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Thread: Using a Ruger action for a build?

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Default Using a Ruger action for a build?

    I have a question I hope someone can answer I have a ruger 7mm M77 that the barrel is no good in and I want to build a good sheep gun. I am hoping to be able to change it to shoot the 257 weatherby if possable (dont know much about gunsmithing).
    I had my main hunting rifle a 300 RUM built on the Remington 700 action and it is a tack driver and if I spend the money to have a rifle built I expect it to shoot great.
    My question is, is the ruger actoin a good action to have a build done of of or am I wasting my time with this and should start from scratch, also can I change from the 7mm to the 257 weatherby.
    Thanks,
    Tony

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with using a Ruger 77 for a custom rifle, I've done it several times with good results. The 7RemMag and the 257Wby are th same length and boltface so it should be no huge trick to get it to feed. Some things you must understand before you go into this project though, the 77 is not generally considered a lightweight action so odds are the finished project will weigh more when done than if you had used a Remington. One of the biggest issues for alot of guys is that there aren't a huge amount of options for a stock, if you don't plan on using the factory supplied one.
    But on the whole if you can get past those two points they are a good action. If you use a good barrel, that is threaded,chambered, and crowned correctly and Have it bedded into a good stock, it should shoot just fine. My most accurate hunting rifle is one I built on a 77.

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    As I type this, Ole Betsy, my barrel burned out M77 7 RM is propped up against the table next to me. It is the rifle I hunted with over the years more than any other and took more game than any other including a B&C Bighorn ram. I like the M77 tang safety and for sentimental reasons I wanted to build on it. So I asked the same question in this forum and another. I got a lot of positive responses by guys who did good builds off of them and turned out fine but as time wore on I started leaning against it. Here are some of the reasons. Angled front action screw. This is a pain and who knows what "they" were thinking when "they" designed this? I've read a lot of threads that indicated this resulted in accuracy problems because the screw was touching the stock. An almost non-existent recoil lug. The recoil lug is very important in transferring recoil energy from the discharge of the round to the stock, to the shoulder. No other part of the rifle, barrel or action, should be used in this function. The M77 recoil lug is actually machined (cast) into the action, (which IMO is a good thing) where the angle screw comes in contact with the stock. Recoil lugs are more important in larger cartridges. So if you do this build I would recommend a 25-06 or smaller instead of the 257 Wthby. But that would require a bolt face mod. Having said that, my 7mm RM got reasonable accuracy, 1 1-/2 MOA with factory ammo and about 3/4 MOA with handloads. IMO the proprietary ring mount system is poor, and very little ring options available. The bolt release lever is excessive. When you compare the action next to a Howa, the Howa is clearly more substantial and better built. As mentioned, there are very few after market parts available.

    Do I love Ole Betsy? Yup... Will she ever be fired again? Not likely unless it's some sort of experimental thing.

    There just aren't many builds done off a Ruger. I'll use a Howa, or possibly a Rem or Savage, or... custom. If you do build off of it and use a good smith, chances are it will be a good shooter, and make absolutely sure you get the stock pillar bedded so there is no compression. The tang action screw likes to come up in the bolt raceway and be a nuisance, not to mention the front angle action screw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    As I type this, Ole Betsy, my barrel burned out M77 7 RM is propped up against the table next to me. It is the rifle I hunted with over the years more than any other and took more game than any other including a B&C Bighorn ram. I like the M77 tang safety and for sentimental reasons I wanted to build on it. So I asked the same question in this forum and another. I got a lot of positive responses by guys who did good builds off of them and turned out fine but as time wore on I started leaning against it. Here are some of the reasons. Angled front action screw. This is a pain and who knows what "they" were thinking when "they" designed this? I've read a lot of threads that indicated this resulted in accuracy problems because the screw was touching the stock. An almost non-existent recoil lug. The recoil lug is very important in transferring recoil energy from the discharge of the round to the stock, to the shoulder. No other part of the rifle, barrel or action, should be used in this function. The M77 recoil lug is actually machined (cast) into the action, (which IMO is a good thing) where the angle screw comes in contact with the stock. Recoil lugs are more important in larger cartridges. So if you do this build I would recommend a 25-06 or smaller instead of the 257 Wthby. But that would require a bolt face mod. Having said that, my 7mm RM got reasonable accuracy, 1 1-/2 MOA with factory ammo and about 3/4 MOA with handloads. IMO the proprietary ring mount system is poor, and very little ring options available. The bolt release lever is excessive. When you compare the action next to a Howa, the Howa is clearly more substantial and better built. As mentioned, there are very few after market parts available.

    Do I love Ole Betsy? Yup... Will she ever be fired again? Not likely unless it's some sort of experimental thing.

    There just aren't many builds done off a Ruger. I'll use a Howa, or possibly a Rem or Savage, or... custom. If you do build off of it and use a good smith, chances are it will be a good shooter, and make absolutely sure you get the stock pillar bedded so there is no compression. The tang action screw likes to come up in the bolt raceway and be a nuisance, not to mention the front angle action screw.
    You have a problem with rugers rings? Not sure where your coming up with some of this stuff about ruger actions, they are likely the toughest action available. I can see the weight argument...but it ends there. Suggesting the ruger recoil lugs are going to be a liability is spreading misinformation. The only way the front angle action screw is a problem, is if you dont understand how to tighten them.

