Ruger’s High Polish/Circassian Walnut Limited Edition 9.3x62mm Hawkeye African Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 25th, 2011


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Ruger 9.3x62mm Limited Edition Hawkeye African rifle.



Three-position safety.



Bolt release.





One-piece stainless bolt with massive non-rotating claw extractor.



These limited-production rifles are specially numbered within their own serial number range.





Hornady 9.3x62 ammunition and bullets.





It was over four years ago that I first reviewed Ruger’s Hawkeye African rifle. Chambered for the then-new 375 Ruger cartridge, the African was built like a classic African rifle should be. The steel was blued, the stock made of walnut, and the lines and dimensions were sleek. The rifle had enough heft, but was not so heavy that it would be a burden to carry all day. At that time, it was my favorite Ruger bolt gun. Everything that the good folks at Sturm, Ruger had learned from years of building bolt action rifles came together in the Hawkeye design, resulting in a rifle that had several desirable features, but combined into the Hawkeye package, yielded a rifle that was greater than the sum of its parts. For more details on that first Ruger African rifle, I refer the reader to that review from February of 2007.

That brings us to the rifle at hand. Ruger is building limited production series rifles, based upon their African Hawkeye. The African wears a matte finished blued steel action and barrel, and a good-looking walnut stock. However, many shooters prefer the classic look of polished blued steel, and this new Gunblast African has that treatment, combined with upgraded wood, resulting in a great-looking, classically elegant rifle. This Hawkeye African wears a Circassian walnut stock, which compliments the high gloss finish of the steel. This rifle looks like the classic rifles that were built for hunting large dangerous game many decades ago. In my youth, I spent many hours reading of the African adventures of Peter Capstick, John Taylor, and my favorite, Finn Aagard. This Ruger African rifle would have looked well at home in a photograph with any of those hunters. The African has a stock that is strong, yet slender and easy to hold. The Circassian stock has ample cut checkering on the forearm and pistol grip. The butt pad is made of a hard red rubber, which looks very good; like the pads used on Ruger rifles of forty years ago.

The African has the Hawkeye controlled-round feeding for excellent reliability, along with a blade ejector and massive claw extractor. These are features upon which many hunters of dangerous game insist. The Ruger is built to function under adverse conditions, and as such, the action is strong and reliable. The safety is a three-position type, which locks both the bolt and trigger in its rearmost position, locks the trigger but allows the bolt to be operated in its mid position, and releases the LC6 trigger to fire in its forward position. The LC6 allows a very good, crisp, reliable trigger pull, with the pull weight on the sample rifle measuring three and three-quarters pounds.

The blued steel barrel is of medium-heavy weight, and measures twenty-three inches in length. Perfect choice of barrel length for the 9.3x62 cartridge. The Hawkeye African wears steel bottom metal, thankfully, and it is also polished to match the finish on the barrel and receiver. The Ruger uses a ninety-degree stainless bolt, with the bolt and handle being of one-piece design. Like all Hawkeye rifles, the receiver has a massive integral recoil lug, and the action is solidly bolted to the stock. There is a rear sling stud on the stock, but unlike the 375 African from 2007, the African rifles now have the forward stud on a barrel band, to get it away from the hand, where it could potentially get cut under heavy recoil. I like the barrel band sling stud position much better, and it just looks better on a dangerous game rifle. Like all centerfire Ruger rifles, the African Hawkeye comes with scope bases integral with the receiver, and is supplied with sturdy blued steel scope rings. Magazine capacity is four rounds.

The Hawkeye is built in many configurations, but this is the first 9.3x62 African Hawkeye, and the first bolt action rifle to which has lent its name. On that subject, I want to make it clear that neither I nor are making money on this rifle. I can’t objectively review firearms, while making money from the sale of those firearms. For the same reason, I do not own any Sturm, Ruger stock, though I would love to, as Ruger stock outperforms the S&P 500 every month, and every year. It is better than owning gold, but I cannot own Ruger stock nor any other stock in a gun company and retain my credibility as an objective gun reviewer. However, any gun reviewer who claims to be totally unbiased is either a liar or has no soul. I have my likes and dislikes, just like any other person, and I really like everything about this Ruger rifle, enough to put our brand on it. As for the brand, there is nothing gaudy nor anything stamped upon the rifle with a reference to, with the exception of the special serial number. Numbers start at GB-00001, and progress upward from there. I am unsure how many will be built, but they tell me that it will be no more than 1000, and maybe fewer, depending upon demand. It is not every gun owner who needs or even wants a 9.3x62 rifle. Just as I don’t really “need” a couple of 500 magnums, two 480s, a 50 Beowulf, or most of the other large-caliber weapons that I have. I also do not need a Harley that will top 125 miles per hour, or that new Boss Mustang that will do 155. Sometimes just wanting something is reason enough, and the 9.3x62 is one of those few cartridges, like the 375 H&H and 275 Rigby, that does more for its owner than can be shown on paper. It makes no sense for a semi-grown man to let an inanimate object stir his soul, but some firearms just do that, like a vintage Colt SAA, an old Flattop Blackhawk, a 375 Number One single shot, or a nineteenth century Winchester lever gun. The 9.3x62 in a classic blued steel-and-walnut bolt rifle has the same effect on me.

