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Ruger 77/17

by Stan Trzoniec   |  September 23rd, 2010 0

Rifle Report


After years of anticipation, Bill Ruger started to ship his long-awaited rimfire rifle in 1984. The Model 77/22 bolt-action rifle incorporated such items as the famous Ruger classic stock, 10-shot rotary magazine, three-position safety, a new bolt locking system and an integral one-inch scope mounting arrangement. Over time, the gun has been chambered for the .22 LR, .22 WMR, .22 Hornet and now the .17 HMR.

The new Model 77/17 is very pleasant to look at and hold, thanks to Ruger’s classic treatment of the walnut stock. With no fancy frills, Monte Carlo comb or white-line spacers, the rifle calls to mind its Model 77 MkII centerfire counterpart, and aside from the fact the 77/17 stock is a little shorter on the front end and the action is smaller, it could be an identical twin.

This is a full-size, comfortable rimfire rifle built to adult hunting standards. Length of pull is 131⁄2 inches. The stock itself is 301⁄4 inches, which, for the sake of comparison, is 11⁄2 inches shorter than the centerfire version’s stock–which is 313⁄4 inches from its fore-end tip to the recoil pad. Weight of the gun complete with a Burris scope is 71⁄4 pounds.

The outside finish of the Model 77/17 is satin and looks like the oil finishes of old but is really a high-durability modern polyurethane. There are no runs, and it’s smooth to the touch.

The checkering pattern, pistol grip cap and the general feel are certainly those of the Ruger school. There is more than an ample supply of point checkering cut handsomely on both the pistol grip and the fore-end of the rifle. The pistol grip cap sports the Ruger logo, and sling swivel studs and a black butt pad and spacer complete the package.

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Ruger Model 77/17

Type: bolt-action rimfire
Caliber: .17 HMR
Capacity: 9
Barrel Length: 22 in.
Overall Length: 41 in.
Weight: 6 1/2 lb.
Sights: None; scope rings included
Trigger: 3 1/2-lb. pull
Stock: walnut
Price: $690
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co.,Ruger.com , 203-259-7843

To remove the bolt, ensure the rifle is unloaded, then pull the bolt rearward until it stops. The bolt stop is located on the left-hand side of the rifle and sits flush with the receiver.

After the bolt is removed, reach under the rifle and remove the rotary magazine. To part action from stock, remove the twin stock screws in the front and rear of the trigger guard assembly.

Internal inletting is extremely sharp, with all corners and contours done in a quality manner. The 22-inch hammer-forged barrel hugs the stock very closely, with no unsightly gaps along the lines where metal meets wood.

The investment castings that make up the receiver, trigger guard assembly and other interior parts are well finished and polished to a rich satin hue. The barrel is attached to the receiver via twin longitudinal screws that go through a heavy V-block retainer to pull the barrel tightly into the receiver, rigidly locking both together.


The unusual bolt is two-piece and locks securely with opposing locking lugs on the rotating rear section.


At the rear of the receiver is the bolt release. It’s unobtrusive but easily accessible by the tip of your fingernail or a small instrument.

This innovative rimfire rifle features a two-piece stainless steel bolt. The front part of the bolt is non-rotating and incorporates most of the guide rail area, which runs back and into the dual locking lugs for support.

The rearmost section of the bolt is the rotating part and, aside from helping the bolt run true within the receiver racewa
y, provides the lockup, via opposing locking lugs, and keeps the close tolerances needed to control headspace. The bolt face has dual extractors for faultless ejection of the .17 HMR case.

The 77/17 has a traditional three-position safety: all the way forward is the “fire” position; middle blocks the trigger but allows bolt operation; and all the way back is the fully locked position.

When moving the safety to rearmost position, make sure you don’t stop halfway back. The safety lever will “spring” itself to a position roughly 45 degrees from the middle detent and stop. To engage the safety to the completely locked position, you must push the lever toward and into the rear of the shroud, thereby engaging it within the cocking piece.

The trigger is preset at the factory, is non-adjustable and broke at 31⁄2 pounds with no slack before the sear let go. Because of the hardness of all components, and according to the factory, this trigger pull should last many, many years. The trigger face itself is left in the white and is finished smooth. It is set back within the trigger guard, allowing the use of gloves.

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ACCURACY RESULTS: RUGER 77/17

.17 HMR Ammo Type Bullet Weight (gr.) Muzzle Velocity (fps) Standard Deviation Groups Size (in.)
CCI HP 17 2,647 28 0.88
Hornady V-Max 17 2,606 12 0.75
Remington V-Max BT 17 2,590 20 1.25
Notes: Velocity recorded 10 feet from the muzzle with a Shooting Chronychronograph. Accuracy tested off a bench rest; results are the average of five-shot groups at 75 yards. Abbreviation: HP, hollowpoint; BT, boattail.

Capacity of the Model 77/17’s rotary magazine is nine rounds of .17 HMR. The plastic magazine, which is reinforced with alloy steel retaining lips, sits flush with the bottom of the floorplate. These compact magazines are simple in operation and surprisingly rugged. The magazine release is located forward of the trigger guard.

Included in the package are a set of Ruger rings, about a $50 savings when one considers the price of good steel rings today. I mounted a Burris Safari 1.5-5X scope and at the range used a mixture of CCI, Hornady and Remington ammunition with good results. I had no trouble with feeding or ejection.

For the casual shooter, plinker or small game hunter, the Ruger 77/17 is a valuable addition to his rifle battery.


Best group of the day went to Hornady ammo with five shots going into a tight circle that measured only three-quarters of an inch at 75 yards.

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