Ruger has decided to enter the light-weight, long-range hunting rifle game with their appropriately named Hawkeye Long-Range Hunter Bolt Action Rifle. This gun is designed to be accurate, lightweight, user-adjustable and tough. The light profile, stainless steel barrel contributes most to this rifle’s low weight and comes chambered in the most popular 6.5 calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC in order to provide the perfect balance of ballistic coefficient, velocity and recoil for you to make the one shot that matters most.
The Hawkeye LRH is built on a stainless steel M77 Action but comes with a 20 MOA rail already mounted using #8-40 bolts torqued to 20-inch pounds. The added elevation that you are able to get out of your optic with this rail is valuable for the long shots that you can end up taking while hunting and target practicing alike. The single-stage LC6 trigger measured in using my Wheeler Trigger Pull Gauge at a crisp 3.5 LBS which is not adjustable. I have heard horror stories about how these triggers feel, but I was only reassured by this trigger being light, crisp and lacking any kind of creep or overtravel.
The M77 Action that this rifle is built on is a controlled-round feed which means that the bullet being mechanically pushed into the chamber by the bolt is guided up into place on the bolt face before being driven home into the chamber. This is an extremely reliable design which I was happy to see being incorporated into this rifle. The bolt itself is also stainless steel, making the construction almost completely weather-resistant.
The stock on the Hawkeye LRH is a very simple wooden laminate stock (despite appearances) which helps achieve the lightweight aspect of this rifle. The length of pull is adjustable using 1/2″ spacers underneath the butt pad. The LOP goes from 12.75″ all the way to 14.25″ and the recoil pad is VERY soft which makes this gun quite comfortable and enjoyable to shoot. On top of having a soft recoil pad, the Hawkeye LRH is outfitted with a radially drilled muzzle brake, threaded 5/8″- 24. This brake is specified to be torqued on at 20 inch/pounds, but when I removed mine, I had to apply well over 100 inch/pounds to break it free in order to install a suppressor. That said, be aware that it is not mechanically fixed with any kind of thread-locker in the event that you find yourself needing to use elbow grease to remove the brake.
The bottom metal and trigger guard are integrated into the same piece and are both plastics in construction. The rear magnum cross-bolt runs through the bottom metal and must be removed for the subsequent removal of the bottom metal. The magazine release is located in front of the trigger guard as a push to release lever mechanism. This rifle accepts AICS style magazines and comes with 1 supplied Accurate Mag. Capacity for the 6.5 Creedmoor is 5 rounds and 3 rounds for the PRC.
One worry that I always have with light-weight rifles is accuracy, as in “will it perform well?” This is because material is typically removed from the barrel in order to make the rifle lighter. This action can be highly detrimental to accuracy if the proper precision isn’t utilized during the process. That said, Ruger says on their specifications that this rifle has a “Free-floated, cold hammer-forged stainless steel barrel with 5R Rifling at minimum bore and groove dimensions, minimum headspace and centralized chamber.” which makes me believe that the utmost care was placed in manufacturing these rifles, and it shows in my results.
Using Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 PRC 143 grain ELD-X ammo and a Sightron SIII 8-32×56 optic, I fired multiple 3 round groups at 92 yards from a prone position. I would have liked to test the Hornady 140 grain ELD-M ammunition, but I could not get my hands on any as of yet. When I do, I will update my results appropriately.
The following groups were shot on the same day while allowing the barrel to cool between shots.
The following group was shot on the same day, while not allowing the barrel to cool between shots.
- Wooden laminate stock speckled black/brown
- no iron sights
- 22″ barrel length
- stainless steel construction
- controlled round feed
- 20 MOA rail
- 3 position safety
- LC6 trigger
- 5/8″ – 24 muzzle threads
- radially drilled muzzle brake
- 1:8″ RH twist
- 3 round capacity (one magazine included)
- 7.2 pounds
- 42.25″ – 43.75″ overall length
- 12.75″ – 14.25″ adjustable length of pull
- $1279.00 suggested retail price
- suspected street price ~ $1,000
I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Ruger Hawkeye LRH despite Ruger being known for producing quality firearms, just for the reason that the barrel is a thin profile. However, I believe this speaks volumes for Ruger’s quality manufacturing capability. This rifle’s barreled action is obviously dialed in as proved by my accuracy testing.
The feature set for this rifle is perfect for a lightweight hunting rifle, and weighing in at 7.2 pounds unloaded, it falls right into its primary purpose on someone’s backpack. The choice between 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 PRC provides the end-user the perfect selection and balance between cost, availability, ballistic coefficient, velocity, and knockdown power. The muzzle brake on the rifle would not be my first choice in design style, but it did significantly reduce recoil and make shooting the rifle a more pleasurable experience.
The Hawkeye LRH runs smooth and reliably which can be contributed to the controlled feed system that the M77 action uses. The Mauser style extractor that is incorporated is one of the most reliable and strong extraction methods used in rifles today. The rifle stock can be fit to virtually anybody who may choose to use it because of the adjustable LOP. It is a slight shame that the trigger is not also adjustable, but I am very happy with the trigger as it is; weighing in at a crisp 3.5-pound pull on my rifle. Finally, I found the 3 position safety is a handy combination of safety and usability.
After all of my testing was done, I would be confident enough in this rifle to potentially trust my life with it on the mountain. Because of its accuracy, feature set, caliber selection and reliability, I would recommend buying a Ruger Hawkeye Long-Range Hunter if you are in search of a light-weight hunting rifle around the $1279 MSRP that this rifle comes in at. I place added value in it because of its highly weather-resistant stainless steel construction.