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Thread: Thoughts in the "Tang Safety" Ruger Model 77

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    Member Silver Tip's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts in the "Tang Safety" Ruger Model 77

    Is there anything wrong with the "tang safety" Ruger Model 77 rifles as compared to the newer models


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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Not to me and I like their trigger better than the mkII's
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    I like mine. Slick and dependable. However, accuracy has been not as good as I would like. Some say there was a period that Ruger put cheap barrels on their 77's, hence, the accuracy problem. I'm not sure of the time frame that this supposedly happened.

    I've been wanting to put a peep and front sight on mine (30-06) and use it as a hiking/fishing carry gun. As matter of fact I already purchased the peep I want......the one on Ruger's new scout rifle. I have'nt decided on a front sight yet. It sits in a Brown Precision 'Pounder' stock. I bought it used with a mag-na-ported barrel. The barrel wil be cut to 20" (to get rid of the porting) before putting the front sight on.

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    I like'em, ceptin for the stocks.

    When all the other manufacturers were making guns with a cheekpiece, and comb, at least a comb, Ruger decided to go cheap, and made something more liken to a club. This started the trend to stocks without the cheekpiece and higher comb.

    My wife's rifle, is a Ruger 77 with the Tang Safety. I like the safety, but early on, it didnt shoot good groups. I heard on one of these forums that the angled forend screw should NOT touch the wood. A little work with a rat-tailed file, and it does OK, now.

    Not only was the Ruger stock, ugly, but it had a lot of excess wood. Recently, I hired a Gunsmith to redo it. He reshaped the forend, the grip, lengthing it some, and checkered it.

    It is beautiful now, balances well, and much more functional. Except for the quality of the wood, it looks like a CUSTOM stock, and it is, reely.

    There aren't a lot of after market stocks available for those Rugers, like with the newer MKIIs. If the stock suits you, I think the Tang safety versions are fine guns.

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    They say the 1st run of the tang safety 77 ie the flat bolt (dogleg bolts) and the round top 77 had douglas barrels on them. Then ruger swithed over to some other barrel maker that was even more worse than shaw barrels LOL. Anyhow The tang safety 77 is not a true CRF rifle but a genuine push feed. Somewhere in there, was a transition year where ruger made a change to the tang safety and you could now open the bolt when the rifle was on safe. Prior to this you couldn't. Then not long the MKII came out and was a true CRF but had a horrible trigger that could be adjusted only by someone that jnew what they were doing. But now days the barrels are made in house, and every ruger 77 I have ownder shoots pretty **** good.

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    I was also going to make the point of push feed on the 77 too. One problem I've read about and had on the only 77 I've owned is the aluminum trigger guard. Seems like if the front screw is over tightened, it will break off the front portion that secures the magazine box. I bought mine used and did not notice that it was broken. Had to buy a steel aftermarket from Brownells to fix it because the magazine box and floor plate latch were not lining up and loose. If I ever buy another one, I will really check out that trigger guard first because it sometimes takes a close look to notice it is completely broken and cheap factory replacements are next to impossible to find. I really liked the tang safety though. Wish I could get that on my MK II.

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    I've owned numerous M77 tang safety rifles through the years. I still have four of them and won't be parting ways with them. I've a 3 digit serial number rifle in 6mm Remington that has always been a shooter. It's not a BR rifle, but it shoots better than a sporter should and as well as some barrels costing more than twice as much as that original rifle. I've only shot it 2000+ times so its probably due for a failure of some sort in the near future, but the PF action just keeps going. I've owned several 25/06 M77 rifles and they've all come with the 24" magnum profile barrel and have all been great rifles, save for being too heavy. I've sent literally hundreds of groundhogs to wherever it is groundhogs go after being struck with .257 bullets mostly using Hornady 75 grain HP at velocities I won't repeat in public. To say the actions are strong and durable is an understatement.

    Its fit, finish, design and performance was remarkable for its price during the 70's & 80's and there was a model to appeal to almost everyone (an International with a full length stock, a lightweight, they came with or without iron sights, heavy barreled varminters, etc.) in almost every imaginable caliber that will fit actions with a length of 3.35. They were made for yeoman service and in that niche I believe they have excelled.

    IME very few buyers purchase a rifle intending to wear out the barrel or add 3-500% of its original costs in accoutrements. This does not mean that they cannot be modified, nor that the modifications are not worthwhile. McMillan (as do many others) makes an excellent aftermarket stock for the tang safety action. I've used Timney triggers with great success, though the original design is easily adjustable. I've had many rebarreled for one reason or another and they perform as well as Model 70s or 700s for hunting rifles. I've never made a target rifle around a M77, but one of my best shooting sporters is fashioned around a M77. They have only two real detractions IMO: the integral scope bases and their overall weight. The integral bases dictate ring selection/ring spacing/scope selection and the accompanying Ruger rings are heavier than they need to be (Leupold makes a lighter alternative). As for their overall weight, the M77 action is svelte enough, but the barrel contours have always been a little heavy for my taste. To cure these ills I have a M77 round top receiver which takes away the issue with the integral bases, but that rifle remains a tad heavy (maybe a half pound) for me to actually fall in love with it. It is a prime candidate for a rebarrel to a lighter contour.

