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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To start with I purchased a used Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 300BO. I got it to shoot MOA with little trouble, but I was thinking a little more speed might not be a bad thing for deer hunting. My local dealer had a 7.62x39 version in stock, so we did a trade. I next went looking for brass. It must now be made from Unobtanium, as I could not locate any brass except assorted range pickup. Finally a buddy came through with some RK head stamped brass. It looked to be fairly high quality, so I chamfered the flash holes, and resized it using a .308 expander ball. I had several powders that should work OK in the 7.62x39, but most were on the slow end velocity wise. While discussing this at the reloading shop the owner suggested Shooters World Blackout powder which he did have on hand was producing impressive velocity's. At this point I had a supply of Speer #2005 .308 130 grain HP bullets on hand to start out with. My end game plan was to install a low power reasonably high quality compact scope for the wife to use from her tower stand deer hunting with no shots over 200 yards offered. I did want to see just how well the Rifle/Cartridge combination would shoot however. With this goal in mind I installed an SWFA 20X Super Sniper scope that I had laying around in the shop to get a better handle on what the combination was capable of.
My plan was to try out the Shooters World Blackout first before moving on to 1680, LilGun, or CFE Black. Load data on the can was for a 123 grain bullet with a maximum charge being 28.0 grains. I decided that 26.0 should be a safe starting point with 130 grain .308 bullets. I assembled the loads using Federal Large Rifle Magnum Bench Rest Primers. The Blackout powder is a ball propellant, so Magnum Primers should work well to ignite it, plus cranking up velocity a little more than standard primers. I also loaded up additional loads moving up in 1/2 grain increments to 28.0 grains.
The afternoon that I got to the Range the temperature was 74 degrees with a pretty stiff wind. My starting load averaged 2472 fps. WOW I had not expected that much velocity from my starting load. I was hoping to get to 2450 fps with my top load. The Federal primers looked ok, but I decided to not go any higher with my powder charge. This was past my velocity expectations, and probably a maximum load in my rifle..
At this point I pulled bullets on the hotter loads and backed them off starting at 24.5 grains. The temperature was 72 degrees at an altitude of 1200 feet. The results were:
24.5 Grains: 2310 fps
25.0 Grains: 2362 fps
25.5 Grains: 2405 fps
26.0 Grains: 2472 fps at 74 degrees
SAFETY NOTE: The loads above looked to be safe in my Bolt Action Rifle. They may very well be too hot for a semi auto or in another bolt action rifle. As always when reloading start low and safe, and work up carefully.
It was now time for a Scope Zero and to shoot a group. Most reports on the Ruger American Ranch Rifle suggest that they will shoot around MOA with some doing a little better, and some a little worse. The trigger is another factor. Mine was a little stiff out of the box. A spring switch to a fairly stiff ball point pen spring cut to length along with backing the adjustment screw out between 1.5 - 2 threads got the trigger to pretty spectacular. Very impressive for a $500 rifle.
Back to sight in. I put up a large piece of card stock that comes on our pallets at the hardware store. They are probably 40 X 48 I would guess. Good size for sight in targets to be placed on. For a target I centered a Bright PINK Post It Note. It took 3 shots to hit the post it note. Another three to get pretty well centered in the stiff wind blowing down range. The first Four shots for group using a Harris Bipod went pretty well. The group was around .75. Shot 5 messed this up and went right over an inch. Not totally sure if it was wind or me torqueing the bipod. Shot six also went right and cut bullet hole 5. I quit for the day pretty happy with my results. It Will Shoot.
Back to the Range Monday morning with much less wind. I put up another 3" X 3" Post it Note. This time I had brought my old Wichita Rest. My plan was to shoot the best Three Shot Group that I could. Shot One felt good, the bullet hole was approximately 1/2 inch low and 1 inch right of center. The next two shots I held center and both also felt good. I was impressed with the group looking through the 20X scope. I was even more impressed when I measured the group. Outside to Outside was .624. Minus the .308 bullet diameter that is .316 Center to Center. WOW is all I can say. Fluke? The group before it put four into 3/4 inch, then cut bullet holes on the next two. This is way better than what I was expecting.
I am very happy with the velocity I am getting with Shooters World Blackout. I will be buying more of it. Probably today. My dealer had several cans last week.
I am very happy with the Trigger after very little work on it, and Zero Expense using a ball point pen spring. I will turn it back up a little before letting the wife hunt with it. It is very light at the moment.
The rifle shoots way better than expected. Honestly I would have been happy with an inch group for an extremely light weight deer rifle. This rifle is amazing.
I do have a couple rifles that will drive tacks, but I also have thousands of dollars in the rifles and scopes on them. A $500 rifle with a $300 scope that will shoot this well is very impressive.
I am sure that it will never shoot another group this small after I get the Leupold 2.5X compact hunting scope installed. But it is comforting to know that it will shoot.

