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#5799867 - 11/11/11 Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye
brinky72 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2934
I picked up a Ruger M77 Hawkeye Stainless with a laminated stock over the summer and was thinking of doing a few things to tweak it. I had been thinking of doing a little work to the stock to free float the barrel. I have heard good and bad about it and know some guns like it and others can prefer to have a pressure point in the stock. A friend told me to put a piece of paper about as thick as a business card under the barrel next to the forward portion of the receiver so the rest of the barrel "floats" and fire it to see how it likes it. Well, my groups went straight to hell and I removed the paper ASAP.
When you "float a barrel is this normal to expect. Should I have figured on working up a completely new load and would it still be advisable to float the barrel and start loads from scratch? Or with a laminated stock that shouldn't warp, just leave it as is and stick with my current fodder?
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#5799897 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: brinky72]
Jim in Idaho Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 16995
Loc: Idaho, USA
Shimming the barrel only you may (likely) have induced stress the rifle didn't like.

Take that business card and put it under the front of the receiver and the rear tang to lift the action out of the stock a smidge, that brings the barrel with it and doesn't stress the action.

Business cards are kind of a bother to keep in place so a better way is to cut appropriate sized pieces of electrical tape instead, they will stick where you put them. Put one on top of the other until you get the thickness needed. Main thing is to put the same amount under the front and rear of the action to lift it straight up.

Some folks consider a barrel free floated when you can slide a dollar bill along the barrel from forend to action but I like to really free float them so lift the barrel up until two or even three dollar bills slide easily (inflation, you know, it takes three dollars to do what one used to wink ).
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#5799927 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Jim in Idaho]
rahtreelimbs Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 4605
Loc: The Burgh !!!
How'd it shoot stock???
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#5799944 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Jim in Idaho]
brinky72 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2934
Thanks, I'll give that a try. I never did much as far as stock work or floating barrels most adjusting/replacing triggers and tuning loads. If a stock needed to be floated I had someone else do it, which is probably the M.O. I should stick with. I may have not been paying close enough attention to what my buddy said as it makes perfect sense that applying pressure to that part of the barrel or any part of the barrel would really change things. That's what I get for not paying attention. Thanks for the remedial gunsmithing lesson. I'll see what I can do. Thank goodness I have my ol standby #1RSI '06 that's a tack driver to get me through another hunting season until I get done goofing around.
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"I did what I was told to do, as well as I could" Simo Häyhä
AKA "White death"

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#5800087 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Jim in Idaho]
kk alaska Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/19/01
Posts: 3696
Loc: Eagle River Alaska
I have not had much luck shimming the Ruger action. With the way the front action screw moves action back as it tightens. Where do you shim? In back of front action screw? I have tried shimming after bedding which limits action movement.

Most of my newer Rugers have responded to a little forend pressure rather than free floating.
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#5800232 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: kk alaska]
bsa1917hunter Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 08/12/10
Posts: 21306
Loc: Orygun
Originally Posted By: kk alaska
I have not had much luck shimming the Ruger action. With the way the front action screw moves action back as it tightens. Where do you shim? In back of front action screw? I have tried shimming after bedding which limits action movement.

Most of my newer Rugers have responded to a little forend pressure rather than free floating.


To be honest, I think that was the whole intent and part of the design. Most rugers I've had have responded very well to just bedding the recoil lug area, leaving the tang alone, and keeping the forend pressure as Ruger had intended. I've got one that is and odd ball though and it shoots lights out with a freefloated barrel (new ss hawkeye all weather in synthetic stock). Most guys mess up a good thing by freefloating a Ruger M77 first and wonder why it doesn't shoot for chit. whistle
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Originally Posted By: raybass
I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.


BSA

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#5800246 - 11/11/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: brinky72]
bsa1917hunter Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 08/12/10
Posts: 21306
Loc: Orygun
Originally Posted By: brinky72
I picked up a Ruger M77 Hawkeye Stainless with a laminated stock over the summer and was thinking of doing a few things to tweak it. I had been thinking of doing a little work to the stock to free float the barrel. I have heard good and bad about it and know some guns like it and others can prefer to have a pressure point in the stock. A friend told me to put a piece of paper about as thick as a business card under the barrel next to the forward portion of the receiver so the rest of the barrel "floats" and fire it to see how it likes it. Well, my groups went straight to hell and I removed the paper ASAP.
When you "float a barrel is this normal to expect. Should I have figured on working up a completely new load and would it still be advisable to float the barrel and start loads from scratch? Or with a laminated stock that shouldn't warp, just leave it as is and stick with my current fodder?


