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May 17 2019

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1,000 Yards from a $500 Rifle–Ruger’s American Predator

Editor’s note: We’ve reviewed the American Rifle before. For more information on the series of rifles, check out these write-ups. American Rifle Compact Review. Or this one on the original American Rifle.

I really despise gun writers that have no problem selling their soul to whatever company sends them a gun or product to review. I will not ever be that guy. With that being said go ahead and get prepared for a review of the Ruger American Rifle Predator edition that will make it sound like my soul was bought and paid for.

When I began this review, Ruger had asked me what caliber I wanted the Predator in and I almost went with .308, but a friend suggested that I give 6.5 Creedmoor a chance. I am glad I chose the 6.5. I’ve now fallen in love with the cartridge and the reason will become more clear the article progresses.

When I unboxed the Predator, I found a skinny little tapered barrel, a light composite stock, and a surprisingly smooth action. I say surprising because there was really nothing remarkable about the rifle other than the action. Admittedly, I did not have high expectations for the predator. It is a deceptively modest gun.

The American Rifle is known for its modest appearance and solid performance.

Stock: Moss Green Composite
Capacity: 4
Material: Alloy Steel
Finish: Matte Black
Barrel Length: 22.00″
Overall Length: 42.00″
Thread Pattern: 5/8″-24
Weight: 6.62 lbs.
Twist: 1:8″ RH
Grooves: 6
Length of Pull: 13.75″
Sights: None-Scope Rail Installed
Suggested Retail: $499.00

A few features make the Ruger American Rifle Predator an exceptional rifle. Likely the most important in terms of accuracy is the tapered cold hammer forged barrel. The process allows for precise rifling, which aids accuracy. The barrel on the predator also comes threaded for a suppressor. The 6.5 Creedmoor is threaded at 5/8”-24.

There’s nothing pretentious about this gun. That doesn’t limit its capabilities.

The barrel is also free floated using Ruger’s Power Bedding that positively locates the receiver, thus increasing accuracy. As with other variations of the American Rifle, the Predator uses the Ruger rotary magazine for smooth feeding and a flush fit to the stock.

The stock is ergonomic and lightweight. That flimsy feeling that I noticed at unboxing had no noticeable negative effect during my time shooting the predator. The stock, weight and ergonomic design aids in the overall design of the rifle making it comfortable to shoulder for long periods of time in various shooting positions.

To add a little awesomeness to the rifle that comes threaded for a suppressor, I attached a Harvester from Silencerco. The Harvester is a very impressive suppressor as it manages to be an affordable, lightweight, and effective.

I had a Leopold Mark AR optic in on T&E–an optic designed for a completely different platform; despite that, I mounted it on the Predator and zeroed at 100 yards.

100 yards, top group is one 4 shot group from bipod. Bottom group is 2 shot group after sight adjustment.

I was immediately getting sub MOA groups and quickly had the rifle dialed in. While the groups were better than I expected, what impressed me the most was the trigger. The Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger is a fine trigger that feels much better than one would expect in a rifle in this price range.

On The Range

I had about 500 yards to play with, and a series of 5” plates hanging at the base of the berm. I had about 30 rounds of Hornady left, so I decided to get the barrel hot and see if would retain its accuracy. At 300 yards, I began whacking plates. I manipulated the bolt and transitioning to another plate. About 20 rounds later, the gun still couldn’t miss, so I backed up to 500 yards and got the same results with my last 10 rounds.

A few days later I taught a long range hunting class and let eight different shooters put rounds through the Predator at 400 yards. Everyone remarked how light and how soft shooting the rifle was. Some of the shooters had some very expensive rifles and scopes at the class. One such student remarked that he paid a couple thousand dollars to get his rifle to be able to do what the Predator was doing out of the box.

My hope for this article was to keep the rifle, optic, and bipod all under $1,000 and be able to consistently hit at 1,000 yards. I was able to keep the cost of the entire set up under $900. After the long range hunting class, my confidence was high that the Predator would allow consistent thousand yard hits, but I wasn’t able to test it until a few months later.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an excellent choice for predators.

Stretching out

We joined some friends for some fun on Independence Day, a fitting day to be testing the American Rifle. There were a few children and several adults out for our shoot. I brought the Predator and a Primary Weapons Systems MK3 chambered in 300 WinMag (wearing a Vortex Razor HD). The line also included a decked out Remington 700 in .308 and a Winchester Model 70 also in .330 WinMag–a gun that kicked like a mule.

After the guns were confirmed, everyone took turns shooting each others’ guns. Everyone loved shooting the $10,000 rifle/scope combo of the PWS MK3, but the predator was the easy favorite among the kids and the ladies.

Finally, we took a long walk to a location where we could get a 1000-yard shot. The range was built on a recently harvested wheat field, and had steel targets ranging in size and distance from 200 yards to 1,000 yards. Fortunately the Kansas wind was taking a break for the holiday and we only had a 5 MPH full value wind blowing from right to left. I plugged some data into an iPhone app, put the data on the gun and pressed the first shot at 1,000 yards. There were a few adjustments made, but after the Predator was dialed in. It could not miss the 3’x3’ plate at 1,000 yards.

The Ruger American Rifle Predator can be purchased for under $500. Paired with a quality optic for around the same price, one can expect to have a superb hunting or target rifle. I actually intend to get an optic with a little more reticle in it to mount on the predator and take it to a long-range match. I am sure it will get some funny looks until the participants see the rifle’s capabilities.

The Ruger American Rifle should appeal to anyone who wants an affordable and extremely accurate rifle for hunting or fun at the range. Pair it with a good suppressor such as the Harvester and you get a fun soft shooting rifle that can deliver a high level of accuracy from 0 to 1,000 yards.

Odds are the doe never heard that shot.

And a side note:

A friend who needed a rifle for a deer hunt conducted the final test for the Predator. Her first hunt ever, she carried the rifle to her stand, sat quietly until the buck walked into view, raised the Predator, and took her first deer. I imagine the Predator would be a suitable rifle for many young men and women to use on their first hunts and many more thereafter.

The Ruger American rifle Predator holding its own in some tough company. Foreground is PWS MK3 with Vortex Razor HD.

The American Rifle and the Leupold Mark AR are a solid match.

Rifle, scope, and bipod for under $900? Not bad.

The Harvester, from Silencerco, doesn’t make the rocket fast 6.5 round completely quiet, but it takes some of the bite off.

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