I will next move the 20X Super Sniper Scope to my 5.56 Ruger American Ranch Rifle and start load development for it. I hope that it will shoot nearly as well as the 7.62x39 has.

I hope that you enjoyed the adventure.

Bob R
 

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Thanks for sharing all of your information on this rifle. I think that one important detail needs to be added to the load detail. With the 7.62 X 39 caliber I found that the bore diameter ranges rom .308-.312. Check with the manufacturer and find out which one it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TiggerLueb I believe the Bore is .310 on the Ruger American Ranch Rifle.
They seem to not have a preference between .308 or .311-.312 bullets on how well they shoot.
I have my Leupold 2.5X UltraLite scope in for it. I need to get it installed and move the 20X Super Sniper to my 5.56 Ruger American Ranch Rifle and start playing with it. Hopefully the weather will improve shortly.

Bob R
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
8 June 2021
I got around to installing the Leupold 2.5 X Compact Scope today on the 7.62x39 American Ranch Rifle.
Went to zero the scope, and I was using too small a piece of paper for my target. My target was a piece of tan poster paper 18" Wide X 48" tall with a Heavy Magic Marker line Vertical. I used a level to align the target so that the line was straight up and down. I then placed a Pink Post it Note on this Vertical Line as my aiming point.

I ended up shooting two rounds at a clay bird on the berm to see where it was shooting at 100 yards. This let me know the scope needed adjusted approximately 18" Right. I made an adjustment and got on paper 5" Low and 7" Left of Center. I dialed that correction in and fired Three shots. They were a little High and Right of the Post It Note. After this scope adjustment I put three on the Post It Note. Low and Left. I made a couple adjustments and this time the Elevation was good but it was a hair Right. I then dialed .25 Left in the scope.
All three Three Shot Groups were very close to the same size, just a hair over One Inch. Not bad at all for a 2.5X scope with Medium Heavy Cross Hairs. My load this time was a 130 grain Speer .308 HP over 25.0 grains of Shooters Work Blackout Ignited by a Federal Magnum Benchrest Primer. This is a 2362 FPS Loading from the 16" barrel.

I switched gears at this point. I managed to pick up another 2.5 - 10X Weaver Classic Extreme scope last week. I put this one on my CZ452 Varmint 22LR this morning. This one did not take much work at all to get zeroed. The first 5 rounds were strung vertical a little, right on my Magic Marker Line just under the post it note. Dialing in 2.75 UP Elevation and that did the trick.

Back to the 7.62x39 Ruger American Ranch Rifle. I went down Range to the 200 yard Steel Plate and repainted it White, and painted a Red Aiming Dot in the center of the plate. I did the same at 250 yards. I aimed at the Red Dot at 200 yards. The Three Shot Group looked to be in approximately a 2 Inch Group 6 Inches low straight under the Red Dot. I then switched to the 250 yard Plate. On this one I aimed at the top edge of the plate over the Dot. All three shots hit in the Red Dot which was centered 12 Inches below the top edge of the Plate. Pretty impressive, but I am SURE 250 yards using a Laser is the Maximum Range for Deer.

I mentioned working with the 5.56 Ruger American Ranch Rifle NEXT in a post above. That won't be happening. The local gun shop had a new in the box Howa 1500 Mini Action in 7.62x39 traded in on something. Love at first sight. I swapped the 5.56 Ruger and $70 for the Howa. I am now waiting on an EGW One Piece Picatinny Rail Scope Base ( 0 MOA) and Warne 30mm Rings to mount yet another Weaver 2.5 -10X Classic Extreme Scope on it. The Action is smooth, the trigger is pretty good out of the box, and the barrel is floated and not touching anywhere. I sure hope it is a shooter. This one is the Hunting Profile barrel and not the Varmint weight barrel.
 

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Big fan if these Ruger Rifles. I also have a 300 but not a 7.63/39. Have been tempted as I have brass and dies already.
I picked up a 450 or a song. Apparently story was too much recoil.
I also picked up a 350 as soon as Ruger released them.
ALL great shooters.

My 450 BM wears a M8 2 3/4x Leupold. Great scope. The 300 a 4-14 Weaver GS and the 350 a 3-12 Bushnell Banner II. (Wanted to try that reticule)

Good info on the Ruski!!! Respectable ballistics and "better" then the 300!

