View Full Version : Ruger M77 First Gen question...
May 21, 2008, 03:21 PM
I usually hang out in the Handgun forums, but I want to ask a question about my most current purchase. I bought a rifle from my father last Easter. It is a Ruger M77 25.06 with a 4x scope (not sure of maker.) It was made in 1975 (according to the Ruger Serial# search, if memory serves) and has had less than a box of shells shot through it. I was talking about it to a guy at the area gun store, and he said something about having to replace the barrel on it due to the velocity of the round???? This was something WAY out of left field for me. Anybody ever hear of anything along those lines, or other problems with the first gen M77's? Edit to add: I should add that I know the history of this rifle since it was bought for my Father, by my Mother BRAND NEW, so I know for a fact it hasn't been shot that much. My Dad took one deer with it, and went back to his Remington pump .270 It's sat in his safe ever since 1985 or so.
My new baby!
May 21, 2008, 09:34 PM
May 21, 2008, 09:41 PM
the 25-06 does burn out barrels fast, maybe he was just offering a warning. otherwise, i suggest getting someone else to take a look
May 21, 2008, 10:10 PM
The .25-06 is right on the edge of being "overbore" meaning there is more powder capacity than is easily used for the bore size (.25 cal). In past decades, using primarily IMR type powders, overbore cases had a reputation as barrel burners, specifically the leade in the rifling, the "throat" of the barrel. When this part of the barrel gets worn/burnt out, the accuracy suffers. However, how fast (how many rounds) and how much the accuracy goes downhill are quite variable. More modern powders, with cooler burning temperatures go a long, long way towards taming a "barrel burner".
The .220 Swift had (and still mostly has) the same kind of reputation, and in a varmint rifle, which is shot quite alot, a change from a rifle that groups 3/4" to one that groups 1 1/2" is a disaster, and the barrel ought to be replaced.
In a deer rifle, the same change is not really a serious concern. The .25-06 will wear out its fine accuracy before many less intense rounds, but a single box of ammo simply isn't going to do it. Unless you do the rapid fire thing, it will take hundreds, if not thousands of rounds to "burn out the barrel" to the point it will no longer group well enough for big game hunting.
Everything wears out. High performance machinery wears out faster than lower performance machinery. But a single box of ammo isn't even really breaking the gun in. Under normal conditions, and with proper maintenance and cleaning, I would expect 3-5,000 rounds before the barrel has degraded to the point where it needs to be replaced. Every gun is different, so there can be no hard and fast number, but many guns have gone this many rounds and more without critical failure. It is heat that destroys the steel, and pressure that erodes the bore. The .25-06 has more than many rounds, but many others match it, or come very close. Under normal hunting or sighting in conditions, the rifle should not get hot enough to suffer accelerated wear, unlike rifles used in target matches and rapid fire applications, and since few hunters actually shoot enough rounds in their life time to approach the point of wearing out a rifle barrel, the reputation that guns will last forever has resulted. Use a gun enough and you will wear it out. But "enough" is a huge number of shots, several times the cost of the gun in the cost of the ammo.
Your rifle isn't worn out, and isn't going to be worn out for a very long time (measured by number of shots fired), and even when it is (IF it ever gets that way) the cost of another barrel is much less than the cost of another rifle. Look at it this way, if you drive the same car everyday for 30 years, how many engines will you have to go through before your car isn't worth driving anymore? (note, I am not talking market resale value in dollars, I am talking about the value as working transportation, which is a different thing that what it might sell for)
In short (and I seldom do short) that guy was blowing smoke up your ......He took a single fact and made it sound like waaaay more than it is. And, yes, I do have a .25-06, a custom built 1903 Springfield. Accuracy is stellar, and I have only put a few hundred rounds through it. But the gun was built by someone decades ago, and nobody knows how much it has been fired before I found it. Don't worry about your Ruger, it will group as well as it is capable of for a long time.
May 21, 2008, 10:26 PM
Thanks guys. Thats the info I was looking for. This gun will get shot once a year at most. I got it home, shot it 3 times (my 10 y/o wanted to shoot it so he got one shot too) and it grouped beautifully. I have LOVED this rifle since I first shot it when I was much younger, and now that it's mine I want it to last forever. Thanks again.
