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Tang Safety M77 7x57 range report

This is a discussion on Tang Safety M77 7x57 range report within the Ruger Bolt Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; FYI, just "my opinion and thoughts" on my M77 in 7x57, do not take this as fact. Recently, I bought an M77 in 7x57 from ...

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Old January 5th, 2009, 05:52 AM   #1
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Tang Safety M77 7x57 range report

FYI, just "my opinion and thoughts" on my M77 in 7x57, do not take this as fact.

Recently, I bought an M77 in 7x57 from one of our forum members. Beautiful rifle, thanks Joe! I have to compliment everyone in this forum, it is a fantastic service to all those who fancy Ruger firearms.

After my first trip to the range with this rifle, I was almost ready to cut it up for scrap. (Just kidding). It didn't shoot very well with a $35 box of ammo that was supposed to shoot "the best".

Here was my test ammo
139 gr Hornady SPBT - hand loaded w/IMR 4064 at est. 2600 fps - 4" group
140 gr Nossler SPBT - $35 a freaking box - 6" group
175 gr Federal RN - old ammo I found in the bottom of my ammo locker - 3/4" group. I was surprised by this!!!

I had read a lot about early M77 7x57 accuracy problems, namely about "long chamber throats" and poor quality barrels on the early M77s. There seems to be a lot of mis-information on the web about 7x57 accuracy problems with Ruger M77s in 7x57 being attributed to the "long throat" issue. Some say that their rifles will only shoot 175 gr RN bullets, others say their rifles will only shoot 140 gr bullets. I found many "I heard" stories to......I consulted our own Iowegan and he provided me with great information about the real issues regarding the M77 in 7x57. My own research proved him correct, not that I doubted him....

Here is what I have found through research; The 7x57 was designed from the outset to shoot long and heavy bullets in the 173 to 175 gr range at a velocity of 2200 to 2400 fps, which is kind of slow by today's standards. Slow, long, heavy bullets in the 7mm caliber require a very fast rifling twist to properly stabilize them. Knowing this, Ruger chose to use a 1 to 8.75 twist, which is a pretty fast twist when compared to most 7.62mm cailber rifles at 1 to 10 (30-06, .308 win, 300 Win mag). I found that for 7x57, Ruger uses 1 to 8.75, Rem use 1 to 9 and Win used 1 to 9 and 1 to 10. The 7mm-08 and 7mm Mag commonly use 1 to 9 and 1 to 10. So 1 to 8.75 for the Ruger 7x57 is fairly fast when compared to the others.

What does this all mean? It means that in a Ruger barrel with a 1 to 8.75 twist, it will favor slower, long, heavy bullets over faster lighter short bullets. The main issue is stabilization, or in some cases with fast light bullets, over stabilization. To quote Iowegan, the 1 to 8.75 twist can spin the lightre bullet too fast if driven at high velocity, which in turn makes for lousy accuracy. In my case, the 140 gr ammo was at approx 2800 fps and shot very poorly. The 175 gr ammo shot very well at an approx 2300 fps. The 139 gr handloads were at about 2500 fps.

This is why some people claim their 7x57 rifles shoot well with 140, or 175 gr bullets, but not both. If my barrel had a 1 to 9 twist or slower, I bet it would shoot the faster lighter bullets better.

To test all this, I hand loaded some 139, 160 and 175 gr ammo. I loaded the 139 gr bullets at 2400 fps, the 160 at 2575 fps and the 175 at 2400 fps, all using H414 and Federal cases on a 47 deg F day at a 100 meter range.

The 139 gr bullets grouped 2", the 160 gr grouped 1", the 175 gr grouped 0.95" with five shot groups.

Its pretty conclusive that my rifle likes 175 gr bullets, due in part to the 1 in 8.75 twist rate. I guess I'll use all those 139 gr bullets in my new M77RSI in 7mm-08. Iowegan was 100% correct in his advice to me. Lighter bullets can be shot fairly well, if at a lower velocity.

This same issue exists with the 5.56mm using 65 to 75 gr bullets. Older 223 and 5.56 mm rifles with 1 to 12 or 1 to 10 twists will not shoot the longer heavier 65 to 75 gr bullets. I had an M77 target with a 1 to 12 twist that would key hole 68 gr bullets. This is due to under stabilization due to a slower spin rate. Newer 5.56s have a 1 to 9 twist.

In summary, if you have a Ruger 7x57 rifle that doesn't shoot well, before you cut it up for scrap, do some research and find out what ammo / bullet its barrell was designed for. You may be surprised at just how well it shoots once you find the right ammo / bullet combination.

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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:51 AM   #2
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Ruger#8, Good report! Glad your 7x57 isn't going to end up in the scrap pile.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #3
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Good info.. I have been working on loads for my No 1, in 7 X 57 for several months with 2" groups using the 140 grain bullets. I think some 175 grain will be my next range test.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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I had a M-77 in 7x57 for a while, and using a Stoney Point gauge I found that the throat was too long to seat any bullet that was lighter than 175 grains close to the lands.

My rifle didn't do very well with the 175 Hornady spitzers, but was very accurate with 175 grain round nose bullets when seated out so that the jump to the rifling was minimal. I loaded them to around 2550 fps.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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I have a Savage 99 that I could not get to group with 180 gr. bullets. I dropped down to 165 gr. bullets and my groups improved. But one day the gun store was out of 165's and I had to buy 150's. Guess what? One inch groups. That is how I learned that bullet weight can make a big difference in accuracy. Later on I learned the reason was about the rifle twist rate. Glad you did not give up on the rifle. I hope you enjoy it.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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Ruger 8,

I'm glad you finally got'er mastered. BTW it's way to pretty to scrap! LOL. Years ago I had a Mark II 7x57 that shot 140's great! Three shot groups with factory Remington ammo usually all touched at 100 yds if I did my part. Go figure!

