Ruger American Ranch Rifle 26985 350 Legend

Our first sample failed when the bolt disassembled itself. The replacement rifle worked great, but wasn’t as accurate as we would have hoped.




We hear all kinds of stories about the torture tests to which gun writers purportedly subject their test samples. We don’t. We inspect them when they first arrive for fit, form and function, lubricate them properly, take photos as needed and head to the range. We also need to know if they are going to function properly. That means, while not trying to cause malfunctions, we give them every opportunity to do so.

Overall Length36.5 in.
Barrel16.5 in. long, 1:16 twist
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount6.0 in.
Weight Unloaded6.0 lbs.
Weight Loaded (145 grain, 5+1 rounds)6.5 lbs.
Sight RadiusN/A
Action FinishMatte blue
Barrel FinishMatte blue
Magazine Capacity5
Magazine TypeDetachable box
Drop at Comb0.62 in.
Drop at Heel0.62 in.
BeddingPower bedding
ButtplateSoft rubber recoil pad
Length of Pull13.8 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternRuger
Trigger Pull Weight4.3 lbs.
Safety2-position tang
WarrantyNone given
Telephone(336) 949-5200
Made InUSA, North Carolina

We received the Ruger Ranch Rifle in 350 Legend, inspected it, mounted the Nikon scope and took it to American Shooting Centers. Using Winchester 350 Legend 145-grain full-metal-jacket target ammo, we sighted it in at 100 yards and started our test protocol. Recoil was very mild. Bolt throw was a little rough in the beginning, but that is not that uncommon. Accuracy was only fair, which surprised us a bit. After firing round 19, we lifted the handle to cycle the bolt, eject the spent round, and chamber another. As we did so, the bolt disassembled itself, and the firing-pin assembly was ejected from the bolt body. Spring pressure was minimal, so there was never any danger there. As we examined the bolt, it appeared to us that the cocking piece over rotated, allowing the bolt to disassemble. We stopped what we were doing, took photos and contacted Ruger. This is the same-pattern bolt that Ruger uses in many of its rifles and which we have tested many times. None of those tests have had any issues. To their credit, Ruger responded immediately with a new Ranch Rifle, and we proceeded with the tests. Still, as we have noted before, things can happen, and the firearms manufacturers want you to be very satisfied with your purchases. Call them first when something happens and let them take care of it for you.

The Ruger’s bedding blocks are steel V-shaped inserts (top arrows) designed to draw the action tightly to the stock and aid accuracy. The stock blocks fit into corresponding slots in the action (bottom arrows).

Our second rifle arrived just a few days after we contacted Ruger. It looked just like the first rifle, which we thought was a good thing. The bolt handle has an almost polished-blue look, but the rest of the metal parts are definitely matte black. It would appear that flat dark earth is the new black, so the Ranch Rifle’s polymer stock is appropriately FDE. The stock is reasonably rigid. Our testers could easily compress the fore-end to the point where it touched the barrel, but that didn’t happen under the normal weight of the rifle, so you don’t have to worry about those pesky barrel harmonics. The fore-end is also textured and indented right where the fingertips should go. The grip area is textured as well, with some raised molding to help the shooter create a solid hold on the rifle.

Many of Ruger’s rifles have a similar type stock with an internal box magazine. For this model, Ruger removes the area where the internal magazine would normally reside and replaces it with an adapter that allows for a detachable AR-style magazine. The Ranch Rifle ships with a single five-round magazine marked “Duramag by C Products Defense.” We have had considerable experience with C Products magazines used with 6.8 SPC ARs and were well satisfied with their quality. Larger-quantity mags are available from Cheaper Than Dirt and others. The supplied magazine also worked well, and the rifle fed rounds perfectly, whether from the magazine or just dropped on top in the action. The magazine release even somewhat mimics the AR release, being located just forward of the trigger on the right side of the stock.

You have to pull the stock to access the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger and tweak if desired. Average trigger-pull weight on our sample was a bit over 4 pounds, but we easily adjusted it down to about 3 pounds.

