View Full Version : Ruger M77 Varminter help please.

Freedom in theSkies
February 28, 2002, 01:05 AM
Ordered one in .223. What kind of accuracy are they capable of?
I will be using a 6-24 Scope and a Harris bipod on it.
Any other suggestions?

Commander Fan
February 28, 2002, 04:18 AM
I recall a thread on the 77 Varmint at one of the Sniper boards. There was at least 3 LE shooters that got sub-1/2" groups out of the box. But a person should expect this accuracy out of any heavy profile barrel, I think.

The biggest complaint with the tactical shooters is the oversized chambers observed on some. And when the bores are scoped, many Rugers are reported to have a rougher surface. But these observations are made by die-hard Remington shooters and I'm sure there's some bias here. The same people that say they would never touch a Ruger, are the same ones measuring them with micro-scopic bore scopes and headspace/chamber guages(???). I have never scoped my Ruger barrels or checked the chambers, but they all shoot very well. Actully, better than any other brand I've owned.

I favor the lockwork and operation of the Rugers the most, and wouldn't hesitate buying the Varmint model if I had an application for it. I will list some pros while looking over one of my own.

1) Integral scope base(no bases to mess with).
2) Four screw ring caps(not 2)
3) Positive feed Mauser bolt(allows you to shoot upside-down:)).
4) Laminated stock(These are my favorite. Your Varmint will have it also.).
5) Stronger, less flexing, Investment cast receivers.(Many will argue, but the proof is in the metelurgy testing.)
6) Simple trigger design(2 parts and a spring)
7) Three position safety(3rd position blocks the firing pin & sear's movement)
8) A REAL floorplate and triggerguard(not that lightweight alloy stuff)
9) Price(Usually a little less expensive than the competition.)
7) Accuracy(There can be good/bad ones with every maker, I've just been real lucky with the Rugers.)

Actually, I have always ended up with rifles that shoot. The 2 Remington 700s I own, one standard weight(.30-06) and one bull(.308) shoot very well. I bought a Savage years ago from a friend that needed bar money. It also proved very accurate. Also, a couple Winchester M70s and an M70 action that shot great. I just like the survivalist/conservative/simpler design of the Rugers. It has to have the fewest parts of all the American made center-fire rifles. Less is Better, to me.

I think many people shoot under different conditions. I use a cast-iron suppport and premium leather bags, with the aid of a spotting scope. I see people at the range setting up on a couple sand filled, shot bags, shooting only seconds after walking down-range and back, puffing on a cigarette. I smoke also, and the heart rate gets really high just from setting up targets. But once I'm settled at the bench, I get into a zone. And where I'm getting 1/4"-1/2" groups with a Ruger, they are gitting 1"-3". And I know most of it is operator error.

Back to the subject, you should expect 1/2" groups from the bench. But that Harris Bipod will diminish it some. Slow-photography has shown them to 'bounce' up before the bullet has even cleared the barrel. The legs look like a couple of 'springs'. But I use them all the time when shooting off a vehicle hood. Better than nothing. I have two models, but this shorter "S BR" model gets used the most. It is the 'benchrest' model. It even has enough height for my AR15s when using the shorter 20-round magazines, and 30-rounders when fully extended.

Maybe not important, but did you know...
The legs on the Harris bipod look like florecent light bulbs when observed through night-vision. I can post a photo if this will be a tacticaly employed, sniper-style rig. If it's just used for varminting it will be of little imporatance.

Good Luck/Good Choice:)

Art Eatman
February 28, 2002, 12:10 PM
I'd be surprised if you didn't get good accuracy. I have a standard, plain vanilla 77 Mk II. I put a Timney trigger in it, and stuck my ancient Leupold 3x9 on it. It shoots inside one MOA with any old gunshow ammo I feed it, and around 1/2 MOA with Remington factory 55-grain SP or with handloads.

:), Art

Jack Carson
February 28, 2002, 08:14 PM
Mine was manufactured in the early 80s or late 70s, I've never checked. Bought it from a pawn shop. It's a .243 and consistently delivers 1/4 to 1/2 inch groups at 100 yds. with 85 gr. handloads. 100 gr. loads deliver groups from 3/4 to 1 inch with total regularity.

