Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39, Bolt Action Reliability & Military Proven Ammo

Bob Shell reviews the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39 and does some comparison testing of 7.62×39 ammunition in this Ruger bolt action rifle.

Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62x39
Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39

USA – -( Of all the assault rifle rounds the AK 47 in the 7.62 X 39 is with a doubt the most successful.

While the idea wasn’t new, a tank mechanic designed it during WW ll. The AK-47 was intended to be reliable, so tolerances were not tight. It has a well-deserved reputation for reliability. During the Viet Nam war, some American soldiers dropped their AR rifles and used the AK 47 as they were more reliable during that time.

There have been 30 or 40 million of AK variants produced, and it is still widely used today by various countries. It was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov who was a tank mechanic and while recovering from some injuries designed the AK-47. Today in spite of some nations calling them obsolete they are still widely used. Since ammo is cheap and plentiful why not use them. The rifles are rugged and reliable not to mention handy to carry, and they will be around for a long time.

Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39

There are some commercial versions available including a few bolt action rifles. I am a fan of the bolt action rifle so when Ruger brought out the Ruger American Rifle Ranch in 7.62×39, I obtained one since it should be more flexible especially with reduced and lead bullet loads. I have worked with the AK’s in the past and was surprised at how well they worked, and the bolt action rifle should be even more flexible. For info on the Ruger rifle go to for info. The original AK rifles have loose tolerances which is one of the reasons that they are so reliable. Accuracy may suffer, but all of the AKs that I have shot gave at least decent accuracy some more.

The rifle is FDE ( flat dark earth ) colored with a 16.12” barrel and has a threaded cap to allow a silencer to be installed where legal. There are no sights but has a scope rail which makes it convenient to mount a scope. The barrel has a 1 in 10” twist which will allow using heavy bullets. Without a scope, it weighs 5.9 LBS. There are extra 10 and 20 round magazines which can be purchased on the Ruger website. The magazine that comes with it is a 5-round model, and it leaves something to be desired. You can’t close the bolt on an empty magazine unless you push the plate down much like the old Mausers. It is an easy fix, and I am puzzled as to why they made such a magazine. With ammo, it works ok, but if I were going to use it for serious purposes, I would buy extras. The trigger is adjustable. The bolt has a 70-degree lift and has the usual extractor and ejector both proven designs. It has power bedding and a soft recoil pad as well as a sling and swivels. It has a convenient tang safety. Suggested retail is $599.00 ( less online )

We have shot it over a period with no mechanical issues. It has digested bullets from 78 to 220 grains. Like various other guns, the Ruger American Ranch Rifle is flexible and can have many uses for someone who handloads and isn’t afraid to experiment. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can make a 308 out of it as it doesn’t have the powder capacity. With a scope accuracy is reasonable, some large game can be harvested. Like any firearm it has limits, and as long as you keep that in mind the rifle will give good results.

Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62x39 with Trijicon Accupower Scope 3-9X40mm
Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39 with Scope 3-9X40mm

I received a Trijicon Accupower Scope 3-9X40mm for the rifle which should be a great addition. Trijicon makes a good variety of sights and scopes including iron and archery sights. The Trijicon riflescope is an excellent choice as it offers excellent optics with a clear picture in good or poor light. With that combo hog hunting would be good at night with a good shot placement getting game should be relatively easy. I have used a number of their products including night sites and they always work well.

Inceptor 7.62×39

The Inceptor company makes both loaded ammo and bullets for reloading. They are unique as they are a composite mixture of copper and some resin.

They are lighter than standard and produce higher than average speeds. They have various uses, and I have written about them elsewhere.

If you are looking for something unique, I would give these a try. For instance, a 90-grain ARX is the same size as a typical 150-grain spitzer. The load for the AK fed flawlessly and cycled which might make that a good home defense rifle.