Two action screws can be removed, allowing the magazine adapter to be withdrawn and the stock to be separated from the action. It is easy to see the reinforcement in the fore-end of the stock that creates the rigidity. Also visible are two patented V-shaped blocks, known as power bedding, that mate with mortises in the action. When the action screws are inserted and tightened, the bedding system positively locates the action and free floats the barrel, both of which substantially aid accuracy. Removing the stock allows the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger to be accessed and tweaked if desired. Average trigger weight on our sample was a bit over 4 pounds but was easily adjusted down to approximately 3 pounds. Two sling swivels and a soft, functional recoil pad are mounted on the stock as well.

The barreled action is short and stiff — another possible aid to accuracy. The barrel is 16.38 inches in length and utilizes a 1:16-inch twist rate. It is cold-hammer forged for accuracy and threaded 1⁄2×28 for a suppressor or muzzle brake — not that you need a brake on a rifle chambered in 350 Legend. A thread protector is supplied as standard equipment. The rifle comes with a 14-slot 0-minute-of-angle-elevation Picatinny rail sturdily attached with four screws. There is plenty of room on which to mount a scope. The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver at the rear. One pushes on the protruding part of the lever to allow the bolt to be removed. On our samples, that end of the lever did not protrude very much and made us work at it a bit to get the bolt to release. Maybe the problem is that we all have old, fat fingers? The bolt is a full-diameter one-piece three lug design with a 70-degree throw. Bolt throw on our second sample was much smoother than the first, so there may have simply been something wrong with the bolt. With the short throw, there was ample clearance for optics and dual cocking cams made working the bolt easier. The bolt utilizes a plunger ejector along with a pivoting extractor. The rifle sports a two-position tang safety, easily visible and operated by either hand. There is a cocking indicator that protrudes from the bottom of the bolt shroud. Like it or not, the bolt stays open after the last round in the magazine is fired and the bolt is drawn to the rear.

The Ruger came with a factory-installed Picatinny rail mounted on the receiver.

The Ruger Ranch Rifle only had a 16.38-inch barrel compared to the 22-inch tube found on the Winchester. We wondered if the shortened barrel would provide a handy, compact rifle at the expense of some performance. It would appear that is not the case. Using the same ammo from the same lots in both rifles, the Ranch Rifle, with a barrel more than 5 inches shorter than the Winchester, only lost about 2% in velocity. Five-shot groups averaged about 2.5 inch for the Ruger, with the smallest coming in at just under 2 inches and the largest at more than 3.5 inches. Somewhat disappointing perhaps, but if the true comparison of this rifle is to an iron-sighted 30-30, the Ruger 350 Legend did just fine. We saw information posted on the web stating as much as a 20% reduction in recoil for the 350 Legend versus a nice Model 94 Winchester in 30-30. Our calculations were not quite that optimistic, coming in with just a 4% reduction in recoil energy. That being said, a reduction is a reduction and that was accomplished, by our computations, with a 6% to 10% increase in energy.

Our Team Said: With a 16.38-inch barrel and a short 12.5-inch length of pull, this would be an outstanding starter rifle and a great brush gun.

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All groups were shot at 100 yards from a solid bench using a Caldwell TackDriver front rest ($44 at and a T.A.B. Gear large rear bag ($30 at with the heavy fill. Muzzle velocity was determined using a LabRadar chronograph ($559 at Location: American Shooter Centers ( in Houston.
Winchester 145-grain FMJRuger American Ranch RifleWinchester XPRSavage 110 Hog Hunter
Average Velocity2193 fps2234 fps2155 fps
Muzzle Energy1548 ft.-lbs.1608 ft.-lbs.1496 ft.-lbs.
Best Group2.09 in.0.95 in.1.83 in.
Average Group2.39 in.2.10 in.2.03 in.
Winchester 150-grain XPRuger American Ranch RifleWinchester XPRSavage 110 Hog Hunter
Average Velocity2251 fps2308 fps2223 fps
Muzzle Energy1688 ft.-lbs.1775 ft.-lbs.1646 ft.-lbs.
Best Group2.19 in.1.54 in.1.01 in.
Average Group2.42 in.1.77 in.1.33 in.
Hornady 170-grain Soft PointRuger American Ranch RifleWinchester XPRSavage 110 Hog Hunter
Average Velocity2211 fps2250 fps2212 fps
Muzzle Energy1847 ft.-lbs.1911 ft.-lbs.1847 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.98 in.2.35 in.0.99 in.
Average Group2.71 in.2.57 in.1.52 in.


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