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Ruger’s Precision Rifle in 338 Lapua Part II Enjoyable range time

I find myself at a crossroads in life. On one hand, I really want to build a’65 Falcon with a 460 CI Boss Block Ford and race on Street Outlaws. On the other hand, I want to make a sandwich, but the kitchen is so far from the sofa. Living in a state of cognitive…

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Ruger’s Precision Rifle in 338 Lapua Part I One of a number of excellent calibers

01/10/2021

The best way to improve a skill is to work at mastering associated extreme challenges. Practicing with a 44 magnum revolver makes a 357 magnum revolver’s recoil mild by comparison and easy to control. Extending shooting distances while getting in practice, beyond those anticipated within a planned application, sharpens marksmanship skills.

Extreme long range shooting provides an opportunity to sharpen marksmanship skills by amplifying the product of errors originating with a shooter and/or gear. The amplification makes it easier to isolate and analyze each problem and render appropriate solutions. Refinement of shooting skills and gear improves performance in long range competition, but improvement also carries over into hunting, recreational target shooting and competing at more moderate distances.

Would it not be terrific to have routine access to a 1,500 meter rifle range with interim 50 meter target positions…. and a truck full of ammunition? Or, if you are like me, a 1,640 yard range as metric is not my natural language. Change comes slowly to some. Twice as slow for me.

The Ruger Precision Rifle

In long range shooting, when a bullet enters a transonic zone and transitions from supersonic to subsonic velocity, it becomes destabilized. During that event, the bullet’s ballistic coefficient diminishes as the bullet begins to pitch and yaw; bullet nose moving up and down relative to the line of slight and bullet nose moving side to side relative to the line of flight respectively.

The combination of a Ruger Precision Rifle and the 338 Lapua Magnum push the onset of the transonic zone out to 1,400 meters. The combination is a pragmatic solution to a math problem, an engineering group’s expression of what it would take to push a 250 grain bullet to 3,000 fps and with enough retained velocity to have an effective range in excess of 1,400 meters.

Not to be typecast, the Ruger Precision Rifle is also available in: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 308 Winchester, 300 Winchester Magnum, 300 PRC, as well as the 338 Lapua Magnum, so the Ruger Precision Rifle by chamber choice can be tailored to a specific application and none of them are slackers. The approximate supersonic to subsonic transition range for popular match ammunition, expressed in meters, in order of cartridges listed: 1200, 1300, 1350, 950, 1300, 1500, 1400.

The ergonomically designed Ruger Precision Rifle provides a high degree of reliable mechanical precision, while the cartridge selection provides the optimal ballistics to the shooter’s preference and for the application to be served. The subject firearm is the Ruger Precision Rifle chambered for the 338 Lapua Magnum.

Real Guns has previously evaluated Ruger Precision Rifle versions in 22 LR rimfire, 5.56 NATO, 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 308 Winchester, 300 PRC. The 6.5 and 300 PRC were the most rewarding to work with because of the newness of the cartridges and the project handloading component. The 338 Lapua version, even though a mature cartridge, offered many of the same opportunities.

Ruger Precision Rifle
Manufacturer Ruger, New Hampshire
Model # 18080
Type Bolt Action 70° Lift – Inline
Caliber 338 Lapua Magnum
Mag Capacity As Supplied 5 Round
Barrel Length 26.0″ 3/4″x24 thread
Rifling 1:9.375 5R
Receiver Material 4140 CM
Lower Magazine Halves 7075-T6 Type III Anodized
Weight – Nominal 15.2 Lbs
Overall Length 42.25″ – 45.75″
Folded Length 40.35″
Stock Folding, Adj. Comb & Pull
Comb Height Adjustment +0.75
Comb Fore/Aft Adjustment 3.5″
Length of pull 12″ to 16.2″
Sights None
Scope Mount 30 MOA Picatinny Rail
Trigger – Ruger Marksman Adj. 2.25 to 5.0 Lbs
Safety Reversible, Rotating – 2 Position
MSRP $2099
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The Ruger Precision Rifle evolution

The Precision Rifle was a mid 2015 phenomena. Introduced as a in-line recoil path, bolt-action rifle, 1,000 yard hitter, in 308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor and 243 Win. Others followed, each differing in configuration as an accommodation to caliber.

