Ruger Mark II VT in .308


September 16, 2004, 09:43 AM
I have been meaning to address this for a while. I have wanted a good rifle in .308 for a while. I settled on a Sauer but due to a relocation, change of job and luck I came across a Ruger Mark II VT in .308 for 400 bucks. This was sitting on a gun rack used in Wisconsin prior to my relocation. I checked the history and it left the factory two months prior. Other than that it seemed unfired. I suppose someone came into it as a hunting rifle and realized you wouldn’t want to carry it around for any length of time.

As I investigated my purchase I came across a thread on sniper country asking about using the VT for tactical purposes. The replies suggested that it would be ok if you changed the barrel, gave it a trigger job, replaced the stock and maybe while you were at it replace the receiver with a Rem 700 you might have a good shooter. Well that kind of discouraged me but this summer I started working some loads for this rifle. I can get ¼ inch 100 yard groups if I do may part if the barrel is hot or cold. That is using my own reloads with 168gr Sierra match kings.

Now maybe I have a fluke here but I think the military 2 stage trigger is tops. I don’t know a whole lot about bench rest but that accuracy seems superb to me. I am 100% satisfied and it seems the more I shoot it the better my groups get. (No flyers anymore.)

Does anyone else have experience with these rifles? I think out of the box, putting zero dollars into it other than a good scope (4X16 mil dot) it beats the 700 that you need to sink a whole lot of money into. Other than what I have read about Savage’s that seem to be good out of the box, I think their (ruger) rifles have been given a bad rap.

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September 16, 2004, 06:55 PM
I wholeheartedly agree! I have shot one that produces phenomenol groups. Like 1.25" at 200 yards. This was utilizing a 165 gr Sierra GameKing. But please, keep it quiet, I have been looking for a good used one and do not want the prices to go up!

September 18, 2004, 08:38 PM
Betcherlife! My shooting pard has one in .25-06 that shoots sub-half-inch three shot groups at 200 meters, and has barked coyotes at 485 yards! This with 100 grain handloads and a nice 6x24 Leupold 'scope on board. The trigger on these is peculiar even for the legalistic Ruger designers, but can be judiciously and deliciously adjusted. Anyone with the least experience with a military two-stage trigger can shoot this cannon very well indeed.
Anyone who tells you you should swap your VT for ANYthing else is just revealing his ignorance. Good buy!
And the Sierra 165 is a great bullet: half-minute in my Remmie 700VS (old VS) with IMR4895 and a 3x9 hunting 'scope and Harris 'pod. Another good grouper in the 700 uses a 165 gr. Nosler and 3031 powder...a slow load that still shot into .581 at 200 meters. Any heavy barrel that doesn't shoot that well out of the box or with only minimum tinkering (forend relief, trigger adjustment) isn't worth keeping.

September 19, 2004, 01:41 PM
beats the 700 that you need to sink a whole lot of money into.

I have owned 3 of the heavy barrel Remingtons and I never had to sink a lot of money into them to get them to shoot? But I do agree that the Savage Accu-trigger or the Ruger "target rifle" have much better out of the box triggers. Sounds like yours is a great shooter! The .308 is a fantastic cartridge as well.

I think their (ruger) rifles have been given a bad rap.

Most of the tests I have ever read on the heavy barrel Rugers were pretty positive. A friend of mine has an old M77 in .30-06 that was a sub MOA rifle even with the sporter barrel.

September 19, 2004, 03:52 PM
Anyone made a good load for the Ruger VT .308 with 147-150 grain bullets?

Mine doesn't seem to like bullets in that weight. Soft-point 180 grain Federals do about an inch and a half, good enough for deer but not what I expected out of the VT.

I plan to try some 172 grain bullets, but haven't got to it yet.

September 19, 2004, 05:03 PM
Don't ever underestimate a VT!

I have one and have found it to be a superb accuracy arm and a reliable hunting gun. It's topped off with a Burris Signature 4-16 and that does well for South Texas senderos. The size and weight is not a factor when you hunt from little hidey houses (stands) but I'd be reluctant to carry it on a long mountain stalk.

The trigger is quite good as is and little could be improved but there are better triggers out there. Personally, I wouldn't bother.

I can get .500 " 5 round groups easily at 100 yards with handloads but factory loads open that up a bit. It still groups 1.0 " with factory loads.

I measured the leade with a Stony Point overall length gauge and chamber comparator. The Ruger has a lot of space to jump and I settled on loading most of my loads +.050 " OAL.

This puts Nosler 165 grain BT's, Sierra 168 grain HPBT's, similar J-4's and other very streamlined bullets just .015 " off the lands and tightened up accuracy significantly without showing any pressure symptoms, ever. Most of these loads produce about 2825 fps, with no pressure problems and long case life.

The Nosler BT's are not well suited at these velocities and bullet fragments taken from game shot at under 200 yards has shown that these bullets will lose 50% of their weight before stopping. Outside of 200 yards, they've slowed somewhat and are more likely to retain weight.

I keep extensive records in my range books and the velocities I'm getting with the .308 are not far behind what is expected from a 30.06 and not a long way behind a 7mm Rem Mag. It's all due to the long barrel and choosing a powder to match but the performance is great.

On the other hand, BEWARE, and don't just assume you can load everything long. Sierra Game King 165 grain spitzers sit just .015 " off the lands when loaded to normal OAL. You must be certain of each individual load.

Overall, the Ruger VT is a great gun and I've never regretted buying mine. It's a keeper and the .308 cartridge is my favorite all-round cartridge. You can do almost anything with it.

The Ruger VT is an overlooked gun and a good buy for someone with the desire to get outside the 700 club.

Here's a Bobcat pic and not a good one, it came from a video camera. This is living proof that a Ruger VT can be swing like a shotgun on a running target and hit as expected. Not a good picture of the VT but you can get some idea of what a South Texas workhorse rifle looks like.

September 19, 2004, 05:44 PM
Anyone made a good load for the Ruger VT .308 with 147-150 grain bullets?

I chose the 168 due to the twist in the rifle 1:10. I suspect it stabilizes the 168gr Sierra best and would do well for 175's. I think it is a bit much for 150's and the heaver bullets buck the wind better.

For deer I would use the 168gr gameking.

The two things I did do with the rifle is center the barrel in the stock. It was touching on one side. I loosened the stock screws and spaced the barrel out until it was centered in the forearm. The barrel should float within that area. If its put together sloppy it can sit to one side. The second thing was I tightened the screws with a chapman type set. I don't have a torque wrench but it was tight but not wrenched. I would say "good and snug". Maybe someone knows the proper torque out there.

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