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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #7
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I inherited a 7x57 Built on a Mauser action with custom barrel, LOVE IT! I can shoot 1" groups @ 200 yards if I do my part. Using 160gr Hornady with H414 Vel 2600fps. I have never measured the twist rate though. Killed a deer last year my father in law gave me guff cause he hadn't heard of 7x57 and bragged on his 25-06. All I can say is 210 yards one shot and he laid where he stood!
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Old July 11th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #8
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I have a M77 in 7x57 {old} and I took it shooting once and was not at all impressed with the accuracy it sucked and I have learned from experience with other fast twisted 7x57s as I also have a 95 chileno mauser twisted 8.6 to 1 and because that rifle needs a lil lighter loads shot thru it anyhow I load up rounds with 39.0 grains of IMR 4064 and hornady 175 gr. RN bullets at 2300 fps and WOW baby this old war horse shoots em like a house of fire so since Ive learned this and now after reading your post I cant wait to get the old ruger 77 7x57 out again and try some of these reduced 175 gr loads in it and Ill bet you I will have a renewed love affair with my old 7x57 again and maybe we can call off the divorce,free bump for a great post...........
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Old July 12th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #9
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My 7x57 really like Sellier and Bellot's 173 SPCE loads. It holds those around 1" and the 140 grain loads open up to a little more than 1.5"-2" depending on who loads them.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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I just bought as tang safety 7x57 today! Got a great deal on a 98% gun. I have a #1 in 7 X 57 and it will only shoot heavy bullets as well. I was going to start there with the 77. I wish I had read all this great info several years ago. Would have saved me hours at the reloading bench in order to get the #1 to shoot. My #1 7X57 is my favorite #1 and My go to hunting rifle. Great information!
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Old July 31st, 2010, 07:53 PM   #11
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I have a M77 tang safety in 7x57 made in 1974. It is in excellent condition and has seen little use. I bought this rifle not too awful long ago, and one of the first things I did after doing so was go online and read the original post. My attention was drawn to the theory about the rate of twist of the barrel and the preference for heavier bullets.

In my battery of rifles, I have a beater 7x57 that the Ruger was to replace. This rifle is a Spanish Mauser of Model 1893-ish design, heavily sporterized including a replacement sporting barrel in 7x57. This rifle shows a distinct preference for bullets in the 160 grain range. I have no idea what the rate of twist is in this rifle.

So, my first experiments with the Ruger were centered around using 175 grain Sierra spire point boat tails, per the info in the OP. The results might've caused a newbie to give up, sell the rifle and figure it was an inherent dog. Using moderate charges of IMR 4350, IMR 4831, and H414, the results were miserable all around. The group if you want to call it that, was all over at both 50 and 100 yards, erratic, and, the holes made were huge and not round. It looked like maybe the bullets had yawed through the paper. You could've killed deer with these loads, but I'm not satisfied with a lack of accuracy such as I've described.

Today, I was out at the range again with the Ruger. This session, I had loads using moderate propellant charges and 175 gr., 160 gr., and 139 gr. bullets. Once again, the 175's put in a miserable performance. The 160's were a pleasant surprise, with something that could be called a respectible group; and the 139's came in wonderfully accurate. The 139's gave me a nice, small group with crisp, precise 7mm holes.

So, this has been my experience to date contrary to what I'd read earlier. In future, I will get out the chronograph and start experimenting with propellant load levels in the various bullet weights to see what effect changing these has upon accuracy.

I do not much like finicky rifles or chamberings, but once into the fray, I am compelled to follow through.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 05:58 AM   #12
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I have a scoped 1954 Savage M99 in 250-3000 and the reverse is actually true of that. It was built around the lighter 87 gr bullet so a velocity of 3000 fps could be obtained way back when that was fast out of a rifle. I tried several different heavier bullet weights without much to show for it and when I loaded the 87 gr I worked up a load with 4064 that shoots (3 shot groups) to 7/8" with 32 and 34 gr and 5/8" with 33 gr at 100 from bags. At 35 gr the groups opened up.

So bullet weight matters and the fun of reloading is finding the one that your firearm likes the best. My general impression of factory loaded rifle ammo is there is too much powder in it for my rifles to shoot accurately.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 07:18 PM   #13
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7x57 accuracy

I have checked a twist rate list that tells me that the early to mid 1970s ruger No. 1s and the M77s in 7x57 were twisted 9.5:1 that would like the 140 gr. bullet area the best and the later rifles of the same models maybe post warning rifles in 7x57 were twisted 8:1 which should surley favor the 175 gr. range of bullets the best,so I guess we will put the rubber where it meets the road and go find out for certain............
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:04 PM   #14
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Thank you Ruger#8. Hope this info will have the 7x57 haters rethink their opinions of this great cartridge.
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Old October 17th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #15
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I just ordered a good condition tang safety equipped M77 barreled action off Gunbroker, in 7x57 caliber. From the 75-6xxxxx serial number, it seems to have been made in 1981. I'll be picking some brains for answers, but I do plan on shooting the heavier 154-175gr bullets.

This is one of my favorite calibers, I like the good performance, and mild "shoot it all day" recoil. I've had a Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in this caliber, that wouldn't do much better than 2" group with any load, and a Winchester M70 Featherweight pushfeed, that grouped very well, but had a defect in the chamber that ruined my brass for reloading.

p.s. I'm looking for a stock, if anyone has a line on one, THANKS!

Last edited by NWDave; October 17th, 2010 at 05:14 PM. Reason: info missing
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