Ruger American Youth Compact 7mm-08
A good friend of mine has a 10 year old daughter that successfully drew a youth hunt cow elk tag in AZ. Since my 9 year old Kasilof nephew took a nice 63" bull moose September 2011 with a youth Weatherby in AK we thought that caliber would be just fine for her down here.
My buddy found a great deal, $320.00 on a new youth compact Ruger American. The reach is reduced to 12.5" and the barrel is 18". This makes a nice easy handling light rifle for a child. He picked up a Red Field 4.5-12X40mm scope for it, $220.00.
He mounted the scope and they went to the range with a box of Winchester Silver Tip 140gr. He seemed to be happy with the rifle and she was hitting the steel plates at 100 & 200 yards with consistency.
I've been wanting to play with one of these entry level low cost import buster Ruger rifles. Actually it is quite nice. The V-Block bedding system is interesting. I adjusted the trigger down to 3.5 pounds measured, it was nearly 5 as delivered. After verifying the reticle was level I measured the zero jump COAL length with Accubonds and one of her fired pieces of brass. This length was 0.037 longer than the rotary magazine.
We put together some test loads at .050, .075, .100 & .125 off the lands. This allows the cartridges to feed from the magazine. We choose H-414, Chuck will be loading the finished recipe in the future with his recently acquired reloading kit.
Since I hadn't shot this rifle before I sent two into the center diamond then made a scope adjustment and sent the third dead center. This fouling load was left over ammo from my nephews Weatherby load.
Top Left #1 -0.050 off
Top Right #2 -0.750 off
Bottom Left #3 -.100 off
Bottom Right #4 -.125 off
All charges are identical, only seating depths are different. Number one and four grouped well but 2 and 3 had single digit ES. In reality, all groups are 1 moa or less, not bad from a child's low cost rifle system. As the bullets were seated deeper velocity went up and the groups raised point of impact versus point of aim. I will bump the charge .5gr and test all seating depths again next weekend. If one stands out I will tweak that one the following weekend.
I think it's quite nice that today's modern low cost rifles shoot so well with minimum effort and affordable optics.
Interesting side note. The guy shooting to my right was using a Pro Chrony, I had a cheap Alpha Master. He had error after error after error. I tried to assist but he wasn't having any of it. Not sure what he was doing wrong. My guess is shooting off center. He had an ultra high power optic which makes it difficult to see the sky shield rods to assist with alignment. I had an error free morning and zero wind thanks to the 15' wall to the right and a 7:00am range time.
I am pretty impressed with those Ruger Americans as well. 7mm-08 is a great caliber. I wish that young lady good luck on her elk hunt!
I have one in .308, and it shoots reasonably well, when the barrel is allowed to cool after a couple shots. One problem I have with it (as beartooth reported in his comparison with the XL7) is that the American's wimpy forearm can contact the whippy barrel, potentially throwing off shots. Secondly, the plastic forearm on my .308 is beginning to bulge around the front V-bed, though the screw has never been over-tightened. When I contacted Ruger about this, they blew me off saying that there are no problems with this model. BS.
After some experience with the American as a knock around truck gun, I bought the XL7 in 30.06 for my tweenage son and have found it to be superior to the American in many ways, though I don't care for the safety nor the blind magazine on the Marlin.
Sounds a bit strange. Hard to imagine the bedding block area bulging at the screw location without any additional tightening of the screw. I suppose anything is possible.
Originally Posted by sayak
I agree that the stock is less ridged than some but who pushes up on rifle stocks when they shoot. The rifle is light enough that resting under it's own weight on a bag, bi-pod or rest won't cause contact with the barrel.
The youth model that I'm testing has the short 18" barrel as opposed to the so called "whippy" 22" on the standard American model. The barrels on these rifles are hammer forged which is generally considered quite rigid. I would be interested in seeing a high speed video of the barrel at the moment of the shot. I'm betting it's less "whippy" than some claim.
Regardless, this little rifle shot remarkably well with the first test of hand loads. I have already prepped three variations for test two and look forward to those results. Hoping to shoot tomorrow if all goes as planned...
