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Savage’s Impulse in 300 Winchester Magnum Part 1 I have some work ahead of me

It looks as though Savage Arms, out from under the Vista Outdoor corporate umbrella, has a bright future with innovation and market expansion as the new company’s objectives. Savage CEO Al Kasper, who has been with Savage since 1996, would seem to have the best perspective on the company’s potential. I would guess that Savage Arms can now move a lot faster, and with a lot more focus as suggested by the new Savage Impulse.

The Savage Impulse

The Impulse is an excellent example of Savage innovation resulting in a good shooter, with good value and with broad application potential. While the straight pull design seems to be drawing all of the headlines, I believe it is but one of many features that combine to make this such a terrific firearm.

Straight pull rifles are not uncommon as a design, although certainly they are not as prevalent in the U.S. market and certainly not as executed by Savage.

Straight pull rifles have appeared on Real Guns® in military form. Most notably in the forms of the K31 Swiss and M95 Mannlicher, both of which have conventional locking lugs and a low mechanical advantage camming action that rotates bolts in and out of battery. Both rifles weigh in at 10+ lbs and neither reasonably converts to sporter configurations.

A civilian straight pull centerfire design has appeared on Real Guns®, the Blaser R8 Jaeger, which utilizes an expanding collet bolt head that locks up within the rifle’s barrel extension. A very nicely designed firearm with many positive features… except perhaps its $5,000+price tag.

The Savage Impulse seems to have matched the Blaser R8’s strength and performance at approximately 25% of the Blaser’s price.

Savage Impulse Hog Hunter
SKU Number 57656
Manufactured Westfield, MA
Action  Bolt – Straight Pull
Caliber 300 Winchester Mag
Barrel Length 24″ Medium Contour
Muzzle Device Threads 5/8-24
Barrel Material Carbon Steel
Twist Rate 1:10″
Barrel Finish Matte Black
Receiver Material Aluminum
Receiver Finish Matte Black
Magazine Capacity 3 Rounds
Stock Synthetic
Length Of Pull 13.75″ – Adjustable
Overall Length 44.25″ As Shipped
Weight 9.1 lbs
MSRP $1,379.00

A basic walk through

I am aware of nine non-US manufacturers making straight pull, or linear pull centerfire rifles. None are generally available in the U.S. and all suffer at least the same price problem as the Blaser, if not a great problem. Most are expanding collet bolt head lock up designs, or traditional rotating multi lug designs, with the exception… superficially, of the Heym SR-30 multi ball detent design. The Savage Impulse is the sole U.S. straight pull rifle manufacturer that is in wide distribution.

Good news for lefties… for the most part. The Impulse bolt handle fore and aft resting angle  can be adjusted. Additionally, the bolt handle can be left or right side. Combined with the symmetrical buttstock, the Impulse suits right and left handed shooters, however, ejection remains to the right. Once the bolt is locked in the forward position, it can be released and opened by depressing the Quick Bolt Release as indicated below.

The Impulses barrel has a steel extension that fits into the rifle’s aluminum receiver. When the bolt is driven home and the bolt handle is locked forward, a plunger inside of the bolt moves forward, forcing the HEXLOCK bearings outward and into engagement with the barrel extension. Use of round bearings and hemispherical engagement, along with the rifle’s floating bolt head, make for precision alignment to bore centerline and cartridge casehead.

The AccuStock contains a rigid rail that mounts the action and keeps the rifle zeroed. The Savage Impulse has a ambidextrous, two position tang safety. The bolt can be opened with the safety engaged by depressing the Quick Bolt Release. The bolt handles can be adjusted fore and aft to a number of predefined positions and it can be moved to left or right sides. The AccuTrigger has an embedded trigger safety and it is adjustable.

 

The integral Picatinny rail sits low on the receiver, allowing lower mounting of large objective lens scopes. The rail is is down in the front to accommodate longer range shooting while keeping scopes closer to optical center of adjustment. While the barrel extension is held to the receiver with a four fastener clamp to facilitate ease of disassembly/assembly, a barrel nut controls critical headspace settings.

The belted 300 Winchester Magnum version of the Savage Impulse holds 3 rounds in its detachable magazine. All other Hog Hunter models hold hold 4 rounds.


