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The Ruger SR1911 10MM Auto and a Cast of Thousands!…!! OK, maybe only a cast of four... but that's not what's important

08/17/2020

My wife and I date a lot. Yes, with one another. Something more typical in a fifty three year marriage than one might suspect. Two weeks ago, it was lunch after our consecutively arranged primary physician appointments. Last week it was a post CT scan brunch. In October we have the big annual post cardiologist dinner.

My wife goes to the doctor, primarily, to rub my face in her near perfect lab work and visit results. I go, in my way of thinking, because I am like a low tech, high mileage Ferrari in need of an occasional tune. My wife’s alternative theory, is that I am an old guy who needs to watch his diet and exercise more. Phonetically speaking… potayto, potahto.

The Ruger SR1911

The Ruger SR1911 product is a high reliability, high quality, 70 series 1911 design. It is offered in numerous configurations in full, commander and officer lengths. Depending on version, it is available in 45 Automatic, 10mm Automatic and 9mm Luger. SR1911 applications are self defense, hunting and recreational and competitive target shooting. I have used the SR1911 extensively in 45 Automatic, 10mm Automatic and 9mm Luger.

Of the calibers offered, the 9mm Luger is the easiest to control, the 45 Auto provides more power with only a slight increase in effort required to control. The 10mm Auto version is the most powerful and extends the SR1911’s usefulness to a legitimate wilderness trail and hunting use. For a mellow fellow, a 10mm Auto with full tilt loads may be too much of a good thing. For an experienced centerfire pistol shooter, it may be just right.

In early going, growth in use of the 10mm Auto was stifled by a lack of ammunition variety and supply and by manufacturers’ persistence in producing soft loaded ammunition. The latter robbing the cartridge of its potential. However, the 10mm Auto has bucked uneven popularity cycles and has aspired to command approximately sixty two factory loads, a composite of twenty brands, readily available through retail channels. Within that population, full tilt loads are available.

Unfortunately, we are not living in normal circumstance, so people tend to cache ammunition and manufacturers tend to shift production to the most mainstream cartridges. Consequently, of the sixty two factory loads typically available, approximately twenty loads under five brands are currently stocked by online retailers.

Sounds less than exciting until you consider that, today, of the one hundred thirty two factory loads generally produced for the 45 Auto, zero are in stock through online retail and only four of the two hundred thirty two loads generally available for the 9mm Luger.

Some overview aspects of the SR1911 10mm Target

A well equipped 1911 with all the controls where God and John Browning intended, all in easy reach and all with positive actuation. And there are the nice touches of extended, narrow thumb safety, lightweight Commander type hammer, light weight trigger, and speed bump on the grip safety for folks with a lazy grip. Slide grooves appropriately placed to keep gripping hands away from the pistol’s muzzle.

The black sights, anti glare stainless finish and micro adjustable sights are quality pieces; long 6.9″ sight radius, with OK contrast and sharp profile against a target. For folks with a differing preference who might want, say, a bright green fiber optic front sight, they can easily be changed out.

For folks who gripe about the effort required to change a dovetail mounted front sight, you might try fitting a peened front sight on a 70 series Colt with a sight fitting backing anvil for a fresh perspective.

 

The personality of the Ruger SR1911 makes it softer shooting than most 10mm pistols. Key to this SR1911 10mm Auto’s attribute is the absence of a barrel bushing, its heavy profile bull barrel and slight increase in slide weight. The result is dampened reciprocating forces. This explains why the Ruger SR1911 has become my pistol of choice whenever copious amounts of 10mm Automatic ammunition is to be expended. Capisci? The little spring clip in the guide rod is used for disassembly.

The little clip, “wire tool” in Ruger nomenclature, is pushed through the guide rod when disassembling to hold the guide rod, reversed recoil spring plug and recoil spring in a compressed state until the assembly is removed from the slide. A function of its bushingless design.

The Ruger SR1911 is effective in applications as shipped from the factory and it also responds well to typical 1911 modifications, accepting 1911 standard bits and pieces including tool steel fire control components. Standard 1911 trigger job fixtures, trigger bow forms, slide and frame rail fitting tools, and stones and files all apply.

For further information, the Ruger SR1911 10mm Target has previously been reviewed in detail on Real Guns®. That information, live fire review and handloads are available at:

Ruger’s SR1911 10mm Power House Parts 1 & 2
10mm Auto jacketed handload Data

Four cast bullets

I can’t speak for you, but I am here because I needed some inexpensive cast bullet loads for the 10mm Automatic round for practice, self defense as a trail gun and for deer and hog hunting. Do I not have to be here as a condition of my employment? Sure. That, too or, maybe it’s “Sure, that too”.

All Acme bullets are made of 92-6-2 lead alloy (lead-antimony-tin) and have a Brinell Hardness of 16. Pure lead has a Brinell hardness of 4. Typically, anything with a Brinell Hardness greater than 10 is considered hard cast.