May 22, 2008, 08:28 AM
To expand slightly on the excellentr reply written by 44 AMP - - -
1. One of my former bosses was a great fan of the .25-06 cartridge. He had a Remington 721 for over 20 years, and there's no way to estimate how many rounds he fired through it. He used to work in a wide-open stretch of West Texas desert, and had permission from all the local landowners to varmint hunt their property. He took full advantage of the situation, too. ;)
Years ago, he bought a large container of surplus IMR 4831 powder. I think the drum held something like 50 pounds, but it was certainly over 25. He shot almost all that powder in that one rifle. When he moved east, he couldn't hunt as often, but did go to the range frequently. A few years ago, he regretfully threw out the last pound or so of that surplus 4831 because of the age, and it was starting to break down.
2. I own two Ruger 77 rifles made a few years before yours. Mine are .30'06 and .257 Roberts. I've had each for over 20 years. I've handloaded and shot both a LOT, working up loads, practicing, and hunting. Many shooters check their deer rifle sights once, go on one or two hunts, and don't fire 20 rounds per year. Their interest is in the hunt rather than in the shooting. My Elder Son and I, though, like to shoot rifles. We often fire 50 rounds through one centerfire rifle in an afternoon. My .257 has been used by both my sons and at least four others to take their first deer. Each of them had practiced with it beforehand. Some of them have used it on additional hunts.
When I got my .257, factory ammo was very mild, so I usually loaded it well above factory specs. Nowadays, they offer .257 +P ammo similar to my old loads. This is just means that all my shooting has been with healthy loads, and very few reduced for ladies or children. While the .257 is a little milder than your .25-06, it is the same bore size and may be considered a high velocity rifle, though not a magnum. It'll still shoot sub-one inch groups, if the shooter does his (her :p) part.
Shoot your Ruger .25 all you want with factory-equivalent loads, take care of it, and it's likely it will still be shooting well for your son, and perhaps for his.
Best regards to you and the lad
May 22, 2008, 12:35 PM
I have one in .30-06 I bought in 1982. I like the fact that the magazine holds one more round than the later MkII version (5 versus 4). It's been my primary big game rifle for 25 years and I don't have a plan to change it out. I would like to try hunting with one of my M1 Garands, but I'm not even thinking of another bolt action rifle.
May 22, 2008, 06:08 PM
Thanks so much for the info guys. I really appreciate it. I LOVE this rifle, and was worried it wasn't going to hold up if we shot it much. I enjoy shooting with my boy, and we mainly shoot the handguns, but it's nice to take the big boys out of the safe from time to time.
May 22, 2008, 10:41 PM
I think when they talk about barrel erosion in the 25-06 (as well as the .270 and other calibers) they are talking about the result of a couple of thousand rounds. From your description I doubt this gun is even fully broken in yet. If I had a gun like it I'd probably clean it frequently for at least the next few boxes of ammo to continue the breakin process. My 2 cents.
May 22, 2008, 11:40 PM
You might contact Ruger as there was a recall on the early 77's. There was a problem with the overtravel spring in the trigger. Give them your serial number, and they will tell you if yours was included in the recall. They'll send you the replacement spring.
May 23, 2008, 09:04 AM
There is no way our gun has a barrel erosion problem now. It takes over a thousand rounds for that to be a concern, even with the speedy 25-06. I have an older Ruger M77 in .243 and I have no idea how many rounds have been fired through it, but it is still a tack driver. You have a great gun--enjoy it and don't worry.
May 23, 2008, 10:04 AM
The recall was for the overtravel screw, not spring. I called them a month ago and gave them my SN. It was included in the recall. They sent me another screw (looked like a nyloc type) with an allen wrench and instructions. It took almost 5 minutes to install properly. The old one I took out was fine also. Ruger told me that the old screws were rarely a problem until someone decided to start adjusting it, then it would loosen up over time and not stay where one put it. The new one stays put but they still don't want you to adjust it.
May 23, 2008, 02:21 PM
The recall was for the overtravel screw, not spring
Thanks for the correction as it was over 20 years ago that I changed out the overtravel screw, and many rifles have come and gone since then.
May 23, 2008, 10:38 PM
Ruger told me that the old screws were rarely a problem until someone decided to start adjusting it, then it would loosen up over time and not stay where one put it.
That person from Ruger was wrong. The nylock on some screws was bad, too short to make contact with the threads.
On my M77R "Senior" the screw was in fact loose, and had never been touched.
What could happen with a loose screw, if it worked forward (clockwise) it could reach a point where the rifle wouldn't fire, but would upon lifting the bolt handle.
The replacement screw is a hole filling plug that can't be adjusted. its flair prevents it from doing anything. It isn't in my rifle.
Personally, if the screw is snug I wouldn't change it. I have checked other rifles and found the screw to be fine.
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