Thursday, 24 September 2015

Ruger American Rimfire 17HMR Compact

The minister for war and finance doesn't generally allow me to buy new scopes when I pick up a new rifle, but sometimes its best to not ask when you already know what the answer is going to be. I have used the old "It's easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission" in the past, and lets just say that it's not true in my household anymore.

For me, new toys mean re-configuring and swapping scopes around from rifle to rifle. But, I do get new toys. Everyone likes new toys!  

I recently removed the Leupold Mark 4 from the American Rimfire so I could fit it to my newest toy, the Ruger American Ranch 300AAC. I had to put something on the rimfire to replace it and take it to the range and zero. That means more range time. Everyone likes range time!

I fitted the trusty old Japanese made Bushnell onto the Ruger American Rimfire 17HMR. This scope looks very well worn, well, because it is. It has great glass and its very bright. I bought it second hand from my local for $80 bucks.  I wish I had another three of them!

Previously, I had only taken this rifle to the range once on a very windy day. On that particular day, the groups were ordinary due to the erratic wind gusts.

I started by bore sighting the rifle. First shot at 100 metres hit paper, that's always a good start. I continued to fire 2 more shots and I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw a really nice small group. I adjusted the scope and put another 3 downrange. Another tiny group. Some more adjustments were made until it was spot on the money. Both small groups were exactly the same size. I knew the rifle was good and the Hornady 17gr V-Max is quality ammo, but I wasn't expecting to see groups under .5 MOA. Both measured to be .420 MOA.

Id like to test some more ammunition types, specifically the CCI and Federal Premium brands. I do have some Winchester that is loaded with the 17gr V-Max projectiles that I am yet to test.

First group, camera angle does it no justice.

Second Group - Yes, .420 MOA from a rifle that retails for $475

Some more about the rifle itself. Its a fairly basic rifle bedded into the plastic stock in what Ruger call 'power blocks'.  Its a fancy name for metal "V" blocks that the action is mated to. After my first trip to the range, I disassembled the rifle and boy, did I find some factory oil between the action, bedding blocks and the stock.  Having oil in between the mating surfaces will definitely cause accuracy to suffer. Keep this in mind next time you feel like bathing your rifles in CLP! Needless to say, I de-greased these surfaces and re-assembled the rifle. The action screws were way too loose from the factory. I tightened them up to 60 in/lbf. Aesthetically, it looks like just another rifle in a plastic stock however the bluing on mine is very deep and it looks superb.
 Its compact alright, short butt, 18" barrel
Picture stolen from Nioa (Hi Rob!)

The trigger is quite nice, it has a better feel to it than most budget rifles. Its definitely on a par with the savage accutrigger and functions in the same manner. Mine has a light pull right from the get go and I have no need to adjust it at all. My precision trigger measuring tool called my finger reckons it's around 4lb. That's a pretty good weight for a sporting rifle.

The Ruger rotary box magazines are by far the best designed magazines I have ever used. It's easy to load and feeds the rounds beautifully. I remember using one in the first rifle I ever fired, my father's 10/22. The magazine capacity is 9 rounds and it's the same magazine as used in the 22WMR versions. I prefer to not call the rifle 9 + 1 because I never have a live round in the chamber until I am ready to shoot. I never, ever rely on a mechanical safety. The best safety is the one located between your ears, however the safety catch is on the tang and it's easy to use if you are into that kind of thing.

I didn't mount my scope using the dovetail, instead I purchased some #12 weaver bases. Ruger, you are a bunch of bloody tight arses, you should be supplying these with the rifle. Savage do it with their rimfires, you should too!
I do wish there was a rubber butt plate on the rifle, it just feels wrong having a plastic stock resting on the concrete when you rack your rifle during a cease fire. I don't mind taking a square of carpet to the range to protect the metal butt plates of my pristine muzzle loaders, but this is a day to day rifle. Maybe I'm expecting too much for my money!
I think I will end up fabricating my own rubber butt plate and fitting it should be easy. The butt plate & comb assembly are designed to be removed from the stock by unscrewing the sling swivel. Its an innovative design.  Ruger supplies two of them, one standard height that is flush with the rest of the stock for use with the standard open sights and the second has a raised comb for use with a scope.

I really look forward to taking it out to my farm as it will be one of my main go-to rifles to destroy small vermin. This rifle will be perfect for taking feral cats, one of the things I enjoy shooting the most. I get great satisfaction knowing that there is one less bastard of a killing machine out there destroying the precious native birds, reptiles and marsupials that we all wish to see prosper.  This is true conservation. I know this rifle is good enough to take foxes as well. Ive shot plenty of those stinking things dead with a single round from a .22lr.  Its all about shot placement.

So now the only rifle I have that doesn't have a scope is my Parker Hale 7.62 NATO. (Yes it has a NATO chamber) Maybe a 6-18x44 Redfield Battlezone would be a good choice. I'd love to do a long term review on one of those (hint hint Rob Nioa! < It probably wont happen but its nice to dream).

The next rifle I'll ramble on about will be the Ruger American Ranch 300AAC Blackout. I need to assemble a load that works first. Anyone feel like donating some factory ammo for the test? 

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