Testing the Ruger American Gen II: Full Review

Ruger American Gen II Rifle resting on fence post in forest

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

If you’re on the hunt for a rifle that seamlessly combines performance with affordability, then the Ruger American Gen II deserves your attention. This latest iteration was announced just a few months ago and brings a host of upgrades designed to enhance your shooting experience. Among these is a more rigid and ergonomic stock along with a three-position tang safety. Additionally, the Ruger American Gen II features a threaded barrel, Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger, detachable magazine, and the added durability of a Cerakote® coating on critical components.

Ruger American Gen II Specifications: 

  • Caliber: 450 Bushmaster
  • Operation: Bolt Action
  • Barrel Length: 20″ 
  • Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Gun Metal Gray Cerakote
  • Twist Rate: 1:16″ RH
  • Weight: 6.1 lbs 
  • Overall Lenght: 41.25″
  • Magazine Type: Single Stack
  • Stock: Gray Splatter Gen II American

Out of the Box

Right off the bat, the Ruger Precision Gen II arrives with a 3-round magazine, gun lock, owner’s manual, and a few stickers for good measure. The rifle boasts a radial port muzzle brake and a single-piece Picatinny rail as standard features. While the model I received for testing was chambered in 450 Bushmaster, Ruger offers a diverse selection including 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, 243 Win, 223 Rem, and 204 Ruger, with plans to introduce an additional 11 calibers by the end of Quarter 1 of this year.

Ruger American Gen II Rifle unboxing
Ruger American Gen II with all included contents


Aiming to improve upon the ergonomic design of the American Series, the Ruger Gen 2 offers an adjustable length of pull and comb height. With the ability to adjust the length of pull from 13.75″ to 12″ by simply removing the installed spacer, you can tailor the rifle to fit your unique preferences. Additionally, the availability of additional spacers of varying sizes allows for a more refined and personalized fit, ensuring optimal comfort and control. 

Also, the rubber recoil pad features a large radius on the heel for easy shouldering. While some butt pads are quite rigid, this rubber pad does a good job at cushioning to help with recoil. Shooting standing up was a breeze, but even with this rubber pad, laying prone and shooting 250gr 450 Bushmaster still left a bruise. However, I will attribute this more to the caliber than the rifle itself.

Ruger American Gen II Rifle stick sitting in bark
The stock features adjustable length of pull, removable comb, and thick rubber butt pad

The adjustable comb height also enhances versatility. This allows users to optimize the cheek weld for a better sight alignment. While the low comb comes installed, it can be swapped out fairly easily. Simply unscrew the lower sling stud slightly. This backs out the rear spacer which allows for replacing the cheek comb. I found the one that came installed to work perfectly with the Vortex Venom 3-15 I used for this review when paired with the low-profile Vortex Pro Series rings. This combo provided a compact and effective setup. 

Handguard On the Gen II

Ruger’s patented Power Bedding™ integral bedding block system positively locates the receiver and free-floats the barrel to help improve precision. Both the handguard and stock showcase a distinctive splatter finish, which not only adds aesthetic appeal but also offers tactile benefits. While the finish lends a stylish touch, it also provides subtle texturing, enhancing grip for improved handling. Consider it as a subdued yet functional grip enhancement.

Ruger Rifle with scope sitting in dry leaves
The splatter finish adds a slight bit of texturing and style points to this rifle. It also has a sling swivel stud


Safety and functionality are central in the design of the Ruger American Gen II’s action. The intuitive three-position tang safety not only locks the bolt securely but also permits loading with the safety engaged in the middle position. The oversized bolt knob is just about perfect for a hunting rifle. It is large enough to securely grab, yet small enough to keep a low profile. Featuring a 5/16″-24 thread pattern, the bolt knob can also be replaced if desired. I had no issues grabbing this to run the action quickly. 

Ruger rifle bolt action sitting on fence post
Three-position safety allows for working the action while the rifle is still set in the middle of the two safety positions

Meanwhile, the one-piece bolt is CNC machined from stainless steel. This helps provide smooth operation and reliable performance. Its familiar three-lug design with a 70° throw provides shorter movements to operate the rifle as well as providing ample scope clearance. The tolerance between the bolt and the receiver is tighter than I would have expected for this rifle keeping it from wobbling around. It feeds smoothly, however, I did have some issues with 450 Bushmaster binding up. 


Three bolt lug face on Ruger Rifle
Three-lug bolt face


When it comes to trigger performance, the Ruger American Gen II doesn’t disappoint. The Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger offers a crisp break with only the slightest amount of creep. I can’t feel this when shooting the rifle, but when watching the trigger break it gives just a hair before going off. While it’s user-adjustable ranging from 3 to 5 pounds, I measured it to consistently break right around 4.5 pounds coming from the factory.  

Ruger American Gen II Rifle Trigger
The Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger


While the Ruger American Gen II comes equipped with one magazine, an extra magazine would certainly be a welcome addition for those planning extended shooting sessions. Most caliber options for this rifle come with a single stack 3-round magazine including the 450 Bushmaster I had to review. These are low profile, and meet most states hunting requirements for magazine capacity.

