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Ruger Tinkerer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yup. I finally decided to order one yesterday. I have this M77 Hawkeye Alaskan in 375 Ruger that's a pretty cool rifle but it was only offered (if I'm not mistaken) in a Hogue black overmolded stock. A very practical stock for the designed intent of hunting in the wet coastal environment of Alaska. But I'm down at the opposite corner of North America and I want something.....different....

I've ordered a black pepper laminate varmint thumbhole stock :)eek:) with a satin finish, stippling and a thick cushy Hi-Viz pad. I guess I'm going after some really big varmints. Are gators varmints? How about 20 foot pythons? It may seem a bit crazy but I wanna try it and see. I'm hoping the thumbhole design will put a bit more recoil energy into my arm and less into my shoulder. We shall see....

Never re-stocked a rifle before. I read that it's supposed to "drop in" but in my experience "drop in" stuff rarely just drops in like it should. That's OK if it doesn't - I'll learn something along the way. That's why I like these projects and I don't just drop stuff off at a gunsmith with a check and say "here's what I want."

Anyway, just wanted to share. I'll add a few photos along the way. I don't expect I'll see the new stock for 3 or 4 weeks.
 

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Waveform, I went through a similar situation with my Remington 700 ADL. It was a cheap rifle with a grim factory black composite stock .... however the rifle is exceptionally accurate. I decided to buy a Boyd's thumb-through-hole laminated stock. It was truly a drop-in ... no fitting was required at all. In fact the Boyd's stock fit my barreled action better that the factory composite stock. Make sure you torque the stock screws down to factory spec!!!

Here's what my 700 ADL looks like Now. BTW, the new stock did not change accuracy a lick .... still the same tack driver as before.

 

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Righteous Dude
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I like Hogue, but I think this is a good route for your rifle. Plus, your choice in color is one of my favorites. This ought to make a real nice setup. I look forward to the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Waveform, I went through a similar situation with my Remington 700 ADL. It was a cheap rifle with a grim factory black composite stock .... however the rifle is exceptionally accurate. I decided to buy a Boyd's thumb-through-hole laminated stock. It was truly a drop-in ... no fitting was required at all. In fact the Boyd's stock fit my barreled action better that the factory composite stock. Make sure you torque the stock screws down to factory spec!!!

Here's what my 700 ADL looks like Now. BTW, the new stock did not change accuracy a lick .... still the same tack driver as before.

Nice! Thats what I'm going for. I don't see many large bore rifles with thumbhole stocks but I did see one once, some high dollar custom in 375 H&H. Gonna give it a try. I hope mine drops in as easy as yours. What caliber is your Remington?

Does the owner's manual provide the factory torque specs? Do I need to invest in a torque wrench that is calibrated in inch/pounds?
 

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I want to try one on my 700 as well. I'm anxious to see how yours turns out.
 

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Wow Lowegan, that is one beautiful rifle, I've got the 700 BDL Custom Deluxe in .270, and my rifle though still very nice looking could use a new stock such as that thumbhole model from Boyds. It's been thru some rugged country since I first purchased it back in 1973 for a mule deer hunt on the Triple J Ranch Yavapai County Sheriff's hunt. Incidentally I took one of the largest muleys that was harvested that year.
 

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Waveform, No, I don't think the stock screw torque is mentioned in the owner's manual. The reason why I mentioned torque is .... Ruger uses a slanted barrel wedge instead of a straight barrel lug like a Winchester or Remington. As such, if the stock screws aren't torqued properly, the stock will move and your groups will open up. Some good soul will likely post the torque specs for your M-77.

My Remy 700 ADL is chambered for 223 Rem ... super accurate little gun, even when it had the crappy factory stock. I have a Burris Full Field II 3.5~10x50mm scope with Leupold bayonet base and rings. This is one prairie dog killing machine. If I can see a PD at 250 yards or less, one shot and it goes to PD heaven. If you have ever hunted prairie dogs you would know .... many times all you get for a target is a set of eyes and the top of a head ... maybe as small as a dime. I have been known to suck a PD right out of the hole and make them helicopter several feet.

Boyd's did an excellent job on my stock. It was inleted just perfect and the barrel channel was already routed out so the barrel will free float. It also came with sling studs so I can use it with my Harris bi-pod and/or a sling. The sling in the photo is 1 1/4" wide nylon GI type hasty sling.

