Ruger American Ranch Rifle .450 Bushmaster



The origins of a new rifle/cartridge combination are as diverse as their manufacturers. Most ideas start within the company and then work through an approval process before the new product ever sees the light of day. These companies are fed a steady diet of new product ideas from their research and development personnel, sales reps in the field and, of course, loyal customers.

RugerAmericanRanchSpecTableRuger told G&A that the idea for the Ruger American in .450 Bushmaster started in Michigan a few years ago. The state government decided to change the deer hunting laws in the southern half of the state to include limited rifle cartridges. That amendment opened the door for rifles chambered in .35-caliber cartridges or greater with a case length between 1.16 and 1.80 inches. Those cartridge dimensions ensure that the bullets fired won’t travel too far.

The .450 Bushmaster was a perfect fit, and gun dealers in Michigan began selling custom rifles chambered in the cartridge. The problem was that those rifles were expensive. Of course, any AR could accept an upper receiver chambered in .450 Bushmaster, but the upper is still pricey and that option assumes the hunter already has an AR and likes to hunt with it.


Dealers and distributors in Michigan made their desires for an inexpensive and light rifle that met legal requirements for deer hunting known to Ruger, and it didn’t take long for Ruger to respond. Chambering the Ruger American in .450 Bushmaster was a good answer.

The injection-­molded polymer stock has an integral triggerguard and a detachable box magazine. This is a simple, cost- effective and lightweight design.

The injection-­molded polymer stock has an integral triggerguard and a detachable box magazine. This is a simple, cost-
effective and lightweight design.

The Ruger American in .450 Bushmaster gives the shooter the ability to carry a very light rifle (5½ pounds) chambered in a powerful cartridge with ballistics almost identical to the .45-70. The .45-caliber, 250-grain bullet leaves Ruger’s muzzle at just over 2,200 feet per second (fps) and would be lethal on most game animals inside 200 yards. In G&A’s assessment, this could be the best general-­use rifle to hit the market in a very long time.

The .450 Bushmaster American is built around a very accurate hammer-­forged barrel that will last longer than button- or cut-rifled barrels. The muzzle is threaded at 1116×24, and all current production rifles come from the factory with an effective muzzlebrake. Early production rifles did not come with muzzlebrakes, and G&A’s test rifle was one of those early production runs. We’ve been told that Ruger added the muzzlebrake after production started to boost scope survivability as early rifles exhibited a propensity to destroy scopes because of the prodigious but unpunishing recoil. Given the lower price point of the American, and assuming scopes of comparable cost found a home atop them, the issue belonged to the scopes — not the rifle.

The muzzle is threaded, and current production rifles are equipped with a muzzlebrake.

The muzzle is threaded, and current production rifles are equipped with a muzzlebrake.

The action is the three-lug design in service across the American line. This action has a 70-degree bolt throw that leaves plenty of room between the bolt handle and the scope’s ocular housing. The short throw makes quickly cycling the bolt an obstacle-free affair. There is almost no chance that even a gloved hand will contact the scope when running the bolt.

When the action is open, the extractor sits dead center of the ejection port, with the ejector slightly below the action’s centerline. This means that fired cases will be pushed up and out of the ejection port with a very low probability of hitting the scope’s windage turret, no matter how low the optic is mounted.

There is a section of Picatinny rail mounted on top of the action that makes mounting a scope easy. The rail scope base runs almost the length of the entire receiver, so there is plenty of room to move the scope closer to or farther from the shooter’s face to optimize eye relief and obtain a full field of view. Given the stock’s fixed length of pull, the ability to adjust scope placement is an appreciated feature. This rifle has some recoil, so Ruger made sure the shooter could get the scope far enough away from their face to avoid getting “scoped.”

AmericanRanchRifleAmmoSpecThe rifle owes much of its light weight to the injection-molded polymer stock, which is slender and sits comfortably in the hands. The triggerguard is molded right into the stock, and a detachable three-round box magazine sits just forward of the triggerguard.

The .308 Win. (left) looks petite compared to the .450 Bushmaster.

The .308 Win. (left) looks petite compared to the .450 Bushmaster.

The best group of the day measured a scant .44 inch from center-to-center for three rounds fired at 100 yards. There are only three factory loads for the .450 Bushmaster, with two seeing enough production that they are readily accessible. Those two loads come from Hornady, and both use the 250-grain flex-tip (FTX) bullet. It is a polymer-tipped bullet designed specifically for the .450 Bushmaster and its velocity. The polymer tip means expansion starts on contact, and it’s safe to load in tubular magazines used with lever guns.

