Ruger M77 Frontier in .308: pros & cons?


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Nematocyst
August 8, 2006, 02:26 AM
I can purchase this rifle (http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=17914&return=Y) for $605.

I've been looking for a carbine length,
heavier barrel bolt in either .308 or 7mm08.

This Ruger is a bit shorter than I'd thought I wanted
(originally seeking an 18 or 20"),
but I'm sure I want something shorter than 22".
(I'm more interested in fast target acquisition at <100 m.)

A Leupold FX-2 (for front mount) is another $300.

I'm now thinking that if ... no, when, the SHT_,
.308 will still be more avail, so am leaning towards it.

(Not quite as flat as 7mm08,
but what's a mm or two @ 200m?)

But what I am mainly asking is this:

Anyone want to offer a strong case
for or against that Ruger Frontier?

And, as long as I'm dreaming out loud,
does anyone know if/how easy it would be to
install a tritium front sight
and maybe a ghost ring on the back?

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Kor
August 8, 2006, 05:32 AM
The Frontier isn't a bad rifle or a bad value by any means - it just falls a bit short of being a real Scout Rifle IMO:

- No back-up iron sights provided with the rifle;
- 4-rd fixed-magazine capacity only
- Heavier laminated wood stock instead of lighter synthetic stock
- 16" heavy barrel instead of 18-20" light barrel

A rear peep sight can be had readily, www.xssights.com should have one that mounts on the Ruger integral scope mount, or possibly a similar unit from Williams Gun Sight Company with a folding aperture leaf to get it out of your line-of-sight when using the scope. I don't know of any company like XS Sights or Trijicon making tritium front sight blades for bolt-rifles(as opposed to Evil Black Rifles), but you might be able to make do with a Trijicon ramp/blade unit meant for a ghost-ring-sighted shotgun.

For $600, consider this rifle instead:

http://www.shawnstactical.com/truckgun.html

The TruckGun will come straight from the 'smith with iron sights, a stripper-clip guide, synthetic stock, and a Parkerized finish(tougher than bluing, less shiny than stainless).

BTW, Shawn's Tactical is working on a Scout mount for the TruckGun, IIRC it will add about $50 to the cost once they get it ready for market.

Nematocyst
August 8, 2006, 07:02 PM
Kor, thanks for that tip. Interesting looking rifle. It could sure be a contender for that Frontier rifle.

I missed this part of your post when I first read it this morning (before coffee):
BTW, Shawn's Tactical is working on a Scout mount for the TruckGun, IIRC it will add about $50 to the cost once they get it ready for market. That makes it all the more attractive. I'd love to have BOTH iron/GS sights and the option for forward mounted scope.

I'll follow that development. In fact, I'm going to draft Shawn an email about this issue. I'll keep you posted here about what I learn.

Nem

Kor
August 9, 2006, 04:13 AM
You're welcome - of course, I've been looking hard at the TruckGun myself, and I'd appreciate any scuttlebutt you can pass on from Shawn's Tactical...

Nematocyst
August 9, 2006, 02:20 PM
Here's the email that I just sent to Shawn inquiring about his truck rifle.

{Edit: I will share some of his answers to the questions with his permission, paraphrasing accurately where appropriate. Or, maybe we should just invite Shawn to this thread, and let him share some thoughts if he chooses to. ... Hmmm...}
________

Hi Shawn,

A couple of days ago, while researching options for a new rifle, someone informed me of your Truck Gun concept.

<snip a bunch of stuff that I've written elsewhere>

...recently, I've become interested in the "scout rifle" concept.

If I was rich, I'd consider a Steyr Scout, but I'm not rich and that's out of the question.

Thus, I've recently been researching the pros and cons of a Ruger M77 Frontier rifle which has several features of the scout. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Admittedly, a 16.5" barrel is a bit shorter than I want, but I like it's compact size and forward mounted scope.

In the context of asking questions about the Frontier rifle, I learned of of your truck gun. I'm intrigued that it is short (even if 17" barrel is still a bit short for me), comes with iron sights (ghost rings and front ramp), and the nice supply of stripper clips.

So, to my questions:

1) Why do you believe your truck gun could be a better one for me than the Ruger Frontier rifle?

2) Why did you choose the Savage Stevens 200 as the platform, as opposed to say a higher priced Savage, a Ruger or Remington?

