Help me choose: Ruger Hawkeye Sporter or Predator?


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Wayfarer
December 17, 2009, 11:27 AM
I've been looking for an all-purpose .223 bolt action for use around my place in Texas, mostly for wild dogs and coyotes which have become somewhat of a nusance. Also, I might try some long-distance target shooting just for fun. Shots on the coyotes are likely to be sometimes all the way out to 300 yards or so. I do plan to carry the rifle around while walking the place. I finally have my choice narrowed down to two rifles, both Ruger Hawkeyes in stainless w/ laminated stocks: the sporter or the Hawkeye Predator.

I'm not particularly a fan of the look of either stock but am going for function over form. My preference would be walnut but unfortunately Ruger doesn't offer the walnut with stainless. Don't want the synthetic, that's for sure.

I've studied Ruger's website and best I can tell, the only difference is that the sporter has the LC6 trigger, and weighs 7 1/4 lbs., while the Predator has a two-stage trigger and weighs 7 3/4 lbs. The 22" barrel contours look the same, the finish the same, & the stocks look the same other than colors, so what is really the difference between the two rifles? I suspect the stock shaping may be a little different, and maybe the Predator's barrel is heavier, but sure can't tell from looking at the website. Are the triggers that much different? I really don't need a target trigger as long as the LC6 is decent (which I've heard is is), but if the target trigger is much better, I might as well go with that. However, in the end, I also would rather have the lighter rifle, everything else being equal.

I'm planning to buy one or the other in the next few days. But since none of the shops around here have them for a side-by-side comparison, I have to special order. The cost difference is negligible. Please help me make up my mind. Thanks!

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Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 12:37 PM
They are the same except for the two stage trigger of the Predator.

You are familiar with the two stage...? Small amount of 'take up' then, bang.

Wayfarer
December 17, 2009, 12:46 PM
Yep, I am familiar with the two-stage trigger, just not this particular one Ruger is using. I like two stage triggers, but can shoot well with either type. It really comes down to implementation. If the two stage trigger is better done, cleaner break, etc., then I'll go with that. In the past, the regular Ruger triggers were pretty rough and I'd have been inclined to go with the two-stage just to avoid the normal rough trigger but I've been hearing the LC6 is now pretty good.

Still wondering why if the only difference is the trigger, why the Predator weighs half a pound more?

Horsemany
December 17, 2009, 12:51 PM
I'm fairly certain I've seen stainless/walnut Hawkeye's popping up on Gunbroker. If it were me I'd get the standard Hawkeye. Neither one's a bad choice though.

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 12:56 PM
Still wondering why if the only difference is the trigger, why the Predator weighs half a pound more?


Better look again...Ruger is calling both these models(223) a 7.75lb. rifle.(website)

Sporter: P/N 77R BBZ 22" bbl., 42" OAL, 7.75lb.

Predator: P/N 77R-Z 22" bbl., 42" OAL, 7.75lb.

ArmedBear
December 17, 2009, 12:59 PM
Yeah. But for some reason they call the .22-250 version a 7.5 lb. rifle.

I guess the weights are approximate. "Approximate" is Latin for "pulled it out of our asses.":D

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 01:01 PM
"Approximate" is Latin for "pulled it out of our asses."

hehehehehe, right you are!


OBTW.... companies leave a little, 'variance room' for stock weight, wood density.

Wayfarer
December 17, 2009, 01:03 PM
Uncle Mike,

Criminy, I must be losing my edge. You are right! Both rifles are 7.75 lbs. I was looking at the standard rifle which is 7.25, which is obviously because of the thinner barrel profile. Then it just comes down to the trigger. I really wish I could try each of them out in person before making a decision.

ArmedBear
December 17, 2009, 01:09 PM
What's the street price for those things?

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 01:28 PM
Your not loosing anything wayfarer, we all do it!

It's all about the trigger....you'll have to decide if you want a military type 2-stage or the run-o-the mill standard trigger.

ECVMatt
December 17, 2009, 02:57 PM
Just some food for thought, I just picked up a hawkeye compact and took it to the range yesterday,it shot great. You could easily hit coyotes out to three hundred yards. I had several groups under or at one inch and was able to hit the three hundred yard steel ram at will. I am going to install a Timney trigger when time allows.
You might want to give them a look.

Wayfarer
December 17, 2009, 04:55 PM
Well, heck. If the compact shoots as well as you say at long range, now I'm thinking I might just get the standard rifle in stainless and then swap out the synthetic stock for a walnut one, either aftermarket or one that has been taken off another rifle. There surely must be take-offs floating around. In the end, doing that setup probably would cost me about as much as an off the shelf predator. The standard all-weathers are pretty reasonable, have seen them for $450-500. Really, I just want a stainless rifle with a wooden stock, so maybe that's the best soluton. Thanks for the suggestions and helping me think this through a little better!

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 05:26 PM
Well, heck. If the compact shoots as well as you say at long range,

You didn't think that extra half pound of barrel made the rifle shoot good...did you? lol

Wayfarer
December 17, 2009, 07:08 PM
You didn't think that extra half pound of barrel made the rifle shoot good...did you? lol

If it's all in the barrel or an extra stiff laminated stock, maybe it does. Now I'd sure like to see a side-by-side accuracy comparison between the Standard and the Sporter/Predator. The extra 8 oz. would probably at least have a placebo effect on accuracy ;)

Wayfarer
January 4, 2010, 08:39 PM
Just a quick update, I decided to go for the stainless sporter with the brown laminate stock. The "new" stock on that model is black/gray laminate, but the look does not appeal. Brown laminate looks much better. I was able to find sone of the browns still in stock. I might try experimenting with a cheapie synthetic stock for long trips through the woods, both to save weight, and to save the wood for the range and/or resale. Also, the barrell countour on the sporter looks a little lighter, not sure, and the matte coloring a little lighter too. Without comparing side by side, it's hard to say, but I think I'd be happy with either one. Rifle shoud arrive at my dealer this week!

I haven't owned a Ruger centerfire but have had a 77/22 for 25 years and am totally happy with it. My fingers are crossed I'll like the new Hawkeye as much. Thanks for the opinions and advice.

Uncle Mike
January 4, 2010, 08:53 PM
You should be happy with it!

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