Ruger M77 Trigger & Bedding Questions


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Hunter401
January 6, 2011, 01:41 AM
I have read other threads on Ruger accuracy but wanted to start a new thread since my question is a bit different. I purchased a new M77 in .280 Remington about 12-15 years ago. Based upon the serial number it was made in 1978. I have handloaded for 40 years, but just for hunting so have never been serious about it. However, I recently upgraded all my handloading equipment and want to see how accurate it can be. With previous equipment I shot 3.5 inch or slightly better 3-shot groups with 140 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips. Having just gotten the new equipment set up, my first four 3-shot groups with 140 Accubonds were each at 1 3/8 inches with two powders, two different powder levels each. Now, I am getting greedy. First, the rifle is fully bedded (factory I imagine) or at least there is no space between the barrel and the walnut stock. I have never seen this full bedding mentioned in the threads, so what do I have and does anything need to be done to the bedding? I have never taken it down so do not know what is under the barrel. Second, the trigger pull is probably 5-6 or more pounds. The local gunsmith quoted me $75 for a complete trigger job, although I do not know what all he would do. I will continue to tinker with loads and bullets, but am wondering if I need to do something with the bedding, and whether I should have the trigger reworked, or simply buy a Timney or other trigger to drop in. Thanks for any suggestions you might have. I recognize it shoots plenty well for hunting, but you know how it is, I just want to see if I can do better, for those occasional long range shots.

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Silent Sam
January 6, 2011, 07:12 AM
Ruger barrels are not fully bedded. There is a pressure point at the end of the forearm. You can temporarily shim the action to see if it will shoot better floated w/o spending money or permanently altering the stock. Ruger triggers are easily worked into a clean 2-3#. I would clean up the trigger first. If you are under 2" @ 100yds w/o flyers it will probably shoot well w/o any major work. Make sure your action screws are properly torqued. The method and torque values are on a video on the Ruger sight. Tweaking the diagonal screw torque in 5# increments can turn a so-so rifle into one that really shoots. It affects the amount of pressure at the pressure point on the barrel. Do the free/cheap things first. One thing at a time and evaluate. If you are not methodical and keeping good notes you can end up chasing your tail.

451 Detonics
January 6, 2011, 07:21 AM
Plus one on the action screws, the Ruger 77 seems to be very susceptible to having accuracy problems if they are not properly torqued.

SwampWolf
January 6, 2011, 02:10 PM
A quality trigger will always be better than a mediocre one and, though it won't add to the intrinsic accuracy of a rifle, a fine trigger pull will generally help you shoot better.

juk
January 6, 2011, 06:38 PM
When I was chasing numbers on my M77 (1977 Varmint in 308) I relieved the stock to barrel pressure. I took a series of sockets and wrapped them with sandpaper. Just that alone brought group size down a solid 1/2". I polished the trigger...used jewelers rouge and a felt wheel on my dremel. The pull weight is about the same at 4#, but it breaks very cleanly. That helped to reduce flinches and pulled shots. I had the barrel cryo treated, and that got rid of my flier problem. Other than that, I junked the crappy scope and put a decent one on there.

It started off shooting about 2" 5-shot groups at 100 yards and after the "mods", It was hovering around 1 1/4" 5-shot groups. I started handloading, and found a very consistent load that averages 1". Some days, I can manage to squeeze out a string of sub MOA groups, but I'm not always on my game.

I would suggest doing the inexpensive mods first. Try the shim trick. That will let you know if your rifle will shoot better without the barrel to stock contact. The trigger is up to you, but a better trigger will help you shoot closer to the rifles potential. Hope you find what you are looking for. I always like seeing one of those ole' "pot metal" Rugers shoot little groups.

Silent Sam
January 7, 2011, 04:41 AM
you should get your double post merged into one...

SlamFire1
January 7, 2011, 12:07 PM
I bedded my Ruger M77 tactical and it really improved the accuracy. The factory bedding on my rifle was awful.

If you read the original gun writer articles from the late 70's on the Ruger M77 action, they just praised that angled front action screw, claimed it would pull the action into the stock, increasing accuracy, etc, etc.

My experience with my Ruger M77 proves that Gun Writers are just shills for the industry, the angled screw is not some magical device that cured poor bedding, and it made bedding the action an involved process.

However, ocne bedded, the rifle will shoot well.

I put a lot of pictures in this thread on how I bedded the rifle.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=480098&highlight=Ruger+M77

mshootnit
January 7, 2011, 12:39 PM
I have worked on a couple M77 triggers but yours is the older one I am more familiar with the MKII. I would not free float the rifle. I did that on an older M77V and it did not increase accuracy on that rifle. Instead I would leave your nice old Ruger alone, and shoot COLD barrel groups. Its not like you're going to be shooting multiple strings out of a 280 anyway. What matters is the first shot out of a cold barrel being very predictable. That way barrel heating is not a factor. And like they mentioned tighten the action screws properly. I like to start them in till they are just before snug. Then holding the rifle vertical so it stands on the buttstock I take one hand and ensure the barrel stays centered while I snug up the front screw first. After I have the front screw where I like it I snug up the back screw. Make sure the mag box is not binding on anything when you snug up that one. Those rugers can be very good shooters. I like to go about .007 inch into the lands with a moderate load of relatively fast powder. Use a good Hornady spire point.

Hunter401
January 8, 2011, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the comments. Per suggestions, I will start with some "easy" things and not do a trigger job until I have completed those. Now that hunting season is pretty much over, I have more time to apply your ideas.

The scope on the rifle is a Leupold Vari-X II 3x9. It is very old--like 30-40 years, but I have never had any problems with it, so I think it is fine, and I do check the tightness of the 1-piece mount on a regular basis. Initially it was on an NRA 30-06 Springfield that was my Dad's, which I still have. I shoot at an indoor range, 100 yards. I have found that the target used makes a difference, and a 2" black square works well with the (old) duplex reticle. On the four groups I mentioned in the initial post, in each case, the first two shots were about 3/8 in. and the third was an inch out at 11 o'clock--so I do want to try giving more time for the barrel to cool, which I did not do. Also, I have purchased several new bullets to try, so will do more load work before I modify the rifle. I am somewhat reluctant to remove the barrel and action because it may end up worse than what I have now, but if I torque it both off and on, I imagine I should be able to do it without creating problems. Again, thanks. I appreciate your willingness to pass on your expertise and experience.

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