Yes, when I was a young man, we shot fixed configuration firearms and loved getting bashed around by ill fitting stocks. Young people have whined so much that manufacturers how give them adjustable length of pull, with the inclusion of recoil pad spacers. They also give shooters adjustable stock combs to set eye to scope alignment and head support. Yes, I know, very nice. I like to call these pieces padded shoulders and comb overs, being part of the 0.0001 % of the shooters who complain about them.


Yes, those threads on the muzzle can be put to good use. In this case, a SilencerCo Omega 36M silencer that did a good job taking the edge off of both report and recoil.

Ah yes, the noise part of it all…

In a world where ammunition makers short supply and raise prices, I do cry… just a little bit, every time I pull a trigger on factory ammo.

Winchester Superformance 180 grain ammo, rated at 3,130 fps clocked 3,162 fps. Remington Express Core-Lokt 150 grain ammo rated at 3,120 fps clocked 3,261 fps. The SAAMI barrel standard length for the 300 Winchester Magnum is 24″, I am currently assembling handloads to well seasoned handload recipes. Yes, that was an attempt at a pun… thank you for noticing, and more information coming.

Overall…

The Impulse Hog Hunter name is curious to me, but only because I think this is a rifle configured for longer distance shooting and on significantly heavier bodied game. Also because I have only hunted hogs close in with open sighted rifles and handguns and the 300 Winchester Mag is a big game round. Great rifle for elk, moose, bear, deer… Could it be used with lighter bullets for coyote at a distance or pronghorn? You bet.

The impulse in this magnum caliber is well behaved. Good recoil pad, good stock geometry and a bit of recoil dampening heft. With the Omega 36M is place and recoil and report substantially dampened, the Impulse was a pleasant big gun to shoot.

Gripping surfaces are appropriately place and not in the least bit slippery. Stock contours gives the Impulse a very natural feel. Trigger pull was crisp, even when not adjusted to lightest pull settings.

I did not spend a lot of time or expend a lot of ammunition shooting groups with factory ammunition, perhaps four sets of three shot groups for each of the two ammo types. Sub MOA performance was routine, some well inside. One Remington ammo group went 3/8″. The silencer did not hamper accuracy in the least, so good groups on or off. I like it. Good hunting rifle.

Is straight pull a “thing”. I do not know, but I know it is not gimmicky in this context. It fits right in with the AccuStock and AccuTrigger shooting enhancements.

A variety of straight pull designs have been around for over 100 years and it is very popular in Europe. Because it is fast? Maybe, but usually a second shot is limited to the shooter recovering from recoil in centerfire calibers above pipsqueak. I know it is a pitch to MSR shooters who may not have access to that type of firearm in their part of the country.

Straight pull improves shooting posture and it removes a lot of awkward bolt throwing motions that work against a retained, steady hold. Straight pull, at least this type of design, does a better job of handling breech pressure. In truth, it is a more natural cycling motion than a conventional bolt action. I look forward to more time with the Savage Impulse.

Ruger’s LCP Max 380 Automatic Ultra compact small, but with maximum capacity

My wife loves hummingbirds, I love my wife. Subsequently, I put up a double hook shepherd’s pole in the garden outside of her office window and hung blown glass hummingbird feeders. 1:4 refined sugar to tap water filled, the sky and feeders became a hummingbird International airport. I say “International” because some just had that Canadian look.

Based on that success, we expanded into a bird seed feeder on a single hook shepherd’s pole with special features that made it squirrel proof and we filled it with a blend of seed that squirrels don’t like. For several days, chickadees buzzing and landing on the feeder and eating and, unfortunately dropping seeds to the ground where chipmunks gathered to team tunnel.

So we watched as a scout chipmunk climbed a near adjacent Japanese maple tree and tested each projecting branch in an effort to get within jumping distance of the pole. No dice. Next he tried to climb the slick 3/4″ pole, grappling furiously, rising five or six inches and the sliding back to the ground with a belly burn.

Eventually, he learned that if he hugged the pole with his hind legs, he could propel himself upward with his front paws, even if the approach was a little disturbing to watch. My only point is that there is a unique solution to every problem, like that of carrying concealed when dressed for hot summer days.

