Accurizing a Ruger?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Pat S., Aug 6, 2004.

  1. Pat S.

    Pat S. Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I've got a LH Ruger SS 77 in .30-06' with a laminated stock. I've tried numerous handloads in various charges and with several bullets types and it shoots about 2.5-3.5 MOA. I did find one load that shot a clover leaf at 100 yds. I downloaded it to a velocity between a .30-30 and a .308 Win.(too anemic to hunt with) to see if I could find a load it liked. Whenever I load it up to a respectable hunting velocity the group size grows.

    I've been told that removing the wood at the end of the stock where the barrel contacts it will potentially reduce the size of my groups? There is a small area about the size of a nickel that applies upward pressure on the barrel.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to improve the accuracy of this gun. I would be happy with 1.25-1.5 MOA.

    Thanks, Pat S.
     
  2. chris matthews

    chris matthews Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I would remove the that and free float the barrel and then maybe a bed job and a trigger job for starters.
     
  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Pat S.

    Have alot of Ruger M77MkII's come into the shop these days having similar problems.

    First thing I recommend is a quality bedding job to my customers. Doing this on the Ruger generally helps alot with consistant grouping, certainly better then what you are experiencing.

    With groups like that I would say you have a mechanical problem somewhere in the rifle.

    Since you state it shoots tight groups at low end pressures and goes to hell with top level loads, I would be very suspicious of the bolt locking lugs not baring evenly.

    I have seen this alot with Rugers, especially those of the last 5 years or so.

    On rifle in particular, an M77VT in 220 Swift was an amazingly accurate rifle when I started load developement for it using virgin brass and lower pressure loads.

    I was getting groups in the 2's and 3's but only getting 3600 fps with the 50 gr Blitzking from Sierra. Thats pretty weak for a 22-250 let alone a Swift. The customer wanted 3800-3900 fps at least with this bullet and I told him 4000 fps would be easy to get in the Swift but 3900 fps would be easier on the barrel.

    Well, once the velocity reached anything over 3600 fps, the groups jumped up into the 1.5 moa range and at 3950 fps it was shooting patterns rather then groups.

    I retested with the fireformed cases leaving them a tight fit in the chamber hoping to improve bullet alignment with the bore.

    No group with these brass broke the 2 moa mark.

    Then I took a look at the bolt locking lugs and noticed that only one was baring. The other was totally floating and when I trued the rifle for the customer, I found out it had 0.003" of air between it and the locking recess surface.

    What happens is that at low pressure, the one lug has enough rigidity to hold the case square to the bore. With the higher pressure loads, the bolt thrust flexes the bolt until the floating lug stops its rearward motion, resulting in very poor alignment with the bore.

    Once the lugs were trued and the rifle rechambered to the 22-6mm AI since the customer decided he wanted more speed. The rifle is not grouping in the 3's with the 55 gr Blitzking clipping along at 4125 fps with 55.0 gr Rl-22.

    I have seen this on several other Rugers so pull your bolt out and take a look to see if you have even baring on both lugs. If you do not they need to be recut and lapped.

    Good Shooting!!!

    50
     
  4. bucknutz

    bucknutz Well-Known Member

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    interesting,a friend has a new ss 7mag ruger that has over 500 rounds in 140-175's,min to max loads,and no less than 5 powders?just to see one group under 3" at 100 yds would make him happy.it has been to the gunsmith and had the trigger smoothed and barrel floated(synthetic),and still not working?he is hesitant on sending it back to ruger because of the work that has been done?should this be bedded? burris 4.5-14ao that has been sent to factory for inspection.
     
  5. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Bucknutz,

    There is nothing more frustrating then they type of rifle because there is no good place to start for the shooter himself to do.

    When I get rifles like this in the first thing I do is cut a new crown on the muzzle. About 60-65% of the time this solves the vast majority of the problems if the rifle will not shoot any load well.

    The good thing is that I charge $12.00 to recrown a barrel. On the ruger there is also a $10.00 barrel removal charge simply because the trigger frame is just a bit wider then my big Jet ZX lathe will accept through the 3 1/8" spindle bore.

    Generally this solves alot of problems. From there the cures for the problem gets more complicated and and expensive.

    When I see a rifle that will not shoot any load well, no matter the pressure level, I suspect a mechanical problem with the rifle.

    Bedding problems will cause some fliers from time to time but generally it will present itself as walking groups and stringing.

    WIth a well machined action and barrel, even a moderately good bedding job will shoot in the 1.5 moa range sometimes much less.

    But one thing to remember, a perfect bedding job will still not overcome poor machining, EVER.

    That said, the Ruger M77 does respond well to a quality bedding job, especially if the action is in good condition.

    Free floating a factory sporter barrel is kind of hit and miss. I would say that it runs about 50-50 as far as if factory sporters shoot better with a little forend pressure or free floated, just have to do it and see.

    Any custom barrel I fit is floated period. There is no need to induce outside forces to a properly fitted match grade barrel.

    Factory barrels are not quite so easy to tame or predict.

