Sturm, Ruger & Co is definitely a hunter’s favorite. The brand just keeps knocking the ball out of the park with rifles like the Ruger Precision, 10/22, and Ruger American, among others.
One shining example is the Ruger American Predator bolt-action rifle.
It’s a well-designed rifle built for long-range precision shooting and it’s available in all kinds of calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .223 Remington. After being unveiled in 2012, it has become a top choice.
Given how reliable it is, along with its versatility, accuracy, and performance, I’m pretty sure hunters always take a second glance at the price tag. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more accurate rifle for the money.
The reason why the Ruger American Predator is a popular choice — almost as popular as the standard Ruger American — is its overall value and the aftermarket possibilities it allows for.
The most noticeable difference between the Ruger American and the Predator, is that the Predator rifle features a cold hammer-forged threaded barrel that can accommodate a suppressor or a muzzle brake.
Not only is it easy to operate and capable of extreme distance precision shooting, customizing it is almost effortless. The Predator model has a heavy taper barrel, but at 6.5 pounds, it’s still lightweight.
The Ruger American Predator features a one-piece scope rail and a moss green synthetic stock. Magazines and sling swivel studs are included with your purchase.
As the name suggests, it’s primarily intended for predator hunting, but due to the many varieties of calibers available, you can also hunt deer, elk, and other types of game with this rifle.
Customizing Your Ruger American Predator
With just under $1,000, you can buy the American Predator, restock on ammo, and completely customize it to your liking with stocks, optics, and bipods.
It’s already an exemplary long-range hunting rifle, but if you want to give it a different feel, it can be greatly improved and customized according to your preferences.
So, here are the essential parts, some optional but interesting accessories, and ammo boxes that will take the already impeccable performance of the American Predator bolt-action to perfection.
Scopes & Optics
After buying a Ruger American Predator, the first priority should be grabbing a decent optic.
The reason why this bolt-action rifle has such a reputation for precision shooting up to 1,000 yards is the Ruger barrel. It’s practically made for sub-MOA, long-distance shooting, and it definitely needs an optic for that range.
You can find the Ruger American Predator models with a Vortex Crossfire II scope, but the Picatinny one-piece scope rail begs for a high-quality, long-range optic lens; for instance, the Vortex Optics Viper scope is a great option.
For a price, it can hold its own in extended ranges with the VMR-1 reticle (MOA) and has multi-coated, low dispersion lenses for better resolution, light-gathering, and color clarity. The 4x zoom with side focus parallax adjustment is suitable for ranges up to 800 yards.
Athlon Optics Argos BTR, 6-24×50 First Focal Plane (FFP)
If you think that the Viper is too expensive, here’s a more affordable option.
The Argos BTR Riflescope from Athlon Optics has a 6-24×50 first focal plane reticle with advanced, multi-coated lenses that offer excellent light transmission for a fair price.
The 30mm tube is of decent quality and the APMR MIL-SPEC illuminated reticle has a simplistic design that has high shock resistance to recoil. The tube is made of 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum that’s waterproof and durable.
Vortex Optics 6.5-20×50 Parallax Adjustable Viper
The Viper 6.5-20×50 PA (Parallax Adjustable) optic costs as much as the Ruger American Predator itself, but you best believe it’s the only scope you’ll ever need. It fits the rifle fantastically and it has a VIP (lifetime) warranty.
The scope is capable of 1,000-yard shooting with 20x magnification using zero-stop turrets that are ¼ MOA click-adjustable. You can fine-tune your scope using the side focus parallax adjustment easily while your cheeks are on the stock.
The Viper has a 30mm main tube with a hard-anodized finish that offers solid shockproof durability, while the Mil-Dot reticle helps calculate the range, windage, and holdover.
The Viper optic is a premium option that offers the essentials in long-range shooting with the American Predator. Its consistency and overall quality when paired with this Ruger rifle are a precision-shooting force to be reckoned with.
For other rifle scopes under $300, check out our list of best rifle scopes here.
