Ruger’s Communist Ranch Hand: the New Bolt Action 7.62×39
While considered by some to be an inferior sporting caliber, the 7.62×39 cartridge is actually a respectable round in terms of both terminal effectiveness and relative accuracy. Many people have drawn comparisons between it and the .30-30 Win: a round that has both defended homesteads and put a lot of meat on the table. While I am hesitant to make too close a comparison between the disparate cartridges, for a rough analogy it may suffice.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. is now making the 7.62×39 as an option in the American Rifle Ranch line of bolt-action rifles. Combining the medium power characteristics of the cartridge with the handiness of the Ranch line of rifles, I expect this will make for a pleasing combination.
The new guns offer the same general characteristics of the existing Ranch guns in the American Rifle line, but they use detachable magazines that are compatible with the company’s Mini Thirty rifle. A single 5-round magazine comes with the gun, but the larger capacity 10- and 20-round magazines will work as well.
Ruger builds the Ranch rifle to be handy – easy to carry and easy to get into action if needed quickly. It has a 16.12” barrel and weighs less than 6 pounds with an unloaded magazine. I’ve found the guns in this line to point easily and swing naturally.
As part of the American Rifle family, this Ranch gun benefits from the modern features of the line including:
- an adjustable trigger – Ruger uses a user adjustable trigger of its own design in these guns. A shooter can tweak the pull weight from 3-5 pounds. Additionally, the trigger has a blade safety to help prevent an accidental discharge if the rifle is dropped.
- bolt – It is a one-piece design with a full diameter bolt body and a 70? throw.
- threaded barrel – Unlike your grandpa’s old bolt gun (probably), Ruger threads the barrel of this gun for use with a sound suppressor or other muzzle device.
- stock – Since this is a working man’s gun, Ruger opted for a synthetic stock on the Ranch rifle. It has a flat dark earth color and soft rubber buttpad. The fore end is a little broader than what might be found on other guns. This allows it to be more stable when rested on a bag when shooting.
If existing American Rifle guns can be used as the example, the new Ranch guns should offer excellent accuracy with the 7.62×39 cartridge. Hornady makes a load in its Black line with a 123 gr SST bullet. The Ruger rifle with this round should make for a good medium game combination. Hopefully, the rifle will inspire additional quality hunting loads from other manufacturers to broaden the selection available to sportsmen.
The guns are shipping now and have a suggested retail price of $599.
Richard is a writer with a background in law enforcement and sports photography. In addition to his work in the firearms industry, he writes in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. More of his work can be found at GunsHolstersAndGear