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    I have 3 Ruger based wild cats, all based on the 404 Jefferies case. #1 is a 350, #2 is 264, #3 is .223, The Ruger bolt face is much easier to modify for the cartridges. The .223 action was shortened 1", it is Stainless steel, we just cut it and welded it back together. A little TIG welding and it looks like nothing was done to the action, until you look at the lettering and some of the words are missing. The 350 has a lot of power at both ends, I was able to get a custom stock for the .223. The others use the old style stock with inserts. I have put a lot of rounds thru the 350 and nothing has failed. I helped build 2 more of the 350's for a guide friend in Alaska and his son, they shoot them all the time, again nothing has failed. I helped build a 300 for my son-in-law, he loves it. The rings available have fit all the scopes I have wanted to put on. I say use the Ruger, it works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barkbuster20 View Post
    You have a problem with rugers rings? Not sure where your coming up with some of this stuff about ruger actions, they are likely the toughest action available. I can see the weight argument...but it ends there. Suggesting the ruger recoil lugs are going to be a liability is spreading misinformation. The only way the front angle action screw is a problem, is if you dont understand how to tighten them.
    Hey guy, don't take it personal. Kinda sounds like you only read part of my post. I used an M77 very successfully for many years. Just saying it is not the best action to do a build on IMO and a lot of other people's opinions. Didn't say you couldn't do it. Never said the recoil lug was a liability... Just said it was almost non-existent. And BTW, there's only one recoil lug. Have you compared the Ruger recoil lug to a Howa or Rem? There's a big diff. Have you taken the actions of a Ruger and Howa and Rem out of the stock and compared them side by side? I have, and I would never rate the Ruger as "tougher"... there is just no comparison. Do you have some sort of empirical evidence to back up the claim that the Ruger is one of the toughest actions made? I think you'll find a lot of smiths that think the angled front action screw is problematic, not to mention a nightmare to pillar bed. And if you don't pillar bed, you will eventually get some compression which will lead to stresses on the action when tightening and compensating for the compression. I know guys who have machined the angle screw out to be perpendicular to the action, the way it should have been designed in the first place. Believe me, I've done a lot of research on this. I really wanted to rebuild my trusty Ruger that did so well for me over the years. Before you get carried away with this, call up a few gunsmiths and ask them which they believe would make the best actions for a build and why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    Hey guy, don't take it personal. Kinda sounds like you only read part of my post. I used an M77 very successfully for many years. Just saying it is not the best action to do a build on IMO and a lot of other people's opinions. Didn't say you couldn't do it. Never said the recoil lug was a liability... Just said it was almost non-existent. And BTW, there's only one recoil lug. Have you compared the Ruger recoil lug to a Howa or Rem? There's a big diff. Have you taken the actions of a Ruger and Howa and Rem out of the stock and compared them side by side? I have, and I would never rate the Ruger as "tougher"... there is just no comparison. Do you have some sort of empirical evidence to back up the claim that the Ruger is one of the toughest actions made? I think you'll find a lot of smiths that think the angled front action screw is problematic, not to mention a nightmare to pillar bed. And if you don't pillar bed, you will eventually get some compression which will lead to stresses on the action when tightening and compensating for the compression. I know guys who have machined the angle screw out to be perpendicular to the action, the way it should have been designed in the first place. Believe me, I've done a lot of research on this. I really wanted to rebuild my trusty Ruger that did so well for me over the years. Before you get carried away with this, call up a few gunsmiths and ask them which they believe would make the best actions for a build and why.
    Welcome back MR.

    Lots of opinions of what action to use and what not to use for a building pr Every action has credits and debits and the Ruger M77 is no different. FWIW, the recoil lug is smaller than some other rifles, but it is substantial enough to sustain the 458 WM in a walnut stock for at least several thousand rounds (ask me how I know). Of course other actions will as well, but the point is the recoil lug, while minimal, is enough. The angled front screw can be a devil to be bed, but in a factory rifle it certainly works to snug the recoil lug into the recoil mortise in the stock. I've long since conquered any bedding issues in Ruger rifles and feel completely neutral towards the angled screw now. I've had more than a few floating recoil lugs in 700s, 70s, etc. that mandated either a new stock or glass bedding the action. I bed most everything anyway, but for a fella that wants an off the shelf rifle, the angled screw works pretty good. The flat bottomed action of the M77 is also a real plus and the BR crowd is replete with flat bottomed actions.

    The integral bases and factory rings are likewise a blessing and a curse. They are STRONG. I've never had an issue with them that was not operator error (loose screws). In fact, I'd rank them as nearly indestructible. They are heavy, and there is a limited selection in ring height and spacing, but for their durability it seems a fair trade. I care nothing for aftermarket Ruger rings that are windage adjustable, BTDT.

