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Building a Custom Ruger American Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor

We Put Together a General-Purpose Bolt Gun with the Ruger American in 6.5CM

“Building” guns is fun, and tailoring them to fit a certain need or niche is generally how these things get started. In this case, the General-Purpose American Bolt Gun concept stemmed from friends bragging about how much better 6.5 Creedmoor is than .308 Winchester. That type of razzing encouragement became the basis of this build.

Racks of bolt guns lined the local gun shop but finding one in 6.5CM proved to be somewhat difficult. It’s an extremely popular caliber these days, and rifles are high in demand. In a lineup of Ruger American rifles sat a standard 6.5CM sporting a 20-inch barrel and a plain black plastic stock. At $479.99, it fit the budget and the singular parameter of being in the correct caliber. A longer barrel may be better, but this 20-incher will work fine; plus, being a bit shorter helps with transportation. Some velocity, however, is sacrificed. The rifle stock itself wasn’t ideal for the overall cool and functional factor we’re trying to achieve, so that was first on the list.

THE BUILD

The Ruger American series’ growing popularity means consumers get more options and competitive pricing when it comes to aftermarket accessories. Ditching the stock for a chassis was a logical choice for the general-purpose rifle, and Oryx’s price point couldn’t be beat. The chassis is a one-piece 6061 aluminum design and ensures a full free float barrel. Not that we think the factory stock would crack or break, but it certainly had more flex to it than we wanted, particularly when using a bipod. 

Another benefit to the Oryx chassis is the ability to use larger capacity magazines in an AI-pattern instead of the factory Ruger rotary magazines. These magazines are now more affordable and readily available from Magpul and several others. The chassis came with an MDT pistol grip that’s super grippy and oversized, helping position the shooter’s thumb to the right side — or left, if you’re wrong-handed. Lastly, the chassis features an adjustable length of pull using spacers and an adjustable comb height. Installation of the chassis was very easy: Remove the factory stock and barreled action, then drop it into the chassis. Turn a few screws, and you’re in business. 

The underside of the Oryx chassis has M-LOK slots for mounting a bipod or other attachments like a tripod mount. We didn’t necessarily want to get a separate M-LOK piece then add a bipod, so we opted for the Magpul bipod that directly attaches to the chassis, eliminating the need for an extra piece. 

Custom buttstock, fully adjustable

Topping the rifle, we sprung for an Outer Impact Picatinny base and a Horus Vision HoVR 5-20x50mm first focal plane scope. The HoVR was the best option for getting the TREMOR3 reticle without laying down double or triple the price for an optic. Still, it’s easily the most expensive part of the build. Once you learn how to use the reticle, it’s hard to get away from it without feeling like you’re sacrificing capability or getting used to dialing again. Warne Mountain Tech lightweight scope rings in a medium height were selected due to their weight savings, strength, and availability. Mounting all the components was a breeze using the Arisaka Optic Leveler kit. This is a very handy little tool that slides onto the rail and has a groove for a wedge piece. The wedge piece will then contact the underside of the scope, forcing it to align with the rifle scope base — no levels necessary. 

FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS

Down the line, we plan to add an anti-cant device such as the scope-mounted wares from Flatline Ops. This will help identify the problem of canting the rifle and groups being affected at longer ranges. A small downside to the chassis is the lack of sling attachments; understandably, few competition shooters use a sling, but for an all-around gun it’d be nice to have. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for us, however. Another handy add-on for down the road is from an outfit known as Jamer. The Benchrest Bag Rider is an extended piece that fits into the stock, giving more real estate for a bench bag while adding very minimal weight and adding to stability. Speaking of adding minimal weight, we also plan to put a two-round match-saver quiver on the side of the rifle like the one from Short Action Precision for fast reloads — and to look cooler.

Custom Ruger American Rifle

LOOSE ROUNDS 

This bolt gun was assembled and customized with common tools in our garage. It covers most needs for a range gun, hunting rifle, and possibly even as a production-level Precision Rifle Series contender. This rifle package is capable of 1,000-yard shots. Coupled with the TREMOR3 reticle, increased magazine capacity, and overall weight of 12 pounds, we’ve arrived at a general-purpose rifle that’s at home in the field, on the range, and in competition. 

Rifle

MSRP

Ruger American Standard

$480

Components

MSRP

Chassis: Oryx Beisa

$399

Picatinny Mount: OuterImpact

$43

Scope Rings: Warne Mountain Tech

$112

Scope: Horus Vision HoVR 5-20×50

$1,500

Accessories

MSRP

Bipod: Magpul M-LOK

$105

Magazine: Magpul AICS

$38

Total:

$2,677

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