Ruger M77/357 Review

Ruger M77/357 Review

Ruger357_7At first glance, the Ruger 77/357 seems like a solution in search of a problem. Why would someone buy a bolt-action rifle in .357 Magnum over more powerful chamberings? Assuming they were dead set on on the caliber, a lever-action rifle has a larger capacity. Too weak for large game, too powerful for small; what is this rifle good for?

In a word, everything.

Confused? Well, "everything" isn't entirely accurate. The 77/357's limited effective range makes it a terrible long-range rifle and its limited magazine capacity, combined with its slow-shooting manual bolt-action, makes it a poor choice for home defense. Outside of those two situations, the Ruger 77/357 is a multi-role modern ranch-rifle that doubles as a great survival/hiking gun.

Ruger357_3Build on the ultra-rugged M77 action, the Ruger 357/77 is a control-feed, bolt-action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum, but can also fire less expensive .38 special rounds. It feeds from a 5-round rotary-type detachable magazine that looks like an oversized Ruger 10/22 magazine. It includes front and rear sling attachment points, a black polymer stock with rubberized buttpad and a said of staineless scope rings matching the rifle's finish.


The 77/357 is an odd duck to be sure and, despite not being as powerful or a quick-shooting as my favorite AR15, found its way into my range gear more often than not. The rifle is ludicrously enjoyable to shoot. The action is smooth, the recoil minimal and the relatively large-caliber rounds make easily visible holes in both paper and tin targets. More than that, it often rode shotgun with me when I rode around a neighbor's property to check up on his livestock.


Why not grab my ever-faithful AK or decked-out AR15? Both are tremendously more powerful, but that also means they are more likely to suffer overpenetration. When I either walked or rode around the property, I wanted something that was ultra-light, had minimal recoil but was powerful enough to stop small predators without risking either over penetration or a missed shot reaching an adjacent property.


Ruger357_1The nearest dwelling is my own, which is still a substantial 500 yards of pine forest apart, but should a round go high for whatever reason, I know that when firing the .38 special round, the chances of it leaving the nearly 75 acre property are slim. This is especially true when utilizing a modern defensive expanding bullet like the Hornady FTX Critical Defense line of ammunition.

Another extremely useful aspect of the round is its compatibility with revolvers. This allows a shooter to share ammunition between the rifle and sidearm, greatly simplifying the logistics of procuring and carrying ammunition. This is the area of the carbine's design that makes it perfectly suited to a survival situation.

Ruger357_5Also, since neither a revolver nor a bolt-action rifle are load-dependent to properly cycle, reliability will never be an issue. There are even recipes available that demonstrate how to load .38 ammo with homemade blackpowder and match sticks, though I would advise against it unless both your life depends on having ammo and there are no other options. In addition, shooters worried about finding ammo in or just prior to a disaster situation can rest easy knowing that it is one of the most common cartridges in America. With enough different loads to fill countless volumes of reloading handbooks. I suspect that, given the strength of the action, shooters could likely load borderline dangerously-high pressure loads without damaging the rifle. But having over-loading ammunition that is proven unsafe for other firearms in the same caliber could be a recipe for disaster.


One last area that the rifle unexpectedly shined in was as a training rifle for new shooters. Even though the Ruger 77/357 feels like a full-powered rifle, its recoil and report are negligible, especially when compared with modern hunting calibers, though the rifle wouldn't do well in this role without an optic. This is because the 77/357 uses the same miniscule iron sights as the 10/22. Though functional, they are too fine for precision or reactive shooting. Thankfully, the 77/357 includes a pair of scope rings.

Ruger357_6To test accuracy, I mounted a magnified optic from one of my favorite makers, Meopta. In particular, a MeoPro 4.5-14x. The optic stayed on 4.5x for the vast majority of shooting save for accuracy tests at 100 plus yards to squeeze every ounce of performance from the carbine. While both the .38 special and .357 Magnum rounds performed well, it's important to note that point of impact shifts tremendously between calibers at range. So shooting looking to carry the rifle in the field should zero it with their desired load beforehand.

Although somewhat pricey, the Ruger 77/357 is an incredibly versatile rifle. Capable of culling whitetail with high-velocity .357 Magnum rounds and ammo interchangeability with a dizzying array of different revolvers, the soft-shooting Ruger makes an excellent farmer's companion. The only thing about the rifle that I personally believe would improve it would be the inclusion of a threaded barrel for sound suppressors, making a modern-day DeLisle carbine for quiet pest control.


Recommended for You

Announced in 1958, the .264 and .338 Winchester magnums hit the market in 1959 amid one of the biggest media blitzes the industry had seen. Both were introduced in “new” versions of Winchester's beloved Model 70. Ammo

.264 and .338 Magnum - Winchester Twins

Craig Boddington - May 24, 2019

Announced in 1958, the .264 and .338 Winchester magnums hit the market in 1959 amid one of the...

Browning's new X-Bolt Max Long Range rifle is an accurate rifle tailored for long range accuracy. Bolt-Action

Browning's New X-Bolt Max Long Range Rifle

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 11, 2019

Browning's new X-Bolt Max Long Range rifle is an accurate rifle tailored for long range...

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved. Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

RS Sako Finnlight II

RS Sako Finnlight II

The new Sako Finnlight II sports an innovative stock and Cerakote metal paired with the terrific 85 action.

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Ruger's Matt WIlson kick off SHOT Show 2018 by taking a look at the Ruger Predator.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

SIG SAUER adds to its Elite Match ammo line with the 30-06 Springfield. Ammo

New 30-06 Springfield Elite Match Ammo from SIG SAUER

Rifleshooter Online Editors - April 03, 2019

SIG SAUER adds to its Elite Match ammo line with the 30-06 Springfield.

The handloading question: With large availability factory ammo on the market, why bother with reloading? Craig Boddington offers a few answers. Reloading

Reloading Ammo – Why?

Craig Boddington - March 26, 2019

The handloading question: With large availability factory ammo on the market, why bother with...

Rifle Shooter editor Scott Rupp provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day gifts. Accessories

Rifle Shooter Father's Day 2019 Gift Guide

J. Scott Rupp - May 07, 2019

Rifle Shooter editor Scott Rupp provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day gifts.

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.