Anyone here intimately familiar with M77 Mk1's?


Silent Rifleman
February 28, 2010, 08:40 PM
I'm a new guy here, and after reading this forum I was impressed with a lot of the folks here as far as general knowledge and the absence of elitist jerks that can so frequent places like arfcom ETC, so I registered. My name is Silent Rifleman and by the time this wall of text is done, folks will be wondering why in the hell I chose that particular name :D

Introductions aside, my little project is changing my 22 year old Ruger M77 Mk1 in .270 WIN ( tang safety ) from an already deadly hunting rifle and somewhat respectable paper puncher into a real sub MOA tack driver. Basically I'm trying to eeek out every possible little bit of performance out of it and not resorting to major gunsmithing work until every other improvement has been exhausted.

This rifle was purchased circa 1990 by my father as a spare deer rifle and spent it's entire life in a safe, only being used a few times a year before I managed to talk him into selling it to me about a year ago. Originally with off the shelf winchester ammo and an old tasco scope it shot 2 inch groups @ 100. Ok for deer, not so much for my tastes. It's such a nice action(which is why I bought it), I wanted to see what I could get out of it.

Early on, I replaced the scope with a 6-18X40 Nikon with turrets. Then I relieved the barrel channel about 1/8" up to, but not including the chamber. Realizing my old man's penchant for cleaning guns about once a decade, I really did a number on it with hoppes and remoil in the action and a damned good dose of Shooter's choice copper remover. It must have taken 30 patches before they stopped turning blue, just full of copper. Now with a clean bore and new glass, I set out do do some load development.

Now I don't quite go "benchrest crazy" with my loads, but I do a good bit. The powder I chose for the .270 is H4350 and it has been magnificent. Starting off with new brass that was FL sized, flash hole reamed, trimmed, chamfered, I found out that this rifle particularly likes Sierra 135 Gr Matchkings ( .55 BC) with 54 grains of H4350 @ ~3100 FPS. I also use a headspace gauge and a bullet comperator and seat the bullet ogive about .005 from touching the lands. All that got the groups between 1-1.5", sometimes touching at 100. Much better, but I'm still not satisfied with it.

I can now reliably hit a milk jug on the 300 at my local range, sometimes even smaller stuff as my shooting skill improves, but I think I can still get more out of this rifle, and I intend on doing so. Best I can tell, the next logical step here will be to glass bed the action, which leads to the main question here.

Has anyone here ever bedded a M77?

What scares me about this one is that wierd little angled recoil lug. Apparently, it's really easy to ruin the stock by relieving too much/in the wrong places on these buggers. Unlike so many Remingtons there's some different stuff going on in this guy.

Would you not fool with the lug and just bed the chamber on these? Where have people relieved these stocks in the past?

I think a good bedding will really help this rifle's consistency but I want to make sure it's done right. Thanks for reading.

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February 28, 2010, 08:48 PM
IMO you're definitely on the right track with you're methodical approach. Bedding can be done on these but you might want to back up and look at the big picture before you get the dremil out. From what you describe you have darn fine shooting sporter weight rifle that in fact you may be at the limit to how well your particular bbl can possibly shoot.

All that got the groups between 1-1.5", sometimes touching at 100. Much better, but I'm still not satisfied with it.

the below assumes 5 shot groups NO?

My 77mkII maaaaaaayyyyyybeee shoots a little better than this on average but not much. If it were me and I were getting these groups I'd leave the rifle alone and put another year's worth of load development and shooting technique downrange. Then if you're still not satisfied I'd jump into an aftermarket bbl with both feet and the bed the stock as part of the inletting process.

great info in the thread below

February 28, 2010, 08:53 PM
first off, even hitting a milk jug at 300 yds is an accomplishment. on the web, everyone owns moa rifles and can shoot 2" groups at 200 yards. it ain't so in the real world!

your ruger might improve by bedding the action (and the recoil lug area). mine did and if i were you i'd bed her from the rear tang forward to 2.5" past where the barrel is screwed into the action. use plenty of release agent, and put some play dough in the screw holes and you'll do fine. remember, glass bedding and free floating usually helps accuracy, but not always.

i used a tang ruger, also in 270 win, for 24 years, all over alaska and the west. you have a fine rifle. go forward with confidence!

