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Old 08-23-2019, 01:51 PM   #1
Brad96
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Default Ruger American Predator .308 Trouble

My first rifle was a Ruger American Rifle in .243. I wanted a .308, but my son who was interested in hunting was young and recoil-sensitive at the time, so we got the .243. It shot sub-MOA with American Whitetail and performed flawlessly.

Fast-forward a few years. Now my son is less recoil-sensitive, and I would also like a threaded barrel. So, I traded another TBHer my .243 RAR for his .308 RAP (Ruger American Predator). When I test-fired the RAP, it was a little off from the bull's eye, but made a reasonably tight group, so I figured it was good.

Unfortunately, every time I took it out, it seems like I was having to adjust the scope again. Plus, I couldn't get consistent, tight groups, no matter which ammo I tried. I checked that the scope mounting screws were tight. I removed the scope and remounted it. I removed the stock, ground away the plastic that was touching the barrel, and remounted the stock. I even swapped the scope from another rifle that was shooting well.

None of these efforts fixed the problem. I don't even want to add up how much money I spent on ammo, trying to trouble-shoot this thing. I was just about ready to toss it in the river and buy another rifle.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:56 PM   #2
Tx Trad Archery
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Just curious, but are you cleaning the rifle in between outings to the range?
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #3
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Probably why he traded with you
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:01 PM   #4
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I made one last try to figure this thing out. I bought a used lead sled from the TBH classifieds, to help remove my own unsteadiness from the equation. And, I brought a friend along, who knows more about guns than I do.

Shooting from the unweighted sled at 100 yards, my first shot looked good. But, subsequent shots strung out to the left. They didn't necessarily move progressively further left with each shot. One would be near the bull's eye, the next would be several inches left.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tx Trad Archery View Post
Just curious, but are you cleaning the rifle in between outings to the range?
Yes. I should have mentioned that I was cleaning the barrel after each range session.

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Originally Posted by TxAg View Post
Probably why he traded with you
I know. Someone else got frustrated with this rifle, and traded it away. I thought because it shot a decent 3-shot group once, that it was fine. My mistake.

But, I think this story is going to have a happy ending anyway.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:07 PM   #6
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I would switch up the ammo for what is most ideal weight for your barrel twist. My 308 was grouping a few then a few way off. It did not like the 150 grain bullets. Changed to 168 grain and it is extremely accurate and consistent now. That would be the ideal issue. Hopefully it's not the gun.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:14 PM   #7
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So, I got the idea that maybe the barrel was heating up, and shifting the POI. I should mention that it was nearly 100 degrees when I shot that target above.

So, the next thing we tried was waiting 4 minutes between shots, with the bolt open during the waiting period. That produced the 3-shot group that I circled in the next picture. At that point, I started adjusting the scope, so the rest of the holes aren't really a group, exactly.

But, you can still see a drastic improvement in how this rifle shoots when it's allowed to cool between shots.

For the previous target, with the holes all strung out to the left, I wasn't shooting hurriedly. I was taking my time to aim very carefully for each shot, trying to remove most of the human error from the situation.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fmjag64 View Post
I would switch up the ammo for what is most ideal weight for your barrel twist. My 308 was grouping a few then a few way off. It did not like the 150 grain bullets. Changed to 168 grain and it is extremely accurate and consistent now. That would be the ideal issue. Hopefully it's not the gun.
Sure. The first time I took it to the range, I brought a bunch of different ammo with me, to see what it would like. I don't remember everything that I tried. Mostly 150 gr, but I'm pretty sure there was at least one with 165 gr or heavier bullets. But, the rifle didn't really seem to like anything that I fed it.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:26 PM   #9
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After shooting that last target, and making final scope adjustments, I figured it would still make a decent hunting rifle. The first shot from a cold barrel seems to be good. That's usually the most important shot, if not the ONLY shot. But, follow-up shots might be questionable. And, it's no fun for punching paper or plinking, if you have to sit and wait for the barrel to cool between shots.

Just for grins, I called up Ruger, to see if they had any ideas that I hadn't already tried. The lady that I talked to in customer service said that it sounded like a barrel issue, and asked if I would send it in, so they could check it out. I agreed, and she e-mailed me a shipping label. Since I wasn't paying for shipping, I figured the only downside to me is that I had to remove the scope. If they sent the rifle back to me and said it was fine, then I'd have to remount and re-zero the scope. Plus, be without the rifle for a little bit.