    AS already mentioned, the trigger guard and floorplate are both made of an alloy that is not as tough as steel. It is not as heavy as steel either which is a real benefit IMO. I've never broken a TG on a M77, but I've replaced several on others rifles with steel units from Brownells and Moyer (I think it was Moyer). I couldn't detect a lot of difference in the two TGs, but the Brownells cost about double last I checked. The important thing to remember is to torque the front action screw as tight as you like, make the rear screw firm and simply snug the middle screw without putting any stress on the TG. I've been following that protocol 30+ years with nary an issue with TGs .
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    Default Low SN 6mm M77

    Curious as the serial number range is on the 6mm Rem you have. I got one used approx. 30 years ago from GNGs with SN 13X. That is the lowest SN on a 6MM M77 I've found so far and lowest I've personally seen on a M77 so I'm curious as to what the SN range is on yours. In any event they are certainly better finished than the current stuff.

    I've never shot mine - I've got to get it out someday and give it a try. The 6mm Rem is certainly a fine cartridge but never achieved the popularity of the .243 but both have limited use in AK.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I've owned numerous M77 tang safety rifles through the years. I still have four of them and won't be parting ways with them. I've a 3 digit serial number rifle in 6mm Remington that has always been a shooter. It's not a BR rifle, but it shoots better than a sporter should and as well as some barrels costing more than twice as much as that original rifle. .
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Curious as the serial number range is on the 6mm Rem you have. I got one used approx. 30 years ago from GNGs with SN 13X. That is the lowest SN on a 6MM M77 I've found so far and lowest I've personally seen on a M77 so I'm curious as to what the SN range is on yours. In any event they are certainly better finished than the current stuff.

    I've never shot mine - I've got to get it out someday and give it a try. The 6mm Rem is certainly a fine cartridge but never achieved the popularity of the .243 but both have limited use in AK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    Anyhow The tang safety 77 is not a true CRF rifle but a genuine push feed. Somewhere in there, was a transition year where ruger made a change to the tang safety and you could now open the bolt when the rifle was on safe. Prior to this you couldn't. Then not long the MKII came out and was a true CRF but had a horrible trigger that could be adjusted only by someone that jnew what they were doing.
    I thought that all the Tang Safety rifles locked the bolt.

    On their Website, Ruger usta advertise "Controlled Round Extraction", probably due to the Mauser type extractor.

    Even the early MK IIs were PF. My B-I-L has one. Then they decided to take the lip off the bottom of the boltface, and I dunno what else, next thing you know, they began to call them CRF. Not only that, the MK IIs now have a 3 Position Safeties.

    I still like the Tang Safety version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I thought that all the Tang Safety rifles locked the bolt.
    I've owned them both ways.
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    Glad to know that, 1st Cor:

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    My Ruger's are Hawkeye's but I worked on a friends M77 earlier this year. Yesterday was the first time he shot it since I worked up the load. In addition to the load work I installed a Timney set at three pounds measured, sealed the barrel channel and removed a little wood for proper trigger and safety rod clearance with the Timney. His optics were poor, an early VX1 3-9 with a small objective. It may be fine for hunting but it was poor for target shooting. I liked the rifle and it preformed very good.

    My friend is a 63 year young guy that has zero training, a self taught shooter. With a little coaching on breathing and trigger control he was grouping right at 1" at the 100 yard line and shooting 2" orange sticker dots at the 200 yard line yesterday morning. We adjusted the rifle for a 1.8" high zero at 100 yards, that was dead on at 200 yards. He was very happy, the following is a cut and paste from a post I made on that rifle a few months ago.



    I realize the 30-06 has been tested to death over the years but I had good results with a friends well used 1987 tang safety Ruger and thought I would share.

    He provided IMR 4350, Nosler brass and Nosler 165gr Accubonds. I full length re-sized his brass and fully prepped in the tradition manor. I set the seating depth at .050" off the lands for the charge testing, five shot averages are as follows:

    Nosler brass 2.478"
    CCI 200
    Accubond 165gr
    COL 3.305" is .050" off the lands in this rifle.


    54.6gr 2701 fps
    55.3gr 2739 fps
    56.0gr 2777 fps best group, 3/4". Just for reference, ES 17 / SD 9
    56.5gr 2799 fps
    57.0gr 2815 fps
    57.5gr 2839 fps


    I took the charge with the best group results and adjusted the seating depth to .020" off the lands and increased in .025" increments for additional testing.