Date of Introduction Caliber Barrel
Length”
Twist
Rate
Nominal
Weight Lbs
2015 243 Winchester 26 1:7.7 11.0
2015 6.5 Creedmoor 24 1:8 10.6
2015 308 Winchester 20 1:10 9.7
2017 5.56 NATO 20 1:7 9.8
2018 338 Lapua 26 1:9.375 15.2
2018 300 Winchester Magnum 26 1:9 15.2
2019 6.5 PRC 26 1:8 11.0
2019 300 PRC 26 1:9 15.2

 

A mid 2016 upgrade to existing models, changed the configuration to a handguard without a Picatinny rail to provide more clearance for scopes with large objective lens bells and a wider flat for more secure bipod mounting.  Additionally, a Ruger Hybrid Brake was added, along with an upgraded anodized aluminum bolt shroud.

In Mid 2017, a 5.56 NATO version was added and the an AI magazine system was adopted.

At the tail end of 2018, 338 Lapua Magnum and 300 Winchester Magnum chambers were added to the Ruger Precision Rifle line up. These models also received a heavy contour barrel with a Ruger Precision Magnum Muzzle Brake and revised handguard.

In April 2019 both 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC versions were added. Both are configured with a 26″ barrel and Magnum Muzzle Brake, however, the 6.5 PRC has a medium contour barrel versus a heavy contour for the 300 PRC.

A couple of quick points…

The Ruger Precision Rifle’s mechanical components and assemblies have previously been covered extensively and exhaustively. For anyone interested in that level of hardware detail disassembled, please see, “A Ruger Precision Rifle In 6.5 Creedmoor Part I” which addressed the barrel nut system, handguard mounting, buttstock and hinge system, receiver extension, trigger, etc. etc.

The 338 Lapua and 300 PRC versions of the Precision rifle are fitted with a heavy barrel contour, 0.875″ muzzle diameter, and a Ruger Precision® Rifle Magnum Muzzle Brake.The brake is very effective in reducing felt recoil and controlling muzzle jump and the four set screws along the top permit refining the way a specific firearm/shooter responds to muzzle rise with removal of any or all increase down force on the rifle’s muzzle. I am old, so I have been misinformed that a shooter must learn the characteristics and personality of a firearm, then learn how to adapt to shoot it well. For those who are trying to tame a firearm to conform to their personal attributes and personalities… well, here ya go.

A great source of entertainment can be found in reading social media approaches to brake removal. People are torching the brake, soaking it in hot water, using an impact wrench, etc. An alternative is to open the manual to page 18 and following the simple instructions. With the rifle checked for empty and the bolt removed and facing the front of the brake, put a large screw driver or similar through the brake vents so the brake body can be held in place. Using a 1 1/6″ open end wrench… not 7/8″ indicated in the instructions, turn the jam nut clockwise about a quarter of a turn, just enough to take the pressure off of the threads. Use the large screw driver to turn the brake assembly counterclockwise and both the brake and jam nut will come off together. How to hold the rifle while loosening the brake/jam nut assembly? My approach is to lay the rifle flat on a clean carpeted floor, sit on it at the action, and unscrew the brake. Other than some irregular surface discomfort, butt wise, no damage to the firearm. Yes, it is amazing that I can expend 300 words obsessing over issues surrounding a muzzle brake.

The 338 Lapua Magnum and 300 PRC versions of the Ruger Precision Rifle receiver rails have a 30 MOA downward cant, as opposed to the 20 MOA cant on other versions. The intent is to bias toward a raised muzzle so a scope does not run out of elevation adjustment when long range shooting. The rail is secured with 8-40 fasteners to better stand up to heavy optics under recoil.

The folding buttstock serves a number of purposes. Because this is an inline recoil rifle with an extended action and a long bolt, there must be a way to move the buttstock out of the way when removal of the bolt is required. So Ruger put it on a stout, solid locking hinge so the buttstock can be folded out of the way. The Ruger Precision Rifle accepts AR standard buttstocks and grips.

The Ruger Precision rifle’s bolt is a push feed design with three locking lugs and a 70º lift. The bolt body is one piece and, like the rifle’s receiver, CNC from pre-hardened 4140 Chrome Moly steel. Dual cocking cams provide additional mechanical advantage, which reduces cocking effort on bolt lift. The body is full diameter, the same as the circumference of the lugs, for added strength.The bolt handle has industry standard 5/16″x24 threads, permitting the use of any from a broad selection of aftermarket tactical bolt handles.

Pull length and comb height and position are adjustable by lifting up on the quick release cam levers and sliding associated surfaces to position of preference. No, “Cant Adj” is not the same as “Can’t Adj”. The pad is recoil absorbing and it can be canted, rotated, left or right 9º. All of the camming latches and QD attachment points can be swapped to the opposite side to suit preference.

