I’m certain that when most of our readers hear the words “rifle” and “7.62x39” in the same sentence they immediately envision one of the most familiar rifles in history – the Avtomat Kalashnikova, better known as the AK47. Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the post WWII years, the AK47, and its improved version the AKM, became symbols of Soviet power and the bane of the seemingly never-ending guerilla wars that have plagued our planet ever since.
But this article is not about the AK47…
Thirty years ago Sturm, Ruger & Company introduced their popular semiauto Mini-14 rifle chambered for the 7.62mm patron obr.1943g or, as it is better known in western nations, the 7.62x39 Soviet. This was a wise marketing decision because at the time, the US market was being flooded with inexpensive, semiauto SKS carbines and AKM type rifles and Ruger had no intention of letting them “durn furren rifles” cut into their market share.
While Ruger’s Model 77 bolt-action rifle has been one of the company’s bread and butter products since its introduction in the late 1960s, with changing markets the company decided that a simpler to produce, and less expensive rifle was needed in their bolt-action line. In 2012 the public was introduced to the Ruger American Rifle.
The Model 77’s investment case receiver was replaced with one machined from 4140 chrome-moly bar stock which was paired with a cold-hammer-forged barrel, and both finished with an environmentally resistant matte-black oxide finish. The two units are joined by a barrel nut which is so well fitted as to go almost unnoticed. At the muzzle end the barrel has an external thread with a protective sleeve which can be unscrewed to facilitate the attachment of suppressors or other accessories.
A one-piece aluminium rail is standard, permitting the mounting of a variety of optical sights.
The American Rifle features Ruger’s new bedding system that replaces the recoil lug. Two sets of slots are machined into the underside of the receiver in front of and behind the ejection port, matching cast stainless steel V-blocks set into the molded stock (meaning the V-blocks cannot move). Two Allen-head screws secure the action to the blocks, capturing the stock in the process. The result is a steel-on-steel-on-steel system which, unlike plastic or wood, is immune to crushing. A three-lug bolt provides a shorter 70° bolt lift, while dual-cocking cams insure smooth manipulation when working the bolt with the rifle shouldered.
Read the full article in the March 2018 issue of Magnum.