One of the most satisfying firearm projects I have completed to date is the conversion of a standard Ruger 77/357 into a suppressed short barreled rifle (SBR). The whole setup came together using a combination of woodworking, metalworking, refinishing, gunsmithing and creativity. Aside from waiting on ATF to bless my application to cut my barrel down to ten inches, the entire project truly was a great experience.
Here I was, slowly putting together a tribute piece for the 77/357, when the news broke last week that Ruger was temporarily halting production of the 77 line of rifles. Now, I don’t claim to know about much about internal business practices in the firearms industry, but these rifles are loved by many and, when available, they have at least appeared to sell easily.
On top of all that, there really is nothing else like the 77/xx on the market, save for a few single shot options. There are a handful of quality lever action guns that can be cut and threaded. but altering a tube fed lever gun can have some complications. (I am, of course, a fan of both platforms. It’s best to have at least one of each on hand.)
So, what’s the deal? I hope that the shutdown of the 77 is just a way of giving Ruger time to retool and ramp up production for the next version. These rifles have a cult-like following; mostly because they are just plain fun to shoot. But what specifically is it about the 77/357 and its cousin the 77/44 that attracts so many shooters?
For one, the straight-walled cartridges are inexpensive and easy to reload, meaning that shooters can pick from a variety of recipes depending on their task. For inexpensive target shooting, try some wadcutters or semi-wadcutters. For medium-sized game, load up some heavy 200+ grain bullets. More on ammo selection later.
Why do I enjoy the 77/357? It’s a niche gun and I have always been a fan of the unique. After all, there can’t be that many bolt action, suppressed, .357 Magnum SBR’s floating around the world. In reality, however, it’s the awe inspiring silence that makes me appreciate this rifle every time I pull the trigger. With the right load, a suppressed 77/357 can shoot quieter than a suppressed .22LR, while slinging five times the lead as that rimfire round.
Specifications from the Ruger page:
- Patented integral scope mounts, machined directly on the solid-steel receiver, provide a stable mounting surface for scope rings, eliminating a potential source of looseness and inaccuracy in the field (scope rings included).
- Three-position safety is easily accessible and allows the shooter to lock the bolt to load and unload the rifle with the safety engaged.
- Solid, heat-treated alloy and stainless steel actions feature a rugged, stainless steel bolt with 90° bolt lift and ultra-fast lock time for added accuracy.
- Detachable rotary magazine features a unique rotor to separate cartridges and provide reliable feeding. Mounts flush with the stock to eliminate protrusions at the rifle’s balance point.
- Cold hammer-forged barrel results in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy, longevity and easy cleaning.
- Also includes: sling swivel studs..
Excerpts from the owners manual:
When I started my 77/357 project I was lucky enough to have the help and guidance of the guys in suppressor section of AR15.com. Here’s just a sampling of the Rugers that have been cut down and suppressed in the last two years.
Ryan aka “Slacker” inletted this Boyd’s nutmeg laminate stock to accept a Liberty Mystic suppressor with a fixed barrel adapter.
A fixed barrel adapter for the Liberty Mystic attached:
The finished rifle is beautiful: truly functional art.
My build Process
Stripped down to ten inches.
Tungsten Cerakote color scheme:
My finished rifle as seen here on TFB a few years ago:
Of course, there are many others that came before me; I used their builds (and knowledge) as inspiration for my project.
The refinishing on this 77 was the inspiration for my full grey Cerakote.
And while I’m not a reloader (yet), it’s awesome to see the size of the rounds that guys have been able to fit into the five shot rotary magazines.
Ryan, aka ‘slacker’ has worked out some impressive loads specifically for the 77/357:
Supersonic 357 MAG Hornady XTP
158gr XTP, 16.5GR H110
18″ BBL: 1706FPS
10″ BBL: 1627FPS
125gr XTP, 21.0GR H110
18″ BBL: 2170FPS
10″ BBL: 1912
Subsonic 38 SPL (.358 heavy bullets designed for 35 Remington, loaded mag length)
38 SPL, 200gr Hornady FTX, 9.5GR LIL GUN
10″ BBL: 1108- 1119 FPS.
SD of 11 FPS across 6 shots. Accurate load.
Subsonic 38 SPL, 225GR SPEER Soft Point, 9.5GR
10″ BBL: 1003-1012 FPS.
SD of 9 fps across 6 shots.
Writer’s Note: Reloading is serious business. Double check all formulas and load data before chambering a round and pulling the trigger.
Integrally Suppressed Rifles:
Commercially, a few manufacturers have offered 77 builds. AWC Silencers currently offers the Ultra 44, an integrally suppressed gun built on the 77/44.
The 77 suppressed around the world:
New Zealand checking in with a cut and suppressed 77/357.
This sweet little rifle is not going to be entering any competitions. But it is accurate enough to ring steel and hit the vital area of a deer or hog up to 150 yards away. That is about as much as you can ask out of a cartridge originally built for lever guns and revolvers.
Well, there you have it, the Ruger 77/357 at its best – suppressed. Now, I know what you are going to say: “something, something, .300 Blackout, something”. Can you accomplish similar results with a bolt action .300BLK? Sure. But when it comes to ammo availability and price, the .38/.357 rounds are an unbeatable value for subsonic shooting.
Coincidently, Adam Devine and my new friends at Ranger Point Precision posted a recent blog article about the .357 Magnum and .38 Special cartridges. It’s a short read, but well worth your time.
I’m not ready to write a eulogy for the 77 series just yet. There’s a chance that Ruger is taking a break to focus on other product lines. However, if you have ever been on the fence about picking one up for yourself, you should consider calling around to a few distributors. I’m betting there are hundreds of others just like you who are about to make the same call.
I’d like to thank my fellow suppressed 77/357 nerds over at AR15 for their help, guidance and allowing me to use their photos.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Customer Service Department
411 Sunapee Street
Newport, NH 03773