June 2014

Making the Ruger No. 1 Right

Senior Tech Editor Ray Ordorica goes through Ruger’s single-shot design in 400 Jeffery, finding — and fixing — areas that need significant change to make it a true biggest-game contender.

In the past we have remarked on these pages that the Ruger No. 1 has a few problems. In fact, it has had no further development since its introduction back in 1967. Bill Ruger copied the graceful Alexander Henry single-shot falling-block design of the 1870s and also the look of the opening lever, and internal hammer of the Farquharson. The Henry stock, of course, was the inspiration for the notch in the forend on Ruger’s Tropical No. 1. The new Ruger single shot was a huge success, yet for some reason neither Bill Ruger nor anyone in charge of the company has taken it upon himself to do anything more with the fine No. 1 except to continue producing it, flaws and all, ever since its introduction. There have most likely been production changes along the way to either improve the rifle’s strength or its manufacturing ease, but as to its finer points, there has been exactly no progress. Until now.

We decided to wring out a Ruger No. 1 Tropical in 400 Jeffery caliber (aka 450/400 3”), and make whatever improvements we could on it, things that long ago we think Ruger ought to have addressed. We were not able to do all the things we wanted, as you’ll see, but we did make some improvements. Here, then, is our report.

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