The Ruger M77 already has a pressure point put in from the factory and it generally works great. How did it shoot right out of the factory. Remember rugers are very tempermental when it comes to having proper torque on the action screws too. The first thing I'd do is bed it at the recoil lug and leave the factory pressure point and then see how it shoots. Good action screw torque is generally around 90 inch pounds on angled screw, 65 on rear and just snug on the middle screw (about 40 inch pounds).
_________________________
Originally Posted By: raybass
I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.


BSA

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#5816090 - 11/16/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: bsa1917hunter]
las Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/26/01
Posts: 13490
Loc: Kotzebue, AK
I like Rugers, own several, have owned several more, since sold, but, generally, from the factory, they suck. IME, some exceptions apply, but a good glass bed and free-float with trigger job is definately in order! This, IMO applies to all non-glass bedded factory rifles.

You don't need an after-market trigger on the 77 - just a good trigger job on the original.

Here are 3 of my experiences -

RU77V OM in .25-06 factory standard - shot 5 inch groups at 100 yards with factory ammo. Handloads using once ( or more) -fired brass with a $19.95 Lee Loader (basically neck-sizing) produced sub MOA groups. 22 caribou with 23 shots- and the first one didn't know he was dead with the first shot... the subsequent 21 were all bang-flops, out to something over 500 yards, estimated. Never messed with it, beyond reloading. 30 years later, I'm still kicking myself for selling it in a moment of stupidity. Sucker had a stock fiddlebacked from stem to stern....

RU77 OM - .30-06 factory standard - bought rusted, badly water damaged for $80 for a knock-about "boat-gun". Basically purchased for the receiver, tho I figured the stock was salvagable. After cleaning out the barrel and finding the bore in decent shape, I whacked the bbl to 17 inches to get rid of that unsightly bulge just aft of the muzzle. The damned thing then proceeded to clover-leaf the first 3 rounds, then go to 5 inches on 5 rounds. After thinking about it for a year, I glass bedded and free-floated - it now shoots a consistent 1.25 or so group for 3 to as many shots as I care to put thru it. While still in "original" 17" mode, stock unmodified, however, I killed a Dall ram at @330 yards, and 4 days later, a bull moose at 80 yards, 4 days apart. After that, i modified it to it's current glass-bed/free-float configuration, deeming consistencey more important than a half inch of bench-group accuracy. In the last 3 weeks, 15 or so years later, it has taken 5 caribou with 5 shots, the first two at 200-250 yards. Dunno about the last 3 yardages, as I loaned it out... But several years ago, I killed a big bull caribou at 356 long paces with it, one shot, and the following year, a similar bull, a half mile from the previous year's kill site, at 180 ranged yards. The Stub lives!

My .338 Mag RU77 OM, I got relatively cheap because it "wouldn't shoot". He was right - tho the groups weren't bad- about 2.5 inches for any particular load, the bullet weight groups were wildly divergent, with the 200 gr handloads going 14 inches higher than the 275 grain handloads at 100 yards. There was a LOT of forend pressure there!!A fter glass-bedding the rcvr and freefloating the bbl, all (handload) weights go into a 2" circle at 100 yards. Individual groups almost always go 1.25 or so for 5 shot groups. At longer ranges, of course, the different bullet weights will diverge somewhat due to gravity.


A "junk load" just thrown randomly together to get rid of those ugly 250 grain Hornady RN that came with the rifle over a decade ago, shoot sub MOA. Damn - I hate when that happens! Now I'm stuck with them for my current moose hunting load, tho I have another "junk-load" waiting in the wings that shot groups plus or minus an eight of an inch either side of 1 inch at 200 yards... I don't really care for that bullet either....

Kinda superfilous when only one of 20 moose has been shot in excess of 100 yards....and then not by much.
_________________________
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq

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#5816105 - 11/16/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: bsa1917hunter]
las Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/26/01
Posts: 13490
Loc: Kotzebue, AK
I like Rugers, own several, have owned several more, since sold, but, generally, from the factory, they suck. IME, some exceptions apply, but a good glass bed and free-float with trigger job is definately in order! This, IMO applies to all non-glass bedded factory rifles.

