Ruger 77/22

I took my Ruger 77/22 to the range today.  I was a little disappointed by the accuracy.

A year or two ago, I decided it would be a good idea to have a .22 Magnum rifle.  There are a few situations in various hunting regulations which limit rifles to “22 caliber rimfire”, even for game which is too big to humanely kill with a .22 LR (like coyote and even feral hog).  Since a .22 Magnum is technically a “22 caliber rimfire”, using one of those would be legal.  I wouldn’t hesitate to take a coyote with one at reasonable ranges (I won’t say the same about feral hog).  At the time, I looked at the available options, and I noticed the Ruger 77/22.  At that time, it was available in stainless steel with the black skeleton “boat paddle” stock.  I put it on my wish list, and every time I looked at the picture I grew a little more fond of the stock.

I am going to make an earnest effort at coyote hunting this year, but the only coyote appropriate firearm I own is my AR-15.  I, personally, am not hip to carrying an evil black rifle into the field.  So I decided it was time to get a varmint rifle, and to go ahead and buy the Ruger 77/22.

Ruger had discontinued the skeleton stock.  Instead, the stainless version was available with a fairly pedestrian black synthetic stock.  I was heart broken.  As a result, I ended up getting one on GunBroker.  I ended up with one that had been manufactured in 1999 and had gathered a few scratches.  Of course, if I was going to use this in the field, a few scratches could be tolerated.  I scoped it, and today I finally got it to the range.

Having bore sighted the rifle ahead of time, it was relatively easy to get it zeroed.  Then I started trying different loads.  I had five with me.  Some inexpensive 40 grain Fiocchi HP, 30 grain Winchester Supreme HP, 40 grain CCI GamePoint SP, 40 grain Remington SP, and 34 grain Remington Accupoint.  When I went through them, I fired three round groups of each.  The first test of the CCI was well under an inch, and I was excited, thinking I had found my load.  However, I was unable to reproduce the results, and I got discouraged.

I should try cleaning the thing.  Who knows, perhaps in ten years the thing hadn’t been cleaned.  Beyond that, I don’t know what else to try, unless it is to go back on a day that is less gusty.

I may look for a .22 caliber centerfire rifle for hunting coyote this year.  Or I might go ahead and take my AR-15 hunting.  I’m not sure I will even keep this Ruger.  I might sell it and buy something else in the same caliber.  Perhaps a semi-automatic rifle.

Update: I fixed the accuracy problem with this rifle, and now it shoots quite well.