Bullet Type Weight
Grains
Diameter” Shank
Length”
Overall
Length”
Acme Cast SWC 155 0.401 0.300 0.582
Acme Cast FP 180 0.401 0.390 0.630
Acme Cast FP 200 0.401 0.425 0.682
Double Tap Cast WFNGC 230 0.400 0.505 0.732

155 grain OAL is critical, as is going easy on the taper crimp. The reduced velocity load listed is a practice load, but not so light as to cause cycling problems or require a recoil spring change, and they actually have quite a bit of thump. For self-defense it is a very controllable load and it offers a bit less penetration of walls, appliances and the car parked in the garage.

The form of the 155 grain SWC has been altered in more recent production to be slightly shorter to keep inside maximum overall length and all production is now red Hi-Tek coated. Loaded to 1.250″, edge of bullet meplat pictured hits barrel ramp ahead of case mouth, preventing feed problems. The 10mm Auto cartridge headspaces on its case mouth, so all cases were trimmed and outside/inside reamed and taper crimped. No, you should not skip those steps and call it done.

Handloads… Hond luuds in Scottish

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.

 

10mm Automatic  SAAMI MAP 37,500 PSI
Firearm Ruger SR1911
Barrel Length 5″
Max Case Length 0.992″ +0.000″/-0.010″
Min – Max COL 1.240″ – 1.260″
Primer CCI 300
Bullet Diameter 0.4005″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies RCBS

Bullet Type Bullet
Weight

Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder
Charge

Grains
Muzzle
Velocity

fps
Muzzle
Energy

ft/lbs
50′
5 Shot
Group”
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 AA 7 13.5 1465 739 1.9
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Power Pistol 10.5 1449 723 1.6
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Power Pistol 6.5 1101 417 1.1
Acme SWC 155 15.4 1.250 Long Shot 10.5 1462 736 1.6
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 AA 7 11.5 1250 625 1.6
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 AA 9 13.0 1259 634 1.3
Acme FP 180 13.0 1.260 Long Shot 9.0 1307 683 1.5
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 AA 9 11.5 1156 594 1.0
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 Long Shot 8.0 1204 644 1.2
Acme FP 200 11.4 1.260 CFE Pistol 7.2 1166 604 1.7
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 AA 9 10.2 1023 535 1.4
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 Power Pistol 7.0 1001 512 2.0
Double Tap WFNGC 230 9.2 1.240 Long Shot 7.0 1094 611 1.2

 

Impressions, thought and physical

I would have to classify these handloads in the Ruger SR1911, with one exception, as… invigorating. Sharp muzzle climb with the hand and wrist going along for the ride. In other words, more than micro aggressive to Democrats, but satisfying to Republicans and Independents. I don’t know about Libertarians, they don’t respond to surveys.

Heavy lead probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to kinetic energy junkies at first blush… glimpse, not the face coloration, but penetration is greater as are retained energy and velocity and then penetrate harder surfaces than gelatinous gel. If I had to break the shoulder bone of a black bear for some indeterminate reason, my preference would be for heavier, hard cast bullets or a safe place to hide.

For personal defense, proficiency training and recreational target shooting, the 155 grain probably makes a good deal of sense. For a trail gun or hunting, heavier is probably better. Personally, I like 200 grain loads as a balance of velocity and sectional density.

AA #7 and Long Shot powders ran a little hot and had to be backed off from some of my historical load data. Pressure build was not linear in work up, with pressure spiking nearing max loads. Others were more well mannered. I would like to spend more time with CFE Pistol as there appears to be greater potential.

Official 50′ targets. Within the context of this article, I see the Ruger as a 50 yard gun being shot by a guy with 50 foot eyes, at least with metallic sights. 200 grain bullets shot the corner off the queen with three shots, before it dawned on me that I could aim lower and nearly put five into the 1.25″x2.0″ inner rectangle. Accuracy that could be matched or bettered with many of the handloads on the table.

Empties, without playing with recoil spring rates, were deposited a… generous distance from the shooter. For most applications, I would rather have the certainty of ejection and reliable cycling than having reloadable brass drop at my feet. The force of ejection can be tuned to shooter preferences.

Are you happy with yourself and the Ruger, Joe? You bet.

I write about Ruger firearms a good deal. Most of the work I do is related to shop work: handloading, ammo check out or gunsmithing with reviews being derivative rather than the objective. Ruger happens to make workhorse firearms that hold up to hard use, are accurate, respond to modification, and photograph well. The Ruger SR1911 Target 10mm Auto is no exception.

Buck Mark Field Target – Suppressor Ready Everyone should own at least one good rimfire pistol....

08/31/2020

Maybe it is just Maine, but it seems that getting things to grow in a garden is easy, but getting things to stop growing… not so much. My wife and I prepped the garden in early spring and went on to time consuming home projects. To say the garden became overgrown would be an understatement; along side the driveway, across the front of the house and down to the end of the porch, 500 square feet of rain forest. Trees, shrubs and flowering plants, complete within their own ecosystem, even closing our eyes while driving in and out of the garage could not shield us from garden shame.

