The Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator is based off of a tried and true design that allows for flawless operation and nail driving accuracy. The rifle I tested came chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, though there are a plethora of other cartridges available based on your needs. It should go without saying that each available chambering of this gun comes with its own rifle twist and internal magazine capacity.
The Hawkeye Predator I ran through the ringer came with a 1 in 8 twist and held 4 rounds in its internal mag. This magazine also contains an easily accessible hinged floorplate making it so you don’t have to cycle each round into the chamber to remove all cartridges.
Ruger gave me the option to choose between rifles chambered in .308 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor. Clearly, I went with the latter because who knows when I’d get another chance to shoot this ultra-flat shooting round. Though I’m happy I went this route, buyer beware that this cartridge is a lot more expensive than your average .308.
In fact, you can find .308 Win for around $15-17 per box of 20 rounds. A similar box of Creedmoor can cost you upwards of $30. My guess is that this is part of the reason why there are only a few ammunition companies making this long distance cartridge to date. I can only hope that as more of these rifles are sold, more ammo makers will step up to the plate to drive the price down.
My first impression of the gun was that I thought it was attractive. You either love the laminate stock and matte stainless finish, or you hate it, but I consider this to be a really beautiful rifle, though, as usual, I’m not out to win any beauty pageants. The most important thing to any shooter is how the gun performs.
Overall, the gun seems to be very well made, though it did give me a few issues during the course of the break in. There was more than one occasion where the empty cartridge didn’t fully eject, and actually landed on top of the other rounds in the internal magazine. Although this was nothing more than a nuisance, I found myself constantly checking to see if the casing fully ejected after each shot.
I did notice that the more rounds I put through the gun, the better it got, so, it may just have been an issue of getting everything worked in and working together for the first time. It is something to be cognizant of though. If this happens in the middle of a hunt and you need to load a second round, it could cause a big problem, so I suggest you make sure you run quite a few rounds through it before you bring it out to the field.
My shoulder’s pocket took the recoil of the 120 grain bullet with ease each time a projectile left the hammer forged 24” barrel. This is great for when a second shot is required to bring down your target because it allows for easy re-acquisition. To make it even better, the short and smooth trigger pull feels as if it were made for taking trophies.
As usual, any optic you may choose to install on your Ruger will get mounted right onto the gun itself, skipping any bases or mounting systems that other rifles require. Ruger sends a set of scope rings in the box that the gun comes in, which is great just as long as you’re using an “average” sized optic.
Unfortunately for me, I was going to mount a NightForce SHV scope with a 30mm tube and a 56mm objective. The rings I was sent were inadequate and I was forced to either buy a different set of scope rings or use a different scope entirely.
In addition to the scope rings, Ruger sends a lock to keep the gun safer, and butt stock spacers to adjust the length of pull. Each spacer adds, or takes away, half of an inch by way of loosening two screws, and adding the spacers. There are also studs to mount a sling already installed on the stock and forend of this rifle, so you could mount a sling to it with ease.
Finally, the safety on this bolt action rifle is a three position lever safety. When the safety is fully to the rear, it prevents the bolt from opening. When in the middle, the weapon will not fire. And when the lever is all the way forward, the gun is hot. Ruger made this gun as safe as they could with the combination of three way safety and included lock.
Overall, this $1100 rifle seems to be very well made and good looking. In fact, each time I brought it to the range, someone commented on its looks. So far, after getting all the parts to work together, it performs how it is supposed to and is accurate out to 100 yards. Next time you see this gun, it’ll have a different scope mounted on top with the envelope pushed out to 300 yards to really test accuracy.