"Tell the CEO": Logical Cartridge Chamberings
for Ruger M77, No. 1 and Mini-14 Rifles

By Chuck Hawks

19 January 2009
Mr. Michael Fifer, President and CEO of Sturm, Ruger:

Since you have requested input from Ruger customers via the "Tell the CEO" program, I thought that I would respond with an article about a subject that I have long found perplexing--the quixotic availability of different cartridges in different rifle models. Sometimes the Company's cartridge offerings seem to have been made almost without consideration of the cartridge's requirements in terms of ballistics and barrel length, rifle weight to tame recoil, or even the anticipated purpose to which a given model of rifle will presumably be used. Thus, I would like to start by suggesting the following general guidelines.

  1. Offer cartridges in rifles of sufficient weight (when equipped with a telescopic sight and mount weighing one pound) to keep recoil energy below 15 ft. lbs. with typical factory loads whenever possible and below 20 ft. lbs. at the most. I realize that for the most powerful cartridges (generally .300 Magnum and above) this is often not possible, but at least these cartridges should be restricted to the heaviest available rifles.

  2. Barrel length for short and medium range cartridges that offer a maximum point blank range out to around 200 yards should be no shorter than 20" to retain some semblance of ballistic efficiency. Barrels for high intensity cartridges (.243, .270, .308, .30-06, etc.) should normally be 24" in length and not shorter than 22". The 6.5mm Rem. Mag., .350 Rem. Mag and RCM cartridges should get at least 22" barrels. Other magnum cartridges, belted, short or otherwise, should not be offered in barrels shorter than 24". You can read more about barrel length and velocity loss in the article "Rifle Barrels," which can be found on the Rifle Information page.

Now for some specific cartridge suggestions for the individual models of Ruger hunting rifles included in the Ruger 2009 Catalog. I will restrict my suggestions to cartridges for which Ruger chambers in 2009 or has in the past. In other words, cartridges for which Ruger can chamber without a large additional investment.


M77 Hawkeye Standard, All-Weather and Sporter: .223 Rem., .243 Win., .257 Roberts, .25-06, .260 Rem., .270 Win., 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Mag., .308 Win., .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., .338 Federal, .338 Win. Mag., .358 Win., .350 Rem. Mag.

M77 Hawkeye Ultra Light and All-Weather Ultra Light: .243 Win., .257 Roberts, .260 Rem., 6.8mm SPC, 7mm-08 Rem. (Note: these rifles should be supplied with 22" barrels.)

M77 Hawkeye Compact and Laminate Compact: .223 Rem., .243 Win., .257 Roberts, .260 Rem., 6.8mm SPC, 7mm-08 Rem. (Note: these rifles should be supplied with 22" barrels.)

M77 Hawkeye Compact Magnum: 6.5mm Rem. Mag., .300 RCM, .338 RCM (Note: this rifle should be supplied with a 22" barrel)

M77 Hawkeye African: .375 Ruger, .416 Ruger, .458 Win. Mag. (Note: this rifle should be supplied with a 24" barrel)

M77 Hawkeye Alaskan: .338 RCM, .350 Rem. Mag. (Note: this rifle should be supplied with a 22" barrel)

M77 Hawkeye Predator: .223 Rem, .22-250, .220 Swift, .243 Winchester

M77 Hawkeye International: .257 Roberts, .260 Rem., 6.8mm SPC, 7mm-08, .308 Win. (Note: this rifle should be supplied with a 20" barrel)

M77 Target Rifle: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250, .220 Swift, .243 Win., 6.5mm Creedmoor

M77 Magnum Rifle: .375 H&H, .416 Rigby, .458 Lott


No. 1 Light Sporter: .223 Rem., .243 Win., .257 Roberts, .260 Rem., 6.8mm SPC, 7mm-08, .308 Win.

No. 1 International: 6.5x55, 6.8mm SPC, 7x57, .308 Win.

No. 1 Standard and Stainless Standard: .25-06, 6.5x55, .270 Win., 7x57, 7mm Rem. Mag., .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., .338 Win. Mag., 9.3x75R, .375 Ruger

No. 1 Medium Sporter and Stainless Sporter: .338 Federal, .338 RCM, .358 Win., .350 Rem. Mag., 9.3x74R, .45-70, .450 Marlin.

No. 1 Tropical: 9.3x74R, .375 Ruger, .375 H&H, .450/400 NE, .416 Ruger, .416 Rigby, .458 Win. Mag., .458 Lott.

No. 1 Varminter: .204Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250, .220 Swift, .243 Win.


Mini-14 (all models): .223 Rem., 6.8mm SPC

In closing, you will notice that I have dropped the big bore revolver cartridges from the No. 1-S Medium Sporter and substituted rifle cartridges. It is, unlike a revolver, capable of chambering physically longer and far more effective cartridges than any revolver. A rifle weighs more and is longer and heavier than a revolver, so if a hunter is willing to commit to carrying a rifle, it only makes sense to take advantage of the long gun's capabilities. (Conversely, it makes no sense to carry a big game hunting rifle chambered for cartridges that are commonly available in far lighter and handier revolvers.)

In addition, I have suggested international cartridges for use in the International version of the No. 1. In any case, its barrel is too short for efficient use of long range cartridges such as the .243 Win. and .270 Win.

Yours in cyberspace, Chuck Hawks
Owner/Managing Editor of Guns and Shooting Online

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Copyright 2009, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.