    Personally, I like the M77 and have no qualms about building any appropriate rifle around an M77. It would not be my first choice if I wanted a rifle built as light as possible, nor would I build a target/competition rifle as the aftermarket upgrades are simply to slim to justify it. I would not choose it first for some cartridges due to magazine restriction, but for a 257 Weatherby I'd call it near perfect. If you want a rifle that looks like the popular tactical rifles so en vogue at present then I'd choose something else, but if you wanted a rifle stocked in a classic style then the M77 is among the better choices available IMO.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    Have you taken the actions of a Ruger and Howa and Rem out of the stock and compared them side by side? I have, and I would never rate the Ruger as "tougher"... there is just no comparison. Do you have some sort of empirical evidence to back up the claim that the Ruger is one of the toughest actions made?
    Can't see how simply taking a rifle out of a stock to give it a looksy is a viable means of comparison on toughness. Can't remember when, though it must have been an article from '67 or '68, but I read an article ole Elmer Keith wrote that when the M77 was released Bill Ruger loaded a 30/06 level full of Bullseye, seated a .30 caliber bullet and fired it remotely from a chambered M77 without a bored barrel to exhibit the action's strength to a group of witnesses. While Bill's practice is not to be recommended, Keith suggested that a man would have not only lived had he fired the rifle he would have been relatively unharmed. Stronger than others, who cares; strong enough for any sane rifleman, I'd say yes. While this is not much more than hearsay evidence, I've no reason to suppose that Ruger actions are not amply strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    I think you'll find a lot of smiths that think the angled front action screw is problematic, not to mention a nightmare to pillar bed. And if you don't pillar bed, you will eventually get some compression which will lead to stresses on the action when tightening and compensating for the compression. I know guys who have machined the angle screw out to be perpendicular to the action, the way it should have been designed in the first place. Believe me, I've done a lot of research on this. I really wanted to rebuild my trusty Ruger that did so well for me over the years. Before you get carried away with this, call up a few gunsmiths and ask them which they believe would make the best actions for a build and why.
    I pillar bed some rifles and not others. Depends on the stock and some other factors. Compression is possible, but with full length bedding of the action it is not a certainty. I'll wager you can sheer screws and crush/break trigger guards before you'll ever find compression in my rifles that are bedded without pillars (10110 simply does not move--period). FWIW, poured pillars are no real trouble in the M77.

    Gunsmiths do things for all kinds of reasons and few have the depth of experience to make empirically based judgments on most of your criticisms. They likely do it that way because someone they trusted did it that way; no more, no less. Research is an excellent practice, but we should never think that research trumps experience. I might find a lot of gunsmiths love tapioca pudding, but that will not convince me that tapioca pudding is fit to eat because my experience has proven otherwise. The primary reason to build other actions is the near limitless availability for aftermarket add-ons. If you can live without the add-ons, then a quality barrel, good metal work and a good stock fastened to a M77 will produce a formidable rifle.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Welcome back MR.

    Lots of opinions of what action to use and what not to use for a building pr Every action has credits and debits and the Ruger M77 is no different. FWIW, the recoil lug is smaller than some other rifles, but it is substantial enough to sustain the 458 WM in a walnut stock for at least several thousand rounds (ask me how I know). Of course other actions will as well, but the point is the recoil lug, while minimal, is enough. The angled front screw can be a devil to be bed, but in a factory rifle it certainly works to snug the recoil lug into the recoil mortise in the stock. I've long since conquered any bedding issues in Ruger rifles and feel completely neutral towards the angled screw now. I've had more than a few floating recoil lugs in 700s, 70s, etc. that mandated either a new stock or glass bedding the action. I bed most everything anyway, but for a fella that wants an off the shelf rifle, the angled screw works pretty good. The flat bottomed action of the M77 is also a real plus and the BR crowd is replete with flat bottomed actions.

    The integral bases and factory rings are likewise a blessing and a curse. They are STRONG. I've never had an issue with them that was not operator error (loose screws). In fact, I'd rank them as nearly indestructible. They are heavy, and there is a limited selection in ring height and spacing, but for their durability it seems a fair trade. I care nothing for aftermarket Ruger rings that are windage adjustable, BTDT.

    Personally, I like the M77 and have no qualms about building any appropriate rifle around an M77. It would not be my first choice if I wanted a rifle built as light as possible, nor would I build a target/competition rifle as the aftermarket upgrades are simply to slim to justify it. I would not choose it first for some cartridges due to magazine restriction, but for a 257 Weatherby I'd call it near perfect. If you want a rifle that looks like the popular tactical rifles so en vogue at present then I'd choose something else, but if you wanted a rifle stocked in a classic style then the M77 is among the better choices available IMO.
    Thanks Cor! And good to see ya! You almost got me convinced to bring Ole Betsy back to life

    If I did I would order a blank McMillan and have it sent to Chad Dixon down in Sturgis who is an absolute genius in maching and master of inletting and bedding. I would let him "solve" the angled screw problem, true up the action, chamber and fit a match grade barrel. That is just really the only way to do a build. He could make a tack driver out of it for sure... but it would be pricey! Is it really worth investing this much $$$ in an M77?

    Now the other approach... just chamber ad fit a new barrel on it. how much would that cost? $400 min, or maybe you could find a T/O barrel for $100 and get it screwed on for $50? It begs the question... what is th OP looking for in quality and accuracy?

    Quote:

    I had my main hunting rifle a 300 RUM built on the Remington 700 action and it is a tack driver and if I spend the money to have a rifle built I expect it to shoot great.
    My question is, is the ruger actoin a good action to have a build done of of or am I wasting my time with this and should start from scratch, also can I change from the 7mm to the 257 weatherby.
    Thanks,
    Tony
    Based on Tony's expectations, the M77 is not the way to go. He's looking for a tack driver and he can buy a new Sub MOA Vanguard (Howa) in 257 Wthby that might be sub 1/2 Moa... or better with some load work, for much less then he would be spending on a new match barrel, top end stock, inletting and bedding etc., to do the M77 right.... and it will still be an inferior platform to the Howa or Rem for his requirements. Like you said, not your first choice... nor mine

    The Howa is also a flat bottom action and I'll wager you won't be seeing many M77's in the BR crowd. I'm guessing there's one or two reasons for that. Anyway, hopefully the OP is getting the big pic here. If he wants a classy old grapefruit buster, rebarrel the M77. If he want's a tack driving sheep gun, lean the ole M77 in the closet or sell it and look elsewhere and that is good honest unsentimental sound advise.

