RiflesBolt ActionUsed£ 428 ONO
A very good .270 Ruger M77 MkII bolt action rifle.
Ruger M77 Mk2 rifle review.
When I think about US rifle manufacturers, the names that spring to mind are Remington and Winchester, but just as well-known are rifles manufactured by Ruger.
Ruger maintains a commanding presence in the firearms industry, a fact that is testament to the quality of its guns. Renowned for no-nonsense, good-quality rifles, Ruger has continued to manufacture the M77 stalking rifle since its introduction in 1968.
Despite the nomenclature of ‘standard’ on the test rifle, the Ruger M77 is anything but a run-of-the-mill rifle. It is available with blued or stainless steel finishes, with right or left-hand configurations, with wood or synthetic stocks, and in a comprehensive 27 differing calibres.
These range from the .204 Ruger – a cracking varmint round – all the way up to the mammoth .458 Lott, for dangerous game.
Bolt and action
‘Plain Jane’ is a term too often banded as a lack-lustre article, but without frills and adornments the M77 Mk2 is a practical, honest stalking rifle, with great built-in features.
The action closely resembles the Mauser 98 design – it has a layout of twin opposing locking lugs to the bolt and a large external extractor claw. This design has proved itself over the years – if it works, why change it?
The bolt handle is made from stainless steel and its angle is semi-doglegged, with a necessary cut-out on the upper side to allow clearance for a mounted scope. The rounded bolt-end is comfortable enough. The bolt is a Mauser type, with a lever at the rear left of the action that releases the bolt when it is pulled clear of the bolt raceways. Cartridges are fed from a magazine of an internal box-type, which is loaded from the top through the receiver cut-out. A floor-plate arrangement is used that will not unexpectedly open under heavy recoil.
Forging a path
Ruger uses a precision hammer-forged barrel that exhibits a deep and rich traditional blueing and looks every part the stalking rifle. The contour is standard sporter profile, with a relatively steeply tapered barrel and internally the button-rifled barrel is relatively free from tooling marks. Ruger has chosen to have the barrel bedded to the stock with a slight upward pressure ring at the base of the fore-end tip channel. Some manufacturers use such a system to stabilise barrel harmonics, while others free-float a barrel. Either way, the Ruger shot respectable groups in the field tests.
Trigger and safety
The safety is a three-position lever-operated unit sited on the right rear of the action. In its forward position the rifle is ready to fire, a middle setting indicates safe with the bolt still operable and a rear-most position shows the rifle is safe and the bolt is locked down. It is silent but a little awkward to operate in the field, especially with cold fingers after a long stalk.
Spoilt for stock choice
The M77 range of rifles has a diverse range of stocks, depending on your requirements. There are synthetic stocks for the serious shooter, laminated competition stocks for varmint use, shortened stocks for the young Shot or close-quarter use or a classical sporter-type walnut stock.
The quality of walnut is chosen with a close-grain pattern for strength but not necessarily beauty on the standard rifle. However, there was still a nice colour and detailing. The cut chequering is well-executed and both panels on the pistol grip and fore-end have a good pattern with sharp edges and no run-outs.
Getting good groups
Using the 1in Ruger scope mounts supplied, I fitted a well-used Leupold 3.5-10×42 scope, which suited the Ruger well. Recoil was subdued from the well-profiled stock and overall weight of nearly 9.5lb.
When loaded and locked, the M77 felt reassuringly solid. From testing on the bench and sticks the accuracy potential of the Ruger proved to be more than adequate.
The longevity of the M77 action design and its natural progression into this Mk2 version shows Bill Ruger got the original design in 1968 right. The M77 is a quality stalking rifle. The action is strong and reliable and I felt that I could get on with the stalk and not worry about knocking the rifle or damaging it. Quite often what I do not notice about a rifle out in the field is the best indication of its real performance. The Ruger M77R Mk2 offers to first-time stalkers a good competent first rifle or to the seasoned professional a reliable workhorse.
RUGER m77 mk2
Manufacturer: Ruger...Read full description