The Ruger LCP Max… Dun-Dun-Dun-Dunnnnnn

Ruger LCP MAX

Company Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Manufacture Mayodan, NC
Model # 13716
Type of Action Secure Action™
Caliber 380 Auto
Magazine Capacity 10 – Optional 12
Barrel Length 2.8″
Barrel Material Alloy Steel
Rifling Twist Rate 1:16″ 6 RH
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Black Oxide
Grip Frame Material Glass Filled Nylon
Internal Chassis Anodized Aluminum
Front Sight Tritium – Dovetail Mount
Rear Sight U Notch – Dovetail Mount
Weight of Firearm 10.6 Oz.
Trigger Pull 5 Lbs 12 Oz
Overall Length 5.17″
Overall Height 4.12″
Width At Widest
0.93″ Grip
Thumb Safety No
Trigger Safety Yes
Mag Disconnect No
Key Lock No
CA Approved No
MA Approved No
MSRP $449

Table Elucidation

The Ruger LCP Max Secure Action™ Fire Control System is a locking breech version of the type employed in the Ruger-57, LCP II and Security-9 pistols. Within this system, an enclosed hammer is partially precocked through rearward slide movement and fully cocked during trigger pull.

Hammer and sear springs keep both components in constant contact and a secondary hammer notch serves to catch the hammer short of full travel in the event hammer and sear are jarred out of position. The trigger safety must be depressed for the trigger to be pulled.

A lightweight Titanium firing pin has no stored energy and does not need to be otherwise blocked to make the pistol muzzle down dropped safe. The hammer is fully enclosed under the slide where it cannot be inadvertently struck.

Ruger has an excellent video that is posted for the Model-57, but provides substantial insight into the Secure Action™ System operation.

Magazine Capacity

A standard LCP II holds 6 rounds without an extended magazine. The LCP MAX holds 10 rounds with only a 0.400″ increase in overall pistol height. Overall height measured from top of rear sight to farthest magazine surface.

In reality, the LCP MAX height increase is minor because most LCP II owners use an extended magazine floorplate to provide necessary finger support. From a concealment standpoint, the LCP MAX shows less than the LCP II with magazine extender in place.

For those who want more, Ruger offers 12 round magazines. The rear of these magazine is the same length as the 10 round, however, the forward portion of the 12 round is approximately 0.200″ longer than the 10. Personally, the 10 round magazine is exceptional for me.

Ruger LCP MAX with 12 round magazine installed, 10 round Mag, right.

Size is relative

My wife’s typical carry 380 Auto is a LC380, below – top.  When I use the same pistol, it is changed over to 9mm Luger with a Ruger conversion kit. The LC380 is considerably larger than the LCP MAX below it, and the LCP MAX hold 4 more rounds than the LC380. The LCP MAX mag release can be swapped left or right side.

I moved to the LC380 from an LCP II primarily for improved sights and slightly larger grip length. The trade off was a larger pistol and no gain in capacity. The LCP MAX takes me back to the small size of the LCP II, good sights and a sharp increase in capacity. Plus the price is much better than the LC380.

Simple, clean parts and assemblies

Sturdy poly frame, precision internal aluminum chassis, bushingless slide, dual recoil spring guide rode, and ramped barrel. Takedown is: mag out, check for clear chamber, push out take down pin, move slide forward and off frame, remove guide rod and barrel.

Good sights and appropriate

The front sight is Tritium with a white outline. The rear is a U notch type and is drift adjustable. Both sight dovetails are BodyGuard pattern compatible. Notice the protruding ears at the rear of the slide. They go a long ways to making the slide easy to open.

Better view of the Tritium front sight and ribbed rear sight face. The grip stippling is very effective, the rear slide gripping surfaces make for easy slide operation.

380 Automatic Ammunition

The LCP MAX is listed as a standard 380 Automatic ammunition pistol and is not for use with “+P” ammunition. Which is all good as the 380 Automatic has no SAAMI +P version. 380 Auto +P is the creation of independent ammo0 manufacturers, each deciding what +P means in regard to pressure. Ruger could hardly be expected to sign on to +P ammo when there is no spec to use as the basis for testing.

Unless part of a project that specifically requires the evaluation or use of 380 Auto +P ammo, I never use it. 380 Auto +P ammo does not add appreciable lethality to the round. If I needed more, I would just carry a 9mm Luger…. which I do on occasion where concealment is not challenging.

