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Old October 31, 2013, 08:26 AM   #1
Join Date: October 30, 2013
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Ruger M77 Questions

I have a 1988 Ruger M77 with the tang safety and a factory laminate stock that I have some questions about (this is my first post so please be gentle):

1. I free floated the barrel a year or so ago but have noticed accuracy hasn't improved. Rather, it seems it has gotten worse. I haven't been able to shoot much since I did it (a couple of times), but I truly believe it is being affected adversely. When I was out shooting this past week I was getting a couple of shots that would group together and then a couple of shots would be 4 inches or so higher (left to right seemed fine). Then the next few would be lower again. I took a piece of cardboard and slid it between the forearm (at the end and the barrel) and barrel and accuaracy definitely seemed to increase. The cardboard was snug. Is this typical?

2. I am leaving for a deer hunting trip in 3 weeks....can I leave the cardboard "shim" in for my trip (not sure if it could affect accuracy if it gets wet and swells). How do I permanently fix this issue? Ideally I would like to shoot more before making any permanant changes just to be 100% sure it's not shooter error.

3. The trigger on the rifle is stock. After the season I would like to upgrade it. Is it best to to take it to a gunsmith and have them adjust it or buy a new trigger? If I buy a new trigger, what type/brand is best and do I need to have a gunsmith install it?

4. I am also thinking about bedding the action after the season. I've seen a "how to" on another site:

Is this something I can do my self (I am pretty handy and have plenty of tools etc)?

5. I would like to add a better recoil bad...any suggestions on the best brand/type? I want something that fits well so I'm thinking a grind-to-fit. Maybe a limbsaver or pachmayr?

6. Any other suggestions on how to improve the rifle? It was a graduation gift so has a lot of sentimental value and I don't want to sell it.

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Old October 31, 2013, 08:49 AM   #2
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Before you do anything else, loosen all the stock screws a turn or two.

1. Tighten the front/angled screw as tight as you can possibly get it with as big a screwdriver as you can possibly get hold of. Really stand on it (but with your hands, don't use a wrench at this point)

2. Then,... Tighten the rear screw as tight as it will go -- but not quite to the same extremes as you did the front screw.

3. Tighten the mid screw "middling" tight. (It's not a major player)

4. Put a dab of red nail polish on the interface of each screwhead/hole (combination insurance against casual creep and a witness mark.)

Try it again.....
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Old October 31, 2013, 10:23 AM   #3
Join Date: October 30, 2013
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Thanks for the response. I am not sure I'll have time to get out and shoot before my trip but will definetely check the screws once I get back. Can I leave the cardboard shim in until then? Do you think it is even helping?
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Old October 31, 2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Forearm/Tip pressure forces a specific barrel-whip/vibration mode. It can dramatically
improve an ill-fitting (or inconsistant) barrel/stock system's shortcomings.
Since it's already in -- and that's what you shot/zeroe'd with -- I'd leave it in for now.

Floated barrels are "generally" better for field use as they do not depend on that forearm/tip pressure
being absolutely the same day-to-day, hot-or-cold, rain-or-shine, wet-or-dry, sling-or-no-sling.
But they depend on a rock solid action bedding/fit condition as anchor.

When you get back, however, try the screw-tightening sequence mentioned; check/ensure that really
tightening that front screw doesn't bind up the rear tang against the stock cutout ("bowing" the receiver);
make absolutely sure the barrel can't possibly touch the forearm anywhere ahead of the front of the receiver;
... and give it a try.

Last edited by mehavey; October 31, 2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Old October 31, 2013, 11:45 AM   #5
Join Date: October 30, 2013
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Will do. I'm going to buy allen/torx screw heads so I can really tighten down the front screw. Any opinions on the trigger and recoil pad (after season)? Any other mods you'd suggest afterwards (I'm not fond of the bluing job....too blue for my tastes.....contemplating NP3/Poly-T2 by Robar to match matte black Leupold scope)? What about it a good idea or wait until after screw adjustments?

I also have a question regarding cleaning...I've always just used an aluminum cleaning kit to clean the barrel (screw together). I have been using a plastic bore guide though. After doing some research it looks like this is a no no. What is the proper way and products to use to clean a barrel? Keep in mind it has been cleaned before but never been "deep cleaned" like it should (probably has less than 300 shots through it)? Should I clean it before season or wait (I was taught that the first shot after cleaning is often a this true)?

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Old October 31, 2013, 12:14 PM   #6
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I'd recommend a Timney trigger for the rifle. Not hard to install at all and worth the expenditure. About $100 or so.

You probably have that hard red rubber recoil pad, which probably should not be called a recoil pad. Ought to be easy to remove - just two screws - and easy to replace. Note that if you get a new one, it might be thicker than what you have and will extend the length of pull. If you have a standard rifle, which the Model 77 is, you might be able to get a preshaped pad to fit it. That's more fun than grinding to fit.

Bore cleaning is often a source of discussion on the forum. In my own case, I once thought I undercleaned, so I got serious and really cleaned it (copper and all). Now I have come to believe that overcleaning isn't needed and might actually hurt your accuracy till you can lay down a bit more copper. So...I suggest a good cleaning with Butch's Bore Shine or Shooter's Choice, which won't take much copper out. And if you do clean it before going hunting, be sure to take one fouling shot.