3) Rumor is that you are working on a scope mount for the truck gun that will allow a forward mounted scope. Rumor also has it that it will add about $50 to the price. Any truth to that? Any time table yet for when that will happen?

OK, that's all for now. Thanks much. I look forward to hearing from you. Again, no hurry on my end.

Sincerely,

Nem

Nematocyst
August 9, 2006, 02:29 PM
This thread evolved out of another current one in Rifle country entitled .308 suggestions (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=177713). The originator of that thread was asking general questions about .308. I brought up the question about the Frontier rifle in that context.

Since my questions are more around that rifle, and other similar "scout" type bolt rifles, and I didn't want to hijack the other member's thread, I split my questions out into this thread.

However, before I did, at least two other nice responses were offered in that thread to my specific questions about the Frontier rifle.

Thus, for anyone now or in the future researching this and similar rifles, I recommend checking that .308 suggestions thread, paying particular attention to posts #44 & 45 (and perhaps others after it).

Nem

Nematocyst
August 10, 2006, 06:47 PM
Hmmm...guess I'll just make this a blog thread on the Frontier (& related rifles).

(Just doing my share to make THR a reliable source of information, mam. :D )

Found a few interesting reviews on the Ruger Frontier rifle; some positive, some less so, though no one is completely trashing it:

This one from Jeff Quinn on Gunblast (http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger_FrontierRifle.htm), who likes it. (BTW, that page currently comes up #1 on a "google" for "Ruger Frontier rifle".

Here's another postive review of the Frontier from Shooting Times (http://www.shootingtimes.com/longgun_reviews/77_062405/), complete with some fairly detailed ballistics results (although on 7mm08 instead of .308, which I'm still interested in even if leaning towards .308 more these days).

And then there's this less than stellar review (http://survival.com/IVB/index.php?showtopic=2604&pid=18450&mode=threaded&show=&st=&) on survivor.com.

An overall positive (even if not glowing) review from Guns & Ammo (http://www.gunsandammomag.com/long_guns/m77_121405/).

This thread on Glock talk (http://aritah.com/showthread.php?postid=3607909) leaves one with two main criticisms of the rifle: 1) it's too light for .308; 2) it doesn't have iron backup sights. (I agree with that one.)

Here is a short THR thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=168007)from a year or so ago that showed up on google. Not really a review per se, but explaining the difference between the Ruger compact & the Ruger frontier (and noting that it ain't no Steyr scout).

If I were to get one of these, I think I'd look into having a gunsmith add some iron sights to it (if I'm not being too naive to think that such a thing can be done for less than a billion $).

Then again, all this has me thinking about "building up" (as the phrase goes) my own version of a scout.

Oh, the challenge of it...

Nem

roo_ster
August 11, 2006, 01:55 AM
N-870

newenglandcustomgun.com might cure what ails you:

If the Frontier rifle has the ususal Ruger cut-outs on top of the receiver, you can add this puppy with the turn of a knurled knob:
http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/images/Ruger-Peep.jpg


A front night sight like this one:
http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/images/Sights/NiteSite.lrg.jpg

can be had if your gunsmith installs the following front sight ramp:
http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/images/Sights/MasterpieceBanded.lrg.jpg

Now, NECG is not the only way to go. There are several good aperture sight makers (Lyman, etc) and most gunsmiths will charge $X for each screw hole to be tapped and will chard to silver solder/braize on a front sight ramp.

FWIW, I would also go the extra mile & get a good set of irons (aperture rear & fornt post).

ArmedBear
August 11, 2006, 02:51 AM
It's not a Scout Rifle. It's a neat product in its own right. Feels great to me, points really nice. Steyr feels good, too, but it's a different animal, and the irons aren't exactly match sights.

Re sights, why not just get a less-expensive scope and carry that as a backup?

MyRoad
August 11, 2006, 09:44 PM
I really like the scout rifle concept (I've made two scout variations so far), and I was looking long and hard at the Frontier. If I were planning on having several .308's, this would be an interesting one to add to a 'collection'. But since in the end I might just have one, the Frontier's 16" barrel just doesn't seem practical to me. I think that 18-20" would be an optimal balance for effeciency and compactness.

