No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Seven-Seventy-Seven

    I don't get to start many threads but had a few minutes and thought I'd try my hand.

    Back when I was a poor sailor I bought a Ruger Model 77 in the caliber 7x57 Mauser. This particular rifle had a rather plain looking stock and a mid weight 22" barrel, which was stamped "Made in the 200th year of American Liberty". Some of you may remember them. I bought it at John Walls General Store in Blairstown, Mo. They are still in buisness, I think Shannon Cooper runs it now. Anyway, this rifle, which I handloaded for extensively wouldn't shoot worth a crap. I tried everything! Tightening the bedding screw, loosening the bedding screw, floating the forend, then bedded it solid, still, a good group was about 2 1/2". But that didn't stop a hard headed country boy from hunting with the rifle. I shot coyotes at great range, I shot whitetail deer in at least 5 states and it became a favorite deer rifle because everything I pointed it at fell dead. I made some very memorable shots, in front of witnesses even. It was such a killer, folks talked about it far and wide. I hunted in Minnesota and folks talked about it, and me, there. I hunted in Virginia, made a great running shot at over two hundred yards, became the talk of the coffee shop for almost a whole day. Back home in Missouri, it was a killing machine, folks would comment about this wonderful old rifle. This rifle was known as the 7mm-77, or just 7 seventy 7, or just tripple seven and some times lucky seven or number seven. But it had a reputation.

    After about 10 years of draggin' this thing around through the brush and over rocky ground, the finish was gone the stock was gouged and the bolt knob was polished white. Then one day this piece of crap rifle, which I had no respect for because of it's inability to group it's shots in less than a foot circle, fell out of favor with me. I decided to sell it. But first I thought a thorough cleaning was in order, so I polished it up inside and out, even dabbed a bit of cold blue here and there to make it more appealing. And, with plans to trade it for something useful, I decided to shoot up the last of my 7mm ammunition before stripping it of its plumb colored Leupold 2-7 scope. Just for fun, I nailed up a target at a hundred and bagged my old rifle in and touched off a three shot group. I then proceeded to blast away at rocks and what ever, not to disturb my last group with this rifle, until I fired the last of my handloads. I then stripped off the scope, cleaned it again, and without thinking of my last group in the target still nailed to the piece of plywood that I used for target board, I hurried off to off-load this lackluster rifle with it's less than mediocre grouping ability.

    The following morning, I hightailed it to my favorite shop with the old Ruger and a handful of second job money to finally upgrade my equipment and get a real rifle. I returned home that afternoon, one Ruger and few hundred dollars lighter and burdened down with a new Sako AII rifle in 308 caliber, with its deep luster blue and hand rubbed oiled stock of fine grained walnut. As I got to my shooting range, the weather clouded up. I hurried against the approaching clouds to clean the rifle of it's factory grease and scope it quickly. Then, as the rain approached, I hurried down to the 100 yd target board, new target in hand, to nail up the first of my test targets for this beautiful new rifle. As I got to the target board I noticed something that stopped me cold in my tracks, a few yards short. There on my target board was yesterday's target. The last piece of paper ever pierced by my old lucky seven rifle. It had placed three Nosler solid base bullets into a dime sized group, for the first time since..... ever! I stood there in disbelief, shocked by what I had done. After all these years together, how could I have been so foolish. Not even give old number seven a chance to prove itself again. I stood there as the rain came and splattered on the target. I think even a few drops fell into my eyes. I pulled the target from the plywood and hurried back to house.

    Everyone thought my dog had died. I must have drug around for a week. I called the shop to try to recover old number seven, it was too late, already gone.
    It was almost a month before I ever fired the Sako, I hated it for coming between me and old lucky seven.

    Sometimes we are too quick to judge, sometimes old friends need time to season. Sometimes we just shoot too quickly. Good shootin'.

    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?

