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Ruger #1 questions, Need experienced help

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Peter M. Eick, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    I am looking for a Ruger #1 and I need to know what I am getting into. I am trying to just to flesh out my rifle collection with a nice classic single shot.

    The use of the gun will be just to enjoy the single shot at the range. Maybe a bit of rare hunting but mostly just to punch paper.

    My understanding is that the #1 has the potential to have the following ailments:
    1) Trigger issues meaning it is hard to get a really crisp trigger on one due to the trigger design.
    2) Accuracy issues related to the forearm mounting methodology.
    3) Accuracy issues (if used) due to the very poor quality barrels used historically.
    4) Hit or miss fit and finish quality issues with some of the 90's vintage guns.

    Am I missing things or do I have a reasonable understanding of the issues involved?

    I am planning on either a 25-06 or 222 heavy varmint barreled gun, probably used since the 222 can only be found that way. I already load for these rounds so I am just adding another rifle to the collection.

    Any further advice or comments/suggestions would be appreciated. I have been reading about the #1 for years and now seems like a good time to buy.
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I have read the same sort of stuff.
    The only No 1 I have actual experience with is a friend's No 1V .223 which is plenty accurate, comparable to a wood stocked bolt action varmint rifle like my 77V, if not quite up to the latest in synthetic pillar bedded wannabe snipers.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    My #1 is a 45-70, I bought it because I did not have a #1 or a 45-70 and the price was impossible to pass and it has gorgeous figure in the wood. It is short, light and a dream to carry. It shoots cast bullets very well and I will probably never want another #1 or another 45-70 ever again.
  4. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    I have owned a couple of Ruger #1s. The classic design stock, on any rifle, kills my face. It's bad enough that I was born ugly, without getting beaten by the proverbial "ugly stock" of a classic design. The Ruger #1 has a classic design stock. Don't get me wrong, I am hopelessly enamored with the #1. It is the single sexiest firearm manufactured in North America, bar none! Seriously. Yes, that is MHO.

    Re: accuracy, there are after-market companies that manufacture adjustable pressure mechanisms for the underside of the barrel, and these significantly enhance accuracy (so the hunting magazines have maintained). Too, these same writers maintained that the heavy barrels lent themselves to far greater accuracy potential than the standard weight barrel, which were what I owned. On my own Rugers, the chambers were not tight. On my most accurate rifles, after rifling a round, the brass will still snuggly hold a projectile in the neck without any form of resizing. With my #1s, the round would simply fall through the neck; that's pretty loose.

    The wood-to-metal fit, and the steel's finish on the two that I owned were exceptional. However, as I said, pulling the trigger on a .338 Win Magnum, or on a .45-70 Gov't in that classic stock beat the Hades out of me. I finally made the decision that for my serious calibers, I had to stick to Weatherby rifles due to their stocks' cast off. That stated, I continue to be enamored with the Ruger #1.

    Re: the calibers you are considering, I would elect the .25-06 Rem inasmuch as it can be deployed both against varmints or large game. In either case, I would opt for handloads that are neck re-sized only, and that should go a long way to enhance accuracy. I did handload for mine, and was able to keep nominal accuracy, but nothing to write home about. Again, these were not varmint weight barrel, nor varmint calibers.

    In closing, before buying one, test it. I also suggest testing a T/C Encore single shot. Go with the one that you shoot the best. In my case, it is the Encore. However regrettable, the Encore will never have the appearance of the Ruger #1, no rifle does. :(
  5. Z71

    Z71 Well-Known Member

    I own a standard No.1 B rifle in .243 chambering.

    I found the forearm/acuracy deal to be sort of a moot point on this rifle. An issue yes, but not a tradgedy!

    Yes. The forearm effects accuracy. My experience is that if you tighten the screw tight tight, accuracy falls off. Leave the screw semi tight, accuracy falls off. Tighten the screw snug, accuracy is good. Take the forearm clean off, accuracy is best. The forearm on my rifle anyhow acting as sort of a primitive Browning Boss adjustment.

    The accuracy/forearm thing could use some work on my Ruger. However the difference between the worst and best isn't all that great, and wouldn't be noticed hunting. It is very noticable shooting paper though! I can vary the groups from less than 1/2" to over an inch. The difference of no forearm to an over tight forearm.

    My rifle has a happy medium with the forearm screw snugged up just so. The gun will shoot into less than an 1" at 100yds, maybe 3/4" or so with proper(for this gun) tension on the screw. No modifacations have been made to this rifle, which was made in 1980 or 1981.