For info go to

I have shot many more loads than are listed below because of space. Sierra sent me some of their .311 bullets, and as usual, they are among the most accurate slugs available. With the Ruger 5 shot 1” groups at 100 yards are pretty easy to obtain.

Careful load development and a good shooter will reduce that group size even more. There are many brands of quality bullets available, but if accuracy is my primary goal, then I usually look for a Sierra bullet if available.

For info, you can go to for a listing of their many products.

There is a good selection of ammo and reloading components, and of 7.62x39mm military ammo is still relatively cheap.

Assortment of 3-9X40mm Ammunition Rounds
Assortment of 7.62x39mm Ammunition Rounds

Since this can be a real handy utility rifle, I included some reduced loads and some of the new powders available. With good handloads, you are ready for deer size game and plenty of pests and small game. One thing I found that some cases have small rifle primers while most have the larger variety. For consistent loads, they should be separated. Hodgdon Powder Company has introduced some new powders from IMR. They own the company, and they brought out some new Enduron and Flake powders some work well in this and similar rounds. I would suggest giving them a try. With proper loads, they perform very well and burn cleanly. For info on their products and loading data go to

Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62x39 Bullet Load Test
Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39 Bullet Load Test

The 220-grain cast bullet can give surprising penetration because of its high sectional density and won’t expand much in most materials. It would be a nice load for a suppressor. If you want a real light bullet to try, the 71gr FMJ meant for the 32 autos. I put a cannelure in it to hold it in place and since it is a jacketed slug high velocity are obtainable. The cast is used for small game and pests and can work well at moderate speeds. A 125 or 150-grain soft nose would be useful for deer at medium ranges. I wouldn’t use it on large deer or bear through a correctly placed bullet do the job.

7.62x39 with ARX Bullets
7.62×39 with ARX Bullets: The 7.62 X 39 with a common 150 gr & a 90 gr ARX the bullets are the same size but weigh differently.

A couple of examples on what the 7.62×39 can do. A 123-gr spire point at the muzzle is 2000 FPS and at 100 yards will still be doing 1850 FPS giving 935 FT-LBS of energy which puts it at nearly 1000 FT LBS which some shooters consider at the minimum amount of energy to reliably harvest a deer successfully.

A 150-grain spire point at 1900 muzzle velocity will still be traveling at 1720 FPS at 100 yards. Muzzle energy at the muzzle will be 1202 while at 100 yards will be 985. Therefore, you will have a 100-yard deer gun. If you go for a flat point or round nose a 170 grain at 1600 FPS at the muzzle will be going at 1450 at 100 yards. Muzzle energy will be 966 while at 100 yards will check in at 779. That would be minimal for deer. You might get more expansion, but you would be pushing it. Before going hunting with any rifle, you should be able to understand its limits to avoid wounding instead of harvesting it successfully.

You can go to most bullet websites and get recommendations on weight and type of bullets for the game you are hunting. In spite of what you might hear the 7.62×39 is not the equal of a 30-30.

Double Tap Ammo provided some samples for this test, and as usual, it was accurate and gave the advertised velocities. I have used their ammo in many calibers and always had good results. If you haven’t tried it, I would suggest giving it a try. They have many calibers and selection of loads for more info go to If you don’t hand load and want some excellent high performance with Double Tap, you are in luck.

In the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39 you have a versatile rifle in a compact package. You can cover a lot of territory, and you can put a 22-caliber bullet on the plastic sleeve. I haven’t tried it in this gun, but if you can develop an accurate load, then you have a nice varmint load. It may take some work, but the most worthwhile projects do.

The Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 7.62×39 is a handy carry around truck rifle much like the Ruger model 77 in .357 which is another neat gun while versatile doesn’t have the range of the 7.62 X 39 round. Based on quite a bit of shooting I would give this and the Trijicon scope a thumbs up. This setup will always have a place in my rack.