  • #2
    Me too

    Murphy I screwed up almost the same way had a nice M77 in 7X57 that shot only fair an older gun too it killed everything I ever shot with it and along comes a guy that just had to have it and since I also had a 280 and a 7mm mag I sold it so I could buy something else it was probably the softest shooting rifle I've had that I could have loaned to anyone with confidence enough in it to know if they did their part it would do the job everytime.I've tried to buy it back a number of times no luck it's my good friends wifes everything gun.I've tried to trade her guns worth a lot more in value for it she just laughs at me.Her last responce was why should I want another rifle this one has killed everything I've shot at with one shot using your handloads so tell me how I could I improve that with another gun sometimes women just know how to get you where it hurts.I've tried other 7X57s and have kept none they just don't have the right feel.There is a big gun show in Dallas this weekend maybe an old 77 will be there for sure I'll be looking...Good shooting Ronnie


    • #3
      Great write up Murphy. As the years mount all of us seem to acquire a "one that got away" gun, mostly because we didn't appreciate it till it was gone.

      Mine is pretty embarrassing to admit, almost as embarrassing as carrying the bloomin thing- a Model 760 Remington carbine in 30-06 with a receiver sight. Loudernhell, killed at both ends, but fast as blazes in really tight cover of mature clearcut blocks. It killed everything I ever pointed it at, but I let it go when moving up here 30+ years ago, thinking I'd never have any use for it. If I had it today I probably wouldn't show it to anyone, but I'd pack it for sure. About as handy to carry as a short shotgun, but I have a lot more faith in the round.
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


      • #4
        Uh Huh

        I had one of the first 77's that came out in 25-06. It wore one of those early heavier than heck Bell and Carlson stocks. I know that I killed more game with that gun than any other gun that I've ever owned. Something about that stock made that gun balance and shoulder a little different than other 77's. Its probably my biggest regret as far as letting the good ones get away!


        • #5
          77 7x57

          I also had one of the Rugers made in 1976, in 7x57, and share some of the other experiences you mentioned, including being a sailor about that time. The rifle was never especially accurate, and I also tried to get mine to shoot better than it would. It was my second deer rifle - a step up from a Rem 788 in 243. I got rid on the 7mm, and regretted it too.

          Over the years I've had its replacement several times, all Mausers, and sold them too. Can't seem to hold on to a 7x57.

          You caused me to remember that I've got a new Mark X in 7x57 back in Georgia. I almost forgot about it. I've never shot it, but was planning some day to make it my southern deer rifle, but it is about number nine on my list of projects, right after two stainless 308 Rugers and a 6.5x55 Mauser.

          I thought I had moved up by going with the 280, which I really like, but I had some great hunting experiences for deer with the 7x57. What I remember most was how much fun it was to shoot - light on the shoulder, and much more confident on deer than the 243.



          • #6
            My sorry I gave it up gun

            Of all the guns I have given up over the years, my .257 Ackley Improved is the one I'll regret the most. I bought it at an estate sale in Southern Cal around 1978. It didn't look good, but I had a feeling about it. It had a 1909 Argentine mauser action, a 60s styled flame maple stock that had old caramelized Lin-Speed finish on it, but the most amazing thing was that when I took the stock off, on the bottom of the medium heavy barrel was the name J. Buhmiller. I couldn't believe my luck. Taking off the old Balvar 8 power scope, I had the action and barrel fine bead blasted and reblued, mounted a then new Leupold 3-9 x 32 scope on it. I refinished the stock, glass-bedded and free- floated the barreled action and though I prefer walnut, this was an incredible piece of quilt or flame maple. That gun, when set-up this way would shoot 1/2 minute of angle accuracy with several loads of IMR4895 going into ragged one hole groups. Mr. Buhmiller knew how to make a barrel.
            Well, I shot deer, pigs and several small black bear in California with that gun. It was my favorite.
            I was moving to Northern California in January of 1982, and my old friend Bob Gates stopped by to say good-by. He begged me to sell him that gun, "to remember me by." He pushed and pushed until finally I said, "Fine, give me $750.00 and it's yours!" I never knew him to have more then a couple hundred bucks at any one time. This time, however, he pulled a roll out of his pocket and peeled off the money, then layed it on the table in front of me. I was kinda stunned, but a deal is a deal and so the gun was his. Turned out a relative had passed on and left him a sizeable chunk of money. I haven't heard from him in about 5 years now, but he had to tell me that he still had the gun and could always take what he aimed at. Gee, it made me happy to know that!


