RUGER American Compact in 22LR REVIEW

RUGER American Compact in 22LR REVIEW

The BUY USED GUNS Team Review the Ruger American COMPACT in 22LR


Welcome shooters and thanks for reading another Buy Used Guns Review! We have just spent the last couple of months playing with the Ruger American COMPACT chambered in 22LR and needless to say, we are very impressed. We have broken down the many different aspects of the rifle for you below and outlined the good, the bad and thankfully no ugly. 



What do I get for my money?

For under $400? Quite a lot actually! We received our Ruger American in a cardboard box (like most rifles these days) with the usual manual, action lock, 1 x 10 round magazine and 2 x 'interchangeable stock modules' which basically change the height of the comb. The receiver is machined to accept 3/8" dovetail rings and is drilled and tapped to accept standard Weaver #12 bases. We were a bit disappointed the rifle did not come with bases as one of the Ruger American's competitors, the Savage line of rimfires, come with aluminum weaver bases. We can't imagine supplying some aluminum bases with the American Rimfire would be costly for Ruger but then you're still getting a lot of rifle for your money.



Bases aside, you are getting a fantastic rifle with features not found on other rifles at this price point. For under $400 you get a rifle made by Ruger (a gun manufacture well known for making reliable and quality rifles), the ability to take 10/22 magazines, an adjustable trigger, a free-floating barrel, a fibre optic sight, the ability to mount scopes using weaver and dovetail bases and an adjustable stock! We think this is a huge selling point for the rifle. We did not do a lot of research on other rimfire rifles at this price point but we imagine you would struggle to find something else with the above features.


What's the Difference Between the COMPACT and Standard American Rimfire?

Not a lot really. The COMPACT is just a bit shorter on both ends and subsequently a bit lighter. The barrel on the standard American is 22 inches verses 18 inches on the COMPACT. The standard model also comes with a slightly longer stock module making the length of pull 13.75 inches verses the COMPACT'S length of pull of 12.5 inches. Losing four inches of barrel does help in the weight department with over half a pound difference between the two models, 5.38 pounds for the COMPACT and 6 pounds for the standard model. 

Ruger has also just released threaded barrel versions of their Ruger American.




Size and Weight

As you would expect with most rimfire rifles, the Ruger American is light and easy to maneuver around which is helped by the short 18 inch barrel. We found the short barrel to be very handy for shooting out of a vehicle and general handling of the rifle. You do not need a long barrel to make the most of the little 22LR round. The barrel has a medium contour being half way between a thin sporter barrel and a heavy varmint barrel. We noticed the rifle is a bit front heavy but nothing to really worry about, it's just a bit heavier than a sporter barrel. 

We shot approximately 50 rounds through the barrel only stopping to reload, and whilst the barrel was hot, it was still mild enough to hold. We found the length of pull was a little short and those of you with long arms may find it uncomfortable however we managed fine and it is certainly not a deal breaker for us. This does however make it a great rifle for teaching younger shooters. There are stock modules available from Ruger that increase the length of pull however they are not included with the compact model. 

Feel free to scroll down to the end of the review to read the specifications of the rifle as listed by Ruger and verified by us.




Shooting the Ruger American COMPACT

We spent a lot of range time shooting this rifle and after you read this review we have probably clocked up well over 1500 rounds (which realistically is nothing for a rimfire). We also did a bit of bunny shooting and as mentioned above, the compact size and light weight made it the perfect rifle for lugging around the paddock and knocking over a few pests. We will break the different aspects of the rifle down into a few topics to give you a better understanding of this great little rifle.


Stock and Interchangeable Stock Modules

The Ruger American COMPACT comes with a black composite stock with serrations to help with grip. We liked the overall feel of the stock. It felt solid and tough unlike the plastic stocks on other rimfire rifles such as the Savage (Sorry Savage but your stocks feel like Tupperware containers). You also get front and rear sling studs (pretty standard these days).

What you also get is the ability to swap between two different height comb pieces supplied with the rifle. Ruger claims the flat or lower module is for using the open sights and the raised module for using a scope. We tested both modules and can verify they do a great job putting your head and eyes at the level they need to be. Only downside is we found it impossible to use the open sights with the higher module, we simply could not get our head down far enough. So remember if you want to change back to open sights, you are going to have to change back to the lower module!




