Accuracy Tips For The Ruger #1

Ruger

AHH, the Ruger #1! Not a finer production gun can be had for under $600. Period! Look at the wood Ruger uses. How about that hand cut checkering. Look at the blueing. This is Bill Ruger’s baby! You can’t bring one to the range without people going crazy over it! Put it in their hands. Very high fondle factor! But is it “all show and no go”?

I see on the various news groups people asking for hints and tips to get their Ruger #1 single shot rifles to perform better. I’m no expert, but I’m an avid collector of Ruger #1s and I love to tinker with fine firearms. Currently I own almost all the #1 Varmint (#1V) versions. I have a 223, 220 Swift, 22PPC, 6mm, 6PPC, 22-250. The only ones left to add are the 25-06 (still available in the catalog) and the 243, 7mm Mag, and the 300 Win Mag. These last three were made in very limited production. If anyone knows where one of these are for sale, please let me know. I’ll pay a handsome finders fee! Over the years I’ve owned a few sporters. 223, 270, 6mm, and 243. With a little work, all the Ruger #1s I’ve owned have been real shooters. I will tell you right out, that the “V” versions are much easier to make shoot accurately. More on why later.

First, you must hand load. I know a bunch of you Ruger fans are going to write that your particular #1 shoots such and such factory load into 1/2″ all day. Great! You got a good one! But I would wager that handloads would get you down to 3/8″. These rifles are extremely sensitive to barrel harmonics. Partly do to the fact that they use a two piece stock, partly do to the fact that the scope is on the barrel and not on the receiver, and partly do to the fact that the forend is on a hanger. We will look at each of these area one at a time and also spend some time discussing the trigger.

Lets talk about the stock first. All of my rifles have maintained the most consistancy with a free floated barrel. Maintained is the operative word. I’ve had a few guns shoot better with a little forend pressure, but they would’nt hold zero from one range session to the next. As the humidity and temperature moves that relatively light forend, the point of impact shifts. With free floating, the POI stays right where you had it. You can very easily free float the barrel by removing the forend and inserting a thin aluminum shim between the hanger and the forend. But a more permanent and better way follows.

Remove the forend. Where the tip of the forend contacts the barrel, wrap 4 layers of electrical tape on the barrel. This tape will hold the barrel away from the forend as the epoxy we are going to use to float the forend dries. You don’t need to sand the barrel channel out if you don’t want to. Usually there is enough space from the factory. Use a release agent (I use PAM cooking spray) on the hanger, the hanger screw, and put some on the receiver where the back end of the forend contacts it. Mix up some bedding compound (I like Marine Tex, available at any boat supply or off the internet from Bruno’s Shooting Supply) Apply the bedding compound to the slot in the forend that contacts the hanger and put some on the back end of the forend where it will mate up to the receiver. This receiver bedding is very important. It will really cut down on the vibrations of the forend during the shot being fired. Mount the forend to the gun. Use the screw to hold everything LIGHTLY together. Don’t torque the forend screw down tight. And God help you if you forgot the release agent on this screw! Once the bedding compound dries, remove the forend and clean up any excess. Remount the forend, tighten down the forend screw tight but not overly tight and check to see if you can slip a couple of dollar bills between the barrel and forend. If the dollars bind anywhere, you may need to do some light sanding in the barrel channel. If you sand the forend, make sure to reseal the sanded area with some tung oil or other stock finish. Many articles have been written about drilling and taping the hanger for a set screw that bears upon the barrel. In effect causing the harmonics of the barrel to be adjustable and shift to some more favorable area. I’ve tried this on four of my Rugers and I have never witnessed an improvement over simply floating the barrel. I’m sure I’ll hear about all the successes that have been realized with this method, but I havn’t seen it. And it’s alot of work!

