Ruger Precision Rimfire

Ruger’s Precision Rimfire rifle sits in a nice spot in their product line. With the success of the Ruger Precision centerfire rifles, they realized the value of a rimfire version, which makes a great trainer for the centerfire rifles. It’s also for anyone who wants to get trigger time without spending a fortune. Although rimfire ammo is neither widely available nor as cheap as it was pre-Covid, it’s still inexpensive compared to centerfire ammo. And it’s great for younger or inexperienced shooters, wanting to hone their skills. A rimfire rifle bolt action makes it easy to work on the fundamentals. With little noise, and virtually no recoil, fatigue is less of a concern. Again, the price of ammo means you can shoot all day on even a small budget. So it makes perfect sense that Ruger brought this slightly scaled-down version to market.

Chassis and construction

The rifle action is fitted to a molded, high-strength glass-filled nylon chassis. It provides the advantages of an aluminum chassis – a strong, stable platform, at a reduced production cost. Out back, the same material is used for the fully adjustable buttstock. Ruger’s Quick-Fit stock is pretty sweet. Flip a single lever, and you can easily adjust length of pull as well as comb height. They’ve even marked the chassis, making it easy to adjust on-the-fly, for different shooters, or stages, when competing. Because I had a monopod, I didn’t use the window that’s molded into the stock for tethering a bag.

Ruger Precision Rimfire adjustable stock (shown with aftermarket monopod available at Ruger.com)

Ruger Precision Rimfire adjustable stock (shown with aftermarket monopod available at Ruger.com)

On the front of the chassis is a 15″ aluminum handguard. It free-floats the barrel, and has M-LOK slots on all four sides. I’m not a huge fan of rail accessories like lasers and lights, but this leaves all sorts of room for mounting a bipod. Again, with all that length, there’s no problem finding the right spot for a bipod. As long as I’m mentioning things I didn’t use, there is a QD socket for a sling. Since it went from the car or truck to the bench, table, or ground, I didn’t see the need for a sling. But it’s still a nice touch.

Features

Made from 1137 alloy steel, this 18″ heavy target barrel is cold hammer-forged. I went down quite the rabbit hole researching that steel, as well as the process. Short version, 1137 is a great steel for .22 barrels. And yes, hammer forging can definitely result in some precise rifling. It’s a way to inexpensively produce quality barrels using very expensive machines. As I found out over hundreds of rounds, this barrel can be plenty accurate. And it should remain that way for thousand and thousands of rounds. But if you want to swap it out, it’s no more difficult than changing out the barrel on an AR-style rifle. Like most modern rimfires, it’s threaded for 1/2 x 28 muzzle devices and suppressors.

Ruger Precision Rimfire trigger, and AR-style grip

Ruger Precision Rimfire trigger, and AR-style grip

A lot of thought went into the design of Ruger’s Marksman Adjustable™ trigger. Out of the box, it broke at about 2.5 pounds. Too light for the kids? Not light enough for your really long shots? No problem. Hidden in the buttstock is a wrench for adjusting it. Go down to 2.25, or up to 5 pounds, without any disassembly necessary. Behind the trigger is an AR-style grip, opening up plenty of aftermarket grip choices. On the left side of the receiver is a reversible AR-style safety. Ruger makes it easy to customize this rifle.

Ruger Precision Rimfire AR-style safety

Ruger Precision Rimfire AR-style safety

As delivered, the bolt throw is 1.5″, which is all that’s necessary for rimfire. But if you want to mimic the action of your centerfire, and build muscle memory, that could be problematic. Since this is a great trainer for the Ruger Precision Rifle centerfire variants, there’s a simple solution. Pop a clip out of the bolt, and it will require a full 3″. This is another great feature, as it brings the little rimfire another step closer to replicating my Ruger American Predator, which also sits in a chassis.

Like those really long shots, but your scope runs out of adjustment? The factory scope rail has 30 MOA of inclination built in. Suddenly, the longer shots got a little easier. Or in my case, I have one less excuse.

