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New rifle offers world of possibilities

New rifle offers world of possibilities

Those of you who have read my columns over the last 28 years know that when it comes to hunting, I a

Those of you who have read my columns over the last 28 years know that when it comes to hunting, I am always looking for something new and challenging to shoot.

Well, while reading an outdoors magazine just recently, I saw the new Ruger American Ranch rifle. Now I have a .308-caliber Ruger American that is my big-game rifle, but this one was offered in a caliber that I have been interested in for some time — the 300 ACC Blackout.

This bullet was developed by the Advanced Armament Corporation, and it was approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) on January 17, 2011. I assumed it was primarily an AR round but the more I read the more I knew I had to test it.

The Ranch

This rifle is a compact featuring a hammer forged black matte-finished 16.5-inch barrel with and factory-installed one-piece aluminum scope rail. It comes with a crisp release Ruger Marksman adjustable 3- to 5-pound trigger which adds to the shooter’s accuracy.

Also adding to its accuracy is Power Bedding integral bedding blocks that positively locate the receiver and ensures the barrel is free floating. The composite stock comes in a lightweight flat dark earth finished ergonomic designed and comes complete with a soft rubber recoil pad and swivel studs.

The Ruger Ranch comes with a flush-fitting five-round rotary magazine and is offered in .223 caliber. ($499) www.ruger.com.

Leupold

Since this gun has a 16.5-inch barrel, I wanted a compact scope and still stay with the Leupold brand, which I have on my other American.

Over the years of testing numerous rifles, I have found Leupold to be very reliable. I also like the satisfaction of their gold ring full lifetime guarantee: “If it doesn’t perform as promised, they will repair or replace it for free whether you are the original owner or not.”

My choice for the Ranch was the matte finished Leupold VX-HOG 1-4x20mm with a Pig Plex Reticle. This reticle allows you to gain target acquisition in a split second, which also makes it an excellent choice for the Adirondacks and other thick wooded hunting areas.

Features include lead-free lens with multi-coated four lens that allows up to 92 percent light transmission; which also adds to the shooter/hunter’s accuracy. The Hog is both water and shock resistant, has adjustable windage and elevation, is only 9.5 inches long and weighs just 8.10 ounces. I will also be using Leupold rings.

It is the perfect optic for this rifle and, what I plan to do with it. ($459) www.glock.us.

Hornady

For ammunition, I did a little researching and comparisons and settled on Hornady’s 300 Blackout 125 grain HP (hollow point) American Gunner. The ballistics of this bullet when leaving a 16 inch-barrel is 2,175 feet per second and produces 1,313-foot-pounds of energy.

Researching the Internet on energy needed to down a deer, I found a lot of references to “nothing less than 1,000 pounds” recommended, but I couldn’t find out who said it. My hunting mentor years ago told me that “any” bullet, when properly placed in the right vital area of a deer, will put venison in your freezer. Manufacturer Suggested Retail on a box of 50 is $65.84. www.hornady.com.

I am a bit anxious to take the Ranch to the range and see how it performs. My hunting plans right now, hopefully, will include a Fallow buck hunt at the Easton View Outfitters in Valley Forge. Pa., a Christmas gift to myself.

Then, while in Florida in March, I will be sneaking and peeking around a swamp with a West Shore Outfitters guide trying to see what this 300 Blackout will do to a Florida hog. These should be two good tests.

Have a great day tomorrow. Merry Christmas.

Reach Gazette outdoors columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected]

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