    I have thought about installing a set screw in the forearm hanger and free floating the forearm. Or maybe shimming the hanger to the same effect, but no real need on this one. I can see where somebody elses expensive No.1 Ruger might shoot like crap though because of the forearm/hanger thing.

    Trigger is fine. Don't know what mine pulls at, but it is not a liability to the accuracy.

    The fit and finish is fine. Typical Ruger rifle fit and finish which is good. Maybe not custom rifle quality, but perfectly adeqate, and better than most.

    One quality issue I do have, and it is a pisser! The buttstock must be a hunk of "salt wood"! Google salt wood and you will figure out what I talk about. A rare issue with Ruger(more a 1960's/70's Browning thing). I'm dealing with the corrosive wood issue ok, but the damage has been done. I noticed another fellow on a different forum bitching about a salt wood buttstock on his No.1 rifle, so I ain't the Lone Ranger on this deal.

    I've never heard of Ruger having any faulty barrels. Likely another moot point.

    Scope mounting on the Ruger No.1 has been a bit of a minor issue for me. Ruger rings included with the gun won't allow the average rifle scope to be mounted far enough back for proper eye relief. Offset rings would fix this issue for $80 or so. Most scopes just won't rig up well. Don't do as I did and buy an expensive scope for my expensive rifle, only to find that any old Leupold scope will not plug right on. Although I could probably buy the Ruger offset rings and fix that issue. I just robbed a "El Cheapo" scope of another rifle that just barely fits for eye relief. My expensive Ruger has worn a cheap scope all these years because I'm too tight to buy another set of rings! Go figure.

    I like my Ruger No.1 .243 rifle. I would buy another if I had a legit need. Mine has been far from perfect, but it always works. The long barrel does seem to wring the most punch from a cartridge. The 26" or so barreled Ruger .243 hits hard!
  6. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    These were meant to be hunting rifles and not tack drivers.

    Some #1s do have issues with the barrel supporting the fore-end. There are tricks if your rifle is stringing the shots (groups spread excessively vertically which is what happens with this problem). Many #1s work hjust fine as they come from Ruger.

    I have 3 of these and I prefer the #1A1 (or Tropical Rifle in big calibers). My 243 Winchester #1 shoots 1.5" groups and that's what these should do. My 7x57 #1 will break 1" regularly and that's better than average. The 458 hasn't really been bench tested to date.

    I find the triggers on all 3 just fine as issued. I also find the #1A1 to be maybe the most handsome rifle ever built.


    Since the previous photo was taken I have added a 2.5x20mm Weaver to the 458 giving it a very European look. I like it.

  7. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Well-Known Member

    It depends on who you talk to. I have owned a half a dozen #1's and one #3. They are excellent single shots and really set the bar for strength.

    I pull the trigger group and treat it with liquid moly. If you want something insane see a gunsmith. I have always wondered why anyone would want a 2 pound trigger on anything but a pure bench gun. Very light triggers are over rated, just my humble opinion. I only set my rifles up for field use so I do confess a bias and you have said that you are interested in paper punching. If you are mechanically inclined I can show you where you can place a small "U" shaped pin in the trigger mechanism and you will have a 1 pound or less trigger.

    I have found that the accuracy issues you refer to are also overblown and most people focus on the forearm as the source of all problems. I just fully float mine so that no part of the forearm touches the barrel. If you look at the hanger you can tap the end of it, insert a bolt and put pressure on the barrel to dial in the harmonic. But if you reload its easier to just tune a load to your rifle. I had a good friend that was an avid prarie dog shooter and he did use this tuning mechanism because he was shooting max loads and he was adjusting the barrel to very heavy loads.

    The bigger issue with accuracy, and this was a revelation after working on the only one I have left after a long time, is that they tend to have fairly tight chambers and this in turn can leave you with insufficient head space on the falling block. This happens most often after you are reloading and you get stretch between the shoulder and the base. If you figure out the dimensions of your particular chamber and set your brass properly with a body die the accuracy potential is excellent. Search on .243 Project and see the results of my finally figuring this out.

    I have never heard of Ruger #1's having cheap barrels.

    I have never had a quality issue with one and if you did Ruger has customer service that is fairly extraordinary. I did buy a new barreled action from a skunk named Skeeter who shipped me a scratched receiver. I called Ruger and they offered to pay the freight both ways. I never did take them up on it.