My personal setup

Before I went shooting, I had to add a few items. First and foremost was a scope. Thanks to a tip from a friend, I picked up a new Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16×42 on sale. Medium Burris Zee rings were chosen, because they have a good reputation, and were in stock the day I went shopping for rings. Up front, I tried a Harris-style bipod, a Magpul, and finally settled on a UTG Recon Flex M-Lok mount, which was very stable. Under the buttstock, I added a folding monopod to the Picatinny bag rider. The last two items will be covered in future reviews. With everything mounted and torqued, it was time to head outdoors and go shooting.

Ruger Precision Rimfire with aftermarket scope, bipod, and monopod

Ruger Precision Rimfire with aftermarket scope, bipod, and monopod

Ruger provides a single fifteen-round BX-15 magazine. While I prefer the ten-round rotary magazines, it fed just fine from the BX-15. I also tried the BX-25 with good results. Given the millions of Ruger 10/22s that have been sold, there’s a good chance that if you bought this rifle, you already had a 10/22, and therefore a few more magazines. I know I’ve got more than a dozen. That always makes range time more fun, when you don’t have to reload magazines.

Range time and accuracy

Although I did a quick setup from my work bench, when I got to the range, more adjustments were required. From there, I settled in behind the scope. It took me a few magazines to get into the rhythm of loading, shooting, and ejecting. But working the bolt is like the satisfaction you get from a manual transmission. Lift, pull, fling that spent brass. Push, drop, fire. Repeat. All while punching little holes, or ringing a gong. The bolt could be smoother, which I expect will work out over several hundred more rounds. But there were no feeding or ejection issues. I let my nephews run a few magazines through to help get the round count up. We had a pair of gongs out at about 100 yards. They each hit the 4″, and then rang the 3″ one. Smiles all around.

Ammo choice is an issue these days. It’s not like I can walk into my local shop and pick up bricks of different match grade rounds, or even some CCI. At one store, the choices were Browning or Winchester bulk. That caused a huge shift in how I approached this review. The option of feeding it an endless variety of match ammo until I got the tiniest groups didn’t exist for me. Many others are in the same boat. That meant my testing was done with what was readily available, not the best possible ammo. This still resulted in pretty consistent performance of around 1 MOA at 50 yards, achieved with CCI SV, and some Centurion by Aguila. I think I could improve on that with the “right ammo”, when it’s readily available again. In the meantime, steel gongs from 30 to 100 yards don’t stand a chance.

Conclusion

Although I’m not really what you would call a “precision” shooter, I’m a pretty good shot. Yet it’s clear to me the with the ammo limitations, I haven’t used the full potential of this rifle. At the same time, I’ve watched my friend’s daughter sit down behind it and hit every steel target she aimed at. Once dialed in, it’s a solid and reliable rifle that’s fun to shoot. Over nearly 500 rounds, we had zero failures of any kind. What may be more important, is that very rarely did we miss whatever we were shooting. In addition to our KYL rack and 1″ to 4″ spinners and gongs, nearly every empty shotgun hull, broken bit of a clay pigeon, or stray golf ball was hit with satisfying authority. Well, as much authority as a 36-40 grain projectile can impart.

If you want to know how well it punches paper, this review won’t tell you that. But if you want to know how much fun it is, I can vouch for it. As much as I love my semi-auto .22 rifles, the Ruger Precision Rimfire puts an even bigger smile on my face. No matter how accurate my custom rifles are, a good bolt action makes it look easy, out of the box. With the adjustable stock, plus grip and safety options, Ruger really lets you get the perfect fit. So the more time I spend with the Ruger Precision Rimfire, the more I enjoy it. My .308 is rewarding, but the noise and recoil is draining. Now, I can continue to have some fun and hone my skills without spending a fortune.

I’d like to thank Ruger for loaning me their Ruger Precision Rimfire for this review. When my loan period is up, I think I am going to see about giving this rifle a permanent home. It’s met all my expectations, and when my suppressor is out of ATF jail, I think it will be the perfect rifle for introducing new shooters to the sport. Check it out at Ruger.com.

Additional details

Model 8400. Accepts all Ruger 10/22 magazines, and ships with one 15 round Ruger BX-15 magazine. Weight 6.8 pounds. Overall length is 35.13″ – 38.63″. Length of pull adjustable from 12″ to 15.5″. MSRP $529.00