Help choosing new single shot rifle


December 26, 2011, 04:07 PM
Welcoming thoughts, comments and pros/cons...been handling two single shot rifles lately and just cannot decide which to buy (both is not an option).

In one corner, a new Ruger #1 in .308
Versus an excellent condition Browning B78 in 30-06 from early 1970s. Comes with old Leopold scope.
Both are about the same price.

Purpose: primarily a range target gun. Shooting from various positions but very limited bench shooting. Range distance is 150 to 250 yards. Possibly NY deer hunting next season.

Main hesitation on Browning is weight. Any thoughts or opinions are welcome.

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December 26, 2011, 04:55 PM
The Ruger #1 can be a tricky beast to make into a target rifle. Most of the models have a quarter rib for scope mounting. Unfortunately, the rib purportedly does not react to barrel heating the same way the barrel does. If you want target grade Ruger #1, go with the Varmint version. The scope mounts to blocks instead of a rib. Also, you will have to float the fore-end, which is not too difficult. I have one in .223 that is very accurate, but it only likes 50 Gr. Hornady Vmax bullets and H335 powder (very close to max). And you have to use a neck sizing die. Mine likes the Lee Collet die the best. If the rounds chamber easily, I know that they are not going to shoot well. The best loads are basically a crush fit in the chamber, with the bullet about 0.02 off the lands

One weird thing about mine, the hotter the barrel gets, the tighter it shoots. Once it gets really hot, 3/8" for 5 shots at 100 yards is normal. The same load out of a cold barrel will be 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

Finally, there is a device called a "Hicks Accurizer" that some have used to maintain a constant tension between the fore end hanger and the barrel. I have no personal experience with this device, but some people have reported good results.

December 28, 2011, 04:41 PM
Purpose: primarily a range target gun.

Given the intended purpose as stated, I'm curious as to why you have any qualms about the weight of the Browning:

Main hesitation on Browning is weight.

Do you want a heavier or lighter rifle?

December 28, 2011, 05:26 PM
I own a Ruger #1 in .270 Winchester and another in the Varminter version in .25-'06.
My rifles are both good shooters after I free floated the forearms and shimmed the hangers on both.
With reloads,both shoot sub MIA at 100 yds.

December 28, 2011, 10:10 PM
I have a Ruger #1V in 220 Swift and absolutely love the rifle but it was a lesson in frustration in getting it tuned. Installed a Hicks Accurizer and Kepplinger trigger plus careful load development to get it to shoot well. Will now consistently shoot 1/2" or better groups.

Twoeyedjack is correct about issues with the rail mounted scopes changing POI as the barrel heats.

December 28, 2011, 10:15 PM
I think the b78 is actually a bit nicer looking, but either is FREAKING WIN!!!!....can you tell i want one :D

December 29, 2011, 08:40 AM
SwampWolf - read your post/question and said "huh, hadn't thought if weight that way". A heavy rifle may be better for target shooting. I am not a huge fan of bench shooting. Always shot (may not be proper term) freehand. But then again its been mostly rimfire.
It has been interesting doing the online/internet research into both rifles...a great reminder that no matter how uniform & factory produced these rifles are they have to be seen individually. Everyone has a different experience!

December 29, 2011, 09:02 AM
Have you considered an Encore? They are accurate, handsome, and easy to work on. Triggers on Rugers can be bears! Encore triggers are pretty simple. Plus, you have a host of barrels from which to choose if you ever decide to add another caliber! go to and check it out.

December 29, 2011, 10:08 AM
The TC Encore & Pro Hunter are excellent rifles. I just have a personal preference for the falling block system vs the break-open.

December 29, 2011, 02:32 PM
Here's an idea for an off the wall sort of solution. A Pedersoli Remington pattern rolling block in .30-30. Now this sounds a bit odd but consider this. Being a single shot you can load any number of .308 sharp nosed boat tail bullets to maximize your BC. Being a single shot there's no worry about the sharp nose setting off the round ahead of it in the tubular magazine of a lever rifle.

The .30-30 casing will somewhat limit the amount of powder you can use but there's still a pretty darn respectable amount which will provide a good amount of muzzle velocity.

The only fly in the ointment may be your desire for a scope. To some extent this is alleviated by the addition of a really nice target peep setup which can shoot out to longer ranges pretty well if the shooter has decent enough eyeballs.

Or if you're willing to work with the slower flying but hard hitting 45-70 solution then there's a wide variety of old reproduction classics from folks such as Pedersoli and Uberti which could fit the bill. Rifles which are VERY easy on the eye if you enjoy looking at them as much as shooting them.

Again scopes are not really an option. But from the times I've been invited to shoot one of these beauties I found that the proper rear ladder peep combined with the replacable front globe sight really perked up my old guy eyes. With this sort of combo I had no trouble at all keeping my 3 shots taken in one case all within a 3 inch circle. And with practice along with matching the front sight's replacable blade to the size of the bull on the target I don't doubt that I could do even better. Certainly for me shooting for fun the challenge of working with a single shot equpped with a good target peep sight set sounds like a lot more fun than bag shooting with a scope.

T Bran
December 29, 2011, 02:46 PM
You can find another Ruger fairly easily but what are the odds on finding another Browning in excelent condition. Nothing against the Ruger I think they are a very fine rifle and very easy on the eyes. I would snap up the Browning now and save up for a Ruger later.
Tough decision let us know which way you jump.

December 29, 2011, 06:01 PM
Low end, Handi rifle from H&R. With tinkering, they can do MOA.

Upper end, EABCO model 94D. No tinkering required, just expensive dies for their wildcat cartridges. I have one in .300BRM. It shoots cast or jacked bullets into impossibly small groups up to a maxumum effective range of 350 yards for deer sized game.

I would not buy the Browning until I talked to someone who owned one of the same vintage. I have heard horror stories about their maintenance and parts.

December 30, 2011, 01:04 PM
I've owned both Ruger and Browning, and my personal experience is to choose the Browning.

The various techniques described above are only a start on what it takes to make a Ruger shoot accurately when shooting more that 2-3 shots. My Ruger began stringing up (at least it was consistent) as the barrel warmed up. I've had no similar experiences with 5 different Brownings.

My Browning experience is limited to Low-Walls, but I can't think that makes a difference.

In 20+ years of owning same, I've never had any need for service, so can't speak to the I-rumors of "horror stories of maintenance and parts." Browning's 1885 is such a simple, yet rugged design that any issues are minimal. After all, it's been around for, what, 126 years and counting?!

December 31, 2011, 09:13 AM
I want to thank everyone for the input. I went for the Ruger No 1.
There were a series of factors: First was that the Ruger fit my shoulder better. Second, Ruger has iron sights. I can take my time & decide which/any scope when I am ready. Browning needed scope and one it came with had mineral crystals on the inside of lens. Almost as if scope had taken on water at some point. Also, had the Browning been a 1885 and not a B-78 I may have still taken it. I am concerned about any possible service/adjustment issues with an out-of-production firearm. Local (and quality) gunsmith mentioned that B-78 parts can be hard to get. Finally, the Browning price went up to a firm $1250. Seems others were looking and seller decided to try to maximize his profit. The Ruger got negotiated down to $800!
Its mid-40s & sunny! I think a trip to the range is called for!

January 3, 2012, 04:07 PM
I think you made the right choice, 39Maple. Let us know how your new Ruger performs. Mine (a varmint model chambered in .220 Swift) is a tack-driver, even with Hornady factory ammunition.

January 3, 2012, 04:17 PM
Nice Maple, glad you got a gun your happy with, and yes a range trip and report is called for......with pictures :D

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