    The trigger on the Rugers are a true pain in the rear. They can be tuned into fine big game triggers but as they come from the factory they are very poor triggers averaging in the 6-7 lb range.

    I guess thats what happens when you get sued like Ruger has been.

    If your fiend can into myshop with his Ruger M77, the first thin I would do is recommend he get rid of that factory synthetic stock. Alot of guys like them but they are one of the hardest stocks on the planet to shoot accurately.

    If he wants the light weight, there are several other after market composite stocks that would be much better.

    Also, the factory stocks should not be bedded. They material they are made of is a patroleum based plastic that will not allow the bedding compound to hold long term.

    Generally they seperate very quickly because the stock and bedding compound expand and contract at very different rates in varying temps. This basically pulls them apart.

    So with a new stock, I would recommend recutting the crown, looking at the bolt lugs for even baring and when the barrel was off for recrowning, I would check to see if the barrel shoulder was square as well as the receiver shoulder.

    If they were not square I would recommend squaring those to get rid of the stress on the barrel that will cause.

    The good thing is that if I true up the bolt lugs, say I take off 0.005". This will add 0.005" to the headspace of the rifle.

    To correct this I would take roughly 0.0025" off the barrel shoulder to true it up and another 0.0025" off the receiver face to even it up, then we would be back to the original headspace measurement.

    THe interesting thing is that most of these factory rifles have some degree of excessive headspace. Sometime alot more then you would expect.

    One can easily tighten this measurement up by the mentioned steps.

    This may all sound like major surgery but sometimes this is needed to get a rifle to shoot.

    If the rifle is worn much, I would recommend getting a new barrel and start over right.

    Good Shooting!!!

    50
     
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Fifty's hit it dead on the head! I would first check the stock to remove any pressure because you can do that yourself, and it doesn't cost anything to do it. After that, if you still have a problem, get a recrown and go from there until you get where you want to be.
     
  7. LB

    LB Well-Known Member

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    What's the method being used, in the above instance(s) for tighening the action screws? It may be possible to spring those side rails? Thereby, creating the mechanical problem, mentioned by 50.

    Good hunting. LB
     
  8. bucknutz

    bucknutz Well-Known Member

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    thank you kindly fiftydriver,lots to go on.yes lb,i am sure the bottom screws need to be set properly also,anyone know the torque for them.friend and gun to be here this weekend for that project
     
  9. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    When I tighten a Ruger into the stock, I start the front angled action screw first, and then turn it until just before it tightens.

    I then insert the rear action screw and do the sme, leave it just loose.

    The front action screw is then tightened about as tight as you can get it without straining with a normal size screwdriver. The nice thing about the Ruger action is that the front action screw pulls the action back and down against the recoil lug recess.

    I then put pressure on the trigger guard to the rear and then tighten the rear screw down but not quite as tight as the front. The middle action screw is only tightened until it bottoms out and holds the trigger guard solidly. DO NOT TIGHTEN THIS SCREW.

    Check to see that the floor plate freely opens and closes and you are done.

    Good Shooting!!!

    50
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Be sure you listen to Fifty on the middle screw! This is the one that can really mess up your grouping. I use thread lock on this screw and just tighten until it bottoms out. If you tighten any further, you'll put strain on the action! The only purpose of this screw is to hold the magazine and trigger guard in place. The rear action screw actually does a great job of holding the trigger guard securely, while the front action screw does the same for the magazine. Use thread lock, pink nail polish, etc. on the center screw, and stop tightening when the screw touches the trigger guard. I've seen this before....
     
  11. bucknutz

    bucknutz Well-Known Member

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    made bedding screw adjustments and tested retumbo,h1000,h4831-4350 with 140gr hornady interbond and 70gr,h1000 turned out best,a 1" group, best so far....back to the bench and going from there
    thanks
     
  12. rlipson

    rlipson Well-Known Member

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    Ya know,

    I had a Ruger 77VT in 22-250 that went to John Lewis at Carolina Precision for a full accurizing job and it really didn't make that much difference. Typical Ruger, four shots into a decent group but always one flier. Frankly, I've culled all of my Ruger centerfires from my safe. I know there are some really accurate Rugers out there, I just haven't been able to find one. When I get a gun like the one you describe, I move on...life's too short!
     
  13. COBrad

    COBrad Well-Known Member

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    I once had an old ruger 77 in a 7 rem mag that had been bedded into a Brown Precision stock. It was a solid .5moa rifle. After one fouler it was good for an additional 12 shots, but at #13 it would shoot out of the group. I spent many hours experimenting with loads to get it to shoot that well. That said, I have to agree with rogerinneb. When I get one now that shoots like that it gets sold. Too many good shooting rifles around to waste a lot of time on a dog.
     
  14. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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    First thing I'd do is change scope check screws buy a box of factory ammo and see how that shoots. If it didn't group any better you have three choices send it back to the factory unaltered,sell it or send it off to a gunsmith. Bedding is a plus if wanting to keep the rifle and if it didn't shoot after doing that I'd just spent the money and have the rifle rebarreled since you are left hand and don't have alot of selections in rifles and found one that fits you pretty good. Well good luck