The second area that causes all kinds of problems is the scope mounting area. The Tropical Model, the 1A and the 1B all use a quarter rib. The 1V model uses individual scope blocks. The quarter rib heats up at a greatly different rate than the barrel and expands to put pressure on the receiver and at the same time it is trying to twist itself off the barrel. I took a quarter rib off one of my guns and put it in a vice on my milling machine. With a dial indicator on one end, I proceeded to heat up the rib with a heat gun. At a temperature that I could still touch for two or three seconds, the rib deflected .007″! And this is no lightweight piece of steel. It can deffinately put undo stress on your barrel. Let’s not forget, that a movement at the gun of .001″ will translate into 1″ at 100 yds! I would guess Ruger knows about this quarter rib thing because they don’t use it on the more accurate V series. Is there a fix? Kind of…Take the rib off. This is a feat in itself. The screws are usually in real tight. Once you have the rib off, file about .005″ off the back end where it touches the receiver. You want to remove all possibility of this rib hitting the receiver. Next, elongate the front hole so as the rib expands and contracts it can actually move a bit. Leave the rear screw holes alone. Put a piece of teflon tape on the rib under the front screws (available from Bruno’s). If you run out of “up” in your scope because you just raised the front of the rib, you will need to put a shim under the rear of the rib the same thickness as the tape. I don’t recommend this. Rather I would mill the front area of the rib down the thickness of the teflon tape. The less stuff you have under your scope mounts to move around on you the better. Now, with a milling machine or a piece of sandpaper, remove a thousanth or so of the metal between the front and rear rib screw holes. (This is done on the rib, not on the barrel!) In effect you want the rib to only be touching the barrel at the screw mounting points. Finally, put release agent on the barrel at the rear screw area and on the screws. Do not put it on the rib. Put a VERY thin coat of bedding on the rear rib mounting area only and put everything back together. When it dries, take it apart and clean up all the release agent. I use alcohol. You don’t want the rear of the rib slipping around on you. Once clean, put it all back together. The rear screws are set at “gorilla” torque and the front are set at “chimpanze”. You know what I mean! Set the rear as tight as you can without bugging up the screw heads and the front need to be tight but not real tight. Remember, we want the front of the rib to move a little when it expands. You will need to use LockTite on these front screws. Obviously you don’t need to do any of this with a 1V. One final thing. Use a relatively light scope on the quarter rib models. The Burris 4-12 Compact or the Leupols 2-7 or 3-9 compacts go together with a #1A or B like cold hands and mittens. It just looks right!

Third we come to triggers. If you can’t replace the headlights in your car, forget about any trigger work! Taking the Ruger #1 apart and messing with the trigger is not for the faint of heart! But if your comfortable with this stuff, you should replace the trigger. The older #1s had a great fully adjustable trigger made out of “manly” steel. The newer guns have triggers made from sintered steel. They just can’t be honed to maintain a crisp let off. The older triggers had three adjusting screws for pull, creep, and backlash. Those screws that Ruger puts in the bottom of the newer trigger are there just to tease you. As far as I can tell, they do nothing! I’m not sure how to tell whether you have a new or old trigger, but if your trigger has three adjusting screws, it is an old one. If it is a two screw model, I would guess it is a newer version. All my guns came from the factory with 5-8 pound triggers! With honing and smoothing, I could get them down to a safe 2-3 pounds. But in my book, that is way too much for a bench gun. And all my current #1Vs are bench varmint guns. And after a couple dozen pulls, the triggers would start to creep like crazy. Replacement is the only answer. You have two choices, Moyers Gun Repair (208-587-6408) offers a copy of the origional “manly” steel trigger with three screws. It is an exact copy of the old #1 trigger. It’s only $43 but it is a bit of work to install. It should be a drop in, but every gun I’ve used it on required a bit of filing. No big deal if you’re comfortable with gunsmithing. The second choice is an offering from Brownells (515-623-5401). It is made by Kepplinger and it is a single set design. It sells for $180! I can’t say that I have any experience with this trigger. But for $180 it better be great!