The first cleanup effort was manual weed culling; grasping a clump of weeds and attempting to pull them out by the roots… just before they snapped off close to the ground and required crawling around in the dirt with a hand weeder to remove the remnants. The problem with weeding a garden on hands and knees is the loss of height advantage and quick retreat when confronted by fauna. Spiders, ticks, bees, and assorted and sundry beetles were expected and did not disappoint. Leaping frogs, slithering snakes, a fox cub that was using the garden for al fresco dining, and a very angry community of chipmunks all came as a bit of a surprise.

All went quietly with simple “move it along” requests in the forms of whirling weed whackers, reciprocating hedge trimmers, clicking pruning shears, and intensive ground raking, with the exception of the chipmunks. Unlike the run of the mill chipmunks that are satisfied with scampering across highly trafficked roads, this group had a very defiant, aggressive and hostile chipmunk for a spokesperson. It was pretty much a standoff. Unfortunately, a debate my wife would not let me conclude with a Husqvarna clearing saw.

Consequently, negotiations were protracted and animated and ran through lunch… we ordered in on my dime. Eventually, we settled on a community relocation to a southern tree line stone fence that offered expansive burrowing and housing opportunities, lots of food sources, and with a variety of entertainment venues near by. I omitted the part about it being in the path of marauding coyote, fox and bobcats, which falls outside the guidelines of Maine’s real estate disclosure laws. However, there is no coming back as their old housing complex has been leveled.

Browning

Browning is one of those companies that keeps their history and heritage intact and treats their customers respectfully. The proof of those assertions are found in the products they make and in the support they provide.

The Browning auto loading rimfire began with John M. Browning’s 1914 design, which became the Colt Woodsman, a product that played out in three versions from 1915 through 1977. The pistol, under the Browning brand, received a redesign and refinement under the guidance of Bruce Browning and was manufactured in Belgium in two versions between the years 1962 and 1974 as the Browning Nomad. In 1974, under then Browning President John Val Browning, the Nomad was discontinued as too costly to produce and, subsequently, priced too high to be competitive.

The U.S. made Browning Challenger was introduced in 1962 and continued on through 1975. The Challenger was distinguished from the Nomad by its reduced grip angle, revised manufacturing processes and a revised mechanical design.The Challenger employed a cast frame to eliminate numerous machining operations and the newer design reduced piece part count, giving Browning a price competitive rimfire pistol.

The Challenger II ran from 1976 through 1983 and the aluminum frame Challenger III ran from 1983 through 1985 when the Challenger product was discontinued.

The aluminum frame Browning Buck Mark, an evolutionary design, was introduced in 1985 and continues on today. Enhanced aesthetics, improved trigger and sights over the Challenger product and has seen only finesse changes over its years in production.

In the beginning…

My ownership experience with a Browning rimfire pistol began with the purchase of a used, but near new Browning Challenger II. Manufactured in 1976, and heavily used by myself and family members, the Challenger II has held up well; it is still accurate and it still looks good and remains mechanically sound.

In 1985, the bottom Buck Mark was purchased. In those days our family was living in California and subsequently spending a good deal of time at indoor shooting ranges.The indoor range was 8 miles away and it opened early and closed very late.The closest outdoor range was 32 miles with restrictive days and hours of operation. The Browning provided many hours of practice and informal competition with then plentiful and inexpensive ammunition. This one still gets a workout. Fancier versions were added in more recent years, like the Browning’s Buck Mark Plus Rosewood UDX, above center.

Buck Mark Field Target Suppressor Ready

As of this writing, there are twenty-three Buck Mark models, each differing in barrel contour and length, sights, optical sight accommodation, grips, and the presence of under rail and/or muzzle end barrel.threads. The Buck Mark Field Target pistol, clean or suppressor ready, was introduced as a 2016 Shot Show Special. However, the model’s popularity made it a standard Browning catalogue item. Some of the features and characteristics are unique to the Buck Mark Field Target, while others are shared across the Buck Mark product line.

The Buck Mark is a very adaptable firearm, which is probably why it is available in so many purpose built configurations. Nothing radical or gimmicky in the placement of controls, so proficiency comes quickly to anyone who has experience with most centerfire and rimfire auto loaders. The interior angle between bore centerline and vertical grip centerline measures 110° which places it close to the 1911 design.

Up top is a selection of sighting options. The Pro-Target rear sight is matte finished to kill glare. The notch aperture is 0.125″ and sight adjustment is finely incremented with 16 clicks per revolution, approximately 25% finer increments than typical.

The face of the front sight is perpendicular to the pistol’s bore to provide the sharpest outline against a target and the minimal amount of glare. The sight radius is a long 8″. The sight set is actually low profile as mounted to the rail, however, the rail elevates both for more than sufficient clearance over a silencer as pictured above.

