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  #1  
Old 08-10-2007, 07:15 PM
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Ruger M77 7x57 Accuracy


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I recently bought a Ruger M77R in 7x57 1971. The rifle has had little use and shows only handling marks. The bore looks like new. I made up some handloads of 140 gr Partition bullets w/42.0 gr IMR4064 CCI250 primers in Grafs brass that I fully prepped. I set the OAL at 3.065. It does not pattern well by my standards. Most annoying is that there does not seem to be a pattern other than loose horizintal stringing. I shot it at 100yds from a Harris bipod and sand bag prone. I fired it from a cold bore two rounds and then a long wait and then two more rounds. The spread is about 3 1/4" all right of the established point of impact. Last year I tried other loads from the rifle and had similar results. I called Ruger in NH today and they said that their standard of acceptable accuracy for this rifle in 7x57 is 1 1/2" groups at 50 yards. They suggested using Federal 140 gr softpoints or Winchester 145 gr softpoints. They will not discuss accuracy if you use handloads. I know I am spoiled by my .222 and 6BR, but even for hunting, I hoped for better. If you play with the stock bedding at all, Ruger will not warranty it. The barrel has side play in the forend and seems to settle in different places when squeezed by hand. My plan is to get the ammo that they suggested, shoot 10 rounds of each from 50 yards and 10 each at 100 yards and evaluate it from there. If it falls within Rugers acceptable accuracy (1 1/2" @ 50 yards) then I am on my own. At that point does one free float the barrel or glass bed a pad where the barrel contacts the forend? I like the rifle otherwise and love the caliber. Any ideas welcome. Thanks, Peter.

Last edited by pintopete; 08-12-2007 at 06:41 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2007, 08:09 PM
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I would first figure out why there is side play, if the barrel is moving while your handling it, just imagine how much it is moving when shooting.
I've been playing with an older m77 in 7mmRem. that has never shot worth a nickle, so it may be a long road ahead getting your rifle to shoot good.
I free floated the barrel and it did nothing for accuracy. I had a gunsmith recrown the barrel and this helped a bunch. I may end up putting a small hump back on the tip of the stock like the original had to see if it helps. I've been fiddling with this for a good while.
Good luck with yours.
JR
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2007, 09:53 PM
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Back in those days, Ruger sub'd out the barrel manufacturing to another barrel maker. Quality was suspect and many rifles left the factory with substandard barrels. Yours may unfortunately fall into this area.

Best advice is to asssure all screws for the action and scope are properly tightened, the barrel is free in the channel, the recoil lug is properly bedded and the action isn't binding in the stock. After that, try various brands of bullets and powder combinations to find the best accuracy.
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2007, 10:39 PM
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If you do decide to takle the bedding, then do some temp work...stuff that can be easily reversed if it doewn't work out without any modifications to the rifle.

An "up bed" at the forend tip of plastic tape won't last real long, but it will proove if it's worth working in that direction. Two cardboard shims under the action (so long as the recoil lug is still engaged) won't last long, but will proove is free floating is worth a try. Once you see what temp. fix seems to offer hope, can then consider doing a real job of it.

As I remeber the early 7X57's, there were some "stinker" barrels. Few were bad bores...the ones i remeber being written about had oversized chamber throats.

On the off chance yours is one of those guns, the only "trick" i've found that usually improves accuracy in wide throated rifles is to use a bullet with a very long BEARNING AREA. Not length...the long sharp points of a spitzer give it length, but not bearing area. The old 175 blunt nosed slugs are shorter than the spitzers, but have more bearing area. have some ideas about why this seems to help in oversized throats, but no proof...do know it's worth a try.
------
Addition:

Another overlooked bit. If the root of the bolt handle contacts the stock accuracy seems to go to pot right away...over tightening the action scews, which tends to "sink" the action into the stock (and usually unevenly) seems to be the cause of most of bolt-handle-hitting-wood proablems I've run across, so it may just be that bolt-handle-to-wood contact is a sign of acrushed bedding rather than a symptom by itself.