  10. #10

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Can't see how simply taking a rifle out of a stock to give it a looksy is a viable means of comparison on toughness. Can't remember when, though it must have been an article from '67 or '68, but I read an article ole Elmer Keith wrote that when the M77 was released Bill Ruger loaded a 30/06 level full of Bullseye, seated a .30 caliber bullet and fired it remotely from a chambered M77 without a bored barrel to exhibit the action's strength to a group of witnesses. While Bill's practice is not to be recommended, Keith suggested that a man would have not only lived had he fired the rifle he would have been relatively unharmed. Stronger than others, who cares; strong enough for any sane rifleman, I'd say yes. While this is not much more than hearsay evidence, I've no reason to suppose that Ruger actions are not amply strong.
    Now that's what I call imperical... FWIW I'll give ya a big smiley for that one

    C'mon Cor, you aren't suggesting the M77 is a stronger action than the Howa or Rem are ya?

    I pillar bed some rifles and not others. Depends on the stock and some other factors. Compression is possible, but with full length bedding of the action it is not a certainty. I'll wager you can sheer screws and crush/break trigger guards before you'll ever find compression in my rifles that are bedded without pillars (10110 simply does not move--period). FWIW, poured pillars are no real trouble in the M77.
    10110 is good stuff, but pillars bedded in 10110 or full aluminum bedded blocks skim bedded in 10110 are best and the angle action screw is just plain and simple not the best design.

    Gunsmiths do things for all kinds of reasons and few have the depth of experience to make empirically based judgments on most of your criticisms. They likely do it that way because someone they trusted did it that way; no more, no less. Research is an excellent practice, but we should never think that research trumps experience. I might find a lot of gunsmiths love tapioca pudding, but that will not convince me that tapioca pudding is fit to eat because my experience has proven otherwise. The primary reason to build other actions is the near limitless availability for aftermarket add-ons. If you can live without the add-ons, then a quality barrel, good metal work and a good stock fastened to a M77 will produce a formidable rifle.
    I think most gunsmiths are a little better judge than you or I in this matter, and yes they also have subject reasoning but if you can find a majority of them that would prefer to build a tack driver on an M77 than others mentioned then I'll fly out there and buy us both a surf and turf dinner.

    A few years ago, I contacted Kirby Allen here in Montana, who is one of the top LR gunsmiths there is and is currently backed up for bout 18 months, about this project and he would not touch it. A Rem 700... yup... an M77... nope, no way. He was tactful about it , but there was no way he was going to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    I would let him "solve" the angled screw problem, true up the action, chamber and fit a match grade barrel. That is just really the only way to do a build. He could make a tack driver out of it for sure... but it would be pricey! Is it really worth investing this much $$$ in an M77?

    Now the other approach... just chamber ad fit a new barrel on it. how much would that cost? $400 min, or maybe you could find a T/O barrel for $100 and get it screwed on for $50? It begs the question... what is th OP looking for in quality and accuracy?
    McMillan and quality rebarrel can be had for under $1000 and I am betting she'll outperform the MOA--easily. This is not too mention you can have a rifle in the caliber of one's choosing, with a barrel of the contour, length and weight that suits you in a stock that is infinitely superior to the Howa factory handle. Or you can buy an off the shelf rifle that is exactly what the manufacturer tells you that you need. I like to make my own decisions, but that's up to you...

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    The Howa is also a flat bottom action and I'll wager you won't be seeing many M77's in the BR crowd. I'm guessing there's one or two reasons for that. Anyway, hopefully the OP is getting the big pic here. If he wants a classy old grapefruit buster, rebarrel the M77. If he want's a tack driving sheep gun, lean the ole M77 in the closet or sell it and look elsewhere and that is good honest unsentimental sound advise.
    Just to keep the record honest, I'd say I've a few M77s (and a few 700s, 70s and the like as well) that are better than grapefruit busters...

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    C'mon Cor, you aren't suggesting the M77 is a stronger action than the Howa or Rem are ya?
    Is it stronger? That is not my point. The point is that I cannot say that a Howa or a 700 is stronger than a M77. Can you?

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    I think most gunsmiths are a little better judge than you or I in this matter, and yes they also have subject reasoning but if you can find a majority of them that would prefer to build a tack driver on an M77 than others mentioned then I'll fly out there and buy us both a surf and turf dinner.

    A few years ago, I contacted Kirby Allen here in Montana, who is one of the top LR gunsmiths there is and is currently backed up for bout 18 months, about this project and he would not touch it. A Rem 700... yup... an M77... nope, no way. He was tactful about it , but there was no way he was going to do it.
    Any artist worth his salt sticks to his own medium. 700s are legion and the setup for building accurate rifles around 700 actions abound. When I was a bit younger I knew very good race engine builders that built Ford engines or Chevy engines, but never both. Itís no indictment that a particular builder will only use particular parts. I read a recent article on Kenny Jarrett where Jarrett was clear that he wanted no part of a 700 built since the mid Ď70s for a customerís rifle. According to Jarrett later production actions are simply too inconsistent to produce accurate rifles on a money making basis. There are more than a few guys that would take issue with him, but I doubt he is guessing.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  12. #12

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    McMillan and quality rebarrel can be had for under $1000 and I am betting she'll outperform the MOA--easily. This is not too mention you can have a rifle in the caliber of one's choosing, with a barrel of the contour, length and weight that suits you in a stock that is infinitely superior to the Howa factory handle. Or you can buy an off the shelf rifle that is exactly what the manufacturer tells you that you need. I like to make my own decisions, but that's up to you...
    You could get a good barrel put on and a McMillan for about a $1000 and probably get a sub MOA shooter. But if you're going to spend that money for the level of quality, you should really go all the way and have the action trued and bedded which is the only way of guaranteeing tack driving accuracy. Not to do so is wasting $$$ on a good stock and barrel, IMO. The Sub MOA Vanguard comes in a full aliminum bedded B&C stock which is quite sturdy. Most folks (includug my smith) would say the McMillan is better... however, not inifinitely better. I personally would opt for a full aluminum bedded stock first, which IME, gives you better transfer of recoil energy to the stock, via the recoil lug and will never compress.