This Ruger American is a rifle that could just as easily handle whitetail hunting in the Southeast as it could camp duty in bear country. Its low cost, tremendous accuracy, light weight, short length and ballistic horsepower make it a solid choice for a wide range of tasks. Though rifles will have muzzlebrakes, we’d remove the brake for hunting (after confirming the zero, of course). The brake isn’t necessary and will make the rifle much louder to you and those nearby.

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44 thoughts on “Ruger American Ranch Rifle .450 Bushmaster

    1. Sorry, thought I was replying to your question posted below……… it’s in the spec at the top of the article

  1. Already own a marlin 45/70 with nice furniture plus i can buy ammo in various weights depending on what you hunt.

  2. I like the plastic stock. If you but a gun to use you don’t want the stock to get scratched and dented like wood would ! Most of my guns are plastic anymore !!!

  3. I WISH they’d make it in 458 SOCOM with a high twist rate.
    Better rifle bullet selection, the .45 cal bullets are for pistol velocities.
    Add the option for heavy 450g+ suppressed subsonic rounds.

  4. I was at the range a few weeks ago and the jerk beside me was shooting one of these with the brake installed. The concussion and debris from the shots was almost unbearable. I to stop trying to sight in till the jerk left. I did however like the looks of the rifle.

    1. Are you seriously complaining that when someone shoots their rifle responsibly at the range it goes BANG and that bothers you? That’s why good hearing protection is recommended. Maybe he needs the brake to mitigate the recoil. The man pays for his right to be there just like you and shoot whatever the range says is acceptable during open hours. It’s not all about you, to use your term- jerk.

  5. Wow!,
    Wait til you price ammo! It’s almost as high as 50. Cal if I own it, I want to shoot it regularly to be proficient. Cannot afford to plink with 1.70 round ammo.

    1. Mike, I live in crazy priced upstate NY and only pay 22-27 a box from my local dealer. You can find it pretty affordable out there especially if you live in a state where ammo is allowed to be shipped to.

  6. Not too pricey if it came with Black Walnut 1/4 sawed furniture and a cushioned buttstock ! My hearing would allow me to frustrate my way into a good spot at the range ! Couldn’t be much louder than my HMR 17 Taurus !

  7. Cool rifle, but the cartridge is a handicap. The sectional density of those .452″ (not .458″) diameter bullets limits the effectiveness at long range. If I wanted a 45 caliber rifle, I’d prefer 45-70 because of the availability of different bullets (I handload).

  8. Bought one last year for $399 at sportsmans guide. Put a Leopold 1.5-4 boar plex scope on it and it easily shoots 1″ groups with hornady black ammo. Killed a big 10pt at 100 yards with it

  9. Gentlemen,
    One spec that seems to be overlooked is the Michigan requirement that the cartridge case be max 1.8” long and straight wall; no bottleneck allowed. The .458 SOCOM is a bottleneck cartridge. The venerable 45-70 cartridge case is 2.105″ long. I’m sure some folks have figured out a way to shorten it to 1.8″, and with a 400 grain bullet with two canelures, the loaded coal would prob’ly function in our Marlin lever actions. I, personally, thought that the Michigan rule was specifically tailored for the .460 S&W but only single shot rifles are available in that chambering. Just sayin’.

    1. In response to the limiting of rounds a rifle has for hunting, more of a common sense thing. So that ‘hunters’ aren’t in the field with 30 round mags.

    2. Exactly. Ruger should have chambered it in 460 S&W. The longest legal limit. Minimum is .38 Special per Michigan rules.

  10. According to the article, the impetus for developing this particular round originated with whitetail hunters in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula where until recently, more than half the area was shotgun-only. The round was designed specifically for high-powered rifle knockdown ability with shotgun range limitations, due to population density in the areas previously rifle disallowed. Evidently, they figure there will be enough demand for it to make manufacturing the rifle & ammo profitable… time will tell.

  11. I have this rifle in 450 with the muzzle break. Extremely manageable recoil with the break. picked up this from my local dealer for $450, ammo goes around $22-27 a box. All in all, I am extremely happy with the performance especially with what I paid. stays under a inch at 100yds off a bench. can’t really go wrong with one. Enjoy gang!

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