Full Review: FM Ranch Rifle That Uses AR Mags

You may have heard the name “Ranch Rifle” in the firearms industry before, but it probably wasn’t from FM Products. Ruger produces the Mini-14 Ranch and a line of bolt-action rifles called “Ruger American Ranch Rifle.” While FM Products has the same name as some of Ruger’s rifles, it’s not even close to the same. In fact, I’m not sure it’s like any other rifle. It’s not an AR-15 but uses AR mags. Definitely not a shotgun, but uses a shotgun stock. It’s not a…well, you get the point.

I’ve had the Ranch Rifle on the range one time since picking it up. This means I haven’t fired it enough yet to determine how reliable it is, but I’ll do some updates as time goes on. For this article, I’m covering the basics of this new rifle, including some things I like and others I’m still on the fence about. The biggest one is the trigger system, which I’ll review shortly. But first, let’s cover the basics of the new FM Products Ranch Rifle.

The FM Ranch Rifle

When you first glance at the FM Products Ranch Rifle, it’s hard to tell what kind of rifle it is. They offer several versions with multiple barrel lengths and synthetic and wood stocks. I purchased the Ranch Rifle with a hunter crown barrel and Woox stock. If you haven’t heard of Woox, they make some amazing wood stocks for multiple rifle platforms. I’ll talk more about the stock here in a bit as well. Chambered in .223 WYLDE, this rifle has some AR-15 resemblance, but not as much as you think at first glance.

FM Products Ranch Rifle.
The Ranch Rifle is different, but that’s what I like about it. It was a blast on the range. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The FM Ranch Rifle’s direct impingement operating system has the recoil spring on the top of the receiver instead of behind it. The 16-inch barrel is vacuum stress-relieved and melanite-coated 4150 match-grade steel. You can select from several muzzle devices, but I kept it simple and opted for the non-threaded crowned barrel. On the lower receiver, FM used machined aircraft-grade aluminum with hard mil-spec type III anodizing. I couldn’t find, however, what aluminum grade they used.

The upper receiver is billet aircraft aluminum with the same anodizing. One of the only things that stayed true to the AR-15 style was the gas system. The rifle’s mid-length gas tube uses what appears to be a standard gas block. Of course, the handguard is designed for this rifle, but it has M-LOK slots and Picatinny rail like most AR-15 rifles. Overall, the Ranch Rifle’s parts quality appears to be well-made.

Proprietary bolt

If I’m buying an AR-15, I don’t really care for proprietary parts; but this isn’t an AR-15. I would say they used the DNA from an AR-15 and then made a completely different rifle. Because of that, the BCG and bolt are different, to say the least. It has just enough AR-15 resemblance that people will undoubtedly compare it to one anyway. The bolt’s odd shape originates from it pressing directly against the recoil spring as it passes over the guide rod.

BCG and recoil spring
On top is the BCG and retaining block that goes into the back of the receiver. At the bottom is the double recoil spring and guide rod. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The double recoil spring is smaller than you would think for a .223 or 5.56 caliber rifle. It measured about 7.5 inches on the outer spring and 7 inches long on the inner spring. Unlike the AR-15’s rear charging handle configuration, the Ranch Rifle’s charging handle is located in front of the receiver. It’s non-reciprocating, so you don’t have to worry about it hitting your hand when firing the rifle. Removing the BCG and recoil spring isn’t hard, but it does take a small punch or screwdriver.

Proprietary trigger

This trigger is not even close to normal. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. Traditional rifle triggers connect at the top and pull to the rear. In contrast, the Ranch Rifle’s trigger connects at the bottom with the top of the trigger pulling to the rear. I’m not saying this is bad, but it would take some getting used to. As I fired the rifle, I found myself moving my finger to the top rear corner, which made it easier to pull.

Trigger group
You can see the trigger pin at the bottom of the trigger. The top of the trigger is what pulls to the rear.

I try to keep an open mind and a lot of us have trouble accepting something different. With the upper receiver removed, you can see how different the trigger system is. While the hammer looks like an AR-style hammer, nothing else with the trigger assembly is even close. I haven’t taken it all out yet, but at some point, I will take the trigger assembly apart for a closer look. This design would work great on a machine gun made to fire from the hip. A trigger pull towards your body would feel natural from that angle.

Woox Stock for a high-end look

One thing that really stands out to me on this gun is the dark Walnut stock. Made from American Walnut, each hand-finished stock has an aluminum coupling to make sure it fits correctly and securely to the rifle. What’s more surprising with this stock is it was made for a Remington 870. That’s some great thinking from FM Products. I love it when companies use universal parts, so people have options.

FM Products used a Woox Walnut stock for the Ranch Rifle. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I don’t see myself ever taking the Walnut stock off, but I could switch it out with any 870 stock. Like many gun enthusiasts, I like the “tactical” gun look. But I also like the elegant look of a wood stock, grip, or handguard. When you purchase the Woox stock, you also get a set of Walnut M-LOK covers. This helps carry that wood look onto the handguard and makes it even more attractive. If you plan on buying the Ranch Rifle, I recommend paying the extra money for the Woox stock.

What I liked and didn’t like about the FM Ranch Rifle

Just about every gun has some kind of feature you like and something you wish was different. So, here are my likes and dislikes with the FM Products Ranch Rifle. The first thing I liked about this gun is the side charging handle. I’m an AR-15 fan, but I’ve never cared for the rear charging handle. I prefer side charging handles on just about any rifle. The side charging handle works on either the right or left side, which was a feature I liked when shooting this gun at the range.

I’m still on the fence about the trigger, but that wasn’t my biggest issue. Rather, it was the distance from the trigger to the magazine release. I know I’m just being picky at this point, but you have to move your entire hand to hit the magazine release button. Because the charging handle and slide release are both on the gun’s left side, this makes mag changes slow. While not every gun has to be set up for speedy mag changes, it’s nice when you can reach all your controls without moving your hand.

FM Products Ranch Rifle.
You can see here how far the magazine release is from my trigger finger. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The push-button safety is on the large side, which I don’t mind. It’s easy to reach with your trigger finger and large enough to find quickly. You don’t get any sights with the rifle, but the Picatinny rail runs the entire length of the receiver and barrel. I had some extra CZ Scorpion sights, so I put those on the rifle, and they worked great. While those sights sit low, the combination of the tall upper receiver and low-cut stock made it work.

Is the FM Ranch Rifle worth the money?

With the Woox stock upgrade, the FM Products Ranch Rifle retails for about $1,100 and $850 without the wood stock. I fired about 200 rounds of ammunition through it with two failure-to-feed issues on the first magazine. I sprayed the bolt down with some Real Avid oil and didn’t have any more issues. The recoil feels different from an AR, but wasn’t bad at all. When I let a friend shoot it, his ETS mags had trouble feeding ammo. With PMags, that issue went away.

Several things about this rifle are so different that I’m not used to them. However, there wasn’t anything questionable about its quality. I plan to fire a lot more ammo through it soon to get a better idea of how it will hold up over time. Earlier, I said I’m a big AR-15 fan, and that’s why I like this gun so much. Even if you have a favorite gun style, something different is always nice. This gun is definitely different, looks nice with the wood stock, and uses the popular AR-15 magazine.

From what I can tell, the gun’s quality makes it worth the money. Everyone has different interests and tastes in guns, so the style is something you will like or not care for. Overall, I like the FM Products Ranch Rifle, and I will be doing some additional range reviews in the future. Check one out and see what you think of it.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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