View Full Version : 5" group with a Ruger M77 .30-06... This cannot be good...

Kentucky Deer Hunter
October 16, 2007, 10:43 AM
As the title states, I have a Ruger M77 .30-06 with a stainless steel barrel/synthetic stock with a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 scope up top. After trying several different types of ammo (Winchester X, Remington Core-Lokt, and Federal Premium) I am not able to get anything tighter than a 5" group.

Surprisingly, I can get the best group (5") with the Federal Premium. All ammo is 180 grains (I know, that's a huge round, but my brother has had great success knocking deer down and not going far at all with the 180s).

What I truly do NOT believe is that my brother can get a 1 1/2" group at 100yards using Remington Core-Lokt 180 grain ammo thru his Remington 710 (factory).:eek: It is amazing that a gun that cost half as much as mine, shoots 3 times better!

Does anyone have any advice? I think the obvious would be to send it back to Ruger and see what they can do, but deer season is coming up and it takes several weeks to get your rifle back.

If you have a suggestion, I would really appreciate it! Thanks...

October 16, 2007, 10:54 AM
Try some different weight bullets, your rifle might not like 180's. Try some 150-165 grain bullets. Plus try some more different types of ammunition if you really want to stick with 180's.

Check the scope mounts make sure everything is tight and not shifting during recoil. Try bedding the rifle, replacing the trigger, or floating the barrel. Have a good smith check out the rifle if the problem persists.

Take a good look at what you are doing behind the rifle. You may not be a good enough shooter to do better than 5" groups at the present time. Make sure you practice the mechanics and do the same thing every time behind the rifle.

I find that I developed a flinch from time to time shooting some of my heavy recoiling rifles doing load development that will really open my groups up. I have to spend some time behind a .22 rimfire or center fire to work it out. Good thing about the .22's they will help you work out some problems that you are having as a shooter.

I find that cost of a rifles built now rarely have anything to do with accuracy, although we expect it to. I found cheap rifles that shoot and expensive ones that don't. Most rifles made today are pretty accurate as long as we do our part. Same goes for ammunition as well, old Winchester white box ammo would sometimes out shoot the expensive premium stuff in my rifles.

October 16, 2007, 10:56 AM
I would double check all the simple basic stuff first, Scope rings and mounts tight, action tight in stock etc... Is this a new setup, new scope and all? Is scope known good? Nikon's are good but anything can fail. I doubt it is the rifle but you never know. Let us know what you find or if you have already checked all these already. May help us come up with a solution for you.
Good Luck,

john in jax
October 16, 2007, 11:00 AM
It's a process of elimination:

Can you put down the Ruger and pick up another rifle and shoot GREAT groups? (thus eliminating you as the issue). Has anyone else tried shooting the rifle?

Is the scope mounted high (as in see-thru mounts) so that you are getting more of a chin weld than a rock-solid cheek weld? The slightest tilt of your head at he back of the scope is magnified expotentially (sp?) at 100 yards.

Have you checked that the scope bases and rings are tightend down and rock solid?

Those are the simple easy to diagnose and fix problems I've encountered in the past.

Kentucky Deer Hunter
October 16, 2007, 11:13 AM
To answer some of your questions...

- I can pick my brothers rifle up and shoot 1 1"2 - 2" groups all day.

- I have checked the scope mounts and rings and everything is tight. It is a medium height mount (not the see-thru).

- This is a fairly new setup, gun has probably 200 rounds through it.

One thing that I have noticed is that the trigger pull is a little stiff, I may see about lightening that up as I am used to shooting my brothers and he has a slightly lighter trigger pull. I have found myself pulling back and the rifle not going off when I thought it would. That could be one problem, what do you think?

This is definetaly got me thinking more outside of the box:)

October 16, 2007, 11:20 AM
I have found myself pulling back and the rifle not going off when I thought it would.
Sounds like you are anticipating the shot, which is never a good thing. You should never be able to anticipate when the trigger will break. Your trigger could defiantly use some work to help clean it up, but even a heavier trigger that breaks clean is preferable to a light sloppy trigger.

Art Eatman
October 16, 2007, 11:42 AM
As far as the shooting goes, even with a draggy and stiff trigger you should be able to concentrate enough on maintaining the proper sight picture to shoot a halfway decent group.

