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M77 7-08 giving me fits!

This is a discussion on M77 7-08 giving me fits! within the Ruger Bolt Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; So I procured a gently used stainless M77 in 7-08 a few years ago, newer plastic hollow stock so I know it is fairly new ...


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Old January 3rd, 2017, 06:22 PM   #1
 
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Question M77 7-08 giving me fits!

So I procured a gently used stainless M77 in 7-08 a few years ago, newer plastic hollow stock so I know it is fairly new model. When looking it over, I could not see where it had been shot many times, the bolt barely had any signs of action. So I brought it home and took to trying to load for it. My FIL and I spent the most of one weekend wrestling with this thing trying to get it to shoot a tolerable group - several bullets, powders and combinations. We throated it out a few thousandths thinking that would improve things and we'd be able to load out a little longer OAL with a larger bullet. We applied barrel pressure, floated the barrel, shot it hot, cold, clean and dirty. It would put two or three within 1-1.5" then fly a couple 3-5" out at varying times. Finally we got Barnes 165's to fly within 2" over W760 at about 2600- I don't remember the exact grains, doesn't matter. It was tolerable. I took a decent buck with it late last year at about 40 yards so accuracy was not really an issue there.

Fast forward to this year - my son took it out and made a bad hit on a buck at about 85 yards. I think he was mostly to blame, but I wanted to make sure. I took it back to the range and fired a group - horrid results. On the paper, but 5" is being generous. I tried this a couple of times to similar results. WTH? Since getting the gun and now I have invested in my own reloading gear so I decided to re-do the re-do and see what I could find. I went back to 140 grain Sierra's and tried 6 different powders, about 5 different loadouts each. Also tried some Barnes TPX 140's. It seemed the hotter the load, the better it shot. What turned out best was the Sierra over 44 grains of Varget. I quit when I went back to that load and shot 6 rounds into a 1" square. I was stoked, I finally found what this gun liked.....I thought.

Today I went out and shot 5 rounds of Nosler Partitions over the same loadout just to see how they'd do - figured not much different that the Sierra's. Not so. Pretty bad grouping of about 4", mostly horizontal variation. "Oh well, it likes the Sierra's" I thought, no problem. I happened to have four of those in the magazine when I went out so I reloaded the gun and shot those - fraking 7" spread! Above and below POA. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Very similar weather conditions from the good grouping with the same loads. Similar barrel heat, same rest......yada yada. No explanation I can think of.

Does anybody have any ideas? I'm thinking I may have to send this thing down the road if I can't come up with something. This is my first 7-08 and I had high hopes... My FIL thinks it's just a crap barrel with uneven flexing characteristics like something got screwed up during forging. I'd consider sending it back to Ruger if they'd replace the barrel at no charge other than shipping. But if I had to invest anything more, I'd just rather trade it out for something else - maybe a Winchester if I can find a Classic in 7-08. I don't -want no push feed crap...



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Old January 3rd, 2017, 06:46 PM   #2
 
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just saw a new same rifle on GB for $750ish....BNIB. I like this little rifle, I might have to try a new one. Maybe thats why the ol' boy sold it to me.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 06:51 PM   #3
 
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Ahhhh, the joys of Ruger bolt guns. Some are ok, some bad and some horrid. It's the barrel most likely. Rebarrel it or send it down the road
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:08 PM   #4
 
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What would you suggest re-barreling with, or do you mean send back to Ruger for that? Assuming the barrel is free, they're going to charge $80 labor and it'll cost $50 or so shipping totals - I'd almost rather take a $150 trade hit I think. I may have to go see what Larry's got to offer...

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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:52 PM   #5
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If you got it for a decent price I'd go ahead and rebarrel it
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:57 PM   #6
 
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Unless he got it for a song, likely not an option. An aftermarket barrel will be $300 for the cheapest you can find and then you need a smith to put it on. I personally would not bother with another Ruger factory barrel. Unless you just got to have THIS rifle, I would move it and buy another rifle
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 08:16 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msp3903 View Post
Unless he got it for a song,
nope...there wasn't much singing going on.... a little dancing maybe

I can put the barrel on myself with a little help from FIL and his shop. We can even cut down and chamber a new blank - which GreenMtn is about $150 for one. But that's a helluva lot of trouble for a sub-$700 gun that would never be worth more than that even with a new barrel.

Just saw a new M77 Hawkeye SS for $675 NIB +$35s/h. I would sure like to move this one out first, but I might take the chance on a new one. I understand the newer Hawkeyes have better triggers anyway. This one doesn't suck....much.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 09:05 PM   #8
 
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mediocre rifles only produce mediocre accuracy.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 11:41 PM   #9
 
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How many bullets through the barrel? How are you cleaning the bore after shooting?

I have had a 7mm08 Remington model Seven (with the 18 1/2" bbl) for nearly 30 years. Load development was simple: Nosler or Sierra 140 gr bullets, H414 powder (45-48 gr), max SAAMI C.O.L. After about 80+ bullets down the bore and proper cleaning, it shot even better. First three shots off the bench/sandbags are 1" or less. After that, shots string vertically a few inches unless the barrel is allowed to cool. The barrel/action is free floated.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 01:27 AM   #10
 
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It's not the round or his loads that are the problem. It's his rifle. Anything that randomly sprays out 5 and 6" inch groups is not needing a cleaning or a different load. He has a junk barrel
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Old January 4th, 2017, 12:44 PM   #11
 
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Have you eliminated the scope? Is it possible your scope isn't working properly? Rings tight?
As to the cleanliness of the barrel not affecting accuracy like this I will disagree. My friend has a 300WM he bought used and put 200+ rounds through it. He would run a few patches of solvent down the bore and then call it good. His gun started shooting erratically and inconsistent. He tried all the different things like swap out scope, rings, new loads, etc.
He thought the barrel was toast and was going to have it rebarreled until a gunsmith ran a bore scope down it and noticed the copper fouling. Took him about three days worth of scrubbing to clean out the fouling. Once that was done the rifle shot better than ever.
Might try scrubbing the crap out of it with a good bronze brush and a good copper removing solvent. Let it soak for awhile and repeat. If that doesn't work then you know something serious is going on and a replacement might be needed.

