View Full Version : OT: Ruger 77 Mark II VT

03-10-2005, 05:55 PM
I want some opinions from some of you firearms experts that have used this rifle.

I'm considering the .243 and .223 caliber versions.

In its price class do you consider this to be a good 'from the factory' target rifle?

Any other comments?


03-10-2005, 06:11 PM
I had one stainless in 308. Synthetic stock.

The barrel was new, but accurracy was acceptable (1" group with handloads that grouped 1/2" in M1A). I swapped it for a Sportster. I figure there was a burr in the muzzle. I never got around to crowning it.

Bolt actions can shoot stronger handloads than a M1A, no gas rod to bend. Max auto fps I kept at with my handloads was 2700. No reason to go faster if you can stack the bullets.


03-10-2005, 06:16 PM
The VT weighs 10 lbs., is a bolt action, has a laminated wide front (target) wood stock, adjustable 2-stage trigger (down to 2 to 2.5 lbs.), stainless steel floating bull barrel, and comes with scope rings.

In .223 it's supposed to have no problem making groups of less than 1/2" at 100 yds.


[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-10-2005).]

03-10-2005, 06:18 PM
I had one in 22-250, wow what a tack driver with good hand loads 1" at 150 yds,I traded it couse it was kind of punishing to shoot prarie dogs, 223 is much better.

03-10-2005, 06:27 PM
I've owned two. Both were the original M77V. Both were tack drivers. The 22-250 shot .4" right out of the box. The .308 needed to be free floated and bedded and then it shot sub moa consistently regardless of what you stuffed into it. I think Ruger is hard to beat for value for the money. No, I don't work for them. Actually, I had a few Savage bolt guns and found them to be excellent shooters for the money too. IMHO -You really can't go wrong with a heavy barrel bolt gun from any of the major USA manufacturers. European rifles like Tikka, Sako, Steyr and the like are beautifully crafted and finished but have always been too pricey for me and don't shoot any better than the USA made rifles. Pick the one you like best and enjoy.

03-10-2005, 07:59 PM
Now the question of caliber; .223 or .243?

I'll mainly use it for target shooting. I may end up using it for varmints up to coyote size. I've read that .223 is a bit light for a long shot on a coyote and .243 is recommended over .223 for this reason.

Any significant negatives to choosing a .243 over .223? Is the .243 as accurate as the .223?

Thanks again!


[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-10-2005).]

03-10-2005, 10:18 PM
Both are pretty accurate cartridges. Brass is plentiful and cheap for the 223. Loaded ammo is cheap too. Lots of surplus harball ammo in 223 makes for cheap shooting without having to reload.

Al Messer
03-10-2005, 10:54 PM
Take the .243. It bucks the wind better out there at the longer ranges and has more "umph" when it gets there than the .223.

Tim Clarke
03-10-2005, 11:12 PM
Hi, I have the Ruger in question, in .223. When I got the gun, I took the action out of the stock, looked it over and put it back. I tightened the screws according to the instructions in the book that was shipped with the gun. Then I mounted a 3-12x scope. That's all I've done, except for keeping the bore nice and clean. So, it's bone stock. I routinely shot 3 shot one hole groups with it when I shot it regularly. 5 shot groups would usually open up to about a half inch.

This was with my best handloads, which use 40 grain Hornady VX bullets. The gun likes 50 and 55 grain bullets also, but I use only 55's in the 22-250, so the Ruger is the light bullet gun.

I would think the .223 would be a better gun for target shooting. The .243 has a fine reputation for coyote shooting around here. It ought to make a good target gun also. I don't know if the 60 grain 22 cal. bullets wouldn't be a good choice for coyotes. I've never tried any in my guns, I don't know how they'd like them. 60 grains is getting pretty long for a standard twist 22 barrel. Some of the other guys will doubtless know.

Get the .223 first, and try it. If it isn't enough gun for your type of coyote shooting, then you'll have a alibi for getting another gun.


