Ruger #1 -- Problems ? ?


June 3, 2003, 07:31 AM
I have read a few articles that the #1 has some serious long-range accuracy problems.

I am considering a single-shot '06, and was thinking of a #1, but if it can't do the job out to 3 or 4 hundred yards, then it would be a poor choice.

Any comments ?

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June 3, 2003, 09:35 AM
Most of the complaints involve the relationship between the forend/forend hanger/mainspring and barrel. It can be fixed. A 'smith with a milling machine can D&T the tip of the forend hanger for a setscrew that bears against the barrel, which usually improves accuracy. There's a device called the Hicks Accurizer which does the same thing but doesn't need a mill for installation.

The other problem is that older Ruger barrels came from Wilson and were VERY inconsistent in quality; some shoot fine, others are tomato stakes.

This is all per my gunsmith, who invented the setscrew-through-the-hanger trick and showed it to Ross Seyfried, who wrote it up in Guns & Ammo.

I'm lusting after a Ruger #1 in .303 British. Ruger's never made such a beast, but it just takes a custom barrel, quarter rib, and sights, plus a tweak to the extractor...


June 3, 2003, 09:40 AM
One more thing, concerning potential accuracy. Ross Seyfried has a custom fast-twist .22-6mm Improved that shoots 2" wide, 4" high groups at 800 yards. #1s can be plenty accurate :D


June 3, 2003, 10:05 AM
I have a Ruger #1 RSI (carbine w/ Mannlicher style stock) in .30-06 that shoots exactly where I point it. With iron sights it shoots better than I can hold. The moose I shot last fall didn't know he was shot with a rifle with a checkered reputation
Some of them are accurate and some need to be tuned. I just got lucky.

June 3, 2003, 10:11 AM
It depends how you define problems. By it's very nature a falling block rifle with a two piece stock won't have the same inherent accuracy as a bolt action with a one piece stock.

Here's my experience with a Ruger #1A in .270 Winchester. After lusting after one of these rifles for years I bought one for deer hunting. My first trip to the bench with factory ammo was disappointing -- shooting 3 shot groups of 2.0" and 5 shot groups around 5" at 100 yards. Load development was an exercise in frustration because no matter what I did I could not get groups below 1.75" for 3 and 4" for 5 shots.

I was idly thinking about selling the rifle when a revelation came one afternoon at the range. I was noticing that while the groups were larger than I liked they were consistent. From a cold barrel the rifle put the first round exactly two inches about the point of aim, exactly where I wanted it. The second shot always went in within half an inch beside it. The third third shot always went high by an inch or two making the group look like an elongated triangle. It was the fourth and fifth shots made the groups larger. From target to target the groups looked pretty much the same (with some allowances for operator error).

It occurred to me that this was a single shot rifle intended to hunt game, not a varmint or target rifle. The fact that first shot performance from a cold barrel was consistent and that a second shot would be put right on top of the first one was more than sufficient. At the longer ranges this consistency held up and I was quite comfortable taking a longer shot because I knew that the first (and most likely the only) shot would go where I wanted it.

Having recalibrated my thinking about accuracy, I then started shooting from various positions and possibly because I am more of a shotgunner than a rifleman I found the #1 handled better than any rifle before or since. I could shoot it better offhand than any of my bolt actions and regularly smacked the 200 yard gong without a rest.

I know there are specific fixes to make these rifles shoot better groups but I never felt the need because it worked well for me in the field provided I lived within the rifle's unique properties. Shooting a single shot requires some adjustments, specifically a willingness to pass on marginal shots and to consider accuracy in a whole new way. Hope this helps.


June 3, 2003, 11:54 AM
I got my wife a Ruger #1 in .257 Roberts for a gift. She love's the rifle but it just won't print a decent group.:banghead: We've tried working up different loads and different bullets, (we reload) but no luck.

We're going to glass bed the foreend when we get a little time. If that doesn't work we may look at trading it for a bolt gun in 257 Roberts.