    If you shop you can occasionally come across a 22 250 or a swift with a shot out barrel which you can in turn re barrel.

    Post a picture for us when you get yours.
  8. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

    I've had the model 1B in .22/250, two different .243s and a .25/06. Have had the #1 RSI (carbine with full stock) in .243. I handload(ed) for them all.

    The .22/250 and one of the 1B .243s both had nice triggers and shot very well without tinkering. The .243 managed one 10-shot group at 100yds. that measured .439, but many 3-shot, one-hole groups. The other 1B .243 is one I just bought and have not shot enough to tell much. The RSI .243 had a really nice trigger and shot almost anything right at 3/4 MOA without any tinkering.

    The .25/06 could shoot MOA with a wee bit of fidgeting with the forearm and some judicious handloading. More often it would be 1.5MOA, which of course is Ok for hunting. I don't think it ever shot MOA (or even 1.25MOA) with factory ammo. It's trigger was crisp but heavy (probably 4.5lbs. +). I never had it worked on because I only kept it for two seasons. I also knew someone with a 1B in .25/06 and his rifle was pretty well on par with mine. One think - and this is somewhat subjective - I seem to see more .25/06 #1s on sale and for lesser prices than any other caliber.

    I shot a 7mm Rem. Mag. model 1B that had not been tinkered with and its' accuracy was astounding. I shot it on several occasions and with both 150-grainers and 165-grainers and every group was essentially one hole. Never got to shoot it at more than 100yds. though. I've also shot one in .270 that was so accurate I would give $1500 for in a heartbeat but I would have to slay the current owner to get it.

    Fit and finish on all mine and my friends. .25/06, 7mag and .270 have all be quite good. The figure on the wood of the .270 is a bit "plain-Jane".

    It is fact that many scopes require the extended rings/base to acquire decent eye relief but that is the only reeal fault I have found with the #1.

    I've read some of the other criticisms of the No. 1 on the Ruger forum(s) and I will say that a lot of it is something I have not experienced. Speaking candidly, methinks if some of those lads would simply shoot the rifle instead of believing and acting as if they knew what they were doing with their screwdrivers they would have a lot fewer "problems" with the No. 1. However they claim to know all, or most, of everything and I won't waste time debating that with them. ;)

    I would almost certainly opt for a .243 or .22/250.

    P.S. Ruger sells the offset rings separate at $40 each. I just bought two for the .243 I just bought and they told me if I only needed one I could return the other for a full refund if I returned it within 30 days.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  9. Z71

    Z71 Well-Known Member

    One thing I forgot to mention. If you buy one used, better remove the buttstock to see if by some chance, you too have a pretty hunk of corrosive wood on it!

    I had owned my gun for many years without taking the thing apart. I noticed that some rust seemed to be creeping out of the joint where the stock butts up against the right rear of the receiver.

    I pulled the wood off, and the damage was severe! The right side of the receiver under the wood is deeeeeply pitted! Can't see the pits until you clean the pile of rotton rust off. However mine is pitted in about 1/8" in places, lesser pitting in other spots, and on the left side of the tang. Buttpad screws suffered too. The right side as so bad that it forced rust deep into the wood on that side!

    All cleaned up, and out of sight under the wood. I varnished the inletting with marine grade stuff. Seems to have pretty much stopped the rust.

    I've had guy's tell me it was moisture, sweat, rain, whatever! The damage perfectly matches the description of Brownings salt cured fancy walnut stocks of the 1960's.

    I have old surplus military guns far far older than this, and highly abused, with some pitting under the wood. But I had never seen anything like this before!

    I sometimes wonder whats going on under the rifles steel pistol grip cap. No obvious way to remove the grip cap. so if it's risting too, I guess it just rusts off!

    Quite likely not an issue anybody but unlucky Stevie(and some other poor fellow) has, but well worth checking.
  10. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys.

    I had not heard of the salt wood issues so thanks. I will make sure they pull the butt stock off any used one and looked for it.

    I also have no delusions of shooting .2 groups with this rifle. 1 moa would be adequate in my world because I have nice remington bolts that will do the tack driving. To me this rifle is just about the fun of shooting it.

    After reading all of this over it sounds like in general folks like them but you have to recognize they are what they are so to speak.

    Any other advice or comments?
  11. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

    I'm putting the extended rings on mine right now. I will need both as the rings that came with the rifle are the "low" version and the extended rings are higher. Will post a photo once I get the new rings on and the eye-relief set.

