Gun Review: Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator


The Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator is a bolt action hunting rifle that is built around a tried and true design that has been around for years. The rifle Ruger sent out to me, is chambered in the ultra-flat shooting 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, though this rifle is available in other sizes depending on what your needs are. The laminate and matte stainless finish are pleasant on the eyes, and it received a lot of praise at the range.

The M77 in 6.5 Creedmoor comes with a 24” barrel, and a 1 in 8 right handed 6 groove twist. The internal magazine holds 4 rounds with an easily accessible hinged floor plate that allows the shooter to remove all of the cartridges without having to manually cycle each round.

I was allowed to choose between rifles chambered in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor. Though I went with the latter, I’m not sure I’d choose it for my own personal hunting rifle, simply due to ammo costs.

As of this writing, you can find .308 Win for right around $14 per box of twenty rounds. A similar box of Creedmoor starts at about $22 and goes up from there. While this is expensive, it is significantly lower than it was when first introduced to the market. It is also a lot lower than it was a few months ago when I first began testing this rifle. My best guess as to why it is cheaper now, is because a few more ammo makers started manufacturing it.

I personally love the laminate stock and matte stainless finish. Overall, I think this is a good looking rifle. Some people don’t really care for it, however, and that is fine. Having said that, I’m not out to win any beauty pageants with it, and the most important aspect of any hunting rifle is that it performs flawlessly whenever the kill shot is needed.

Even though it did give me a few hiccups at first, it seems to be very well made, overall. In the beginning of my test period, not all of the rounds fully ejected, and actually ended up landing on top of the cartridges inside the magazine. As you can imagine, this can be a huge issue if you need to cycle another round quickly because shot placement was less than perfect with your first bullet. 

However, after each round went down range this failure happened less and less. Eventually, it seemed to fix itself altogether. I suggest that, as with any gun, you take it to the range for a good break in period first, to make sure that everything is in good working order.

The felt recoil on the Hawkeye Predator was minimal, leaving my shoulder happy to take as many rounds as my wallet would allow. I used Hornady 120 grain A-Max Match grade ammunition for my testing, and sent a very expensive 100 rounds down range.

The smooth two stage trigger on this rifle feels crisp. And, after the initial slack is taken up, not a lot of pressure is needed to reach the break and send a round down range.

As is the case with most of Ruger’s rifles, the optic you choose to install on it won’t require the use of any aftermarket scope mounts. Instead, Ruger incorporates their own mounting system into the rifle itself, which helps increase shooter accuracy.

The rifle comes with a set of scope rings, a lock and butt stock spacers which adds, or takes away, half an inch to the length of pull. Adjusting the length is as simple as removing two screws and adding the spacers.

Finally, the three way safety helps keep the rifle honest. When the safety is all the way to the rear, the bolt will not open nor fire a shot. When it is in the middle, the rifle will not fire. And when the lever is all the way forward, it is ready to shoot. 

The Ruger Hawkeye Predator is an excellent and accurate shooter. It has an MSRP of right around $1100, which equates into a street price of a few hundreds dollars less. Personally, I think it looks great, and is capable of shooting 1” MOA at 100 yards. Just make sure you have everything working together properly before you bring it out to your next hunt. After all, you actually want to take your dinner home with you.

Editor’s Note: Joshua Gillem is a guest contributor who currently serves as the editor for Gun Carrier.