Initial Impressions: Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Target

Well, once again curiosity got the better of me a month or so ago. I'd seen a number of very positive reviews on the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Target (LRT) and figured I'd give one a spin just to see if it was everything the shills made it out to be. So, I plopped down the cash at my LGS and told them to order me one in 300 Win Mag. Finally got around to picking it up today and gave it the once over. For anyone looking for a range report, you won't find it here, so move along folks, nothing here to see...

Anyone left? I'll pretend there is and keep typing away on this ridiculously tiny keyboard on my phone.

After the unboxing and requisite inspecting, fondling, cycling and dry firing I was left, oddly enough, both a little bit happy and a little bit sad at the same time.

The Happy:
It's got a Goldilocks recoil pad. Not too hard, not too soft but just right.
It comes with two stock extensions to adjust length of pull.
The stippling on the stock was another Goldilocks win. Not too smooth, not too rough but just right.
All of the parts that are supposed to be metal are in fact metal...no plastic where it doesn't belong.
All of the metal parts have a nice, uniform flat black/charcoal grey finish.
It has a nice section of M-Lock rail inletted into the bottom of the forend.
And so ends The Happy...

The Sad:
It comes equipped with an adjustable riser that is a mechanical mess. Looks simple enough, and in truth it is. It uses the friction generated by a cam/lever setup which isn't inherently a bad thing. Not great, but not bad either. Unfortunately, the way it's designed makes it reliant on the stock being of uniform thickness through the length of its travel. It's not. To adjust fore and aft requires opening the lever and then turning the cam lever in or out as much as 3/4 of a turn.
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The action runs about as smoothly as my Ruger American Predator, but without the annoying "zzzzzzzzzzt" noise caused by sloppy machine work. I fully expect it will smooth out with repeated use.
The trigger is just as much a mechanical mess as the stock riser. It's supposedly a two stage target trigger. The first stage is flawless, easy take up to a nice solid wall. From there, it's all downhill. The second stage has some very noticeable creep and the break, which instead of being a nice crisp "Snap" is more of a mushy drawn out "thhhuuunk". All of the above is followed by an unadvertised third stage known as over travel. And in an amount that can only be described as excessive...very very excessive.
The plastic magazine... either it's slightly too wide or the magazine well is slightly too narrow. In either case, according to a very accurate load cell, it takes an average of 15.3 pounds of force to seat the magazine. They had to know this since the rifle shipped with the magazine inserted.
The inletting for the QD mounts and the bottom rail are sloppy, with fairly extensive gaps between metal and wood. Screws even come with some factory installed schmutz...
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Like mounting a dime in a penny sized hole. I haven't worked up the guts to dismount the action to check on what's going on with the inletting inside the stock... yet.
Speaking of gaps, the wood laminate is visible along one side of those gaps on both sides of the stock. Looks like the base finish was sprayed on from only one direction.
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The barrel channel. Hmmmm... everything I've read indicates that the barrel is free floating. And NOPE!. Approximately the first 2 inches from the receiver is free, then there is about 3/4 of an inch that has solid contact between the barrel and the barrel channel. There is no contact from that point on out to the end of the barrel channel.
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And so ends The Sad.

Granted, a grand isn't a lot of money these days, it's a sample size of one, this may very well have been a Friday at 4:55 PM rifle, and YMMV...

With any luck it'll perform well enough to offset my initial disappointment.
 
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Nice. I'm sure you'll work the kinks out of it.
Looks like they're trying to give Savage a run. I'd take the Ruger mauser action over a Savage, any day.
Admittedly, I expected a much smoother action finish in mine (7mm-08 all weather) when it arrived and was disappointed. The action is much more coarse than my Win M70 or Tikka.
I believe you reload? I had the hardest time getting it to group nicely. Finally got some beautiful groups with heavy monos, and some folks suggested I try 4064 and SSTs, where I had been using RL15.
On barrel channel - mine touched. I replaced it with a Ruger varmint channel wood stock that I found at Cabelas for $35. Looks nice and shoots well now. Happy.
 
Nice. I'm sure you'll work the kinks out of it.
Looks like they're trying to give Savage a run. I'd take the Ruger mauser action over a Savage, any day.
Admittedly, I expected a much smoother action finish in mine (7mm-08 all weather) when it arrived and was disappointed. The action is much more coarse than my Win M70 or Tikka.
I believe you reload? I had the hardest time getting it to group nicely. Finally got some beautiful groups with heavy monos, and some folks suggested I try 4064 and SSTs, where I had been using RL15.
On barrel channel - mine touched. I replaced it with a Ruger varmint channel wood stock that I found at Cabelas for $35. Looks nice and shoots well now. Happy.
I have a handful of different rifles in 300 Win Mag. Each has it's own preferred load, so I'll start with a batch of each and use them to find my starting point for load development for this rifle.
 