  12. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

    I have a Ruger#1 in 300WinMag and it has always been an excellent gun. Nice fit and finish,beautiful wood and accurate. I take it with me on every elk hunt I go on,and it has never let me down. I did put a muzzle brake on it though,to tame down the recoil. I have a Nikon Monarch 4x12 scope on it.

    Attached Files:

  13. FSJeeper

    FSJeeper Well-Known Member

    I have a Ruger No. 1 in 30-06. The only thing I do not like about it is benchrest shooting when sighting in or building up handloads. As stated before, it is a face smacker. That said, I have never noticed it when I am actually hunting and it is nice and light which makes it a joy to carry. Mine gets 1.25" groups with 180 grain Nolsler partitions. Trigger is fine with me.
  14. dmazur

    dmazur Well-Known Member

    I'm having two Ruger #1's rebarreled and restocked, to solve the problems that were mentioned earlier.

    This is an expensive way to go, but you wind up with some fairly accurate single shot rifles. If you want a caliber that Ruger doesn't offer, this can also be handled as part of the rebarreling (within reason.)

    When I first got a 1911, things were kind of this way with Colt. First you bought the pistol, then you sent it off to a gunsmith for 6 months or so and he returned a product that was reliable and accurate.

    The difference is, there is not enough demand for a "Kimber" to compete with Ruger in the single shot rifle market and force them to offer better accuracy. The rifles are accurate enough for most of Ruger's market...
  15. moosehunt

    moosehunt Well-Known Member

    Not much else can be added, but for the record, there are products available on the market to address both the forearm and trigger issues if you so desire. My primary association with the No. 1 was in .416 Rigby. It shot great as it came from the factory, though I never spent a whole lot of time on the bench! I wonder why? I put a Lyman peep sight on the rear and it was a great pronghorn killer! Never did have one attack!
  16. RonE

    RonE Well-Known Member

    I have a Ruger No 1 in .30/338 cal (soon to be .300 Win Mag) that started life in 1976 as a 30-06. I have had No 1's in 7mm Rem Mag and .22-250. All have been very accurate and very dependable. Of the two calibers you are considering, I would choose that other one, the 30-06.
  17. C-grunt

    C-grunt Well-Known Member

    I got a Ruger #1 in 7mm mag when I was 17. It was a great rifle and very accurate. My friends would joke that I could hit a target at a mile with that rifle. The stock got cracked on a hunting trip (friend slipped down a mountain) and I couldnt afford to fix it. In reality I probably could have but the gunsmith I took it to seemed pretty shady now that I look back. I ended up selling it when I was 18 and I regret it all the time.

    I will own one again. Now I just have to figure out which caliber I want.
  18. lev83

    lev83 Well-Known Member

    Peter let me share what knowledge I have gained from my personal experiences with the Ruger No. 1

    1) The best triggers came with the older rifles. Each of mine have a nice Moyers trigger and allow for considerable adjusting/fine tuning. Regardless of the trigger you get in your gun you can change this with minimal work/hassell. There are a number of trigger manufacturers who make aftermarket triggers for the No. 1 rifle.

    2) You are correct the No. 1 is somewhat less accurate than other rifles due to its two piece stock design, and the manner in which the scope is mounted to the rifle. The theory is that this design leads to verticle stringing of shots as the barrell heats up and the two piece stock interferes with barrell harmonics. I have never personally experienced any problems with this ( despite owning four different No. 1 rifles 1-A 45/70, 1-AB 270, 1-B 243, 1-V 22-250 ) but if this were to be a problem you could either install a Hick Accurizer or glass bed the forearm to eliminate any problems with a minimum of expense.

    3) I too have read about some problem barrels occuring at some point in the production history of the number one rifle (Cant remember dates) If I recall this was prior to Ruger taking over barrell production.

    4) Fit/Finish on a number one rifle are considerably better than most modern production firearms but with that being said you need to keep in mind that the older rifles generally have a higher grade of walnut with better figure.
  19. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all of the details.

    I have honed this done to a practical "just buy one" in 25-06 varmint. One of my local dealers has one and there are a lot on the web so I will get one in the next week or so and let you guys know what I think of it.

    I had come across the hick's accurizer and will see how I do before I start messing with the gun.

    I will say I am surprised about the stock issue. I had never heard of salted wood or that the design of the stock makes benching it an experience.

    Take care and thanks again for the advice.

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