Performance

Caliber

Ammunition

Bullet
Weight
Grains
Rated
MV FPS
Recorded
MV FPS
2.8″ Bbl
380 Auto ARX Self Defense 56 1315 1283
380 Auto Hornady Critical Defense FTX 90 1000 997
380 Auto PMC Bronze FMJ 90 961 881
380 Auto Remington Golden Saber JHP 102 940 902

The LCP MAX did well over the chronograph, considering the standard test barrel length used for rating SAAMI ammunition is 3.75″ or 1″ longer than a LCP Max barrel. In addition, the LCP MAX was rock solid reliable, cycling anything it was fed reliably. Big, big deal for a defensive weapon… a good deal of peace of mind.

Accuracy was easily sub playing card size at ten yards, inside 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″, shot with a two hand hold. The LCP MAX seemed easier to grip, two fingers beneath the trigger guard, than the LC II and it is more manageable under recoil. None of the LCP II’s finger stinging I sometimes feel. The slide gripping surfaces are cut deeper than the LCP and the dog ears at the rear of the slide make pulling the slide back a minor effort.

Overall trigger stroke is longish, but 0.3″ is no resistance pretravel, and only about 0.1″ is dedicated to fully cocking the hammer and sear release. The trigger pull is manageable and would not be noticed in a defensive situation. I did enjoy shooting the LCP MAX and it is so compact and light it was an easy pocket holster carry.

The LC 380 pistol is packaged with one 10 round magazine, soft pocket holster and magazine loader. Nice Ultra-Compact. It is compatible with most LCP II holsters.

 

Ruger’s M77 Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor Part II Leaf blowers, rocket packs and deer at 1,000 yards

06/20/2021

Appropriate choices are a part of life… hunting… driving a car… ordering at the drive through window at Jack in the Box when fine dining is on the menu. Take the task of leaf removal for someone who lives in the middle of a forest.

For the past eight years, my old 24cc Hitachi leaf blower could barely blow out a birthday calendar with its 441 CFM @ 170 MPH expulsion of air. If clearing leaves began in early spring, say late March, the job would be completed, literally, by the following December. Yes, I do know the difference between “literally” and “figuratively”. No, you tell me first and I’ll tell you if you are correct.

This year; 66cc Husqvarna back pack leaf blower,  972 CFM @ 236 MPH. Yes, it does weight twice as much as the Hitachi, but it is worn on a harness, rather than held in one hand, and it won’t need to be carried for long. Beside, when I get bored blowing leaves, I can pretend I am hovering over an asteroid, strapped into a rocket pack.

But most deer are not shot at 1,000 yards

1,000 yard competition is discussed and analyzed by many firearm owners but, as a percentage, shot by very few. Long range shooting, in one form or another, has been around since before cartridge firearms. NRA F-Class sporter rifle competitors shoot at a 6’x6′ target with a 10″ ten ring and a 5″ bullseye.

I am not drawn to this type of shooting for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I have to squint to see the mailbox at the end of the driveway and it is only 100 yards away. The second reason is that… I don’t really know… other than I find shooting a couple to three hundred yards in an unstructured hunting setting where topography is varied, crosswinds are not predictable and shooting distances must be estimated to be a greater personal challenge.

So when I pick up a rifle chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it is not a 1,000 yard F-Class entry. It is just another 308 Winchester based hot rod cartridge that should be excellent for deer hunting. Yes, I realize that boondoggle@shootemup.com has advise you that the 6.5 Creedmoor is based on the 30 TC, but the 30 TC’s parent is the 308 Winchester. Besides, the 30 TC… like a 1968 Mustang with a 390 HP 427 CI engine, is talked about but seen by few.

6.5 Creedmoor expanding bullets

Other than the Hornady ELD-X, these bullets are… pedestrian. However, they are also of excellent quality, work over a range of 6.5mm cartridges and produce good accuracy. I use them routinely in handloads for the 6.5×55, 260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 264 Win Mag.

Bullet Type Grains B.C. 6.5 Creedmoor Application
Sierra Varminter JHP 100 0.259 Medium Game
Sierra Pro-Hunter SP 120 0.264 Medium Game
Nosler Partition SP 125 0.449 Medium Game
Prvi Partizan SP 139 0.263 Medium & Large Game
Hornady ELD-X PT 143 0.625 Medium & Large Game

Sierra rates their 100 grain Varminter as OK for deer size game, except in concert with the 264 Winchester Magnum where it is deemed too fragile for close in shots. Personally, it works well on the coyote population and similar size animals where meat and/or hide recovery is not germane.

The Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 grain is rated by that company for the same applications as the 100 grain Sierra Varminter, but without the 264 Winchester caveat. It is effective on hogs, deer, pronghorn and virtually anything else in that weight and muscle class.

