Ruger American Ranch in 7.62x39

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Bob R

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
339
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. 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. 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. Great for sight in. 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 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 to 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.
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
 

recumbent

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
945
Nice write up. My American predator in 223 really like the Sierra 77 gr match kings.
 

The Norseman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Messages
325
Thank you for a great Range Report.

Your Report again confirms how these reasonable
priced Rifles are just as accurate as a Custom Rifle.

The Best to you and your Endeavors.
 

Ethang

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
693
Nice writeup. I picked up one in 350 Legend last fall. Have only put 15 rounds through it, just enough to have it sighted in for deer season. Easy to sight in, very accurate with Winchester factory loads. The 556 model uses AR magazines too doesn't it? That's the only thing I really didn't care for with mine.
 

blume357

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
8,701
Wow, I wish I had the time and brains to be able to even attempt that.

Not joking here.... you reloaders for rifles are way above my abilities....

I'm happy if I can hit a gallon paint can at 100 yards with factory ammo.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
5,075
I bought a 7.62x39 American Ranch going on 3 years. It is a nice handling little rifle. I don't handload so factory loadings are my only options.

Most all factory loads were disappointingly inaccurate, no better than 2-3" groups. The only accurate factory load is Hornady Black with 123 gr SST bullets. I was able to get 1" plus groups at 100 yds. That will be good enough for my deer hunting accuracy needs.

Congrats on your load development results!
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,878
'Most all factory loads were disappointingly inaccurate, no better than 2-3" groups. The only accurate factory load is Hornady Black with 123 gr SST bullets. I was able to get 1" plus groups at 100 yds. That will be good enough for my deer hunting accuracy needs.'
Hornady factory SST ammo is the best factory hunting ammo on the market. Noticeably "hotter" than the foreign stuff but the foreign made steel cases/primers work fine. PPU round nose soft point is 'OK' but doesn't feed well in anything I have (Mini-Mauser bolt action doesn't even like to feed those stubby exposed lead round nose bullets).
The 7.62x39 will add some range over the 300AAC but not a lot in some comparisons. Fiocchi 300AAC with 125 grain bullets is the real deal for deer hunting and will perform well out to 150-175 w/o excessive drop or loss of terminal performance. The 7.62x39 123 SST ammo is fairly dependable out to 200.
 

10mm

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
175
My Ruger American 7.62x39 is a tack driver at 100 yds. Don't have my load notes in front of me but IIRC I had 3 powders that did well IMR4198, H4198, and AA1680. I settled on AA1680 and loaded approx 1500 rounds with Nosler A-Max seconds 123 grain poly tipped bullets. It chrono'd 2,330 for a 10 shot string. I couldn't be happier with this rifles performance. It's topped with a Vortex 3 - 9 and the whole combo works for my purposes. And, like many have noted, factory ammo was a blatant disappointment.
 

JStacy

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
493
I had an encore 7.62X39 and reloader#7 worked quite well in it. Good report. It will be interesting to see how that performs on deer.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
84
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. 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. 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. Great for sight in. 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 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 to 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.
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

Thanks for posting! I was lucky enough to pick up a couple hundred Winchester cases, plus some 123gr JSPs, before demand went through the roof; I definitely need to look at some starting load data for my available propellants, and get started myself!
 
Last edited:

rangerbob

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,240
Thanks for posting! I was lucky enough to pick up a couple hundred Winchester cases, plus some 123gr JSPs, before demand went through the roof; I definitely need to look at some starting load data for my available propellants, and get started myself!
When last I looked, Sports South had 7.62x39(WW) brass in stock, 50 to the bag. I've been using CFE Black with 123 SST's, although I have not shot lately due to work and less that perfect mobility. Bob!
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
84
When last I looked, Sports South had 7.62x39(WW) brass in stock, 50 to the bag. I've been using CFE Black with 123 SST's, although I have not shot lately due to work and less that perfect mobility. Bob!

Thanks, sir! IIRC, the Hodgdon web site had some load data for the 7.62x39 using CFE Black & ~123gr bullets, and I think I picked up some of that propellant back when I had a .300BLK AR upper - might be a good combo to start with!
 

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