Since the 9.3x62 cartridge is not well-known to many shooters, especially in the United States, a brief history is in order. The 9.3x62 uses a .366 diameter bullet. The weights vary, as with any cartridge, but the standard weight upon which the cartridge’s stellar reputation was built is 286 grains. The cartridge was developed by Otto Bock around 1905, and quickly became popular in Europe for hunting the large bear and antlered game on that continent. European hunters began taking the 9.3 to Africa, where it built a fine reputation for its effectiveness on large, and even dangerous game. Ballistically, the 9.3x62 is right on the heels of the revered 375 H&H magnum. The 9.3x62 works through a standard length action, and does not require the longer magnum action. In Africa, the 9.3x62 still has a loyal following, and the cartridge is well-respected by those who understand the power of that efficient round.

The African has a very sturdy express V-notch rear sight with a white bead front, which is very quick for close range work in thick cover, and works well also out to moderate ranges on big game. However, I prefer a scope on my hunting rifles, so I mounted a Leupold VX-III 1.5 to 5 power glass atop the Hawkeye African. Set at the lowest magnification, I can leave both eyes wide open, and is quicker on target for me than any mechanical sight system. Cranking the power up to five, that scope is good at extended ranges on large game. The Leupold is a quality hunting scope, and made in the USA. It also has ample eye relief, which is important on rifles that pack a punch. On the topic of power, we always end up discussing recoil. The 9.3x62 African is not painful to shoot. Not at all. From the benchrest, an extended shooting session will induce shooter fatigue, but shooting offhand or from other field positions, the recoil is much more of a push than a kick. It is a lot less painful than shooting a 300 magnum rifle to me, as the 300’s recoil is much sharper. Weighing in at seven and three-quarter pounds, the African has plenty of heft for controlled and accurate shooting, but is easy to carry, and quick to the shoulder.

Shooting the African 9.3x62 was a delight. I really enjoyed getting to work with this rifle. Its handling qualities are superb. The slim, checkered forend is easy to grasp, as is the slim pistol grip. I gathered up some superb Hornady 286 grain soft point Dangerous Game Series ammunition, along with some handloads using the same 366 caliber Hornady bullet. I found H4350 powder to do a splendid job, giving high velocities, along with very good accuracy, and easy case extraction. All accuracy testing was done using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest, which enables me to hold the rifle perfectly steady for testing. Handloads or factory ammunition, it made no difference, this rifle loves that Hornady bullet, and shoots it very accurately. If each of these rifles are as accurate as this first one, no one will ever have an excuse for missing a shot in the field. Maybe the old cold fingers excuse might work, as it is always a good one, but neither the rifle nor the ammunition can be blamed. This rifle is an honest one-inch rifle, and the groups shown are even better than that. While I did not have a variety of different bullet weights available, I think that with my own 9.3x62 African, which has not yet arrived, I will just stick with this Hornady 286, unless I need a solid for any purpose. Hopefully, my rifle will shoot as well as this one, but I would gladly settle for groups twice as large, and be happy with it. The trigger released crisply and cleanly at just a bit over three pounds of resistance. The balance is a bit forward, which I like for a steady shot. The wood is beautiful. The stock is beautiful. The design is classic. As stated above, there is nothing that I do not like about this rifle.

The African Hawkeye is available only through Lipsey’s. Lipsey’s is a wholesaler in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and they will be handling the distribution on all of these special rifles. The first run sold out in 45 minutes, but more are in production, so get your order in if you want one. This is the first polished blue and Circassian walnut African Hawkeye that Ruger has ever produced, and it is a non-catalogued item, with special serial numbers, so when they are gone, there will be no more. If your favorite gun dealer is not a Lipsey’s dealer, have him to call Lipsey’s at 1-800-666-1333, or click on the DEALER LOCATOR at for the location of a Ruger dealer near you.

Lipsey's Item No: RUHM77RSGB9.3

UPC No: 736676371709

MFG Model No: 37170

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.




Polished steel, engraved magazine floorplate.





Ruger integral bases with supplied Ruger scope rings.



Leupold VX-III 1.5-5x scope.





Cartridge comparison: 30-06 (left), 9.3x62mm (center), and 375 H&H Magnum (right).



The Gunblast Hawkeye proved to be exceptionally accurate.