Dr T
February 28, 2010, 08:56 PM
I have had one of these in .270 for quite a long time (mid 80's). I am using a Leopold Mk II 3.5 - 10x scope.

A couple of notes:

1. The rifle is pretty sensitive to the the tension of the lug screw. I get it tight, then add 1/2 turn. You may try 1/4 turn increments to find the sweet spot.
2. Free floating the barrel was a good idea. I floated mine early on.
3. Mine is sensitive to the bullets. The best accuracy (Consistent 3 shot groups in 3/4') I have achieved with old Nosler Ballistic Tips a couple of grains below the maximum. (the old ballistic tips were quite frangible. I believe that the newer ones have thicker jackets, and I am not sure how they shoot).
4. My current hunting load is the Federal Factory Premium shooting the now out of production 130 gr. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. It shoots consistent 1.25" three shot groups.
5. My barrel tends to have a lot of copper fouling. However, it does not seem to hurt the accuracy.

Silent Rifleman
February 28, 2010, 09:04 PM
Man you guys are quick. I really appreciate it. I guess the thing that steered me towards the bedding is this rifle's tendency stack up 3-4 shots then have one of those " what the hell happened " shots. Of course this is very likely shooter error or a gust of wind I didn't pick up on, but also it made me think that the action could possibly be moving a tad.

There's a four letter word to two in this, so I have to warn for not playing around kids or work.

a few misses a few cool hits.

My local range does highpower monthly with an any-any afterwards which is usually me and a couple of older fellows with palma rifles who promptly destroy me, but it's still fun.

EDIT: Oooh thanks for the link. That's a huge help.

February 28, 2010, 09:29 PM
its ironic this topic comes up now... in the past, i have written about my methods of bedding rifles, along with photos but there seemed to be zero interest in them. it is ironic because i just bedded a tang safety ruger on wednesday (and shot it today), and thought about doing the article w/ pics, but felt it was too much effort for no interest! lol!


if the rifle's performance is satisfactory for your mission, the accuracy you are stating isn't bad, really. consider leaving it alone.

tang safety rugers are generally inlet pretty well, providing on average 60-75% contact w/ the stock. however, they also have a tendency to be inlet fair (at best) in the area around the recoil lug. take the 3 screws out of your rifle, take the mag box, trigger guard, and floor plate out. now, put the barreled action back in the stock. put downward pressure on the front ring area and let it go. do the same w/ the tang. many, many times you will see the rifle rock, and the pivot point will be near the recoil lug. i think this is probably more responsible for accuracy problems in tang safety rugers than anything else. many times the rocking does not show up because those rifles were not free floated from the factory. you end up with a rifle that does not sit in the stock properly, and has pressure on the forearm tip. shocking the thing won't shoot, eh?

anyway, because of the safety mechanism, i generally avoid bedding the tang. too much can go wrong too easily. mark your stock at about where the shoulder of your cartridge will be, use masking tape in the mag well cut-out, lots of release agent, use masking tape to set your float height and center the rifle in the stock, mask off the gas port, and just bed it as you would a rem 700.

the rifle will pull out of the stock just fine. getting it re-assembled sometimes takes a little work because of the angled lug, but it will work.

before you bed it, though, fix any other underlying problems (rocking in the stock). after that is done, then you can bed it. if you don't fix the problems first you will bed stress into the rifle, and there's no way it will ever shoot for you.

good luck!

March 1, 2010, 04:34 AM
I agree with dakotasin and krochus: you might want to consider leaving well enough alone. You have a sporter rifle, not a bench rest gun. I'm aware that some (all, if you believe the internet sometimes :)) sporters do better than yours in terms of accuracy but a lot do worse. If your barrel isn't up to snuff, not much in the way of fooling with the bedding is going to change things for the better.
Welcome to THR!

Silent Rifleman
March 7, 2010, 01:43 PM
Dakotasin, you were dead on the money about that pivot point. If you loosen everything up, the action has a pivot point near the recoil lug that amouns to about 3/16" of play at the tang. What I am trying to pinpoint now is whether it's the flat spot right past the lug well or in the lug well itself that's too high and causing it to not lay properly.