The Picatinny rail provides easy mounting for reflex sights and scopes. My personal preference is a well used Burris FastFire II with a 4 MOA dot that makes for quick, both eyes open shooting without the aid of two pairs of eyeglasses and an eye loop.

The Browning slide has gripping surfaces, but it also has ears at the back which make it easy to grasp and rack the slide.

There is not much in the way of reciprocating pieces. The barrel is anchored to the frame, the slide assembly is trapped between the sight mount base and the frame and moves longitudinally along a recoil spring guide rod. The slide provides the pistol’s breech face and home for the firing pin and extractor. The ejector is located in the frame. The result is a very stable assembly that produces repeatably accurate results.

The target barrel is alloy steel, not a sleeved shroud, which is very steadying without being excessive in weight. All Buck Mark pistol chambers are hand reamed. The 1/2×28 threads are silencer standard for a 22 LR, a thread protector remains in place when the pistol is not suppressed. Non suppressor ready Buck Marks have a target crown. The thread protector installed forms a… recessed target crown. With subsonic ammo, in the absence of a supersonic crack, the loudest sound is the action cycling.

Buck Mark Field Target – Suppressor Ready

Manufacturer Browning
Item # 051527490
Country of Origin U.S.A.
Type Single Action
Operation Blow-Back Auto Loader
Caliber 22 Long Rifle
Mag Capacity 10
Barrel Length 5 7/8”
Rifling 1:16″
Weight 2 Lbs 6 Oz.
Overall Length 10″
Grips Laminate Cocobolo target
Frame 7075 Aircraft Aluminum
Rear Sight Adjustable Pro-Target
Front Sight Pro-Target
Trigger Pull 4 Lbs. 7 Oz.
Safety Thumb & Mag Disconnect
MSRP $599.99
Suppressor Ready threaded barrel (1/2-28)
Packaged in pistol rug

Standard catalog Buck Mark pistols, depending on configuration, have an MSRP between $359.99 and $699.99, a range that falls about mid range within the 22 LR pistol market. Because the core design is the same, the accuracy and reliability of the $699.99 is present in the $359.99 model.

The price difference buy aesthetic upgrades, accessory accommodations and shooter preference features. In the case of the Buck Mark Field Target SR: Laminated Cocobolo target grips, a threaded barrel to accommodate a silencer and precise, micro adjustable target sights on a long sight radius.

Personality

For me, buying a firearm is like buying a car… except without the doors. I only buy firearms that truly appeal to me, some intangible ratio of price to features and overall appearance that is motivational enough to pry open my wallet. The Browning Buck Mark Field target is that kind of a rimfire.

The combination of matte black finish and Cocobolo grips, bull barrel and Picatinny rail make the Field Target look substantial. The heft makes it easy to hold on target, but not slow to get on target. The longish sight radius assist in sight alignment.

The plan was to shoot for chronograph times, then some targets for accuracy and wrap up the project. I made the mistake of asking my wife to log data, which somehow turned into a bit of an informal competition, that concluded with me cooking dinner and washing the dishes. The latter isn’t important, but the fact we shot through two bricks of ammo before the smoke cleared solely because the Buck Mark was fun to shoot.

In more meaningful terms

Cartridge Bullet Weight
Grains
MV FPS SAAMI
24″ Barrel Rating
MV FPS
5.875″ Actual
50 Foot
5 Shot Group “
Federal Champion 36 1280 1103 0.8
Rem Thunderbolt 40 1255 971 0.6
Rem Target 40 1150 975 0.9
Rem Golden 40 1255 1019 0.6
Winchester Super Speed 40 1300 1083 0.7

 

Yes, low and left. When I shoot for group size, as long as I have a consistent point of aim, close enough. While group size varied by ammo type, general point of impact shifted little. The Browning has greater mechanical accuracy but, shot from sand bags, I was pleased the results.

Wrapping up…

There are aftermarket pieces for the Buck Mark, but I would classify them more as personalizing products rather than performance enhancing. I don’t believe a large loop at the back of the slide is useful and the same would apply to a flat trigger. There might be a case made for a broad selection of sight types as selection can be quite subjective, but there are enough configurations to please most everyone.

If there was any change, enhancement or refinement I wouldn’t mind, it would probably be a one-half to three-quarter pound reduction in trigger pull and… No, I guess that is it. Nice pistol.

 

 

The Ruger Mark IV Hunter V. Squirrel Warning - Readers may find some images disturbing

07/26/2020

Six tomato plants are usually enough for my wife and immediate friends, but this year we got off to a slow start. Moving house grown seedlings to the garden had its casualties, so a restart was necessary. Of the six plants, three yielded tomatoes very quickly, two grew quickly and one flowered but bore no fruit. The sixth remained a one half inch seedling that kept getting flattened from watering.