I'm just learning about this stuff, but I suspect the short barrel would lose less gas through a smaller tube, in other words, the 16" barrel might work marginally better in .243 than a .308. All I know is that my M44 has a 16" barrel, and the fireball exiting the barrel would suggest that a few more inches would be well used.

Nematocyst
August 11, 2006, 10:22 PM
I suspect the short barrel would lose less gas through a smaller tube, in other words, the 16" barrel might work marginally better in .243 than a .308.You know, it's interesting that you mention that.

One of the articles that I posted above (http://www.shootingtimes.com/longgun_reviews/77_062405/) did their review based on 7mm08. Their ballistics were impressive, or at least not as bad as I'd been lead to expect from a short barrel.

(Interestingly, the 7mm08 is still on my list, even though I've been leaning towards .308 for reasons of availability, diversity of factory loads, etc.)

I've long been an advocate - both on THR and elsewhere - of the idea that "marginal" differences can, in some cases, be significant. Surprisingly so.

In nonlinear dynamics, it's called sensitive dependence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_dependence_on_initial_conditions), or sensitivity, or - sometimes - the "butterfly effect": tiny differences in input can (though not necessarily will in all cases) result in HUGE differences in output.
_________

jfruser, thanks for those sight recommendations. That New England company looks interesting. I like the way they describe their sights.
______

Armedbear, that's a good suggestion. Hadn't thought of it.

I've always just thought of iron sights as the "backup" plan in case the glass gets broken.

But you've got a point: just carry another scope.

Point taken.

Thanks, folks. Interesting ideas.

Nem

Nematocyst
August 11, 2006, 10:29 PM
I suspect the short barrel would lose less gas through a smaller tube, in other words, the 16" barrel might work marginally better in .243 than a .308.You know, it's interesting that you mention that.

One of the articles that I posted above (http://www.shootingtimes.com/longgun_reviews/77_062405/) did their review based on 7mm08. Their ballistics were impressive, or at least not as bad as I'd been lead to expect from a short barrel.

(Interestingly, the 7mm08 is still on my list, even though I've been leaning towards .308 for reasons of availability, diversity of factory loads, etc.)

I've long been an advocate - both on THR and elsewhere - of the idea that "marginal" differences can, in some cases, be significant. Surprisingly so.

In nonlinear dynamics, it's called sensitive dependence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_dependence_on_initial_conditions), or sensitivity, or - sometimes - the "butterfly effect": tiny differences in input can (though not necessarily will in all cases) result in HUGE differences in output.

[/quote]I think that 18-20" would be an optimal balance for effeciency and compactness.[/quote]I'm hearing that. I started out this search looking for a heavy barreled rifle with a barrel about that length. Problem is, most of the barrels that length are not so heavy.

I like the Frontier because its barrel looks more stout.

Something about stout seems good. Less floppy.

But if one can't have "stout", then that extra length makes sense.
_________

jfruser, thanks for those sight recommendations. That New England company looks interesting. I like the way they describe their sights.
______

Armedbear, that's a good suggestion. Hadn't thought of it.

I've always just thought of iron sights as the "backup" plan in case the glass gets broken.

But you've got a point: just carry another scope.

Point taken.

Thanks, folks. Interesting ideas.

Nem

MyRoad
August 11, 2006, 10:37 PM
I've always just thought of iron sights as the "backup" plan in case the glass gets broken.

But you've got a point: just carry another scope.

Sort of... but I don't think it'd be practical. That would assume you had previously mounted and set up the scope, and that it would hold it's zero after being taken off and on... or that you'd stop in the woods, set up some targets, and re-check it. Also, I think the whole concept around this rifle includes the idea of back-packing and/or traveling as light as possible, so a spare scope seems a stretch to me.

I think of a Scout Rifles as back-country/back-woods far from civilization rifles... i.e., out in the "frontier". Not only would I want iron sights on mine, but optimally I'd want "see through" rings, so that if I'm out climbing, trekking, what ever, and I realize I'm accidentally between a mother bear and her cubs... I raise my rifle and realize the glass is broken... I still have my irons - right there.

Well, it *could* happen. :)

Nematocyst
August 11, 2006, 10:44 PM
Also, I think the whole concept around this rifle includes the idea of back-packing and/or traveling as light as possible, so a spare scope seems a stretch to me.I'm hearing that. Your view encompasses much of what I have in mind for this rifle: a SHTF camp rifle that works when needing to walk a long way to get food, perhaps needing to defend oneself along the way against various 2- & 4-footed critters. (It could happen.)

