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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
     MikeG, I know you shoot a .257 M77 also, and it sounds like you get better results than I. I have only gotten good accuracy from 75gr bullets. I've tried 100 gr Hornady and Speer spitzers and 117 gr Hornady BTSP's with R22, H4895, Varget and AA4350. The best accuracy I can get with any of these is 1.5 inches and that's not real consistent. Any tips on bullets or loads? I notice that I have to seat the Hornady bullets with the cannelure below the case mouth due to the short throat even though this is a long action rifle. I've been really frustrated with this rifle, but I'd like to get it shooting!
I've not had to give up on any other rifles before!   ID
 

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I had the same trouble with a Ruger #1. It would NOT shoot anything under 2.5" at 100 yds. I was ready to install an expensive single shot gate post when I tried firelapping the barrel. Long story short, it now shoots MOA or better. One of my fellow officers had the same problem with a M-77 .338Win Mag. I am about to decide that while ruger builds some great fire arms, their. barrels suck to say the least. Also my .257 seems to prefer Nosler Ballistic tips ( 85 gr to 115 gr.) Sierra 90 gr HPBT & speer 100 spbt also shot pretty good. I am a Hodgen freak so I use their powder pretty much exclusively, H- 4350, 414, 380, & 450 (if you can find any) gave me good groups with SD's running from 18.4 fps to 8.6 fps.
Also I moly coat all bullets.
Have fun.
( if all else fails buy yourself a Marlin 38/55 & your 257 problem will seem like a walk in the park).
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sage advise on the .38-55, Charlie....

As a historical note, Ruger did not always make their own barrels.  They do now, but used to outsource from <!--emo&???--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt='???'><!--endemo-->.  I guess some of them were good and some not so good.

OK.... on to your problem.  Sounds like you are already aware of throat dimensions, so I'll assume that you are seating for a short bullet jump to the rifling.  That's the first thing that I try to work out.

Here's something that might help a little.  I suspect that your bullet seating die could possibly be incompatible with some of the bullets.  I didn't get good results with mine till one day I noticed that the seating stem was cracked!  A rare occurance but goes to show you that anything can happen.  I have one of those RCBS Case Master tools which measures bullet runout.  When I substituted a seating stem from another die, the problem went away and the bullets were being seated much more concentric.  I used to get some good groups and some not-so-good groups.  Now pretty much all the groups are good.

Now, for the weird part.... I got good accuracy from 75 gr. hollowpoints as well, even with the defective die.  How's that for strange.... For whateve reason it just gave more problems with 100 grain bullets than with the 75's.  I have no idea why.  But now pretty much anything goes MOA, at least for 3 shots, even some Remington Cor-Lokt bullets that had been in my father-in-law's basement for who knows how long.  Speer, Nosler, Sierra, they all do good now.

So, do you have any way to measure case or bullet runout?  Sometimes dies are defective or do wear out.

If you can eliminate this as a potential problem, then I'd goof around with the bedding.  Free float, or jam a few business cards between the barrel and forend, just play around with it and see if it affects your rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
MikeG and Charlie,
     Thanks for your responses. Thus far the accurizing efforts I have made include glass bedding the recoil lug and floating the barrel (the stock applied FIRM pressure on the left side of the barrel when I bought it! ) as well as installing a Timney trigger. As I said, with Hornady 75gr V-max's I am getting 3/8 to 3/4 inch groups so the rifle seems to have potential.
      As for the dies, Mike, I can see no defects in the seating stem. They are Redding dies, which I have never used before. I don't have a good way of measuring runout but I'd like to do that to see if the heavier bullets are seating poorly. I don't need a varmints-only rifle since there aren't too many varmints in my local area, so if I can't get the deer weight bullets shooting the rifle isn't very useful to me.
       Charlie, I have not lapped this rifle because it hardly fouls at all. In my experience fouling is what causes poor jacketed-bullet accuracy that is curable by lapping. But I may try it yet!  
        Incidently, this rifle has puzzled me since I bought it. Why in the world would Ruger put a short-throated .257 on a long action? My rifle has occasional feeding problems due to that long action. Any load that is short enough for that throat is short enough for Ruger's short action. I think it is this kind of nonsense that killed the .257 off to start with. Mine may end up a 25-06 yet!
Thanks again,   ID
 