Semper Fi

June 3, 2003, 05:18 PM
pjr's oberservtions are very insightful and very on target. through my research i've come to the conclusion that the #1 has two areas of concern.

1. the forend can affect the barrel harmonics. i've read of good resaults with both the adjustable screw (upward presure) and free floating the barrel (no pressure)

2. the sighting rib also affects your point of impact. the rib is alloy, the barrel is steel. as the barrel heats up, they expand at different rates ... which changes your point of impact. the apparent remedy for this is to go with the #1V blocks

Bob C
June 4, 2003, 06:41 AM
I've had experience with two #1B's, a .270 and a .243.

The .270 did OK at first, grouping around 2- 2 1/2" at 100 yards.
Then I reading an article by Elmer Keith about changing the the fore end presssure by putting a piece of live ruber between the forend screw and the hange, inside the fore end. Elmer was right. group avarages fell to about hal what they were, and if I really care, and took my time between rounds I often got groups under an inch, even with factory ammo.

I don't recall what I "needed" that prompted me to sell the .270, but I wish I still had it.

I just got the .243 a couple of weeks ago, and before firing it I but he piece of rubber in place, just as Elmer had suggested. This gun was made in 1982, and is in 98% condition.

For the three loads I've tried so far, groups are averaging a bit over 1", with the best load staying right at 1".

I had a problem with aftermarket scope rings on this rifle, but a set of factory rings cured that completely

If the rubber hadn't worked, I would have tried the adaptor mentioned above, but I don't feel the need for that now.

The recommendation by Keith is still around, having been reprinted in "Gun Notes".

June 4, 2003, 11:38 AM
I would recommend the Browning single shot but sadly it's no longer in production. They are noted for their accuracy. The difference is that the Browning fore end is fastened to a hanger which is mounted to the receiver. Nothing touches the barrel. But there are various cures for the Ruger so it's a matter of finding one that works.

June 4, 2003, 12:07 PM
does anyone, who has experience in this, feel that there is any advantage to having a single shot chambered in a "short" cartridge when a "long" version is available?

ex: .30-06 vs. .308, 7x57mm vs. 7-08 or 6.5x55mm vs. .260

June 4, 2003, 01:17 PM
does anyone, who has experience in this, feel that there is any advantage to having a single shot chambered in a "short" cartridge when a "long" version is available?

No advantage in my view. There might be a theoretical edge in faster ejection and possibly in the more "inherent accuracy" of short column cartridges but these would be meaningless in the field.

I would recommend the Browning single shot but sadly it's no longer in production. They are noted for their accuracy.

Definitely more accurate rifles. The Low Wall that I owned in .223 was an MOA shooter and a very nice little walking around varmint gun. The Browning/Winchester design had other drawbacks but accuracy was not one of them.

June 4, 2003, 01:22 PM
ok you've peaked my interest.

what are the drawbacks of the browning low-wall design...other the the fact that it is out of production and was expensive before that? i always thought the browning was a sleeker look but i'm not a big fan of the hammer.

when did they stop production? i haven't seen one in years, what are they going for?

June 4, 2003, 01:38 PM
The difficulty I remember most (I have since sold the gun) was cocking the hammer. No extensions were available and to get your thumb on the hammer you needed high scope rings which made getting a good cheek weld on the stock more difficult. I suppose I could have walked around with the hammer cocked but the rifle didn't have a safety. With the addition of a tang safety on it would have been much better. I think the Low Wall designs are better off with open or tang sights.

The Low Wall design had an extractor, not an ejector like the Ruger. If you wanted a quick follow up shot the lack of ejector was an impediment. This didn't matter varminting but for hunting larger game the ability to quickly reload the rifle was comforting. With practice I could get 3 shots off with my Ruger as quickly as someone putting out four shots with a bolt action.