Prepping for handloads

Previously working with the 338 Lapua cartridge and a bolt action rifle, the emphasis for handloads was for target work and bullets were selected accordingly. As the 338 Lapua also makes for an excellent big game cartridge, I am leaning toward working up handloads with expanding bullets suitable for hunting. The Ruger Precision Rifle’s high degree of accuracy, weight and stability make it an ideal platform for handload development. As a starting point and point of comparison…

Best Zero Results – 338 Lapua 250 Grain Match
Near-Zero – yds. 20 Mid Range – yds. 184
Far-Zero – yds. 338 Max Ordinate – in. +6.0
Point Blank – yds. 346
Range
Yards 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Velocity – fps 3000 2838 2681 2529 2383 2241 2105 1974 1849 1728 1613
Energy – ft.-lbs. 4995 4469 3988 3550 3151 2788 2460 2164 1897 1657 1443
Momentum – lbs-sec 107 101 96 90 85 80 75 71 66 62 58
Path – in. -1.50 4.38 5.93 2.64 -6.08 -20.94 -42.73 -72.36 -110.93 -159.68 -220.10
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 0.10 0.21 0.33 0.45 0.58 0.72 0.86 1.02 1.19 1.37

 

Best Zero Results – 338 Winchester Mag 250 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 18 Mid Range – yds. 160
Far-Zero – yds. 293 Max Ordinate – in. +6.0
Point Blank – yds. 300
Range
Yards 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Velocity – fps 2660 2460 2270 2088 1916 1753 1599 1460 1334 1227 1138
Energy – ft.-lbs. 3927 3359 2859 2421 2038 1705 1419 1183 988 835 719
Momentum – lbs-sec 95 88 81 75 68 63 57 52 48 44 41
Path – in. -1.50 4.87 5.48 -0.66 -14.80 -38.43 -73.42 -122.03 -186.98 -271.50 -379.15
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 0.12 0.24 0.38 0.53 0.70 0.88 1.07 1.29 1.52 1.78

A note on the ethics of long range hunting…

In 2019, J.C. Jarrell set the light Bench Rest 1,000 yard world record, 5 shots in the bullseye, a 2.83″ group. The following weekend, Jarrell put 10 shots inside of 6″, 6 of them inside 3″. Some time ago, I took a shot at a huge buck, 500 yards out… which turned out to be a relatively small deer at a much closer 275 yards. I was young, it was cold, I was hungry. I’ve since become much better at judging distances… and deer.

I do not know Jarrell… I don’t know a lot of people, but if he and I were in Alaska during hunting season, and stumbled on a herd of Caribou 600 yards out, I would not want to take a shot because I am not a skilled shooter at those ranges and I would not want to expend ammunition on a miss, or wounding an animal. Jarrell would have the credentials to attempt such a shot, I would not. In my opinion, it would be ethical for him to take the shot, it would be less than ethical for me.

The folks who burst into tears at the mention of a 300 plus yard shot, probably do not have the skill to take a 200 yard shot and are trying to judge all others by their level of limited competency. Often the same folks who pat the hide of a downed deer and thank it for giving itself up as food. Which is, of course, very silly because the deer did not volunteer to provide the hunter with a meal. If the deer could talk he would be cussing himself for being too slow to flee and would be telling our grateful hunter, “%##@&!!!”.

In summation, if a hunter has made his bones putting 5 shots into a 2.83″ group at 1,000 yards, he can make his decision to take a long shot within his range of competency. If you are like me, stick to smaller deer and shorter distances and lie like a rug when you tell the “longest shot” story.

The 338 Lapua in context… Which distortion of history would you like?

Yes, the 338 Lapua cartridge is a product of military origins, as are the 45-70 Government, 30-40 Krag, 30-06 Springfield, 308 Winchester, 5.56 NATO disguised as the 223 Remington, etc., etc.. They are all cartridges that have all been used for sniping, automatic weapons of the day and for general issue small arms, however, all have also made the successful transition to civilian applications.

As a young man, the 338 Winchester was the round that was too heavy for deer, but just about right for elk and big bear. It was also quickly discounted for use on any lesser game and slapped with the label of too hard of a kicker for most. Oddly enough it is still described in such a fashion. The 338 Winchester is based on a shortened and necked down version of the 375 H&H.