The “flower, no fruit” problem was a pollination issue. High temperatures and high humidity, followed by heavy rain, curtailed the normal pollination. When the first couple of dry days rolled around, the stems of the plants were tapped, which distributed the loose pollen and now the plants are heavily fruit laden. The green peppers are doing well, as are the cucumbers and corn. Unfortunately, there are others present in and around the garden who share our interest in fresh vegetables…

I have a squirrel problem. Well, not me personally, but they have placed every structure within my country bumpkin domain in jeopardy. When determined, they find a loose shingle or board, or they will gnaw their way through shuttered openings and do serious damage once inside a structure. You can trap them, but set them free and they will return, unrepentant.

In addition to teething issues, squirrels seem to know when vegetables are ready for picking for before we are aware. Consequently, midnight harvesting of the garden beats 6 AM harvesting, so we are often left with bare branches and a mess.

Ruger Mark IV Pistol

Company

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.
Point of Manufacturer Prescott, AZ U.S.A.
Model # 40118
Description Mark IV Hunter
Type of Action Auto Loader SA
Caliber 22 Long Rifle
Magazine Capacity 10
Barrel Length 6.88″
Barrel Material Stainless Steel
Barrel Contour Bull – Fluted
Rifling Twist Rate 1:16″ RH
Receiver Material Stainless Steel
Grip Frame Material Stainless Steel
Frame Finish Natural – Satin
Grips Laminate – Checkered
Front Sight Fiber Optic (Multi Colors)
Rear Sight Adjustable W/E
Weight of Firearm 44.0 Oz.
Overall Length 11.12″
Overall Height 5.50″
Width 1.20″
Manual Safety Thumb – Ambidextrous
Magazine Disconnect Yes
CA/MA Approved No
MSRP $769

Please do not tell me they are cute and cuddly as they are not. They are carnivorous rats with bushy tails that will gladly eat the young they volunteered to babysit and they will kill and eat chipmunks, baby birds and small frogs which are actually are cute.

Squirrels are good target practice; close in, at a distance, still or in motion. I hunt them with 22 Magnum rifles and 22 LR rifles and handguns. A rimfire pistol is the most challenging.

No I don’t lament killing them and the carcasses never go to waste. They become dinner for the resident fox, coyote, hawks, and owls. How do I know? Never found one in the morning that was left out overnight and trail cameras confirm the critters noted. But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is a lot easier than one might think.

The subject Ruger Mark IV Hunter is but one of eight categories of Mark IV pistols, available in twenty seven configurations. The selections include stainless steel, anodized aluminum, alloy steel and 22/45 models.

I have worked with both versions of the stainless Hunter, target grips with finger grooves and the slab side version pictured. I like the idea of target grips, They look good, but they feel like a liberal form of government that wants me to conform.

Subsequently, I shoot better with free finger placement and the non-communist version….. Comrade. Besides, the Ruger Mark IV Hunter looks so good, it takes attention away from the fact I am quite an ordinary fellow as what I hear is, “Man, look at that Ruger!!..!” rather than “Hey! Who’s that ordinary looking dude?”.

In the case of the Ruger Mark IV pistol, stainless versus black oxide or anodized finish is more that aesthetics. Black versions of the Ruger Mark IV have aluminum grip frames and stainless guns have stainless steel grip frames. The weighed difference is six ounces, which goes to improved balanced and overall hand steadying heft.

The Hunter offers a very useful sight set and optical sight accommodation. The rear sight is micro adjustable for windage and elevation with click stops that hold adjustment and a glare eliminating serrated face. The steel fiber optic front sight is a HIVIZ LiteWave product with a 0.125″ blade and packaged with red, green and white interchangeable 0.090″ light pipes.  Good combination that shows well against just about any backdrop. For folks who like optical sight, the receiver top is drilled and tapped to accept Weaver or Picatinny rails.

The industry’s easiest rimfire autoloader disassembly. One push of a button and the barrel/receiver tips down and lifts off and the bolt pulls out. The Ruger is a design of concentric circles; receiver to bore centerline and bolt to center of receiver and bore centerline. The result is excellent accuracy.

The scalloped rear receiver and bolt ears made retracting or releasing the bolt a snap. The one step Take-Down button disassembly makes for easy service and cleaning. The pistol is supplied with an ambidextrous safety, however, the right thumb piece can be removed to suit shooter’s preference.

The Ruger Mark IV Hunter is a high quality, high accuracy, high reliability, forever lasting pistol. Subsequently, from a price standpoint, it does not align well with cheap guns, especially imported gun dung. Why do I say these things? It is the Internet thing. I like firearms, but more so I use them and depend on them for everything from recreational shooting entertainment, to food supply and defense of life and property. I don’t buy cheap tools, I don’t shop for cars with the worst safety and/or reliability records and I don’t higher unrealistically low bid contractors. Why would I change that philosophy with something as essential as a firearm?