    So for $1000, the OP could get his M77 outfitted with a McMillan stock and a good match barrel that would probably shoot Sub MOA or he could buy a new SS Sub MOA Vanguard for about $800-$900 (I just picked one up for $725 that came with a .35" factory shot target) that is known to be Sub MOA and with a little load work it might be Sub 1/2 MOA and have what the vast majority of the shooting world consider the better action and have a lot more option flexibility.

    Just to keep the record honest, I'd say I've a few M77s (and a few 700s, 70s and the like as well) that are better than grapefruit busters...
    I was just havin a little fun with the grapefruit bustin comment

    Is it stronger? That is not my point. The point is that I cannot say that a Howa or a 700 is stronger than a M77. Can you?
    Not imperically, but the other two have beefier receivers and unless the Ruger is made of superior strength steel, which it isn't it only stands to reason the beefier receiver is stronger. And both the M77 and Howa are cast actions but looking at mine, the Howa is clearly better workmanship and stouter. So for someone to say that the m77 action is one of the toughest out there is a reeeeeal big stretch. It ain't so. is the M77 strong enough? Yeah.

    Any artist worth his salt sticks to his own medium. 700s are legion and the setup for building accurate rifles around 700 actions abound. When I was a bit younger I knew very good race engine builders that built Ford engines or Chevy engines, but never both. Itís no indictment that a particular builder will only use particular parts. I read a recent article on Kenny Jarrett where Jarrett was clear that he wanted no part of a 700 built since the mid Ď70s for a customerís rifle. According to Jarrett later production actions are simply too inconsistent to produce accurate rifles on a money making basis. There are more than a few guys that would take issue with him, but I doubt he is guessing.
    I have seen Kirby Allen post on more than one occasion that he much prefers to do builds on custom actions than a Rem because by the time your done getting the Rem all trued up your are close to the the cost of a custom action and you still have a Rem action. I have heard that the Howa's are usually better than the Rems as far as this goes. For a factory action, the best is probably a Mark V. In any case, I wonder what Jarret would say about an M77

    I'm sure Chad Dixon would take it on and do a great job on it, but it would be spendy and you would still have an M77 with it's ring mount system and extremely limited ring selection, etc, etc,.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    You could get a good barrel put on and a McMillan for about a $1000 and probably get a sub MOA shooter. But if you're going to spend that money for the level of quality, you should really go all the way and have the action trued and bedded which is the only way of guaranteeing tack driving accuracy. Not to do so is wasting $$$ on a good stock and barrel, IMO. The Sub MOA Vanguard comes in a full aliminum bedded B&C stock which is quite sturdy. Most folks (includug my smith) would say the McMillan is better... however, not inifinitely better. I personally would opt for a full aluminum bedded stock first, which IME, gives you better transfer of recoil energy to the stock, via the recoil lug and will never compress.
    If I buy a top shelf barrel it will be better than MOA or else it will go back. A top shelf barrel on a decent action means .5 MOA is on tap, probably much better. Tuning actions is not a bad idea, but it is much overrated IME. Gunsmiths must charge for something and a little lathe time adds to their wallet (which I'm not against) and soothes the owner's ego. As for my comments on the stocks, infinite may have been an exaggeration on my part, but B&C and full length bedding blocks are WORTHLESS IMO & E. I've owned my last one and rate them just above the ubiquitous tupperware models. Some guys love them or else they would be out of business, but their quality completely escapes me. IME if the stock needs a bedding block to add rigidity then there is an issue in materials or construction or likely both. You could not give me a B&C Medalist that I would have to keep, but that's as much due to design as function.

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    So for $1000, the OP could get his M77 outfitted with a McMillan stock and a good match barrel that would probably shoot Sub MOA or he could buy a new SS Sub MOA Vanguard for about $800-$900 (I just picked one up for $725 that came with a .35" factory shot target) that is known to be Sub MOA and with a little load work it might be Sub 1/2 MOA and have what the vast majority of the shooting world consider the better action and have a lot more option flexibility.
    I've been in the bush for a long while, but I had no idea that Howa had taken the world by storm. They are good serviceable actions and should provide yeoman service, but they are hardly the cat's meow. It seems I remember they use metric threads for the barrel, but I could well be wrong, and I have never seen one rebarreled. I think I sense some overstatement on your part as well in so far as it is unlikely you have interviewed the vast majority of the shooting world. To each his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    Not imperically, but the other two have beefier receivers and unless the Ruger is made of superior strength steel, which it isn't it only stands to reason the beefier receiver is stronger. And both the M77 and Howa are cast actions but looking at mine, the Howa is clearly better workmanship and stouter. So for someone to say that the m77 action is one of the toughest out there is a reeeeeal big stretch. It ain't so. is the M77 strong enough? Yeah.
    Whatever point you are trying to make is moot IMO. All have more than adequate strength.