The 340 Weatherby is consistent with Roy Weatherby’s “more is always better” approach in that it is based upon a full length 375 H&H. Perhaps because it was affixed to the expensive Weatherby Mark V it never really achieved rock star status. It was chambered in the Mark V Sporter, a really good package for under $1,600, but ammunition is expensive, even for the reloader and velocity is only 100 – 125 fps greater than the 338 Winchester Magnum.

The 338 Lapua is based on a shortened version of the 416 Rigby. While the case head is 0.007″ larger in diameter than the Weatherby body above the belt, it is also 0.200″ approximately shorter than the 416 Rigby, which surrendered a good deal of powder capacity.

The 338 Remington Ultra Mag was, unfortunately, a part of a very high performance group of then new cartridges which included the 7mm Ultra Mag, 300 Ultra Mag, 338 Ultra Mag, and the 375 Ultra Mag. They were introduced just as Winchester was convincing the gun buying public that short was better. The 338 RUM is a terrific cartridge. I’ve owned them as a heavy barrel target rifle and as a shop built sporter on a Remington 700 action. The big down side is action length required and the lack of room for heavy bullets without surrendering case capacity.

The 338-378 Weatherby is a bucket full of smokeless powder and able to propel a heavy 300 grain bullet in a convincing fashion. I found shooting my Weatherby Accumark… invigorating and it remained so for the ten years it was actively put to work. It just seemed there was more work that could be done with 137 grains of powder held by each round.

My point is, don’t get caught up in the “What are you going to do with that ginormous 338 Lapua? It is meant for use as artillery and dinosaur culling!…!!” Is not. It is a moderate selection for perforating at 1,000 yards.

338 Magnum Cartridge Comparison
Date of Origin Bullet Diameter “ Case
Capacity
H2O
SAAMI Pressure KPSI Parent Case
338 Winchester Magnum 1958 0.338 86 64.0 375 H&H
340 Weatherby Magnum 1962 0.338 100 62.5 375 H&H
338 Lapua Magnum 1983 0.338 108 65.0 416 Rigby
338 Remington Ultra Magnum 2002 0.338 110 65.0 404 Jeffery
338-378 Weatherby Magnum 1999 0.338 137 63.8 378 Weatherby
*CIP registration 4400 bar

An now, a short brake

Yes, I know “break”. So some bullets will be selected, powder will be sought and primers will be secured. Hopefully, they will play nice together and some handload data will be the result. I like the hardware. It is beefy, aesthetically pleasing and well done on assembly. If I am bouncing around, I apologize. I am not a long range shooter by inclination, but there is a potential even for me with the Ruger Precision Rifle and I am trying to decide which version.

It might be that it is a rifle that is good for handload development; consistently accurate so one less variable in the process to worry about. It could be a challenge for me to engage long range shooting, to learn more about the influence of nature on shots at a distance; wind, temperature, varied elevation, and the dogged persistence of gravity. So I am writing, but mostly thinking aloud. Be back soon.

The Essentials and how many do you need?

01/03/2021

It has been very cold outside for this time of the year. Temperatures bumped into single digits. For as prepared as we are, this time of year always makes me a little anxious. This will be the first year without a tractor mounted snow blower. The replacement snow blower I wanted would not be available until mid January. Even then, I was not sure if that one would be a direct fit or if some mount fabrication would be required after receipt. So, after a good deal of research, a commercial walk behind was purchased as the best interim solution.

For the past two months, every walk to the end of the driveway to check mail has been a visualization of what it will be like walking behind a snow blower, rather than riding on a tractor. Not counting walkways and bump outs, the driveway is three hundred feet long, twelve feet wide, so it will take two or three round trips to clear. Not normally much of a walk, but in eighteen to twenty four inches of snow, with the temperatures below zero and buffeting winds, while wearing heavy boots and snow gear… We will just have to see how it goes.

Okay. I finished my coffee and yawned enough to wake up, so…

 Being equipped for a new reality

I don’t mind society, as long as I do not have to interact with it. This election brought out the worst in people and I do not see 1955 returning anytime soon. If there was one message I gleaned from the fiasco, it is that people are on their own when it comes to personal safety and the safety of those close to them.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! No. Not at all. The chances of having to muster a defense… no, that word was not intended to be mustard, are slim to none. Still, caught between a 911 recorded message, “All of our lines are busy at this time…” and some clown attempting to burglarized the family home because they believe apprehension and prosecution are remote, is not a great time to consider defensive strategies.