03-10-2005, 11:51 PM
I like Tim's reasoning - as if any of us really need an excuse to buy another rifle! I've been shooting rifles chambered for 223 since buying a Sako Vixen back in '71 - still got that gorgeous little rifle too, even though several other 223s have come & gone over the years. The rifle I carry every day in the pickup is a Colt flattop with a 1/9 twist 20" bbl. I've lost track of how many coyotes I've killed with that rifle, using Sierra 60gr. HPs. I've owned a couple of 243s too, and while there's no question about them delivering more punch at longer distances, there's also no question that the 223 is more pleasant to shoot off the bench, cost less to shoot, and will have considerably longer barrel life than a 243. I probably come across as having a 223 bias - what can I say - there are five match grade ARs with Krieger & PacNor bbls. in my safe right now, along with the Sako & Colt already mentioned, and I like 'em all. I get a kick out of the looks I get when I tell the guys at the local beer joint about shooting 1000yd. long rang highpower matches with 'that dinky little 223'. That's with a 6.5 twist bbl. and JLK 90 VLD bullets, and the usual 12-twist factory 223 bbl. won't stabilize the heavier bullets we use in competition, but should handle the flat-based Sierra 60HP just fine. You'll look a long time before finding a more accurate bullet for the price.

03-11-2005, 12:01 AM

Centerfire .22's are extremely accurate and the .223 is my favorite in this caliber. Since I reload, I like the way the cartridge is very durable as compared to others; I just wish it had a little more neck length like the .222. If you don't reload, factory ammo is pretty cheap, another plus. About the only drawback with a 50 to 60 grain bullet is fighting the wind - but, that is part of the art of shooting. As far as knock-down power, if you hit a coyote size animal way out, it will take it out if you have the right type of bullet - using ballistic tip bullets, if you are not concerned about pelt damage, are devastating.

I also shoot the .243 and it is a good caliber but, I have recently been playing with the 25-06 and have come to like it a little bit more than the .243. It shoots a little flatter than the .243 with a 100 grain bullet. I have a Browning sporter and Remington heavy barrel in 25-06 and they are both tack drivers. A friend of mine shoots a heavy barrel Ruger and it is a shooter too. Since I primarily target shoot, about the only drawback for me in using these calibers is there is a little more wear and tear on the lands of the barrel, ammo is a little more expensive to reload or buy and, they have a little bit more recoil. Anyway, something to consider if you are still undecided on caliber.


03-11-2005, 01:05 AM
bah, just what i need. a post about rugers.

i've had the mini-14 fever lately and i almost have enough in the bank to get myself one. ever since the first time i shot my dad's 10-22, i've loved rugers. i've been lucky enough to shoot a mini-14 once and i've always wanted one since.

Excitable Boy
03-11-2005, 02:34 AM
OK, I was really trying not to post in this thread but with the Mini 14 reference, I just can't hold out.

The .223 model should be easy to feed and fun to shoot. The .243 would be more serious. It will reach out farther and hit harder, but won't be as cheap to feed.


Pursue Excellence and the rest will follow.

[This message has been edited by Excitable Boy (edited 03-11-2005).]

03-11-2005, 05:11 AM
223 Mini-14. A steel model, if you shoot it and put it up, it can rust-stick where the gas nipple goes into the counter weight underneath the barrel. You simply place the butt stock on the floor and kick start it like a harley. These guns are not a close tolerance weapon, but totally reliable. Gas pressure is about twice what it takes to operate the bolt reliably.

I have a stainless model, the first Ruger mini in stainless, a matt finish. Accurrate beyond belief in plain trim open sights. I could roll tin cans at 100 yards 4/5 5/5 times. I have had two steel ones thou that would not place on paper at 100 yards.

I relieved the trigger sear, not a full trim job but a roll and hone job. It has full sear engagement till you start pulling the trigger, then rounded reduces width. Polish helps more than anything, make it slick. A Mini has a sear kinda like a arrowhead, one sear is to stop it from running full-auto, when you release the trigger it clicks over to the other sear. My neighbor honed the wrong sear, it'd dump a magazine of ammo in one pull. Sound like a single shot, but have 20 brass hulls laying there. Must've been running over 1200 rpm.

Bill Ruger developed /s some fine weapons. Simple, reliable, and tough. Stainless is the best for your money if you can stand the shine.

I love the standard .22 auto pistol. At one time I had six, now I think I have two or three, one competetion target model ($325new), one 6" taper barrel model ($175new) and one standard 4"($96). They are kinda a Learned process to dissasemble. You gotta dangle it just so at a 45 degree angle to get it back together. They'll drive tacks, dispatch snakes, or dogs, or? A small pistol you can shoot something in the eye is better than a magnum you miss with. I gave one bull barreled pistol to my baby brother after he returned from Desert Storm. We were shooting them, he outshot me with my own pistol. SO I gave it to him. He was Awed and gracious.

