interest in the 6.5 Creedmoor chambered Ruger M77 Hawkeye was
derived from my interest in the 6.5x55 Swedish
Mauser and my appreciation for the Model 77 Hawkeye. The
Ruger M77 Hawkeye is a prime example of modern manufacturing
technology yielding a high quality firearm in very traditional
The Ruger M77 Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor is a trim, well balanced seven
pound rifle, which may seem like standard fare. However, this M77
has a twenty six inch long barrel with an eight inch twist, intended
to exploit the 6.5 Creedmoor's inherent long range and high accuracy
potential. When I read the barrel specification, I had to grab a
tape measure and double check the barrel length as the gun
handles... much smaller.
Ruger's Model 77 Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor
Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc.
||Model 77 Hawkeye
*7 lbs 0 oz.
|Drop at comb
|Drop at heel
*5 lbs. 9 oz.
$632 Member's Price $600
Actual weights and measures
The Creedmoor Reference
Product names often are established to trigger transference; the
emotions associated with something in past memory, hopefully
positive, carried over to something new, prior to acquiring any
actual direct experience. A common example of this is when you meet
someone for the first time and feel as though you've known them for
a long time. Frequently this happens because the new acquaintance
shares traits in common with a person you know, or had known, well.
a great name to Hornady, the designer of the cartridge, to
reference. It was the name of the rifle range opened by the National
Rifle Association in 1873 on New York's Long Island. Creedmoor was
host to the famous American - Irish long range rifle competition
held in 1874. Of course, there is also the term "Creedmoor" applied
to a rifle, which is shorthand for parameters defining rifles used
for Creedmoor long range competition. I was surprised to learn that
there was no "Creedmoor", only the family name "Creed", the people
who once owned the range's site and the site's similarity to the
Great Britain. The name "6.5 Creedmoor" instantly evokes a sense of
tradition, imagery of long range shooting and expectations for a
high degree of accuracy. Ruger chambered and defined a rifle fitting
for those expectations.
The Ruger Model 77 Hawkeye
I've owned and handled a good number of Model 77 Hawkeye rifles. It
is kind of nice to become familiar with the physical presence of a
firearm and to be able to carry that familiarity from one cartridge
to another. In my realm of experience that's .22-250 Remington
through .416 Ruger. Regardless which I pick up, the bolt handle is
in the same place, the safety operation is the same, the floorplate
releases the same and scopes mount the same. Of course, the stock
geometry is also the same.
Subsequently, it has become easy for me to pick up any M77 Hawkeye
and to shoot each example relatively OK.
This particular example is carbon steel, blued with a walnut stock,
and with a stainless steel bolt assembly. The stock is cut more
narrow then some corporate rifles, but it is a good hunter's stock.
A nice touch is the scalloped bolt handle. The cut doesn't
compromise strength, however, it does provide a healthy amount of
bolt to scope clearance. Even with moderate height scope rings
there is sufficient clearance for large objective bells and large
The receiver is, of course, notched and grooved for Ruger's
proprietary scope rings. A 1" scope tube set is included with each
rifle, a 30mm set available on exchange or as an accessory purchase.
Sets are also available from independent manufacturers.
The three position safety is off to the
side, away from the bolt and the scope. Full forward - Fire, Mid
position - the bolt can be cycled to remove or chamber a round but
the gun will not fire. Full back - safety on and bolt locked down.
The floorplate release is embedded in,
and shielded by, the trigger guard. This makes for a handy release
with less chance of inadvertently dumping a magazine full of live
ammo. The matte black finish is attractive, as is the etched Ruger
logo, but none of it is flamboyant in any way.
The stock is narrow, the checkering is
laid on in a simple pattern, but it is functional in purpose. Sling
swivel studs are installed at the factory. The stock has an oil
finish look to it, but it is much more impervious to the chemicals
and environment. Most of my Ruger firearms look about the same as
when I purchased them, both metal and wooden parts. Inletting is
tight and clean, sealed inside and out. The barrel floats to the end
of the forearm, where it is supported with a small... berm.