Ammunition shortages, component shortages, support material shortages, and concealed carry considerations have moved my decision making in new and unusual ways, always with the objective of self sufficiency. Before politics and mass hysteria disabled America, I mostly open carried either a Colt 45 Auto Officer’s Model or a Ruger GP100 4.2″ 357 Mag. I can do that because, outside of a road trip, or infrequent appointments, I am either home, in the shop, or out wandering around in the surrounding woods.

The GP100 is built like a tank as it leaves the factory, so changes are only finesse. The Hogue Monogrip is soft, has less rake than the factory grip and has no finger grooves. Adjustable fiber optic sights replace the factory three dot adjustable sights. The hammer spring is reduced rate and a trigger job was performed; modified engagement angles, micro shims and contact surface polishing. The revolver can be shot single action, but it is tuned for double action and that is how it is shot. If I could have but one handgun for self defense and to provide sustenance , this would be it.

The Colt was purchased factory new and, as received, it would not consecutively cycle more than two rounds. Currently, about the only pieces that are Colt, and those have been modified, are the slide and frame. It is an oldie, but the trigger is slick, the pistol is 100% reliable and it is probably the most natural shooting handgun I own. In a belt holster it is an easy carry, even though it weights just under three pounds loaded and in a leather paddle holster. In the winter I can carry it concealed, but not when wearing a sweatshirt or light jacket in warmer weather. The 45 Automatic provides the same level of self defense, but it is a little light for hunting. It would be my second choice.

Recent concerns over ammunition supply shortages, future road trips planned and a subsequent need for less conspicuous carry, have extended firearm selection to include the 9mm Luger and 380 Auto. One such pistol is a very compact LC380 with a 9mm Luger conversion kit. My wife prefers the 380 Auto, my preference is the 9mm Luger, but the change over from one cartridge to the other takes less than thirty seconds. A minute and one half if I make the change over during breakfast.

In either configuration, the slide is easy actuating, controls are well places, the grip is large enough to make the pistol controllable for both me and my wife, the sights are good, and the pistol is rock solid reliable. An inside the waistband holster and the thin, slab side pistol disappears from view. Definitely a self defense piece and a compromise made where concealment is a priority. It is not a substitute for either the GP100 or the Officer’s Model, it is a supplemental firearm.

Two auto loaders, two distinct power levels, to distinct concealed carry potentials. There are 132 types of 45 Automatic ammunition, the combined output of 28 brands. There are 237 types of 9mm Luger ammo, the combined supply from 31 brands. If ammunition shortages continued, the 45 Automatic and 9mm Luger represent the best chance to locate, barter for or buy a supply.

A little bit more…

If a compact and highly concealable was not a top priority, or the ability to covert to 380 Automatic was not necessary, An auto loader in 9mm Luger, similar in size and capacity to the 1911 Officer’s Model would take the place of the LC380CA.

In the case of the Ruger Security-9 Compact, the package is still relatively narrow, 1.02″, the slide is low profile, the barrel length is a longish 3.42″, and the truncated grip makes overall height only 4.35″. But, Joe, I need at least a fifteen round capacity to fend off zombies that often attack in packs. Well, that is probably why there is also a full size Security – 9, but for folks who want a more compact firearm, but may occasionally want greater capacity, Ruger offers fifteen round mags for the Compact.

Okay, step forward and turn to your right. No, your other right…

Ruger Security – 9 Compact
Manufactured Prescott, AZ
Model 03818
Caliber 9mm Luger
Internal Chassis Hard Coated Aluminum
Grip Frame
Glass Fiber Filled Nylon
Slide Alloy Steel – Black Oxide
Type Action Secure Action
Magazine Capacity 10
Trigger Pull
4 Lbs 9 Oz
Barrel Length
3.42″
Barrel Material
Alloy Steel
Rifling 1:10″ RH
Sights Front – Rear
Fixed – Drift Adjustable
Overall Length 6.52″
Overall Height 4.35″
Thickness 1.02″ at Slide
Weight 21.9 Oz. Empty
Safety Thumb, Trigger
State Approval CA, MA No, No
MSRP $379

The Ruger Security-9 product line has been with us since December of 2017. Introduced with the tag line “Secure, Simple and Affordable”, it has proven to be just that while evolving into nine catalogued configurations and ten distributor exclusive models; single stack, double stack, full size and compact.

RUGER describes the Security-9 pistol as a lightweight, compact, Secure Action™, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol, chambered for the 9MM Luger.

Its action is a linkless tilting barrel design that fires from a locked breech. A cam located on the barrel directs the lock and unlocked condition and timing of those events.

