Ashamed it's been 1 1/2 years coming. "new" 77/357". (long)

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Tallbald

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,750
Location
Southern KY
Well....about a year and a half ago I made an impulse buy of a NIB 77/.357 from the LGS. Nifty looking and feeling little stainless steel jewel. Sadly though it sat with an old 4X El Paso Weaver on top, unused, untried and unloved in the safe until last week. Why? I dunno. Ever buy a gun on impulse and have buyers remorse? Extremely unusual for me, a long time frugal shooter. Seldom do I do anything spontaneously anywhere in the consumer world. But this gun just happened to be there when I was in the right mood, had just sold a few things and paid off a LOT of bills with some cash left over beyond our emergency fund. We had happily bought my loving wife Miss Penny something nice for her hobbies (I prefer her happiness to my own folks and my Gift from God never demands anything from me except respect), and so I almost thoughtlessly "pulled the trigger" on the 77/357 for myself with little research. I'd always wanted one of the elusive Marlin .357 leverguns, but they were too pricey for a man of my means. And here was a consolation prize I could afford. Rationalizing, I told myself I could always reload for it with the likewise unused pre-Y2K Lee turret press languishing in our garage. Reloading is a threat I've milked for 35 years, since bowing out when I started college. My son has always questioned me keeping hundreds of once fired brass all through his life, telling him lamely I'd get to re-stuffing them "one day".
Fast forward to last week, when a good and charitable friend who has a coveted range membership invited me and my adult son to shoot with him. My son and I, browsing the safe, looked for something different to try. The VEPR is a wonderful rifle but currently pricey to feed. It also sprays casings here, there and yonder.The Mossberg 590A1 sewer pipe monster kicks viciously with slugs, and my medical issues were flared up that particular day. Again on an impulse, I reached in and removed the diminutive little Ruger and asked my son if he's like to try "this" in all its virginity. Having never shot it, I several times even considered selling it on consignment at the LGS but been told by them "they don't move and nobody seems to want them". Right there was a shot to the gut because I had up to then, been pretty good choosing guns that had good resale value.
Grabbing our shooting bags with my son thoughtfully carrying mine due to my issues, we left to meet Bob at the range gate. It was a beautiful sunny day with unusually cool weather for our normal Kentucky Steam Bath summers, and we drove deep into the hollow where the three of us selected adjacent spots on the covered rifle range.
After a few .22 rimfire warm up mags, my son picked up the 77/357. As he had learned from me and his mother's dad, he diligently did his ever-practiced safety check. He's better than me, He makes me proud. I had only brought factory .38 Special +P and .357 rounds, and a random pick of .38s were loaded in the handy detachable box magazine. Knowing the rifle hadn't been sighted in, my boy asked me to spot for him as he unleashed the first round this rifle had fired since leaving the factory. It was a nice little "pop" and within a few rounds my son had it zeroed nicely at 75 yards. I watched him shoot and reflected that my feelings toward watching him were no doubt like my Daddy's feelings were toward watching me shoot so many years ago. It was great.
My son tried .357 rounds for a few mags after that, and urged me to give it a go. I did, and it was love at first shot. A satisfying hole close to my point of aim appeared through the vintage scope, and my shoulder didn't ache. I knew I was shooting a heavy revolver round but it was being launched from a rifle! Did I say I didn't ache?
For the first time in 1 1/2 years I took the time to really study my "new" little rifle closely. Well designed and executed on a proven platform, the rather plain looking gun took on new meaning to me. "Hey this is nicer than I remember" I thought. Despite some negative web articles about magazine feeding problems, and some writer comments that this particular gun was neither fish nor fowl because of caliber, the gun performed flawlessly its first time out. We headed home after a couple hours where my son helped me put things away.
I've been reading a lot about this gun in the last week. Seems I did indeed make a good rifle choice after all. With the right loads, this gun could rather quietly take rabbits close in, or humanely take whitetail deer out to say, 150 yards if the shooter did his or her part. AND, it had a bonus! A hollow stock that could stash lots of nifty things a (LOL) rugged man like me might need on a wilderness trek. A small knife, a length of fishing line with hooks, waterproof matches, a whistle and a few other items of great import. I just need to come up with a tool-free removable recoil pad.
Last week I walked the walk too. I dug out my reloading gear and for the first time since maybe 1979, deprimed, sized and tumbled about 1000 accumulated .38 and .357 cases. This little rifle has sparked in me the desire to pick up where I left off in completing the shooting cycle. Interestingly I even found several hundred cases I had partially worked on 35 years ago and just quit. Like uncleared dinner plates left on a table from when Gerald Ford was president.
I've decided that the Leupold Rifleman 2X-7X scope gracing the VEPR will be transferred to my 77/357. My old eyes need the extra help, and the 2X setting will, in my mind, help me get a quick fix on a big buck in the woods (hey.... a boy can dream, right?)
I expect this nifty little rifle will be getting lots of make up range time in the near future. Miss Penny will be able to enjoy it too because I can load it light. That's a good thing for her as much as me.
I'm glad the LGS clerk told me what he did about the unpopularity of this rifle/cartridge combo in my region of the country, because had he done otherwise, it would likely be in someone else's hands by now. Cheap to feed, I expect this gun and me (and my wife and son and grand daughter) will have a ball.
Thanks Bill (Ruger) for being the creative designer you were, with the guts to market a niche gun that does exactly what it's supposed to do.
Don
 

