It’s almost a sure bet that every good hunter knows that when game is in rut, extraordinarily good things can happen. So when I learned of a company called In-Rut Rifles that was offering custom made rifles at comparatively lunch bucket prices, I had to see for myself what they were like.
This past March, In-Rut introduced a lightweight version of its rifle at the SCI Greater Dacotah Chapter banquet in Rapid City, SD. “People were ecstatic. The sheep hunters went crazy over it,” according to In-Rut’s Mark Lembke.
So what is it about In-Rut Rifles that makes sheep hunters curl their lips and lick the air? “They are all hand done,” Lembke says when explaining how these are not “semi-custom,” but actual custom-made rifles. In-Rut starts with Remington Model 700 actions purchased directly from Remington (you cannot send your own), and then goes to work doing all of the established accuracy enhancing steps custom gunsmiths do with that action.
“We basically blueprint it,” says Lembke of the treatment In-Rut gives the actions. Blueprinting is a process where you try to make the tolerances as close to perfect as possible and that translates into accuracy. According to Lembke, on an In-Rut rifle that includes re-cutting the threads inside the action, truing the face of it and using a thicker and heavier recoil lug that is pinned to the front of the action. “[A] lot of other people don’t do that,” says Lembke when comparing In-Rut’s recoil lug to that of other custom gunsmiths.
In-Rut also trues the outside of the action, and re-times and hand laps the bolt for smooth operation and optimal locking lug contact. “We put Jewell triggers in them and that’s one of the best triggers out there,” says Lembke of the crisp, adjustable trigger.
Though In-Rut optionally offers stocks from other makers, they have an excellent one of their own. “Everyone is going to the aluminum bedding block. We took that out because of weight and [instead] we go pillar bedded,” says Lembke of the company’s carbon-fiber offering. “Our pillars are larger and they have grips on them and they keep them in the stock so they don’t jar loose…. Everything is custom glass-bedded and [the cut-rifled barrels] are free floating.”
In-Rut sent SCI a sample from its “Non-Typical” rifle line. This line differs from In-Rut’s “Typical” line in that the bolt handle is skeletonized and the bolt body and barrel are fluted to reduce weight and add visual appeal. “It’s a fully contoured 24-inch barrel,” says Lembke of the 8-pound, 6.5-284 Norma-chambered sample rifle.
I topped the In-Rut with a 2.5-12.5x42mm AccuPoint scope provided by SCI corporate sponsor, Trijicon. The In-Rut came already fitted with an EGW 20 MOA rail that should keep you from running out of scope elevation adjustment for nearly any conceivable long range shot, plus its Picatinny design makes mounting a scope extremely easy.
In-Rut kindly supplied several rounds of handloaded 130-grain Berger bullets, and SCI’s corporate sponsor, Norma-USA, provided several boxes of its American PH ammunition that’s loaded with the company’s excellent 156-grain Oryx bonded bullet.
This rifle, especially with its relatively mild 6.5-284 Norma chambering and thick rubber recoil pad, was extremely pleasant to shoot. It shoulders easily, points naturally and holds steady for unsupported shots despite its light weight. “People go up [to the gun], they like the look of it, they pull it up [to their shoulder] and they like the feel of it,” Lembke says, confirming that others shared our initial perception of the In-Rut.
True to the time-proven push-feed Remington action, feeding was consistently reliable, and the plunger ejector sent empties flying with equal force regardless of how quickly or slowly the action was worked. The hinged floorplate made instantly removing cartridges from the magazine a cinch. “We can get [actions with internal] magazines,” says Lembke, “but a lot of guys like the trap door [hinged floorplate]. It makes it lighter…That’s one of the benefits; that’s why I went with the trap door.”
The In-Rut Typical was consistently scary accurate on the first shot from a cold barrel, landing bullets precisely where we had the crosshair. “It’s the kind of rifle where you can really take advantage of all the calculus in modern long-range scopes,” noted SCI’s Director of Publications, Steve Comus, of the rifle’s accuracy and long range shooting potential.
That’s just the kind of performance In-Rut was going for, too, as Lembke describes his ideal customer as someone who wants long-range accuracy. “I live in the Black Hills and out here we have a lot of long range shooting,” he says. “I would say sheep hunters, deer hunters and pronghorn hunters — primarily guys who want a light rifle that shoots accurately at long range,” when describing someone who would benefit from the level of attention put into each of these rifles.
The current In-Rut Rifles are only the beginning for this new company. Future plans include coming out with the company’s own action that Lembke describes as having a three-lug bolt with an adjustable 2 1/2-pound trigger of their own design. “You can put different bolt handles on it and bolt faces, too,” he adds.
“We’re just getting our name out there now,” says Lembke. “We’d like to be perceived as a very accurate rifle for the money, but we’re still not cheap.” In-Rut has put together a team of talented gunsmiths and stockmakers who, through their experience and synergy have come up with a gun that shoots well and at a fairly reasonable price. These rifles aren’t “gun safe queens.” Instead, they’re what I’d call “custom utility guns” in that they have all the functional benefits of a custom gun, but without the drama.
- Manufacturer: In-Rut Rifles, LLC
- Model: Non-typical
- Calibers: .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., .25-’06 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, 6.5-284 Norma, .260 Rem., .270 Win., 28 Nosler, 7mm Rem. Mag., .30-‘06 Sprg., 30 Nosler, .300 Ultra Mag., .300 Win. Mag., .308 Win., .338 Ultra Mag., .338 Win. Mag., .338 Lapua, .375 H&H, .416 Rigby
- Action: Bolt-action repeating rifle
- Magazine Capacity: Varies with caliber
- Barrel: 24-inches match grade stainless steel with recessed target crown
- Trigger: Adjustable Jewell
- Sights: None. EGW 20 MOA rail.
- Stock: Custom pillar glass bedded Bell & Carlson, H-S Precision Kevlar or In-Rut sporter carbon-fiberglass stock with recoil pad. Choice of length of pull.
- Overall length: varies with length of pull.
- Weight: 7 to 8 pounds depending on chambering.
- Other: Choice of colored Cerakote metal finish: Granite, Black with Grey Web, Tan with Black Web, Red with Black Web, Moss Rock Camo, Olive with Black Web, Tundra Camo
- MSRP: $2850–Scott Mayer