CVLIFE 6-9 Tactical Rifle Bipod
The CVLIFE 6-9 Tactical Rifle Bipod is a great budget option for a bipod. It provides sturdy support and is an excellent tactical option all thanks to its Picatinny mount adapter.
Given the lightweight durable stand, constructed of hardened stainless steel and aluminum, it’s amazing that the price is so low.
The CVLIFE offers strong tension screws and the adjustable spring-loaded legs make it a very mobile and flexible bipod option. It’s very easy to dismount and works perfectly for the American Predator.
You might have some leveling issues, but other than that, it’s a great aftermarket option that’s well within the $1,000 price range when combined with the rifle and the other upgrades.
I personally like the factory trigger on the Ruger American Predator. It offers a crisp release at 3-5 lbs of pull weight.
However, if it doesn’t feel right for you, there’s only one viable and worthy replacement: the Timney Trigger.
The Timney Trigger is an excellent trigger capable of improving your overall feel of shooting. It’s definitely one of the most important and prioritized aftermarket upgrades for a Predator rifle if the stock trigger doesn’t do it for you.
You can completely change how the trigger feels, making it lighter and more crisp, for just $130. With the Timney Trigger, you can adjust the pull weight from 1.5 pounds up to 4 pounds.
If you’d like to customize your follow-through, turn the overtravel screw clockwise when the trigger is in the fire position. After it stops, slightly turn it counterclockwise with an Allen wrench until you reach your desired follow-through.
It breaks like a Canadian icicle.
Magpul Hunter American Stock
The downside of the American Predator is definitely the stock. It’s decent, but most users and hunters complain about the comb height and dislike that the stock flexes, especially when using bipods.
As one of the most versatile stocks you can find on the internet today, the Magpul Hunter Stock offers sturdiness and durability that the factory-made stock lacks.
You can find various models, but I like to keep it matte green. I wouldn’t change a thing besides the recoil pad. It’s soft and has a good grip, but I believe it can be improved with some minor improvements.
There are other aftermarket stocks available, but the Magpul feels just right, especially when you’re using a bipod. The reinforced polymer construction, aluminum bedding, and excellent adjustability make this yet another essential aftermarket upgrade for the Ruger.
You can find a lot of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for the Ruger American Predator. There’s no need for fancy stuff; try out some Sellier & Bellot 131-grain or my personal favorite, the Winchester Expedition 142-grain.
I’ve had nothing but sub-MOA shots at 100 yards with 142-grain bullets, and Winchester has proven its mettle time and time again. Just straight flat-shooting, long-range accuracy, with controlled expansion for thick hide penetration and good knockdown power.
You’re welcome to try other bullets around the 170-grain range as well.
Conclusion: Accurate Shots Worth Every Dollar
The Ruger American Predator is an excellent bolt-action rifle with great aftermarket options.
It’s an astounding cost-effective firearm that focuses entirely on long-range accuracy, and the price allows you to budget more for all of the customization options that take this rifle to the next level. That’s exactly what makes it so popular.
All it needs is a little push, and it can be close to perfection for any hunter or long-range shooter that’s looking for an accurate sub-MOA bolt-action rifle.
When you get your hands on the Ruger American Predator, the first thing to do is to grab the Viper optic, CVLIFE 6-9 Tactical Rifle Bipod, Magpul Hunter American Stock, Timney Trigger, and you’ve got an A+ setup perfect for long-distance hunting.
Everything else depends on your taste and preference entirely, but—in my opinion—the parts we mentioned can certainly be a step-up for the Ruger American Predator.
However, it’s already a highly functional long-range rifle in the $1000 range, and it can be close to perfection for any hunter or long-range shooter that’s looking for an accurate sub-MOA bolt-action rifle.
Simply put, the Ruger American Predator is an impressive rifle for the price tag, and you can safely say that it’s a new standard in long-range rifles. It comes with sling swivels, has immense accuracy, and very manageable recoil for a rifle this lightweight.
What do you think of the Ruger American Predator? How would you upgrade it? Let us know in the comments.