Cycling extracts and ejects empties, presets the hammer and loads the pistol’s chamber with rounds fed from the magazine. Any standard and +P ammunition 9mm Luger ammunition is approved for use in the Security – 9.

Unlike a striker design that often makes 1911 owners laugh out loud, and soda shoot out of their collective noses, when someone suggests a striker has a good trigger… think glue gun, the Security – 9 has an excellent trigger.

The Secure Action is a preset hammer, single strike, double action design. The rearward movement of the slide cocks the hammer to approximately 95% of full travel, trigger pull provides the remaining 5% and compression of the pistol’s mainspring before sear release. In short, the cycling slide does the heavy lifting, which makes for a relatively short, crisp trigger pull.

A safety is embedded in the Security – 9’s trigger, which is automatically depressed under a trigger finger. Its purpose is to prevent inadvertent discharge of the pistol in the event of being dropped or roughly handled. The trigger safety is not linked to a firing pin blocking plunger embedded in the slide.

If the trigger is moved rearward, without depressing the trigger safety, the safety will come to rest on a metallic stop and prevent trigger travel. When the trigger safety is depressed, it pivots away from the block and allows full trigger travel.

In addition to the trigger based safety, the Ruger Security – 9 also has a manual safety, mounted approximately where a 1911 thumb safety resides.The pistol does not have a magazine detach safety and will function normally without a magazine inserted. In fact, locations of the manual safety, slide stop and magazine release are about where most auto loader shooters have been conditioned to find them.

The square nose trigger guard is formed oversize to accommodate a gloved finger and an overtravel stop is molded inside the trigger guard. The front face of the trigger guard is ribbed to make it a more effective gripping surface. Some folks don’t like to incorporate this into a hold, but it works well for me.

Poking around…

People tend to really like, or really not like, the looks of the Security – 9. Ruger covers a lot of ground in design aesthetics across their product lines, each presence appropriate to firearm type and applications. Considering their sales are through the roof, it would seem their intuition is better than most.

I like the Security – 9, particularly when style is a byproduct of function… like the sculptured slide gripping surfaces. They work especially well in cold or wet weather where fine, grooved patterns may be hard to hang onto. I’m pretty sure the team that developed the stealthy, angular Sea Shadow (IX-529) did the appearance work on the Security – 9. No, not factual, just defining through association.

The Security – 9 has a good set of low profile, low snag sights which are appropriate for defensive/concealed carry application. Both are dovetail mounted. The front is fixed, the rear drift windage adjustable. The small port in the barrel tang allows a preliminary visual check for a loaded/unloaded chamber.

The single dot front sight and U outlined rear is a good all around set up. For folks who like something different in sights, ShopRuger has an assortment of outline colors, as well as Tritium Night Sights and HiViz fiber optic. Both back and front strap are treated to no slip stippling.

The Securtiry – 9 has at least a couple of visual cues to the pistol’s. In addition to the chamber checking port, the hammer is only visible at the rear of the pistol when the hammer is cocked as in the lower photo.

The Ruger Security – 9 is a simple take down; magazine out, chamber check, push out the takedown pin, move the slide forward and off. The barrel and recoil spring are lifted out of the slide. The flat stock recoil spring is captive as part of a guide rod assembly. The system is bushingless. The barrel is ramped.

The polymer grip provides a stable support for the internal chassis, but the hard anodized chassis does all the heavy lifting, mounting all of the fire control components and holding them in precise position and alignment and providing the rails that engage the slide.

Oh, yes, live fire…

Five types of factory ammo were utilized, four defensive types and one practice type. There is a wide range of bullet types and weights for the 9mm Luger. On the light end of the spectrum are 50 grain fragmenting types. At the heavy end of the spectrum are the 158 grain subsonic rounds for suppressed configurations. Here we went with 115 grain and 124 grain jacketed hollow point bullet that expand at 3.4″ barrel velocity without fragmenting.

9mm Luger Ammunition Bullet
Type
Bullet
Weight
Grains
Rated FPS
4″ Barrel
Actual FPS
3.42″
Barrel
50′ 5 Shot Group “
IMI Systems
JHP
115
1150
1131
2.6
Remington HTP +P
JHP
115 1255 1046 2.3
Remington Ultimate Defense
BJHP
124 1100 1094 2.4
Remington UMC FMJ 124 1100
996
2.9
Speer Gold Dot +P
GDHP
124
1220
1103 2.6

 

Accuracy proved to be more than adequate. Perspective; the accuracy spec for an original Government Model 1911 that went to war was five shots, inside five inches at 25 yards. The Ruger is a defensive pistol that would generally be pressed into service at near half that distance. Velocity loss with a barrel shorter than SAAMI standard length is to be expected. However, velocity is more than adequate under close in defensive circumstances.

