Ruger 'Go Wild' Camo American Rifle

Proof Even 'Girls' Can Use A .300 WM...
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Ruger’s “GO Wild” camo stock on their latest rendition of the American Rifle series goes well
with the bronze Cerakote metal finish. It’s a handsome rifle at any level.

Yeah, I said it. Even “girls” can use a .300 WM — and so can senior “boys,” other shooters in general, youngsters and anyone else who hates to be beat-up by big boomers. The secret in this case is a smart rifle design, a superb muzzle brake and a dose of Hornady’s “Custom Lite” reduced-recoil ammo. More on all this later.

Since it was first announced, Ruger’s American Rifle has continued to cause their competition to keep eyebrows raised wondering what was going to happen next. With each new iteration, the platform gets new calibers, clever new features, more versatility and sometimes even fancy new colors.

A few years ago I shot one of the very first American Rifles out of the factory at FTW Ranch in Texas. Chambered in .30-06, the 12 rifles we had all shot sub-MOA and 3″ 300-yard groups were almost easy — all this with a dead-stock $375 street-price rifle. We all kept scratching our collective balding pates wondering how this could be. It turns out it’s because of some innovative bedding engineering, a great trigger, good barrels and attention to details. Imagine that!

Suzi Huntington’s nice elk using this very test rifle. She found the recoil and weight/ergonomics
of the Ruger to be very friendly and easy to tote at 10,000 feet!

Let’s Go Wild

The legacy continues with this handsome version decorated-up with Bronze Cerakote and the “GO Wild” camo. They call it “GO Wild” but I think it means like, um, “Going wild in the woods” — like “Be a wild animal” maybe? I think so because the pattern itself is muted and easy on the eyes — it’s not really wild and crazy. I like it, and I normally avoid camo because much of it screams “Camo!” which I believe qualifies as an oxymoron if there ever was one. “Hey, check out this camo here!” See? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

The rifle has a few features and benefits pushing the practical meter into the green happy zone. A comfy stock, soft, cushy recoil pad, a terrific trigger — Ruger calls it their “Marksman” trigger — a short, 70-degree bolt throw, a safety in the perfect spot on the tang and a magazine extended just enough you can actually grab it easily spells great-thinking on Ruger’s part. Also, the rifle’s stock is a lightweight synthetic blending, a classic look with modern “finger grippy areas.” It feels great.

The bolt deserves a closer look too. It’s a full-diameter bolt, not full of cut-outs and such, so it’s strong, stiff and runs smoothly in the “round” receiver innards. It’s also got dual cocking cams, making it easier to run the bolt while the rifle is at the shoulder. The patented “Power Bedding Block” system I hinted at positively locates the receiver each time it’s installed, allowing the barrel to free-float. We may be giving away secrets here?


The separate box magazine’s design allows a good grip to place or change it
and makes clearing the rifle easier than a blind floor plate design.

Hornady’s line of “Custom Lite” loads for common calibers helps soften the blow for recoil-sensitive shooters.
It turned the fire-breathing .300 WM into an accurate, friendly hunting companion.

Right to Left: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win., .30-06, .300WM “Lite” load and .375 H&H. Using .300 WM
light loads, you can turn this brute into a versatile .308/.30-06-performance companion.

Accurate — And Loud

The barrel is actually cold hammer-forged, not some cheap “bulk-rifled” $10 job. This is why accuracy isn’t just “adequate” — it’s excellent. Our test rifle, using low-recoil Hornady ammo, consistently shot 1″ or less at 100 yards. The muzzle brake did its job on recoil. Don’t shoot this without hearing protection though, and I don’t care what you think about, “Oh, it’s only one shot while hunting.” One shot will blast your ears into the dead-zone, as it were, and if you have to shoot a time or two more in a row, you may as well start learning to say, “Huh? What’d you say?” A good brake is a give-and-take thing. I wear ear-pro when I hunt so don’t mind a brake at all.

The bolt-action rifle comes with a factory installed Picatinny rail and without irons of any sort. This is a rifle you’d scope so the omission isn’t a problem. The gun weighs 7 lbs., bare naked, has a 24″ barrel and a “fit anybody” 13.75″ length of pull — more smart thinking.

While it can easily handle standard .300 Win. Mag ammo, loading down or finding something like the limited-run Hornady reduced recoil stuff really takes the sting out while still delivering plenty of performance. In our case, it chronos at around the 2,800 fps with Hornady’s classic 150-gr. SST bullet.

Wife Suzi (the “girl” in the title who gave me permission to say as much) took a huge Elk at about 280 yards just fine. She commented several times about how comfortable the rifle shot. “It feels more like my .308 Remington Police rifle than a brute of a .300 WM.” The horse’s mouth, as it were.

At an MSRP of $629, buy one, shoot it, carry it, use it, enjoy it. Heck, take it to Africa someday too! It’s as close to a do-all rifle as I can imagine.

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