Bill Ruger was a giant in the firearms world. Yes, some of the Ruger line has had some ups and downs over the years but with each problem there was a solution that made them stronger. My first single shot center fire rifle was a beautiful Ruger #1. In the early days you could pay a little more for better wood and that rifle had a very well figured walnut stock. Ruger currently makes five of their rifle models in the 6.5 Creedmoor. It is the 77VT and the Ruger#1V that will interest the long range shooter.
You have to admire the classic lines of the #1.
First let’s look at the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. Hornady developed this round at the suggestion of Dennis Demille, general manager of Creedmoor Sports and Dave Emary , senior ballistician for Hornady. They were looking for a cartridge that could get the accuracy and velocity of the .260 Remington but with longer bullets. The real kicker was they had to fit in the standard .308 length magazine. There were other conditions to be considered in the development of this round. Since Ruger and Hornady already had a close relationship with the Ruger Compact Magnum line of cartridges, it was only natural for Ruger to make production rifles for this new 6.5 Creedmoor.
With five different offerings in the Creedmoor line, Hornady has come out with affordable ammunition for the long range shooter or hunter compared to the two bullet weights offered by Remington in the .260 when it started. Hornady’s bullet weights go from 120 to 140 grains. Hornady actually puts the reloading information on their standard velocity ammunition but not the “Superformance”. However, I am sure sooner or later, if not already, that secret will be out.
Note the slanted front action screw which helps lock the action in tight.
The first rifle I tested was the Ruger 77VT. This bolt action is stainless steel with a medium varmint taper 28 inch barrel. Ruger sends with each new rifle a pair of their proprietary rings that fit the bases which are milled into the top of the action. These rings are for up to a 44mm objective scope with a 1 inch tube. If you want larger or higher rings you can send the rings you get when you purchase a rifle back to Ruger for an exchange. Even though this set up is very good for the average hunter, the long range shooter will find it a problem. It can easily be dealt with by the addition of scope base adaptors by Burris and then the use of Burris Zee rings. This combination can gain the shooter up to 30moa.
Looking around my shop I had only two scopes on hand that I could use with the factory rings supplied, so a Simmons 4-12x40 side focuses was mounted. Even though this rifle scope combination shot some great groups, I cannot recommend this scope. The point of impact changed with a change of power and part of the side focus turret fell off in my hand. I am sure Simmons would have replaced it if I wanted to send it back and wait. Ruger has never been known for having the best triggers in the world but this 77VT came with a trigger that weighed in at an average 1lb 10oz. on my digital trigger scale. The trigger was crisp and broke sharply. In other words, I liked it.
The components I used to shoot this group, which was the smallest I could attain.
The factory ammunition was first up and I ran thorough all Hornady had to offer. The best group I could get was with the 140 grain which shot slightly less than 3/4 inch. Now you may be thinking that accuracy should be good enough but being an old reloader, I always think my reloads can do better.
Two target rounds were developed that could shoot less than ½ inch groups. The first was using the 139gr. Lapua Scenar bullet over 40.2 grains of H4350 with an OAL of 2.76”. This round averaged a velocity of 2701FPS. The best group was using a Sierra 142gr. HPBT Match bullet over 41.5 grains of Hybrid 100V, with an OAL of 2.77” at a velocity of 2711fps. For a hunting load I came up with Berger 140gr VLD/HUNTING bullet over 35.8 grains of Varget, with an OAL of 2.72”. This load shot just less than 3/4” at 2641 fps. This rifle definitely favored the heavier bullets. This rifle shot at least MOA with all the ammunition and reloads I tried.