About Bob ShellBob Shell

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo. Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit:

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Bob Shell

To those readers who picked up on the scope it is indeed a Vortex & they should get credit as they put out a good product so for info go to


I always was a big fan of the 7.62×39 round, and even bigger fan of the Ak-47. When I was in Iraq I carried an Ak as a contractor, as well as being in the military I had picked up a captured Ak I carried it daily up in my gunners hatch of the Up armor 1117 and 1114’s. It would sit down in my hand hold on the turret. At the time I was a M249 gunner and Mk-19, our unit was stingy with ammo so this is why I had mine with me.

Jack A Furbush

This is a neat rifle. I like the older M77 in this caliber better, but those are hard to find a pricey. The Savage is a good rifle as well. The comment about U.S. troops switching to captured AKs as regular carry weapons ain’t so. In the confusion of contact with the enemy the last thing you need it to have one of your own light you up because you look like Charlie and sound like Charlie when the dance starts. Your squad leader, platoon leader and commpany co won’t allow it either for the same reason. Your fellow squad… Read more »


Lighten up, Frances.


I have a Ruger American Ranch in 7.62×39 .. useing Remington 123gr Corlokt.. I have taken 3 deer one Doe and two Bucks .. all big bodied .. taken from 75yds to 150yds … Never recovered a bullet .. all through and through.. two dropped after runing less than 25yds one at least 40yds .. great exit wounds .. I can’t say how happy I am with this carbine … Cheap ammo = lots of practice … mild recoil = lotz of practice.. Which helps in the field .. with bullet placement … I have always been a no magnum… Read more »


The fact that you said “assault rifles” throws out all of your credibility in this article


Really considering this as my next rifle, i like how compact and light it is and always been a fan of the caliber. I don’t have any experiance with rugers american line though, just heard good things. So quick question for thoughs of you who’ve been running this rifle awhile, (concidering handloads) is it capable of 1-1.5″ groups at 200yds? I don’t much like the ballistics of the round for hunting much passed that, most reviews i’ve seen are cheapy millsurp loads at 100 or so yards. Hoping to use this instead of lugging around my 20″ heavy barreld .308… Read more »

Bob Shell

With good loads you should be able to get 2″ groups at 200 yards. The problem is the lack of power at that range for most large game. A perfect shot placement would help but I can’t recommend it for 200 yards in most situations.

Howard Johnson

Two words: Edit, Punctate.

Seriously, 3x9x40mm ammo? I must make haste to acquire some of this rare cartridge.


The scope pictured is a vortex crossfire not a trijicon acupower.

Bob Shell

You are right a typo go to


Looks like a Vortex scope to me.


I have 2 questions. The first question is a AK- 47 such as a Aresonal will accept magazines in the 7.62×39 from a lot of different manufacturing companys. Will this rifle accept the same magazine as the Aresonal AK-47 or are they different?.
Second question is this rifle has no open sights only a scope mount. Can open ghost style sights be added and mounted or attached to the rear and front?.

Bob Shell

I don’t know about the magazines which will or will not fit but any good gunsmith can install those sights.


Magazines are the same as used in the Mini-30.


ak 47 mags will not fit the 762 ranch rifle

William Smale

I,m very interested in Ruger,s newrifle. I have some ammo for it. BUT, I,m so nervous n skeptical about this country,s attitude n mindset of guns, especially here in gun hating California, who want to do away with all guns and our right to hunt. You can,t walk out the door with any gun without being in violation of something. Hunting is miserable. Laws change just by crossing the street.


Sounds like you need to move and leave that state. They seem to continue to get worse everyday. The more they can lean and go to the left the better they like it. Pitiful. I feel sorry for anyone who has no other choice and has to stay there.

David Davey

They just keep voting for those Democrats, so what can you expect?