If the groups tend toward being a sort of vertical string, high odds are that it's the forearm pressure on the barrel. If they're more a sort of horizontal orientation, that's usually from canting--but you say you're able to shoot tight groups with other rifles and so I'd guess that canting isn't the problem.

The cheapest start on a fix is to make sure the barrel is free-floated in the forearm. Then try a group. If it's better but not really righteous, try my shim deal: Make a 3/4" strip of kitchen wax paper and fold it back and forth until its thickness is such that about a five-pound pull is needed to separate forearm and barrel to insert it. Trim with razor. (When I take wood out of the forearm, I remove very little at the tip; just enough to slide the proverbial dollar bill past it.)

Best luck...


October 16, 2007, 03:54 PM
If you are shooting 5" groups, w/ that variety of ammo, I'm in the camp that says you're anticipating the shot, and/or, your gun hates 180's. If I were shooting an '06, Id be shooting 150-165's. Much flatter trajectory, and a little lighter on the shoulder. Also, get a bore snake cleaner and run it through your rifle dry. One other thing I would check is the crown of the barrel. Make sure it's not messed up.

October 16, 2007, 04:13 PM
Try some different weight bullets, your rifle might not like 180's. Try some 150-165 grain bullets.

Yup. A 150 or 165 will do just as well (and maybe better) than a 180 on deer, anyway.

Kentucky Deer Hunter
October 16, 2007, 04:22 PM
Well, I took the Ruger over to the gunsmith at Buds Gun Shop and he is going to lighten the trigger up to 3lbs. Currently it is over 5 1/2lbs. He also said that it is a very tough pull and the break does not feel very clean. He said he would adjust it and if he can't fix the break, he will send off to Ruger and get a new trigger or replace it with a better one.

Besides the main question, is it worth $85 to have the barrel floated on a DEER rifle?

Any other suggestions would be great!

October 16, 2007, 04:53 PM
Sounds like every Ruger I had in the last 10 years or so.

October 16, 2007, 05:19 PM
Yes. I have advice: Sell it, get a Remington (not a 710), Howa, CZ, Savage, or Mossberg. Pocket the extra money, and never look back. Be proudly Ruger-free. :p

October 16, 2007, 05:21 PM
1+ on the Howas...

October 16, 2007, 05:28 PM
Sounds like a "minute of deer" Ruger to me. Ruger-free, good one FF. I do agree-trade it. See prev. post about this same problem, I think I see a pattern.

October 16, 2007, 05:33 PM
I have a Ruger 77 MK II std in 308 winchester. Ruger dosen't fit these rifles at all. Just put a barreled action in a stock and sent them out the door. It's supposed to have a free floated barrel. My wasn't. I had to sand down the barrel channel then put on a coat of lin seed oil to keep the moisture out. That got it down to about a 2" MOA. A few weeks ago I figured if they couldn't float a barrel right the rest of the action probably wasn't bedded correctly either. So I glass bedded the acton from the chamber all the way back to the trigger guard. I think I finally got it down to about a 1" MOA. I wasn't at the range I usually go to and the bench at this one is pretty bad. So I dont know if the 2" groups were the rifle or me.

October 16, 2007, 07:09 PM
Besides the main question, is it worth $85 to have the barrel floated on a DEER rifle?

One needs a rasp, costing about 10 bucks, a fiberglass bedding kit costing about 20 bucks, some polyurethane spar varnish costing about 5 bucks, a dollar roll of masking tape, a box of rubber or plastic gloves about 3 bucks, paper towels fifty cents a 3 buck pack of sandpaper. Total will be about 42 bucks and will be enough supplies to relieve the barrels and fiberglass bed two to four rifles.

You can get by with the rasp, the sandpaper and the varnish for a total of $18 if you just want to float the barrel. Varnish is actually cheaper nowadays than linseed oil.

