02/21/2020 Working with the Ruger American Ranch 6.5 Grendel has been a lot of fun. Scoped and silenced, it was tireless at the bench, digesting ammo, putting holes in targets and tolerating without complaint… less than conservative handloads. Yes, comments like that do make manufacturers break out in a rash. They work diligently to be…
Ruger’s American Ranch In 6.5 Grendel Part I An efficient cartridge is an exceptional cartridge
Ruger American Ranch Rifle – 6.5 Grendel
|Point of Manufacture||Newport, NH, USA|
|Type of Action||Bolt Action 3 Lug 70º Lift|
|Magazine Type||AR Style|
|Rifling Twist Rate||1:8″ 5 Groove|
|Barrel Muzzle Threads||5/8″ – 24|
|Barreled Action||Alloy Steel – Blued|
|Stock Type||Flat Dark Earth Synthetic|
|Length of Pull||13.75″|
|Drop at comb||5/8″|
|Drop at heel||3/4″|
|Scope Accommodation||Receiver Top Rail|
|Trigger Pull||3 To 5 Lbs|
|Weight of Firearm||6.1 Lbs|
Ruger introduced the Ranch version of its American Rifle in September of 2014. The Ranch gave Ruger customers a truncated American Rifle that weighs only 6.0 lbs.+/- depending on caliber, and has an overall length of just 36″.
Initially chambered and barreled for the moderate 5.56 NATO/223 Remington and 300 Blackout cartridges, it is currently also available in 6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39 non-colluded Russian, 350 Legend, and 450 Bushmaster.
In other words, whatever you want to hunt in North America, the Ruger American Ranch has a version to kill it competently and confidently. You prefer “Harvest”? Sure, lets go with that.
In the words of Lloyd Price – Personality
While the Ruger American Ranch Rifle lineup may give the appearance of martial jelly beans, thirteen models with a common look and feel, the various chambers and their associated nuance features exhibit quite different personalities, but the performance within the Ruger American Ranch Rifle offerings are universally excellent. That assessment is based upon previous Real Guns® reviews and evaluations of the: 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39, 300 Blackout, 350 Legend, and 450 Bushmaster versions of the Ranch.
Beginning with common design elements…
Below, the threaded muzzle of the Ranch 6.5 Grendel with thread protector, an AAC Blackout flash suppressor with 90T quick mount feature and AAC SR-7 silencer.
All Ruger American Ranch Rifles are threaded to accommodate muzzle devices and are supplied with thread protectors. The larger bore 450 Bushmaster barrels are flared behind the threads to provide an adequate thrust surface for muzzle devices. Other versions have a continuum barrel taper that stops at the threads, with thread diameter and pitch varying with bore size.
|7.62 x 39||0.308||5/8″-24||16.12|
Lobes and cams
All Ruger American Ranch Rifles have a full diameter body bolt, three lugs, a sliding ejector and a spring loaded plunger ejector. Lift is 70° and they lockup like a bank vault, enclosing the cartridge case head. The full diameter body fills the receiver bore and makes for a smooth bolt stroke.
Twin cocking cams provide increased mechanical advantage which eases effort required to cock the rifle. The Ruger American
Adjustable trigger and bedding V blocks
Ruger American Ranch Rifles produce exceptional sporting rifle accuracy. The heart of that performance is found in the stock bedding design. The Ruger Power Bedding System® utilizes the stability of the rifle’s synthetic stock to prevent rotational and longitudinal movement between the barreled action and stock. The rifle’s barrel floats in the barrel channel. Must be good as Ruger makes a commitment to sub one MOA accuracy for the Ranch rifle. Trigger pull weight is adjustable within a range of three to five pounds, adjustment is made with the stock removed.
The departure from the Ruger scope ring system to installed Picatinny rail is a little more flexible in ring placement and sight type accommodation. While the Ranch does not have an open sight option, it is certainly easy enough to mount a red dot for a fast brush gun set up, or a scope on models with reach… like the 6.5 Grendel.
Some Ruger American Ranch Rifle magazine system are modular to supports the use of AR or 30 Mini type magazines as seen on the 5.56 NATO, 6.5 Grendel, 300 Blackout, 7.62×39 versions, and 350 Legend versions. These have a side mag button release. The 450 Bushmaster utilizes a self centering stacked box magazine with mag front release. Early 300 Blackout versions were also not modular, using a flush fitting, five round rotary type magazine.
