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RUGER 77/256: "The Wolfer"

Spitpatch

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In its final form now and ready for a month in Montana: The Ruger 77/256:

P7220353.JPG


It is my firm belief this is the very first one ever built. Early '60's Marlin brochures with the debut of the .256 Winchester Magnum (as chambered in the Marlin Model 62 Levermatics) talked of application of the cartridge to a list of game that topped out at "Wolves". The cartridge is capable of that and more as I proved to myself a few years back by taking a nice Pronghorn buck with one shot. However, with Marlin's early reference (and having seen the dramatic effect of this cartridge on multiple Coyotes) I have chosen to call this conversion "The Wolfer".

I appealed to Members of this site a while back asking for suggested improvements toward a Ruger M77/357 and then revealed my end game when I got the re-barreled gun back from Dennis Olson in Plains, Montana. See thread Ruger 77/357: best modification

Since that time the gun has had the Shivley Shims installed in the bolt (amazingly taking up the "built-in tolerance slack" in the two-piece rear-lockup arrangement), and an impressive dip done by HGI (Hydro Graphics Incorporated) in Newberg. Optics are a silver finished Leupold 3x-9x Compact. The barrel is by Dan Lilja (screwed on by his neighbor Dennis Olson).

The preferred load (so far) is a 70gr Sierra BlitzKing propelled by 17.5gr of AA1680 and a Federal Small Rifle Benchrest primer, doing 2510fps from the heavy sporter 21" tube. I modify these bullets prior to loading by buffing the plastic tip down to a semi-spitzer in order to achieve proper overall length to operate in the rotary magazine. (Learned this technique working with box-magazine Hornets in order to utilize better bullets than commonly offered for that cartridge).
Groups are now averaging .90" with a noticed improvement since I installed the bolt shims, along with the Timney upgrade to the trigger.

I'm happier'n a hound dog in a coon den.

P7220352.JPG
P7220357.JPG
 
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VERY Interesting Rifle and a VERY Interesting Caliber. The Ruger Hawkeye Pistol would make a nice pair. KKG
 
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A friend of mine built this exact cartridge/rifle combination about 7 years ago. He loves it.

256 is a cool little cartridge, I played around with a re-barreled Ruger #3 about 10 years ago. It was really accurate.
 
OP
Spitpatch

Spitpatch

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A friend of mine built this exact cartridge/rifle combination about 7 years ago. He loves it.

256 is a cool little cartridge, I played around with a re-barreled Ruger #3 about 10 years ago. It was really accurate.
I would be very interested toward the possibility of contacting anyone who has done this conversion previously in order to compare notes, materials and data. Lilhigbee and I have corresponded in some depth regarding the cartridge itself.
 
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I would be very interested toward the possibility of contacting anyone who has done this conversion previously in order to compare notes, materials and data. Lilhigbee and I have corresponded in some depth regarding the cartridge itself.
He owns Gunners (gun shop) in Redmond Oregon. I don't have the number handy but you could google it.
 
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A friend of mine built this exact cartridge/rifle combination about 7 years ago. He loves it.

256 is a cool little cartridge, I played around with a re-barreled Ruger #3 about 10 years ago. It was really accurate.
The .256 is a wonderfully accurate little Cartridge I just wish the Folks at Smith and Wesson had used it in their Model 53 but then again I'm not sure if it would have made any difference.

The .22 Remington "Jet" Magnum is an Extremely Accurate Cartridge to Fire but it is ALSO VERY Slow Reloading. Things have to be Extremely Clean and DRY!

I've fired 1/2 MOA Groups off the Bench at 200 meters! With Factory Ammunition!
 
OP
Spitpatch

Spitpatch

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Update:

Group size aggregate average of four (4) 3-shot groups shot in sequence on one piece of paper:

.8205"

The .256 Winchester Magnum is the strong strapping child worthy of every portion of its name.
 

turq

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Nice!
Lilja barrel is one if not the best.
I wonder what you have found to be the ‘range’ in gas. Of min. To max. With your powder selection. 2 grains? I know Hornet is very narrow.
What other powders are suitable. Just wondering...

Nice set up!
 
OP
Spitpatch

Spitpatch

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IMR4227 comes highly recommended for the cartridge (Sierra book accuracy load at 14.3gr with a 75gr bullet) and that is what I have loaded for the Marlins. I have had such good luck with AA1680 in the Hornets and .25-20's and it turned out to work very well for the .256.

I would agree from chrono readings and accuracy results that very slow loads in this cartridge do not group very well, and if one pushes the envelope on the hot side the negatives erupt pretty quickly. When trying AA1680 I had very little or no previous data and so got to experience the entire range of mild to wild. The sweet spot accuracy-wise happened right where it should: At the velocity where SD's leveled out and beneath powder charges that showed any velocity spikes.
 

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