Ruger? I am wearing a stainless Ruger buckle. I am a believer. Bought my first in the 80's, still have it. A super-blackhawk.

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 03-11-2005).]

03-11-2005, 05:41 AM
Ohh yeah, 223 versus 243, a 243 is a necked down 308 cartridge, a 223 is nato 5.56 and more surplus ammo available cheap. If you like to plink, 223 wins hands down.

243 has longer range, is more accurrate, more expensive. 223 will do most anything I want to do, a high velocity shock wave travels with the round at less than 300 yards, ruptures all the internal organs as it enters a chest cavity. All the deer I have shot, seen shot with a 223 you had to roll them over and drain the chest as you seperated the organs from the ribcage. Full of blood. Not so with SKS/AK 7.62x39.
A mini or bolt gun has no recoil suppressor in stock like the AR-15/M16. I can shoot a AR with one hand, not so with a Ruger.

As with any weapon, choose your point of impact, train, practise, and kill any animal you shoot, I am not a believer in second shot kills.

03-11-2005, 07:33 AM
.243 or .223 for target shooting

There are many types of target shooting and that being said you would want to pick the right twist barrel for the right application. If you are going to shoot 100-200 yards lighter bullets and slower twist are the norm. If you are going to shoot 600-1000 yards heaver bullets and faster twist are the norm. Most factory barrels are a compromise in twist rate and quality in comparison to real target shooters equipment. If you were to want to hunt with the rifle especially for deer you would need the .243 in most states as a minimum caliber. You will find .223 ammo available cheep almost everywhere. Your question has so many varriables that it is hard to answer. I have and shoot both calibers and find them to be good choices for their own applications. If I was going to only have one gun I would choose the .243 as it will do everything the .223 will and a little better.

03-11-2005, 08:09 AM
Some of you mentioned twist.

The .223 has a 12" twist and the .243 has a 9" twist. I'm a novice at this sort of stuff but wouldn't the 9" twist be more of a compromise because of the broader range of bullet weights and the 12" twist be more optimized for the smaller weight range (on the lighter side) of bullets the .223 handles?

03-11-2005, 08:32 AM
good morning.

Dan; you can find [many] discussions of .223 barrel twist at ar15.com probably more than you would ever want to read.

i have a mini-14. i like it, but i like ar's more. if someone came along with some money, i would sell the mini-14 in a heartbeat.

that said, i can't contribute much to a discussion of the accuracy of the ruger 77. i have heard [not confirmed myself] that there are some accuracy problems with the 77-22's.

i like the .223 round. i probably put 300-500 a week through my ar. [it is nice to be retired and have time to shoot] the faster barrel twists stabilze heavier [read longer] bullets better. however, a 55 gr. bullet can be devastating if it is the right bullet. i shoot a lot of hornaday v-max. i also shoot a lot of cheap military surplus fmj stuff because it is cheap. i don't shoot the wolf and other steel cased and laquered stuff because it is crap.

NOTE:: DISCLAIMER:: the .223 and 5.56 rounds are *different*. you can shoot a .223 in a 5.56 chamber, but sometimes it doesn't work the other way around. [another plus for the ar with a 5.56 chamber] also, 5.56 military ammo is loaded a little hotter than commercial .223.

with all that said, i would buy the gun i liked and shoot the crap out of it every chance i got.

that's my story and i am sticking to it.

happy weekend to all.


03-11-2005, 08:40 AM
" The .223 has a 12" twist and the .243 has a 9" twist. I'm a novice at this sort of stuff but wouldn't the 9" twist be more of a compromise because of the broader range of bullet weights and the 12" twist be more optimized for the smaller weight range (on the lighter side) of bullets the .223 handles? "


You are correct about the 12" twist is better suited for the lighter bullets.

The problem/situation with a 9" twist on a .223 is that more spin is imparted on the bullet and you will probably not be able to get away with shooting the lighter bullets (40-55 grain) without them breaking up before impact. You will probably be restricted to shooting a 68 grain bullet with a 9" twist barrel. The converse is true, a 12" or more twist rate may not stabalize a 68 grain bullet.