No it’s not Hansel and Grendel
Far left, 50 Beowulf next to 6.5 Grendel. I never quite understood the Alexander Arms cartridge naming convention, at least in the context of their 50 Beowulf and 6.5 Grendel progeny. It is not like Grendel was Beowulf’s younger sibling who kept borrowing Beowulf’s car without asking permission, or who tried to use Beowulf’s driver’s license to buy beer.
In mythology, Beowulf was a human of normal proportions and Grendel was a huge ogre like monster. On size alone, the names should have been swapped with the Grendel being the big dog. Even then, the relationship defined by names between the two doesn’t work because Beowulf killed Grendel.
Just spit balling here, but I think the cartridges should have been called the 50 Beowulf and the 6.5 Wiglaf. I guess they could have gone the other way, dropped Beowulf all together and named the big cartridge the 50 Grendel, but then the other would become… the 6.5 Grendel’s Mother? I’m just saying, there is a lot to consider. Greek or Roman culture, rather than Anglo-Saxon, would have yielded better name results. Anyway…
The intent of the 50 Beowulf and 6.5 Grendel, beside turning a profit for their company of origin, was to bring in order of notation, power and range to the anemic 5.56 NATO powered AR platform.
The 50 Beowulf arrive in 1999, based on extending the 50 AE pistol cartridge and going to a tiny rebated rim. The 50 Beowulf retained the 33,000 (approximate) MAP of the 50 AE, no doubt in an effort to not bolt thrust and pressurize the AR into early retirement.
My experience with the 50 Beowulf is almost as long as the cartridge’s existence; shooting, hunting and handloading. I found it to be close in power to the modern 45-70 Gov’t round at shortish distances, easy to handload and the AR platform reliable when utilizing this cartridge. The biggest cartridge shortcomings were, and remain, bullets with the ballistic coefficient of a barn door and a too short of cartridge overall length to allow the use of anything better.
My experience with the 6.5 Grendel has been only… casual. On paper, it appears to be one of the most efficient small cartridges on the market, with excellent range on medium size game and varmints. Previous experience with the cartridge suggests that performance is legitimate, losing very little in shortish rifle barrel applications like the Ruger American Ranch Rifle. What might that performance look like? Glad you asked.
|Hornady Custom 6.5 Grendel 123 Grain SST|
|Near-Zero – Yards||23||Mid Range – yards||124|
|Far-Zero – Yards||220||Max Ordinate – Inches||+3.0|
|Point Blank – Yards||235|
|Best Zero : Range 0 – 500 yards|
|Velocity – fps||2580||2494||2410||2327||2247||2168||2090||2015||1941||1868||1798|
|Energy – ft.-lbs.||1818||1699||1586||1479||1378||1283||1193||1108||1029||953||883|
|Momentum – lbs-sec||45||44||42||41||39||38||37||35||34||33||32|
|Path – in.||-1.50||1.36||2.82||2.79||1.15||-2.21||-7.42||-14.62||-23.97||-35.61||-49.75|
|Drift – in.||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Time Of Flight – sec.||0.00||0.06||0.12||0.18||0.25||0.32||0.39||0.46||0.54||0.62||0.70|
No, the Grendel is not a barn burner in terms of muzzle velocity, but it has an impressive 235 yard point blank range on a 3″ ordinate. Additionally, a factory 123 grain load holds onto 1000+ ft.lbs of kinetic energy beyond 400 yards and stays supersonic beyond 1000 yards. It is a very efficient 6.5mm cartridge. It is an eastern and western medium size game cartridge.
The 6.5 Grendel in the greater scheme of things
|6.5 x 55||57.0||51||129||2750||24|
|6.5 x 284||66.0||58||130||2900||24|
|264 Win Mag||82.0||64||140||3015||24|
Cartridges pictured above, appear on the table top to bottom. So with all of larger 6.5 cartridges, why bother with the peep squeak? As a rifle for deer or similar size medium thin skinned game, the exterior ballistic table illustrates that the 6.5 Grendel is convincingly lethal and flat shooting out to 400 yards.
Yes, the others are even more powerful, but I would have to ask, how dead does the deer you’re hunting need to be? Especially when your collecting the benefits of low recoil, low report, high degree of accuracy, and a light and compact firearm.
