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.