 

The Ruger did really well during the review period. The finish is durable and easily wipes clean with a cloth. All of the pieces stayed tight and free of premature wear. Sight adjustment remained in place. Trigger pull and feel was constant throughout. No jams, failures to cycle or failure to extract and eject. The Ruger Security – 9 has enough heft to dampen recoil and muzzle jump, which makes for quick follow on shots.

The Ruger Security – 9 is a firearm that provides a good deal of peace of mind. Load it up, carry it, stage it for home defense, and practice, practice, practice and it will be ready to go when needed. Nice pistol.

The Strange Case of the Missing 7mm/06 Ackley Improved Part I Featuring Ruger Von Hawkeye in the role of Hunter Rifle

11/08/2020
Finally, summer gear and equipment is stowed, winter gear and equipment is staged. After two light snow flurries, the official start of winter in Maine is a mere formality. Charcoal gray skies, bone chilling temperatures and air heavy with humidity suggests a season of heavy snow lies ahead. It has been a tough year for most Americans. Subsequently, the challenge of severe weather and associated distractions are welcome. Perhaps there is a little of Hemingway’s Santiago in all of us.

The intersection of nostalgia and modern art

The Ruger Hawkeye African has all of the appearances of a classic express rifle, however, it is made with modern manufacturing technology, processes and materials. Subsequently, it has all of the aesthetic appeal of an early to mid 1900 firearm, but none of the mechanical foibles.This particular dark honey colored American walnut stock is figured with tiger stripe from forend to recoil pad.

The Ruger stock’s comb has little drop so as to accommodate either optical or metallic sights. Conservatively checkered surfaces, hand filling rounded contours and ebony caps remain. Precision casting, CNC machining and select heat treating make for a long lasting, tight mechanical assembly. Deep bluing and satin polymer wood finish make for durability that will withstand the test of hard use and severe weather.

Receiving SAAMI homologation in 2014 on a Nosler submission, the 280 Ackley Improved cartridge bears the spirit of P.O. Ackley Improved cartridge with its minimal body taper and 40° shoulders. However, the 280 Ackley Improved has approximately 10% greater capacity than Ackley’s original cartridge, the 7mm/06 Ackley Improved. It also has less taper, a longer body and 5,000 psi higher operating pressure. Part II will address cartridge nuance and history. For now, the rifle…

Ruger Hawkeye African Rifle

Manufacturer Ruger Firearms
Model 57126
Type Bolt Action
Caliber 280 Ackley Improved
Magazine Capacity 4
Barrel Length 24“
Rifling 1:8.5″ 5 Groove
Weight 7.5 lbs
Overall Length 45.88“
Stock American Walnut – Ebony Tipped
Hardware Satin Blued
Length of Pull 13.50″
Drop at comb 3/8″
Drop at heel 3/4″
Sights Folding Rear – Gold Bead Front
Scope Mounting
Ruger Proprietary
LC6 Trigger Pull 3 lbs. 12 oz. (Actual)
Safety 3 Position Thumb Safety

The Ruger Hawkeye African 280 AI is fitted with a 24″ barrel… coincidentally, the same length as the SAAMI specified test barrel standard used to velocity rate factory ammunition.

Despite the longish barrel, the rifle has excellent balance, which aids when offhand shooting or tracking to a moving target. None of that swinging a softball bat momentum, but enough weight up front to be steadying.

The barrel banded sling mount is a tradition carried over from big bore express rifles. The rifle, when slung, carries low on the shoulder and away from branches. The absence of a sling stud in the forearm is intended to protect the shooter’s hand from contact under severe recoil.

The 280 AI is a mild recoil cartridge, not producing the heavy recoil of a 458 Lott, or the retina detaching recoil of a 505 Gibbs. Subsequently, Ruger has been considerate in leaving a mounting point in the forearm for those who would prefer this location for a front sling swivel stud.

I’ve observed a good deal of social media discussion and impressive calculations regarding the barrel band; non-uniform pressure harmonics and the potentially adverse impact on accuracy.

