The ‘modified’ Ruger Ranch

I was most interested to read your review of the Ruger 7.62x39mm Ranch Rifle by Con Kapralos (Australian Shooter, October 2018). I own the same model.

Back in the day before it was surrendered, I used a Ruger 44 self-loader for pig hunting, a nice short barrel rifle, so the Ranch seemed to offer a similar function in a bolt action and better range. I changed the colour with brown liquid boot polish and added a red/green illuminated Sbedar scope I bought online for less than $100.

The excellent features of the rifle are accurately described in Con’s article. I’ve only used Hornady 123gr ammunition and it works well but the main issue is the bolt and magazine. I didn’t realise the bolt was not supposed to close on an empty magazine and for my rifle this is not the case. I thought it was poor machine tolerance at first when it sometimes caught and I filed the plastic magazine stop a little. I have the original five-round and a 10-round.

Both bolt and magazine move 2-3mm, the bolt being the loosest of any rifle I’ve ever used, so I thought it was just made down to a price rather than up to a tolerance. It comes down to how you insert the magazine and throw the bolt.

Then I discovered that if you push the base of the magazine to the bolt handle side it will catch the insertion stop and the bolt will close on the empty magazine. It’s a bit tricky until you get the hang of it. Who ever heard of a rifle where the bolt won’t close on an empty magazine!

Idiosyncrasies aside, the rifle is nice and light with little kick and great in confined spaces. I tossed up whether to buy the Bushmaster version with the muzzle break but settled for the 7.62 and am happy with my slightly modified choice.

Bruce McConachie, via email

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