Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ruger 77/357, 77/44, and 77/22 Sight Options



Ruger 77/357, 77/44, and 77/22 Sight Options

Without question my review of the Ruger 77/357 has been one of the most popular articles I have written with thousands of reads to date.  It is a outstandingly versatile rifle due to it’s weight size and of course .357 Magnum/.387 Special chambering. In the initial review video I briefly mentioned a bolt on NECG (New England Custom Gun) sight which spurred numerous questions about what aftermarket sighting options were out there for the Ruger 77/357.  In this article I will touch on several great sight options that will improve the versatility and accuracy of your 77/357, 77/44 or 77/22 rifle.

SCOPES
Adding a scope is an obvious choice for the Ruger 77/357 or other similar series rifles.  The 77/357 even includes a set of 1” rings with the rifle which makes adding a 1” tubed scope very simple and easy.  Larger 30mm scope tubes will require different scope rings. The choice then becomes that of magnification and brand and there are certainly a multitude of options now on the market.  The 77/357 is definitely an under 150 yard rifle and most likely most shots will occur in the 50-75 yard range where open sight would be more than adequate, however a low power scope can definitely increase precision at those ranges for small game.  The new 1-4X variable power scopes are about perfect for this application and provide non-magnified power up to a 4x power which will assure good hits on large game well out to 150 yards.  I have used the Trijicon 1-4X scope a number of times with other reviews and it is a very nice scope, but a little up there in price for a $500 rifle. Burris, Trijicon, and Nikon all have great scopes in this 1-4X range however I stumbled across the very affordable $75 street priced Bushnell Banner 1-4 X32 scope which has proved both durable and reliable throughout testing.  This 1” scope mounts up perfectly to the supplied Ruger 77/357 rings and provides all the magnification required for both fast moving shots and higher precision shots at closer smaller game or larger targets at longer distance.  The Circle-X reticle on the Bushnell Banner is unique and provides fast targeting via the circle and precision with the fine center cross-hairs inside the inner circle.


BUSHNELL BANNER 1-4X32 SCOPE SPECS
Power / Obj Lens
1-4 x 32mm
Finish
Matte
Length (in / mm)
10.5 / 267
Reticle
Circle-X®
Field of View (ft@100 ft. / m@100 m)
78.5/26.1@1x 24.9/8.3@4x
Adj Range in@100yds/ m@100m
50 / 1.4
Weight (oz. / g)
12.2 / 345
Exit Pupil (mm)
16.9@1x / 8@4x
Eye Relief (in / mm)
4.3 / 108
Mounting Length (in / mm)
5.3 / 133
Model
711432
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m
.25 /7


NECG REAR RUGER PEEP SIGHT
Peep sights are without question faster on target and more accurate than standard leaf or buckhorn sights and there is a reason almost every military and competition target shooter in the world use them. The NECG (New England Custom Guns) Rear Ruger peep sight is mounted to the Ruger proprietary scope mount and can be used both as a rugged fully adjustable permanent rear sight or a back up sight should your scope become damaged on a hunt or deemed too powerful or inconvenient for a tight brush hunt. I mentioned in the initial review video that the NECG sight could turn your 77/357 into a scout rifle of sorts but with fully adjustable windage and elevation.  The NECG is a top notch peep sight that is designed for extreme durability, adjustability, and precision. Although the NECG sight comes with a standard all purpose peep aperture, NECG have a variety of other aperture sizes should you require a larger or smaller peep aperture. 

Both windage and elevation can be locked into position on this beefy all steel sight.  This is a key point that I really like about the NECG sight as both a return-to-zero bolt-on back up sight and as a permanent sight.  The elevation is adjusted via a standard small flat-head screw and once zero’ed is locked in placed by tightening the aperture down. The windage is adjusted via the right and left knurled mount nuts. Once zero’ed the right nut has a lock screw that is tightened effectively locking in the windage regardless of how many times the sight is mounted and removed which is handy if you want to stow this as a back up sight in your pocket.  Going forward the left knurled nut handles mounting and un-mounting duties to secure the sight to either the most forward or middle mount on the Ruger.   The sight cannot be mounted on the rear-most scope mount as it will not allow the bolt to cycle.

The downside of this very high quality $85 sight is that is does sit quite a bit higher than the folding rear sight and requires a taller front sight for proper zero otherwise you will be shooting way high.  

Installation of any ⅜” dovetail front or rear sight is the same. I have a standard ¼” punch that is tipped with an empty brass 22LR shell and protects anything being hit.  The stock rear sight was easily drifted out with a hammer and punch and the Skinner sight was drifted in and centered.  With windage drift adjustable sights, the zero’ing practice generally involves going to the range and setting windage via gentle taps left or right with the punch however I was lucky and my bore sight alignment was right on.