For advertising this is a long range gun, it takes a lot of nerve to make a non freefloated setup from the factory.
The Ruger website specifically touts the free floated barrel. Ok, they're the manufacturer and I expect hype. But, I don't recall reading a single review that didn't also mention it as well. Maybe I got a fluke, maybe I didn't...

What concerns me more than an easily remedied barrel channel is the atrocious trigger. I haven't had time to take it apart and look at it, so I have no idea what, if anything, can be done to fix it.

At this point I'm seriously considering boxing it up and sending it back to Ruger unfired and with a list of things to fix.
 
I'm sorry the rifle isn't up to par. $1,000. ain't chump change and the rifle should be correct.
Please let us know how it turns out.
I fired off a list of issues to their customer support. It'll be interesting to see how they respond. I have a fair number of ruger firearms, but have never had one land in my hands that required involving them to rectify it.
 
I would have thought they learned their lessons with the RPR and all the Q.C. complaints of piss poor fit and finish and slop, especially the cam lock system on the stock! Trigger sounds like it may need a good cleaning, maybe not!
I too own a number of Ruger M-77 and Hawkeye rifles, never had a single issue with any of them until the RPR came along, I took quite a bit of tuning, no small amount of swearing, and patience, but I finally got it to run right and all issues resolved! Hope that isn't the case here!
 
I would have thought they learned their lessons with the RPR and all the Q.C. complaints of piss poor fit and finish and slop, especially the cam lock system on the stock! Trigger sounds like it may need a good cleaning, maybe not!
I too own a number of Ruger M-77 and Hawkeye rifles, never had a single issue with any of them until the RPR came along, I took quite a bit of tuning, no small amount of swearing, and patience, but I finally got it to run right and all issues resolved! Hope that isn't the case here!
I pulled the action and took a look at the trigger. It's clean as a whistle. Not having access to the blueprints, all I can assume is that there are at least two, and quite possibly three components that are out of spec. It's adjustable to a limited extent and not at all for over travel.

Depending on Ruger's response, I'll either be sending it back to them or looking for a replacement trigger since what I'm seeing looks like more work to remanufacture than it would be worth.
 
Strike 2 for Ruger:

Received a form email this morning from them stating they want me to send the rifle back to them on my dime. Well, I have a bit of a problem with that:

Sunup to sundown, my free time can almost exclusively be measured in bits and snippets of not more than a few minutes here and there throughout the day. Since we live in pretty much the middle of nowhere, I figure it's going to take about 2.5 hours to box it back up and drive back and forth to have it shipped. The accountant puts a dollar value on my labor for the ranch which we mutually agreed was reasonable. Figuring the dollar value of the time and expense it's going to take me to ship it back means my "dime" is worth in the neighborhood of $400. That's also about 40% of the price I paid for the rifle. Hmmm... doesn't really seem reasonable on their part to expect me to incur a 40% premium over the purchase price of the rifle to have them rectify their own workmanship issues.

As a comparison, I had an issue with the ejector on a Henry rifle. I reported it to them and their response was to send me an unmarked box with a return shipping label and a phone number to call for pickup. Time invested, maybe 15 minutes.

I'll give Ruger a call when I have time and see if they're willing to step up.
 
Strike 3 for Ruger...

Tried calling their customer service 7 different times over the course of 2 days and not once was I able to speak to a person. Kept navigating their menu and being told to please wait and the next available blah blah blah. Actually waited over a half hour one time before I lost my patience and hung up.

An interesting side note...

I've had my eye on this rifle for well over a year. I spent some time reading reviews and checking up on pricing and availability from multiple sources before I bought this rifle. One of those sources was Davidson's. In 300 Win Mag, the rifle was out of stock more than it was in stock with most of the suppliers, so when I saw they had 6 in stock I figured it was time to move on it. The interesting part of this story, for me anyway, is that a quick lookup through the Ruger website revealed that this rifle shipped from their factory in 2018.

How and why does a rifle that is more often than not "out of stock" with suppliers float around unnoticed in the system for the better part of two or more years?

I have my suspicions, but would like to hear what others think.

Thanks for reading :)
 
Just curious why trigger over travel is an issue with a bolt action rifle?
For the same reason it's an issue for me with every other type of firearm... the sudden release of tension on the trigger when it breaks followed by quick finger movement with almost no resistance immediately followed by a sudden halt all combine to introduce a minute amount of movement in the rifle before the bullet leaves the bore. At extended ranges it moves the point of impact a substantial amount.
 

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