Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)

SHOOTING: Ruger Model 77 Hawkeye FTW Hunter

ruger77The Ruger Model 77 is now almost 50 years old. It has been modified considerably during that time, refining this, improving that. It has also been produced in various styles, and even from different materials, to suit changing tastes. The new FTW Hunter model is named for the FTW Ranch in Texas, which is famous for its marksmanship training. The rifle is a variation of the Hawkeye, which is itself a variation of the standard 77. Our Gray’s Best is an FTW Hunter in 6.5 Creedmoor, because this rifle, and that cartridge, are a match made in hunter heaven. The barreled action is matte stainless steel, the stock a subdued camouflage composite. The 24-inch barrel is fitted with a muzzle brake that can be replaced with either a thread-protecting cap or an extension the same length as the brake. Both are supplied. Length of pull can be adjusted using spacers to go with the recoil pad. The bolt is smooth, the functioning flawless. It has a three-position wing safety that locks the bolt, and the best trigger pull we have ever experienced on a Ruger firearm. Best of all, shooting Hornady’s new ELD ammunition, either match or hunting, it is one of the most accurate factory rifle/ammunition combinations we’ve ever seen. This is genuinely a rifle designed by serious hunters, for serious hunters. The FTW Hunter is available in other calibers, ranging from .260 Remington to .375 Ruger, but I would grab a 6.5 Creedmoor and never look back.