Changing the modules over is simple, quick and easy. You simply unscrew the rear sling stud with something long and thin, such as a screwdriver and slide the module piece off. Slide the new one on, re tighten the sling stud and you're done! The module pieces are a snug fit and did not have any play. This is just another nod to the quality you can expect from Ruger. As we have already mentioned there are stock modules available from Ruger which increase the length of pull. 



Another plus for this rifle, and one we can't stress enough is the ability to take 10/22 magazines. The little 10 shot rotary magazines made by Ruger are excellent and have been in use for decades by other rifles. These magazines are tough, reliable and compact due to the rotary design. The housing of the magazine is made from a tough polymer while the lips are steel. We have a few 10/22 magazines from a rifle made in the 80's that have seen tens of thousands of rounds and still work fine. The magazine release lever was easy to use and the magazines dropped free every time. 




We have shown in the above photos a few of the different 10/22 magazines available on the market today. On the left you will see three 10 round 10/22 magazines clipped together with a 'tri-clip'. The magazines are the same as the standard 10/22 magazine, just with a clear housing. Next we have the standard black 10/22 magazine followed by a Butler Creek 10 round magazine. This magazine is a bit different as it single stacks the rounds. Lastly on the right we have the Ruger made 25 round BX-25 Magazine, again a single stack magazine.

We liked the three 10 round magazines held in the 'tri-clip' the best. It is still compact enough to fit in your pocket and doesn't protrude far from the bottom of the rifle. Best of all you have 30 rounds on hand ready to go. 

NOTE* Please check your states/territories laws and regulations on magazine capacities before using magazines above 10 rounds.



The front sight on the Ruger is a Williams fibre optic sight and is fluro green in colour. We are big fans of fibre optic sights, they are easy to see and always bright, making target acquisition quick and easy. The rear sight is your standard adjustable V slot which can be folded down. Please note your scope mounts will need to be high enough for your scope to clear the rear sight.

You can knock a pin out to remove part of the sight if you are desperate for a millimeter or two of clearance however we wouldn't recommend it (we all know how easy it is to loose those little parts).





We liked the adjustable factory trigger on the Ruger and we found for hunting, plinking or anything besides competitive bench rest shooting it did its job well. Ruger claims the trigger is adjustable from three to five pounds. Adjusting the trigger is again, a simple affair. Remove the barrel and action from the stock by loosening two actions screws and you will see there is a small screw on the front of the trigger mechanism. Simply loosen the screw to lighten the trigger or tighten to increase pull weight. We lightened the trigger as far as we could and measured 10 pulls with our trigger pull gauge and came up with an average of 3.1 pounds, that's pretty close. 



You will also notice the little skeletonised blade on the trigger. This is a safety feature that requires the blade to be depressed before the trigger will fire which is a handy little feature. The trigger guard is molded with the stock making disassembly that much easier with fewer parts to be screwing back on. The stock trigger is crisp but with a small amount of creep, however, for plinking and hunting you will hardly notice. 



Besides the trigger safety as just mentioned, the Ruger comes with a tang mounted safety that is easily accessed with your thumb when holding the rifle. We liked the red colouring on the as it stands out. 





We mounted a 3-9x40 AR 223 scope made by Bushnell and headed to the range so we could really test the accuracy of this great little rifle. We will feature this scope in an up-coming review and go into a bit more detail for those interested. Scope mounts used were simple aluminum dovetail rings (more than suited for the harsh recoil of the 22LR!).



We spent a lot of time at the range with the Ruger American, trying over 30 different types of factory 22LR ammunition. We tried the cheapest and most expensive ammunition available to put this rifle through its paces and see what the little Ruger could really do. We have shown the best group from cheap ammunition (CCI) and the best group from the expensive stuff (RWS). As you can see, the Ruger American is an accurate rifle, you just have to find what it likes to eat! The below groups were shot using a front and rear rest at a distance of 50 metres.




On average however we found the Ruger will consistently put out 1 inch groups at 50m with most ammunition. If you are happy with this type of accuracy then grab a few boxes of different ammo with your rifle and you'll be set. If you want groups as small as you can go, you are going to have to spend the time shooting it with a variety of ammunition to find what your rifle likes. 



We have all come to expect a certain level of quality from Ruger and the Buy Used Guns Team is happy to announce the Ruger American Rimfire Compact is no exception. The action was initially rough but after a few hundred rounds has smoothed out and is a pleasure to use. It can be difficult to explain what constitutes a 'tough' or 'solid' action but that is simply how we would describe the action of the Ruger. If you have ever used Rugers line of M77/Hawkeye rifles you will understand the ruggedness we are referring to. What does this mean to the average shooter? This rifle is solid and will last you a lifetime if you take care of it. 

