After work today I went back to look at that Ruger 77 again. It's a first model, with the tang safety and a stock that looks like it was whittled from construction lumber. It's been used, but from what I was able to see in the dim light of the back corner of the pawn shop, it hasn't been abused. The bore appeared to be okay and the bolt doesn't bind. As a matter of fact, the bolt is slicker than snot. It's wearing a cheap-ass Bushnell Banner scope.
Next to it on the rack was a Remington Model 7. I asked to look at it as well, and it's a fine example, in 7mm-08. It sports a Leupold VXII scope and they had it priced at $699.00. I told them that was a fair price for the Remington, but that the Ruger was a bit rough. With the cheap scope, it wasn't nearly the value that the Remington is, but they had the Ruger marked at $469.00.
"So, the question becomes," I looked at the counter-guy with a piercing glare, "what's MY price on the Ruger?"
He looked at the rifle, hemmed and hawed for a bit, then scribbled on his note pad. "How does $350.00 sound?"
I reached into my wallet and took out a Franklin. "Sounds like a reasonable price to me. Let's put it on layaway, okay?"
From the serial number, it looks like that rifle was made in 1970, which makes it one of the very early models. A dollar bill can't slide betixt the stock and barrel, and the wood, though scuffed, will respond well to a little oil. In a couple of months I'll get it off layaway and start prepping it for shooting. If I don't keep it for myself, I'm sure one of the grandkids will love to have it. They're going to wind up with it eventually anyway.