M77 accuracy tricks? [Archive] - Varmints Den

: M77 accuracy tricks?


kaferhaus
01-12-2012, 08:05 AM
I've never had any luck with M77 Rugers accuracy wise with the exception of the M77V models. I've owned a couple dozen of the them over the years and finally swore I'd never buy another one. 25yrs ago I had a 300WM that did shoot pretty good putting 3 shots into .6 or so on a regular basis with hand loads. Even with the horrid factory trigger... never should have sold that one...

Anyway after all the swearing I've got two of them..... one is a MKI tang safety 25-06, blue, walnut. and the other is a MKII Blue, synthetic camo. in 30-06. Both of these pigs are shooting in the 1.5" range 3 shot groups with a variety of factory ammo, different brands different bullet weights etc.

The trigger on the MKI is not bad, the MKII is horrid. That I can fix but I'd prefer not to sink the money into a new trigger unless I can get it to shooting a good bit better first. The trigger isn't causing enough error to account for those groups...

Both are plenty accurate for deer getters but something in my genes doesn't allow me to tolerate any bolt rifle with a sporter weight barrel that won't put 3 shots under 1". The bores are in excellent shape as are the chambers.

So, what have you guys done to improve these things without spending enough money to buy another gun? Or should I just beat myself real good and never give into this temptation again?

WDSWIFT
01-12-2012, 08:49 AM
the most common things I run into when someone brings one of these to me are as follows.

First take the bolt out and clean it thoroghly (including the firing pin holes) with brake cleaner or lighter fluid and put a light coat of oil or bolt grease on the outside of it.

Next, in the rifles you're talking about someone has tried a variety of different brands of factory ammo including some moly coated bullets and some naked ones. More often than not they don't adequately clean the bore between using the different bullets and you have layers of copper under layers of moly or visa versa or even worse... moly, copper then more moly. Anyway.... just a REAL thorough bore scrubbing and push the stuff out the muzzle and not back into the chamber area.

Next most common that I've found is that someone has disassembled it and when they put it back together, the magazine box is cockeyed and putting stress on the action. Don't sound like much, but the most recent one that came through here was causing the rifle to shoot 2" groups at 100yds. When that was fixed it shot the same ammo into a half inch group.

Next most common is someone is trying to get 5 or more shot groups out of a sporter weight barrel to group.... and they are shooting the rifle with the barrel too hot. First shot out of a cold and fouled bore is the most important, then the next one or 2 just keep track of where they go.

Lastly check the crown with a magnifying glass. It wouldn't be the first used Ruger I've seen with a bum crown.... trust me. If there are any even suspected imperfections take it to your best gunsmith and have him clean the crown up.

Those are the most common issues I've found with them aside from needing a set of vice grips to pull the trigger on some of them.;) WD

kaferhaus
01-12-2012, 09:28 AM
the most common things I run into when someone brings one of these to me are as follows.

First take the bolt out and clean it thoroghly (including the firing pin holes) with brake cleaner or lighter fluid and put a light coat of oil or bolt grease on the outside of it.

Next, in the rifles you're talking about someone has tried a variety of different brands of factory ammo including some moly coated bullets and some naked ones. More often than not they don't adequately clean the bore between using the different bullets and you have layers of copper under layers of moly or visa versa or even worse... moly, copper then more moly. Anyway.... just a REAL thorough bore scrubbing and push the stuff out the muzzle and not back into the chamber area.

Next most common that I've found is that someone has disassembled it and when they put it back together, the magazine box is cockeyed and putting stress on the action. Don't sound like much, but the most recent one that came through here was causing the rifle to shoot 2" groups at 100yds. When that was fixed it shot the same ammo into a half inch group.

Next most common is someone is trying to get 5 or more shot groups out of a sporter weight barrel to group.... and they are shooting the rifle with the barrel too hot. First shot out of a cold and fouled bore is the most important, then the next one or 2 just keep track of where they go.

Lastly check the crown with a magnifying glass. It wouldn't be the first used Ruger I've seen with a bum crown.... trust me. If there are any even suspected imperfections take it to your best gunsmith and have him clean the crown up.

Those are the most common issues I've found with them aside from needing a set of vice grips to pull the trigger on some of them.;) WD

Been through all of those points with every rifle I've ever owned. Anytime I buy a rifle it gets cleaned, checked with the bore scope, taken apart and reassembled properly before I ever shoot it. I don't shoot moly or any other coated bullets. I never shoot more than 3 shots through a sporter weight barrel without allowing it to cool to ambient temp before the next group.

I realize you don't know me from squat, but this is far from my first rodeo.

I may pull out some of the devcon I've laying about and bed them both and see what happens from there.