This brings us to hammer spring kits. Brownells sells a Wolff hammer spring kit that is supposed to reduce the lock time of the #1. It sells for $7.49. I put them in my guns, but I can’t really say if they are improving anything. But for $7, what the heck!

And lastly, and I’m not going to get into a huge discussion on this, but most of the #1s I’ve owned have shown fantastic improvement by firelapping the bore. I use a very mild abrasive (1200 grit) with jacketed bullets. About 20-25 rounds. But the barrels just look and feel great when cleaning after the fire lapping. Lots of shooters don’t like to firelap the bore because it extends the throat. Most of the #1s I’ve delt with have extended throats right from the factory. And The improvement of a #1200 grit outweighs the little throat damage.

How do my guns shoot after all of this? The two PPC guns are amazing. The 6PPC will stand up to any of my bolt varmint guns. I’ve shot many groups in the 2s with this gun. And I’ve heard the same thing from other owners of the 6PPC version. The 22PPC is right behind it. All the other #1Vs will shoot 1/2″ all day with my reloads.

With a little work you can have a rifle that not only looks and feels (very high “fondle” factor) better than anything else you can buy for under $600 but can shoot with the best of them.

THIS JUST IN!

I had a fellow by the name of Jeff Hicks write to me about a new
barrel tuning device he manufactures and sells through Brownells. Seems like it is an improved modification on the drill and tape forend method of controlling barrel harmonics. Jeff has sent me one of hese devices and I will be installing and testing it in the weeks to come. I’ll report back when testing is complete. In the meantime, check out the description and the photos that follow.

Check out this page EABCO Custom Riflesmith for tips.

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Thanks

RoyB

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55 comments on “Accuracy Tips For The Ruger #1”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Great info. I have the #1V 25/06 and have the exact problem you describe on the foreend stock. The barrel heats up and I lose my grouping.

    • todd l see

      try spectacular sports for youre mssing rugers .his e mail spectacularsports.com.i got a stainless 30/06 he knows an older gentalemen that selling his colleaction and there all un used

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Read this article a while back after acquiring my #1 25-06, which as i suspected upon purchase (previously owned and sold for reason) the accuracy was not acceptable. After following the above instructions, the groups have shrunk to better than I can shoot. So what more can be asked of a fine rifle. The barrel float and the fire lapping did the trick. The rifle now shoots all handloads pretty consistently as long as the bullet is very near the rifling. Thanks for printing the info so us “gun mechanics” can tinker on.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Hi I am Tim, My email is timj@wheatlandsteel.

    I just bought a 1985 #1 with a manlicker stock, real pertty wood. I can put 2 shots right next to one anouther and it starts to string. I read about fixing the short forearms but what do you do with the one that is all the way out to the end of the barrell? It is a 7×57. Please help I have tried all the loads getting close but no cigar.

    • Roy

      Hi Tim,

      Two shots right next to each other is perfect for a hunting rifle. There is
      really nothing you can do with a Mannlicher to get them to shoot like a
      benchrest gun. Once the barrel starts to heat up, there is nowhere for the
      heat on the bottom of the barrel to go.

      I’d just be happy it’s grouping so well for the first two shots.

      Thanks for visiting my site……………

      Roy Bertalotto
      Dartmouth, MA
      rvb100@comcast.net

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Have limited addition Ruger #1 Stainless 257 Roberts rechambered to 257 Weatherby: Tack driver at 500 yards!

  5. dl buck Reply

    There’s a gun/pawn shop here with a Ruger #1 7mm Rem mag with iron sights. Is that a #2? They want $700 & I think that’s a little high. I had a 7mm mag #1 in the ’70s & really liked it. I might make them an offer. What do you think? thank you, dbuck

  6. Anonymous Reply

    My #1B also shot better ( no vertical stringing) after I fully free-floated the Shilen 1-9, 223 Rem. barrel. 5 shots at 200 yd. will consistantly hold moa or slightly less, if I do not let the barrel heat up. With a pressure pad at the forend tip, 200 yd. groups would string vertically 3″ to 3 1/2″. trigger was cleaned up by the ‘smith who installed the barrel, and using the original Ruger parts only, he got the trigger down to a very clean 2#.

