Ruger American Gen II: Budget Bolt Action Refined

Zac K
by Zac K
Ruger American Gen II

How do you make a good thing better? In the case of the Ruger American Gen II, the manufacturer has taken its popular bolt-action hunting rifle and improved the ergonomics and usability while keeping the basic idea of the rifle unchanged. The Ruger American Gen II should fit a much wider range of shooters than the original thanks to changes to the stock. The rifle ships from the factory with a removable stock spacer that allows the length of pull to change from 13.75 inches all the way down to 12 inches.

Ruger @ TFB:

The Ruger American Gen II rifle, in Ranch configuration and chambered in 450 Bushmaster. This chambering is the only iteration currently in the lineup without a fluted barrel. (Ruger)

The stock also comes with a removable comb to help shooters with proper optics alignment. Ruger’s exact line is that this “improves sight alignment when using magnified optics but can be removed when utilizing low-mounted sights.” Hm. Ruger announced a Standard and Ranch version of the Gen II, and neither features iron sights, like that marketing blur implies. Perhaps some sort of scout or guide rifle based on this platform is forthcoming, similar to existing models already in the Ruger lineup?

A removable comb riser, a three-position safety and new Cerakote finish are major updates to the Ruger American platform. (Ruger)

A splatter paint finish makes the stock more grippy. The Standard Ruger American Gen II rifle comes with a blackish-colored stock, and the Ranch model has a tan stock. Along with these external changes, the Gen II stock was also given an internal overhaul, with cross webbing added to stiffen the furniture up. This addresses a complaint that some shooters had with the old first-gen American rifles.

That muzzle brake is standard equipment from the factory on both Standard models (seen here) and Ranch models. So is the Picatinny rail. (Ruger)

The changes go far beyond the stock. There’s also a new three-position safety. Ruger’s PR says this “maintains an intuitive ‘push forward to fire’ operation while delivering the crisp, clean break today’s consumers expect. Moving the safety all the way to the rear locks the bolt closed, ensuring the bolt will not lift inadvertently, while a center position allows the rifle to be loaded and unloaded with the safety engaged.” The proprietary Marksman trigger returns, adjusting in the 3-5 pound range. The three-lug bolt is CNC-machined from stainless steel, with a 70-degree throw. The bolt handle comes with an anodized round knob, but it’s threaded if the shooter prefers an aftermarket solution. A one-piece Picatinny scope base comes pre-mounted on the action.

The Ranch and Standard rifles both come with Cerakote finish on the receiver, bolt handle, muzzle brake and barrel. That brake is standard on all the Ruger American Gen II rifles currently available, and most of them also come with a fluted barrel. The barrel comes with 1/2″-28 thread at the muzzle; all Standard models come with a 20-inch barrel and all Ranch models come with a 16-inch barrel.

A wide range of calibers is available for Ranch and Standard models, with more to come in early 2024. (Ruger)

Depending on which rifle you buy, the magazine may be a traditional-style flush three-rounder or five-rounder, or follow the pattern of an AR-15 or Mini-30 mag. Ruger currently lists the Standard as available in 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Win, .308 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, 450 Bushmaster, .204 Ruger, .350 Legend and .223 Rem. Many more are listed as “Coming Q1 2024,” including such standard hunting rounds as .270 Win, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag.

The Ranch version is currently only listed in 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, 450 Bushmaster and 7.62×39, with more to come in early 2024.

Some Standard models come with extended magazines, depending on which cartridge your rifle is chambered in. (Ruger)

Check Prices on Ruger American Gen II Rifles

So what’s not to like? Without shooting the Ruger American Gen II, it would be silly to pick it apart, but it is worth noting that the MSRP on the Ranch and Standard version is $729 in the States. First-gen Americans have an MSRP of $599 for the Standard and $669 for the Ranch version. However, retail pricing may see the second-gen rifles priced more closely with their earlier counterparts, and many shooters will be happy to have the Gen II’s many improvements for the added money.

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Zac K
Zac K

Professional hoser with fudd-ish leanings.

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