For handloaders, there is greater potential to extract from applicable firearms. The case holds only modest amounts of power and primers are run of the mill small rifle type. The cartridge is easy to reload, easy on brass and easy on firearms and shooter.
With the exception of the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 x 55 Swede and 264 Winchester Magnum, the others listed on the table were designed and developed for long range precision shooting, 800 yards to 1,000+ yards and adapted to hunting.
The 6.5 x 55 Swede, a Swedish military cartridge from 1894 and persisting in service for 100 years, became popular in North America when it arrived in the ’60s through ’80s in a flood of military surplus Mausers with tons of cheap ammunition. It is an excellent cartridge that can drop large thin skinned game, but is available in only a minuscule number of modern firearms.
The 264 Winchester Magnum, with us from 1968, is an excellent long range medium and big thin skinned game cartridge. It is loud, brash and tough on firearms and shooter. Because of the large powder charge and small bore cross section, they do best with a 26″ barrel. Great fun and a huge overkill for the deer hunter.
So where does that leave us…
Well, with a nifty little carbine and a very interesting cartridge and onto a second phase of this project that entails a good deal of handloading and assessment and more than a little experimentation. Shooting factory ammunition to break in the rifle, Hornady BLACK 123 grain match ammo went 2431 fps at the muzzle with the rifle’s 16.1″ barrel. This in comparison to the Hornady 24″ barrel rating of 2580 fps. Five shot groups at 100 yards ran between 0.5″ and 0.7″. A lot to work with. Be back soon.
Ruger’s 77/44 – The Next Generation 44 Magnum Carbine Part III and the SilencerCo Hybrid 46
02/13/2020 So I got a job as a census enumerator. I wanted to do something for my community, in this case, make sure all of my neighbors were counted to assure we had appropriate representation in state and federal governments. My friends were shocked, my family was shocked. Then it came time to get a…
Ruger’s 77/44 – The Next Generation 44 Magnum Carbine Part I With just a little bit of flare
Live in a state with predominately rolling hills and mountainous terrain, both covered in dense tree growth, populate it with deer and black bear and the occasional moose, and you will quickly see the appeal of the little Ruger 77/44 carbine. Chambered for the 44 Remington Magnum, with shooting distances inside 100 yards, the combination is fully capable of taking down any of the previously noted game.
Lightweight, compact and ready to go with metallic sights as shipped from the manufacturer, the scope was installed solely to measure accuracy potential at 100 yards, without evaluating my eyesight / open sight proficiency in the process.
|Manufacturer||Ruger – Newport, NH|
|Caliber||44 Remington Magnum|
||18.5″ 11/16″-24 Threads
|Hardware||Blued Alloy Steel|
|Length of Pull||13.5″|
|Drop at comb||0.5″|
|Drop at heel||1.0“|
|Scope Mounting||Ruger Rings – Included|
||5 Lbs. 2 Oz.|
|Safety||3 Position – Swing|
Background of an arcane and recondite nature
The Ruger 77/44’s origins go back to the Ruger 77/22, a dedicated 22 LR rimfire design. Thanks to the persistent efforts of Ruger’s Jay Jarvis, and his desire for the new rifle to accommodate the longer 22 Winchester Magnum cartridge, the rifle’s design incorporated a number of adaptable elements.
The 77/ series receiver can be cast in varying lengths. Paired with breech blocks of various length, the 77/ Series can accommodate different length and diameter cartridges. All models within the 77/ series share a common size bolt handle, with forward twin lugs that engage the rear receiver ring. Magazine length and capacity vary for the same purpose.
The receiver for the 44 Magnum is 1/2″ longer than the 22 rimfire version. Prior to November 2009, 22 LR, 22 WMR and 17 HMR rifle barrels were slip fit to the receiver and secured with a V block. Barrels for all other chambers, and all production since, are threaded to the receiver.
The Ruger 77/ series anthology goes something like this: Ruger 77/22 22 LR 1989, Ruger 77/22 Magnum 1990, Ruger 77/22 Hornet 1994, Ruger 77/44 Magnum 1997, Ruger 77/17 HMR 2002, Ruger 77/17 Hornet, Ruger 77/357 Magnum 2011, Ruger 77/17 WSM 2018. Available chambers ebb and flow with market demand, but the good ones always return after a hiatus. Models are available with walnut and synthetic stocks.
