Ruger M77 Hawkeye
This is a big game hunting rifle that I acquired specifically for use in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is chambered in the .338 Federal cartridge, which is suitable for all of the big game in the UP. I plan for my father to carry this rifle when we hunt together. He may take a deer with it, and it will offer protection against anything dangerous.
|Barrel:||22" stainless steel, 1 in 10" twist|
|Action:||bolt-action, stainless steel, 4 round magazine|
|Stock:||Boyds' pepper grey laminate, glass bedded, free-floated|
|Scope:||Redfield Revolution 3-9x40mm|
So far, I am very pleased with the accuracy of this rifle. I am fairly certain I will have it consistently shooting sub-MOA.
I purchased this rifle "new" in 2012. It was manufactured in 2008.
The .338 Federal was announced in 2005 and standardized in 2006. It is a .308 Winchester case necked up for .338" bullets. The larger bullet diameter and higher pressure enable it to match the performance of the 7mm Remington Magnum, but the small powder capacity results in less recoil. The cartridge is quite suitable for use against large, northern whitetail deer, as well as black bear, elk, and even moose.
Commercial support for this cartridge seems to be disappearing rapidly. Ruger, Sako, and Tikka have all dropped the chambering, leaving only Kimber, DPMS, and Armalite. Federal remains the only company offering factory ammunition. Fortunately, I am well equipped to handload for this caliber.
Handloading: .338 Federal
I have a Redfield 3-9x40mm scope for this rifle. I had been intending to try one, and their brightness and clarity seems to be quite impressive given their price.
I think I will calculate a (four inch) point blank range and zero the scope for that.
I have just performed a trigger job on this rifle. I can't feel any more creep, but we'll see how it performs the next time I'm at the range. It still feels heavy, so perhaps a lighter spring is in order.
I think I prefer lighter, higher velocity bullets for this rifle. I have tried the 160 gr. T-TSX, the 180 gr. AccuBond, and the 185 gr. TSX bullets. Powders tested have been H322, H4895, IMR 8208 XBR, and AA 2230. The best combination has been the 160 gr. T-TSX with IMR 8208 XBR. I should soon have a load using these components that is consistently sub-MOA.