The Ruger Mark IV Hunter is a substantial pistol; good heft, good balance and with an effective sight radius. I shot this Ruger for several range days, with numerous brands and power levels of ammunition, averaging 500 rounds per day. There was only one incidence of an easy to clear stove pipe jam with Remington Golden Bullet ammo. The balance of shooting; no misfires, no failures to feed, no jams, shooting either same type or mix brand/type ammo filled magazines.

The Mark IV’s grip frame is CNC precision machined. The barrel is hammer forged. The ten round magazine, 2 are included, pop out when released and there is a disconnect system to prevent firing with the magazine removed. There is no hinged safety blade integrated into the face of the trigger, just surface ribs. Trigger pull checked in at 4 lbs 10 oz. which is actually quite reasonable and safe in hunting situations.

Measuring with a goniometer, the sweeping interior angle of the grip, bore centerline to grip centerline, measured 120º as opposed to a 1911 that measures 111º from bore centerline to grip screw centerline. When I first began shooting Ruger pistols of this type many years ago, it took a while to acclimate myself to the difference where almost all of my auto loader experience had been with the 1911. However, after a little proficiency training, it was easy to shoot the Ruger well and still be able to pick up a 1911 and do the same.

Performance

Above, a great picture of why I don’t like splatter targets and my unwillingness to reshoot when I can measure the outcome. Shot at 50 feet from a rest, the bottom row was a sighting in exercise with Federal Champion 36 grain ammo. In dialing sequence from left to right: #1, #4, #2, #3. The adjustment increments are small, which suits the pistol’s solid potential for accuracy. The bullseyes are a hair under 2″ in diameter.

Cartridge Bullet Weight
Grains
MV FPS SAAMI
24″ Barrel Rating
MV FPS
6.88 Actual
50 Foot
5 Shot Group “
Federal Champion 36 1280 1089 0.8
Rem Thunderbolt 40 1255 944 0.7
Rem Target 40 1150 1015 0.5
Rem Golden 40 1255 1141 0.8
Winchester Super Speed 40 1300 1154 0.7

No, the velocity stated for the Thunderbolt ammunition is not in error. Proportionally, it has performed the same with other firearms as drawn from a common lot of ammunition. The Ruger’s shooting characteristics were notable, particularly in light of its metallic sights. The Ruger Mark IV Hunter is quite insensitive to changes in ammunition brands and types, with only minuscule shifts in point of impact and shot to shot repeatability.

There are a couple of potential refinements I would not mind. There is a slight amount of trigger creep that could be smoothed away. I also wouldn’t mind 10 ounces coming off the trigger pull. The rear target sight is excellent, but I wouldn’t mind a fiber optic Firesight as an option, like the set sold in the Shop Ruger store. For me, front and rear fiber optic sights are the fastest on target, next to a red dot reflex sight, and they really stand out even under a dense, woodland canopy.

My comments reflect personal preferences, not corrections to problems. Considering the success and stellar reputation of the Ruger Mark IV and its predecessor, I have just advised Leonardo da Vinci how to improve the Mona Lisa.

Great. Super on paper, what about on squirrels?

Squirrels in our immediate area have become skittish from being popped, so they tend to stay farther out. Subsequently, this one was shot at 25 yards. Little meat damage was done and he never moved from where he took the first round.

If you have been a member of Real Guns, you’ve probably seen this guy roaming around in the downloadable target section. The tail top group measures 1.1″, the lower tail shot is 1.0″ and the nut shot was a sympathetic 1.3″. Took the smile right off his face. And that concludes our programming. Terrific rimfire pistol.

 

 

The Ruger Hawkeye Hunter and the 6.5 PRC Greater 6.5 power, without the barrel burn out thing...

07/20/2020

Between 1869 and 1870, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers was published in serialized form in the French periodical Magasin d’Éducation et de Récréation. In 1872, a compilation in the form of a novel was published in English as Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The story is written as a first person narrative, through the character Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist.

The feel of the story is quite like Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, also narrated in first person by the character Ishmael, but published in 1851. Both novels open to a search for what is believed to be a monstrous whale; Verne with Captain Nemo, Melville with Captain Ahab. The details of the journeys are different, but the conclusions in the long strokes are quite the same.  And movie versions have ruined both stories in each studio’s effort to reduce them to a child’s tale or a political puppet show.

What always keeps me engaged in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is the title. Verne was a futurist, an expansive thinker and a very descriptive writer of great specificity. A league is 3.452 miles. 20,000 leagues is 69,040 miles. In 240 BC, a Greek named Eratosthenes determined the earth to be 29,000 miles in diameter, which was later refined to 24,900 miles at the bulging waistline at the equator. Was Verne’s 20,000 leagues a metaphor for the expansiveness of the unknown, or was he just uninformed? I know. Keeps me awake at night too.

