At Industry Day, Ruger had squirreled away on their rifle rack a prototype micro-length action M77 Hawkeye chambered for .17 WSM. The gun is reduced in size from the regular M77, but features the same twin-lug bolt and Mauser styling (the Mauser extractor appears to have been reduced to a guide for the spring loaded extractor).
My first experience with it came from the fellow ahead of me in line to Ruger’s shooting bench. I was looking at the rifle as he prepared to shoot, when I heard a rifle crack, and immediately looked around to see what gun had fired. It was the shooter ahead of me with the M77/17! Even though I watched the gun the entire time, I did not see it move, so light was the recoil.
As I took to the bench to shoot it, I noted the gun had what appeared to be a Ruger 10/22 style rotary magazine, lengthened and widened for use with the .17 WSM. The trigger on their prototype was heavier than I expected a varmint rifle’s to be, but it was still very crisp and once I adjusted to this, it proved very easy to hit the small steel ringers Ruger had set downrange.
I am not sure how much extra OAL has been designed into this rifle, but I think that if Ruger released it in multiple chamberings, for example .17 WSM, .17 Hornet, and .22 Hornet, they could have a real winner on their hands.