            • #7
              I can feel your pain on this thread. I bought a 98 mauser at an auction house back in '75. I gave 22.00 for it. Over the years I shot it and kept it origional. Before moving to Alaska, I thinned out my collection - sold off my milsurps and other guns I had bought because they were cheap. I was offered 200.00 cash for my mauser at a gun show and at the time not really knowing the difference from one mauser from the next - sold it. My mauser had skull and cross bones, nazi runes of the SS and all the little stamps that just so happened to make my non-import, GI bring back worth far more than 200.00. Here I owned a real treasure all those years and thought all mausers were the same. You don't miss 'em till they're gone forever!
              God, Guns and Guts is what made America Great


              • #8
                You can't just leave the reader hanging like that and not finish the most important part of the story....

                How did that Sako AII actioned .308 shoot and did it give the confidence to make those shots you may have thought twice about with the Ruger?


                • #9
                  The New Sako..

                  Well, young feller, I'm glad you asked that. Grab yer'self a cold one and put another log on the fire. I'll tell ya' all about it.

                  That Sako was 'bout the fifth or sixth one I had and the others did real well so I had high hopes for this one. Of course, since it replaced an awesome shootin' Ruger, it had darn well better shoot, or else. Like I said, it was a long while before I ever shot it 'cause deep down inside I knew it could never out shoot the Ruger's last group so I guess I was just kinda stallin'. I had put a good Leupold VX III, 2.5-8x36 on it and it really looked good standin' in the corner of my gun safe. After about two or three weeks I finally got it out looked through the scope then adjusted the trigger just right, then back in the safe. This went on just about every evening for about two weeks. I even remounted the scope 'cause the cross hair looked a little canted to the left. All of this, I reckon, was just more stallin' around, putting off the task of shootin' this darn thing and being disappointed again, 'cause I knew it just couldn't shoot with the Ruger. Nothing could ever repalce the old Ruger. I found out later, when I was in therapy, that this is what them head doctors call denial.

                  Well, one day a buddy of mine came over to my little home-made shootin' range to do a little shootin'. He was a Remington guy and thought they was the best shootin' tools since smokeless powder. I had always bragged on my Sakos and the only time he came over was when he had a new Remington that he thought could out shoot my Sakos. I may have mentioned to him in the past week that I had a new one so he had to check it out.

                  Well, I got wind he was coming over so I put up a target at my 25 yd pistol range and bore sighted the rifle and fired one shot through the Sako. I hit the paper and adjusted it to center with the right number of clicks but didn't shoot again, just cleaned it and waited for him to show up.

                  I had decided that if the Sako let me down in front of witnesses, I would have to sell it, I mean I couldn't risk being the laughing stock of the county. This way, it would put more pressure on the rifle and it had better perform for the crowd. I explained to my Remington buddy how it was new and all and I would have to just shoot one and clean, to break it in, so this would take a while. He agreed, since his next appointment about a week away. Anyway, we put up two targets at the hundred and took turns settlin' down at the bench and firing one shot at our respective targets. I would clean while he would shoot and vice versa, not really expecting much from my new rifle with all this cleanin' going on. And of course, had a built in excuse for gettin' whipped by a Remington. Well after about an hour and a half, it seemed, we had fired 3 shots each so we strolled down to the target board. That same target board where just a few weeks before had hung the best target my old Ruger ever shot (sniff!).