Browning discontinued their single shots a couple of years ago IIRC. Winchester is making a .17 rimfire version.

I didn't buy one of these rifles when they were available in .22 but in .17HMR I might not be able to resist.


June 5, 2003, 01:33 AM
I have four #1's, and two Brownings - one a low wall .22 Hornet and the other a B78 in .25-06. Except for the .375 H&H #1:what: all will group in an inch or less at 100 yards.

The Rugers are all 1970's guns, and are kinda fussy, but took load development work and some tuning. The complex harmonics of that spring & barrel system can make them particular about loads. In my experience, the #1B's with that straight tapered medium weight barrel are the least fussy. The big bores are the worst.

If you get a hankering for one:

1) do not buy one that has obviously had the forend floated or modified - if it has, and it's for sale it means the owner's given up on it (probably).

2) Experiment thoroughly with handloads. Don't be afraid to try special tricks like fire lapping to get one shooting well. That's the final trick my .22-250 needed to turn it into an honest half inch rifle.

3) remember that the stock tends to move around some on the bags, and they don't always come back consistently in recoil, which can throw off some shots.

This one in .22-250 is circa 1977:

June 5, 2003, 01:53 AM
I actually prefer the 1885 action to the #1, except for the infernal dual mainsprings, which can take hours to disassemble and re-assemble. The B78 is in .25-06, and is a devastatingly accurate rifle, a true one-holer at 100 yards. Not bad for a gun with a two piece burly stock and a skinny octagon barrel:D

I still remember one day in Mesquite, TX, when that B78 went to the 200 yard range, and I set up next to three Hi-Power guys with M1A's...they would stop and look at my rifle, smirk and laugh at my single shot - they were good shots, shooting 4-6in groups at 200 yards.

I fired one string, brought the target back to the bench, laid it down, and they got very quiet. I had three shots in 3/4 inch at 200 yards:neener:

When Browning went to the 1885, they screwed up the trigger and made it harder to adjust :cuss: I finally gave up & started stoning the sear of my .22 Hornet Lo-wall to get it down below 5 pounds.:banghead:

The Hornet was pretty fussy, too, until I tried Lil'Gun powder, which did the trick and turned it into a nice 5/8-3/4 inch rifle at 100 yards. I still may consider making it into a Bee or K-hornet.

Both Brownings are great, and I'd like more of them, but they did both require tuning. I'd really like a Traditional Hunter in .45-70

June 5, 2003, 01:46 PM
tex n cal - that is a beautiful stock on that #1. thanks for posting the comparision of the browning and ruger single shots. i liked the browning too but the hammer and cost just put it out of reach, when i was 20...i would guess it is even more out of reach now :banghead:

i'll have to keep a lookout for a B78...i'd really like a single shot in 6.5x55mm.

June 5, 2003, 05:47 PM
does anyone, who has experience in this, feel that there is any advantage to having a single shot chambered in a "short" cartridge when a "long" version is available?

Dunno about the short version of a .45-70 Ruger #1S. Maybe one in .45 ACP or .454 Casull? ;)

Accuracy hasn't been a problem with mine, but I've been constantly trying to develop accurate loads at different velocities. For example, if I run FFg behind a Crisco-lubed cast bullet , it will like a certain load. Bump it up to a 405gr Beartooth gas-checked number, ahead of Reloder 17 , running over 2000fps, and it likes another load for accuracy. Of course, then there's the accuracy one can sustain at those recoil levels... :D

June 6, 2003, 02:38 AM
Its 2x Weaver scope appears to be heading south for good, but my .375 H&H has proven to be pretty interesting. With light loads it is quite extraordinarily accurate, like with SR4759, loaded down to .375 Winchester power levels.

With big charges of Varget and the Speer 285 GS, it is about a 1.5 MOA gun at 100 yards. Surely enough for Minute of Nilgai:D

I think mechanically it's capable of better accuracy, but the big torque when you touch one off makes it hard to ride consistently.

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