I finally got a chance to take the Ruger Model 77, .25-06 to the range today.
It's a pawn shop rifle and I picked it up for a good price. Before I started making ammo for it, I took it down, gave it a good cleaning and floated the barrel. Ruger puts a little ledge on the forward end of the stock to put upward pressure on the barrel. Everything I had read told me that floating the barrel would go a long way toward making the rifle shoot.
I picked Sierra Gameking bullets because this rifle is going to be a hunting companion. Gameking's are a standard boat-tailed spitzer bullet of conventional construction. Because the little cartridge is overbore, I figured that a slow burning powder would be best and the Alliant guide told me that Reloder 22 would be a good place to start.
So, I loaded some 117 grain Gameking bullets over varying charges of Reloder 22. I started at 49 grains and worked up to 52 grains at one grain intervals. I didn't do anything special to the Winchester brass other than full-length sizing and camfering it.
When I got to the range today, the weather was drizzling rain intermittently, but the wind was dead calm. Temperatures were about 60 degrees. I set up some sand bags and began at 25 yards. The scope was close, about an inch low at 25 yards, so I took the target out to 100 yards and settled down behind the scope.
This rifle wears an old Tasco fixed 6X scope. I like fixed power scopes on hunting rifles. My Savage .30-06 wears a 6X Weaver. I was pleasantly surprised that the old Tasco was as clear as it was. The targets were 2" target dots and they were easily viewed through the glass. All targets were three-shot strings with the rifle allowed to cool 5 mintes between strings.
This target, below, was shot with 50.0 grains of Reloder 22. When I looked through the spotting scope, I was pleasantly surprised.
After cooling I fired a string with 51.0 grains of Rel 22 which was no great load. I put in the last test rounds, 52.0 grains of Rel 22 and settled in behind the rifle.
That's also a fine target, and it's considerably narrower than the one above. I may have pulled that last shot, throwing it high. The width of that group is just over a half-inch, but the height of the group makes it almost 9/10ths of an inch.
Still, the little Ruger is a shooter. With both 50.0 grains and 52.0 grains of Rel 22 it turns in fine accuracy. I didn't put anything over the chronograph today, but my data tells me that both loads are running on the far side of 2800 fps.
I think I'm going to like this rifle a lot.