You don't need an after-market trigger on the 77 - just a good trigger job on the original.

Here are 3 of my experiences -

RU77V OM in .25-06 factory standard - shot 5 inch groups at 100 yards with factory ammo. Handloads using once ( or more) -fired brass with a $19.95 Lee Loader (basically neck-sizing) produced sub MOA groups. 22 caribou with 23 shots- and the first one didn't know he was dead with the first shot... the subsequent 21 were all bang-flops, out to something over 500 yards, estimated. Never messed with it, beyond reloading. 30 years later, I'm still kicking myself for selling it in a moment of stupidity. Sucker had a stock fiddlebacked from stem to stern....

RU77 OM - .30-06 factory standard - bought rusted, badly water damaged for $80 for a knock-about "boat-gun". Basically purchased for the receiver, tho I figured the stock was salvagable. After cleaning out the barrel and finding the bore in decent shape, I whacked the bbl to 17 inches to get rid of that unsightly bulge just aft of the muzzle. The damned thing then proceeded to clover-leaf the first 3 rounds, then go to 5 inches on 5 rounds. After thinking about it for a year, I glass bedded and free-floated - it now shoots a consistent 1.25 or so group for 3 to as many shots as I care to put thru it. While still in "original" 17" mode that first year, stock unmodified, however, I killed a Dall ram at @330 yards, and 4 days later, a bull moose at 80 yards, 4 days apart. After that, i modified it to it's current glass-bed/free-float configuration, deeming consistencey more important than a half inch of bench-group accuracy. In the last 3 weeks, about 20 years later, it has taken 5 caribou with 5 shots, the first two at 200-250 yards. Dunno about the last 3 yardages, as I loaned it out... But several years ago, I killed a big bull caribou at 356 long paces with it, one shot, and the following year, a similar bull, a half mile from the previous year's kill site, at 180 ranged yards. The Stub lives!

My .338 Mag RU77 OM, I got relatively cheap because it "wouldn't shoot". He was right - tho the groups weren't bad- about 2.5 inches for any particular load, the bullet weight groups were wildly divergent, with the 200 gr handloads going 14 inches higher than the 275 grain handloads at 100 yards. There was a LOT of forend pressure there!! After glass-bedding the rcvr and freefloating the bbl, all (handload) weights go into a 2" circle at 100 yards, the heavier ones slightly lower than lighter ones. Individual groups almost always go 1.25 or so for 5 shot groups. At longer ranges, of course, the different bullet weights will diverge more due to gravity.

A "junk load" just thrown randomly together to get rid of those ugly 250 grain Hornady RN that came with the rifle over a decade ago, shoot sub MOA. Damn - I hate when that happens! Now I'm stuck with them for my current moose hunting load, tho I have another "junk-load" waiting in the wings that shoots groups plus or minus an eight of an inch either side of 1 inch at 200 yards... I don't really care for that bullet either....

Kinda superfilous when only one of 20 moose has been shot in excess of 100 yards....and then not by much.

Me, given my experience, I'd glass bed the receiver and 3 inches of barrel FLAT in the stock, along with the trigger assembly, and column or pillar bed the receiver screews, with clearance all aroundl and free float the barrel.

Most of us just don't want to carry around a torque wrench to get the "just right" acrew pressure under varying field conditions.
_________________________
"Where do they find young men like this?" Reporter Savidge, Iraq

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#5843620 - 11/24/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Jim in Idaho]
keith Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 4417
Originally Posted By: Jim in Idaho
Shimming the barrel only you may (likely) have induced stress the rifle didn't like.

Take that business card and put it under the front of the receiver and the rear tang to lift the action out of the stock a smidge, that brings the barrel with it and doesn't stress the action.

Business cards are kind of a bother to keep in place so a better way is to cut appropriate sized pieces of electrical tape instead, they will stick where you put them. Put one on top of the other until you get the thickness needed. Main thing is to put the same amount under the front and rear of the action to lift it straight up.

Some folks consider a barrel free floated when you can slide a dollar bill along the barrel from forend to action but I like to really free float them so lift the barrel up until two or even three dollar bills slide easily (inflation, you know, it takes three dollars to do what one used to wink ).


+1

I use old credit cards(no number area) instead of paper, and I give them a good freefloat to eliminate barrel slapping the stock.

