The second incarnation of the Ruger 77 has met with nothing but success. The Mark II is a controlled round feed action with dual-opposed locking lugs and a non-rotating claw extractor. In many ways the Mark II filled the gap left in the market when the Model 70 switched to a push feed action. For a long time almost all American-made rifles were push feeds due to the fact that many of the push feed designs work just as well as controlled round feeds and the push feed was traditionally much cheaper to produce. Bill Ruger’s commitment to investment casting and mechanical genius allowed Ruger to produce a controlled round feed action that was actually lower in cost than many push feed designs. The 77 is never as slick as the original Model 70 right out of the box (this has been referred to as “Ruger Smooth”), but after break-in it’s hard to tell the difference. One of the best advancements the 77 brought to the market was integral dovetail scope mounts machined into the top of the receiver. In addition to reducing points of potential failure, this system allows the scope rings to be installed correctly every time with only a large screwdriver, which is a real boon for the mechanically disinclined.
Controlled round feed actions have a reputation for jamming less and extracting better than push feed designs. Whether this reputation is deserved is always going to be a matter of contention, but what is for certain is that the controlled round feed Ruger 77 works wonderfully. As a platform for different variants, the Mark II is accurate enough for varmint rifles while still being reliable and strong enough for safari rifles. The Mark II is a favorite among gun cranks looking for an action to rebarrel for a wildcat cartridge. Ruger has produced so many variants of the 77 over the years that they are getting hard to keep track of, but they have had no trouble selling any of them and have received few complaints.
The 77 Mark II suffered in our comparison in Fit/Finish because Rugers are not always as pretty as they could be. That being said, current Ruger rifles look far better than the original offerings and they are improving all the time.
For all uses under all conditions and especially when price is taken into account the 77 Mark II action is currently the best value in the market, and many say it is superior to far more expensive actions available from custom companies. The 77 Mark II might be Bill Ruger’s best idea among many great ones.
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