Specifically for my .357 20 yard zero required a .570 tall front sight vs the .425 stock height for proper zero.  For this experiment I replaced the front sight with a $17.99 Williams #60238 .570” high X .340 width Fire Sight.  This is idea for a peep sight configuration on only requires you to center the glowing fiber optic red dot in the center of the rear peep on the target.  This is a very fast setup and provides excellent low light visibility of the front sight.
The only downside I could find of this NECG and taller front sight option was that if you use a scope at all it fails to provide a dedicated permanent iron sight solution that never leaves the rifle.  If you are dedicating the rifle to iron sights or can remember to always carry the NECG sight along when your scope is mounted this is a great solution and sighting improvement.


SKINNER SIGHT & 3/8” DOVETAIL SIGHTS
Another sight option for the Ruger 77/357 that I stumbled on as I was swapping sights on my Henry Big Boy from one set of Skinner sights to a newer snazzier version. The re-application of this steel Skinner Peep sight onto my Ruger 77/357 worked perfect.  The Ruger 77/357, 77/44, and 77/22 series all have standard front and rear ⅜” dovetail sights which means any standard ⅜” dovetail front or rear sight can be drifted in easily from right to left via a punch and hammer such as those new fiber optic sights from TruGlo and Williams.  

 The elevation is adjustable via ½ turns of the the steel peep sight which for me allowed my to zero it perfectly at 20 yards for relatively flat shooting to 75 yards and a 4” drop at 100 and 12” drop at 150 yards. Once zero’ed the peep sight can be locked in place with a set screw.


Skinner includes one standard peep sight but makes a variety of small to large apertures that can be screwed into either side of the peep sight.  Personally, I found the sight perfectly accurate and very fast shooting with no aperture installed, but I could see the more precision minded wanting to squeeze out extra accuracy with a smaller aperture installed.  The advantage to the Skinner sight replacement of the rear folding leaf sight is that there is no need to replace the front sight with a different size although for a little more adjustment I would go with one size taller front sight and most likely one of the Williams Firesights.  For those that just want a simple extremely rugged sight that greatly improves accuracy the Skinner Peep sight is a a great option which is easily added for around $48.


FINAL THOUGHTS
After testing both options I decided on keeping the Skinner sight with the stock front sight.  The NECG is a wonderful sight, however I wanted to assure I always had permanently attached iron sights and the elegantly simple and durable Skinner sights provide everything I want on my 77/357 survival rifle.  I fell in love with the tall Williams Fire Sight used to test the NECG and will definitely be upgrading my stock sight height to a Williams fire sight but to one size taller for more adjustability.  The Bushnell Banner scope will be retained and utilized for those longer or more precise engagements outside of the comfort zone of my “old eyes”.  The peep sights decreased my typical groups by as much as 50% and the scope allowed me to really squeeze every last drop of accuracy from my 77/357.  These are easy simple sight upgrades which will definitely provide you with a better shooting 77/357, 77/44, or 77/22.

SOURCES
Ruger - http://www.ruger.com/
Bushnell - http://www.bushnell.com/
NECG - http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/
WIlliams Sights - http://www.williamsgunsight.com/
Skinner SIghts - http://skinnersights.com/

6 comments:

Mo said...

Excellent post. Until I saw your video and blog post on the Ruger 77/357 I was intrigued but not quite convinced. You posts have put it back on my radar, especially knowing I could put a peep sight on it. Should pair up nice with my Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle.

Major Pandemic said...

It really depends on your intent of the rifle, however the Skinner peep sight is a tough option to beat and has found a permanent home on my 77/357.

Unknown said...

Once I've added the NECG rear sight can I just remove the Existing flip up sight located on the barrel?

Major Pandemic said...

Yes - but as noted you will need the taller front sight. I am sure someone has a Stainless Dovetail blank to keep it looking nice.

nuke777 said...

I have seen several reviews now most were very good however some have commented that there 77/.357 had jams from the rotary mag. did you encounter this problem? Is it a mag problem or a rifle problem? I only ask because I already bought the rifle and they said it was a constant problem.

nuke777 said...

I have read several reviews for this rifle most were good one a comment that was on two different reviews was a known ejection problem notably from the rotary magazine. Did you encounter this problem? Do you believe this kind of problem is in the magazine or the weapon itself? I only ask because they said it was a constant problem and I have already bought the rifle and it is on the way so I am in the boat if you will.