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Thread: Ruger Hawkeye

  1. #1
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    Default Ruger Hawkeye

    The new Ruger M77 has a new face lift and, as most have read it is now called the hawkeye. Permanently moulded into the side of the receiver is the name, "Hawkeye".

    As most know Ruger uses "lost wax" casting of receivers and many parts of their bolt action rifles. This is a big cost savings in the manufacture of rifles. It minimumizes the machining operations and speeds up the process. It does leave a rather bulky receiver however and heavier than some. Some have criticized this process others brag about it. Either way, Ruger pioneered this technique in rifle manufacture and they also make cast parts for many other gun companies, as well other manufacturers.

    COMING SOON TO A SHOOTING FORUM NEAR YOU:

    I will be giving a piece by piece (literally) review of one of these new rifles. If interested, keep watching this thread for updates. I will include pictures of parts and assemblies with my evaluation of them. Of course this will just be my opinion, but I will try to be as objective as possible. Consider that I am not being paid by Ruger's advertising dollars, and I did not receive a free rifle from Ruger to evaluate. I paid for it and I will disassemble it. I will evaluate every part and rest assured I will have an opinion about it. I will do this, as I said one piece at a time so as not to make such a long post each time.
    I think you will find my evaluations thorough and from a different angle than is usually seen in print in the gun magazines.

    As some of you may have seen on another thread the pictures of the new Ruger L6 trigger. Well...it is a trigger, ....designed with the full collaboration of corporate attorneys. More on that later.

    A few of these guns are on the shelf at your local dealers in various calibers and configuations. Stainless/synthetic (a redesigned stock) and blue/walnut. Still a Ruger, but it's getting better. There are some improvements but I would still like to see some more changes. Keep watchin'.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2
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    Default More of the Hawkeye...

    Here are a few more shots of the new Ruger.

    Like so many things in life there is good, bad, ugly and mediocre. Plain jane, common, run of the mill, average and mediocre rarely ever appeal to me. I will have to admit, this rifle has appeal. Oh, it has it's low points as well but many things are very good.

    This is the new African model in the new caliber, 375 Ruger. It sports a 23" barrel and a rather plain walnut stock of rather pleasing lines and of good proportion. The butt stock is a little too thin and I would prefer a little longer reach in the wrist to get away from the trigger guard when firing. The wrist of the stock is also rather thin for such a caliber. I also would prefer a classic style cheek piece and a bit less drop. It would be good to see an actual functioning recoil pad in a classy looking, sculpted decelerator style. But, I'm am not happy with the pad on the Dakota 76's either so I might be hard to please in that regard. They are functional but not asthetically pleasing to me. This Ruger pad, to me, doesn't qualify as a butt plate or a recoil pad. I'll wait to see how effective it is.

    The weight and balance of this rifle is perfect. Yes, that good. Previous rifles of this caliber by most makers, including Ruger, were very heavy. Nine to ten pounds wasn't uncommon and balance was thrown off by a heavy barrel. This rifle weighs almost eight pounds. The weight is slightly forward giving a very good feel and balance is centered under the front ring of the receiver, where it should be. The appropriate weight for the 375 H&H rifles is eight pounds. I don't want to exceed nine with mounted scope. Then, with a decent recoil pad, recoil is very manageble. I can go to a 7 & 1/2 pound total package when weight is an issue and still be comfortable with the recoil of a 375 H&H.

    I reference the H&H here because as far as I can tell the ballistics of the 375 Ruger and the 375 H&H will be very close to the same. There is virtually no difference in case capacity, (about four grains) but more on the ballistics and the various merits of the caliber will come later.

    Back to the rifle. Nice looking gun. Another point that I will have to rave about is the finish on the metal work. It is from appearance a very well done matte finish with just the right amount of texture. By that I mean it is beaded or blasted to leave just the right amount of roughness to the finish. I can't speak to the durability of it but it does show some slight handling marks. These marks were on it when it arrived or put on by myself during disassembly. I do like the appearance and texture of the finish.

    I took the bolt from the rifle. An easy task with the Ruger trademark, Mauser style, bolt release on the left side of the receiver. This is a positive bolt stop which serves only as the bolt stop, not doing double duty as an ejector as is the case with other manufacturers rifles. The bolt is easy to disassemble using the Mauser technique. I was able to get a 3/32nds drift punch in the hole in the cocking piece but required that I turn the striker assembly clockwise past the full cock notch, then unscrew the assembly counter clockwise to remove. This is what I call field stripping the bolt. This should be done easily and with out special tools. It is better if it can be done with only common tools that one would ordinarily take to the field. In this case it can be done with a nail or piece of wire, requiring very little McGiver skills.

    This may seem like an unnecessary function in the field but I don't think so. Much is written about a rifle that won't fire because of debris in the bolt body impeding the fall of the striker. This accumulation of muck and mire can be from oil or grease or mud and blood and can render any rifle inoperative. For me, especially in a rifle that may be used for dangerous game, this is a deal breaker. I will not carry afield a rifle on which I can't quickly and easily field strip the bolt. This Ruger rifle qualifies well for me on that point.

    As most of us know for a long time Ruger has been usiing the Mauser claw, non rotating extractor. The front of the bolt at the bottom is cut away to allow controlled round feeding. This is a very good thing and is continued on this new Ruger Hawkeye rifle. This coupled with the reliable mechanical ejector keeps this rifle in the high-reliability category and makes it suitable as a rugged use dangerous game rifle. This mechanical ejector is spring loaded and engages the cartridge head through a slot cut in the front of the bolt body not through the left locking lug. This also is a good system and maintains the integrity of the lockup and is an improvement over the Mauser system.

