The Ruger number 1 is a bit of an anomaly. At a time when bolt action rifles offer high accuracy and easy tuning, semi auto rifles offer fast follow up shots on game, and lever action rifles offer the ultimate bush experience, the Ruger No. 1 delivers a single shot in a package no lighter than other available options. Yet, it’s seen success. The compact action saves a few inches that can be used for a longer barrel and the classy action oozes premium sex appeal. Not to mention the ribbing you can give fellow hunters who need to carry mags full of ammo into the field, while you’re capable with one in the rifle. The speciment I have here is a Ruger No1 K1-B-BBZ stainless laminate in 300 win mag. It weighs a ton compared to standard sporting rifles, but feels right at home across your lap on a ridge overlooking a field.
The stock on this rifle is a pepper grey laminate. Laminate stocks are superior to regular wood stocks in their ability to resist moisture and heat induced warping. They’re extremely stiff, although they end up weighing a lot more than a traditional wood stock. The look is a bit less traditional than a nicely stained regular stock, but considerably more classy than today’s typical synthetic black or camo rifle stocks. Some people love the funky layering in a laminate stock and some hate it. I personally love the look, but hate the weight.
The action on Ruger No. 1 rifles is called a “falling block” action. After you throw the cartridge down into the chamber, the lever action moves a steel block up and behind the cartridge to hold it in place. This system offers a lot of options in changing the cartridge to be fired because all that is required is a barrel change and headspacing. However, due to the tollerances required, the lockup isn’t as tight as a bolt action rifle and theoretically the accuracy should be worse. After firing, the cartridge is ejected or extracted by pulling the lever down. That ejector can be tuned for how forcefully you want the empty case to come out, from softly sliding back to sending the case flying out at mach 2. Since I reload, I opt for a softer extraction so the cases are easy to find. Safety on the rifle comes as a standard tang mounted affair. I appreciate tang safeties as they’re easier to use from a firing position, and they’re easy to switch off even with gloves on.
Hunting with the Ruger No. 1
Do you hike for hours or spot and stalk your prey? Dont buy this rifle; there are lighter, handier options out there. If you hunt ridges or from tree stands or blinds, the Ruger is a contender. The falling block action gives you a more compact rifle to wield in a tree stand or blind and the weight helps reduce recoil on the harder hitting calibers. The stainless parts certainly help keep rust at bay, and will keep the rifle looking great for decades, maintaining it as the rifle everyone else at your hunting camp wants.
At $800 and up, Ruger Number 1 rifles are not really priced for beginners. A young hunter that would benefit from a single shot might be better served by an H&R or NEF rifle. But if you’re at the point in your hunting journey where a single shot is all you need, consider the Ruger.