I prefer to go light when packing. When backpacking, I tend to count ounces, cause those little oz's add up after about 5 mi up hill.

So, iron sights as backups resonate for me, especially if they can be on the rifle along with the scope. Use the scope until failure, then take it off and go with iron.

MyRoad
August 11, 2006, 11:01 PM
It sounds like you and I are on a similar quest. At this point I'm thinking that my perfect Scout Rifle may be a long-term project, and I might get a Rem. Model Seven SS/.308, as a deep woods hunting rifle to hold me over.

The search for the right platform is tougher than I thought it would be. One of the tougher criteria I'm trying to stick with is a detachable magazine. I think I'd actually give up the forward mounted scope before I'd give that up. I haven't found many companies that make .308 bolts with magazines. For instance CZ makes the "American" with a detachable magazine, and but no iron sights. It has other models with iron sights, and fixed magazines. Oddly, the 527 (http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=15) has both -- and a 16" barrel -- but the largest caliber available is 7.62x39. I've seriously thought about that model, but the caliber is not up to large game. I've even gone as far as to consider the M1A Scout Squad rifle as a starting point, but it's just too heavy.

So, I'll keep looking. Everyone needs a hobby.

Nematocyst
August 11, 2006, 11:14 PM
I've even gone as far as to consider the M1A Scout Squad rifle as a starting point, but it's just too heavy.Yeah, I agree: we are on a similar quest.

I bookmarked this one (http://www.springfield-armory.com/prod-rifles-scout.shtml) a while back, but just can't wrap my mind around that weight, or - may the auto gods forgive me - the auto action. I'm just an old school kinda guy, I guess. Give me bolt action, or give me death. (Maybe both.)
________

OK, I'm off to eat pizza and drink beer on a Friday night. I figure I don't need a scout rifle to get those...at least yet...:rolleyes:

MyRoad
August 11, 2006, 11:40 PM
Another that almost comes close is the Remington 7600 (http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire_rifles/model_7600_specs.asp). .308? Check. Detachable magazine? Check. Iron sights? Check. And then it's down hill from there... 22" barrel, which one could cut down... and then of course the big one, it's a PUMP action. Talk about a wild card.

I suppose I'll have to compromise somewhere. Having only recently gotten into rifles, and having started with HD, I have a small, odd collection of rifles at the moment: an accurized Mini-14 (sort of scout), a sporterized M44 (and one stock one), a Mossberg 500, a pair of Aresenal AK's, and a RRA AR Varminter.

From this rag-tag collection, if I were to run for the hills right now, I would grab the Mini-14, hands down. Lightest rifle, rugged, reliable, and very accurate. What I'd lose in ammo impact I could make up with quantity.

When I think about the ultimate practicality of what we're looking for, I can't believe it isn't more common.

Who knows, maybe some rifle maker is reading this thread...

rockstar.esq
August 12, 2006, 01:56 AM
http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire_rifles/model_7400.asp

It's a semi auto similar to the above post. As for the detachable mag, there are mag kits for the Remington 700 to accept AI mags.

The iron sight thing might have a silver lining in that Trijicon ACOGs come with sights molded on the top part of the sight. Sure they aren't as great as built on rifle sights, but they would be faster to put into action. See though rings in general make both the iron sights and the scope a PITA to use. One is too high the other is obscured by the rings. Another option is the olympic type of Diopter sights sold through Sinclair. They are affixed to the end of the barrel (which is turned down to the proper diameter) quickly and accurately. What they may lack in terms of ruggedness, they are small, fast to deploy and capable of obviously olympic class accuracy.

MyRoad
August 12, 2006, 02:18 AM
there are mag kits for the Remington 700 to accept AI mags.
"Kwik Klip Remington Model 700 Clip Conversion Kit" -- found it at Cabela's (http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0024317226539a.shtml)...

I'm just not having any luck... according to the website it's available for just about every caliber EXCEPT .308

Thanks for the heads-up though... and I'll check out the other stuff.

