My Mountain Ascent. PBR Edition

husky390

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Luke Moffat and I had been kicking around an idea for awhile about a cheap, lightweight rifle that will shoot and wont make me cry if I were to scratch it or get rust on it. One rifle he recommended and we talked at length about was the Ruger American .308 Compact. We figured we could scope it and keep it at or under 7lbs. Now, I have nothing against the Tika Lite or the Kimber Mountain Ascent and will probably own an MA at some point but since my money went towards binoculars this year, there was no way I was going to buy both. So, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, leave Luke alone for a little while, and I bought the Ruger for $350 OTD. Cabelas had a sale on the Leupold VXII w/ the CDS turret for $250.00 (plus tax) and I had a set of aluminum lightweight Weaver rings laying around that needed to be used.

My first impression of the rifle when I picked it up is whoever at Ruger packages these things loves to lube the hell out of them. My FFL had already hosed it down with gun scrubber before I picked it up and then I cleaned it again when I got home. After shooting it today it still had lube coming out where the barrel meets the receiver, if anyone from Ruger is reading this, please ease up on the lube. So, right off the bat, I love how this rifle feels in my hands, and it is very quick to the shoulder. I'm a big guy at 6'1", 245lbs and it looks like a little .22 when I'm shooting it but it's very comfortable. It'll be nice for carrying around all day plus it will be better suited as a loaner gun for my 13 year old nephew when he comes up to hunt than my Savage 110 30/06. One thing I had to do was pull the rifle out of the stock and sand it down a little to keep the barrel from touching the stock. I'll probably shave a little more after today as it appeared the barrel was close to the stock. No big deal, I've had to do it with my Savage rifle stocks and a new B&C Medalist.

Today was the first day I was able to test two loads and shoot it without a howling cross wind and so far I am very impressed with the results. My two handloads were Barnes 180gr TTSX and SMK 175gr. Both were loaded to minimum powder charges with TAC powder and a CCI BR-2 Primer. One thing I noticed was that there is not much room in the mag if I were to seat the bullets further out but I believe I could hollow out the mag if needed. It's a plastic mag and feels kind of chincy but it's a much higher quality mag than what came with my buddies Remington 770. Shooting it is not bad at all and I have not messed with the trigger. It's not as good as a Timney but it does break cleanly and for hunting, I like it where it is. Recoil was not bad at all but it is loud and the barrel does heat up fairly quick. Oddly, it does not shoot 147gr FMJ and 150gr FMJ very well. I had one failure to feed and that was with a Magtech 150gr FMJ in which I could not close the bolt. It had zero issues feeding my 147gr and 180gr handloads.

Overall, I cannot complain about this rifle. It's handy, it shoots, and I don't care if it gets soaked by the elements or takes a spill. Best of all, it came in under 7lbs and cost me around $600 to build. I will be working up hotter loads for this over the summer and will post results if there's interest but I would recommend one of these if you're looking for a knock around rifle or are on a tight budget. Happy shooting.













I had a nice wad of Copenhagen in my mouth while shooting which was not a good idea as the scope was bounding with my heartbeat. I'm sure I could tighten these up without that happening. I also pulled the third shot with the SMK's. Never fails.

















The biggest surprise of the day. I thought my table was throwing off the scale so I tried it on another table and it weighed even less than this.




 
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husky390

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Thank you sir and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about it.
 

lcxctf2000

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I shoot .308 and TTSX as well. Great combo out of my Savage and has worked exceptionally well here in WI on whitetail.

Do you plan to shoot 180's at elk? I was thinking 150's, maybe 168's.

Your loading up 180's has me thinking again about bullet weight choice.
 

luke moffat

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I personally wouldn't use 180 TTSXs in a .308. Barnes like to be driven fast and their high weight retention means you can show lighter bullets than you can with a heavier lead based bullet that loses anywhere from 25%-50% of its weight.

Have had good success with 130 TTSXs against moose, caribou, sheep, black bears and mountain goats in the .308 at 3000 fps of a 20" barrel. That said 150s would likely be the sweet spot. Likely the same retained bullet weight as a 200 grain accubond. That and if you are already mag box limited barnes being all copper are long for their weight as it is.
 

Randy11

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I did the same thing a couple years ago but went even cheaper and lighter with a weaver k6. The first year I had the rifle I killed a couple pronghorn, my biggest bear and a nice whitetail with it.

Keeping with the cheap mentality, I've been shooting 180 grn federal fusions out of mine.

Fun, cheap backpacking rifle.
 

Clarktar

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Timely post! I have been thinking hard about another rifle as well. Something for close range work, brush type gun. I was thinking up too 200 yards, open sights, compact and light. A larger caliber rifle for PNW roosies, bear hunts, fly in hunt in Ak (?) and things of that nature.