Perhaps the best way to assess the influence of the barrel band is to step away from the computer, head out to the range and shoot the rifle. This is the fifth or sixth African that has seen extensive range time at Real Guns and they have all demonstrated excellent accuracy. So…

The Ruger scope mounting system is proprietary, however, there are numerous manufacturers producing their style of rings for the application. Typically, the rings packed with each Ruger Hawkeye are used, but I wanted to mount an old favorite Leupold scope with a 50mm objective lens because aging eyes need light more than super high magnification. A pair of Warnes medium height rings gave me a 0.050″ increase in ring saddle height and paper thin clearance under the bell, locating the scope as close to bore centerline as possible.

Both the Warne, above left, and Ruger rings lock to the Ruger’s receiver at three points, anchoring the rings longitudinally and laterally and keeping the scope aligned and parallel to the rifle’s bore.

The figure in this stock is quite striking. It is as though an American Walnut tree was planted close to a curly maple. The forearm is short, quick tapered, but hand filling at the checking. The front screw at the forend can be replaced with a sling swivel stud.

No Monte Carlo stock hump, no cheek piece, just a clean straight comb and sweeping grip makes for a natural shooting position and plenty of support. Ruger uses a thin line recoil pad which may seem a tad thin, but in practice not at all. And the pad does not feel like a giant gum eraser being pulled to the shoulder.

With the flush mounted release in the front of the trigger guard, the Hawkeye’s hinged floorplate is a useful feature. Few people go out for a day of hunting and conclude with an empty magazine, even if they have a deer carcass in tow. I have also heard rumors of some reviewers shooting numbered cartridges for data collection, who occasionally get preoccupied and can’t remember if they loaded rounds #56, #57 and #58, or #58, #57 and #56. It is a lot easier and safer to release the floorplate, dump the magazine contents, then clear chamber check.

A rear, folding leaf express sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. The ramped front sight is faces with a brass bead. The combination is quite visible against virtually any outdoor target and critical enough in alignment to deliver solid metallic sight performance. Not fragile in the least, adjustment stayed put throughout range days.

Will I find 280 AI ammunition in Froozbut, Alaska?

The 280 AI is an improved cartridge, so standard ammunition, in this case the 280 Remington, can also be safely fired. There are approximately 18 factory loads for the 280 Remington and 12 factory loads for the 280 Ackley Improved, so 30 factory loads that are compatible with the Ruger Hawkeye African 280 AI. The difference between standard and improved 280 ammunition, which is why the Ackley Improved exists. Federal Premium 150 grain ammo  is rated 3,075 fps for the 280 Ackley Improved and 2,890 fps for the same in 280 Remington, or a 185 fps difference.

The handloader has a much bigger universe to work within as 280 Ackley brass is available and virtually any 30-06 Springfield derivative case can be made into 280 AI Brass. Left to right – A 30-06 Springfield, followed by a 30-06 Springfield passed through a 280 AI sizer die. A 30-06 Springfield case after being sized in a 280 AI sizer, reloaded and fired in a 280 AI chamber. A factory Federal Premium with 168 grain Berger bullet. Right to left – a 280 Remington cartridge, a 280 Remington fired in the 280 AI chamber.

Untrue truisms…

My working theory is that no cartridge is inherently accurate, so I do not believe that going from 280 Remington to 280 AI will improve a rifle’s accuracy. Conversely, I don’t think going from 280 AI to 280 Remington will make a rifle less accurate. This is with the qualifier that ammunition is good quality in both cases. Fire forming brass consumes energy as the brass inflates to fill the chamber. Surely that would alter velocity and accuracy.

The 7/8″ 100 yard group on the left was shot with Federal Premium 280 AI 168 grain Berger clocked at 2,757 fps. The 1/2″ group on the right was shot with 280 Remington handloads 160 grain Speer clocked at 2,767 fps. Measurement is center to center farthest holes.

The same box of Federal factory ammunition produced this 5 shot, 100 yard, 3/4″ group. At this point, not enough data points to reach a formal conclusion, but I do not see the 280 Ackley Improved shooter hampered by the use of 280 Remington ammo to a major degree. The plan is to work up enough handloads to verify as yet.

Are we done here? Not exactly…

Today, temperatures have climbed into the 80s, the lawn has remained green beneath all of the dead leaves and the Ruger barked all day without a hiccup. So, we’ll take a break, spend a few days at the reloading bench and then a bunch more at the range. If I have the time and inclination, maybe I can get some targets out to 200 yards and see how that goes.

The Ruger Hawkeye African is a traditional hunting rifle. I don’t believe it is the best choice for fending off multiple imaginary attackers, or clearing its way through a hoard of zombies, but it is a heck of a rifle for a deer, elk or moose hunt and one that fosters pride of ownership.

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