Ruger M77 Hawkeye African 9.3X62

Measurements, Metrics & Misunderstandings
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Tank’s Ruger “African” displays the classic looks of a turn of the century safari rifle. The Bill Snow blade is a drop-point “Loveless” design with elephant ivory scales. Hornady makes ammo for the 9.3X62.

I know what you’re thinking, this being American Handgunner, why in the hell is Tank telling us about a rifle? “Because I like you, I want you to know of a very cool rifle before they’re all snatched up! Besides, life isn’t “all-handgunning all the time” right?

Metric Conversions?

Most Americans have stubbornly fought the metric system. I first heard of it as a 3rd-grader, in Ms. Lauer’s class. She told us the metric system was going to replace the American way of measuring and weighing things.

My first thought, “Had I foolishly wasted eight years learning our standard way of measuring things? I mean, eight years seemed like a lifetime to me back then!”

Digging In

We’re a stubborn bunch, as the scientific community — squints — accepted the Metric System with open test tubes. For them, Liters replaced quarts and the millimeter replaced the inch.

Some continue the fight, even when talking about cartridges, calling the 7 millimeter magnum, the 7 ‘em ‘em mag. “What the heck’s a millimeter, anyway? I’m no Commy!”

Tank Takes A Turn

I’ll confess to having an affliction for some things metric. For me, the 10mm and 9.3X62 have special meaning. The 10mm warmed my heart quite a bit recently, and I’ve had a long and intimate relationship with his shorter brother, the one “we” sneakily call the .40 S&W.

But my main metric marauder has got to be the 9.3X62. What a wonderful cartridge! It has everything I appreciate in cartridges, namely a long history, it was made for the common man, and it’s a true big-bore cartridge. Its effectiveness on big game is legendary. Its only problem? I think it’s in the name.

Ruger M77 African 9.3X62

This rifle is not from Holland & Holland of London, but rather, Sturm, Ruger & Co., from Newport, as it should be. One would be proud to own such a beautiful rifle, dubbed “The African.” This is a Lipsey’s exclusive, a large distributor of Ruger firearms, and the second of the African series, designed by VP Jason Cloessner, of Lipsey’s.

First in the series was the seductive .275 Rigby, more commonly known as the 7X57 Mauser. Again, what’s in a name?

As I hold, turn, fondle and shoulder this splendid shooter, I appreciate its fine craftsmanship. The walnut stock is sleek, and the fine checkering at the wrist and forearm is excellent, giving the rifle a secure, natural feel.

The contrasting ebony-tip fore-end promotes the stylish good looks of a traditional African rifle. The barreled action is a high polished blue, with barrel band, for both form and function.

The barrel itself is a thin 24" wisp of blued steel, swinging effortlessly, beautifully balancing itself just forward of the trigger guard as a classic rifle should.

The rear sight is marvelously sculpted, with bridge-base and folding rear sight, while the front sight is fully banded, and just as handsome, with a brass-bead. A traditional red rubber butt-pad absorbs any felt recoil for those afflicted with “recoilitis”.

A well-rounded bolt knob makes cycling the Mauser-like, non-rotating extractor — with controlled round feeding and fixed ejector — a joy to handle. This is the first time Ruger has blued their bolt knobs since the tang safety M77, for this series. Nice job all around, Ruger!

Historic German Roots

Otto Bock designed this cartridge for the Mauser 1898 bolt-action rifle in 1905. It quickly became very popular among German settlers in Africa needing an affordable rifle powerful enough for double duty, be it shooting buffalo raiding the garden, or defense.

The 9.3X62 is basically a European .35 Whelen. Its bullets are .008" larger, at .366", and its neck, a tad shorter, giving it a little more powder capacity.

A tad more powerful than the Whelen, but not quite as powerful as the .375 H&H, the 9.3X62 sits happily between the two in the power spectrum. But it’s tops for usefulness, practicality, and availability in European Nations.

Inspirational Shooter

Just holding a beautiful rifle like “The African” chambered in such a classic cartridge reminds me of tent camps, fire pits, phenomenal trackers and the classic safari.
Who knows, maybe this rifle will finally get Tank off his duff and go to Africa one day? Stranger things have happened.

Lipsey’s only has 250 of these classic rifles. Better go tell your local dealer to order you one, so you can go on Safari, too — even if only in your dreams.

The Ruger Hawkeye African in 9.3X62 has an MSRP of $1,279 and is a Lipsey’s exclusive. I hear tell the 3rd in the series is out now, too. Chambered in the 6.5X55, another Metric misnomer. Have your local dealer contact them. For further info go to:

http://lipseys.com/mfg.aspx?mfg=Ruger