Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bought a New Rifle...

…in advance of SHOT, no less. This one:

The Ruger Hawkeye FTW Predator rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.
The Hawkeye FTW Predator rifle design began with extensive on-range consultation with SAAM (Sportsman's All-weather, All-terrain Marksmanship) shooting instructors at the world-renowned FTW Shooting School in Barksdale, Texas. The SAAM instructors were impressed with the proven accuracy of the Hawkeye Predator and the quick handling of the Gunsite Scout rifle. With their input, Ruger engineers designed a rifle that combines the trigger and action of the Hawkeye Predator with the adjustable buttstock design found on the Gunsite Scout rifle. The result is a perfect combination of ergonomics and long-range accuracy needed in a fast handling predator rifle.
The new FTW Predator combines elements of the GUNSITE Scout with the proven Hawkeye Predator platform. Given that the 2 bolt action rifles I have the most rounds through in the last 5 years are the GUNSITE Scout in .308 and my Guide Gun in .300 Win Mag, the purchase makes perfect sense. The last time I was at FTW I saw and handled Hawkeyes in 6.5 Creedmoor that were "school guns." In fact, Dianna Liedorff used one of the school guns in an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY from FTW you'll see later this season. The 6.5 Creedmoor is crazy accurate. Here's my friend Bruce Towsley's piece and the Hawkeye Predator from AMERICAN RIFLEMAN a few years back, along with Scott Rupp's hunting take on the cartridge.

The FTW Predator features a 24-inch barrel at 1:8 twist.

I've been thinking about a 6.5 Creedmoor since I watched Dianna on my last trip to FTW. I have to be honest with you guys…250+ rounds of .300 Win Mag out of a 20-inch Guide Gun with a muzzle brake over 3 days just plain beats you up. The last drill at FTW, engaging multiple targets in failing light at distances from 300-800+ — a drill in which I'd excelled on a previous visit with a .308 AR — left me flailing. After the drill Tim Fallon, who runs FTW,  suggested I come back with something less of a cannon next time…"you'll learn more," he said, "if you're not pounded to death."

I'll go with a Burris XTR II 5-25X, a scope I'm familiar, and very happy, with.

So I'm really looking forward to this rifle! Meanwhile, I'll keep working with .22s, especially the .22 Ruger American bolt gun.

BTW, speaking of long range rifles, take a look at what's coming from Springfield Armory:

Now THAT is a "Loaded" M1A! I'm more of an AR-10 guy myself, but I've shot enough M1A to really respect them, especially as incredible target rifles. It looks like SA is taking the platform to the next step.


Kris said...

Isn't that just a M1A Loaded in a ProMag Archangel stock?

Middle Man said...

Just got a 6.5 CM in a Ruger American a few weeks ago. Topped it with the most excellent Burris XTRII 2-10 (which is quite a value vs more expensive glass).

Michael Bane said...

Agree in the XTRII 2-10…I have one…an excellent piece of glass. How are you liking the American in 6.5? I've been very impressed with the Americans in general. We had a 30-06 in Africa, and SG Producer John Carter used one in .308 at the long-range class we filmed at FTW.

Kris…looks the same, to be sure. No reason why not…why reinvent the wheel when you can take a page from the AR guys and provide packages with highly desirable aftermarket parts?


Overload in Colorado said...

Why choose the Ruger Hawkeye over the American or vice versa?

Michael Bane said...

For a dedicated long-range rifle I wanted the extra weight…the Hawkeye is about 1 1/2 pounds heavier. Sedcondly, the new FTW version uses the same Green Mountain Laminate stock as the original GUNSITE Scout and the Guide Gun. Needless to say I plan to set it up exactly the same as the other 2 guns.

If I had to schlepp the rifle all day long on my shoulder, it'd be an American for sure!


RickP said...

Too bad the Ruger isn't threaded for a suppressor.

Michael Bane said...

RickP...I agree...I'd rather have it threaded...make it easier for a muzzle brake or suppressor...kinda surprised, too, since most of their recent guns have been threaded...


Anonymous said...

I have a fondness for the Hawkeye since it has the milled "dove-tails" for Ruger rings. The American does not. I have many Rugers, most of which are so equipped. My favorite is a M77 "RS" in .300 Win-Mag'. I can take any of my scopes off and put them back on without any loss of "zero". Initial set-up only requires some basic considerations and care that are the same as used for mounting any system.

The Ruger concept, designed by a manufacturing expert, Bill Ruger, adheres to a basic rule in tool making and engineering; "Never locate on a screw thread, or screw!" The Ruger system locates on solid
grounded" metal of the barrel/action of the rifle. This forms a "datum-line" with respect to the centerline of the rifles bore, in both the horizontal and the vertical axis. The screws only keep it all from falling off in a strong wind.

Regular and traditional mounts locate on screws. There is no actual location on a "base" surface, or datum that can relate to the rifles lateral bore relationship. It is only marginal when considering the vertical relation ship as well. No wonder scopes have a reputation for being knocked loose.

I know, you can take the scope off and put it back on many traditional guns, but that's mostly due to luck. You're lucky that you didn't move the bases.

Finally, if we consider the total dimensional stack-up of tolerances in traditional systems vs. Ruger's that have one less joint and those 2-axis datums, Ruger comes out on top as having the best accuracy potential.

It's unfortunate that the popularity of Ruger's system has not been greater.

Life Member

Michael Bane said...

Very true about the rings, Anon, which you clearly know far more about than I do! But darn it...Ruger doesn't make 34mm rings!!!


Anonymous said...

Well Michael,

Give 'em a poke!

Life Member

SG said...

That is one cool gun, how much did you get it for. I would love to get one.