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.