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    I have heard that the Howa's are usually better than the Rems as far as this goes. For a factory action, the best is probably a Mark V. In any case, I wonder what Jarret would say about an M77
    I've heard that Bigfoot roams the hills, but I tend to be a skeptic about such things that have been merely "heard." I'd also doubt the 'smith that likes the idea of lapping nine lugs when two work just as well nor why someone would build a "tack driver" on such a limited platform as the MK V. I like the MK V, but I do not like it better than a M77 for most work.

    The OP wondered about a rifle designed for hunting and whether a M77 should be considered as a viable platform for a build. The answer is yes IMO. Are there better options, of course there are. M77s are not the "best" action, but they are more than good enough and any advantage possessed by other actions makes a lot more difference in this forum than it ever will in the field.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Big +1 to ya 1st Cor, don't know how the rep thing works or I'd give you some.

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    I would buy that Mauser Mark X that is for sale on this forum for $375.00 It is a 25.06 and use it. You could have the bolt face opened from .473 to .532 cheaply. and have it reamed out to .257 Wby. if you want. Then some winter restock it. It will have a 24" barrel and maybe the .257 Wby. wants a 26". Me I would just keep it a 25/06 for $375.00 and go sheep hunting.

  16. #16

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    Cor, I feel really special that you give my opinions so much attention

    On How beneficial truing up and bedding an action is, we probably disagree a little, and I'm basing my opinion from what I read from a lot of other experts who I believe are credible and I would be glad to point you to them. Before you dismiss internet references, these people are real people with real experience, some who live right here in Montana like Kirby Allen. The smiths I might cite are all credible and very respected based on their Work and RESULTS based on photos and testimonials. When you chat with folks on these forums for a few years, you get to know how real they are. Now I believe that you are real and have a good bit of knowledge and experience in the gun world, more than me for the most part. Never-the-less, I have researched and pursued some areas that you probably haven't given as much attention to. My interest in doing builds started when I burned out the barrel of my M77 and continued to grow as I became interested in LR shooting. I initially want ed to use the M77 but after asking a lot of questions, I started looking at other options.

    Now in the LR world, Picatinny style bases w/tactical rings are the standard and that's out for the M77. That's not an issue for the OP, but he will have essentially one choice of rings - no big deal really. The angled action screw is plain and simple a pain in the rear. Yes, you can work around it and live with it, but why? You can live with the rings, but why? I am also going to subjectively say that the Howa action is stronger than the M77 based upon my observation. You say they are all good enough... fine. I say, I want as strong and rigid an action as practically possible, especially for shooting magnum cartridges. You say the Ruger recoil lug is adequate, I say the Howa is better. I also say that a good recoil lug that is properly bedded to the stock is critical to good accuracy and consistency.

    On slapping a good match grade barrel on an untrued action and expecting .5 MOA is, IMO, setting yourself up for disappointment. A whole different subject suitable for a thread of it's own. (be my guest ) You might get that .5 accuracy, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I would say there's a very good chance you'll get better accuracy than the original factory barrel.

    On the Howa action "taking the world by storm"... maybe not quite, but it is getting more and more popular because it is a good solid action. Not meant for the bigger mags, but for the 300 Wthby and down, it's hard to beat. And it does have an international popularity.

    So... here's a statement that really blew me away.

    ....nor why someone would build a "tack driver" on such a limited platform as the MK V. I like the MK V, but I do not like it better than a M77 for most work.
    Limited platform? Hey, I'm not going to debate this with you. The Rem 700 is the most popular factory action to build on, basically, because of all the after market add ons available for it. The Mark V is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, factory action to build on for it's strength and design. I've had a few long conversations with my smith and he has brought up the Mark V several times... he has never mentioned the M77. I was talking to him about the possibility of a future build on the 338 Lapua Mag and asking his opinion on what action he said the Defiance (custom action) would be a good single shot, but for a repeater, the Mark V was the ticket. We had talked about custom actions before and he likes Defiance. If you find a smith that will build a Lapua on an M77, find another smith.

    A couple of years ago I came across this article by Chuck Hawk's on "The Finest Bolt Actions Ever produced". Now Chuck isn't necessarily the final word on guns and you can talk about your Bigfoots, but he is very knowledgeable and makes a good case in this article for his opinion. He lists and describes six actions in this article and two of them are the Mark V and the Vanguard/Howa M1500. the M77 is not among the other four. Enjoy...