Ruger American Gen II Rifle Magazine
Low profile 3-round magazine

I am not sure how other calibers feed with the American rifle, but I had some issues with the 450 Bushmaster. The first issue is that is awkward to load the rounds. They have to be pushed in from the front, but the back of the shell hits the brass of the round below and gets caught up. This made me have to depress the previously loaded round but my fingers barely fit through the polymer feed lips. Also, I often had trouble with rounds binding up when trying to quickly run the action. When moving slowly things seemed to work fine, but when working the action quickly it would get stuck causing me to have to ease up and push forward again. 

Ammo for Ruger Rifle jam closeup
The back of the top round hitting the casing of the round below making loading difficult

Gen II Barrel

At the heart of this rifle lies its 20″ cold hammer-forged barrel. It utilizes a 1:16″ right-hand twist, as well as 11/16″-24 threads for mounting muzzle brakes or suppressors. The Gun Metal Gray Cerakote on the barrel, muzzle brake, receiver, and bolt handle not only enhances durability but also simplifies cleanings. The coating looks great and provides great corrosion resistance. 

Ruger American Gen II Rifle barrel sitting in dry leaves
20″ cold hammer-forged barrel featuring a Gun Metal Gray Cerakote

Additionally, the threaded barrel is factory-fitted with a radial port muzzle brake. This brake spreads gasses out evenly in all directions. 

Shooter aiming down barrel of Ruger American Gen II Rifle
The included radial muzzle brake doing its job and directing gasses out 360 degrees around the barrel


Aiming to test the precision of the Ruger American Gen II, I used an assortment of various Hornady ammunition. I proceeded to shoot 3-round groups from 100 yards. I ended up getting around 1.5 MOA groups from 245gr Soft Point Hornady American Whitetail. Also, I got 1.25 MOA groups from 395gr Hornady Subsonic and even a 0.92 MOA group from 250gr FTX Hornady Black. The results are shown in the picture below: 

Ruger American Gen II Rifle with Hornady ammunition and 100-yard target
Each box of ammunition placed next to its respective 3-round group shot from 100 yards

Ruger American Gen II Performance

Throughout this review, I was able to put well over 100 rounds of various Hornady ammunition through the Ruger American Gen II. The rifle shot well, and I had a great time running it. Everything held up, and I never had any sort of failure with it.

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The only issue I had throughout my testing was that rounds would occasionally bind up. This only occurred when trying to work the action quickly. I did a few drills trying to see how fast I could shoot 4 rounds. I seemingly always had a round bind up within a quick string of fire. However, when I wasn’t so rushed and more gently chambered rounds, the rifle fed well. I guess the old saying “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” rings true with this bolt gun. For those who want to see this gun in action, I posted a video to my Instagram page below: 

While this is more of an ammunition note, I will say that subsonic rounds recoiled much less than their supersonic counterparts. The felt recoil from 395gr was much less sharp than that of the 245 and 250gr that I used throughout this review. Also, for those shooting 450 Bushmaster, remember how much of a zero difference there is between subsonic and supersonic ammunition. I wasn’t thinking much about it, but I zeroed at 100 yards with 250gr ammunition. Then I took a shot with the subsonic without adjusting my turrets. I knew the drop would be different, but I wasn’t expecting it to be 4.5 mills lower. Due to this oversight, I ended up shooting my target stand. Either way, I guess this turned into a ballistics test. The 395gr Hornady Subsonic can apparently put the hurt on steel target stands!

Target stand with dent sitting in grass
My poor target stand is the only thing that suffered a catastrophic event during this testing

Gen II Summary

During my testing, I was able to achieve sub-MOA 3-round groups with this bolt gun. I also found this lightweight hunting rifle to be quite maneuverable. Featuring a threaded barrel, adjustable stock, tunable trigger, and detachable box magazine, I think the Ruger American Gen II may be one of the best hunting rifles for the money currently on the market. While most of the caliber options have an MSRP of $729, I currently see multiple listed here at GunsAmerica around the $570 mark. At that price, I have no hesitation in recommending the Ruger American Gen II as a solid option for an affordable hunting rifle. 

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  • Gabe March 19, 2024, 3:35 am

    The rifle looks not bad. The coating makes the rifle special in outlook. I like the special thing. By the way, I want to know that if it can match my red dot magnifier. There is a link with some details of the CVLIFE red dot magnifier. https://www.cvlife.com/products/cvlife-auto-brightness-adjustment-red-dot-sight-with-3x-magnifier-combo

    • Really?!?! March 22, 2024, 7:31 am

      Obvious advertising troll.

  • Tom Carvelli March 18, 2024, 5:29 pm

    I sure wish Ruger would upgrade their Hawkeye. I am a control round fan. I am also a three position Hawkeye type safety. The Hawkeye Hunter is a step in the right direction but fluting of the barrel would be nice. If they can do it on the American they certainly can do it on the Hawkeye.

  • iron4life March 18, 2024, 7:16 am

    Lame caliber at best.3 shot groups aren’t a mark of accuracy.Go to 5 and your sub moa will disappear.

  • iron4life March 18, 2024, 7:13 am

    Lame caliber at best

  • Will Drider March 17, 2024, 6:15 am

    Very good review. I would have noted the “molded in” trigger guard. You clearly identified the mag loading binding of case rim against case mouth but no speculation or picture on bolt fast cycling binding. Is the “binding” a stoppage (locks up) or a point in travel that requires additional light/medium/heavy force to fully chamber the round. Any digs/rub marks on round extracted after the stoppage? Can chambering be forced hard and fast? What does the “forced” round show when extracted (unfired)?

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