The Ruger M77, M77R and M77RSM Mark II Rifles
By Chuck Hawks
The Ruger Model 77 Mark II features a controlled feed Mauser pattern action with a flat bottom receiver and an integral recoil lug, one piece bolt, full length Mauser type extractor, fixed ejector, steel hinged magazine floorplate, generous ejection port for fast loading from the top of the action, square bridge action with integral scope mount bases, and an innovative diagonal bedding screw. The barrel is precision hammer forged. The bolt release is at the left rear of the receiver, and the three position (Model 70 type) safety is located at the right rear of the receiver.
The barreled action of M77R Standard and M77MSR Magnum rifles is finished in a polished blue. The bolt is left in the white for contrast on the "R" and blued on the "RSM." The walnut stock was designed in the "modern classic" style. It is supplied with a pistol grip cap, rubber butt pad, detachable sling swivel bases, and cut checkering.
Not so good is the replacement of the previous fully adjustable trigger with a cheaper lawyer inspired non-adjustable version. The creepy trigger on my new M77R Mk. II in .350 Remington Magnum caliber is not very consistent, averaging about 5.25 pounds, but letting off anywhere between 5 and 6 pounds.
A minor complaint is that the bolt raceways are not polished. They appear to have been left "as cast," so the bolt travel is not as smooth as it should be.
The following specifications for the M77R Mark II Standard rifle are taken from the 2006 Ruger catalog:
The M77R Mark II is available in short (.308) and standard (.30-06) length actions. The M77RSM safari rifle comes with an extra long magnum action to accomodate the .338 Lapua, .375 H&H, .458 Lott, and .416 Rigby cartridges.
The M77RSM is stocked in fancy Circassian walnut, features a barrel band mounted front sling swivel base, and is suplied with a ramp front and folding leaf express rear sights. It weighs between 9.5 and 10.25 pounds, depending on caliber. The 2006 MSRP of this deluxe rifle, the top of the M77 line, is $1975.
My .350 Remington Magnum M77R is built on the short action, for which the cartridge was designed. The Model 77 Mark II in .350 Rem. Mag. was announced in 2004, but only reached dealers at the beginning of 2005.
In the course of shooting the M77R .350 Mag. rifle I occasionally fed a cartridge directly into the chamber to see if the extractor would ride over the case rim, and every time it did so. In normal use I feed cartridges from the magazine, as is generally recommended with controlled feed rifles.
The M77 Mk. II action has occasionally been criticized for its pivoting (as opposed to fixed) ejector. But try as I might, I could not feed and eject cartridges through the .350 fast enough to "beat" the extractor and cause a malfunction. And this rifle uses the short (presumably faster) M77 Mk. II action.
As it turned out, this M77R rifle shot pretty well with all loads tested. That is typical of my experience with Ruger M77 rifles. You can label the M77 Mark II an accurate rifle and get no argument from me.
Note: Complete reviews of the Ruger M77R Mark II Standard Rifle, M77RSM Mark II Magnum Rifle, and M77CR Mark II Compact Rifle can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2005, 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.