So, I removed the scope, boxed it up, and sent it back to Ruger.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:37 PM   #10
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OK, I'm finally getting this story caught up to the present day.

I dropped the rifle off at the UPS store on 8/5. As a quick side note, I used my original .243 RAR box to ship it. But, Ruger asked me to cover up any markings that would indicate the contents, which I did. So, I guess UPS is OK shipping firearms, as long as it doesn't look too obviously like a firearm. I suppose this size box might be used to ship a large umbrella. Anyway, a couple days later, I got an e-mail saying that they had received it. A few days after that, another e-mail saying it had been assigned to a technician.

Today, I got an e-mail saying that they are replacing the rifle at no charge to me!

So, based on this one experience, I have so far been pretty impressed with Ruger's customer service. Note that I am not the original purchaser of this rifle. I don't know how old it is (Ruger does, based on the serial#), how many rounds have been through it, or how it's been treated. But, they found it to be defective, and are sending me a new one. Hopefully the new RAP shoots as well as my original .243 RAR did, since these inexpensive Ruger Americans have a reputation for being accurate.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:40 PM   #11
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did you torque the action screws after removing the stock?
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:45 PM   #12
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That's awesome. When you get it back, google the best bullet weight for whatever twist your barrel has. My 308 has a 1:10 twist and loves the Hornady Superformace 168 grain SST. It hated 150 grain bullets and would not group them. That will make it even more accurate bc that is supposed to be a very accurate budget friendly gun. Multiple forums online with long range shooters taking 1k yard shots with Ruger American Predators.
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:08 PM   #13
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Glad they’re taking care of you! Let us know how the new one shoots.
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinR View Post
did you torque the action screws after removing the stock?
I'll admit that I couldn't quickly find the proper torque spec for those 2 screws, so I hand-tightened them to what felt good.

Going off on a random tangent, I love it when spec's like this are labeled right on the product. My Schwinn mountain bike has the proper torque for the handlebar stem screw labeled right there next to it. You don't have to go looking for the manual, or searching the internet. Kind of like when the oil cap on your car says, "5w30" right on top of it. I know I'm being kind of lazy, but that's super convenient. Sometimes these spec's are hard to find, even if you have the manual, and a good internet connection.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:40 PM   #15
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Were you using a bipod by any chance? My American gets all wonky if I shoot with a bipod with any load on it
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:52 PM   #16
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Interesting, but no, I don't have a bipod. My last session was all from a lead sled. Before that, I was using sand bags under the fore end of the stock.
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:34 AM   #17
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Glad that Ruger is taking care of the problem. Hope the issues with the rifle were unknown to the original owner.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:17 AM   #18
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What scope and mounts and did ou try a different scope?
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Old 08-24-2019, 06:59 AM   #19
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The Predator version prefers lite weight projectiles. Try a 115 gr
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Old 08-24-2019, 03:07 PM   #20
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Sounds like Ruger did some quick QA measuring and found the problem. Good product warranty service.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:02 PM   #21
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That kind of customer service will definitely make me consider ruger in the future.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:45 AM   #22
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Great to hear. I have been looking at a RA to set up as a night time rig for pigs.


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Old 08-25-2019, 09:19 AM   #23
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I'm interested to hear how the new rifle does. I'm considering the same rifle.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:22 AM   #24
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I guess Ruger didn't tell you the problem they identified?
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:16 AM   #25
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Having a similar issue with a Weatherby Vanguard S2 in 25-06 I bought new. Almost same story, groups aren't as bad as these, but these guns are guaranteed sub moa with a 3 shot group, and this gun hasn't come close after doing there recommended break in and trying 5 different kinds of ammo. Got the RA and shipping label, gun is going back to Weatherby tomorrow. Guess we'll find out how there customer service is.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:17 AM   #26
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After the barrel gets just a little warm we're talking about 4-5inch groups.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:57 PM   #27
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I have a RAP in 5.56. It is very picky on where you place the sandbags under the forend. The closer you bag it near the trigger guard, the better it shoots. I have heard this from others on this forum. Hope your replacement shoots good. Update when you get some ammo through it.