    • Roy

      Nothing like a rebarrel job to increase the accuracy of any rifle. Good that it seems your rifle is shooting great!

      Thanks for visiting my site.

  7. Anonymous Reply

    Just to add a wrinkle to your collection the 1-V rifles were also available in .280 Remington for a time in the late 70’s/early 80’s. There may even be a few out there that are dual marked with the 7mm Express/280 Remington marking that Ruger used for a brief time before returning to the original .280 Remington marking.

    Dave

    • Roy

      THANKS! Just what I need….Another 1V to be looking for… 🙂
      These must be extremely rare as I’ve never heard mention of them.

    • Anonymous

      Roy,

      Always glad to help!

      I have had a number of 1-V 280’s in my hands at various times over the last
      20 years but they are somewhat less common. I’m fairly certain that one of
      those I played with had the dual marking, but I may be confusing it with a
      1-B. There was a 1-V in 280 on either Gunbroker or GunsAmerica in the last
      year or so.

      I highly recommend the 280 Rem in a No. 1, I own a 3-digit gun in 280 and it
      is a real shooter besides being a great caliber.

      There is, or at least was a 1-V in 7mm Mag on GunsAmerica within the last
      few weeks if you are still looking for one.

      Are you familiar with the Yahoo Ruger No. 1 discussion group? A core of
      extremely knowledgeable guys and a total of about 500 members that are
      entirely focused on Ruger No. 1’s.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RUGER-1/

      Dave
      boomslang@verizon.net
      david.alexander@pnl.gov

    • Roy

      The 280 is a GREAT cartridge. I have a custom 280Ackley that I built on a WWII German Mauser. One of my favorite rifles!
      I used to frequent the Yahoo group, but other things have been occupying my time as late.

    • Brian

      I bought one of these in ’82, with the dual marking. The mfr. rep was in the gun store I haunted at the time, and I asked him about getting one. He said he had never heard of such a thing. Showed him the catalog page, and he told me that since it was a catalog item, if they didn’t have one, they would make it. Must have done so, as it took about six weeks for me to get it. Shoots amazingly well with handloaded Hornaday 100g HP. Can group 5 shots center to center of just over 1/4″

      Brian

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Like you I share your passion for the Ruger #1, which is likely the sexiest rifle ever made in my humble opinion. I have two and am a shooter not a collector, albeit on is a used 200th year in .270. Its been used but honestly. The stock could use a refinish but I hesitate to do so and might just send it bacl to Ruger for $250 and have it restocked but that would put the overall cost beyond its near term value. I have one problem with both rifles. Cracks in the stock. One has a thin crack in the forend where it mates to the reciever about 2″ long and the other rifle which is 99.5%, at the point also where it mates to the reciever. In both cases its where the stocks are the thinest. Any suggestions about how to repair this?

    • Roy

      I’ve not heard of the #1 stocks splitting. I would call Ruger and discuss with them. I bet they would repair for no charge.
      To stop it in the furure, I’d bed the forearm hanger so that not only the forearm hanger screw is taking all the recoil but it would be spread out a bit over the surface of the bedding.
      I’d be interested to hear if other #1 owners have had this happen to their rifles?

  9. Anonymous Reply

    hi
    i have the 6mm no 1 and am looking for a replacement stock as mine is cracked where might i find one ?
    thanks
    Bobby

    • J1bogue

      bell and carlson for about $150. gunstocks.com i think or direct from bell and carlson i am still curious about the value of my before mentioned 7mm STW stainless laminated in 98 or 99 %. If someone has an idea. They only made that caliber a very short time. i also have a .223 cal. Both of these guns will shoot less than an inch group.