DGW1949

Hunter
Joined
Apr 10, 2005
Messages
3,638
Location
Texas
Nice rifle, and a nice read.....I enjoyed it a lot.
Thanks for taking the time.

DGW
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2002
Messages
5,393
Location
Oregon City, Oregon
Nice story, and one that is very timely to me right now.

I also have wanted a Marlin .357, in stainless, for way too long. I've given up. If a 77/357 presented itself to me, I'd likely buy it.

I'm not new to to the rotary mag bolt guns. I've owned three different 77/44's and still own one, and I've shot another. They are a pig in a poke if you're gonna get a good shooter or not. I've not heard of that dilemma with the 357 model, so I expect to buy one, shoot it, and be pleased.

Thanks for your editorial.

WAYNO.
 

Big Old Boy

Hunter
Joined
Dec 31, 2013
Messages
2,368
Location
Tn
Like me I think it's a great shooter, I have a few #1s yet the little 357 is one of the first guns I pick up when I get the hankering to go shoot,enjoy!
 

9x19

Hunter
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
2,437
Location
Texas
They are a nice and versatile rifle... have really enjoyed mine, it has a a Simmons 1.5x-5x 32mm in Leupold offset rings on top which has proven to be near perfect for me.

Ruger77-357simvlr_zps3306c31a.jpg
 

Alan in GA

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
327
So many 38 Spl rounds all around and available.....should be a step or two up from shooting 22 CB' our of our 22 rifles.
I had a 77/44 and really enjoyed it, but sold it to fund something else [like always]. But I think a 77/357 is something I may have to have as well. I'd like to lurk the trade/sell forums after deer season to see if anyone turns one loose. I like .35 bores anyway, and have grandsons that should be willing to help me shoot up any or all the 38Spl and 357 mag rounds lying around! I had a very accurate Contender Rifle MGM barrel in .357 MAXIMUM, but just couldn't get to shooting short 38Spl's in the long chamber of the $350 barrel. I would not mind a rifle like yours and posts like this usually are what gets me going in that direction!
 

FergusonTO35

Hunter
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
2,420
Location
Boonesborough, KY
In 1998 I bought my Marlin 1894 .357 in nearly new condition for $250.00. Some people nowadays will pay four times that for one. Still, I wouldn't sell it for even that price, perfect little carbine for almost anything.
 

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