You can easily flex the whole forearm when you have the rifle resting on a bipod (try it). Does the stock actually touch the barrel? I do not know if it does on mine, but beartooth said he had a helper witness that the one he tested did. As to the whippy barrel; regardless of forging, they are what they are, but I imagine the shorter barrel would be less prone to whippiness. Mine will begin to throw fliers after 3 or 4 shots when it heats up.
Originally Posted by marshall
Yeah, the bulge bothers me. I have put 500+ rounds through this rifle and never touched the front screw until I noticed the bulge. Then I tested to see if it had been overtightened. It had not. I think a lot of stress falls on that screw, and the stock is not that beefy in spite of the V-blocks. I believe it is over stressing that area around the V-block causing the plastic to do that. I have never seen a stock do that before, but I bet I am not the only one who has had this happen. It doesn't seem to affect accuracy.
I believe that the American is a decent rifle for its price and you made a good purchase for your friend's niece. The American has some features not found on other rifles of its class, and I would probably buy one again. But it is what it is, and there are always trade-offs to weight, price, etc.
I took it apart last night and gave it a good look over after your V-Block comment about the bulging stock. The steel V-Blocks are molded into the plastic. The action screws make contact on the screw head side of the block and the block contacts the action. Regardless of how tight the screws are tightend there is no way to bulge the stock. The screws just clamp the blocks against the action and the stock is along for the ride.
In other words, you could not have over tightened your screws and caused the bulge. Is there any chance you left the rifle in a vehicle with closed windows in direct sun light causing high temps?
I'm thinking perhaps heat caused your bulge issue. If not maybe the recoil of the higher power 30-06 applied pressure to the blocks distorting the stock.
I agree the stock can be flexed. A simple fix would be to lay a little epoxy along the ribs in the fore-end in front of and behind the front sling pivot stud to aid in strength. A small amount wouldn't add much weight and it would improve the rigidity of the fore-end.
I done playing with this 7mm-08, it's good enough. I made a few charge adjustments to 3 of the 4 recipes in the first test. As weird as it may seem they impacted the target at virtually the exact same place as test one only the groups opened about a 1/4 moa across the board.
Recipe 4 printed in about the same place as it did in test one but this one was loaded to Nosler's max load charge. The velocity is a bit slower than published but easily explained in the shorter barrel. Nosler's test data used a 26" barrel, this American has an 18" barrel. In this example the 8" shorter barrel only lost 69fps or 8.6fps per inch.
Next week I will shoot this load in another Ruger Youth American 7mm-08 that a friend of my friend, stranger to me, purchased for his wife. It will be interesting to see how the chamber specs, bolt face to lands/ogive contact compare. It will also be an interesting test to see if both rifles accept the same load equally as well.
The finished recipe:
Nosler Brass trimmed to 2.025"
Nosler 140gr Accubond
Hodgdon H-414 @ 46.0gr
COAL 2.772" / -0.125 off the land in this rifle.
Measured velocity is 2759fps with an ES of 3fps within the small three shot sample. The ES was 9 within the sample at this length in test one. The rifle is responding well to this seating depth with this component combination.
In closing, this is a pretty good shooting entry level competitive priced rifle. Considering the rifle was acquired for $320.00 and the scope was acquired for only $220.00 and the fact that it is shooting all groups tested at 1 moa or better I think it's a good value for the guy looking to add an affordable rifle to his collection.
No, the only heat this rifle has ever experienced is from shooting, and I've been darn careful to not do that!
Originally Posted by marshall
Actually I have the .308, not the '.06, so not a lot different than you are shooting. The bulging is a mystery. I try to not let it bother me.
I did a lot of research about strengthening the forearm with rods, epoxies, aluminum I-beams, glass, etc. but decided that it wouldn't be worth the effort. I now pillow it under the action and don't use a bipod anymore.
I believe you have a good rifle and have done a good job developing its potential. As they say. "Your milage may vary.".