March 7, 2010, 01:55 PM
Clean the steel and mark it with a crayon.
The crayon will leave a little residue on the contact point.

Silent Rifleman
March 7, 2010, 01:58 PM
Gotcha. Looks like I'll need to relieve the barrel channel a little more too once is't laying properly.

March 7, 2010, 07:00 PM
Those tang safety Rugers are great, aren't they? I've got a 77 that I bought nib in 2004 (I guess it was lost). It is chambered in 308 and is the varmint model. That thing shoots! I replaces the junky scope with a Nikon Prostaff, floated the barrel, polished the trigger mechanism, had the barrel and action cryo treated, and handload for it. I have only loaded up 165 Sierra SBTs with 4064. It doesn't matter if the barrel is dead cold or scalding hot, it will put every shot in a 1.5" circle. Every now and then it even throws out a .5 or .7 " group, but I consider that more of a fluke.

For what it is worth, the cryo treatment was worth the money spent. Before the treatment, it had a tendency to send fliers like you are describing. Cold bore shots would always impact in a different spot from the rest of the group. When the barrel got hot, it would start to string the shots out. The Cryo stopped the POI changes and stringing. Also, it made the barrel much easier to clean. I toyed with the idea of turning it into a sub MOA rifle, but it shoots better than I can most of the time as it is! :) Good luck whichever way to go with it. Don't let that one go...from what I can tell, they are holding value well and some are even increasing in value.

March 8, 2010, 12:49 AM
i use lipstick - a deep red actually shows up well, is oil based, and wipes off easy. also, the pivot point is probably just behind the recoil lug.

nice work on finding it - now ya just gotta correct it!

work slow and methodically. the tang safety ruger has the 2nd best feeling stock, and 2nd best overall rifle feel to any other rifle for me. (2nd to the remington 700 short action, walnut - not laminate - mountain rifle... that version of rifle is nearly impossible to find, so the ruger 77 ts is it)

good luck!

March 8, 2010, 11:47 AM
Here's a great post about bedding a Ruger 77

Float Pilot
March 8, 2010, 12:54 PM
Two years ago, I bought a M77MK1 tang safety 30-06 for my oldest daughter (The Combat Engineer) to use as a Moose / Black Bear Rifle.
I bought it from a friend who had beat the crap out of the poor thing for many years. the stock was all beat up and the recoil pad was ripped half way off.
But the barrel looked good and the action was smooth as glass.

I shortened the stock and thinned the stock wrist. refinished the stock... Then installed a very thick Limb Saver. (see Photo.)

It would not shoot less than a 3 inch group with any ammo......


Then I started down the road of free floating the barrel and bedding the action.

Eventually I ended up glass bedding the barrel channel and the action. It was the only thing that would work.

It will now shoot 0.75 inch groups at 100 yards with premium Winchester 180 grain factory loads. With some hand loads it will shoot half inch groups.

Of course after I had it all zeroed, she let her idiot boyfriend borrow the thing and he goofed up the zero by trying to zero it on the 25 meter M-16 zero range. What a moron.

Silent Rifleman
March 8, 2010, 12:58 PM
Thanks again for all the advice. I got into that sucker last night and started marking off what I am going to relieve. I also polished up the trigger and sear contact points. The trigger on it was always a little bit hard for my liking but it has no creep and very little overtravel. It definitely lightened it up.

Soon as UPS shows up with the bedrock kit, I'm going to bed the lug and chamber area, take it out to the 300 and see how she does.

Silent Rifleman
March 8, 2010, 11:21 PM
One more question:

That rifle was hardly ever used before I got a hold of it, now it gets almost weekly trips to the range while being fed 3100 FPS 140gr handloads and 3600 FPS 90gr handloads. I am sure I will wear that barrel out soon.

What kind of money am I looking at when it it time to have this re-barreled, probably in some flavor of 6MM ( I'm thinking 6.5-55 or 6.5-55 AI since the cartridge head is the same diameter and the long action will make room for big high BC bullets seated on the lands)

March 9, 2010, 12:33 AM
approximately $350 for the barrel.

and about $400 to have the new barrel chambered, threaded, and fitted to your gun, along with the 'standard' action work like truing the action, lapping bolt lugs. it will take you approximately 4,000 rounds before your rifle will be ready for that - maybe more, maybe less depending on your accuracy requirements, and specific load.

if you care, your 140 grain loads will be easier on your barrel than your 90 grain loads.

