Ruger 77 Series Review – The Perfect Small Game Hunting Rifles

The Ruger 77 Series weapons are pretty fun weapons. They are all bolt action rifles that fire smaller cartridges. Whether you’re shooting targets or doing some varmint hunting, these rifles will meet your needs.

My first experience with a Ruger 77 was pretty recently. My uncle has a Ruger 77/22 that he loves. I shot it, and was pretty impressed with how smooth it shot. Since I already have multiple .22s, I decided to get a Ruger 77 in a different caliber, and opted for the Ruger 77/357. It’s been a really fun shooting gun overall, and multiple friends have been impressed with it on the range.

If you’re looking to learn more about the Ruger 77 series of rifles, continue reading on.

What are the Weapons for?

The Ruger 77 rifles are available in .17 Hornet, .17 Winchester Super Magnum, .22 Hornet, .357 Magnum, and .44 Remington Magnum. As you can see, the weapon is available in a couple smaller centerfire cartridges, one rimfire cartridge, and a couple handgun cartridges.

The Ruger 77/357

The Ruger 77/357 | Source: The Firearm Blog

This selection of cartridges really runs the gamut of possibilities. With a weapon from the Ruger 77 series, you could realistically do some plinking on the range, varmint hunting, competition shooting, and larger game hunting as well.

For the smaller cartridges, they would be best for plinking and varmint hunting. However, the .22 Hornet does get some use as a competition cartridge. It is significantly larger and faster than other small calibers, and the fact that it is a centerfire cartridge makes it more accurate.

For the larger pistol cartridges, you could potentially do some hunting on top of some target shooting. While the rounds aren’t exactly great at longer range, .357 Magnum and .44 Remington Magnum are both common handgun hunting cartridges. I have taken mine hog hunting twice, but haven’t taken a hog with it yet.

Ruger 77 Series Review: Breakdown

As you’ve just seen, these are really broadly applicable weapons. However, there are plenty of similarities between all of them. Overall, they are quality bolt action rifles that offer some great shooting features.

The size varies between each of the different models, but they are pretty similar overall.

The 77/17 has a 24 inch barrel, measures 43.25 inches overall, and weighs 7.5 pounds. It has a six round magazine capacity. The stock is different between the .17 Hornet and the .17 WSM, but both are very sleek looking. The Hornet is a Green Mountain color, and the WSM is an American Walnut finish.

The 77/22 has a 20 inch barrel, measures 39.25 inches overall, and weighs in at 6.5 pounds. It also has a six round capacity. It’s available with either the Green Mountain or American Walnut stock.

The 77/357 has an 18.5 inch barrel, measures 38.5 inches overall, and weighs 5.5 pounds. It’s got a five round capacity, and has a black synthetic stock.

The 77/44 is essentially the same size, just slightly lighter and with either an American Walnut or black synthetic stock. It has a four round capacity.

The pros of these weapons are all the same. They are pretty accurate, reliable, and safe.

As far as the accuracy, this can be traced back to a few key features of the weapons. The barrel is cold hammer forged, so it’s extremely precise, and the action has an extremely secure lock. Additionally, the integral scope mounts are machined directly onto the receiver, so they will never come loose.

Speaking of the action, that feature of the weapon adds a lot into the reliability of the weapon. The bolt is stainless steel and the action itself is alloy and stainless steel. This makes the whole mechanism rock-solid, so you can feel confident it’ll work every time.

Additionally, the weapons are really lightweight, so they are great if you’re going to be carrying it over any distance.

However, there are a few cons associated with the weapons. For starters, the trigger isn’t great. While it is easy to upgrade, the stock trigger has a lot of play in it. I’ve found that this improves over time, but it’s still not a great trigger.

The weapons are also on the expensive side. Even for the smaller calibers, they are pretty expensively priced. Not everyone will want to spend this much on a bolt action rifle.

While it’s not necessarily a con of the weapon, it is still worth mentioning that the range of these weapons is limited. This is a result of the pistol cartridge, but if you’re planning to hunt with these, be aware that you’ll be limited to about 100 yards or so.

Ruger® 77-Series Bolt-Action Rifles-min

Safety and Reliability

As we already mentioned, this is a very reliable weapon. Essentially every bolt action rifle is very reliable, so this shouldn’t exactly be a surprise, but the Ruger 77 Series is no different.

We already talked a little about the action of the weapons, so there’s no need to go too much into it again. However, we will reiterate that the action is smooth, strong, and reliable.

The magazine adds into the reliability as well. They are rotary style magazines, and I’ve had no issues whatsoever with mine.

As for the safety features, bolt action rifles are notoriously pretty safe. Due to the fact that you have to chamber the new round yourself, you always know the exact status of the weapon. Especially for new shooters, this can eliminate some confusion.

The Ruger 77 series weapons have a great manual safety. It’s extremely easy to use and get to, and it allows you to lock the bolt with the safety engaged. This just adds another level of safety into the weapon.

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Comfort and Shootability

The comfort of this weapon is pretty good overall. It’s nothing special, per se, but it is a comfortable bolt action rifle. Part of this is due to the magazine, which sits flush inside the stock, but part of it is also shape of the receiver and stock. Holding the rifle feels pretty natural, and the grip is more than adequate.

Due to how light the rifles are, the stocks do feel kind of flimsy. This is one of the cons of this weapon, but it is not that bad. I find that they are comfortable, and feel plenty sturdy.

As far as shootability, it is entirely dependent on the shooter. If you like shooting bolt action, you’ll like shooting the Ruger 77 series. There’s nothing special about them, but they are good overall. The recoil isn’t too bad in the larger calibers, and the rubber buttpad helps eliminate some of it.

Accessories and Upgrades

There are a couple different things that you could add onto your Ruger 77 if you’d like.

For starters, you may want to add a scope of some sort. While we won’t make a recommendation here, because there are so many different calibers present, a scope is an easy upgrade, considering the fact that the scope mounts are integral to the weapon.

However, if you want to upgrade the stock sights, there are some great options. I like this ghost ring style rear sight and this fiber optic front sight. This bead style front sight is another good option as well.

If you’d like to mount other types of scopes to your rifle, or perhaps even build a more tactical looking rifle, you could add this picatinny scope mount as well.

One of the first things you should do is upgrade the trigger. As we mentioned before, the stock trigger is not that great. Check out this Timney trigger.

By the Numbers

Reliability

As with most bolt action rifles, the Ruger 77 rifles are extremely reliable.

Accuracy

The weapons have limited range, but within their range, they are accurate enough.

Ergonomics

The stock is a little bit flimsy, but they are comfortable to hold overall.

Looks

The American Walnut and Green Mountain finishes are very nice looking.

Customization

There are a decent number of upgrades you can do.

Bang for the Buck

These weapons are pretty expensive.

Pros

  • Reliable. A staple of bolt action weapons, the Ruger 77 rifles have a very strong action and are very reliable to use.
  • Safe. The safety is easy to get to, and allow you to unload the weapon with the safety on.
  • Fun to shoot. The weapons are easy to use and enjoyable to shoot overall.

Cons

  • Expensive. The weapons are pretty expensively priced.
  • Trigger. The stock trigger isn’t great. It’ll break in over time, but it’s still not the best trigger you’ve ever felt.

Conclusion

Overall, these are quality weapons that are pretty enjoyable to shoot. They cover many different firearms uses, and are an overall quality weapon, despite the high cost. If you’re looking for a target shooter, varmint hunting, or close range deer rifle, the Ruger 77 is a great option for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this Ruger 77 review helpful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Ruger 77 Series Review – The Perfect Small Game Hunting Rifles
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