Loose Noose, I also have a Remy 700 chambered in 7mm-'08. It is an older BDL and has a walnut stock with the nice DuPont high luster finish. It is also a tack driver and an excellent deer gun. I'd have a hard time justifying a Boyd's stock for this gun .... mostly because it is a beautiful piece of wood, it fits me like a glove, and shoots real tight groups. What more could you want? BTW, Boyd's makes long action and short action Mod 700 stocks. Make sure you order the long action for your .270.
 

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You might find you have to do MINIMAL finish inletting for that Boyd's stock, usually around the sides of the mag well. I just dropped my wife's new Hawkeye into a Boyd's Prairie Hunter in Coyote, it didn't need any fitting at all, but I've had others of theirs that needed 20-30min of sanding. Overall great products.

The Ruger spec for the angled front action screw is either 90 or 95 inch pounds. A couple of my M77's have shot best down at 65-70in.lbs. but most like it all the way up at 90.

The Wheeler FAT Wrench does NOT adjust tight enough for 90in.lbs. So keep that in mind before you buy it. It's a great product, but it's not sufficient for Ruger front action screws.

I pillar block, bed, and free float all of my bolt action rifles, Ruger's not excluded.

You MIGHT find that your barrel is a little hefty for the barrel channel that Boyd's planned for. I didn't take the time to try my .416R into this new barrel I got for my wife's 7mm Hawkeye, but to look at them side by side, I'm not sure this .416R barrel would set into that channel and free float.

Based on my experience with mid and big bore rifles, and the Boyd's thumbhole stocks, I'll bet you get every bit of the recoil that you're due from that combination!!! It's a pretty linear stock, you might not enjoy it - but that pad should help soak up a lot of the customer service issues. I'd be very concerned, however, with the strength of the topstrap behind the action, above the thumbhole. The .375R is no slouch, and there's just not that much wood left right there. I've broken 3 stocks with mid and big bore rifles, I'm not sure I'd trust it. It'd be easy enough to find a long bit and insert a steel reinforcing rod (epoxy in place) into the stock at that position. The "flare" at the bottom of the pistol grip is nice and thick, but it's a long ways below the bore line, I'd be worried it'd allow too much flex and crush that topline. Just thinking outloud here, hopefully you won't have any issue (the laminate will have less issues than some solid woods might).
 

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Waveform, No, I don't think the stock screw torque is mentioned in the owner's manual. The reason why I mentioned torque is .... Ruger uses a slanted barrel wedge instead of a straight barrel lug like a Winchester or Remington. As such, if the stock screws aren't torqued properly, the stock will move and your groups will open up. Some good soul will likely post the torque specs for your M-77.
Sorry, some good soul didn't beat me to it, but at least you got the information...

Page 20 of the Ruger M77 Hawkeye's owner's manual, Step 4.d of the "Reassembly" section:

d. Install floorplate hinge assembly and tighten the screw to 95 in-lbs. (This screw is angled and draws the barrel-action assembly into the bedding surface of the stock.)
 

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I've installed several Boyd's stocks on different make of rifles with no problems whatsoever. In my case "drop in" really was "drop in" Good luck! A LGS recently got a Ruger 77 in 375 Ruger on trade. It's a L/H model in as new condition. Almost makes me want to learn to shoot left handed as it has a beautiful walnut stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You might find you have to do MINIMAL finish inletting for that Boyd's stock, usually around the sides of the mag well. I just dropped my wife's new Hawkeye into a Boyd's Prairie Hunter in Coyote, it didn't need any fitting at all, but I've had others of theirs that needed 20-30min of sanding. Overall great products.

The Ruger spec for the angled front action screw is either 90 or 95 inch pounds. A couple of my M77's have shot best down at 65-70in.lbs. but most like it all the way up at 90.

The Wheeler FAT Wrench does NOT adjust tight enough for 90in.lbs. So keep that in mind before you buy it. It's a great product, but it's not sufficient for Ruger front action screws.

I pillar block, bed, and free float all of my bolt action rifles, Ruger's not excluded.

You MIGHT find that your barrel is a little hefty for the barrel channel that Boyd's planned for. I didn't take the time to try my .416R into this new barrel I got for my wife's 7mm Hawkeye, but to look at them side by side, I'm not sure this .416R barrel would set into that channel and free float.