The Nosler is similarly rated, however, the “H” type jacket and tough jacket make for deeper penetration. A good ballistic coefficient gives this bullet longer range, even if Nosler stops short of recommending it for heavier game. For heavier game like elk, Nosler recommends the 140 grain version of this bullet.

Privi Partizan is a tough jacketed bullet that penetrates deeply and expands well in heavy body game. It is not the most slippery bullet, but in tree riddled Maine, it has more than enough reach. When available, the price is typically low and quality is high.

The Hornady ELD-X bullet is my only concession to excess. Super slippery, a poly tip construction that can handle the heat of orbital reentry. Long in length, the ELD-X is intended to be used in concert with at a 1:8″ rifling twist. One of the solid benefits of this bullet’s construction is that it will provide controlled expansion close in at high velocity, but also at long range and lesser velocity.

At approximately 50 cents each, I would say it is a pricey bullet, but in the current world of opportunistically elevated prices and short supply, the price is hardly worth a blink. Personally, when I see “New! Super Duper Design! Space Age Materials!” I just buy the same old bullets that have worked for me over the past 60+ years of hunting. I don’t like being hustled. Anyway…

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

6.5 Creedmoor – MAP 62 KPSIII
Firearm Ruger Hawkeye
Barrel Length 24.0″ 1:8″ Twist
Max Case Length 1.920″ +0.000″/-0.020″
Min – Max COL 2.700″ – 2.825″
Primer CCI 250 – LRM
Bullet Diameter 0.2644″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies Hornady
Bullet Type Bullet
Weight

Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder
Charge

Grains
Muzzle
Velocity

fps
Muzzle
Energy

ft/lbs
100 YD
3 Shot
Group”
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 RL 17 47.5 3382 2540 0.7
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 H414 49.0 3360 2507 0.8
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 Norma 203-B 42.5 3307 2429 0.3
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 RL 17 45.0 3061 2497 0.8
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 Superformance 48.5 3105 2570 0.5
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 Norma URP 45.0 3023 2436 0.3
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 RL 16 44.0 3005 2507 0.4
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 RL 17 45.0 3012 2519 0.6
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 Win 760 45.0 2987 2477 0.8
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 RL 16 42.0 2847 2502 0.9
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 RL 17 43.0 2855 2516 0.8
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 Norma URP 42.5 2814 2445 0.7
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 RL 16 41.0 2844 2569 0.3
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 RL 17 42.0 2823 2531 0.4
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 Norma URP 41.5 2783 2460 0.6

Notes: I am sometimes criticized for not leaving copious notes defining my process. So some meaningful notes regarding this data. I did not smoke or drink for the duration of the exercise. I find that both or either activity will be counter productive to the objective.

Don’t skip the warning notice leading into the handload section. If it wasn’t important, I would not have included it.

Don’t request copious notes with handload data. In the first place, handloading takes skill, judgement and interpretation. As any and/or all components may change from one production lot to another… dimension, weight and volume… detail handling notes would probably not apply to you… interpretation and adaptation of information is important.

I got a new leaf blower. Isn’t that really what is important?

Conclusion

The Ruger Hawkeye Predator is an outstanding firearm; looks good, shoots good and it should last a lifetime as a hunting rifle. The 6.5 Creedmoor can probably replace most cartridges from 243 Winchester through to 308 Winchester. I think that about says it all.

Ruger’s M77 Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor Part I 'Cause Green Is Your Color... Thank you Keith

06/07/2021

The Hawkeye Predator is a long range hunting rifle. Offered in 22-250 Rem, 223 Rem, 204 Ruger, and 6.5mm Creedmoor, everything from small to medium size varmints, through large game like elk and moose can be accommodated, depending on caliber selected. Between hunting outings, it also makes a heck of a target rifle with more than enough mechanical accuracy to challenged a shooter’s marksmanship skills.

Ruger Hawkeye Predator
Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.
Manufactured Newport, NH
Model # 47108
Type Bolt Action
Caliber 6.5 Creedmoor
Capacity 4+1
Barrel Length
24″
Rifling 1:8″ RH 6 Groove
Weight 8.1 Lbs
Overall Length 44″
Stock Green Mountain Laminate
Barreled Action Matte Stainless
Length of Pull 13.50″
Sights Clean
Scope Mount
Ruger Proprietary
Safety Three Position
MSRP $1139

What makes the Predator so unique is that it is totally devoid of trendy, superfluous nonsense. It is not a rifle that has been warped, bent, stretched, shortened or in any other way tortured to pretend it to be something it is not. No thirty round magazine parked under it, no bag cuts under the buttstock to optimize use from a shooting bench, no muzzle devices, no bull barrel…. no bull.

