'New' Ruger No. 3 in .22 Hornet came home with me this week!

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I brought home my 'new' Ruger No.3 in .22 Hornet yesterday, and finished scoping and bore-sighting it this morning.

The rifle came with a set of Weaver bases mounted, which are basically useless since they aren't contoured and sized to match the No. 3's barrel taper. The rear base is OK and I suppose one could mount a red dot on it, but the front base is too low and runs seriously downhill -- even if you changed the contour, it would require a higher ring or a thick shim to work with the rear base.

WeaverWonkyFrontBase.jpg

Earlier I had tried Ruger's factory bases and rings on my other No.3 in .45-70, but they exhibited their own set of frustrations. The front base required shimming which isn't such a big deal, but the two bases didn't line up very well with the bore, veering noticeably to the right of center. When I tried zeroing a Leupold 1-4x there wasn't enough windage adjustment to get on target.

For scoping the .22 Hornet I decided on a three-pronged approach. I bought a second set of Ruger bases, just in case the first set of bases were the problem rather than the barrel's mounting holes. As backup, I bought a set of Beuhler bases and rings for the No.3 off eBay. And after a lengthy websearch, I also found and bought a Picatinny rail base from EGW that appeared to be compatible with the No. 3:

https://www.egwguns.com/hd-ruger-no-1-varminter-picatinny...

The No.3 Hornet was on layaway for a month, so I did my initial experimentation on the 45-70. It appeared that the Beuhler mounts would work, but the rear sight dovetail interfered with the front base. I'd need to remove it and install a contoured slot blank to preserve aesthetics, so that approach went onto the back burner.

The EGW picrail proved to be a bit too long at both ends to install as-is, but that was an easy fix with a hacksaw and file. I ended up removing two slots from either end to achieve the desired length, and added a little spraypaint to disguise my handiwork. The rail fitted and installed nice and straight on the .45-70's barrel, but had a visible downward cant that I corrected by reusing the front shim I'd made for my first try with Ruger bases. Viola, the shimmed rail lined up just fine, and I was able to successfully mount and zero my Leupold 1-4X. This scope features enough eye relief to safely shoot with hard-kicking loads, should I choose to abuse myself in that manner.

RugerNo3Scoped.jpg RugerNo3ScopeRail.jpg


Knowing that I had at least one working alternative, with the Hornet rifle I began with my newly-purchased set of Ruger bases. Using a pair of rings I had on hand from a No. 1 rifle, I was able to zero my Leupold 2-7x on this rifle. I had to shim the front base once again to get the elevation right, but no big deal.

RugerNo322HornetScoped2.jpg

The Hornet has better wood than my 45-70, but otherwise the two could be twins. Note that I stuck a Marbles slot blank into the rear sight dovetail -- the folding notch sight was a very loose fit.
 
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Gorgeous!
Im sure the .45-70 has a decent push to it....:)

I have some Trail Boss 300 grain cast bullet handloads that are surprisingly civilized. I took a new shooter to the range a couple years ago, and he found the No.3 more comfortable to shoot with these loads than my M1 Garand.
 
Way to go, Dave!!!! What a project. I've had a .22 Hornet #3 on my 'grail' list for years, even found one at one point, but never connected. I had no idea the scope base problem was lurking there in the background.

Your solution looks great. What's the finished rifle weigh? Looks like a very useful combination for walking up those pesky ground squirrels out there.

So.......how's the new pup shoot? And are you going to leave as a straight Hornet, or go the "Improved" route with it's better case shoulder. Inquiring minds want to know!

Again...great job and a fine looking rifle. Rod
 
Way to go, Dave!!!! What a project. I've had a .22 Hornet #3 on my 'grail' list for years, even found one at one point, but never connected. I had no idea the scope base problem was lurking there in the background.