Lone Wolf, my 25-06 in a Tikka T3 lite wouldn't shoot til I ran almost 50 rounds through it. Then all of a sudden it shoots lights out. Not sure what was going on, but it was my second range trip with it, and if it didn't shoot straight, I was going to escalate. Turned out ok though. Hope your Vangard comes back fixed.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:16 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnyart View Post
I guess Ruger didn't tell you the problem they identified?
No, they didn't give me a lot of detail:
"After a careful examination of the above referenced firearm, we find it necessary to replace it at no charge."

I'll come back and update this thread when I get the new rifle out to the range. Hopefully, I'll be posting some much better groups.

It might be a little while, though. I just got an e-mail update this morning. Due to a seasonal factory shutdown, the new rifle is expected to ship by 9/13.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:16 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double bogey View Post
I have a RAP in 5.56. It is very picky on where you place the sandbags under the forend. The closer you bag it near the trigger guard, the better it shoots. I have heard this from others on this forum. Hope your replacement shoots good. Update when you get some ammo through it.


Lone Wolf, my 25-06 in a Tikka T3 lite wouldn't shoot til I ran almost 50 rounds through it. Then all of a sudden it shoots lights out. Not sure what was going on, but it was my second range trip with it, and if it didn't shoot straight, I was going to escalate. Turned out ok though. Hope your Vangard comes back fixed.
I appreciate it. Well it's actually my son's first rifle, he saved up $$ from mowing grass, and we picked out the caliber and rifle together, so he's been kinda bummed about it. We've been to the range twice, and the two factory loads it seems to like are the Hornady superformance and Federal Premium Sierra Gameking. It will put two tight and then the third offs 3 inches, then it's all over the place, like the barrel get's just a little warm and it starts throwing 5 inch groups.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:10 AM   #30
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I have the same rifle for my son (12). It does a little better than MOA with 165 Nosler Accubonds. The shorter barrel means a little less velocity so clicking a little under 2600 FPS with them, but plenty to get the job done and hits where you aim them.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:55 PM   #31
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Smile Update!

OK, I finally have an update on my RAP. Ruger had told me that the new rifle would ship by the week of 9/9, and they would send me a tracking# when it shipped. Well, I never got the tracking# e-mail, but my LGS called me on Monday (9/9), saying I had a firearm ready for pickup. I had to pay the FFL transfer fee, but I'm not complaining.

I did notice a few minor differences between the old and new Predator rifles:
1. The front of the stock easily cleared the barrel, instead of touching.
2. The mag well is now a separate plastic insert, instead of being part of the stock.
3. The magazine no longer has a metal rotary "pusher" blade (probably the wrong word). Now it has a plastic piece that pushes the rounds straight up.

OK, but how does it shoot? I'm glad you asked. My son and I took it to the 100-yard range yesterday, and it did pretty well. Much better than the previous one. I was shooting ~2" groups at 100 yards off of sand bags, with Hornady American Whitetail 150 grain bullets. And it didn't seem to shift at all when the barrel got hot. I know these groups aren't going to win any competitions, but I'm not an expert rifleman, and it will do fine for hogs and deer at the distances I'm hunting.

So, I'm happy with it. I might try some different rounds in it at a later date. We didn't have time for a lot of experimentation yesterday. A number of people have told me that the .308 RAP's like a heavier bullet, so I'll try that at some point.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:15 PM   #32
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Grouping looks good. Try the federal fusion ammo in a 165 grain.

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Old 09-15-2019, 09:06 PM   #33
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Red face

I appreciate the suggestions on ammo. I'll try some of those.

Now I have to admit that I'm an idiot. I pulled the rifle out of the case tonight to clean it up and put it away, and it rattled in my hands. The scope mounts were so loose, the scope was moving around. Apparently, I didn't get all the screws tight enough. Duh.

So, I've got them Loctited and torqued now. I wonder what kind of group it will shoot with a tight scope?
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:11 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad96 View Post
I appreciate the suggestions on ammo. I'll try some of those.

Now I have to admit that I'm an idiot. I pulled the rifle out of the case tonight to clean it up and put it away, and it rattled in my hands. The scope mounts were so loose, the scope was moving around. Apparently, I didn't get all the screws tight enough. Duh.

So, I've got them Loctited and torqued now. I wonder what kind of group it will shoot with a tight scope?
Keep us updated
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:23 PM   #35
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Can’t beat that!
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