In fact, the only deviation from what might be called sporter class standards is the Hawkeye Predator’s 24″ medium profile barrel and adjustable target grade trigger. Standard sporters typically give the 6.5 Creedmoor a 22″ and a barrel contour one weight lighter. The result is an 8 lb Predator, rather than a 7 lb standard sporter.

In a world where weight matters obsessively to some, I figure it is easier to skip the second helping at dinner, shake a pound loose and hunt with a rifle with a bit more reach.

But it isn’t a modern sporting rifle…

Typically, the AR-15 is defined as a modern sporting rifle, which is curious as the firearm type was designed in 1956, sixty five years ago. I am not sure how something qualified for social security gets to carry the “modern” banner. Additionally, the availability of semi auto and fully auto rifles with at least the same rate of fire have existed since 1777.

The Belton Flintlock sequentially discharged eight lead balls in three, five or eight second bursts. Benjamin Franklin lobbied George Washington to make a purchase of the Belton’s firearm, Washington agreed, but an acceptable contract could not be penned. An early example of early pork spending, Presidential swamp draining and attempted price gouging by a government contractor.

Transactional analysis between myself and the group therapy conducted in the Real Guns Facebook comments section, I would state that my preference for a bolt action rifle, over a modern sporting rifle, is rooted in pragmatism. I have concluded that out of the box AR-15s not as accurate, not as reliable or as powerful as similar size and weight bolt action rifles. How does that make you feel?

Hawkeye, but no Chingachook

The Ruger M77 MK I was introduced as the company’s first bolt action centerfire rifle in 1968. The next generation was introduced in 1993 as the M77 MK II. The change brought a three position safety, a newly design floorplate latch and a blade type ejector as well as a non-adjustable trigger. In 2006, the Hawkeye designation appeared on centerfire rifles, along with a slimmed down stock and non-adjustable L6 trigger. The Ruger Hawkeye Predator version was introduced in January of 2009 with a two stage adjustable target trigger.

The Ruger Hawkeye Predator, with its full length, non rotating extractor is a controlled round feed design.Controlled round feed is an alternative to push feed found in rifles such as the Remington 700, Weatherby Mark V and Savage 110.

When a cartridge is picked up from the internal magazine, the round’s rim is guided into and secured against the flat bolt face by the extractor claw and the slot in the top bolt lug. Regardless the position or angle of the rifle, the rounds position and travel are always… controlled. Driven by the bolt, push feed actions float the cartridge from magazine to chamber and have some reliance on gravity and firearm position and angle to feed reliably.

 

The Ruger Predator has a stainless steel hinged floorplate to facilitate unloading a full magazine. The magazine box has an aft spacer to bring the nose of each cartridge to the proximity of the feed ramp while still allowing maximum cartridge length loads. The floor plate release is embedded in the front of trigger guard; handy but still protected. Inside or out, the Ruger utilizes high quality castings and machined parts. No plastic to be found.

I have no problems with high capacity magazines, as it is always important to match personal preference with application and situation. Within the context of hunting, high capacity firearms work well for varmint hunting, long range hunting of medium size game in an open setting. They may also fit some types of big and dangerous game where not getting a critical hit after a few shots, and being left with an empty magazine, could be more than embarrassing.

My personal preference is a lesser capacity and a hinged floorplate because it fits my hunting style. I do still, stalk and post hunt, but I am a very conservative shooter and never shoot at running game or at ranges beyond a sure kill. All of my kills have been one shot with the exception of two, two shot kills and one mystery encounter. A hinged floorplate yields a flat bottom rifle and no interference with a hand or arm. They are also easy to unload at the end of the day without cycling an action.

The Predator comes with a really slick, fully adjustable, short take up two stage trigger. A departure from what has been historically Ruger non-adjustable triggers. Ruger’s description: “Two stage, light, crisp, with no overtravel” is solidly appropriate. The subject rifle’s trigger had a measured two pound pull. Adjustment, while easy, requires separating the rifle’s barreled action from its stock.