October 16, 2007, 09:14 PM
I used the following items to free float mine:

-120 grit sand paper
-180 grit sand paper
-320 grit sand paper
-000 guage steel wool
-1 3x5 index card
-Boiled linseed oil

Step 1) Slip the 3x5 between the barrel and the stock. Attempt to run it down the legth of the action. When the card stops you know you found a high spot.
Step 2) Remove the action from the stock. Place masking tape or duct tape over any portion of the stock you think might be accidently hit with the sand paper.
Step 3) Your barrel is supposed to come from the factory free floated. You'll probably see an impression the length of the barrel channel where you're making wood to metal contact. Use the 120 grit (or a rasp, I just used sand paper) And sand out the entire barrel channel. Make sure you get the sides too. You'll see where the factory tried to free float the barrel. Just sand that. Not the area that supports the muzzle or the chamber
Step 4) Periodically put the rifle back togather and do the card test
Step 5) Once you're satisfied the barrel is no longer making any wood to metal contact. Disassemble the rifle again. Sand down with 180, then 320. and finally 000 or 0000 guage steel wool. This step is to smooth out where you used the medium grit (120) sand paper more than it is to remove wood.
Step 6) Clean the loose saw dust out with a paint brush or simular item. Then dampen a rag with linseed oil or varnish. Make one light swipe down the barrel channel to clean the residual saw dust. Then use another rag to apply several light coats to protect against moisture and warpage.
Step 7) Completely reassemble rifle.

October 17, 2007, 02:20 PM
Before doing anything to the rifle, call Ruger Customer Service (603-865-2442 for rifles). Tell them your problem, and hear what they have to say. Ruger customer service is typically top-notch.

Kentucky Deer Hunter
October 17, 2007, 03:01 PM
I did actually call Ruger this morning and the guy was great. He said if the trigger job did not help the situation, then I could send it in and they would check/adjust/replace anything it took to shoot at least a 3" group. I know it's not MOA, but if they can get it that close, I can do some load adjustments and see if I can get it better.

One thing the guy at Ruger said was that they don't float rifles with the synthetic stock. I wonder why, and if it should be floated.

One more thing, any of you that have a lot of experience shooting, what is a good routine (ie. shoot, wait so many minutes between each shot, etc...) to use when shooting from a bench trying the get the best group possible. I have learned alot this week on here about how I should not just shoot 3-4 shots off right after another. That kind of stuff would be great!

October 17, 2007, 03:49 PM
I had trouble getting mine in 30.06 to group. It didn't help that the trigger pull was 11 pounds(no kidding) with a terrible creep. $100 later for a timney and my groups are better but not great. Nothing passes between the barrel and stock. I'm sure that is the problem but at least I can get 1.5" groups now. It was a real frustration since it was my first rifle and by the time I figured out that the problem was in the gun I had gone through a ton of ammo, money, time, and developed a serious flinch that I had to work through. It's too bad that ruger doesn't do something better to float or bed their barrels. I love the fit and finish, especially the beefy bolt and the 3 way safety. I recently bought a tikka in 7 mm-08. 0.9in out of the box first time out. Sure the ruger has taken deer and is plenty accurate for deer, but with the tikka, no headaches. I've bought my last ruger.

October 17, 2007, 04:05 PM
Sorry...I thought you had a wood stock.

October 17, 2007, 08:20 PM
Get the trigger down to 3 lbs,(I put a timeny in my Mark-2 RL) ,you may have to float the barrel,as I also had to do this in my Weatherby Light weight,to get a better group,being a light weight ,ya need to let the barrel cool after 3 shots ....

A few years ago I watched a new Ruger owner struggle with factory loads in a 30-06 ....he got about a 5 to 6 inch group ,he asked me what I thought ,and I stated "If that were my gun, I'd sell it" .....
I gave him a couple of my reloads ,he made two shots ,and then just had to go see his target ....he had two holes touching"perfectly" at 100 yards,he had never done that before ,he was truly amazed ....come to find out his brother inlaw owned a gun shop,I just converted him to reloads !

The recipe that has worked for many an 06 shooter ...
Sierra 165 SPBT,
IMR 4895 powder, 45 grains.
Large rifle primer (any).

Give it a try what have you got to loose but diameter ! see ya BB:D

October 17, 2007, 09:14 PM
You shoot your brothers rem fine. How does he shoot your Ruger??

I suspect it is the trigger pull.