Last edited by ribbonstone; 08-10-2007 at 10:44 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2007, 12:10 AM
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Peter, I also have a 77 that acted the same way, nothing really worked,I used Brownell's acuraglas and beded the first two inches of the barrel, but left the recoil lug alone, it improved ,120 gr.sierra with 43 gr of 4320 half in at a 100 . I used 160 gr sierra on moose. I now use 154 gr. Hornady on deer, this spring my nephew used 175 gr. federal round nose on bear,first factory rounds I 've used in it in 30 years really worked well on black bear.
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  #6  
Old 08-11-2007, 06:17 AM
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before you do anything to that rifle i suggest sending it back to ruger. they may just replace the old barrel. if that rifle truely has one of those bad barrels ruger may just make good on it. they wont commit to it over a phone but this would not be the first time i've heard them replaceing the barrel if they did. all you have to loose is some shipping cost.i would contact ruger and try to be very nice when talking with them, ask for names and when calling back ask for those people. it's worth a try.
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  #7  
Old 08-11-2007, 08:59 AM
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How does the bore look? The crown? If those look good try experimenting with some different powders and seating depths. Most manuals recommend a particular powder, the Nosler Manual recommends H414 with the 140 grn as having the best accuracy.
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  #8  
Old 08-11-2007, 09:22 AM
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I'm going to throw a clinker in here. Back when I was in Alaska in the mid 70's I bought a brand new Ruger 77 in 7 by 57. Put a nice Leupold 2 by 7 scope on it and put the bore sighter on it prior to taking it to the range.

It shot dandy 12 inch groups about 13 inches high and a foot to the left even though a bore site said it was right on. At the time I had a gunsmith shop running and I tried everything I could including glassbedding, free floating and more.

I finally sent it back to Ruger and lo an behold they said the chamber was bored crooked to the bore. Sent me a check for the cost of the gun plus the work I'd done to it. I ended up buying a new Ruger 06 that was a perfect shooter.

Moral of the story is when Ruger was outsourcing it's barrels there were some stinkers that can only be cured two ways, by rebarreling or by trading it in on something else. My understanding was the 7 by 57's produced during that period seemed to suffer the worse.

I'm not casting any dispersions on Ruger, Their fine guns and I especially like the tang safety ones the best, but just keep in mind that your cure may be a barrel instead of any mechanical fixes. The new 06 77 I bought killed a Dahl Ram at just over 600 yards. It was the longest game shot I've made in 45 years of hunting.
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  #9  
Old 08-11-2007, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for all the replies! When I called Ruger the woman was very nice, although I did not write down her name. I have ordered the two cartridges that they recommended and will try and see what kind of groups I get. I will save the targets. If it performs as I expect, I will send it up to Ruger. I had very good luck with Remington in similar situations. Like someone said the only thing I have to lose is the shipping. The bore on the rifle looks perfect as far as I can tell with my eyes. It is pretty tough to evaluate the chamber and neck areas, but there are no obvious issues there. The bolt does not hit and the action is properly tightened and I even read their proceedure in the owners manual. I do not like the way the barrel nests in the foreend. The lateral movement and the surface where the bottom of the barrel sits does not look like it would promote consistency. I will be patient and methodical and try the warranty proceedure with Ruger. I agree with Jim H that being polite and kind can go along way. Thanks again for all your help. The bullets are coming from Midway and will be almost a week until they arrive. I will kep you guys posted as to how things work out. Thanks, Peter.
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  #10  
Old 08-11-2007, 02:16 PM
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I'm wondering if there's a pressure pad in the tip of the forend that's flat or humped in the middle. That would explain the side to side play in the barrel. Look for marks where the barrel is touching the forend and see if it's resting in two different places. Try filing the pad where the barrel wants to rest so the barrel can return to the same point after firing. A bit of a groove might do it.

Try pushing the barrel the same way before each shot. I would try both left and right and see which side gives the best groups. File a groove on the best side.

Bye
Jack
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2007, 06:54 AM
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The forend surface is just like Jack described it. In addition I tried to check the throat area. I used my Stoney Point OAL gauge and two bullets that I have, 139 gr Hornady SP FB
140 gr Nosler Partition #16325. Bad news by my standards. The gauge point is at 2.574 (ogive) for the Hornady bullet and 2.628 for the Nosler. That puts the OAL at about 3.150 and 3.165. The bullet would not stay in the case set that way. That is about .100" distance off the rifling. I have never had a rifle work well with this situation. Maybe it is throated for 175gr bullets? 175's don't give the trajectory performance that I was hoping for. Plus I think they are a bit overkill for Whitetail deer in this area. I have dreamt of a bullet exchange agreement with members so that we don't have to buy a box of 100 only to find out they don't work well in my rifle. Then what do you do with them? I'll put a posting in the Reloading section anyone interested? Honor system even trades!? Thanks guys, Peter.
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2007, 02:58 PM
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I have this exact same gun but made in 74. I used to shoot Remington 160 grains through it with acceptable accuracy. Those went out of production and I tried various 140 grain shells. The gun hates those. I was shooting shotgun patterns at 100 yards. Switched to Federal 175 grain and am shooting sub 1" at 100 yards.

