Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ruger 77/357, the "Hearing Protection Act" and a job well done.

2016 has come and gone and with it Ruger fans everywhere got a little sad news in mid September that the  rim-fire and pistol caliber series of the rugged, reliable and typically Ruger, 77 bolt actions rifles would be temporarily discontinued. For how long who knows....but when I got the news I thought about how much I've been enjoying my 77/357 and was hoping that Ruger would not only continue its production but also come out with a .327 Federal version as well as other pistol caliber bolt actions. Keeping one eye on what companies were starting to bring into production towards the end of 2016 and the other on the political climate that was Bedlam, USA in a presidential election year I asked myself if there was any work I wanted to get done that I didn't feel comfortable doing myself possibly before things got more tumultuous.  I thought to my beloved 77/357 and the rumors that the HPA was going to make for another push to pass and remembered researching smiths that specialized in 77 barrel threading jobs. 

Barrel prior to front sight set back and threading by JP Grips
For me I not only wanted my 77 threaded for 1/2x28 but wanted to keep a usable front sight with most of the aesthetics that one gets with Ruger sight bands. These days few rifles have serious iron sights and as such the barrels are easily threaded without regard for the irons sights. Factories have caught on now and ship rifles threaded, such as the Savage Axis and other Ruger bolt actions (among many many others, MVP etc) but few such as the Axis have iron sight options which make aftermarket threading of the muzzle easier for home smiths or mail order places, not having irons to index makes life easier. So these jobs where sights are involved start to get more complicated.

Barrel with thread protector in place
I recalled seeing a few photos of some other 77 fans who had their rifles threaded and the front sights "set back" and went in search of who they trusted with their guns. Jim Pixley of "JP Grips and Machine" came up time and time again. I emailed a few individuals who had work done and they were all very pleased with his service. I contacted Jim and arranged to have my action sent out right after Thanksgiving, his quote of $175 for threading, a thread protector, sight set back and return shipping was reasonable to me as this was not something that should be done by somebody who thinks this sort of work can be done quickly or with short cuts. Jim's turn around time was quoted as 1 month and he delivered under that time frame. As I'm giving this review prior to having a can on the barrel I can only give my thoughts on how well the job looks, and I think he did a marvelous job, I don't expect the accuracy has been altered at all from how the rifle has performed prior to the threading but only a trip to the range will tell.

Ready for any 1/2x28 devices, flash hiders, compensators or cans. 
Of course the Hearing Protection Act  is still being hashed out in D.C. as I'm typing this but I think we have a good chance of seeing it pass. If it does I plan on pursuing a Liberty Mystic X as soon as I can....no pun intended.  The Ruger 77/357 is one of the most versatile guns I have ever owned and so far all the little upgrades have made it more enjoyable and more practical for my style of shooting. 

I highly recommend if you plan on getting into any "canned goods" if/when HPA passes that you start considering now what you want as hosts. Getting the threading done now will alleviate what I think will be some painful wait times as I can see custom job shops such as JP Grips getting VERY busy in short order as he also works on the Beretta 92, Buckmark's, Remington 597 and all sorts of other flavors of guns. Below is his website and contact info



http://www.jpgrips.com/page1
jpixley@loretel.net

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