What is the point of my Nautilus V. Moby intensely analytical dissertation? I think that is obvious. Neither Verne or Melville incorporated the Ruger Hawkeye Hunter, or the 6.5 PRC, into their novels. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

Yes, PRC is an acronym for Precision Rifle Cartridge

Ruger’s Hawkeye Hunter

Manufacturer Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc.
Model 57105
Caliber 6.5 PRC
Magazine Capacity 3
Barrel Length 22″ (5/8″- 24 Threads)
Twist Rate 1:8″ 5R RH
Weight 7 lbs 2 oz.
Overall Length 42″
Stock American Walnut
Pull 13.5″
Drop at comb 3/4″
Drop at heel 1″
Sights None – Picatinny Rail
Trigger LC6™ Non- Adjustable
Trigger Pull 4 lbs. 6 oz.
Safety Three Position
MSRP $1,099

I like this Ruger company; firearms based on century plus proven designs with refinements, modern materials, precise manufacturing processes and aesthetically pleasing. The result is durability, reliability and excellent accuracy.

While the subject rifle is a 6.5 PR, the Ruger Hawkeye Hunter is also available in: 204 Ruger, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm Rem Mag, 308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, and 300 Win Mag. The Creedmoor and Win Mag are available also in left hand configurations.

The 6.5 PRC was previously covered on Real Guns in depth and in detail previously, including handload data, in the form of The Hawkeye Long Range Target 6.5 PRC Part I and Part II . However, the Long Range Target model carries considerably more weight and its barrel is 4″ longer. The Hunter would seem the model with greater hunting applications.

The Ruger Hawkeye Hunter and Long Range Target differ in numerous other ways. The Long Range, appropriately for its intended application, is four pounds heavier. Its stock is comb adjustable to accommodate various target shooting positions. The heavy contour barrel and receiver are fashioned from alloy steel. The Long Range has a two stage adjustable trigger.

The Hawkeye Hunter has a slender and with geometry appropriate for a scoped hunting rifle. It is a comfortable stock shooting from standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions. However, at my age, assuming the sitting position should only be attempted when you are in no hurry to stand up again, and never in the presence of anyone who thinks a little push to the shoulder would provide great entertainment.

The Ruger comes with swivel studs and very cleanly checkered gripping surfaces. The forearm is narrow, but deep enough in profile to be hand filling.

The pull length is comfortable at 13.5″. Shorter than some, but handy when the weather is cold and more than a t-shirt and jeans are worn. The comb is high at 3/4″ below bore centerline and a 1″ drop at the heel.  The scope is sitting high in even in low 30mm rings, but that is how I set up when primarily shooting from a bench is planned.

The light sporter contour Hawkeye Hunter’s barrel is flared behind the muzzle threads. This allows maximum thread size to mount a muzzle device like a brake or a silencer, while providing adequate shoulder surface for secure device backing. In this case, the device was a SilencerCo Hybrid 46. Muzzle pressure with the 6.5 PRC is well within the range of other cartridges listed with the silencer. The barrel is hammer forged and features a tight twist 5R rifling.

The Hunter has a three position safety to either lock the bolt closed or to facilitate safe bolt cycling to unload the rifle. The Hunter also has a hinged floor plate for easy and safe unloading.

The Hunter is supplied with a 20 MOA offset rail that is secured with four, #8-40 screws for increased long-range elevation capabilities.Why the big hardware? Under recoil, the rifle moves rearward… quickly. The scope wants to remain where it is. For the long range shooter with big optics made my Celestron, the larger rail mounting fasteners won’t shear when stressed.

Shooting at longer distances, 600+ yards, most scopes on standard rails would run out of upward elevation adjustment. The 20 MOA rail is canted down at the front, which elevates the rifle’s muzzle relative to a scope’s optical center line. So, at 600+ yards where it is needed, a scope will have an additional 20 MOA of adjustment.

But what if you hunt in Maine, or many other locations, where the bragging long shot is 125 yards and you don’t want your rifle’s muzzle at launch inclination? Easy, you remove the rail and use the proprietary Ruger mount system where the rings are secured directly to scallops and cross slots milled into the receiver.

Using medium height Ruger Rings brings even scope with larger objective bells down closer to the rifle’s bore centerline where even face planted to the stock, line of sight passed through the scope’s optical center. All technical terms that are being mildly misused for the sake of verbal imagery.

Yes, PRC is an acronym for Precision Rifle Cartridge

Many new cartridges are designed in excess to simplify marketing messaging, “Bigger! Better! Faster! Faster!”. Hornady designed cartridges tend to reflect restraint and work toward efficient, optimal performance. Where some companies promise the firearm equivalent of an instant cure for male patterned baldness, Hornady advises applications and invites potential customer to examine relevant ballistic tables. Pictured L-R 260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC

Hornady’s approach to the 375 Ruger was to remove the 0.513″ diameter belt present on the 375 H&H cartridge and increased the case body diameter to the original belt diameter. As a result, with less body taper and sharp shoulders, even when case shortened to 2.580″, the Ruger has greater powder capacity. The 6.5 Precision Rife Cartridge case is derived from the 375 Ruger.