If I can get them down another quarter inch or so then I'll try to work up some loads for them. My experience has been that if they won't shoot premium factory loads close to 1" hand loading isn't going to accomplish much more. If I can get close to that 1" mark then the rifle is sound and some time at the loading bench is going to be of good use. I'm not expecting these things to shoot even half inch groups, but they have to get consistent sub MOA or they gots ta go.

Just still amazes me that those butt ugly Savages that I have will all shoot circles around just about anything... and their barrels look like they were rifled with a file... I don't even bore scope them anymore... disgusting. But somehow they shoot great groups... and take forever to clean due to the rough bores.

Thanks

Coyote Duster
01-12-2012, 10:15 AM
You probably have already checked this but if not check the throat with an OAL gauge like the Stoney Point gauge although several other methods work just as well. I have a 300 RUM that will not shoot factory ammo into less than a 3 inch group but if you seat the bullets out farther it will shoot into an inch or less. The throat was too long right from the factory on this one.

JC in Calif
01-12-2012, 10:17 AM
I have two that shoot very well. Both are M77 tang safety models. I have improved both by free floating the barrel and bedding the action. My two are in .270 and 25/06. The .270 was the first rifle I ever bought. It was a good shooter right out of the box. It wears a new barrel now, because some young fool used to shoot very hot light bullet loads on jackrabbits. I have been lucky to add to my rifle inventory since then, but the .270 is still my "go to" rifle. It has accounted for Antelope, Deer and Carbiou.

DuaneinND
01-12-2012, 11:09 AM
When a rifle is brought in for "accurizing" the very first thing that I do is to touch up the crown. Then I check the bedding when disassembling to tune the trigger. With a Ruger and their angled front action screw- when the front screw has been tightened completely and you tighten the rear(MKII) or center for the Tang version, there should be absolutely No measurable movement of the action. If there is bedding is an issue( notice I didn't say the issue). Occasionally on lighter recoiling calibers such as the 25/06 or the 270 I will fire a couple of groups without the other screws. Because the front screw pulls the action back into the recoil lug it won't hurt the stock and this will confirm if bedding is worth the effort.
One test for the crown is if the rifle shoots flat base bullets better than boat-tails- imperfections are magnified by boat-tail bullets.
I would also guess the throats are plenty long, but to pick up a half inch usually means you got lucky and found a vibration pattern the barrel likes. If your groups with factory ammo are consistent in shape and random on the target it usually is not ammo- not saying groups can't improve, just that the ammo isn't the problem. If on the other hand you have 2 always close with one out at random- inconsistent ammo, hold, mirage, and a host of other things come in to play, but I think you already know the difference between a rifle problem and the other.
Hope this helps in some way.

kaferhaus
01-12-2012, 01:47 PM
Thanks Duane, I'm going to try the action screw trick next. The throats are typical Ruger throats, a bit on the long side. I've got plenty of bullets in both calibers so I will check them with the guage to see how long.. The crowns are fine. The chambers are good, no out of round or tool marks. The fired brass all checks fine.

I had a M77 22-250 years ago that the stony point gauge would push a 55gr sp bullet out of the case before reaching the lands...... That was a brand new rifle too...

charlie sterner
01-12-2012, 02:05 PM
I had a M77 22-250 years ago that the stony point gauge would push a 55gr sp bullet out of the case before reaching the lands...... That was a brand new rifle too...

My 77VT is the same way, and I have to seat the bullets DEEP in the case for best accuracy. It has over 1500 rounds through it (by me) and I bought it used and it still shoots under 1/2". Went 8-10 on balloons at the BBB with it last year!

Let us know how you make out. I had a 257 bob in a Ruger I never could figure out. It's down the road now, but I always wonder what might have been wrong with it.

Charlie

lamm1
01-12-2012, 06:01 PM
I had a 77 years ago that was way off on the headspace- it would seperate heads or blow primers on factory ammo nearly every shot, handloads were better but brass still wouldn't last more than 2 firings even at starting loads- it went back to Ruger to be fixed, and went straight to the sale rack at the gunshop when it came home- I still won't take a second look at one. I have seen some super accurate No.1's and 3's, and I've got a friend with a 77v in 22-250 that is an absolute tack driver, but they still won't make me forget the "bomb" they sold me 20yrs. ago

kaferhaus
01-12-2012, 06:48 PM
I had a 77 years ago that was way off on the headspace- it would seperate heads or blow primers on factory ammo nearly every shot, handloads were better but brass still wouldn't last more than 2 firings even at starting loads- it went back to Ruger to be fixed, and went straight to the sale rack at the gunshop when it came home- I still won't take a second look at one. I have seen some super accurate No.1's and 3's, and I've got a friend with a 77v in 22-250 that is an absolute tack driver, but they still won't make me forget the "bomb" they sold me 20yrs. ago

Yeah, feel your pain. What got me to swear them off was I bought a new M77 MKII when they first came out in 308. I never could get it to shoot much under 3" with anything. Called Ruger CS. They were real nice AFTER I told them I'd shot 7-8 different factory loads out of it and told me to send it in.