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Old January 4th, 2017, 02:48 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warboar View Post
Have you eliminated the scope? Is it possible your scope isn't working properly? Rings tight?
As to the cleanliness of the barrel not affecting accuracy like this I will disagree. My friend has a 300WM he bought used and put 200+ rounds through it. He would run a few patches of solvent down the bore and then call it good. His gun started shooting erratically and inconsistent. He tried all the different things like swap out scope, rings, new loads, etc.
He thought the barrel was toast and was going to have it rebarreled until a gunsmith ran a bore scope down it and noticed the copper fouling. Took him about three days worth of scrubbing to clean out the fouling. Once that was done the rifle shot better than ever.
Might try scrubbing the crap out of it with a good bronze brush and a good copper removing solvent. Let it soak for awhile and repeat. If that doesn't work then you know something serious is going on and a replacement might be needed.

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What he says ....I would de-copper the heck out of the bore ...may take several runs at a stainless barrel to clean the copper .....I have had stainless barrels that do not start shooting well until several hundred rounds have lapped the barrel ...

OR ...Not to start a fire storm ...but if after trying all the suspects like bedding,recrowning etc ...there is always the last ditch move to the David Tubb fire lapping process of firing abrasive lapping bullets in descending "grits" ...I HAVE NEVER USED this process ...only informing of it's existance ...ALSO make your own case as to it's viability as to bringing around an errant barrel ...just make sure it is in fact the barrel!

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Old January 4th, 2017, 07:08 PM   #13
 
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I relieved a BUNCH of magazine pressure this morning tightened it all back down tight and left the mag slightly loose. I will give it a good cleaning as well. Thinking back, the best group I got was after I cleaned it, but since then there hasn't been 10 rounds through it before I got the last 7"er....so I'm not sure about that. But cleaning doesn't cost anything so... I'll probably re-check COL as well. Best I remember we backed off the lands about 0.0025". Might could go a little closer but I think I'm already close to mag restriction. I'll shoot it again and let you know.
Don't know that I want to go to the trouble of bedding it. With the basically hollowed out fore-stock as it in now, I'd have to use a whole can of glass to fill it....probably add 2# to the rifle. It's basically free floating now. We did try to shim it and put pressure at various points along the barrel before to no marked results. I'm hoping for an easier solution...

In the meantime, I've been strongly considering a Winchester 70 Ultimate Shadow SS in same caliber. I really want to stay with SS as this is likely going to go to my son or at least be his primary loaner. Anybody have any experience with those? I've got an old pre-64 M70 in .270 and it is suuwwweeeett! This new one has a pre-64 action I understand.

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Old January 4th, 2017, 08:25 PM   #14
 
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oh.... Scope...Leupold VX1 2-7, tight and clear.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 09:38 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warboar View Post
Have you eliminated the scope? Is it possible your scope isn't working properly? Rings tight?
As to the cleanliness of the barrel not affecting accuracy like this I will disagree. My friend has a 300WM he bought used and put 200+ rounds through it. He would run a few patches of solvent down the bore and then call it good. His gun started shooting erratically and inconsistent. He tried all the different things like swap out scope, rings, new loads, etc.
He thought the barrel was toast and was going to have it rebarreled until a gunsmith ran a bore scope down it and noticed the copper fouling. Took him about three days worth of scrubbing to clean out the fouling. Once that was done the rifle shot better than ever.
Might try scrubbing the crap out of it with a good bronze brush and a good copper removing solvent. Let it soak for awhile and repeat. If that doesn't work then you know something serious is going on and a replacement might be needed.

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Yes, that was my point. According to many gunsmiths, a common reason for poor accuracy in centerfire rifles is copper/gilding metal fouling of the bore. Many rifle shooters do not fully remove the fouling from their bores, so subsequent shooting just irons more metal fouling on top of the old fouling. Hoppes #9 is not an exceptionally good copper solvent. Sweet's 7.62 solvent is on the extreme end, for badly neglected bores. Shooters Choice solvent and WipeOut foaming bore cleaner are right there in the 'clean with it every time' products. J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaner (aka: bore paste) works very well with the initial defouling of an incorrectly cleaned bore. Occasional light use of the J-B paste during a rifle barrel's life will keep the bore bright. I've come to exclusively using the foaming bore cleaners to keep my rifles bores free of any jacket metal fouling. You should have at least an overnight cleaning regimen, with initial 'blowing out' of carbon and basic copper fouling with only the foaming cleaner. This gets the abrasive carbon out with no brushing. I have also taken to using nylon bristle bore brushes with the foaming cleaner on my rifles, though I still keep bronze brushes on hand for other guns. Alternating cycles of bore solvent, brief soaking, brushing, and dry patching is my main method.

In most new production rifle barrels, shooting 50-100 bullets through the bore, along with proper defouling/cleaning, will normally break in' the barrel (smoothing out the rifling/tool marks) and result in better performance and easier cleaning in the future.
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