  10. Anonymous Reply

    Hi
    i have the 6mm no 1
    where might i find a replacement stock as mine is cracked , thanks
    Bobby

    • Roy

      Ruger will be your best bet unless you want to go custom and then any stockmaker could help you..

    • todd l see

      look at the stocks made of turkies walnut there art work all hand made but you will pay more then the gun price

  11. Anonymous Reply

    Depression…my #1 is a POS right now. It’s a Varmint model in 6mm and I had a brake put on it by a very competent gunsmith here in Idaho Falls and had a fellow float the barrel and do the washer/screw on the forend. No luck. 3-4″ groups at 100yds shooting a Hornady 87gr spire point on top of 46gr of IMR4831. 1:10 twist. Leupold 6.5 x 20 on top. I didn’t throw it out the window on the way home from the range, but it was dam tempting. HELP!

  12. Anonymous Reply

    My #1 is a POS right now! It’s in 6mm and I’m shooting an 87gr Hornady on top of 46gr of IMR4831. Front end floated already. Had Jim Hall in Idaho Falls put a brake on it so I could see it vaporize chucks but right now it’s shooting 3-4″ groups @ 100. OMG! Help!

    • Roy

      Seems like you’ve tried everything you can. Some of those Ruger barrels simply can not be made to shoot no mater what you do. Might be time to trade it off, or rebarrel.

    • Roy

      Looks like you’ve done all you can. Some of these Rugers are near impossible
      to get shooting accurately. Might be time to trade it off or have it
      rebarreled.

      Roy Bertalotto
      Dartmouth, MA
      rvb100@comcast.net

  13. Hans Torslett Reply

    Thank you for some great info about the No1.
    I am thinking of bying a No1 sporter in 3006.

    Hans Torslett
    Norway

  14. bullwhip Reply

    I have a 7mm STW in a Ruger no. 1 stainless laminated in 95% or better. Could you tell me about how many of these were made and what it would be worth. OH by the way it has no problem making three bullet holes look like one with a handloaded 139 grain interbond at almost 3400 fps. thanks, bullwhip.

  15. bullwhip Reply

    I also have a ruger#1 in a 223 that has two screws on the trigger. if you breath on it, it will fire. I am going to let my 6 yr. old try to kill a deer with it but the trigger is way too light for him and about too light for me. I am thinking it canbe no more thana 1.5# Can i adjust one of these screws a little so it won’t be as dangerous for him.

  16. Lonnie Reply

    I have a No. 1V 22-250 (“Liberty Model”). I’ve owned it for years and it’s always been a tack driver with a 52 gr. Sierra boat tail HP match bullet in front of 36 gr. of H380. Recently California made lead bullets illegal. I have tried some of the Barnes lead free bullets in various weights without success. They’re all over the place. I’ve been told that the 1V has a 1 in 9 twist that won’t stabilize the longer Barnes TSX lead free bullets and that I must go down to a bullet in the 35 gr. range if I want to shoot lead free and be legal. Do you have any information in this area, or any suggestions.

  17. Ron Reply

    So how did the “device” from Jeff Hicks work out? I just bought my first #1V in .223 and am looking for ways to increase the accuracy (if its needed, have not taken it to the range yet).

    Ron

  18. Paul Dougherty Reply

    I have a Ruger M77 in a 7mm mag. Anyone interested in purchasing such can contact me. It has been sent back to Ruger, who in turn, replaced the barrel, stock and butt pad. 336-403-3219

  19. Pingback: Hicks Accurizer?? - Ruger Forum

  20. 333Details Reply

    I have a Tropical in .375 H & H that I picked up at a gun show over 20 years ago – it has “Made in the 200th Year of American Liberty” on the barrel. The rifle shoots 1″ groups at 200 yds, (rather ironic when you are looking at an elk no further than 15 yards away)! Anyway, I’ve looked in several gun “digests” to see if this Bicentennial edition is even listed, and I haven’t found it anywhere. Is this something that is rare, or so common that it’s just ignored?