CW
 

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8 June 2021
I got around to installing the Leupold 2.5 X Compact Scope today on the 7.62x39 American Ranch Rifle.
Went to zero the scope, and I was using too small a piece of paper for my target. My target was a piece of tan poster paper 18" Wide X 48" tall with a Heavy Magic Marker line Vertical. I used a level to align the target so that the line was straight up and down. I then placed a Pink Post it Note on this Vertical Line as my aiming point.

I ended up shooting two rounds at a clay bird on the berm to see where it was shooting at 100 yards. This let me know the scope needed adjusted approximately 18" Right. I made an adjustment and got on paper 5" Low and 7" Left of Center. I dialed that correction in and fired Three shots. They were a little High and Right of the Post It Note. After this scope adjustment I put three on the Post It Note. Low and Left. I made a couple adjustments and this time the Elevation was good but it was a hair Right. I then dialed .25 Left in the scope.
All three Three Shot Groups were very close to the same size, just a hair over One Inch. Not bad at all for a 2.5X scope with Medium Heavy Cross Hairs. My load this time was a 130 grain Speer .308 HP over 25.0 grains of Shooters Work Blackout Ignited by a Federal Magnum Benchrest Primer. This is a 2362 FPS Loading from the 16" barrel.

I switched gears at this point. I managed to pick up another 2.5 - 10X Weaver Classic Extreme scope last week. I put this one on my CZ452 Varmint 22LR this morning. This one did not take much work at all. The first 5 rounds were strung vertical a little right on my Magic Marker Line just under the post it note. Dialing in 2.75 UP Elevation and that did the trick.
Back to the 7.62x39 Ruger American Ranch Rifle. I went down Range to the 200 yard Steel Plate and repainted it White, and painted a Red Aiming Dot in the center. I did the same at 250 yards. I aimed at the Red Dot at 200 yards. The Three Shot Group looked to be in approximately a 2 Inch Group 6 Inches low straight under the Red Dot. I then switched to the 250 yard Plate. On this one I aimed at the top edge of the plate over the Dot. All three shots hit in the Red Dot which was centered 12 Inches below the top edge of the Plate. Pretty impressive, but I am SURE 250 yards using a Laser is the Maximum Range for Deer.

I mentioned working with the 5.56 Ruger American Ranch Rifle NEXT in a post above. That won't be happening. The local gun shop had a new in the box Howa 1500 Mini Action in 7.62x39 traded in on something. Love at first sight. I swapped the 5.56 Ruger and $70 for the Howa. I am now waiting on an EGW One Piece Picatinny Rail Scope Base ( 0 MOA) and Warne 30mm Rings to mount yet another Weaver 2.5 -10X Classic Extreme Scope on it. The Action is smooth, the trigger is pretty good out of the box, and the barrel is floated and not touching anywhere. I sure hope it is a shooter. This one is the Hunting Profile barrel and not the Varmint weight barrel.
It is a true destiny that you were in the right place at the right time and scooped up the Howa. A friend set his teenage son up with one of them to deer hunt with. He has regretted doing so, the gun is easily one the best sub-200 yard guns that he has had. His son has said a number of times, "dad this is my rifle isn't it?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Destiny or Blind Luck ??
I doubt that I could have found a NEW IN THE BOX 7.62x39 Howa Mini Action for sale any time soon if searching for one. This one is the first one that I have seen in person. They are not plentiful in my area from what I can tell.
Warne Rings and EGW Base came in the mail yesterday. I need to get it put together. The 2.5 - 10X Weaver Extreme Classic scope that I have to put on this rifle has the Classic Duplex Reticle. The one that I mounted on the CZ 452 was the German Reticle with Three Heavy outboard crosshairs. I really like this scope. I have Five of the 2.5-10X scopes. The other three are mounted on Encore Pistol Barrels. I have a Sixth but in 8-32X on my Encore 223 pistol barrel. I run the pistol scopes on the lowest power setting to maximize the eye relief. On 2.5X I can get off the scope about like it was a Scout Scope. About perfect for shooting off sand bags from a stand.

I am sure hoping the Howa shoots nearly as well as the Ruger. I originally figured the wife would use the American Ranch Rifle to deer hunt from a Tower Stand. I think she will like the Howa even better. The longer barrel will be a lot quieter to shoot. The 16" barrel on the Ranch Rifle is pretty loud.
I need to do a little more loading before hitting the Range again.

Bob R
 

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I have a Howa Mini in Grendel and its also a tack driver easily shooting under MOA.
My best loads are just over 1" @ 200 yards.
CW
 
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