Firearms

Review: Ruger American 7mm-08

Ruger American 7mm-08 - Hunting Setup

A number of years ago, the major makers introduced the affordable bolt-action rifles we have come to call “package guns. ” These are centerfire rifles with a bore-sighted scope from the factory.

Sometimes available as a rifle only, and often available with a middle-of-the-road optic, they are very popular. Among these rifles are the Remington 783, Savage Axis and Mossberg Patriot. Ruger’s rifle is the Ruger American.

It is a very good rifle and while it cost more than some, it almost doesn’t fit in the package gun category. The combination of features for the money is very good. The design is modern and makes for a fast-handling and smooth-operating rifle.

I have owned several Ruger American Rifles in . 223, .308 and 7mm-08 calibers, as well as the fast-handling and fun 7.62x39mm. (The 7.62x39mm version accepts Ruger Mini 30 magazines.)

The rifle and scope combination offers good value, saving a few bucks on purchasing each separately—plus the matchup is bore-sighted.

This doesn’t mean it will be dead on the money at 100 yards, but, often enough, a package rifle is dead-on and sometimes it needs a bit of fine-tuning.

Ruger American 7mm 08
The Ruger American is a handsome and affordable rifle.

Features and Specs

The Ruger is a fast-handling rifle that weighs just a bit over six pounds. This makes the Ruger American well-suited for hunting medium game at modest range. It isn’t a burden on the shoulder. On the other hand, the rifle is plenty accurate to 200 yards or a bit beyond.

(In most cases, the 7.62x39mm rifle is more accurate than the average AK-47, but not as accurate as .308 rifles.) The three-lug bolt offers rapid uplift and scope clearance. The tang mounted safety is smooth and operates easily.

This isn’t a rifle that needs additional bedding from the factory. The synthetic stock is well-bedded using aluminum V-blocks. The rotary magazine has proven reliable in feeding factory loads and handloads as well.

The adjustable trigger is a modern type that allows for considerable adjustment. The lever set in the trigger prevents the trigger from being pressed by lateral discharge. Into this platform, Ruger has chambered a number of interesting cartridges.

Ruger American 7mm-08 - Recoil Pad and Stock Serrations
The recoil pad and stock serrations are good features.

Cartridge Options

Among the most useful cartridges I have tested in a Ruger American is the 7mm-08. The original or parent cartridge, the .308 Winchester, is among the most popular rifle cartridges of all time. The 7mm/.308, now known as the 7mm-08, was developed in 1958.

The wildcatters involved simply necked the .308 down to 7mm, or .284 inches. They formed a kind of short .270 Winchester. In 1980, the cartridge was introduced as the 7mm-08 Remington in a factory-loaded cartridge and factory rifle.

The result is a relatively light recoiling, high accuracy and flat shooting that makes the cartridge well-suited for deer-sized game. With a 20-degree shoulder, the 7mm-08 feeds well and offers real efficiency in any short-action rifle.

The 7mm-08 offers one of the best cartridges in a short-action, relatively light rifle.

Ruger American 7mm-08 Cartridge
The 7mm-08 is a well-balanced cartridge.

Bullet Considerations

There are plenty of good 7mm bullets. Among my favorites are the factory load Hornady 139-grain GMX, a solid copper bullet, and the 139-grain Hornady Interlok.

The Superformance loads are among the most effective and accurate loads for hunting thin-skinned game. In general, I find these bullets the most useful for my kind of shooting and hunting, which includes thin-skinned game inside of 200 yards.

Bullet weights of 120 to 150 grains are useful for different chores in the 7mm-08. If you are a careful handloader, the 7mm-08 has advantages.

The cartridge case is an efficient design, demonstrating good velocity for a modest powder charge compared to larger long-action-type cartridges. While the .270/.277 caliber has great appeal in long actions, the .284/7mm is also a great caliber.

When you are able to combine this kind of efficiency with a short-action rifle, you have a crackerjack loading.

Ruger American 7mm-08 - Hornady Manufacturing
Hornady Manufacturing offers a number of loads with excellent performance. The 7mm-08 is among many cartridges Hornady offers in a good spread of performance and bullet weights.

7mm-08 Performance

The 120-grain Hornady bullet may be jolted to 3,000 fps. This makes for a flat-shooting combination and would be a great choice for deer-sized game at longer range. The 7mm is available in bullet weights up to 190 grains.

The heavy bullets may seem best for the 7mm Magnum. In the 7mm-08, perhaps the heaviest all-around bullet might be the 154-grain Hornady. This bullet weight may be sent to 2,650 fps.

While this isn’t a screamer in velocity, it is comparable to .308 150-grain loads, but with less recoil and greater sectional density. While they don’t break 3,000 fps, the 139- and 140-grain bullets may be delivered at 2,800 fps.

That is solid velocity and, when coupled with modest recoil, offers excellent performance. I think that the great advantage of this cartridge is modest recoil for the power the shooter is able to harness.

Ruger American 7mm-08 - Hornady Ammo
Hornady ammunition, both the GMX and Interlock, have demonstrated excellent accuracy potential.

Conclusion

The 7mm-08 Remington just may be your new favorite cartridge if you give it shot… or more. As for accuracy in the Ruger American, the Hornady 139-grain Interlock loading has demonstrated groups of .9 to 1. 25 inch in my personal Ruger American rifle.

The Hornady GMX loading is slightly more accurate on average and very consistent. That is good enough to ride with.

What are your thoughts on 7mm-08 Remington rifles? Let us know in the comments below.

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 (5)

  1. I have a t/c dimension in 7mm-08, got it as a mountain/hiking rifle since it’s lighter than my 30-06. Sometimes we put in 15-20 miles a day and it’s generally not flat country. Last year I took a cow elk at 300 lasered yards using Federal with accubonds 140 grain. She dropped in her tracks with one shot. It’s becoming my go to rifle and it seems to handle any chore I give it. Don’t get me wrong I love my 06 and will always have one in my safe but my 7-08 is so responsive.

  2. Approximately a year and a half ago, I purchased a Ruger American in 7mm08 caliber from a store that was closing. It has a black composite stock and a stainless steel barrel and action. I put a Nikon 4×16 rifle scope on it and took it to the range. I was shocked when the rifle produced 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch groups immediately. Not just occasionally, but every time! It prefers 139 gr Hornady Whitetail ammo to everything else I tried in it. I own several Rugers and it is by far the most accurate of them all.

  3. I would love one of these rifles in 7mm-08 but i have already went in a different direction.I purchased a Savage Axis I in 6.5Creedmoor.Yes its an Axis I so no adjustable trigger but i do plan to put the barrel/action into a new chassis.Im thinking boyds AtOne thumb hole stock but if i can gather up the cash i may go with an MDT?What are your suggestion on a new chassis?Meanwhile ill be looking at a Ruger American since i already own a few Ruger firearms and think they are an awesome company and quality threw and threw!!!

  4. I am glad to see the 7mm-08 cartridge get a little love. I have a Remington Model 788 in this cartridge and it gets the job done very well. I have taken several antelope and deer over the years with no problems. My go to ammunition for this rifle is the Remington 140 grain core lokt rounds. I am very confident in this ammunition out to about 350 yards (whish has been my longest shot for taking game).
    Thanks for a great article on one of my favorite hunting rounds.
    Jason

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