First Look: Ruger Hawkeye Hunter

posted on January 20, 2020

Ruger’s Hawkeye bolt-action rifles continue to evolve, and the newest model for 2020—the Hawkeye Hunter—blends a classic walnut stock with a stainless-steel action. Additionally, the Hawkeye Hunter also offers features that serious hunters demand including a ⅝x24 threaded muzzle with screw-on cap and a 20 MOA top rail for easy optics mounting.

If you’re a fan of the existing Hawkeye rifle line, the new Hunter model will seem quite familiar. It shares the same three-position safety and non-rotating Mauser-style claw extractor as other members of the Hawkeye family, and it also comes with Ruger’s crisp LC6 trigger. The free-floated, cold hammer forged barrel comes with 5R rifling and is available in length from 20 to 24-inches (depending upon caliber).

The one-piece steel floorplate is hinged, and the release is located within the trigger guard where it’s easy to access and can’t be accidentally bumped in the field. And with seven caliber options ranging from .204 Ruger to .300 Winchester Magnum (including the popular 6.5 Creedmoor and new 6.5 PRC) there’s no North American game for which the Hawkeye Hunter isn’t suited. Southpaws will also appreciate the fact that Ruger offers the Hawkeye Hunter in a left-handed version chambered in either 6.5 Creedmoor or .300 Winchester Magnum.

The Hawkeye Hunter weighs between 7 and 8.1 pounds, depending on chambering, which makes it suitable for high-mountain hunting that requires long hikes in thin air. The walnut stock is well-designed and comfortable, offering a straight comb, functional checkering and rounded profile. The classic walnut blends well with the rifle’s satin silver finish, and the secure top rail is mounted with 8x40 screws. The addition of the 20 MOA top rail eases optic installation and increases the rifle’s maximum effective range.

Hawkeye rifles have a reputation for unfailing reliability thanks to features like a one-piece stainless steel bolt body and a time-tested Mauser-style CRF action. Lockup is secure thanks to precision machining of the dual-lug bolt, and the Hawkeye Hunter’s build quality is unmistakable. What’s more, these rifles have a stellar reputation for accuracy. For the hunter who wants a rifle that looks good and shoots great, the Hawkeye Hunter is an ideal choice, and it’s also relatively affordable (MSRP is $1,099) considering its long feature list and material quality. If you’re in the market for a new hunting rifle in 2020 this new Ruger should be on your short list.   

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