                  As we came to the targets, I tried not to look at them and to look unconcerned about what lay ahead. Well, I'm usually real good about bore sighting a scope and "one shot sighting in" at 25 yds because I've done it about a thousand times. And usually can predict where a rifle will hit at a hundred after a shot at 25. Kind of a knack I have. As we got to our targets, the kind with the grid lines and the black squares, my heart sank! At first I couldn't even see any holes in my target. Oh, his target had three 270 holes in a neat little triangle that weren't much more 'n a half inch, but my eyes couldn't pick up a single hole in my paper. He said, "Looks like your scope ain't quite on." it is... one hole here in this black square. "Where's the other two?" He asked. I refused to respond...I was still kinda numb. Then....after a short pause he said, "No this looks like two of 'em's......well I'll be danged" "No way!" "Is that all three right there?" I was quick to answer that question. " Well....duh!" "But dadgum, I'm nearly two inches high and to the left, these darn Leupolds, you can't trust the adjustments on them"

                  We chit chatted on the walk back to the bench. The one thing I heard was well, let's see that again....or something like that. But of course everyone knows you can't shoot a new barrel too much the first day....I'll get my old ought six and shoot it a bit. Yeah! It's a Sako!

                  For me, that day, it was good shootin'.

                  Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the much anticpated conclusion. That's what I call a sad story with an even happier ending. Sounds like you found the load for that rifle right out of the gate and gave your shooting buddy something to shake his head about on the ride home.


                    • #11

                      I just happened to come across this thread. I really appreciated the stories.
                      I would like to mention one more saga.
                      About 15 years ago a friend of mine handed me a funny looking beer and pation time chopped Swede 96. The barrel was a #2, the action was from Carl Gustav in 1908. Original mil-spec rifle stock brutally trimmed down with the steel buttplate remaining. The bolt was cut (putting it mildly) then bent down to the point it was alost parallel to the stock. I thought, "uh-oh".
                      I accepted it graciously having already enjoyed my first M96 since 1986, but not really shooting it for lack of ammo.
                      Had a swing safety installed, drilled and tapped, muzzle recrowned, and found a cast off sporter wood stock of unknown wood. No bedding, original step mauser barrel, kinda ugly looking, original two stage military trigger.
                      Brought it to the range in a few months, had some factory Remington I found hiding on a table at a local gunshow.
                      Pregnant pause, after sighting it in, the beast won't shoot any larger than 1.4 inches for five rounds at 100yds, usually four rounds into .75 then I do something stupid and throw one out somehow.
                      Someone told me , hey, try shooting it at 200 yards. Okay, fouled bore, heated barrel, 200 yards prone. won't shoot any larger than 1.5 inches for five rounds.
                      SInce I was aware of similar stories to this thread I flatly refuse to give it up, Large amounts of money have been offered for this beast.
                      My Sako mannlicher 30-06 is also accurate, but, it is not the beast.
                      I cannot bring myself to leave it in the gun closet when the season rolls around. Everyone asks to touch and study the beast, shocked as to it's performance, even more surprised when I explain what little has been done, and the age of the barreled action.
                      For anyone who EVER contemplates giving up an old friend for something new and shiny and louder, shame on you.


                      • #12
                        ...another sad tale

                        Murph, since YOU started this:
                        Many years ago I was working at a gas station as a second job because I wanted to buy my first compound bow.
                        A bit before closing time an old beat up van pulls up to the pumps. Guy gets out and heads toward me to pay for his gas. Guy only has $5.00, and he's headed to a new job and needs more fuel than that so... out comes this old rifle, clean but old. He's really in need of gas so we trade. I fill his tank and away he goes.

                        I get to checkin' out this old rifle and its a 7.65 Argentine Mauser. Pretty nice stock for a military rifle, sporterized a bit with a 3x9 Burris scope on it.

                        After many years, and a lot of wonderful hunts, an old cowboy I'm poppin' brush with spys that rifle hangin' on my wall and wants to trade. He keeps at me and finally wears me down. I won't go into the details of the wheelin' and dealin' but suffice it to say we each figured the other guy got took.

                        I STILL miss that rifle. I had NO idea how valuable those actions were until much later. Guess this story kinda' pales next to some of the others but it is a fond memory.

