The Ruger 77/357 Rotary Magazine Rifle is a bolt-action rifle chambered in .357 Mag. It is part of Ruger’s Model 77 line of hunting rifles and they’re available in an assortment of calibers like .22 LR, .44 Magnum and .17 HMR. However, the M77 chambered in .357 Magnum is the newest edition to the line for 2011.
|Sights:||Adjustable rear with gold bead front|
|Features:||Three-position safety; rotary magazine; and sling swivel stud mounts|
|Scope:||Integral scope mounts|
|Twist:||1 in 16"|
|Length of Pull:||13.50"|
If ya’ll have read any of my previous reviews of Ruger products, you might guess that I’m enamored of the company and most of its varied products. The 77/357 Rotary Magazine Rifle is no exception. This is one well-built, kick-ass gun.
But what does anyone need with a .357 rifle?
I’ve been asking everyone I know, who knows anything about guns, this question. Most say the M77/357 would make a good brush gun with its short barrel, light weight stock, and the fact that it’s better without a scope as you aren’t worried about knocking it around (plus the .357 just isn’t a long range cartridge).
But aren’t there better brush guns? It is hard to beat a good lever-action rifle. The size is comparable, but there’s little comparison between the ballistics (on most traditional lever actions, at least).
Someone suggested it would be a good rifle for home defense – maybe if your house has really, really long hallways like Windsor Castle long. But there is way too much potential for collateral damage and even a short rifle is inefficient for home protection. Plus the 77/357 is a bolt action gun.
You could use the 77/357 to hunt. It would be a decent varmint gun, but with the powerful cartridge it would be an even better deer rifle at close range. I frequently flush a herd of whitetails from my yard. They are accustomed to me being within 100 yards – though that would end if I started shooting at them.
However, Ruger is a bit vague as to what to use the 77/357 for. Their website advertises the gun for “small to medium game” and “long-range informal plinkers.” Well, there you have it. Small game. I hope you don’t plan on eating what’s left.
And what exactly is a “long-range informal plinker”? Is there formal plinking? I’m imagining the Queen out on the lawn doing some formal plinking. Makes me proud to be an American.
Maybe if you own Windsor Castle, plinking with .357s wouldn’t break the bank, but with the state of most European economies, I doubt it.
There has to be something. It will come to me. Let’s get on with the review.
A .357 Model 77
The 77s come in a variety of flavors – the .44 magnum on the high end down to the .17 HMR. This variety speaks to the dependability and popularity of the platform. The bolt action and rotary magazines are the essential design elements of these overbuilt guns. The line has proven to be versatile and dependable. They are rock solid rifles.
The .357 round may be a bit pricy, but the performance with this rifle is stellar. The round will hold a reasonably flat trajectory out to 100 yards, or farther, and the 18.5-inch barrel maximizes its ballistic potential, which, depending on grain, is around 1900 fps.
The rifle’s accuracy is predictable up to 150 or more. And with all of the options out there, especially the conical nosed hollow points made by Hornady, there are some exceptionally effective rounds available for the longer range.
There is something very nineteenth century about a rifle that shoots a pistol cartridge – though the concept has never really died. .45-caliber carbines, for example, or the newer guns by FN, like the P90 use such a cartridge. Yet, the .357 isn’t going to turn in impressive terminal ballistics outside of all but the closest of ranges. Compared to pistol cartridges – yes. But, compared to most rifle rounds? probably not.
But how does it shoot?
This gun performs best naked. At least for me. I had a friend and professional shooter, Cody Bailey, come out and help me with these evaluations. He installed a Nikon 3—9x50 scope on the 77/357. After we got it sighted in, it ran well, but not as well as I’d hoped.
I grew up shooting .50 caliber black powder rifles. When I took the scope off, I found that that was the closest comparison I could come up with. And I’m oddly comfortable with that. I just had to think about it a bit differently.
Not bad. At 100 yards, the groups spread out to close to four inches. Shooting with the scope, we weren’t able to do anything impressive. Groups of about 1.5” at 100 yards with some occasional fliers. I think this is due to the shape of most .357 bullets. They are not aerodynamic.
Ok. I have to take a moment to relate something that has just happened. While I was typing the first part of this review, I was sitting at my kitchen table. Wilco blaring. The kitchen door was open. I looked up from the screen and caught a glimpse of a big dog lurking at the edge of the treeline. These trees are not far away. The dog may have been 30 yards from where I was sitting. He wasn’t scared of me. He wasn’t scared of my music. And he wasn’t alone.
There were at least four of them.
This isn’t uncommon for rural Virginia. We have lots of folks out here who are negligent pet owners. Their dogs get loose and disappear. It has been happening for so long that we now have feral packs roaming the woods. Some of these mutts have never belonged to anyone. Some of them are just dogs. Some of them are ridiculous mongrel mixes of spaniel and corgi.
But a feral dog is still feral. And I don’t care if it is a poodle, a coyote, or an African wild dog. If it poses any sort of threat, I’m going to kill it. I’m not calling animal control and asking them to come take or kill it. Some readers will judge me for this, so be it. I have a four year old. I’ve already had to pull him away from a dog that attacked him – one that was supposedly tame.
But back to my dogs…. The moment I caught sight of that mangy cur sitting in the edge of the trees looking over what passes as our yard, I understood the potential of the .357 rifle. It was sitting on the table as I was writing the review. When I flew through the kitchen door to chase off the dogs, the 77/357 in hand, I had every confidence that I had the right tool for the job.
Rest easy animal lovers. They took the hint. I didn’t have to kill them. Maybe I should have. As I lined up the fleeing dogs in the iron sights, I knew I could have.
This is my take on the 77/357. It would make a great ready-gun. I may have just made up that term. What I mean is a gun that is (though safely kept) readily available. It’s a Ruger, after all. And one solid gun.