Making a .416 Ruger Like It Should Have Been

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by ChrisG, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    So I just finished a project on my .416 Ruger and I thought I would share my results.

    After removing the threads and that awful brake from the end of the barrel and recrowning it, the next thing to address was the weight. A .416 Ruger Hawkeye African comes from the factory weighing LESS THAN 8lbs. That is a horrendous mistake in a rifle capable of slinging a 400 grain bullet to 2,350fps or 350 grain bullet up to 2,700fps. It would put its recoil up near 60 ft-lbs which is at .458 WM levels.

    It actually worked out though, because if you find the balance point of the rifle, it is really too far forward. So the first thing I did was cut a 2.25" piece of 1/2" copper plumbing pipe, put a cap on the end and fill it up with molten lead. This ends up being about 4 oz. of extra weight. Then I drilled a hole and epoxied this into the buttstock. This moves the balance point back to somewhere mid floorplate, which is about where I like it (everybody has a slightly different balance preference). Once the scope is mounted on steel rings and the gun is loaded, weight hovers right around 10lbs. This is perfect for recoil management and is light enough that carrying it isn't arduous.

    The next issue to resolve was Ruger's use of a thin, hard, red rubber pad. I understand why they do this as it gives the rifle a traditional look but it is no fun to shoot that way. I replaced this with a Pachmeyer XLT sand-to-fit recoil pad made for trap guns, which I carefully shaped to the stock. Both of these made a MASSIVE improvement in how it functions and shoots.

    The better balance with added weight produce more stable offhand shooting and cycling the bolt no longer feels like I am cycling the whole gun, it is more stable and smoother during hard cycling due to the increased inertia and the fact that gun is no longer muzzle heavy, which just makes the whole thing more solid feeling.

    I glass bedded the recoil lug and tang inlet to prevent it from hammering the wood behind it until there was a lot of slop and the last thing I did was epoxy a 4" chunk of 1/4" threaded rod into the pistol grip to reinforce it. This was done by very carefully drilling a 4-1/4" long 3/16" hole down the axis of the grip starting just behind the tang screw and angling into the grip. Then marine epoxy was injected using a large syringe (purchased at a farm supply. These are incredibly useful for so many projects). Then the rod was inserted and left to cure.

    I love a wood stock so the whole project was about making it the best wood stock I could that will handle the rigors of a lifetime of hard hunting trips. I could have just gone with a composite stock but thats just not who I am....:)

    All said and done, the rifle is now a tough, hardy, large game gun capable of taking years of full power loads and hauling through the hunting fields of the world without missing a beat. Recoil is SO much more manageable off both a bench and off hand. It carries very well and the only other thing I may eventually have done is to have it cerakoted for corrosion resistance and to reduce the glare for the hunting woods.
     
    Tarwathie, flat8, enysse and 5 others like this.

  2. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    I like your writeup as I am doing about the same thing to a 416 Alaskan. I have the houge overmoulded but I also have a takeoff stock from a 375 Ruger that I put a spacer and kickezze recoil pad on to get my correct LOP. Have worked the amount of weight to 2 oz that I need in the butt to get balance right.

    I had not thought about the threaded 1/4 rod through the wrist but that is a great additional strength method:)

    Shoot em straight.
     
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  3. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    What are you doing with the overmolded stock? :whistle:
     

  4. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Nice work. You obviously know what you are doing, so I am curious why you did not opt for a mercury recoil reducer, instead of just adding a weight.
     

  5. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    pics or it didnt happen.....

    :)
     
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  6. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    @ChrisG : 20 or 23 inch barrel?
     

  7. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    The main reason is that adding weight is very adjustable. I could have added 937.24 grams if I had wanted. Mercury reducers come in very defined weights that cannot really be customized. For another, the physics of a mercury reducer is, in my mind at least, dubious at best. The gun has to accelerate the mercury to the recoil velocity, which requires the same amount of work (Watts) whether the gun starts to move first and the mercury sloshes to the front of the tube, or whether it simply needs to accelerate an extra bit of rigid mass. So I haven't seen credible research that a mercury recoil reducer is worth the investment. It may be out there, I just haven't seen it yet. The only difference with the mercury reducer is that your shoulder needs to absorb more of the initial recoil energy because the mercury hasn't "sloshed" to the front of the tube yet. Rigid weight simply reduces the overall recoil energy by increasing the mass of the gun. I think a lot of gun manufacturers use them (Mercury reducers) because they sound exotic and they DO work, just not on any other principal than the fact that mercury is very, very dense. Now, if someone can show me empirical evidence that a mercury recoil reducer is better I will absolutely admit to being wrong. Until then... I can make a lead weight real easy at home. :)
     

  8. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    well.... it used to be 23"... Without the threads it is more like 22.25"
     
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  9. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    For right now I am holding onto the overmolded stock to see how I like the wood stock
     

  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Share a photo when you get a chance!
     

  11. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    Will do! I can do a series of photos of the modifications.
     
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  12. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    Well I finally got around to snapping a few pictures. I didn't want to take the whole gun back apart since I just resighted it. I will do that in another post. but here is the muzzle crown and new recoil pad fitted. Sorry the pictures are kind of crummy.


    20181030_225000.jpg 20181030_225017.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2018

  13. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    I took my brother in law out on Sunday to sight in his rifle and I brought this along to shoot. I let him give it a shot after a bit of coaching on proper technique to shooting a big bore (what works for me at least. I don't know how "proper" it is). Anyway, he fired 3 rounds out of it standing, producing a 4" group at 100 yards standing off hand. He then said "Wow, that isn't anywhere near as bad as I was expecting, it felt like a hot loaded .30-06." Not too shabby for a 400 grain bullet at 2,325 fps.
     
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  14. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Very nice improvement on the muzzle!
     

  15. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    ChrisG, it sounds like you are going to be happy with your 416 Ruger for a long time. What do you intend to use it on?
     
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  16. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    I took a black bear with it already but I am hoping to soon take it after buff in Africa. I have to pay for my elk hunt next fall first though.
     

  17. Chukar

    Chukar SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I would also like to see your pictures of the work in progress. You seemed to have put a good deal of thought into your modifications!

    I wish that I had the knowledge/skills/guts to do the work that you did.

    Engineering background?
     

  18. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    I wish I had pictures of the work in progress... I always remember to do those after I have already completed the work and reassembled the gun. Big projects I sometimes remember to o the intermediate pictures but this was a pretty small project so I forgot.i will however post some pics of the internal stock mods next time I remove the action from the stock
     
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