The Best Deer Hunting Rifle at Every Price Point

by Braxton Taylor

Since their introduction in 2010, Ruger American rifles have been among the most successful low-to-mid-range bolt guns ever produced. There’s a reason. Though not much to look at, these rifles are lightweight, dependable, and accurate-for-the-money. Despite my best efforts at the reloading bench, I never cracked the consistently sub-MOA mark with my .308 American, but the rifle would shoot 1-1.2-inch groups all day. Considering the fact that I only paid $300 for it, that’s pretty damn good.

Ruger treated fans of the rifle to several significant upgrades last year with their introduction of the American Generation II. The new model features adjustable comb height and length of pull, more aesthetically pleasing stock options, threaded and Cerakoted barrels, a three-position safety, and an easily customizable mag well system. Plus, as with the original American, the Gen II rifle is capable of posting 0.75-1-inch groups with ammunition it likes.

Speaking of ammo, the American Gen II can be found in a huge range of cartridge options, including the 350 Legend for straight-wall areas along with common bottleneck cartridges like .308 Win., .270 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243 Win.

Cartridges Available: 350 Legend, 400 Legend, 6mm ARC, 6.5 Grendel, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., 204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .243 Win., 450 Bushmaster, .30-06 Springfield, .270 Win., .300 Win. Mag., 6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, 22 ARC


  • Adjustable Stock: Yes
  • Adjustable Trigger: Yes
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • Barrel Length: 20 inches
  • Price: $580

Honorable Mentions: Mossberg Patriot; Savage Arms Axis II; Weatherby Vanguard Obsidian; Winchester XPR

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