- First time shooting the Brown Ruger
- Second time shooting it
Its main distinction, besides its color, is that it has a Vortex Optics ‘Crossfire’ scope, mounted with Burris Co. ‘Zee’ medium scope rings. The scope cost around $130, but I didn’t want a piece of crap — and I didn’t see the point of a scope costing more than the rifle. Even so, I wanted a wide field of view, a zoom function, and a duplex reticle. So, that’s what I got. I was hoping to get something with a parallax adjustment, but that would have cost more than the rifle. Even so, it has a separate adjustment for focusing the reticle, which is a nice touch.
This is what the rifle looks like, full-on:
You can see it has the GRG Mfg. muzzle brake. I’ll probably go back to the JPRE-2 muzzle brake, which I like better, and I have one in stock. There’s also a Lyman globe front sight. That sight used to go with a Millet/Desert Eagle rear sight, but I snatched that for use on my First Ruger, back when I went with a 22″ ‘K’ factory barrel and had to drop the Williams sight to go with a Millet sight version.
It’s not the Brown Ruger because I left on the factory brown finish. No way. I stripped off the factory grunge coat, stained the bare wood with MinWax ‘Special Walnut’ stain, and topcoated with semi-gloss polyeurethane. Here’s a close-up of the result:
You can see the grain is absolutely gorgeous, with lustrous tiger-striping. This is what Ruger hides under its mass-production spray-on junk finish. It may be a brown Ruger, but it’s not ‘just plain brown’. That’s why it’s the Brown Ruger.
The main point of having a scoped Ruger is to see, with a shooting rest, just how tiny shot groups can be. With the other Rugers, I’m basically limited to what I can see with open sights, which limits me to around 0.60″.
But before I shoot, first things first: I have to calculate the ‘natural zero’ for the rifle in this setup. As you’ve seen in other articles here, I prefer to zero the rifle at a distance where the bullet, rising from the muzzle, touches my sight line only once before it heads back to the ground from there. I’m willing to make a compromise, such as when I set up my First Ruger, which is all laid out in a short article titled ‘‘Natural zero’ calculation (and the Millet sight combo)’ and filed under Miscellanea.
Here’s how I use that calculation for this rifle: The distance from the center of the scope to the center of the bore is 1.6″. That’s 0.04 meters. It takes 0.091 seconds for a bullet (or anything else) to fall that distance. Remington ‘Golden’ 36-grain brass-plated hollow-points (from the 525-rd. econo-box) fly 1,280 feet in one second. That means, in 0.91 seconds, that bullet will fly 116.48 feet — or, 38.3 yards.
So, the ‘natural zero’ is basically 40 yards. I can stick with what I usually shoot, which is 30 yards, and zero there. That would mean, though, that after 30 yards, the bullet would rise above my sight line for a bit, before heading back toward where it really wants to go, which is the center of the Earth. I could also zero the rifle at 50 yards, which is one of the classical distances for target shooting competition.
However, 50 yards is a bit long for a walking-around offhand-shooting small-varmint rifle. You can always get a lot closer than that to varmints that need shooting, such as rabid racoons or squirrels for the stew-pot. If you’re not hollering and waving your arms, you can get closer than that to rabbits, too. So, I’m zeroing at 30 yards. That will allow me to make direct comparisons to the groups I shoot with the other three rifles. And, since the difference between using that zero and the rifle’s natural zero is a few hundredths of an inch, I can live with that.
First time shooting the Brown Ruger
Disappointing, to say the least. I’m shooting five-shot groups, and trying to zero the scope at the same time. First thing I find out is, the parallax error on this scope is way, way bad. By moving my head, the cross-hairs move more than two inches across the target at 30 yards. Second thing I find out is, I can get groups just as good with iron sights, and with the other rifles, generally better. Third thing I find out is, the claim of one click per 1/4 minute of angle is flat wrong. I was about 4 inches low, 12 clicks moved me up only one inch, but then 24 clicks put me so far over the top that I missed the paper entirely.
And then I notice something weird is going on with the reticle. The cross-hairs aren’t lining up with each other. What? The dang reticle snapped, right in the center.
All of these shooting problems could easily come down to having a scope that’s in the process of breaking. Now it’s time to try and find the receipt and original packaging. If I can’t find that, I’ll have to rely on my personal charm to trade this junk in for something that works.
Second time shooting it
My personal charm worked, and they took the scope back as defective. Part of that charm, though, might have been that was also buying a DPMS (Panther) LR-308. It’s my first ‘serious’ rifle, and I wanted to get something good. A Browning BAR .308 was at the top of my list, but basically, they can’t be found.
Anyhow, so I had a 10/22 with no scope, and no rear iron sight. However, I have a black powder rifle I’ve never shot, and it had a scope on it. It came with the scope. So, I took the scope off of it, and put it on the Brown Ruger.
It took all sorts of screwing around to get the thing on paper. I didn’t figure it out until I’d burned up 40 rounds. The problem? At the factory, they’d gotten the knobs on wrong! The elevation screw was on the windage adjustment, and the windage screw was on the elevation adjustment. If I was a cussing kind of guy, I’d invent a brand-new cuss word for that. Imagine the cuss word if I’d used that many black powder muzzle-loading rounds to find the problem!
Then I moved the target to 15 feet from my shooting position, and started taking notes. Basically, which screw, turned which way, moved the reticle what way.
Finally got the darn thing on paper well enough that it’s time to gather some real numbers. Again, it’s 30 yards, from a mechanical bench rest, with Remington 36-grain brass-plated hollow points. Group #1: 0.89″, #2, 1.04″, #3, 0.94″.
Now, those numbers are seriously bad. Awful, even. So were my results with the first scope, though I tossed the targets when the reticle snapped. So, did I get two bad scopes in a row? Maybe. I know one thing for sure about both: for both, the parallax error was really awful. If I didn’t like scopes before this, I sure don’t like them any better now.
I’m hanging up the rifle and putting an ‘out of order’ sign on it until I get an iron sight. And yes, it will be (drum roll) the Millet/Desert Eagle.