm is designed to slot into the lineup with a significant increase in magnification over the 3-9x, but still keeping a small lower end magnification of 4.5, which allows for a significantly wider field of view than the larger 6.5-20x. 

This model of Fullfield E1 features side-adjusting parallax focus.

There are two models available in this size, one with the Ballistic Plex E1 reticle and one with the Long Range MOA reticle.

I chose the Ballistic Plex. The Ballistic Plex E1 is a variation on the highly-engineered and extremely popular Burris hunting reticle.

The Long Range MOA reticle offers details and enough ultra-fine precision to get this scope into the long-range competition market.

It’s also very popular with folks sniping predators and varmints from significant distances.

This riflescope is resistant to a lifetime of field use, heavy recoil and harsh vibration. It is protected by the Burris Forever Warranty

Perhaps I did not need this much rifle scope on a rimfire rifle, but then perhaps I felt that the rifle’s accuracy justified this type of optic.

Ruger American Muzzle Device
The barrel is threaded and delivered with a muzzle brake.

The .22 Magnum Load Advantage

A great benefit of the .22 Magnum is its versatility. The rifle has been tested with the CCI VNT 30-grain loading.

This load will vaporize pests at short range and is among the least likely of loads to ricochet.

There is simply very little left in ballistic testing, it simply flies apart. The CCI Maxi Mag 40-grain load is a staple for .22 Magnum fans.

Accurate and with good effect, this is a fine general-purpose load. For small-game hunting, you don’t need expansion.

Rabbit and squirrel are cleanly taken with the Winchester 40-grain FMJ load. This load is clean-burning, affordable and accurate.

An overlooked and useful load is the Hornady 45-grain Critical Defense loading.

Intended for personal defense in handguns, this isn’t a fast load at about 1,600 fps in the rifle.

But this load offers a good balance of expansion and penetration.

I would be hard-pressed to choose between this load and the traditional 40-grain JHP is I were to use the .22 Magnum for coyote or bobcat.

As for accuracy, the Ruger is far more accurate than I would have guessed.

A good standard for .22 rimfire accuracy is two inches at 50 yards for a three-shot group.

The Ruger American Rimfire .22 Magnum will beat this accuracy not at 50, but 100 yards. One group with the CCI Mini Mag averaged 1.5 inches.

.22 Magnum Ammo
The Ruger American Rimfire has proven accurate with a wide range of ammunition.

Conclusion: Ruger American

The Ruger American Rimfire in .22 Magnum is fast becoming one of my most used rifles. It is a pleasing mix of performance and economy.

What do you think of the Ruger American Rimfire rifle? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (10)

  1. Took my Ruger American Target( acronym),out to the range for the first time today. Only took a few shots to zero in my scope…then it was nothing short of pure fun watching the target bulls-eye disappear.
    Great trigger, smooth bolt-action, good balance,….Ruger hit it otta the park with this one.!!
    I`ve got a few 10/22 that are decent shooters but always wanted a bit more gun for those long shots…think this fits the ticket.
    Tried four brands of ammo during the shoot…no complaints… consistent accuracy ….very pleased with this .22Magnum..!

  2. Just purchased a Ruger American ,22 WMR. first day on the range, decent accuracy with iron sights. Had a Tasco ,22 scope unused, so I mounted it in the receiver grooves. Still have to get that to the range.

  3. Have a Ruger American.22wmr stainless synthetic. I run a deer farm in Victoria Australia. Recently one of my Red stags tried to get me off my quad. 1 Winchester 45gn hollow point between the eye and the ear at about 40 yds did the job,down and out with his brow tines stuck in the dirt. He was 8yo 300kg and 16 point head. I’ve got 12 toys in my gunsafe the Ruger is my favourite. Happy shooting folks

  4. I bought one of the early special additions in stainless with a wood stock. I have fed it everything, and it shoots everything well. I generally stick with the hornady v-max 30gr. as it will shoot bugholes at 100 if it’s not windy. I have harvested countless squirrels with head shots. I even took a cow doe two years ago with a base of the ear shot. She never twitched.

  5. Looks like I have $800. burning a hole in my wallet! After mucho research on the most accurate rifles, I’m resting my sights on the camo model Ruger American in .22WMR!
    For optics I’m using the Sig Tango MSR LPVO 1-6x24MM.
    Throw in a couple extra mags, a custom paracord sling and 500 rounds of CCI 40 gr MaxiMag HP ammo. This setup will pretty much put that fire out in my wallet! #7

  6. Hi all I bought a OD green 22WMR Ruger rifle around 4 years ago now It’s still shooting accurate from the first day I bought it I trued it in around 50 yards and I can thread it through bullseye couple times using winchester super X 40 grain bullets so I been told that they are not much good but I would back this one against any other rifle out there today so good on ya Ruger company 😀

  7. My Ruger American Rimfire 22mag is a stainless steel model that i have set into a Boyds rimfire hunter stock. The stock is in Royal (purple) color that really sets off the stainless finish. It’s favorite ammo is Hornady 30gr V-Max, but shoots most other nearly as well. Ruger used a 1in14″ twist rifling in these rimfires & i have found it Not to be picky about different ammunitions.

  8. My Ruger American using Winchester 40 gr.took out a big ground hawg at 75 yards that was fattening up in my garden. One round bowled him over.
    This little rifle is a keeper.

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