Ruger 375 Guide Gun with Leupold VX-6 Scope

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 25th, 2013

 

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

Rifle comes with instruction manual, lock, muzzle weight, thread cover, butt pad spacers, and scope rings.

 

 

 

 

LC-6 trigger has a crisp, light trigger pull.

 

 

Three-position safety.

 

 

 

 

Floorplate and trigger guard are made of stainless steel.

 

 

 

 

Bolt stop.

 

 

Muzzle brake can be replaced with muzzle weight or thread protector.

 

 

375 H&H Magnum cartridge (left) compared to 375 Ruger cartridge (right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been about six years since I first reviewed Rugerís then-new 375 Ruger cartridge, chambered in the excellent M77 African bolt-action rifle. That rifle was blued steel and walnut; a beautifully-crafted hunting rifle that balanced and handled very well. The 375 Ruger cartridge offered 375 H&H magnum performance, plus a little, in a cartridge that did not need a true magnum-length action. Both the rifle and the cartridge performed impressively.

Now, Ruger has introduced their latest rifle that is chambered for the 375 Ruger cartridge; the Ruger Guide Gun. Also offered in other chamberings, the Guide Gun is shorter, handier, more rugged, and not hardly as beautiful as the African, but is likely a much better hunting rifle than its 375 predecessor. The Ruger Guide Gun seems to be a marriage of their African rifle, with the compact ruggedness and practicality of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle.

The Ruger Guide Gun is built upon Rugerís superb M77 Hawkeye action. This action has evolved over several decades into one of the strongest, most-reliable bolt actions ever built. The Guide Gun has a one-piece bolt. The bolt handle is not screwed on, welded on, or attached in any way. It is integral with the bolt body. It is not going to detach, ever. The extractor is of the classic Mauser claw style, and gets a good hold upon the cartridge rim, for positive extraction, every time. The ejector is a blade type fixed-position ejector, for positive ejection. The Guide Gunís bottom metal is stainless steel, with a hinged floorplate underneath the internal magazine.

One great feature that is often overlooked on the Ruger 77 action is the integral scope bases. Machined into the receiver, there is no way that the scope base can ever loosen itself, eliminating just one possible thing that can go wrong on a hunting rifle. Ruger also supplies scope rings to fit these integral bases, and they attach securely, but are quick to remove, if necessary.

Back to the specifics of the Guide Gun, the stainless steel has a finish that is unique to Ruger. It has a pleasing dull gray appearance, instead of a shiny silver like most other stainless bolt guns. The twenty-inch barrel tapers from 1.15 inch at the receiver to 0.765 inch diameter just behind the front sight band, and wears a front sight that consists of a white bead set into the rear of a black blade, which sits atop the rugged stainless ramp. The rear sight is a standing (non-folding) wide V express style, adjustable for windage correction, also set atop a stainless base. The muzzle is threaded to accept a muzzle brake, which is included with the Guide Gun. For those who want to switch between using the brake and not, included is a muzzle weight to replace the brake, or if the shooter prefers neither, a thread protector is also included.

The trigger on the Guide Gun is Rugerís LC6, which provides an excellent trigger feel with a crisp release, measuring a bit under three pounds resistance on the test rifle, and is one of the better triggers on the market today. The safety is of the three-position horizontal style, blocking the trigger and locking the bolt in the rear position, blocking only the trigger in the middle position, and allowing the weapon to fire in its forward position.

The stock is made of laminated wood, impregnated with resin to make it impervious to the elements, to remain stable in any type of weather. The butt pad is of soft rubber for shooting comfort, and spacers are included to adjust the length of pull to accommodate shooters of different sizes, or to adjust for the thickness of clothing worn. The length-of-pull is adjustable from 12.75 to 14.25 inches, using the spacers provided, resulting in an overall length varying between 41 and 42.5 inches. The Guide Gun shown here, chambered for the 375 Ruger cartridge, weighs in at an ounce over eight pounds, and balances very well. The forward sling attachment is on the barrel band, as it should be on a rifle with recoil of this level, but for those who prefer the forward sling mount on the forend of the stock, a sling stud is provided. The stock is well-checkered for a secure hold.

In my previous review of the 375 Ruger cartridge, I went into detail on some load development, but with this rifle, I stuck to two factory Hornady loads, which will cover most every use for which this rifle will be used. From the Rugerís twenty-inch barrel, the 270 grain Spire Point registered a velocity of 2676 feet-per-second (FPS) at twelve feet from the muzzle. The 300 grain roundnose soft point averaged 2538 FPS at the same distance. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity in the sixty percent range.

For a rifle such as this Guide Gun, which might be used against dangerous game at a distance of only a few feet, or on plains game out to a couple of hundred yards or more, I think I have found the ideal scope. The Leupold VX-6 has a magnification range from a true one power (no magnification) up to six power, making this rifle/scope combination very fast to get on target up close, but offering the precision to shoot through brush or other light cover at a distance. The VX-6 is built on a 30mm tube, and uses Leupoldís latest Xtended Twilight lens Coating System, for the ultimate in light transmission. Looking through the scope, the image is superb, all the way to the edges. The reticle has Leupoldís Fire Dot, for use in low-light conditions, which places a lighted red dot in the center of the reticle. The intensity of the light is adjustable with the push-button switch on the left side of the scope. I mounted the VX-6 using 30mm Leupold rings that secure atop the integral Ruger bases. I lined the inside of the rings with a layer of black plastic electricianís tape, to keep the scope from slipping under recoil. I also placed a drop of blue LocTite on each ring screw, and tightened with a Warne torque wrench, as the 375 does tend to recoil a bit. The VX-6 comes with both lens covers and a neoprene scope cover.

Shooting the Guide Gun with and without the muzzle brake attached, I can definitely feel the difference in recoil. It is hard to quantify how the recoil is reduced, but I would put a good guess that the felt recoil is reduced by at least one third, just judging by the bump to my shoulder. Accuracy was very good. At first, groups at 100 yards distance were in the two-inch range, but as I anticipated, the groups tightened considerably as the bore became seasoned a bit. After shooting several three-shot groups, the rifle was grouping under one inch at 100 yards, and that was using the VX-6 scope set to its highest magnification. Reliability was perfect. When new, extraction was just a bit sticky with the Hornady 270 grain ammunition, but became easier as shooting progressed. The floorplate stayed shut, as it should, and the cartridges fed smoothly from the three-round magazine.

The 375 Ruger Guide Gun is an excellent bolt-action rifle for use against large, dangerous game. It also shoots flat enough to serve very well for hunting other big game animals at a distance. Mated with the Leupold VX-6 scope, I canít think of a better bolt-action combination for an all-around rifle to take in pursuit of large animals that bite, claw, and crush.

The right-handed Ruger Guide Gun is built chambered for the 30-06 Springfield, 300 Winchester Magnum, 300 Ruger Compact Magnum, 338 Ruger Compact Magnum, and 338 Winchester Magnum, in addition to the 375 Ruger shown here. The 375 Ruger is also chambered in a left-handed Guide Gun.

Check out the Ruger Guide Gun online at www.ruger.com.

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Guide Gun online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

To look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

To order Hornady ammunition, go to www.midsouthshooters.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

Leupold VX-6 scope.

 

 

Integral scope bases.

 

 

Author lines scope rings with electrical tape, and puts LocTite on ring screws for a secure hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guide Gun has a soft recoil pad and removable spacers.