    Since I'm on the bolt I will have to express my opinion of the bolt handle and it's dog-leg bend. Why can't we have a straight and slightly curved bolt with a gentle taper to the grasping knob? This is not a big point but just from the point of asthetics, I don't like it. Also the cut out in the stock for the bolt handle is grossly over done and detracts from the otherwise clean lines of the stock. I do like this same blasted matte finish of the stainless steel bolt. It gives a very nice contrasting appearance. I suspect this dog-leg bend is to put the grasping knob back over the trigger but then I would change the trigger from what it is also.

    This new trigger! Why and for what purpose was it changed to this? Oh, the older trigger was not as light or crisp, out of the box, but I see such a small difference and only a debatable improvement. It was crisp and at almost exactly 4.5# pull and very consistant. This does fit the rotating safety and it was maintained in it's three position system but all this assembly could be improved. On this subject, the safety blocks the trigger but the tang on the trigger which engages in the rotating safety cylinder notch seems weak and frail to me. It is of three position type allowing the bolt to open with the trigger blocked in the middle position but only locks the striker when in the full rearward position. It does this by engaging a notch at the end of the striker, on the cocking piece, when back in position three. This has limited merit. A good safety holds the striker in battery and even if the trigger or sear failed it would still prevent the striker from falling and thus prevent an unexpected bang! I would like to see the striker blocked when in position two. This is no change from the previous Ruger MkII M77 rifle but I once again want to take this opportunity to complain about it. Of course, only a fool would rely solely on the works of a mechanical safety to provide physical safety with any rifle.

    There will be more and more pics of this new Ruger but to keep this readable I will cut short and resume on this thread at a later date.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  3. #3
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    Default Ruger Hawkeye

    Thanks for the in depth info Murphy.

    I have been watching recently released news/information on the new 375 Ruger Alaskan version of this rifle for several months.

    This is one reason I joined this forum. To see what other expereinced hunters think about it.

    It appears to be a platform built for hard hunting and hard hitting in extreme conditions.

    From what I have read, it appears to have an edge on the 375 H&H in performance, but this fact hasn't pushed me over the edge to buy one.

    I am hoping to get up to Alaska to hunt some grizzlies and then to Africa to take in the big 5 someday. Unfortunetaly, I can afford the gun but not the trips.

    Thanks for the info on the 375, I'll keep watching,

    Good Hunting,

    KatzMO

  4. #4

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    Murphy,

    As you know, I have always been a big fan of the Ruger 77. I concider it to be one of the best mass produced working man's rifles out there. However before I ever buy a used model 77 I give it the the trigger death grip treatment to see if the safety will fail. I had one fail once so now I do it out of habit. I usually get that "what the hell" look from the gun dealer when doing so but every once in a while I give him the look back when the gun fails the test. I might add that I can't remember ever having a safety failure on one of the old tang safety models. The few failures (three that I can recall) were all on used MKII's. Since they were used guns I assumed the failure was do to some previous owners "tinkeritis". You've got me wondering if they were that way from the factory! I never examined one of these guns to see why they failed....never bought one of them either!

    I have two new 77MKII's in the gun cabinet both still equiped with the factory trigger and they both passed the death grip test!

    I for one appreciate the fact that you are scrutinizing the Hawkeye and that its a rifle that you payed for. I have bought many a rifle just to see what they were made of.....this time your doing it for me on your dollar and your opinion does carry much weight!

    I hope the folk at Ruger are paying attention!

  5. #5
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    Default Review

    I also agree with elmerkiethclone about the generous review. Thanks Mr. Murphy for the info, looking forward to hearing more. I handled a hawkeye african the other day. Nice rifle. Excellent fit and finish, nice open sights, but a little light in weight for my taste in .375's. Looking to hear how the load work up goes on the .375 Ruger round. I wish they made the african in .358!

  6. #6
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    Default 375 Ruger caliber...

    Just to compare the new 375 Ruger with the other better known 375's I filled a new primed case with water and weighed each empty and full of water.

    Water Capacity:
    376 Steyr 75.3 grs.
    375/WSM 81.8 grs.
    375 H&H 94.6 grs.
    375 Ruger 98.8 grs.
    375 Dakota 100.6 grs.

    I didn't have case for the 375 or 378 WBY or the RUM.

    The Dakota is slightly fatter but the shoulder is farther forward on the Ruger making their capacity very close. Velocities with these two is also very close. The Ruger sends 300 grain Hornady at 2672 fps and the Dakota will hit 2700 fps. I was able to find a box of Hornady factory 270 grain loads, but haven't chronographed them yet. I pulled the bullet of one and it was loaded with appx. 81.5 grains of a ball powder which I believe is W 760. If so that would fit into what I have in my notes for that powder and the Dakota. (max at 82.5 grains)

    The 375 Ruger looks like it is a solid 100 fps ahead of the H&H. I typically get 2570 fps from my 23" H&H with 300 grain bullets. This is about where it was advertised. It is a very handsome case having only one slight draw back and that is it's .300" neck length, less than the preferred one caliber length. I do have a half dozen good loads for the rifle now.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  7. #7
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    Default

    Might as well just pre-order my lefty African now....

    Great review, Murphy...

  8. #8
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    Default 375 Ruger Alaskan

    I pick up my 375 Ruger Alaskan tomorrow.

    I went to the new Cabelas store in St.Louis Missouri. They had a new 375 African, I held it and liked it very much. But waited it out for the Alaskan version. I already have too many wood stocked rifles.

    I paid $790 for the Alaskan from my local sporting good store, If anybody is wondering. Cabelas wanted $857 for their African version.

    There is plenty of ammo available behind the counter for the new gun.

    KatzMO

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