Yeah, I didn't see it coming either. I had a peep mounted at the rear of the 45-70 barrel for several years, but for the Hornet I definitely wanted a scope so figured it was finally time to work through the problem. Of the options I tried, I'd say the EGW rail was probably the easiest route. They don't even mention the No.3 for this rail, but they provided the correct mounting hole spacing and I figured it was worth trying.

Your solution looks great. What's the finished rifle weigh? Looks like a very useful combination for walking up those pesky ground squirrels out there.

I don't have a good way to weigh the rig, but at a guess I'd say somewhere between 7 and 8 lbs. It's pretty short but the barrel is heavy for caliber.

So.......how's the new pup shoot? And are you going to leave as a straight Hornet, or go the "Improved" route with it's better case shoulder. Inquiring minds want to know!

I have two other .22 Hornets (an H&R and an Encore) that both have Kilbourne improved chambers, so I'd like to do the same to the Ruger to preserve ammo commonality. It will depend on whether I can maneuver the reamer past the action without removing the barrel. I'll take it to the range once I've answered this question one way or the other.

Again...great job and a fine looking rifle. Rod

Thanks!
 
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A #3 in .45-70 was the bane of my existence; bought it on a whim at a local shop (it was so short, and handy, and light...). This was long before Trailboss, and I tried every imaginable combination to keep it from kicking my brains out. Cornstarch, kapok, you name it. Did put a rubber recoil pad on it, and an aperture on the receiver. Finally said the hell with it, and traded it away.
Saw an 1885 in a local shop, in .357 Mag, that has been tugging at me, but it's too much money for a gun that only has really nice workmanship, but no possible purpose. Guns have to have a purpose, yes...? ;)
Anyway, nice #3s, and the Hornet would be real fun. Great, patient work.
Moon
 
Very nice. Have only ever seen 1 Ruger number three in the flesh. Far and few between. The fact it’s in a very cool (my opinion) low recoil caliber makes it even more desirable.
 
A friend has a Ruger "No 2", generated like so:
1. Buy a No 3 .22 Hornet previously rechambered to K Hornet, stock roughly checkered and refinished.
2. Buy and install No 1 stock and foreend.
3. Cut the tail off the lever to clear the pistol grip.
4. Be disappointed by K Hornet accuracy.
5. Rechamber to .223, which is more accurate with 50-52 gr bullets in the Hornet twist.
 
I HAD one!
Back in the early 80’s I bought one at a LGS.

I was THRILLED as I’d wanted one for a decade after I saw the first one at a LGS I worked at after school doing menial duties (janitorial, landscape maintenance, wiping down all the display rifles after hours)

That is till I shot it! I had an assortment of .22Hornet from previously owning a T/C Contender and H&R Topper.
First shot went sorta where I aimed, but fired round wouldn’t extract. Once punched out with a cleaning rod I thought WHAT THE HECK?

It had been reamed to .22H AI.
BUT evidently with a worn out, rusty reamer....
Oh well, caveat emptor!
I had a gunsmith near Orlando, Fl try to resurrect the barrel by setting it back and recutting the chamber. It still didn’t fully recover. I never attempted to reload for it as dies were custom order, and cost more than 4-tires for my car!

I traded it for a Marlin 39A that was disappointingly inaccurate.
So went my luck with used guns for several decades...
 
Very neat little rifle, congratulations on finding and bringing that gem home :thumbup:.

I have zero experience with the .22 Hornet. I can’t wait to read about how it shoots for you when you get a chance to take it out. :)

Stay safe.
 
Here's a short video from my first range session yesterday. Not my best shooting, but not the rifle's fault -- I brought along my H&R SB2 as a control and shot it about equally poorly, and I know that one can do better!



BTW, the Ruger is staying in the original chambering for now -- my improved K Hornet reamer cannot line up with the chamber through the action. I'd have to have the barrel removed and replaced to ream the chamber, and right now that's too much bother and expense. I have plenty of both flavors of .22 Hornet ammo at present anyway.
 
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