Something different came from Ruger today for us to test out. A while ago, Ruger developed the bolt action Ruger 77 in the .44 magnum cartridge. This gun was great for short to medium range hunting and incorporated Ruger’s rotary magazine design. Now Ruger has unveiled the 77 in the .357 cartridge. The concept of using large pistol calibers for hunting is not new. People have been hunting medium sized game with .357 pistols for years, but with the longer barrel and precision of a bolt-action rifle, the .357 is even more effective.
The Ruger weighs in at a mere 5.5 pounds and the 18.5-inch barrel makes maneuvering in thick brush relatively easy. The one in sixteen right hand twist helps make the rifle deadly accurate. When fired, the recoil feels closer to a .22 than a magnum pistol round. Ruger used hammer-forged stainless steel for the barrel. The receiver is also stainless and has integrated scope bases for the Ruger scope rings, which I am happy to say, are included. Quality mounts and rings are costly, and Ruger used high quality stainless steel, which will stand the test of time with few issues. The rifle is an overall 38.5 inches in length and has a 13.5-inch length of pull. In case you aren’t using a scope, the rifle in equipped with iron sights and the rear sight is adjustable.
The stainless steel bolt lifts 90 degrees and the bolt locks at the rear of the receiver. When removing the bolt assembly, you have to open the bolt, pull the trigger, and engage a small bolt release button on the back of the chamber. The safety has three positions. When the safety is in the rear position, the trigger is blocked, and the bolt will not open, in the middle position, the trigger is still blocked but you can open the bolt and empty the rifle. While in the forward position, the rifle is set to fire or load.
The magazine holds five rounds and uses Ruger’s rotary magazine design. This design makes the bottom of the magazine flush with the bottom of the rife, as opposed to a tall box magazine in an AR-style rifle. Ruger included stainless steel feed lips on the magazine to increase durability. The follower is made of polymer and cycles .357 ammunition well. When extracting, the empty shells shot quite far forward and to the right, about six feet. It should be noted that Ruger included an instruction manual insert, warning that the 77 was chambered to shoot only .357 ammunition. While hand loading .38 special ammunition into the chamber directly will work, filling the magazine with .38 special will invite feeding problems, and should be avoided.
The stock of the 77 is made of a black synthetic polymer, and looks very modern when paired to the stainless steel barrel. The feel of the rifle is quite comfortable and feels similar to most standard carbine style hunting rifles. Included on the stock are swivel sling mounts, which is a necessity for any hunting rifle.
Out of the box, this carbine is perfect for hunting in thick brush, for up to 150 yards. The pistol ammunition is more than powerful enough to take down a deer or hog at close to medium range. The Ruger 77 is a perfect addition for any hunter who wants a ranch gun to throw in the truck, or take out on long treks in the brush.