I have taken approximately 50 deer, exactly one antelope, several coyotes and who knows how many prairie dogs with this rifle. No complaints and no reason to switch to a different rifle. The weight is not a problem on the plains but I would hate to lug it in the mountains.

Jim Watson
February 28, 2002, 08:37 PM
It is old enough that it is not quite the same thing, but my pre-warning 77V .22-250 is very satisfactory. I had it out for the first time in several years last week and found that it would put two shots touching, the third out .5 to.7 inch at 100 yards.

Not great, you say?

The thing is, I was working up loads, paying attention to primer appearance, bolt lift, and keeping track of empties for casehead measurement. Each of those three rounds per group was a different powder charge, half a grain increase per shot! The next batch I do will all be at the intermediate load. Then look out.

Freedom in theSkies
April 10, 2002, 12:34 AM
I took delivery of my KM77VT on Monday, and spent the whole day at the range today.
---I really need a spotting scope!!! After I don't know how many tris down to the 300 and 500 yard butts, I think I lost about 3 pounds...:p
Mounted an old 3-9 Bushnell cheapo scope on it till my high rings come in, so I did not really expect too great of results.
I was firing 55gr fmj ammo. (Have Speer 50 grTMT to build now)

I had a 300 yard, 3 round group just over 2" as my best of the day.
I don't really know where the size of a group is measured from, so if I go outside to outside, the average 100 yard group is just about an inch. - usually 2 holes touching and a "flier".

I found that after about 4 rounds, the accuracy dininished slightly.

Are the Tasco Super Sniper scopes a good deal? -Any suggestions?

Oh.... The shooting today was my personal best:D :) :D

Love the rifle...

April 10, 2002, 04:19 PM
It seems like a winner!!! I would also like to know how to measure groups?

I can't wait to bring mine home :)
I still can't believe coming across one used just 2 days before I ordered a new one :eek:
Im gonna be checking out scopes for mine this weekend.
Good Luck,


Art Eatman
April 11, 2002, 01:10 AM
Groups are center-to-center--so take the total diameter and subtract one bullet diameter and that's it.

I have a Bushmaster with a 6x24 Tasco on it. I fired one shot on 6X and the next shot on 24X and they hit 1/2" apart. The rifle will easily group three shots into 1/2" on 24X, so I figure the scope was put together properly.

Most of my load testing or accuracy testing is with three- or five-shot groups. The acid test, of course, is a ten-shot group. Regardless, the rate of fire should be somewhere between sorta slow and downright lacksadaisical. If you get in any sort of hurry you really heat up the barrel, and that tends to make groups get larger.

Also, a bit of fatigue from concentrating real hard on the sight picture can make you hurry the shot, somewhere after #3 or #4. You gotta take your time and work on uniformity of the sight picture.

:), Art

Freedom in theSkies
April 11, 2002, 01:33 AM
I have been doing some reading on the accuracy aspects of long range and target shooting. Very interesting to say the least. -Alot of body mechanics and formulas...

I have been trying to find a Tasco 6-24X42 Varminter here in Canada for awhile now... I think I'm going to have to go directly to the National Distributor to find out what the hold up is...

I made up some neck sized 50gr. Speer TNT rounds tonight, so I'll give them a spin tommorow morning.
Powder is 748, 25gr to 28gr. in 1/2 gr. increments
and one batch with IMR 4895 at 25.0gr.

Thanks for the advice on measuring group size!

Art Eatman
April 11, 2002, 10:46 AM
I've spent a fair amount of time on the benchrest, mostly either sighting in a rifle or testing group sizes of various loads.

Whether bench or hasty rest, the key seems to be uniformity of sight picture. No canting, among other things; this will give an arc-like dispersion.

Some people have difficulty in actually achieving "This sight picture is EXACTLY like the last one." That is something to work on. Another factor is that it takes 0.2 seconds for the finger to do what the mind instructs. That's why a steady rest and a relaxed hold on the rifle is important--let the sandbags do the support-work.



April 11, 2002, 05:13 PM
Could you explain more in detail what you mean by a relaxed hold? Im gonna be getting into some rifle shooting and can use some pointers for shooting from the bench. I was told one of the things to do is, to pull the trigger in between breaths and to shoot one shot, wait a minute or two then take the next one and so on for 4 or 5 shots.
Also Im not sure if I understand what you mean with measureing group size.


