The annual Shot Show event in Las Vegas is something I look forward to every year. This year in particular for me was more exciting than the past because I was in the market for a for a new elk hunting rifle. If everything goes as planned I will be in Colorado elk hunting in November.
As many of you may know from reading our past articles, we shoot a lot of Ruger firearms to include Ruger Precision rifles, The Ruger Security 9mm handgun and the Ruger American Rifles. I am a big fan of them all. I am especially fond of the Ruger American Rifle and in fact own two of them. I have one in 6.5 Creedmoor and the other in 204 Ruger.
When the doors opened for Shot Show I made a beeline to the Ruger booth to take a look at what they had to offer. Upon arrival I located just what I was looking for, a Ruger American in 300 Win Mag. If you have held a Ruger American rifle before you know they just feel good in your hands. Not only do they feel good in your hands they sure do feel good on your wallet when you find out they are very affordable. This leaves me more money to spend on my optic. The Ruger American is known for being a good, solid rifle without a lot of frills, which kind of describes me. My goal was to get a good solid rifle without breaking the bank and that is exactly what I did. I did, however, buy my rifle with the Go Wild Camo option. To be honest with you, I wasn’t going to buy the Go Wild Camo option because it was a little too “WILD” for me but my boss, John Russo, convinced me to go with it. He is a thrills and frills kinda guy and if you look at the article he wrote about his Dodge Ram you will know what I am talking about!
The camo version is the Go Wild Camo I-M Brush Synthetic, which features a synthetic stock, a bronze cerakote 24” threaded barrel and is equipped with a factory installed muzzle brake. I have shot a .300 Win Mag for years and can tell you it can get uncomfortable to shoot after a while. The muzzle brake is a welcomed addition. So I placed my order for the rifle as well as the optic I wanted. Remember, I said I would have extra money to spend on an optic. Well, I choose to mount the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15X44 CDS-ZL2 Matte-30mm with a wind-plex reticle on my new rifle. This is an incredible optic and another great value for the money spent.
It seemed like an eternity for my rifle, optic, mounts, and lens cover to come in. But once it did I was off to the range. I mounted the optic and began zeroing the gun in. For my ammo I chose to use the Hornady 200 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter. The gun shot flawlessly and I sure was happy and that I listened to John and ordered the Wild Camo option with the muzzle brake. The Leupold VX-5 clarity was amazing and the Custom Dial System Zero Lock is a welcome addition. I zeroed the gun in at 200 yards and then I went to the Leupold website and entered my information, muzzle velocity, average elevation, average temperature, sight height and zero distance. It was that easy. I don’t remember how long exactly it took to get my dial system in but I know it was quick. Maybe a week.
For the last 6 years the Guninpho crew has been hosting a shooting event at the Spur Ranch in Encampment Wyoming. The Spur has a spectacular handgun range and a rifle range that reaches out 2640 yards. This was a great opportunity for me to truly sight in my new rifle and optic equipped with the CDS dial system. An addition that I made to the VX-5 was that I added a Switchview Throw Lever from Switchview USA. Once you put one of these throw levers on your optic you will want one on all your guns. It is so easy to reach up and grab the throw lever and dial in the magnification you want without having to come off target and look for the dial.
I started the sight in process at 200 yards because that is where I had set zero and requested the CDS dial to be set at. I put the CDS dial at 200 yards and sent it. I was slightly off center. I made a couple slight adjustments and had it zeroed in. I moved my way up to 300, then 400 and then I stretched it out to 600 yards and called it a day. It was time to switch to the 204 and go shoot some prairie dogs plus I wanted to come back first thing in the morning and take a cold shot.
The next morning I took my first shot at 600 yards and was on target. I then dialed the CDS up to 800 and once again it was on target. I took it up to 1000 yards and missed slightly right. I made a wind adjustment and was on target. Talk about an amazing system. It’s almost like cheating.
The Ruger American Rifle shot great. The rifle is well balanced and with the muzzle brake and soft rubber butt pad it sucked up the recoil very well. The trigger was crisp and I didn’t feel the need to make and adjustment to it. The detachable box magazine worked perfectly and was easy to insert and remove. I shot plenty of rounds through the gun and the barrel held up nicely. My concern was the barrel overheating. It was a hot day and I could put around 10 rounds through it before it started to change the zero.
If you are in the market for a quality built hunting rifle which is budget priced but not budget built, then you should definitely check out the Ruger American Rifle.
If I am fortunate enough to come across an elk in November I will share my performance results from my trip and complete a write-up on the Ruger American .300 Win Mag, the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15X44, and the devastation that I am expecting from the Hornady 200 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter. Stay tuned and God Bless.