Steve Diaz

and what sort of accuracy were you getting ?
since there is only a general mention of group sizes the gun must have been inaccurate ( like the Mini-14) or you are just a poor tester


only the 10 and 20 rd mini 30 mags will fit

willy d

I got mine just last week, got it zeroed and shoots very good, only thing that I didn’t like is that the rifle doesn’t have the availability of open sights, I am not a big fan of scopes, I don’t do long range shooting, I think that the option of open sights should be there. The bolt action has very smooth and has very good accuracy I’m sure with trying different loads it will only improve.


I agree. A set of fixed sights, like that found on the Mini 14 and Mini 30 would be nice for these old eyes. The Ruger Ranch would not suffer from the overhead of a non-magnified or magnified optic.


Please edit, or tell me where I can get some of that Polycase 3-9X40 ammo. Is the bore true .311 like the AK or .310 like the .308?

Bob Shell

You can get the bullets or ammo @


I have owned the Ruger Ranch in 7.62x39mm for some time now. I shoot long guns left-handed (due to an injury to my right clavicle) and handguns right-handed. As a ‘lefty’ shooter, I have experienced no issues running the bolt, exchanging magazines, operating the safety, or being concerned about ejected cartridges hitting me. It is simply a matter of adapting to the firearm. While the article speaks of hand loading cartridges, the Ruger Ranch in 7.62x39mm will perform well shooting anything you want to throw in it; from hunting loads to foreign ammunition, brass or steel tell-cased. My Ruger Ranch… Read more »

John Dunlap

Everyone is different. I was “born in the mirror”, left handed, left eye dominant. I even kick a football with my left foot. I’ve adapted my needs and wants to the tool for my entire life, and to be blunt, in the age of CNC machining, I’m tired of it. Shell casings crossing through my field of view are distracting (especially when they hit my face or arm), and reduce my enjoyment of the activity. Likewise reaching over the rifle to work the bolt; I can do it, but it slows me down and distracts from the target. I don’t… Read more »


I did not note that I ran the bolt, and exchanged magazines with my ‘offhand’ did I? Since I am predominantly right-handed, it comes natural for me to operate controls on any long gun with my ‘strong side,’ including “ratchety” shotguns and MSRs. I agree that everyone is different, and I still have not adapted to running a lever-action left-handed, but have adapted to operating the safety, bolt release, and operating rod with my (left) shooting hand on MSRs. As far as shell and debris ejection goes, I have yet to be hit directly by an ejected shell, but have… Read more »

chris meyer

I feel your pain. I am left eye dominant, but my strong shooting hand is right. I am always shooting in a triangle with a pistol. Still working on my weak left.
I like shooting right handed rifles. Yes, I shoot them on the left, but they tend to work well once you get the drill down. I need a case deflector on semi- autos, but I am more comfortable with right hand guns at this point than left hand, even though I own a few.
I love my M-1 carbine, even though it often throws cases over my head…..

John Dunlap

Unfortunately, the decision makers at Ruger have not seen fit to offer this in a left handed version. In fact, they dropped all of the left handed 77’s except the Scout, the African and the Guide Gun (.375 only), and only offer the American in a few old standby deer cartridges and a long barreled Creedmoor. I’ve been a Ruger fan for years, but sad to say, my interest in the brand is fading.

Clayton Pope

I also am less than happy with the selection of left-handed choices my wish list is a heavy barrel 77/22 hornet
Breakdown 77/44 plus a 357 model with switch barrel abilities 256win mag options could include various finishes then totally out of or off the wall a 327mag downsized Ruger No1 walk around rifle yupper just a wish list

John Dunlap

I’ve been nagging Ruger for a long action Scout in .35 Whelen or 9.3x62mm (a Lion Scout, more or less) for a little over two years. Not holding my breath. I prefer controlled round feed, which leaves me pretty much with the used market, a Zastava M70, or a $$$$ custom job (unless I want a .308 or .375). If you’re OK with push feed, and I’m almost ready to run up the white flag on that one, the Savage Special Order Department is your go to. Savage will do what Ruger never has; semi customs. If they can piece… Read more »