    Weatherby Mark V


    When Roy Weatherby designed his turn bolt action he departed from the Mauser 98 inspired norm in many ways. He decided to address the issue of bolt wobble and largely eliminated the problem by making his one piece bolt as fat as the locking lugs, which are machined into a reduced diameter bolt head. Instead of two big front locking lugs, he used three rows of three small lugs, making a total of 9 locking lugs spaced to give a bolt rotation of only 55 degrees. Because the fat Weatherby Mark V bolt is so smooth in operation and has a short rotation to unlock and lock, it is one of the fastest of all bolt actions for follow-up shots. Inside the bolt is a massive, one piece firing pin.
    The cartridge head is enclosed in "three rings of steel" (barrel, receiver ring and recessed bolt head), made famous by Weatherby advertising, and the action is immensely strong. The Mark V is, in fact, probably the strongest action in the world.
    The extractor is a claw in the bolt head and there is a plunger ejector in the bolt face. The latter is actually more reliable than the fixed, receiver mounted ejector of the Mauser 98 type, as it is practically impossible for it to be bent or damaged.
    In the event of a blown case the Mark V handles escaping powder gasses extremely well. There are three gas vent holes in the bolt body and a machined steel bolt shroud that completely encloses the end of the bolt to keep powder gasses out of the shooter's face.
    The highly polished and finished receiver is machined from a block of solid steel. It has a flat bottom and incorporates a serious recoil lug. There is also a generous loading/ejection port and, typical of push feed actions, a cartridge can be fed directly into the chamber and the bolt closed.
    The steel magazine floorplate is hinged at the front and the magazine floorplate latch is a button located in the front of the trigger guard. This button is easy to depress, yet takes a serious grip on the floorplate to prevent inadvertent opening under magnum recoil.
    The Mark V comes with an excellent, user adjustable trigger mechanism. It's two position safety locks the bolt closed when on and was designed to operate in near silence to avoid spooking game. There is also a visible cocking indicator below the bolt shroud.
    The 9-lug Mark V is a heavy action, basically designed for Weatherby magnum cartridges. Weatherby has addressed this by the introduction of a considerably lighter 6-lug (three rows of two) action for standard calibers.
    Weatherby's Mark V is probably the best of the "modern," push feed bolt actions. It lacks controlled feed but offers great strength, smoothness, fast operation and very high manufacturing quality. It is one of the all-time great bolt actions and it was designed from the outset for a hunting rifle. For hunting the most dangerous game I'd probably prefer a controlled feed action such as a Mauser 98 or Winchester 70, but for most other purposes I prefer the Mark V.


    Weatherby Vanguard / Howa 1500


    Weatherby evidently taught Howa how to make a superior, modern bolt action and they learned the lesson well. The Vanguard is a heavily modified Mauser pattern action that incorporates as many Weatherby Mark V features as possible. Its Mauser heritage shows in its small body bolt, dual opposed front locking lugs and 90 degree bolt rotation. Vanguard features common to both the Mauser 98 and Mark V include a flat bottom, forged and machined steel receiver with an integral recoil lug, generous loading/ejection port, one piece bolt, one piece firing pin and hinged magazine floorplate. The release for the latter is mounted externally in the front of the trigger guard.
    From the Mark V action the Vanguard action derives its three gas escape vents in the side of the bolt body and a streamlined steel bolt shroud that completely encloses the rear of the bolt. There is also a cocking indicator below the shroud. The ejector is a claw in the front of the bolt and the ejector is a reliable spring loaded plunger in the bolt face, making the Vanguard a push feed action. The trigger is user adjustable.
    Like the Mark V, cartridges may be fed directly into the Vanguard's chamber and the bolt closed. The bolt face is recessed to enclose the head of the cartridge. The Mark V may be faster, smoother and even stronger than the Vanguard, but the Vanguard is a very strong, well designed and well made action in its own right.


    http://www.chuckhawks.com/finest_bolt_actions.htm

    Now let's clarify this again...

    The OP wondered about a rifle designed for hunting and whether a M77 should be considered as a viable platform for a build.
    Here's what the OP said... again...

    ...if I spend the money to have a rifle built I expect it to shoot great.
    My question is, is the ruger actoin a good action to have a build done of of or am I wasting my time with this and should start from scratch, also can I change from the 7mm to the 257 weatherby.
    Thanks,
    Tony
    I'm ready to wrap this up.

    For the OP I'll say (again), You can build off the M77 and with a good smith, probably get a good shooter, but IMO, if you want a consitant good shooter with less hassles and more options and a better action, sell the M77 and look somewhere else.

    For you M77 fans, I have an action here looking for a home if you want to trade me your Howa or Vanguard.

    It's all yours Cor, I'm done beatin this horse

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    On slapping a good match grade barrel on an untrued action and expecting .5 MOA is, IMO, setting yourself up for disappointment. A whole different subject suitable for a thread of it's own. (be my guest ) You might get that .5 accuracy, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I would say there's a very good chance you'll get better accuracy than the original factory barrel.
    I'll keep this short since you are done with this thread MR. I've done them both ways (trued and left as is)--Rem 700s & Win 70s, M77s I've just screwed new tubes on them and found them good enough (at least good enough for grapefruits)--and while my sampling size is too small to be definitive, I'd say that truing an action is the least important step in building an accurate rifle. Given a barrel that is a known entity (Kreiger, PacNor, etc.) and a quality stock/bedding .5 MOA is normal with proper ammo. Practically everyone in the accuracy business is in it for the business. There has to be a reason that their stuff is better than another's and if we'll listen to them they will explain why. Facts are facts, great barrels shoot great; other details are mostly fluff. Never cut corners on the barrel/chambering and you'll not be disappointed. At least I haven't.

    There is a niche market for big cases and LR shooting. Years ago it was the 338 Kong and other variations on the 378 Weatherby case. Actions for cartridges that large are limited. The standard M77 simply cannot handle the OAL. For my part, it is a game that I am not interested in playing. Whatever its advantages may be I know that an action that has nine contact surfaces lends itself to inconsistency. An action that uses the trigger as a bolt stop can be a liability--I am not much for the overtravel. To its credit the A5 is a ready inlet for the MK V.

    See you on the next thread...
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    MR have you ever heard of Charlie Sisk? He will build a rifle on a 77, and I bet it'd shoot. As I already stated I have built more than one rifle on a 77, both for myself and customers, and when I say build I'm not talking in Internet lingo as to mean I'm building, IE it's at the gunsmith. If any of the guns I have put together on Rugers or otherwise have been grapefruit busters, I haven't heard about them, I would like to in order to make it right but I haven't which leads me to beleive they must shoot at least slightly better than minute of large citrus fruit.

    I think one point that may have gotten slightly side stepped is that the OP already HAS a 77action, lying around.