Like you I am less than thrilled by the ballistics of the 175 grain... IIRC it is down 22.5" at 300 yards
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  #13  
Old 08-15-2007, 03:46 PM
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I received the two factory loads that Ruger wants me to try. These are Federal Power-Shok 140 gr and Winchester Super-X 145 gr Power Point. I usually use a Harris bipod and a sandbag for the rear and shoot prone from the earth. I hope to go some time this week to test it out. I am less than optomistic, but that is a hurdle that I have to go through. Ruger sure has given themselves a big out with their accuracy standard of 1 1/2" at 50 yards. Lets see how it pans out. Thanks, Peter.
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:01 PM
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Worst case could be that you might have to rebarrel. I'd talk to Ruger first if that is the case. I really liked the old tang safety Rugers. Thought some of the class dissapeared when they went to the Mark II design.
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faucettb
Worst case could be that you might have to rebarrel. I'd talk to Ruger first if that is the case. I really liked the old tang safety Rugers. Thought some of the class dissapeared when they went to the Mark II design.
The 140 Grain Federals where one of the ones I tried that did so dismally. For me.. the Federal silver box 175 grain softpoints are all that I have found that shoot well thus far.

I have seen an M77 7x57 rechambered/barreled into a .280 Rem with decent results.
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  #16  
Old 08-15-2007, 06:47 PM
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I have not had good luck with the Federal rifle ammo either. I am just going through the motions of what Ruger wants. If the rifle needs a new barrel, it will only happen if Ruger puts one on for free. It certainly is not shot out in fact I would bet it has been shot very little. I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks again, Peter.
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  #17  
Old 08-15-2007, 11:06 PM
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in my opinion you need to throw more powder at it, just the same the 7X57 rugers from that era had throats about a mile long, and yes their subcontracted barrels stunk. if you got a M77 from that era that was a tackdriver you had something, the majority weren't real accurate(accurate enough for what was needed, just not for shooting itty bitty groups). my experience has been that when you have verticle variation you need a bit more powder, however, you should use your own judgement.
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:10 AM
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Dan, funny you should mention that. The Hornady rep I spoke with said the same thing. I think as the bullet gets heavier (longer) it is harder to stabilize. If it does'nt rain, I will test the Win & Fed ammo today. If the warranty thing does'nt work out with Ruger, I think bedding the forend and using the Hornady 154 gr Spire point flat base bullets set as close to the rifling as they will reach with a fairly fast load will be my best chance. The Hornady 154 gr bullets have about the longest bearing surface of any without going to a 160 or 175 gr. Thanks, Peter.
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  #19  
Old 08-16-2007, 10:50 AM
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Long throats on the 7x57, typically. You'll just have to hunt through some factory ammo it likes, or start handloading.
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  #20  
Old 08-17-2007, 07:18 PM
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it is interesting to think about how things tie together in terms of pressure, velocity and accuracy. the thing to remember with a factory bbl is that they may occasionally be a bit oversized in terms of bore diameter, but they will never be under. and bearing that in mind, pressure is what gives us consistant performance in terms of velocity and usaully accuracy. modern powders don't always work well with the old school reloading mindset. for insance, i love the ramshot powders and they are some of the most modern powders on the market AND the one thing that i've noticed with them is that their groups always improve as the load gets closer to max. like i say, i love ramshots stuff, my buddy louie has no use for it but he's got a different approach, he doesn't like to push maximum with any of his rifles, even his 7mm rem mag. so he's better off with the older technology powders.
the best thing that you could do is buy a chronograph, you can get a good quality basic model for about $100.00 ... when you get to the velocity that the manual states then you are where you need to be. my 25/06 is 100fps slow compared to the nosler manual and i have a mauser that i rebarreled to 280 with an adams and benett bbl from midway that is over 200fps slow. the 25/06 shoots well enough that i don't worry about it, but the 280 shoots best a few grains over published maximums.

something that comes to mind after looking at the load you've listed is the cci 250 primer. i use a lot of cci 250's and really like them, but for that load you really don't need them. in fact that may be you problem, i doubt it, but i have read more than once that magnum primers aren't as accurate as standard primers. that is something to consider... as i sit and think about that i have to question that thought, i think it would give more horizontal variation or else just put shots everywhere. the verticle stringing tells me you need a bit more powder. i'd bump it a grain and see how it does, then mabey go 1/2 grain increments from there. she'll shoot, just be patient.
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