Ruger M77 Hawkeye Tactical

Compact bolt-action .223 offers street-ready patrol rifle performance!

presented by

1 of 12
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical
    Police agencies have two primary considerations when selecting service weapons: reliability and price. The Ruger Hawkeye Tactical shines in both categories. Shown above with a 2.5-10x40 Bushnell Elite 4200 riflescope and included Harris bipod.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-3-muzzle
    The 20-inch, heavy-contour barrel is fitted with a flash suppressor that can be removed, revealing threads for mounting a sound suppressor.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-ruger-rings
    Like all Ruger M77 rifles, the Hawkeye Tactical comes with a set of Ruger rings that fit into bases that are machined into the action.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-3-position-safety
    The Hawkeye Tactical comes with a three-position safety, which allows loading and unloading while the rifle is on safe.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-action-LE-3
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-action-LE
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-action-LE-2
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-bolt-action
    The bolt action smoothed out with use, and the three-position safety blocks the firing pin when it is placed in the “safe” position.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-buttpad
    The synthetic Hogue OverMolded stock is durable to handle harsh abuse, and it features a thick rubber buttpad that helps absorb recoil.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-harris-bipod
    Ruger ships every M77 Hawkeye Tactical rifle with a Harris bipod that attaches to the forend, providing a stable support right out of the box.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-trigger
    The test M77 came with a crisp, 2-pound trigger, and the release for the hinged floorplate is at the front of the triggerguard, within easy reach.
  • Ruger-M77-Hawkeye-Tactical-bolt
    The bolt has a matte grey finish. Though not a true controlled-round-feed action, the Model 77 Mark II action does utilize a full-length extractor.

Of course, that’s nothing new. Combating that danger is not new, either. Citizens and police have been doing that for a long time. What is new are some of the tools frequently being used by police to fight the war on crime. It’s been almost 10 years since I turned in my badge, and when I talk with some of the old timers—yes, the guys I worked with are now old—I’m surprised to find that the tools I was begging for a decade ago are now becoming more accepted, particularly patrol-type law enforcement rifles.

When I was on the street in the ’90s, requests for a patrol rifle were met with comments like, “You have a shotgun.” I guess in reality it’s nothing more than evolution. The guys I worked the street with knew that having a rifle in the patrol car, which was capable of hitting at extended ranges and ending a fight when the hit was made, just made good sense. Today, those same guys are in charge, and they are changing the equipment list.

Manufacturers are responding with a wide assortment of rifles suited to patrol and more tactical law enforcement applications. Ruger is no exception, and the company’s latest entry into this subcategory of rifles is the M77 Hawkeye Tactical, which is a dedicated and enhanced version of its bread-and-butter sporting rifle.

Gun Details

The Hawkeye Tactical is built on Ruger’s proven Model 77 Mark II action. This is an action similar in design to the famous Mauser action in that it has a fixed ejector, a safety that blocks the firing pin and a full-length claw extractor. Given the similarities, you would assume the Hawkeye action is also a controlled-round-feed (CRF) action like the Mauser, but that’s not the case, and as far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing.

You see, with a true CRF action, you must fully insert the cartridge in the magazine box in order for the rim of the case to slide up under the hook in the extractor as the cartridge is being chambered. The problem with this system is that you have to insert the cartridge into the magazine box before it can be chambered. This might not seem like a big deal, but from a tactical standpoint, what if you run your rifle dry and need to get off one more shot quickly? It will take about an extra second to push that cartridge into the magazine box. With a push-feed (PF) action or an action like the Ruger Mark II, you can just toss the cartridge in through the ejection port and close the bolt.


  • SD

    I grew up shooting Ruger guns. My first was a 10-22 auto, and I must have run about 50 thousand rounsd through that thing as a kid (well, maybe not!). It always worked. I have owned many Rugers since then and have always like them. Now that I saw this review of the M77 Hawkeye Tactical, I think I am going to have to take a close look at one for myself. In .223, it would probably make a great patrol rifle for me here in the hilly lands of PA. If it is half as good as all the other Rugers I have owned, I have no doubt it will serve me well.