The barrel and action have a sleek satin blued finish which we quite liked and as already mentioned the composite stock is tough giving the shooter a confident grip on the rifle. There were no rough edges or issues with the quality or finish with our rifle. Simply put, the Ruger American Rimfire feels like it should be more expensive than it is.



What is there left to say? If you are in the market for a do-it-all bolt action 22LR then it is hard to go past the Ruger American Rimfire Compact. We don't even feel it is fair to mention the word 'budget' when describing this rifle but at under $400 it is! Budget rifles usually carry the stigma of having average quality and/or accuracy which isn't fair to put on the little Ruger. We will admit we haven't tried and tested every rifle on the market at this price point but we wager it is up there with the best, if not THE best rimfire on the market for under $400. 

There is only one thing left for you to do, get out there and grab one of these great rifles and test it for yourself! You can check out the full line of Ruger American Rifles and everything else Ruger at:


Thanks for reading another Buy Used Guns REVIEW. We have heaps more reviews coming up so keep an eye out.




  • Reliable and high quality
  • Accurate (with the right ammo!)
  • Ability to accept 10/22 mags
  • Adjustable trigger and stock
  • Open sights and two different scope mounting options
  • Cheap! but only in price



  • Not supplied with weaver bases
  • Length of pull on the compact version is a bit short but perfect for younger shooters (can be increased with different stock modules)
  • Ammo fussy


Specifications (as listed by Ruger and verified by the Buy Used Guns Team)

Barrel Length: 18 inches (45cm)

Barrel Twist: 1:16" RH

Weight: 5.38 pounds (2.44 KG)

Overall Length: 35.75 inches (90cm)




Bought one of these last year, good rabbit gun, love that it accepts 10/22 mags, good write up.

Shaz 04-06-2015 08:02PM

Had one of these but it never shot well, was a bit disappointed, I prefer Savage myself.

Matt 04-28-2015 03:38PM

Just got one of these but with the longer barrel. More fun than my tikka 270 and with a budget scope it's making 5 shot groups 3/4” to 1” at 50 metres, with Federal 36 grain hollow points from the 525 round budget box. Absolutely the best fun little rifle. Shot insanely tight groups at 25 metres with some Lapua target solids in standard velocity but that was just to see how they went, not really an option for plinking 200 rounds for fun at $20 for a 50 pack!! At the start it had a slightly stiff and rough action but after about 400 rounds it feels really good, not tikka smooth, but still pretty good. That spring tension in the magazine was a bit stiff at the start, but now after a bit of use the rounds are a lot easier to load into the magazine. Because the platform in the magazine is deep seated you will have trouble loading one individual round with an empty mag in the rifle. My only real gripe with this rifle is its ultimate strength.... The chamber is tight and no doubt contributes to its insane accuracy, however it also refuses to take Winchester hollow points, particularly those with squarish heads and large hollow points, I have found that 1 in 3 or 4 rounds will not feed into the chamber, the bullet just grabs the chamber and I then need to drop the mag and then the round. I have found excessive copper shavings after using the rounds and now don't use them. Sounds stupid but my next rifle will be another Ruger American 22.

Brad 08-14-2015 10:08PM

Hi there. I'm after a Ruger american compact module, both hi and lo modules for my wife's gun as the stock is just to long for her. thanks.

Tim Peters 11-15-2015 10:04AM

Hi Tim, sell them however we are unsure if they ship to Australia, you might have to speak with a gun dealer and/or the importer of Ruger products, thanks for reading our review!

Buy Used Guns 11-15-2015 11:05AM

Do all ruger american 22 magnums come with a thredded barrel? Even if they are bought in Australia?

Luke 02-02-2016 07:41AM

Im wondering weather the Ruger Silent SR 19000 Suppressor is available in Australia to suit the Ruger American .22 compact.

Mark Adams 02-17-2016 04:46PM

I would like to know if the Ruger silent SR 19000 suppressor to suit the Ruger American .22 is available in Australia to purchase.

Mark Adams 02-17-2016 04:48PM

Luke - No not all, you would need to speak with your local gun store.

Mark - Short and long answer - NO. You would likely need an Attorney Generals permit to import a silencer and they would probably only give it the military/Police. Silencers are very regulated in Australia and likely illegal for you to own unless you are one of the very very few who live in the right state and fulfil the required criteria.

Dee 02-17-2016 07:03PM
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