Ruger lists the barrel as a medium contour barrel, as opposed to a heavy contour target or varmint rifle barrel. It measures 0.650″ in diameter at the muzzle.

The rifle’s 1:8″ rifling twist suits the 6.5 Creedmoor, a round that does well with heavy for bore 0.264″ bullets and the latest crop of long for weight leadless bullets. The Ruger also stabilizes lighter weight bullets, delivering excellent accuracy.

The laminated hardwood stock makes for a very stable barreled action / stock sandwich. The barrel floats in the stock’s barrel channel for uninhibited barrel harmonics.

The 6.5 Creedmoor

Product names often are established to create 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.

Creedmoor was a great name for Hornady, the designer of the cartridge, to reference. It was derived from the name of the rifle range opened by the National Rifle Association in 1873 on New York’s Long Island and the range was host to the famous American – Irish long range rifle competition held in 1874. The term “Creedmoor” also defines a type of rifle used for Creedmoor type, long range competition. The history of the Creed’s Moor range, its use for national Guard marksmanship training and how Colonel Henry Shaw arrived at the Creed’s Moor name, is an interesting look into post Civil war America.

There is a tendency for most 6.5mm cartridge articles to qualify them as not mainstream. This may have been true at some point in history, but not today, and the 6.5 Creedmoor probably led the way to 6.5mm popularity. What initiated the 6.5 Creedmoor’s rise to fame is quite different than what provided the inertia for it to quickly become such a popular cartridge.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was created as a technical solution to a mechanical problem for long range rifle competition. The 260 Remington was very successful in those applications. However, in order to meet overall cartridge length standards and fit within action and magazine length restrictions, case powder capacity is diminished when seating long and heavy match bullets.

Hornady’s solution, the developer of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, was to shorten and neck down the 308 Winchester case, reduce the body taper and sharpen the shoulders. In doing so, at a 2.800″ maximum overall cartridge length, long, heavy bullets extend further outside the case, rather than get pushed further into the case as they would with the 260 Remington.

Massaging case taper and shoulder angle kept 6.5 Creedmoor overflow capacity loss to 5%, when compared to the 260 Rem. This 5% loss, and the gain from seating long bullets further out of the case net out to approximately half to one grain of recovered capacity.

Yes, I do know that parent case for the 6.5 Creedmoor is typically noted as the 30 TC. However, the 30 TC is based on the 308 Winchester, as is the 260 Rem, and the “parent” designation belongs with the original cartridge. I guess 30 TC sounds more… Mysterious? Exotic? Not ammunition brand affiliated?

The Creedmoor’s popularity booster shot came in the form of 1,000 yard competition rifle designs that were/are relative inexpensive and produce exceptional accuracy. That reputation for accuracy, justifiably or not, carried over into more mundane hunting and recreational target rifles and the buying stampede began… and persists.

Live fire

Two types of factory ammunition were used with the Ruger Hawkeye Predator when evaluating performance, Hornady 120 grain Match and Federal 140 grain Fusion hunting ammunition.

The Hornady, rated at 2,910 fps MV, clocked 2,904 fps from the Predator. Best 100 yard group measured 0.4″, largest group size measured 0.7″.

The Federal ammo, rated at rated at 2,750 fps MV produced 2,761 fps MV from the Predator. Best group size measures 0.5″, largest group measured 0.9″.

Rifle Personality

Recoil for the combination was moderate, as was muzzle rise and report. The Ruger was comfortable to shoot and it took no time at all to settle in shooting. The action cycled smoothly, requiring minimal effort. Shooting from the bench, standing and prone, the Hawkeye was easy to make stable with a simple shooting sling.

Rifle Aesthetics… It’s complicated

Aesthetically, I would not have picked the Green Mountain stock laminate as a standalone component if I were… stock shopping. However, as part of this rifle configuration with its matte stainless barreled action I like it… a lot. The stock isn’t boring, it is stable, it is durable, and it makes for good camo from spring through fall.

Everything on the rifle, metal or organic, is cleanly finished and slick in operation, from bolt throw to hinged floorplate ammo dumping. The scope mounting is solid and a scope will stay put as installed.

The longer, medium profile barrel contributed to the rifle’s 8 lb weight, but I hauled this one around for some days and it did not feel excessive in the least. It is a very nice rifle and a good combination for hunting anything I could think of in New England.