The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. Exactly
what IS going on here...
That's the Creedmoor playing Monkey in
the Middle with a 65.x55 Swedish Mauser, left, and a 7mm-08
Remington, right. The 6.5x55 appears only for reference as it is not
a short action cartridge, however, the Swedish cartridge is
significantly larger, but outperformed, by the smaller 6.5
Creedmoor. The leading contribution to this performance pickup is
the higher operating pressure of the Creedmoor.
*After seating bullet
Dimensions - SAAMI Maximum Specification
My experience with the current generation of Hornady
cartridges tells me they create cartridges in my image, not too tall
and a little too wide. Why not just neck the .308 Winchester down to
0.264" and begin with 55 grains of capacity, similar to the 7mm-08
Winchester? The problem with most short cartridge rifles is that
when loaded with heavy for caliber bullets, deep seating reduced net
The 6.5 Creedmoor is designed as a long range
shooter, see 26" barrel, which means high sectional density bullets,
which means very long bullets. By shortening the case and blowing
out the shoulder dimension in comparison to the .308 Winchester
case, and by increasing the spec overall cartridge length by 0.025",
the stubby Creedmoor actually has greater case capacity than the
7mm-08 Winchester in a typical short action rifle. Yes, really.
What happens when cartridge and rifle are put
At this moment, loaded ammunition and
brass are available only from Hornady, 0.264" bullets are available
from every manufacturer in all popular types of bullet construction.
Hornady loaded ammo comes in 120, 129 and 140 grain weights, the 129
grain load is part of Hornady's Superformance line, delivering 2,950
fps worth of muzzle velocity from this moderate capacity cartridge.
Neato. Even the 140 grain A-Max match ammo is smoking along at 2,820
fps. Prices are more than competitive at $20-$24 per box of twenty;
an incentive to grow the cartridge's popularity, no doubt. fifty
piece of Hornady brass go for approximately $32.
From a handloading standpoint, the
Creedmoor is relatively pedestrian. In fact the only clue regarding
the cartridge's long range bent in a $32 Hornady's Custom
Grade New Dimension two die set is the inclusion of a seating stem
for their slippery A-Max and SST bullets. 6.5 Creedmoor die sets are
also available from RCBS and Redding as basic and competition grade
dies sets with price tags from $50 to $300+. For hunting and
recreational target shooting, the $32 set works just fine and this
is where I started assembling ammo.
The four bullets selected for
handloading were (L-R): Sierra 100 grain hollow point Varminter,
Sierra 120 grain spitzer Pro-Hunter, Privi 139 grain SPBT, and the
Hornady 140 grain Interlock SST. These bullet weights and types of
construction cover a broad range of hunting situations.
There are many, many others bullets to choose
from 85 grains to 160 grains, including a number of Scandinavian
made products in the 156 grain range intended for moose hunting
where, apparently, eight foot of penetration is desireable.
Powder, dependent upon bullet weight,
ranged from H414 and Varget to H4350 and Re 19. I tried to go as
slow as possible to reap the benefit of the long 26" barrel.
Conclusions? So far...
I have no idea what the symbolism of an
over cropped rifle image represents. Must be some deep meaning that
eludes me at the moment... sort of like a lot of hot air. In any
event, the Ruger is what I like to term a "nice gun".
The fact a company remembers what a
traditional sporting rifle is suppose to look like is greatly
appreciated. More so, this is proving to be a really interesting
combination. I'm having fun and, after all, isn't that really what
is important?. See you for part deux. That's French for you know...
You pronounce it like "duh"... which I say with some frequency.
The Ruger M77 Hawkeye - 6.5 Creedmoor Part I
The Ruger M77 Hawkeye - 6.5 Creedmoor Part II
of Creedmoor" by David Minshall
"The International Rifle Match" Harper's Weekly, New York, Saturday,
October 10, 1874