As for the cardboard shim, leave it in for now and go hunting. Don't mess with what's working Ok for now.

If you get another chance to shoot it, see where it prints with a cold barrel. That's what you'll be doing when the big buck is in the sights - shooting with a cold barrel. And good luck with your hunting.
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Old October 31, 2013, 12:50 PM   #7
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Go ahead and use the deep-slotted screws that came w/ the rifle.
With a proper fitting screwdriver and a big rubber grip you can really lay some
torque on it by hand. No need for anything exotic.

That front screw anchors everything against the recoil lug, while the rear screw
stabilizes the assembly.

Get a one-piece steel and/or coated Dewey rod. Clean from the rear (bore guide* if possible).
I use KG-1** (powder solvent) and KG-12***(copper solvent if/when needed)
- Push sopping/KG-1 patch through once and drop from muzzle
- Push another wet/KG-1 patch through, scrubbing vigorously every 6 inches, and drop from muzzle.
- Go have a cup of coffee for 10-15 minutes
- Scrub dry patches through until they appear clean.
- 99% done. The other 1% gets you near nothing

- Use copper cleaner rarely (and really only if you see build-up gold streaks as you look into the muzzle)




Last edited by mehavey; October 31, 2013 at 01:04 PM.
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Old October 31, 2013, 01:32 PM   #8
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About the trigger in the Ruger 77 tang safety. Rifle Basix makes a trigger sear for it that cost me around $45 when I bought one a couple of years ago....think from Midway. This is not a complete trigger assembly, just a replacement trigger sear.

Its installation is simple to do. I recall using a very hard honing stone that my father used a long time ago to sharpen a straight edge razor and later to put a keen edge on a good knife blade, to polish the contact area of sear and what it made contact with. Also, may have replaced the trigger spring with a lighter one, but not sure about that.

Anyway, ended up with a trigger pull of around 1 Lb. when I was finished with it. Actually was kinda scary when I first tried the trigger. Yet, no matter how hard/fast I closed the bolt or banged the butt of the stock on my work bench or floor, the firing pin would not release till I pulled the trigger.

Just something to think about.
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Old October 31, 2013, 01:35 PM   #9
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Question for the rifle history experts - could this be one of Ruger's contract barrels? For several years during its production, the M77 was produced with non-Ruger barrels bought from a subcontractor. Some of those barrels were notorously inaccurate. Unfortunately, I don't know which years were produced with non-Ruger barrels.
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Old October 31, 2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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Yeah, could well be a contract barrel. Cause for suspicion but not conviction. I'm not really sure when the switch to in house barrels occurred, maybe as late as the MkII 77. I dunno. But a contract barrel does not necessarily mean a bad barrel. Lots of early 77's shot fine.

Tip bedding I believe, can cure some stock/action bedding faults. Take away the tip hump, and things can get pretty loosey/goosey. I messed up a Mini-Mauser doing the same thing.

OP doesn't mention what group sizes he was getting, before or after. One of my Ruger books likely mentions when the barrel switch occurred, I may check later.

Overall, I liked the earyl 77's. Plain, simple.....good working man's rifle.
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Old October 31, 2013, 03:46 PM   #11
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When you're tightening that front action screw, check to see if the stock has been crushed by over-tightening in the past. If so... it'll have to be repaired, shimmed, or have a pillar installed, before any action screw torque issues go away. The same goes for the rear screw.

I don't know what Ruger's recommended torque specs are for the screws, but I have found, through my own experimentation, that.....
Front screws should be torqued to 40-55 in-lbs.
Rear screws should be torqued to 20-40 in-lbs.
And the middle screw (front of trigger guard) should just be snug (~9-12 in-lbs).

The best tightening sequence I have found, is:
Install magazine box, floor plate, trigger guard, and screws (secure, but not tight).
Snug up front screw.
Tap butt stock on a hard surface, to ensure the action is fully seated.
Tighten front screw.
Check alignment of all bottom metal. (adjust if needed)
Run rear and middle screws in until snug.
Tighten rear screw.
Check middle screw (that it isn't too loose).
Recheck torque on front screw.

Over-tightening any of the screws can cause damage to the stock, which will result in misalignment of the bottom metal.
Misalignment of the bottom metal (aside from torque issues) can cause feeding problems, accuracy issues, and the floor plate to pop open during recoil.

If you can install the trigger guard far enough rearward, and the floor plate far enough forward, that the floor plate will pop open with a little pressure (or under recoil), the stock has been damaged - even if it you can't see it.
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Old October 31, 2013, 06:42 PM   #12
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I personally never free float the barrel without also bedding the action to the stock.

The reason I adopted this rule of thumb was exactly what you are seeing, removing the pressure point from the barrel did not necessarily degrade accuracy, but it made the rifle more subject to changes in POI due to screw torques and such.

IMO, you have 2 options, do the "tuning fork" thing, pillar and bed the stock and try to make it act like a tuning fork. OR put the pressure point back on the barrel by adding a cork shim under the barrel, which will stiffen the barrel.
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