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IDshooter: Over the years I've owned a half dozen 257Roberts.  Although I like the cartridge quite a bit only one of those rifles (mod 70fwt. push feed) seemed to like almost any load I put in it.  Two Mausers, a Mod.77, a #1 , a 721 all were extremely fussy. One thing I noted over the years is that cases seem to vary a lot in terms of weight and volume.  Current R-P cases that I am using in an Ackley version seem to be a lot better.  So, I suggest you weigh and volume your cases to see what you've got . Try to buy cases with the same lot # if available. Might not be your problem then again it might.  None of my rifles shot the long 120 grain spitzers worth spit although they would shoot 115's and 117 gr. round nosers very well.  Probably a matter of barrel twist/inadequate velocity as the long ones, particularly the Hornadys did not stabilize. I put a lot of new powder in the storage bin with each one working them out. Nothing but fun and equal parts frustration. I didn't note a particularly short throat in my 77 but a gunsmith should be able to correct that quickly.  If you are having to seat your bullets deeper than the base of the neck you should have it done. I understand Ruger is very helpful at their customer service dept. so you may want to talk to them about it.  You mentioned glassing the action. Did you fully float the barrel or do you have a small area (about 1 1/2") under the chamber? I've found this helps stabilize a lot of hunting weight barrels although it may cause group spread if you shoot long strings and heat the barrel a lot. Nothing to do but experiment. Regards, BCstocker.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Don't know what to tell you.  I free-floated mine as well.

Redding dies are generally pretty good.  Take your loaded rounds and roll them on a really smooth flat surface - if they have a lot of runout you should be able to see the bullet noses wobble.

Well, what I would do is the following:

1.  Get an RCBS Precision Mic or similar tool (Sinclair?) for measuring the bullet jump to the lands, if you don't have one already, and

2.  Start seating them at 0.020" from the throat, and every 5 rounds go 0.005" or 0.010" deeper.  It might tell you it likes them with a different seating depth than the 75 gr. bullets.

3.  Still can't make it work... chamber reamer?

I'm not much on experimenting with different powders or primers, as I've always been able to get more results fiddling with different bullet seating depths.  Assume you've tried a couple.  What load combinations have shown the most promise with the heavier bullets?

I know what you mean about the long action - the magazine is positively huge compared to a loaded round.  Who knows....
 

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Try changing the bullet seating depth as sugested by MikeG. Thats what it took to get my M77 .257 R to shoot. Istill need to work with it but at least now its around an 1" and not 1 1/2".
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update,
      I broke down and bought some 115gr ballistic tips and Viola! the rifle shoots. I used the same charge of AA4350 that I had tried with the 117gr Hornady and seated 1/2 turn off the lands (no mic yet, Mike!) and fired four groups, averaging 1.1 inches at 100 yds. The nice part was the largest group was 1.2" and the smallest was .8" rather than the extreme irregularity of my previous efforts. One 200 yard group measured 1.2".
      I don't know about the Ballistic tip as a game bullet, but at least this gives me hope! Stabilizing a long bullet does not seem to be the issue, since this bullet is the longest I have tried yet. There must just be something about the shape...
       I wish this rifle was like my 30-06, which has never met a load it didn't like. But at least it's progressing.
      By the way, chronographed velocity was 2841fps in 28 degree weather. I zeroed 2 inches high at 100yds, my 200 yd group was still 2" high. Not too shabby!
Looks like I'll be putting in for a pronghorn tag this year!
      Thanks for all the good advice!   IDShooter
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Good news indeed!

For what it's worth, my dad has taken to shooting whitetails with 100 gr. Ballistic Tips in his .25-06 with good results.  So, sounds like they certainly should be OK for pronghorns.

Guess you don't need that Precision Mic now.  Curious, how does the point of impact compare with your 75 gr. loads?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
MikeG,
     Point of impact with the 115 gr bullets was exactly the same as the 75 gr using R15. However, when I have shot up the rest of the Reloder 15 rounds I am switching back to H4895 for my 75 grain loads since it gives over 200 fps greater velocity. It remains to be seen how point of impact will compare with that load.
     You have mentioned a couple of gadgets I would like to own, and I think my next tool purchase will be a gauge to measure runout. Incredibly, it seems as though I have NO flat surfaces in my home, at least none I could find while trying to roll those cartridges!
Thanks again!   IDShooter
 

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Just some thoughts......The first rifle I ever built was in 1954 and it was a .257 Roberts on a small ring mauser. After we chambered the barrel, we loaded some rounds with the base of a 100 gr MGS bullet at the base of the case neck. Then we used a throating reamer to seat the bullet just of the leades. In the 70's Wichester ran some .257 Roberts in there push feed Mod. 70's. Here agin we did the same thing with the throating reamer, ordered out bolt stops for .30-06, and magazine followers. Took out the mag spacers. Those rifles are still shooting well. You might want to follow suit on your Mod 77.
Best Regards, James
 
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