First Impressions - New Ruger Hawkeye 7mm-08
Looking for a little less recoil this deer season, I used my son's Savage .243, anchored a 9 pt. buck and large doe, no problem. Doe was at 80 yards and buck was at 143. Used some Remington ammo @ 100 grains. My trusty big game rifle in the past has been a Rugar MII 77 - 7mm Rem. mag. Had so much fun with the little .243 I was in the mood to buy old dad a new hunting rifle.
What I ended up buying was a Rugar M77 Hawkeye in the 7mm-08. have run a box of Federal Fusion 140 grain rounds thru it with carefull break in and scope sight in. The scope I attached was a Cabelas 3.5-10 rangefinder guide series. Big fan of the Rugar scope rings that come with the rifle. Purchased the all weather model with plastic stock and stainless steel, not pretty, but functional.
I did not do any 5 or 6 shot target groups, just the sight end and a little bit of steel plinking. In my two shot checks as sighting in less that one half inch group. Good enough for killing mid size game. I really like the range finding circles in the scope, I just covered the sight in circles on my paper target, and shot. That method worked just slick, for my mid aged eyes.
The lack of sharp recoil was a nice bonus to this round. I feel in the long term will make me a better large game shot.
I am partial to the heft of a rugar bolt and barrel. The new trigger is slightly heavy, but no creep or take up (unlike the MII). Very smooth trigger pull, useable as game rifle. It is not a light rifle, but I feel it will function for many generations and not fail on the big hunt. I put on the sling stick sling, not so impressed, do not know if I will leave on the rifle (a little hard use).
This is the third Rugar rifle I have owned the first being a older M77 in .220Swift. It had a few mods that are not fair to compare to the other two stock M77's. The first 2 did there duty fine, I plan on using the 7 mag on occasion. I feel the new 7mm-08 will serve my coyote, deer, hog hunts just fine for many years. So far other than the sling not much that I would change on this rig.
Glad to hear you've finally gotten a "go to" rifle. I've been a HUGE fan of the 7mm08 for years, and feel the 7mm08 is arguably the BEST whitetail cartridge EVER designed. I'm also a fan of the older Ruger M77 with tang safety. When Ruger went to the mk2 M77, that's when I became an AVID Browning A-bolt fan.
Couple of weeks ago took the above mentioned 7mm-08 to Texas and harvested a couple of feral hogs with it. Did a nice shot on a smaller hog right behind the ear in a head shot-dropped it solid. Then did a very poor shot from a elevated stand on a larger hog (106 yards), hit the spine above the front shoulder, seperated it for a 4" section or so, was a quick kill, but was not as planned. Not sure what I did in the heat of the moment. As a former 7mm Mag hunter was well pleased with the 7mm-08. Played with my 7mm Mag down there with a upper end NC Star scope, punched a 9" paper plate @ 200 yards dead center off a very good rest. Could not have sat at my desk with a pencil and poked dead center any closer. I am very impressed so far, with that under $200 scope.
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