    Thanks!

    • Roy Bertalotto

      Although I have no idea how many “200th Year” #1 rifles were made, I do see them everywhere so it leads me to believe that quite a few were produced. A few collectors I know actually shy away from them. Like me, they don’t appreciate all the verbiage on the barrel.

    • Blue

      I have a #1 in 6mm Rem, that shoots sub minute as long as I do it right. My friend and I bought our #1’s from an estate sale, he picked up the .243, me the 6. His never grouped better than 2″ @ 100. Mine shoots dime groups. He hates me now 😉 and sold his .243. I’ve owned many 6mm’s over the years and this #1 is a 1976 liberty year. With 100 grain partitions, I would shoot an elk under 200 yards if the right conditions existed. But I shot for 4 years on the USMC rifle team, I reload and know my rifle well. It has taken many deer and antelope already here in Montana. ps. I’m looking for a 1B in 7×57.

  21. Wade Angelloz Reply

    Roy, I have A #1 in 7mm mag and would like to put A better barrel and make it A 300 Win. mag., can you tell me who you would use to do this. Please email me (wangelloz@cox.net) with info if you would please. Thanks

    • Roy Bertalotto

      Good morning,

      At this point in time I’m not sure who I would use for this work. There was a gunsmith just west of Scranton PA that was well versed in all things Ruger #1. I’m not sure if he is still doing work.

      I’d check with the folks over at the “Single Shot Rifle Association” http://www.assra.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl for a recommendation.

      Hope this helps!

  22. Rob Reply

    I have a number 1 in a 243 first three serial numbers 133, it has a 24″ v barrel, does anyone know about what it is worth?

  23. todd l see Reply

    i would like info on a set of dies i have.ther rcb but has wood box and mic on seter die .i was told thay were camp pierys rcb reloading dies in 30 /06 .not intrested in sellingthay were left to me by some one who forgot more about reloading then i wi ever know.

  24. Capt. Doug Garwood Reply

    I am looking for Ruger #1 Sporter 30-06 “Made In The 200th Year Of American Liberty” with barrel markings. I am looking for a gun with great wood with feathering and in 98% condition. Please email me if you know of one for sale. I have several guns marked this way and would entertain other for sale.
    Thanks,
    Capt. Doug

  25. Pingback: A bit perplexed? - Ruger Forum

  26. AJ Reply

    Great article. I just purchased a brand-new #1V in 6.5-284, would you be interested in doing some of the accurizing in your article? I would like to try the Kepplinger trigger. May be load development? I have the brass.

  27. Glenn Reply

    Roy – good article. Thanks.
    Floated my 1V in .223R forearm with a bit of sanding and a washer. Is not stable enough, so will be going with your method of bedding.
    Ruger sold a bunch of stainless 1Vs in .223R that were marked 1-8″ twist, but were actually 1-9″ and would not stablize the longer (>75gr) bullets. They were very good about replacing the barrel on mine with a 1-8″ barrel and it shoots great. Steve Durren, a top-shelf gunsmith who works out of Johnson’s Sporting Goods in Adrian, MI worked my trigger down to an excellent 1.5# pull. If it doesn’t stay there I’ll likely have him install the Moyers 3-screw trigger. He can do about anything you might want on a Ruger No.1.

  28. Bill Walsh Reply

    Perhaps I am as lucky in gun buying as I am lucky in love, 54 years and counting. I have a Ruger 1V in 6m/m Remington, and a Ruger 1A in 30/06. The 6m/m shoots 3/8 moa and the 30/06 shoots 1/2 moa. I hand load in favor of accuracy not velocity, and as I developed the sweet load in each, my loads exceeded the factory in both rifles. However, I must say that Federal 30/06 in 180 grain shoots about as well as my best hand load. I suggest experimenting in load development before resorting to surgery. They do seem to be harmonically sensitive.

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