                        By the by, that old boy's mule slipped and rolled over on that rifle put a pretty big gouge in the stock, but it still shot great as ever. The guy never did put it in a scabbard just hung it over the saddle horn by the shoulder strap. Sheesh!

                        Ride well, shoot straight and be a man of honor.


                        • #13
                          Argentine on Horseback..


                          Yeah, it looks like the old horse rolled over it but it sure shoots!

                          Good stories. I like readin' about these that got away. I've got several myself. Thanks for this one.
                          Good shootin'.

                          Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                          • #14
                            7X57 regrets

                            The 7X57 I regret trading off, was a Winchester Featherweight. It was the first rifle I ever handloaded for. Spent a very enjoyable summer working loads for that little rifle,and by the start of the hunting season my confidence in my own shooting ability was at a levell I could never afford with factory ammo. Seemed like I knew instinctively where the shot would be, even before I checked the target through the spotting scope. Best 3 shot group that summer measured @ 3/8".
                            That fall I shot an immature bull moose with the same rifle and handload. What a great feeling of accomplishment to take game with that rifle and my own home rolled loads.
                            Later that season, was sitting a little slew, early a.m. Glassing the far edge of the water, I spotted a coyote weaving in and out the edge of the beaver hay @ 90 yds. out. He was walking on the very thin layer of ice that was formed on the edge of the pond that cold morning. As soon as I picked him up in the field glasses, I quietly spoke to my partner. "Coyote"! The little mauser swung to bear arms, flawlessly, and I was on target and the shot was away. The whole process of swinging the rifle and getting on target seemed like fluid motion. The little dog flipped out of the scope like he'd been struck by lightning. "Your full of it", my partner said. "I didn't see any coyote". "He's there all right", and with big confident grin I slung my little mauser over my shoulder, and headed down the hill to pick my way around the edge of the slew to where the coyote lay.
                            After about 15 minutes of hopping from clump to clump of beaver hay that looked like it would support my weight, I found my proof. There lay one very dead little coyote with a 7mm hole just back of his left jaw and @ 2 -3 inch exit wound on the right side of his neck. I picked him up and held him high, for my doubting partner to see.
                            Yes, I surely do regret trading off that rifle. Thankfully though, we can trade memories and lose nothing but the time well spent.



                            • #15

                              Just thought I'd say thanks to all who have posted for this thread.
                              I receive quite a few hunting/shooting magazines and I do grow weary of the new rifle/cartridge hype.
                              Deer hunting on the east coast is my region (for now) and I shudder everytime I meet the guys at the cabin for the opening week.
                              What has Wally World provided you this year? The stainless and synthetics, and magnums, and super moly copper ballistic tip etc make me cringe.
                              Geez guys, it is just a deer! I am sure we all know the type, they don't practice, show up with the new camo pattern from Cabelas, new boots, etc.
                              They then proceed to spout the awesome killing power ,and KNOCK DOWN power of their new rig.
                              Here I am wearing wool and surplus camo gear with my cheapo boots from Sportsmansguide. In my hands is either the Swede or a 99 in 250 featherweight takedown that was given to me, no blueing of course.
                              The day before opening morning, here they come with their pie plates and 40 plus dollar box of ammo. Set that target up at 50 yards YES 50 yards, and boom away. " Yeah this is a tack driver, this 270 wsm only drops 4" at 400 yards----yes, I was about to correct him but, he did bring the Makers Mark.
                              A four inch group later he proclaims with gusto, "DEAD ON!"
                              Their weapons get muddy from the noisy quads, tossed in the rack without so much as a quick wipedown.
                              The Swede and the 99 are always clean, revered and carefully placed in the rack ; there is a separate one that is too far from the tapped beer, therefore is empty.
                              Hoorah for those of you who understand what that special rifle means.
                              Give me wood and metal until I complete my exodus to the NW territory, then bring on the synthetic and SS!!!!


                              Footer Ad Module 300 x 300


                              Footer Adsense