Sturm, Ruger & Co specifically designed the Ruger Hawkeye Predator rifle to accommodate the needs of predator hunters. Here's what makes this rifle special.
The bolt-action Hawkeye rifle has been one of the flagship rifles at Ruger for decades.
It has undergone several design changes over the years, and the standard Hawkeye rifle has also served as the basis for a couple of other more specialized models like the Ruger Hawkeye African, Alaskan, FTW Hunter, and Long Range Target rifles.
This rifle shares many of the same features as the standard Ruger Hawkeye rifle, like the non-rotating Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor, stainless steel bolt, three position safety, integral scope mounts, and a solid-steel floorplate. They both also ship from the factory with a set of 1" scope rings.
However, Ruger also made a few modifications to the rifle in order to better fit the specific needs of predator hunters and to fix some of the (admittedly minor) shortcomings some hunters have complained about with the base model Hawkeye.
First, in contrast to the standard Ruger Hawkeye rifle, the Ruger Hawkeye Predator is exclusively chambered in cartridges most popular among varmint hunters. Ruger currently manufactures the Ruger American Predator in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
Second, the Hawkeye Predator utilizes a completely different trigger system from the standard Hawkeye. Instead of the LC6 trigger, the Predator has a two stage adjustable target trigger. While the standard Hawkeye is generally well regarded as a very solid rifle, the trigger is one of its few weak points.
Make no mistake: the LC6 trigger is not bad by any means, but it's not great either. Fortunately, the new trigger on the Predator has received high marks by many hunters (often described as crisp and smooth), and is a significant improvement over the original trigger.
Third, the Ruger Hawkeye Predator has a medium-contour cold hammer forged barrel that increases the overall weight of the rifle. For instance, the Predator model of the Hawkeye weighs 8 pounds without a scope, which is nearly a pound heavier than standard Hawkeye rifle chambered in the same caliber and with the same length barrel.
All chamberings of the Hawkeye Predator weigh between 7.7 and 8.1 pounds, which is a good balance between being light enough to carry, but heavy enough to provide a solid platform for longer shooting sessions.
Additionally, the Ruger Hawkeye Predator also has a Green Mountain Laminate Stock that also features removable spacers to adjust length of pull. The MSRP of the rifle is around $150 or so more than the standard Hawkeye rifle.
For comparison, this is a more specialized and higher end rifle than the Ruger American Predator (which retails for approximately half the price of the Hawkeye Predator) and is an outstanding gun for predator and varmint hunting. Not surprisingly, the Hawkeye Predator is capable of incredible accuracy in the right hands.
If you're looking for a well built, reliable, and extremely accurate rifle for predator hunting, then you should seriously consider the Ruger Hawkeye Predator.
Images via Ruger