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As summer comes to an end, gears shift to fall hunting season and what rifle might be most effective and what might express a distinctive taste in firearms. This Ruger M77 Mark II International, distributed solely through Lipsey’s certainly fits the bill.

Ruger’s M77 Mark II International

Manufactured
New Hampshire, U.S.A
Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Model 47185
Type Bolt Action
Caliber 260 Remington
Magazine Capacity 4
Barrel Length 18.50“
Rifling 1:8″ 6 Groove RH
Weight 7.0 Lbs
Overall Length 38.50“
Stock Stutzen – American Walnut
Hardware Brushed Stainless
Length of Pull 13.50″
Drop at comb -3/8″ Bore ℄
Drop at heel -3/4″ Bore ℄
Sights Front – Rear
Ramped Bead – Adjustable
Scope Mounting
Ruger Proprietary
LC6 Trigger  
Safety 3 Position Thumb
MSRP – Lipsey’s
$1,189

With a look look influenced by Mannlicher styled rifles from Griffin & Howe, the Ruger International first appeared during the 1968 – 1993 M77 MK I production run. The next generation was introduced in 1993  as part of the M77 MK II product line. The change to the MK II platform brought a three position safety, a newly design floorplate latch and a blade type ejector. The MK II also featured a non-adjustable trigger in deference to a growing threat of product liability litigation*. All and all – a very nice gun.

Ruger’s distributor Lipsey’s went with the M77 Mark II model nomenclature. However, the subject rifle has the slimmed down stock and L6 trigger that came with the 2006 introduction of the Hawkeye® model designation. For as much as this may present a quandary, pique curiosity and prompt Google research, it doesn’t matter one iota, or even one Toyota, in terms of performance or good looks. My dad called me Ralph for several of my preteen years and it never bothered me,  even though my name is Joe. Who the heck was Ralph?

Ruger’s approach is interesting. Visualize the Ruger with double set triggers and a butter knife bolt handle and you might think you were looking at an early 20th century Mannlicher-Schoenauer carbine. However, the stock type is not really Mannlicher, as Mannlicher is the name of a firearm manufacturer and there were numerous rifles this style full stock that predated Mannlicher’s use of the design by over one hundred years.

The generic English terminology for a full stock is… full stock, the German nomenclature is “stützen”. More Ralph – Joe conundrum, see “Erikson’s Stages of Development”.

Move beyond tradition and you will find modern technology; materials, aircraft grade castings, high precision machining, and heat treating. Notable is that Ruger is a manufacturer, not an assembler. When you have some time, check out the series Ruger – How Its Made” and you’ll see Ruger facilities doing everything from wax casting to barrel forging. American manufacturing.

In a little more detail…

Ruger American walnut stocks appear to have darkened as of late, which works well in contrast with brushed stainless steel metal parts. Slender at the wrist and sweeping grip, substantial but slim butt stock and forearm make for a rifle that can be carried all day and is fast to the shoulder.

Those same graceful lines carry through to the full length forearm and clean minimalist checkering patterns; plenty of surface to provide a positive hold, but not so much as to clash with the rest of the design.

For folks who like the look and feel, the durability of traditional firearms, the bottom side of a Ruger is something to appreciate. The floorplate is 0.250″ stainless steel, as are the follower and magazine box. The trigger guard is another nicely finished piece with recessed floorplate release in the front and away from trigger fingers. The three fasteners that hold these pieces and the barreled action to the stock are graded Torx head.

The Ruger scope mounting system with scalloped clamping surface and key slots machined into the receiver top keeps even the largest optics anchored on even the hardest kickers. Rings supplied at 1″ medium rings, but they are available in 30mm also, and in low, medium and high ring heights, in alloy and stainless steel. In addition to Ruger, there is a multitude of aftermarket rings available from other manufacturers and conversion ramps that allow the use of Picatinny or Weaver type rings.

The three position wing safety is a good one. Positive in position, crisp in actuation and blocks the striker assembly and locks the bolt in battery in full safe position. An interim safe setting permits the bolt to be cycled to empty the rifle’s chamber. Emptying the magazine can be done through the hinged floorplate.

The sight set is appropriate for the rifle and cartridge combination; rear drift adjustable for windage, sliding aperture for elevation. The front sight is ramped and a little brass bead marks the spot. As of late I’ve see some folks go on a tirade denouncing the flat brass beads. I’ve used them on and off for the past 60 years and, fingers crossed, they seem to get the job done. Personally, while I am a committed firearm enthusiast, I don’t get all that passionate about… features. I’m not sure a firearm has to comply with a shooter in every way as much as shooter need to learn how to shoot their choice of rifle well. Really.

The forend cap has just a touch of Schnabel to inject a bit more Euro into the rifle’s aesthetics. The short and fairly rigid 18 1/2″ barrel has a flat faced, recessed target crown. The barrel is cold hammer forged for the best production accuracy. Looking through a borescope, the rifling is exceptionally smooth with rifling sharply defined.

Standing between the shooter and all of that pressure and bolt thrust in a once piece stainless steel, twin lug bolt. The handle is pronounced enough to assure a good grip and it is scalloped to provide scope eyepiece clearance. The full length extractor is non rotating and provides controlled round feed. The ejector is a blade type, so force of ejection depends on the effort exerted by the shooter. The bolt face is flush. All and all, the best features of a Mauser action in a much slicker and more durable form.

Oddly enough, the Ruger M77 Mark II International buttstock more or less defines the rifle’s personality. A straight, stable dark piece of walnut, with simple but effective checkering pattern and line count and a recoil pad appropriate for the 260 Remington cartridge. The Ruger has enough of everything, without having too much of anything. Next up, we’ll go to work on the 260 Remington cartridge, factory ammo and handloads and see what the little Ruger carbine can do.

 

*Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company and Their Firearms – Wilson