    Nosler brass 2.478"
    CCI 200
    Accubond 165gr
    IMR 4350 56gr

    3.335" 2810 fps 3/4" group
    3.310" 2805 fps
    3.285" 2771 fps
    3.260" 2763 fps
    3.235" 2784 fps Wide ES and SD, worst group from both testing sessions.


    As the bullet was seated deeper in the case / more jump, the velocity went down with the exception of the last load which was a poor performer. This particular rifle preferred to be .020" off the lands and the 56gr charge was faster at that depth than the original .050" off depth with equal accuracy.

    I suppose a guy could do further testing but this is not a bench grade rifle and the optics were less than premium. I was pleased with the results and he was happy to have a well used hunting rifle capable of shooting 3/4" groups with tuned ammo.

    Final load in the Tang Safety Ruger 30-06 was:

    IMR 4350 56gr
    Nosler Brass 2.478"
    CCI 200
    Nosler Accubond 165gr
    COL 3.335" is .020" off the lands in this rifle.


    Ballistic calculations show 1.8" high at 100 yards is dead on at 200 yards and 7.9" low at 300 yards.

    With a 3" PBR sight in the bullet would hit 2.6" high at 100 yards, 1.8" high at 200 yards, dead on at 237 yards and 5" low at 300 yards.

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    I have a 77R with the tang in .280 - it is a VERY good shooter, nice trigger and balances well for me. It has dumped a fair amount of game and I have absolutely no complaints with it. I hand loaded it 5 grains over max from an old Hornady manual that has since been revised - it was "smokin" hot with 139 gr loads! After I bought a new reloading manual I thought what happened to my fav load - well musta been a misprint in the old book and someone caught it - thankfully the Rugers can take a licken!
    Sure made them coyotes do back-flips - may be dragging it out soon for a few more "doggies"
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    I had a tang safety 77 in .243 for some time when I was in college.... loved it. It shot way better than I did at the time but I killed a pile of groundhogs and a few deer with it.

    If you find a clean one at a fair price they make a good hunting rifle.

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    They are nice guns in my opinon. My preference is for the older ones which lock the bolt when the safety is on. Having the bolt lock when you put on the safety is nice when you are out in the field. Its a bummer to be crawling through the alders and find your bolt has openend. If I'm not mistaken it was in the early to mid 80's that they changed so you could open the bolt with the safety off.

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    The bolt lock thing was an update in the late 80's and the only change is the bolt lock tab is replaced with an E-clip. That said I own a couple tang safety Ruger rifles and love them to death. I am always looking for a good deal on another one in my travels. The safety is anatural for me as all but one of my shotguns are doubles. The triggers are a decent piece of machinery that can generally be tuned for a good pull with little trouble. The irons that came on the RS models are sturdy and fairly usable, even though I'm afraid my eyes and buckhorns don't get along much past 50yds, but what other fairly low priced hunting rifle came with a banded front ramp. The push feed doesn't bother me in the least, nor does the plunger ejector. But I'm not one to be worked up over trivial matters anyway. I have seen a few that wouldn't shoot better than about 2" at 100yds but I wouldn't let that bother me either for a big game gun, that is if I were a normal guy without a lathe, chamber reamers, headspace gauges, and FFL pricing on barrel blanks at my disposal. I guess that what I'm trying to say is unless you're a real rifle nut, like me, they will likely all produce goodnuff hunting accuracy. And I love the stocks, especially the Ultralites but the standard models are fine by me too. I'm a little rough on stuff so a little extra wood don't hurt for strengths sake, and that stock design without the cheekpiece, it was designed by Len Brownell. It's called the American classic style. Bill Ruger had him design the stock on that rifle to look clean and classy, unlike many of the other manufacturers who were trying to emulate Roy Weatherby's, "style".

    If you want a good rough and tumble no frills hunting rifle look no further my friend.

    PS don't let the extra weight scare you, it's not as much as you hear about. Makes shooting offhand easier and if you leave just one kingsize Snickers or Reese cup out of your pack you'll be at the same total weight.

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    I had a Ruger Tang safety 6mm for 15 plus years. I,m left handed & sold it when a piece of primer on a factory Rem 6mm came back and almost cost me my right eye. Sold most of my RH rifles as the gas relief is on opposite side. Should have been wearing glasses, but got careless with a factory round.

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    This has turned out to be quite an interesting, and INFORMATIVE thread. I'm enjoying it.

    Smitty of the North
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    Here be the Tang Safety Ruger that I mentioned in a previous post, my wifes rifle, in 7x57.

    The stock was shortened, on both ends, and I mounted a Weaver K4.

    Not bad work on a Factory Stock.

    Smitty of the North
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