Shortened and necked down to accommodate 0.264″ bullets, the finished 6.5 PRC case is 0.015″ longer than the 308 Winchester and 0.110″ longer than the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 PRC cartridge overall length is 0.155″ greater than the 6.5 Creedmoor, it holds 37% more powder and it delivers higher velocity; somewhere between the 6.5×284 Norma and the 264 Winchester Magnum.

Hornady 6.5 Precision Hunter 143 grain ammunition, muzzle velocity rated at 2960 fps from a 24″ test barrel, produced 2895 fps from the Ruger Hawkeye Hunter’s 22″ barrel.

Table of 6.5mm Context

Cartridge Capacity
H2O
Grains
MAP
KPSI
Case Web
Diameter”
Shoulder
Diameter”
Case
Length “
Cartridge
Length “
6.5×47 Lapua 48.0 63.0 0.470 0.456 1.850 2.795
260 Remington 53.5 60.0 0.471 0.454 1.850 2.795
6.5 Creedmoor 54.0 62.0 0.470 0.462 1.920 2.825
6.5-284 Norma 66.0 58.0 0.500 0.476 2.170 3.228
6.5 PRC 72.3 65.0 0.532 0.516 2.030 2.955
264 Win Mag 82.0 64.0 0.517* 0.491 2.500 3.340
6.5-300 Weatherby 98.0 65.0 0.517* 0.492 2.825 3.600
26 Nosler 99.0 65.0 0.550 0.528 2.590 3.340
*Measurement taken just forward of belt

The primary reason for running handloads developed with the 26″ barrel Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Target through the 22″ barrel Ruger Hawkeye Hunter was to examine the influence of 4″ of barrel. Below, the same bullets were used with both and the same handload data. The Long Range Target data appears in Part II of the articles previously cited.

Bullet Type Weight
Grains
Typical
Length
Inches
Loaded
COL “
Application Typical
$ Per
Bullet
Sierra Pro-Hunter SP 120 1.087 2.810 Hunting 0.30
Nosler Partition SP 125 1.183 2.875 Hunting 0.76
Hornady Interlock SP 129 1.178 2 .800 Hunting 0.29
Lapua HP 136 1.360 2.870 Target 0.49
Nosler Competition HP 140 1.310 2.875 Target 0.32
Hornady SST Poly 140 1.400 2.800 Hunting 0.32
Berger Target HP 140 1.394 2.900 Target 0.50

 

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.

 

Cartridge – 6.5 Precision Rife Cartridge
Firearm Ruger Hawkeye Hunter
Barrel Length 22.00″
Min – Max Case Length 2.030″ +0.000″/-0.030″
Min – Max COL 2.775″ – 2.955″
Primer CCI 250
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 Pro-Hunter SP
120
63.8
2.810
Retumbo 61.0 3203 2734  0.8
 Sierra Pro-Hunter SP 120 63.7 2.810 H1000 59.0 3019 2429  0.3
 Nosler Partition 125 63.5 2.875 Retumbo 60.0 3237 2909  0.8
 Nosler Partition 125 63.5 2.875 H1000 58.5 3025 2540  1.0
 Hornady Interlock 129 62.2 2.800 Retumbo 60.2 3136 2818  0.5
 Hornady Interlock 129 62.2 2.800 H1000 58.5 3028 2985  0.8
 Lapua 136 61.4 2.870 Retumbo 59.5 3082 2869  0.6
 Lapua 136 61.4 2.870 Re25 59.0 3021 2757  0.6
 Nosler Competition 140 61.8 2.875 Retumbo 59.5 3019 2834  0.9
 Nosler Competition 140 61.8 2.875 Re25 59.0 3034 2862  0.7
 Hornady SST 140 59.3 2.800 Retumbo 59.5 3103 2994  0.5
 Hornady SST 140 59.3 2.800 Re25 59.5 3054 2900  0.9
 Berger Target 140 61.3 2.900 Retumbo 60.0 3107 3002  0.6
 Berger Target 140 61.3 2.900 Re25 60.0 3059 2910  0.4

Wrapping up for now

The Ruger Hawkeye Hunter and 6.5 PRC are an excellent combination that is not done justice with my handloads. Accuracy was good, but powders selection were narrow and there are better bullets for hunting with the 6.5. The good news, from my perspective, is that the 6.5 PRC will produce with a 22″ barrel. There are many large capacity, overbore magnums that assume 260 Rem like performance when barrel length drops below 26″.

The Ruger Hawkeye Hunter has a good feel… like every good hunting rifle, every memorable hunting rifle I have carried over the years. It is well made, tough, made in America with American labor. Nice one from Ruger.

The S&W Model 57 Classic A 41 Magnum trail gun

07/13/2020 It is a Jackson Browne kind of day. The rain finally subsided, leaving behind rich, wet emerald green Maine. The lawn is overgrown, tree branches are reaching far out from the tree line for the sun, and wildlife has returned to view. Deer grazing on clover, fox snacking on chipmunks, wild turkey gobbling up…

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