Thompson Center Compass vs Ruger American: Backed by Results

TC-Compass vs Ruger American
Alfred Mendoza

When it comes to gun shopping, you’ll find it difficult to buy affordable yet solid picks. After all, they say you always get what you pay for. Here comes TC Compass vs Ruger American, both bolt-action rifles and equally sold at reasonable costs. 

Question is, are these rifles up to the quality test? Hold your fire as my team and I find out in this expert comparison.

While both TC and Ruger rifles have several similarities, the shooter’s preference is still the deciding factor when buying. Ruger American rifles are ergonomic and comfortable to handle, especially when you plan on doing some recreational shooting on the side. The Ruger gun also possesses advanced features that you won’t find in other rifles within the same price range. 

On the other hand, the silencer-compatible Thompson Center Compass rifle is just as cost-effective while providing any shooter a smooth and quiet shooting experience. It has a broader configuration range and polymer box magazine.

Comparison Table

TC Compass

  • Brand: Thompson Center Compass
  • Action Type: Bolt-action 
  • Twist Rate: 1:8; 1:9; 1:10; 1:12
  • Barrel: 22 inches; 24 inches
  • Calibers: 10 calibers
  • Weight: 3.29 kg / 7.25 lbs
  • Length: 104.14 cm / 41 inches

Ruger American

  • Brand: Ruger American
  • Action Type: Bolt-action
  • Twist Rate: 1:8; 1:9; 1:10
  • Barrel: 22 inches
  • Calibers: 5 calibers
  • Weight: 2.83 kg/6.24 lbs
  • Length: 108 cm / 42.52 inches

Any Similar Features?

Overall, both Ruger American and TC Compass are impressive bolt-action rifles at an incredibly budget-friendly price range. These rifles are ideal for both first-time and professional shooters who are on the lookout for something affordable but power-packed at the same time. Both have removable rifle magazines and adjustable trigger compression. They also come with accessories that you usually see in other rifles of the same caliber. 

  • Adjustable trigger pull
  • Cost-effective
  • Common rifle accessories
  • Removable magazines
  • Pre-drilled mounted scopes

In-Depth Comparison

Ruger & TC Compass Trigger

A steady trigger pull is crucial if you plan to land successive shot after shot on a target. The TC Compass rifle has this practical element since it has a trigger pull that can easily be adjusted from 3.5 pounds to 5 pounds.

Same with Ruger, which uses quite a similar trigger-level design. Ruger’s trigger compression can also be adjusted from 3 to 5 pounds, depending on your shooting preference.

rifle trigger

TC & Ruger Magazine

When it comes magazines, both the Ruger and TC rifles use removable, compact, and lightweight magazines, much like any other bolt-action rifles on the market today. Ruger’s magazine slips into the well nicely so that you won’t be troubled with any rattling issue at all. TC Compass uses a polymer magazine that’s ideal for outdoor shooting and straightforward reloading. We like TC Compass better since the polymer magazine felt more solid than Ruger’s plastic one.

Ergonomics & Design

As soon as we got our hands on both rifles, they looked pretty similar at first glance, but we were pretty impressed with TC Compass’ sleek design. The Thompson Center Compass rifle comes in 2 barrel lengths, 10 calibers, and 4 twist rates, which is more than what Ruger offers with its 3 twist rates and just around 5 calibers. However, when it comes to ergonomics, Ruger American is more straightforward and lighter to handle. Ruger’s portability makes it ideal for a long day of hunting and recreational shooting.

Rugar American Design

Ruger & TC Composite Stock

Ruger American’s stock is made with polymer, making the surface look well-aligned, textured, and compact. However, the grip itself feels a bit odd and substandard. On the other hand, the stock in TC feels better with the grip patterns working nicely with most shooting gloves. You may also use it with bare hands.

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What Scopes

When it comes to TC Compass vs Ruger American rifles, both have pre-drilled mounted scope holes, which you can easily customize according to your preference. The most common scopes Burris, Freedom, and Leupold, but no matter type of scope you use, it always boils down to the fact that a larger round will produce a stronger kick.

If you are interested in looking at more scopes, this comparison between Nikon Buckmaster and ProStaff might help you out.

Accuracy - Ruger American or TC Compass?

After testing both Ruger American and TC Compass on the range, we are pleased with the results. But there were a couple plus points for Ruger when it comes to accuracy.

For instance, Ruger’s floating barrel and straightforward design enhance any shooter’s precision control, making it easy to hit even long-range targets.

Ruger American Accuracy


Like most bolt-action rifles, both Ruger American and Thompson Center Compass are equipped with standard rifle accessories like sling and scope. But, it’s the threaded muzzle of the TC Compass rifle that gives it a slight edge since it can quickly secure other attachments like muzzle breaks and silencers at any time.

Will the TC and Ruger Rifles Work With Multiple Types of Ammunition?

While both Ruger American and TC rifles may work with different types of ammunition, we recommend using only high-quality rounds to achieve the best performance. Ruger, for instance, only favors ammunition based on US Industry Standards. Keep in mind that improper ammunition may destroy guns. [1]

If you have a different rifle on hand, you might want to take a look at an updated comparison between 6.5 Grendel and 308 here

Thomspon Center Compass Pros & Cons



Ruger American Pros & Cons



TC Compass or Ruger American? The Final Verdict

Between TC Compass vs Ruger American, some differences make one stand out over the other. After long hours of testing on the range, we think that both bolt-action rifles have impressive features like removable magazines and adjustable trigger pulls to give you a good shooting experience. Both are very cost-effective, too. 

TC Compass is ideally designed as an all-around rifle if you’re new to bolt-action rifles and want to test out how these rifles work. But if you want a rifle with a lightweight design and has better accuracy when shooting, go for the Ruger. 

If you are looking for other rifles, click here to view Remington 783 and 700.

TC Compass

Our #1 Recommendation

TC Compass

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