Read on to learn all about the new Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter rifle.
Sturm, Ruger & Company just introduced the Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter rifle, which is their latest addition to their Hawkeye lineup of hunting rifles. Ruger, in partnership with the Sportsman’s All-Weather, All-Terrain Marksmanship (SAAM) school at the world famous FTW Ranch in Texas, specifically designed the Hawkeye FTW Hunter as a precision, all-weather, multipurpose hunting rifle capable of performing at a high level in a wide range of brutal conditions.
Ruger sent me a left handed version of the Hawkeye FTW rifle (no, those photos aren’t backwards) chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum for testing and review. This is the first in a series of articles I’ll be writing over the next few months about it. Though today’s article only gives a brief overview of its features, future articles will detail the performance of the Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter at the range and eventually in the field during hunting season.
Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter Features
While the Hill Country Rifle Team accomplished some incredible feats of extreme long range shooting at the FTW Ranch, SAAM takes great pains to emphasize that they train students on precision marksmanship for ethical hunting, not for long range shooting or long range hunting (there is a difference). For this reason, they designed FTW Hunter as a hunting rifle that can make longer than average (though still ethical) shots if necessary. It is not a bench rest rifle nor is it intended for taking unethical shots at excessive range.
Built on the venerable Hawkeye action, the FTW Hunter uses the same non-rotating, Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor that has earned such a good reputation for reliability in the eyes or hunters and shooters over the years. Like all Ruger Hawkeye rifles, it has a three position safety and LC6 trigger. Additionally, Ruger provides a set of 1″ scope rings with the purchase of a Hawkeye FTW Hunter (scope not included).
The Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter features a Natural Gear Camouflage dipped laminate wood stock with a rubber recoil pad. Ruger provides three 1/2″ spacers that allow the shooter to adjust the rifle’s length of pull for a proper fit. The rifle comes from the factory with a 13 1/4″ length of pull, which the shooter may adjust to 12 3/4″, 13 3/4″, or 14 1/4″ by adding or removing the spacers. This great feature enables shooters of different sizes (or the same shooter wearing varying amounts of cold weather gear) to customize the FTW Hunter according to their needs.
Each Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter rifle has a 22″ or 24″ (depending on the caliber) cold hammer forged barrel with the Ruger Muzzle Brake System mounted at the end. The muzzle brake does noticeably reduce felt recoil. However, the major downside of the brake is that it also substantially increases muzzle blast. This is especially true for someone standing to the side of the shooter (like a hunting guide). It also increases the overall length of the rifle by approximately one inch.
Fortunately, the Ruger Muzzle Brake System also includes a muzzle weight, which may replace the muzzle brake without changing the rifle’s point of impact (assuming the same load is used). This allows the hunter to save his or her shoulder while practicing at the range using the muzzle brake, but preserve his or her hearing while hunting without having to rezero the rifle.
Those who have the necessary NFA tax stamp will be happy to hear that most suppressors are compatible with the threads on the FTW Hunter’s barrel. Finally, the rifle also comes with a thread protector if the hunter does not want to mount a suppressor or use the muzzle brake/weight.
Last, the Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter has a solid steel, hinged floorplate that’s engraved with the FTW logo. Intended to facilitate rapid and easy unloading of the rifle, the latch for the floorplate is also flush with the trigger guard to prevent accidental dumping of the magazine.
Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter Calibers
Ruger currently produces the Hawkeye FTW Hunter in seven different calibers: .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .375 Ruger. Rifles chambered in .308 Winchester and .375 Ruger have a 22″ barrel. All other calibers have a 24″ barrel. FTW Hunter rifles chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .375 Ruger have 3 round magazines. FTW Hunter rifles chambered in all other calibers have 4 round magazines.
For all your southpaws out there, the Ruger also makes Hawkeye FTW Hunter rifles with a left handed bolt chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .375 Ruger.
Check out this article to see how the Ruger Hawkeye FTW Hunter rifle performed at the range during further testing.
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