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Thread: Ruger M77 Hawkeye breeching design

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    Default Ruger M77 Hawkeye breeching design

    I picked up a M77 Hawkeye in .338 Win Mag at a gun store today to take a closer look at one. All my M77s are earlier guns so I had never really examined a new Hawkeye.

    Being familiar with Mauser, Springfields, 1917 Enfields, M70s, Rem 700s etc. I was surprised to find that the Hawkeye had no metal at all surounding the exposed end of the cartridge. The M98 mauser uses the ring in the receiver while the Mdl. 70, 03s, 1917s use a funnel breech and a cutout for the extractor. The Rem 700s and the Japs recess the end of the barrel for the bolt. The early M77s use a different bolt nose and it appeared more of the cartridge is enclosed by the bolt nose and perhaps the base of the round was less exposed.

    Perhaps it is unnecessary with modern brass but my first impression is that Ruger tried to cut two many corners with this design. I would much prefer to have a breeching design that enclosed the base of the cartridge more.

    Any thoughts on this or did I miss something? I did a google search but didn't find anything.
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    Default Its not just the Hawkeye

    The 77 and MkII all use the same breeching design. As you stated the push feed 77 has a lip on the bottom of the bolt face, but I am not sure it is big enough to matter. Doesn't seem to affect strength or feeding though, as I read in the book " Ruger and his guns"that the 77 was tested to around 110,000 psi during development. So I guess it may have been to cut corners or it may have really just been unnecessary in the first place, like the Springfield's square threads.

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    Default Weakest point

    It would be fun to listen to Remington and Ruger designers arguing the designs since the 700 and 77 are so different: the 700 has mutiple rings of surrounding steel but has more of the case head unsupported while the 77 supports the case head more like a mauser but has little surrounding steel.

    I guess it really doesn't matter in practice as all are pretty dang strong and you rarely hear of a receiver ring blowing off from escaped gas. It must have been an issue in the early days however since Mauser and the others went to such great pains to support and enclose the cartridge head as much as possible.

    The square thread story must be interesting if I could find it. They carried the square threads all the way from the early breech loaders thru the M14. I suspect it might have had something to do with the ease or speed of manufacturing and / or indexing the barrel and receiver threads to line up since blowing a barrel off the receiver has never been an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    The 77 and MkII all use the same breeching design. As you stated the push feed 77 has a lip on the bottom of the bolt face, but I am not sure it is big enough to matter. Doesn't seem to affect strength or feeding though, as I read in the book " Ruger and his guns"that the 77 was tested to around 110,000 psi during development. So I guess it may have been to cut corners or it may have really just been unnecessary in the first place, like the Springfield's square threads.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Default How much of these design features are just HYPE/Advertising?

    Isn't the brass the weak link here? It ruptures open and gas escapes?

    How does supporting the case head help? Does it keep the case from rupturing?

    What does testing to 110,000 psi mean? Does it mean the action didn't come apart, or that the brass case didn't rupture?

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    Default

    Not sure if the brass came apart, I'm almost certain it would, but what they said was that the rifle handled it just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Not sure if the brass came apart, I'm almost certain it would, but what they said was that the rifle handled it just fine.
    OK, Thanks

    Smitty of the North
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    Default

    Comparing the Ruger to the Remington it seems they went in opposite directions, two different schools of thought. The Remington has the completely enclosed three rings of steel to keep everything inside if a case ruptures or a barrel is obstructed. The Ruger will allow the gas to escape (just as the Mauser, Winchesters, others do) and direct this gas down through the magazine and out away from the shooters face. Any gas that escapes the M700 seems to find its way around the striker and out the back of the bolt into the face of the shooter. Blow a primer on an M700 and you'll see. I think it is not possible to contain a blast completely. Some gas and debris will escape. I prefer channelling that gas away from my face. Obviously if pressures exceed limits any gun will disintegrate but those less than total destruction failures can limit the injury with a sound design.
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    Default Steel case

    Perhaps they used a steel case - a brass one would have brazed itself to the bolt face, extractor, etc. at 110,000 psi.

    Plus the escaping gas from a brass would have likely blown the receiver ring off - like the pictures you see of rifles exploded by overloads.

    Handling the gas from a ruptured or overloaded case is the key to strength in any of the bolt guns. The lugs almost never fail; the high pressure gas acting on the large surface area on the inside of the rings simplly bows it apart. Mausers and the others tried to minimize the upsupported and / or enclosed case head while the Ruger design leaves the case head considerably more open.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Not sure if the brass came apart, I'm almost certain it would, but what they said was that the rifle handled it just fine.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Comparing the Ruger to the Remington it seems they went in opposite directions, two different schools of thought. The Remington has the completely enclosed three rings of steel to keep everything inside if a case ruptures or a barrel is obstructed. The Ruger will allow the gas to escape (just as the Mauser, Winchesters, others do) and direct this gas down through the magazine and out away from the shooters face. Any gas that escapes the M700 seems to find its way around the striker and out the back of the bolt into the face of the shooter. Blow a primer on an M700 and you'll see. I think it is not possible to contain a blast completely. Some gas and debris will escape. I prefer channelling that gas away from my face. Obviously if pressures exceed limits any gun will disintegrate but those less than total destruction failures can limit the injury with a sound design.
    My dad bought me the afformentioned book as a Christmas gift this year and while at times pretty dry, if you can stay with it there is some great info to be gleaned. It seems that during initial design and testing of the 77 Bill Ruger thought that the gas flange on Mauser 98 bolt shrouds was superflous and unneccessary. So they built a prototype up and one of the shop forman types was to take it to the range with grossly overloaded ammunition and test its gas handling abilities. When he returned he stated that the gunheld up fine with an overloaded round but the gas handling was right down there with some of the worst designs in the industry, he doesn't say what those are but that they were bad and the 77 prototype was no better. With that and showing old Bill the paper he had set up where the shooters face would be, full of holes and scorched I might add, it was immediately decided that the sheild on the lefthand side of the bolt shroud covering the raceway was indeed neccessary. After that and some other minor design changes they claimed to be just as good and safe as the best in the industry, once again not naming any names.

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    Default

    tvfinak:
    "The lugs almost never fail".

    How significant is that?

    If the action comes apart, there is pressure on the bolt. (the lugs don't hold in their recesses), parts including the the bolt could go flying every which way.

    I suppose you could RE-USE the bolt, (with the intact lugs), but that seems a minor consideration, considering.

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