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Making the Ruger 77/50 Blackhorn 209 Compatible.

Excerpted from the Ruger 77/50 manual

Much like the Remington 700 ML and 700ADL, Ruger sold a muzzle loader that looks a lot like the Ruger 77/44: the Ruger 77/50.    According to the Ruger website it was in production from 1997-2004.   The Ruger functioned very similar to the Remington 700 ML, and even had a breech thread that allowed use of 700ML breech plugs.  (Not that we nor the manufacturer are endorsing that. It’s just so similar it’s possible).  Thus these rifles had many of the same problems as the Remington 700 ML:  Blow-back, frequent misfires, and factory setups that didn’t have 209 options.

So when Ruger owners find The Badger Ridge Industries 209 kit for the Remington 700ML, they often contact us and ask if we can make a similar “seal up the breech, BlackHorn209 compatible, finger simple prime de-prime system” for the Ruger 77/50.   Now, I’m proud to say “YES WE CAN!”

In order to develop and prove out a Badger Ridge sealed breech 77/50 209 conversion, a few 77/50’s were purchased and converted by Fred and myself.   Having a couple of centerfire  Ruger 77 MKII’s that I’ve hunted with for years, in many ways it wasn’t a totally new rifle to me, even though it was a ‘totally new rifle’ to me.   And while on the surface it works similar to the Remington, and the breech plug threads of both are essentially identical, the 77/50 is a very different rifle to convert.

As the rifle came from the factory, or even when modified with a Canadian 209 system, the warning about “Hot Gases Exit Nipple Area” excerpted from the 77/50 manual rings true and must be heeded.   Hot gasses and pieces of primers/caps being blown back and around the nipple and the associated fouling are generally referred to as “Blow Back”.   The 77/50 uses a protrusion on the bolt itself to try and direct the blow-back to the side of the rifle.  The bolt also has a vent in the bolt body that directs the blow-back that enters the bolt down and into the stock!   So on this rifle blow back still gets everywhere, and is even directed down and into the inside the rifle! This complicates cleaning and over the long term reduces the reliability of the system.   So compared to the Remington we had to modify the Ruger’s bolt much more to get a more reliable 209 system that seals the breech.

The main reason to switch to our system is not only to increase reliability and use 209 primers, but to seal up the breech area and essentially eliminate all of the blow back issues.   209 primers are hotter and more reliable source of ignition.   Using them to seal blow back into the breech plug vastly simplifies cleaning and makes the rifle safer.   This seals out the elements and allows one to shoot Blackhorn 209 powder.  Which in my opinion is the best black powder substitute available.  Everything is better with the Badger Ridge 209 kit.  Without it, the unreliable, leaky rifle is not Blackhorn 209 compatible.

Remember, blow back not only can injure a shooter or by stander, but it can burn the optics mounted above the breech, project corrosive fouling throughout the bolt and action, prematurely wear out a mainspring, etc.   However the Ruger 77/50 is known to have an additional deficiency:  Blow-back launches the firing pin rearward and occasionally shears the trigger’s sear!   Our conversion for the Ruger 77/50 fixes all of these woes by sealing the blow back into the breech plug with the 209 primer!

The conversion process requires the bolt to be completely stripped, our new firing pin to be installed, the extended shroud to be cut off, and the nose of the bolt dressed.  Then the 209 nose is timed to align it for loading and unloading, pressed on, and firing pin protrusion set.  So once started, there really isn’t any going back.  But once the converted rifle is shot, I’m sure no one will ever want to go back to the leaky original set up!

Our Ruger 77/50 conversion is through its first rounds of testing but is still in what the DoD would call LRIP (low rate initial production).   I’m not comfortable sending this one out for just anyone to install, and for now, will only offer it as a full conversion service.   Or in other words, I’m not willing to sell this one as a kit; you will have to pay me to install it.

The kit uses the same Hunter 209 breech plug that our Remington 700 ML conversion uses.

Bolt fully closed on Ruger 77/50 with 209 conversion installed. Primer is swaged into breech plug and sealed

If you are interested in making your rifle work the way you always wanted it to, and Blackhorn 209 compatible, you can purchase Ruger 77/50 conversion as a service (very similar to our Remington 700ML conversion service).   Mail us your bolt, we’ll convert, and send it back with the breech plug, vent liner, and other accessories.   Details are available at our website:


Tom Hood
850 384 2683