Kentucky Deer Hunter
October 17, 2007, 09:18 PM
The recipe that has worked for many an 06 shooter ...
Sierra 165 SPBT,
IMR 4895 powder, 45 grains.
Large rifle primer (any).

I assume the Sierra 165 SPBT is the Spitzer Point Boat Tail Bullets?

You shoot your brothers rem fine. How does he shoot your Ruger??

I suspect it is the trigger pull.

He has the same problem when he shoots my rifle... 4 - 5" groups. I will admit, he is a better shot than I am:rolleyes:, but he cannot get anything tight on my rifle.

October 17, 2007, 10:09 PM
I had a Ruger M77 in .270 for about 6 months. I had sold my Remington 700 BDL .243 which shot nickel size groups at 100 yards. I sold the Ruger, bought a Remington 700 BDL in .270 had a gunsmith tune the trigger and get it to 3.5 lbs pull, it's been shooting better than 3/4" groups at 100 yards for 20 years. I'd call Ruger, send them the gun and have them fix it for free. You'll probably end up with a great shooter if they will, otherwise return it and buy a Remington 700. Any 30-06 that won't group with 180g bullets (the best all around weight for the caliber) isn't worth keeping in my opinion.


October 17, 2007, 11:12 PM
Ruger makes really pretty bolt-guns & single shots, but I have lost track of the ones I've seen and heard about that wouldn't shoot for sour apples. Frankly I think they use second rate barrels. Several .270 Rugers on the other hand, have been pretty darn good. 'Luck of the draw' you might say.

This is not to say that some tweaking won't get yours up to a usable level of accuracy- which is whatever you say it is. Ruger's comment about making it shoot "at least a 3" group" tells me everything I need to know about their expectations of their own product.

The deal-killer for me is that the most abused, ugly old 110 Savage in any caliber (mine's an UGLY .223) has always just shot rings around the 'best' Rugers I've had ahold of. So does the old plain-jane .30-06 Remington Model 78 that has stood in the closet corner for about 14 years now. I probably have less in that 78 than a new wood stock for a 77 Ruger would cost these days.

Needless to say, neither of those old ugly guns are going anywhere.

Danny Creasy
October 17, 2007, 11:52 PM
Ruger's inconsistency is frustrating. Across the board. Two friends sent back 77 Varmints in .22-250 over poor accuracy and another's is a tack driver. I know this is a centerfire thread. But, I made a recent post about my great experience with a 77/22. I had been less than impressed with a couple I had shot in the past.


October 18, 2007, 07:36 AM
Wow, five inch groups are pretty bad. Have you tried a different scope?

Jim Watson
October 18, 2007, 09:39 AM
Friend of mine had a M77 7x57 that was very disappointing on accuracy. Ruger tinkered with the bedding and crown and sent it back with a 1.5" group which he thought adequate for hunting until he read the fine print and saw it had been shot at 50 yards. The rifle now has a Douglas barrel in .280 Rem and is his new favorite mule deer and elk rifle.

Art Eatman
October 18, 2007, 11:21 AM
I've always had good results with Sierra bullets, both boat-tail and flat-base; spitzers and hollow points are equal, as well. I've mostly used 4064, since 1950. :) I tried a book-max load of H414 with 180-grain SPBTs and got a three-shot 0.4 MOA group--and grinned, and quit. :D

Dunno what to say about Rugers in general. I had two 77s back in the 1970s and they were tack-drivers. I have a 77 Mk II in .223 and it's a half-MOA critter--with no tweaking other than installing a Timney trigger.

Occasional bad barrels? I dunno. Frustrating...


October 18, 2007, 07:38 PM
Yes,Sierra 165 grain Spitzer Boat tails "Game kings" I believe ,Haven't loaded any in awhile ......the little ole guy in my head ,keeps running around in my head lookin for the file ,he's as old as me and can't find the file/ product number at this time :o)see ya BB

October 18, 2007, 08:03 PM
H4895 has produced such good results in so many calibers, it's about the only rifle powder I keep on the place anymore. Sierra bullets as mentioned in Art's last post have all been excellent in my rifles. The Nosler 150/Ballistic Tip was also a nice surprise, producing some of the best groups pur Remingtons have ever shot.