Art Eatman
April 11, 2002, 10:57 PM
S.F.S, you were told right. I generally take a breath, let out about half, and then finish up with sight picture and the pulling of the trigger.

By "relaxed", I mean that you're not all tensed up and pulling hard on the rifle. I often curl my left arm and hand back around to hold the butt with that hand. Reduces felt recoil. The forearm of the stock is just resting on the forward bag.

I try to have a comfortable seat, and relax my body so I don't "vibrate and quiver" and thus disturb the sight picture. I try not to have to push or pull or do anything to compensate for the rifle not being pointed directly at the target. When everything is righteous, there's no force nor movement except two joints of the trigger finger.

The accepted convention for the size of a group is the longest distance between centers of the bullet holes. It is common for four out of five shots to be very close together, with the fifth shot being a noticeable distance away from the rest. This is the infamous "flier". It is often the fault of the shooter, not the rifle. A "called flier" is one that you knew when you fired that your aim was off.

No matter what I tell you, you'll still have to work out a system that is comfortable for you, that works for you. All I can do is give you some ideas...

Anyway, you can guesstimate the center of bullet holes and measure, or you can just take the total spread and then subtract that one bullet diameter. The number is the same in either instance.

Hope this helps,


Freedom in theSkies
April 11, 2002, 11:39 PM
I talked to the folks at Gentek Intl. this morning and for all you Canadian varminter fans, Tasco will not be shipping till the end of April. This means that you won't see the Varminter scopes on your retailers' shelves till Mid April at the earliest. :confused:

The 50 gr. TNT rounds were ok. Groups averaged about 7/8".
I was a bit too hot with the 748, so I would not reccomend going above 26.5 gr.
The IMR 4895 was quite good and I will continue to work up some loads with it and Hodgdon BL-C(2) with Hornady 53gr. HP Match bullets. They ought to dispatch a gopher cleanlyand efficiently.

April 12, 2002, 06:12 AM
Do you usually keep the rear of the stock resting on bags also to steady it, or do you just shoulder it?

Freedom in theSkies
April 13, 2002, 12:12 AM
I am going to try out an Outers Varminter Rifle Rest on some targets this spring. Hopefully they will be in a large field and will meet the hollow end of a 60 gr. .223. -"Gopherama" 2002.

It should completely steady up a rifle, yet make it easy to traverse and elevate, due to the exellent design.

Art Eatman
April 13, 2002, 10:39 AM
I use home-made sandbags at front and rear. I have a heavy chunk of cast iron that has a yoke to support one sandbag; I then use a sandbag under the butt for alignmnet.

When I'm really trying for that "perfect group", I try to take as much of myself out of the equation as possible.

Just for drill, sometimes I rest the forearm on my hand and hold the butt into my shoulder, to see how things would work in a more "in the field" situation.

Remember, varying the rest position of the forearm can affect any pressure on the barrel. Again, uniformity. Pulling back hard with the shooting hand will induce muscle quiver/twitch and can affect uniformity of aim at the time of trigger-pull.

If you're not pulling back pretty hard, though, the big magnums can rock you. That's why it's more difficult to get really good groups with them. It's not the rifle, it's the shooter.


April 13, 2002, 12:07 PM
If I understand you properly I want to rest the rifle on a sand bag in the front probably up near the swivel stud and also rest the rear butt of it on a bag and basically Im to just to pull the trigger. The rifle is a .223 Ruger Varmnt Model so recoil isn't gonna be no where near the magnums are, also the barrel is free floated.
Im in the midst of making some sand bags out of empty shot bags.
What are your opinions on using a harris bi-pod?


Art Eatman
April 13, 2002, 02:02 PM
From what I've read, a fair number of serious varmint hunters who don't take a portable shooting table along to a prairie-dog hunt do use a bipod.

On a benchrest, they'd be a bit less steady than sandbags. In the field, I imagine they'd be steadier than a hasty rest over a rock or against a tree...

Occasional posts here at TFL indicate good results with the Harris bipod.


April 13, 2002, 06:06 PM
Thankyou for the advice there Art...