On rugers, use very light pressure on that center screw, about what it would take to tighten it with your fingernail, and freefoat the magazine. If the magazine is pushing up on the center of the action, you will be introducing all kinds of stresses on the action. You should be able to drop the floor plate, reach up inside and wiggle the mag box easily when the front and rear screws are tightened.

Good luck!

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#5844925 - 11/24/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: keith]
Sitka deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 02/02/01
Posts: 26341
Loc: Anchorage, AK USA
keith
OUCH!!! Cannot imagine much worse than allowing an action to move in recoil!

Because the Rugers have the angled front action screw (the most ridiculous "feature" of any bolt action rifle IMO&E) they are referenced in three dimensions by the action screws. Mess with any one dimension and all bets are off.

Just because it shoots well with a card in there is no guarantee it will shoot well without it.

Shooting it with loose action screws is a recipe for damaging the stock or worse.
_________________________
Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.

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#5846909 - 11/25/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Sitka deer]
Big_Redhead Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 5950
Loc: Michigan
As they say, opinions are like a$$holes: Everybody has one. IMO, the angled front action screw is one of the best ideas to come along since the Mauser 98. It totally negates the need for glass bedding the action, and simplifies correct assembly. Tighten the front screw as tight as you can get it with a screwdriver and hand torque. Tighten the rear screw half as tight, and thread in the middle screw just enough to secure the floorplate and magazine box. If the middle screw it "tight", it is wrong.

Forend pressure depends on the load. IME, in general, heavy bullet loads want forend pressure on the barrel to shoot best, and light bullet loads respond well to a free-floated barrel. Free-floated is the best option because the barrel is not affected by natural movement of the wood stock in response to temperature and humidity variations. I usually try free-floating first. If that doesn't work, I add a well-fitted pressure pad to the forend.

The worst situation is a poor-fitting forend pressure pad that allows the barrel to "shuck back and forth" roughshod. If you are gonna have a pressure pad, make it one that fits the barrel and does not allow side-to-side movement between barrel and forend. I use epoxy and layers of card stock to accomplish this. Wrap celophane tape around the barrel while the pad cures so it doesn't glue the barrel to the stock permanently. When the glue is cured, file a groove in the bottom-center of the pad with a rattail file so the barrel is cradled in the pressure pad and doesn't move side-to-side. This arrangement usually shoots smaller groups than a free-floated barrel, but is still subject to stock movement, which is why I try free-floating first.

Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
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Our God reigns.
Harrumph!!!
I often use quick reply. My posts are not directed toward any specific person unless I mention them by name.

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#5847563 - 11/25/11 Re: Free floating a Ruger M77 Hawkeye [Re: Big_Redhead]
Sitka deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 02/02/01
Posts: 26341
Loc: Anchorage, AK USA
Originally Posted By: Big_Redhead
As they say, opinions are like a$$holes: Everybody has one. IMO, the angled front action screw is one of the best ideas to come along since the Mauser 98. It totally negates the need for glass bedding the action, and simplifies correct assembly. Tighten the front screw as tight as you can get it with a screwdriver and hand torque. Tighten the rear screw half as tight, and thread in the middle screw just enough to secure the floorplate and magazine box. If the middle screw it "tight", it is wrong.

The worst situation is a poor-fitting forend pressure pad that allows the barrel to "shuck back and forth" roughshod. If you are gonna have a pressure pad, make it one that fits the barrel and does not allow side-to-side movement between barrel and forend. I use epoxy and layers of card stock to accomplish this. Wrap celophane tape around the barrel while the pad cures so it doesn't glue the barrel to the stock permanently. When the glue is cured, file a groove in the bottom-center of the pad with a rattail file so the barrel is cradled in the pressure pad and doesn't move side-to-side. This arrangement usually shoots smaller groups than a free-floated barrel, but is still subject to stock movement, which is why I try free-floating first.

Good luck. Let us know how you make out.

Geee... Sure wish I knew all that glass bedding was not needed on all those 77s I fixed with glass bedding and freefloating. The angled screw does nothing to fix the fact wood changes size differently from metal. Holding something tight (and certainly no tighter) against wood does not change the fact the wood moves.

Any properly bedded action does the same thing when tightened in place.

My complaint is the fact they give up a reference point for proper bedding.

Just how does a pressurepoint maintain pressure if there is a layer of tape between it and the barrel while curing? Wax and/or release agents work just fine for keeping two things twain.
_________________________
Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.

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