    I will agree that it wouldn't be my #1 choice for a BR gun but since the OP made no mention of hauling a bench up the mountain I don't think that factors in here. With a good barrel, good chamber, a good stock and bedding job, I see absolutely zero reason that a rifle built on a 77 won't hold .75 if the shooter does his part. Regardless of Internet claims and coffeshop talk I still think 3/4 of an inch is a pretty dang good shooter. Definately good enough for any game shooting at sane ranges, and not too many years ago a rifle capable of that would have been heralded far and wide. I'm not saying a Howa or a Rem won't do that but once again, he doesn't have a Howa or Remington in his closet. Me personally I would much rather spend a few bucks extra to get a rifle in the caliber I want, with the stock I want, the color I want, than something the factory wants me to want the color and shape they picked, even if they shoot exactly the same.

    I won't even get into the aluminum stock and this one looks stronger on the outside nonsense with you.

  19. #19
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    Well thanks for all the input on this it has been very interesting folowing this thread it seems that the opinion is that the action is good enough but there are better ones to use if I want to build an extremly acurate rifle. Not saying that I will shoot an animal that far but when I have a rifle built I would like it to be able to shoot at least to 800 yds as I shoot a lot out to this range and spend a lot of time on load development for each rifle I have to make it as acurate as possible. (I think I have a OCD thing for accuracy) What I am getting from everyone is that the M77 is not the action for this build and I should try and build from scratch or get a rem 700 action if I can find one or the mark V or.... Well I am really not sure what to do now
    Thanks again for all the help.
    Tony

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    MR have you ever heard of Charlie Sisk? He will build a rifle on a 77, and I bet it'd shoot. As I already stated I have built more than one rifle on a 77, both for myself and customers, and when I say build I'm not talking in Internet lingo as to mean I'm building, IE it's at the gunsmith. If any of the guns I have put together on Rugers or otherwise have been grapefruit busters, I haven't heard about them, I would like to in order to make it right but I haven't which leads me to beleive they must shoot at least slightly better than minute of large citrus fruit.

    I think one point that may have gotten slightly side stepped is that the OP already HAS a 77action, lying around.
    Kid, I haven't heard of Charlei Sisk, but I don't doubt that he does good work and like I said before, I was just having a little fun with the grapefruit comment. I've also said that I think it's possible to build a good shooter on an M77. But why? Just becuase you have one or sentimental reasons? Those are reasonable reasons but they don't make it high up on my priority list. I may infact, after I get a few priority projects done, go ahead and rebarrel and restock my M77 (if someone doesn't trade me a Howa first )just for those reasons.

    I will agree that it wouldn't be my #1 choice for a BR gun but since the OP made no mention of hauling a bench up the mountain I don't think that factors in here. With a good barrel, good chamber, a good stock and bedding job, I see absolutely zero reason that a rifle built on a 77 won't hold .75 if the shooter does his part. Regardless of Internet claims and coffeshop talk I still think 3/4 of an inch is a pretty dang good shooter. Definately good enough for any game shooting at sane ranges, and not too many years ago a rifle capable of that would have been heralded far and wide. I'm not saying a Howa or a Rem won't do that but once again, he doesn't have a Howa or Remington in his closet. Me personally I would much rather spend a few bucks extra to get a rifle in the caliber I want, with the stock I want, the color I want, than something the factory wants me to want the color and shape they picked, even if they shoot exactly the same.

    I won't even get into the aluminum stock and this one looks stronger on the outside nonsense with you.
    When the OP said he wanted a real shooter, to me that spells .5 MOA or better. That is the standard for precision shooting and that's what precision rifle makers barrel makers and smiths guarantee. Not saying there is anything wrong with .75 MOA for average shooting. That's what my M77 shot with handloads and for the 300-400 yd hunting I did, that was fine. My apatite for accuracy has grown since then. .5 is now my lower limit which doesn't mean I'm better than anyone else - that's just what I want. I like to see bug holes.

    I am in total agreement about getting a rifle, cal, stock, color, etc. that you or I or the OP wants. But sometimes budgets restrain us a little and that's also exactly why, the M77 not being my, your's or Cor's "first choice", that I would pick another action instead of "settling " for what's on hand.

    I am currently getting a rifle built on a Sub MOA Vanguard action and stock with a Broughton 5C, Med Varmint contour (.75 muzzle) for hauling around the mountians. It will be just a little lighter than the Sendero's I currentl haul around, but not an 18 lb BR gun either. That Sub MOA Vanguard is a .35 shooter from the factory (not bad for an aluminum bedded B&C stock eh? ) which makes me think why am I tearing it apart? Reason is, I want a diff cartridge and a match grade barrel heavy barrel for consistent pin point shooting. And to me a "sane" range is probably a little farther than what you might consider a sane range. It gives ma a lot of flexibility in the mountains and plains of Montana.

    So I don't think the OP should just "settle" with what he has lying around. Gitt'r done right the first time.

    BTW, I did a google on Ruger M77 actions and just happened to find the LRH thread I started on this very topic 3 years ago. Some good info here including a few pics of completed nice looking M77 projects. In post #9 there's a pic of an M77 action that has been modified by grinding off the recoil lug, drilling and tapping a new action screw hole that is configured the way it "should" be and using a beefy Rem style recoil lug placed between barrel and receiver. If I ever do my M77, that is exactly what I'll have done. You might consider it for your next M77 project.

    Comments are generally favorable with caveats like, "probably better choises" and "not my first choice", kinda like this thread.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/foru...27/index2.html

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