The Ruger No. 1 Rifle

By Chuck Hawks

Ruger 1B
Illustration courtesy of Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.

Introduced in 1966, the No. 1 single shot rifle was one of Bill Ruger's pet projects. It was the first of the modern single shot rifles, and sparked the single shot revival which has seen the likes of the Browning 1885, Dakota 10, Mossberg SSI-1, Remington Custom Shop No. 1 Rolling Block, and T/C Encore (not to mention the various Sharps and other replicas) emerge in the market place.

The No. 1 uses a completely modern but classic looking Farquharson-style hammerless falling block action of great strength. The barreled action is finished in a polished deep blue, and the satin finished walnut stock is hand checkered in a borderless pattern. The No. 1 is Ruger's premium rifle.

Like any single shot rifle, the absence of a long repeating action makes the Ruger No. 1 about four inches shorter than a bolt action rifle with the same length barrel. Or, to look at it another way, the No. 1 can have a barrel four inches longer than a bolt action rifle of approximately the same overall length. This maximizes the ballistics of modern high intensity and magnum calibers, and is a considerable advantage for the long range shooter.

There are several variations of the No. 1. The four original models are the No. 1-A Light Sporter (22 inch barrel, Alexander Henry forearm), the 1-S Medium Sporter (26 inch barrel, Alexander Henry forearm), the 1-B Standard Rifle (26 inch barrel, semi-beavertail forearm), and the 1-V Varminter (24 inch heavy barrel, semi-beavertail forearm). Subsequent models include the 1-H Tropical Rifle (24 inch heavy barrel, Alexander Henry forearm, African calibers), and the 1-RSI International (20 inch barrel, Mannlicher-style forearm). The latest variation is the K1 Stainless, which is similar to the above models but features a satin finished stainless steel barreled action and a gray laminated wood stock with a black recoil pad.

All No. 1 rifles except the stainless models feature hand fitted, select American walnut stocks with a black recoil pad, a sculptured receiver, a sliding shotgun-type tang mounted safety, an ejector which can be set for extraction only, a quarter rib barrel with integral scope base (except the Varminter, which comes with target blocks), and Ruger scope rings. Like all Ruger rifles, the No. 1's hand cut chechering patterns are adequately executed, but on the skimpy side.

Available calibers, depending on model, include .204 Ruger, .218 Bee, .22 Hornet, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .220 Swift, .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, .257 Roberts, .25-06 Remington, .270 Winchester, .270 Weatherby Magnum, 7x57, .280 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, 7mm STW, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Weatherby Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum, .405 Winchester, .416 Rigby, .416 Remington Magnum, .45-70 Government, .458 Winchester Magnum, and .458 Lott Magnum.

Here are the basic specifications for the Ruger No. 1-B, the Standard rifle:

  • Metal finish - Blued
  • Stock - Walnut
  • Overall length - 42.25"
  • Barrel length - 26"
  • Approximate weight - 8.25 pounds
  • 2005 MSPR - $966

The Ruger No. 1 single shot is a high class rifle. It is for the connoisseur, the rifleman, and the traditionalist. The late Bill Ruger was all of these, and he has left us the No. 1 as part of his legacy.

Note: Individual, full length reviews of the Ruger No. 1-A, No. 1-S and No. 1-B rifles can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2003, 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.