Silent Rifleman
March 11, 2010, 07:01 PM
I couldn't stand it....

We'll find out tomorrow how I did :)

Silent Rifleman
March 12, 2010, 01:05 PM
Good news is I didn't permanently lock my stock and action together. Bad news is I have one small void I need to fill in, but not too terrible for an ameteur.

It's too wet to go out and shoot today so I'll try to test it out this weekend :)

March 12, 2010, 03:35 PM
Keep us updated.

Silent Rifleman
March 20, 2010, 08:45 PM
Not bad. Not bad at all. I was fighting some wind today and with a 90 grain round at 200 yards on a SR21 target, Not so impressive...

I moved on to the 300 on a SR63 target someone was nice enough to leave behind with a few .22 cal holes in it( off to the left) :) Using a 140 grail Nosler Accubond load I hunt with, I proceeded to put 5 in the 2 7/8" X ring from 300 yards.

It's shooting well enough now, that I wouldn't skoff at taking a deer from 300 yards or more.

March 20, 2010, 09:55 PM
I just got back from a weekend at my in-laws. My father-in-law and I got out to the range Friday at lunch, and the M77 I bought in 7x57 is holding 5 shot groups of 1.5 MOA at 125 yards with Winchester factory loads. Not bad. It's better than I was expecting after reading about some of the earlier Ruger barrels. I need to fine tune the trigger a bit more, but I'm well pleased with the rifle's performance. The 3x9-32 vintage Weaver scope I put on it suits the rifle well. There's just something about those long blued-steel tubes I can't get over. :rolleyes:

Kentucky Rifleman

March 20, 2010, 10:10 PM
That's good shooting Silent Rifleman. I have a Ruger MK1 in 300 Win Mag with a 2.5-10 B&L scope. It shoots 3/4" 3-shot groups at 100 yards with 200gr Barnes TSX's and IMR 7828. I shot some deer, black bear and 1 big bull moose with it.

March 20, 2010, 10:24 PM
I have a M77 MKII in .308. I could not get close to the lands with any bullet and still fit the rounds in the magazine.

I discovered something called the optimum charge weight method. It was like magic for my .308. Look it up and see if you can't dial in a load that is better than what you have.

You basically set up 20 rounds each about 3 tenths of a grain more than the last one up to just under max allowed and shoot at a target 200 yards away. Starting with the lowest charge, aim at the center of the target, it will hit low. Then the others will walk up the target as the charge increases. If you do a good job of aiming or put it on a rest when you will see that when you get close to the best charge the rounds will tighten up and start to group a bit. Then you load up 20 more around the ones that tightened up and go tenths of a grain. I was able to get my out of the box .308 extraordinarily accurate using this method and a bullet that is loaded to standard col. I also have that relatively thin tapered sporter weight barrel so nothing special in that department. If you google varmint al's web site he is an engineer and he has some great animations of barrel vibrations. It explains why this method is so effective.

If you really want to go to the trouble of putting a nice barrel on your rifle plan on about 500 bucks. Send it off to someone like match grade machine. In fact you can go to their web site and price out what you want. The do re barrel actions and they do it right. A serious barrel is a real pleasure to play with. I only have one so far.

Keep us posted on your progress:D

Silent Rifleman
March 20, 2010, 11:32 PM
I can't fit my on the lands loads in the mag either. Seems like the throat is just too deep because they are really sitting out there, but for my purposes, that's fine.

I need to properly develop my load with a bench. All the development I have done is in half grain increments and of a bipod. I'm thinking I would be hard pressed to get it much better that it is now. I have that same blued thin profile barrel you are talking about.

March 21, 2010, 01:04 AM
Just a thought, how are you torquing your action screws?

There's a particular way the Rugers are supposed to be torqued. I don't recall the exact method and specs, but someone will bring it up. I do recall the front screw is supposed to have the most torque, the rear, "some", and the middle, just barely enough not to fall out. Too much on the middle screw can play havoc on accuracy from what I understand.

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