Based on my experience with mid and big bore rifles, and the Boyd's thumbhole stocks, I'll bet you get every bit of the recoil that you're due from that combination!!! It's a pretty linear stock, you might not enjoy it - but that pad should help soak up a lot of the customer service issues. I'd be very concerned, however, with the strength of the topstrap behind the action, above the thumbhole. The .375R is no slouch, and there's just not that much wood left right there. I've broken 3 stocks with mid and big bore rifles, I'm not sure I'd trust it. It'd be easy enough to find a long bit and insert a steel reinforcing rod (epoxy in place) into the stock at that position. The "flare" at the bottom of the pistol grip is nice and thick, but it's a long ways below the bore line, I'd be worried it'd allow too much flex and crush that topline. Just thinking outloud here, hopefully you won't have any issue (the laminate will have less issues than some solid woods might).
Sorry, some good soul didn't beat me to it, but at least you got the information...

Page 20 of the Ruger M77 Hawkeye's owner's manual, Step 4.d of the "Reassembly" section:
Good info Varminterror - thanks! When all else fails read the manual, huh? :D

I've wondered about how much room I'll have for that fat barrel but if I have to make some adjustments to fit I can deal with that. I'm sure there's no getting around the recoil from this rifle. It is what it is and it's rather stout. Your concerns about the integrity of the stock above the thumbhole are worth noting - there may be a good reason why thumbhole stocks are not common on big bore rifles. The project is one I've mulled over in my head for over a year at least and it really has no end use application so it's just for the sake of doing it and seeing what I can learn from it. Thankfully a Boyd's laminate stock is only $129 so the price of admission to this little sideshow is fairly low. The worst that can happen is I'll have a broken stock and some interesting photos to add to the end of this thread. And I'll order another conventional stock sans thumbhole. But I'm hoping this works out....we shall see.

If the Wheeler FAT wrench can't handle to the torque specs is there another option? Brownell's has a 1/4" torque wrench that is rated 30 - 200 in-lb but it's a bit spendy at $180. I would prefer to spend less - like the FAT wrench at $55. I have a few weeks to look around and see what's out there unless someone comes along with a good option.
 

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Waveform, I went through a similar situation with my Remington 700 ADL. It was a cheap rifle with a grim factory black composite stock .... however the rifle is exceptionally accurate. I decided to buy a Boyd's thumb-through-hole laminated stock. It was truly a drop-in ... no fitting was required at all. In fact the Boyd's stock fit my barreled action better that the factory composite stock. Make sure you torque the stock screws down to factory spec!!!

Here's what my 700 ADL looks like Now. BTW, the new stock did not change accuracy a lick .... still the same tack driver as before.

I have the same stock in Nutmeg laminate....no issues and recoil seems less with it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Found a 1/4" drive torque wrench with a range of 20 - 200 in-lbs on Amazon for $40. Should be here in a few days and long before the stock arrives. I believe that's the only tool I was needing for this little project. Now to wait......
 

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Found a 1/4" drive torque wrench with a range of 20 - 200 in-lbs on Amazon for $40. Should be here in a few days and long before the stock arrives. I believe that's the only tool I was needing for this little project. Now to wait......
That is the difficult part.
 

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Looks like Wave found one on Amazon, so it's kinda moot, but I'd expect a guy has to be in a pretty remote location to not have a store near him with the proper torque wrench available.

I have three "Ruger friendly" torque wrenches (I've moved several times, tools get lost temporarily every time, it seems), one is a Husky purchased off of the shelf at my local Home Depot, one is a Craftsman that was purchased off of the shelf at my local Sears, and the 3rd is a no name (OEM) bought at my local Autozone.

It's really common though that a guy doesn't already have a "Ruger Friendly" torque wrench in their tool box, simply because the average guy that only owns a torque wrench to break lug nuts doesn't tend to have the right range. But they're around to be had without special order.

I mentioned to Wave in PM, but will share my experience here. I use a long 1/4" socket with the appropriate bit and a ~2" drive extension so I can make a fist around the socket and extension and rest the heel of my fist against the stock to act as a driver guide. That helps me from slipping and either buggering the screw head or worse, scratching my stock. Just a technique that works for me that I thought I'd pass on. Of course, that implies that the rifle is laying belly-up in a support fixture - one hand on the extension, one hand on the torque wrench.
 