Almost 3 months later I got it back with a note saying that it shot within acceptable limits along with a test target (actually just a sheet of paper) with a 2.8" group in it.... The dealer had heard plenty from me about how it shot and refused to even take it in on consignment....LOL... I laugh now but I was plenty pissed then. He said he couldn't look a customer in the eye knowing how it shot and sell it to them.... so that's to his credit. Anyway finally traded it off at a gunshow and swore I'd never buy another M77.

I'm a liar cause I have 2 more.....:o

hagar
01-12-2012, 08:48 PM
Bought a stainless 270 with boat paddle stock back in 1996 to take to South Africa, a friend of mine there then wanted to buy it from me. Put a scope on it and shot some of the cheapest Federals I could find, and shot a 1/2 inch 5 shot group at 100 yards. Did not believe it and shot another group even smaller. I bought another and took THAT rifle to Africa, that one shot OK but nowhere near the first one. I also had a stainless 243 that did about an inch at 100, but at 200 it did about an inch as well.

DuaneinND
01-13-2012, 02:49 PM
Change the firing pin spring- many Ruger springs are weak, causing inconsistent ignition and poor accuracy.

okbob51
01-13-2012, 06:01 PM
Like others wrote I've had problems with later model 77s. I won't even touch one let alone buy one but, I will buy flat bolt 77's. Flat bolts are among the most accurate rifles I've ever owned. I had a 7mm Remington mag. that consistently shot under a 1/2" with the right loads. My current deer rifle is a 6 mm flat bolt that is a 1/2' to 3/4" gun with 95 grain and 87 grain bullets. I had a Swift that wouldn't shoot over 1/2".

When Bill Ruger introduced the 77 he had them built right. Later, they started cutting corners on barrels and assembly. They became inconsistent. Later still a consumer stood a very small chance of getting a good one.

kaferhaus
01-16-2012, 04:29 PM
Here's an update...

Removed the pressure point on both stocks and bedded the wood stock tang safety 25-06 (just the front lug and tang at this point)

Groups shrunk on both rifles. The 25-06 shot in the 1" range with Hornady Superformance and the 30-06 shot 1.2 with Fed 165gr premium.
-
So now I'll do some loading for them and see what they'll do. Both are good to go for what I'll be using them for even if hand loading doesn't produce much improvement. But I suspect it will.

Thanks for the help!

JC in Calif
01-16-2012, 07:11 PM
Thanks for the update. Sounds like good progress:D. Try some RL25 and 115 to 117 grain bullets ( I'm shooting Berger 115VLD's)' I have had some real good results with this combo. Let us know how they both shoot with hand loads.

koger
01-16-2012, 07:16 PM
I have glass bedded and floated the barrel forward of the chamber area, I bed to the end of the chamber and the whole action, especially on the MKII's. I get the trigger to between 2-3#, and most I have worked on will shot a 1"-3 shot group with factory hunting ammo, much better with a handload. I have done over 100 of these in the past 25 years, had good luck with them.

Paul Workman
01-18-2012, 10:40 AM
I like Rugers, but I will have to say it has been easier to get a Rem 700 to shoot.

That said, with a combo of pillar bedding, floating the barrel, sometimes fire-lapping the bore, I've been able to get every one in to usually stay in the 1/2 to 3/4 MOA corral at 100 yards (with handloads).

They're beautiful guns, especially the older "tang safety" guns, if you can find one.

P.

kaferhaus
01-18-2012, 11:01 AM
I like Rugers, but I will have to say it has been easier to get a Rem 700 to shoot.

That said, with a combo of pillar bedding, floating the barrel, sometimes fire-lapping the bore, I've been able to get every one in to usually stay in the 1/2 to 3/4 MOA corral at 100 yards (with handloads).

They're beautiful guns, especially the older "tang safety" guns, if you can find one.

P.

Well now I've acquired 3 more of them.... a tang safety flat bolt 308, a tang safety 243 and a stainless Hawkeye in 270. The 25-06 that I got awhile back is also a tang safety "1976 liberty" model. I agree that the older tang safety models look better but I like the looks of any of the blue and walnut Rugers.

Going back to the range with the 30-06 and 25-06 tomorrow with some handloads. The 30 is shooting well enough now that I really don't need to fool with it as it's plenty good for taking deer. As I plan to use the 25 for much longer shots I'm hoping to get some good improvement out of it.

Once I finish with those two I'll get to work on two of the other three. Likely going to sell the Hawkeye as I bought it at a screaming deal (guy desperately needed to make a truck payment..). It had a Zeiss Conquest on it so I can probably make a few bucks parting it out. Not much difference between a 30-06 and 270 to make it worth while owning both and I don't have dies or components for it.