Kor
August 12, 2006, 05:23 AM
MyRoad, if you've gotta have the detachable-mag thing, I'd suggest you check the used-gun racks for a Remington 788. In fact, I have a Scout-scoped 788 on layaway right now(although the previous owner only went halfway, with a Simmons pistol scope instead of a proper Leupold or Burris Scout scope, and no iron sights). The 788 feeds from a 3-rd detachable magazine, which I have seen advertised at www.e-gunparts.com for about $30 each. A used 788 should be going for under $300 depending on condition, but if you're going to replace the wood with a Ram-Line synthetic stock and refinish, all you should need to worry about would be bore condition. Heck, if you can find a ratty 788 for REAL cheap, you could probably have it re-barreled through www.ershawbarrels.com for $135.00(bbl) + $60(labor). As long as the gun was originally chambered for any member of the .308 family(.243, 7mm-08, etc.) you can make it work.

Since Remington made these for several years as a budget alternative to the 700, you probably have a better chance of finding a used 788 for cheap than any other comparable detachable-mag .308 rifle.

sts
August 13, 2006, 12:06 AM
870 Here's the email that I just sent to Shawn inquiring about his truck rifle.

{Edit: I will share some of his answers to the questions with his permission, paraphrasing accurately where appropriate. Or, maybe we should just invite Shawn to this thread, and let him share some thoughts if he chooses to. ... Hmmm...}
________

Hi Shawn,

A couple of days ago, while researching options for a new rifle, someone informed me of your Truck Gun concept.

<snip a bunch of stuff that I've written elsewhere>

...recently, I've become interested in the "scout rifle" concept.

If I was rich, I'd consider a Steyr Scout, but I'm not rich and that's out of the question.

Thus, I've recently been researching the pros and cons of a Ruger M77 Frontier rifle which has several features of the scout. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Admittedly, a 16.5" barrel is a bit shorter than I want, but I like it's compact size and forward mounted scope.

In the context of asking questions about the Frontier rifle, I learned of of your truck gun. I'm intrigued that it is short (even if 17" barrel is still a bit short for me), comes with iron sights (ghost rings and front ramp), and the nice supply of stripper clips.

So, to my questions:

1) Why do you believe your truck gun could be a better one for me than the Ruger Frontier rifle?

2) Why did you choose the Savage Stevens 200 as the platform, as opposed to say a higher priced Savage, a Ruger or Remington?

3) Rumor is that you are working on a scope mount for the truck gun that will allow a forward mounted scope. Rumor also has it that it will add about $50 to the price. Any truth to that? Any time table yet for when that will happen?

OK, that's all for now. Thanks much. I look forward to hearing from you. Again, no hurry on my end.

Sincerely,

Nem

1)The Ruger rifle is a great quality gun. I lacks iron sights, a rapid loading method and the barrel is too long.

2)The Stevens 200 will do anything the higher priced guns will do (Savage, Remington ..etc). I have yet to see a production gun out shoot a Savage/Stevens rifle. The Stevens has all the features of the standard Savage except for the Acu Trigger (for a Truck/Scout rifle it is not needed). The last issue is cost. A Truck/Scout rifle can be made out of many guns. If you look at the features my Truck Gun has and add the conversion cost to any other brand rifle it makes it all most cost prohibitive.

3)I am working on a Picatinny scout mont. I shoud have the final version done in about a month.

Barrel length for a Truck/Scout rifle does not need to be over 18". I chose a 17" barrel as a fudge factor for measurement. The rifle is to shoot targets at 150 yards or less. I do not see enough difference in bullet performence at this distance.

I welcome any coments!

Nematocyst
August 13, 2006, 11:46 PM
Shawn (STS),

Welcome to THR. Great bunch of folks here seeking fine firearms. I think yours fit that criterion.

Thanks also for your timely responses to my emails about your truck gun. I'm definitely interested, and will watch those new embellishments with interest, including the addition of the forward scope mount & the recoil pad.

OK, going to go unpack and clean up now after a discouraging trip into the western Cascades this weekend to seek a deer camp. (There's no flat ground up there outside of established family campgrounds...looks like time to look elsewhere...)

Nem

survivalist455
June 21, 2008, 12:48 PM
10 Round mod

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=336733&highlight=ruger+frontier

HeavyDuty
June 21, 2008, 12:59 PM
Nothing like bumping up ancient threads!

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