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The .375 Ruger.

My observations of all this probably don't fall in line with the stuff discussed but I think they have some validity.

The rubber coated plastic stock - bad deal for quick gun handling - it catches up on clothing - rubber is OK for anti skid mats but not rifle stocks. Pistol grips might be of the rubber type.

Putting the .375 in a wood stock not having cross bolts(s) and not epoxy bedded is almost certain to invite recoil produced stock failure in the form of cracking and splitting. The first Ruger Hawkeyes with plain wood stocks had this problem.

The attached photo shows my .375-.338 M77 MKII, essentially the same as the Hawkeye. It has:

Fully bedded with Brownells steel particle epoxy.
Cross Bolt made from 1/8 machine screw dipped in epoxy and turned in
Area behind tang relieved 1/16 inch to prevent recoil caused stock damage.
1 inch thick Pachmayr (sp?) recoil pad.

This rifle was at one time a standard belted magnum but has had a #5 contour Lilja .375 1-12 twist barrel installed. It has open sights and usually has a Zeiss 3-9X40 scope mounted. No, the scope does not touch the barrel -almost 3/32 clearance.

Thumb hole stocks are very useful for big kickers as your entire hand including thumb can be placed directly behind the barrel/receiver to take up recoil. For fast follow up shots the thumb hole business becomes somewhat of a liability because your entire hand but be repositioned in the thumb hole - I have never seen a rifle intended for dangerous game having a thumb hole stock.

As far as torque goes I think any attempt to quantify torque be assigning some inch-pound value would be useless. The Hawkeye has the peculiar Ruger diagonal bedding system with its tiny recoil lug and using this without reinforcement of epoxy bedding and/or cross bolt would be an invitation for stock cracking or splitting, even with a laminated (plywood) stock. If the bedding is correctly done the diagonal front screw can be tightened with little force until the last 1/2 or less turn then at that point no other tightening or screw tension can be achieved without breaking or stripping something.

I would try to get some Allen head receiver screws to replace the factory screws.

Be prepared to spend some effort to put everything together.

Been there and done that - good luck
 

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Ruger Tinkerer
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Very interesting stuff BassMan. Thank you for your thoughtful and informative post and it seems you have traveled somewhat on this road before. What does Ruger do now in terms of bedding and reinforcement/support on the rifles they currently offer in 375 Ruger? I know the Guide Gun is a laminate stock and the African is a walnut stock and both appear to have some kind of cross bolt under the receiver?

My Alaskan as it is now just sits in the safe. It's not particularly pleasant to shoot and I have no practical hunting application in mind for it at this time. What I'm really trying to do is make it more appealing both aesthetically and as a shooter so maybe it will get some range time. Quick follow up shots are not a concern for this and I'm glad to hear the thumbhole design may help soak up some of that recoil. If the stock holds together that is...

While I'm waiting for the stock to arrive I'm trying to wrap my head around how to reinforce or beef up that stock in anticipation of what may happen.
 

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Shooting the .375 is a real blast (pun intended). Pointy 270 grain bullets shoot much like 180 grain .30-06 loads and they really smack steel at 300 and over.

I know very little about the .375 rifles that Ruger makes now and I will have to research this by checking out one at my LGS and looking at the parts description on the on-line Ruger site.

My stock has held up well. They only problem I had with it was the stock/wood behind the tang started to fold up but making a 1/16 gap behind the tang fixed that problem.

Go slow and read everything 2 times and the project should go well. I use Brownell's Accu Glass for most of my projects; others find various faults with it but it has served me well. The stuff containing ground up stainless steel is sort of pricy and I think the gel type stuff in the green box should be adequate. This is usually available at your LGS for $30 or so.

Should you need to open up the barrel channel for a fatter barrel get a Gun Line washer type scraper. This tool has a bunch of hardened sharp edged steel washers separated by smaller rubber washers. It can either be pushed or pulled through the area to be opened up. Most laminates have layers of opposing grain direction layers that are glued together. This makes them sort of difficult to work except with files, rasps, sandpaper and the like.

Should you load your own - H or IMR 4350 with the relatively inexpensive 270 grain Hornady bullet works well in my rifle and in the slightly larger .375 Ruger it also should perform. Some .375 bullets like the Swift A frame are really pricy and not needed for shooting targets and such.
 
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