Joe, can you elaborate? Sure, stranger… Yes, I am pretending someone asked
The bolt is constructed as two main assemblies, the bolt body, which is comprised of the bolt handle, locking lugs and striker related assembly and the non-rotating breech block. The breech block smoothly guides the bolt on cycling by riding in machined grooves in the walls of the receiver. It also holds a cartridge in battery and extracts with twin extractors.
The bolt handle is short, creating an action length… capacity, approximately midway between a 22 LR rimfire and the 223 Remington. As can be seen in the lower frame, locking lugs in battery are seated against the rear receiver ring.
The magazine is anchored aft at the latch assembly, which is part of the Ruger 77/44’s trigger guard and to the receiver at the front. This forms a rock solid retention system that releases easily when required. The rotary magazine holds four cartridges and is compact enough to hold spares in a jacket pocket.
CNC inletting and machine cut checkering are clean and concise, positively locating the barreled action to the bottom metal. The forward action screw passes through a brass ferrule which restricts longitudinal movement. The barrel channel is inletted to float the barrel with the exception of the speed bump at the forend.
The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage and screwdriver adjustable for elevation and indexed in 1″ at 25 yard increments. The brass bead front sight is mounted at the top of a post that is serrated to kill glare. Muzzle threads are 11/16″-24, permitting mounting brakes and silencers.
In addition to the metallic sights, the Ruger Model 77/44 has scalloped reliefs at three points on the receiver that accept proprietary scope rings included with the rifle. Alternatively, owners can use aftermarket rings from a variety and rails to suite their preferences.
How about that 44 Mag-a-num?
Pictured above, L-R, Hornady 180 grain JHP/XTP, Speer 270 grain JSP, CCI 170 pellet shot shell. The 44 Remington Magnum apparently is aging right along with me. When we were both very young in 1955, the 44 Remington Magnum was a beast, the most powerful handgun in the world. Perfect for shooting engine blocks out of bank robbers’ getaway cars and for shooting through brick walls. Now, from what I read, it is a marginal cartridge for rabbit hunting. Fortunately, feral hogs, deer and bear are competently and routinely dropped with the 44 Rem Mag. Apparently, they don’t read the same magazines.
The 44 Remington Magnum began life as Elmer Keith’s hot loads for the 44 Special. However, case length was increased from the 44 S&W Special’s 1.160″ to 1.285″ when the 44 Remington Magnum came into existence as a commercial cartridge. The increase in case length was not an accommodation for larger powder charges, but rather a way to prevent the then new 44 Magnum case in a less stout firearm chambered for the 44 Special.
The 44 Mag is an excellent hunting revolver cartridge, but an even better hunting rifle cartridge. A revolver has a comparatively short barrel that diminishes ballistic potential and generates muzzle bark well above the level of easy listening rock. A rifle’s longer sight radius takes less effort to achieve accurate sight alignment. Shot cantilevered, a revolver lacks gripping and support surfaces conducive to a steady hold. In numerical terms…
| Hornady Custom
| Federal Fusion
| Speer Gold Dot
One of the good points with heavy bullets is that it does not take a huge increase in velocity for significant gains in kinetic energy and momentum. Additionally, the Ruger 77/44 handles cast as well as jacket bullets and both produce accurate results. Part II, up soon, will provide expanded coverage of live fire performance.
Thinking about what is standout about the Ruger 77/44. It is a very fast handling firearm; lightweight, well balanced, excellent stock geometry, quick shouldering. Accurate… yes, from the bench, but also an easy rifle to stand up and shoot. Slick… The short throw, rear lugs and guided breech block make for a very smooth bolt stroke. Wood and metal finish and workmanship are very clean. Recoil is modest, but enough to remind the shooter it is a stout centerfire rifle. Fun… yes, it is a fun rifle to shoot.
We’ll be back in Part II with live fire and, hopefully, more extensive use of the little carbine.
Ruger’s 77/44 – The Next Generation 44 Magnum Carbine Part II The 44 Magnum and a little 44 Special - Preliminary
02/05/2020 CarbineCarl949.6@instagoogle writes, “Joe, I know you are old, live in the woods and should be given a little leeway in deference to diminished mental acuity, but you’ve posted a picture of brass. That is definitely not a Ruger 77/44, so what’s up?”. Good eye there Sparky, you are absolutely right. The truth of the…