I'm a lefty so that limits what is available (e.g., Kimber rifles). I have looked at Montana rifles, and also Forbes Inc. I read a lot of mixed reviews on the Forbes etc. Then I thought maybe there is a cheaper option to get what I want? Like you I started to talk with Luke, and he suggested I take a look at the Ruger American Rifle. A great suggestion on paper so far, as I could get a 30-06 stainless compact for a lefty for about 350.00.

I would then likely have it bored to 35 whelen, slap on some open sights, and be ready to rock. The round capacity is quite appealing as well.

I will follow your progress as I am curious to know how well the rifle works.
 
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husky390

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Thanks guys. I chose the 175's and 180's as that was what I had at the house and I do intend to hunt elk and deer with this rifle. My plan is to try and push the 180's as fast as I can without losing accuracy but I do intend to try some 168gr TTSX and can also try some 150's but judging how my rifle responded to the 150gr fmj I'm guessing they will not shoot as well as the heavier bullets.
It will be sometime in June when I'll be able to report back with my results but I'll keep you posted.
 

lcxctf2000

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I get roughly the same accuracy level out of any weight TTSX I feed my Savage - MOA. All I see is POI shift up or down based on bullet weight. I hope you get the same thing out of your Ruger. Going to the 150's or 130's will give you an extra 100+ yards of effective range (adequate FPS and ft lbs), which to this flatlander feels important.

I was shooting the Hornady Interbond SP 150's this weekend at 200 and 330 yards. Ringing the 4" gong at 200 and 6" gong at 330 every shot when I did my part.

I honestly haven't found a load my Savage won't shoot accurately.

For my practice rounds I use Rem brass, Fed 210 primers, and the appropriate amount of Varget (43 grains this weekend got me 2650 FPS).

I plan to use Win brass for my hunting loads due to extra little bit of case capacity they have. I have testing loads worked up in fire formed cases stepping up in charge weight by .5 grains. Will be fun to see if there is a sweet spot or if they remain consistent to max.

I'll try to remember to share results when I do my range work.
 
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husky390

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Thanks. I'll be loading some up this week and hopefully able to shoot on Saturday.
 
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husky390

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Sorry it's been awhile but today was the first day I had a chance to get to the range. I tried out three loads, top left was 180gr TTSX wtih 39grs of Tac, top right was same bullet with 38.5grs of Tac. I shot the 39gr load first by accident and the bore was clean which is why I think the group is so large. The big surprise was the Barnes Factory load of 168gr TTSX. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother reloading for my hunting rifles.


pbr target3.jpg
 

Jason Snyder

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I know you said you had the 180s on hand, but it really makes no sense to me why you're trying to go with such a heavy bullet from the .308. Listen carefully to what Luke said. There is no way I would go heavier than a 168 in this gun. I load 150s for my wife's '06, and they work great.

If you want to shoot 180s, you would likely be better served with a simple old Hornady Interlock.
 
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husky390

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I know you said you had the 180s on hand, but it really makes no sense to me why you're trying to go with such a heavy bullet from the .308. Listen carefully to what Luke said. There is no way I would go heavier than a 168 in this gun. I load 150s for my wife's '06, and they work great.

If you want to shoot 180s, you would likely be better served with a simple old Hornady Interlock.
I'm rolling with the 168's from here on out and seriously doubt I'll bother with reloading hunting ammo for this rifle since the factory ammo shoots so well. I only loaded the 180's because that was what I had on hand and thought that was what I needed.
 
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husky390

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Unfortunately I haven't filled a tag with it yet, but on the bright side, it's been a dream to carry.
 
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husky390

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Just another update, I've dropped two deer and a coyote with it and I'm shooting it better so the groups are tightening up.




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huntnkat

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Thanks for taking the time to post this. I've thought a lot about getting the stainless version of this rifle in 7mm-08. Seems like it'd make a great woods gun that's still capable out to some distance for deer and elk. You don't really hear much about people using the American compact for some reason tho. I might have to give it another look.
 

machinethomas

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I've been eyeballing the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor. I'll have to keep this option in mind as well. Thanks for posting. Good info.


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16Bore

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Every Barnes I've ever shot was on the money loaded just to the front of the first driving band (like factory loads) 6x45, 260, 7-08, 308, 30-06, 270, 7 Mag, 375 H&H, 338 WM.

Might consider COAL.
 
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husky390

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Thanks guys. I am really liking this rifle and don't have an issue with the compact stock. It almost feels like I'm carrying a 10/22.

From what I hear, the Predator in 6.5 Creed with a Timney trigger is a heck of a shooter.


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