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Ruger Number 1 - 220 Swift

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 12:26
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Came across a few Ruger Nr 1s at a local Cabelas Gun Library priced below $1K that are in 220 Swift.

Always been partial to Browning B-78 or 1885, but been a big fan of falling block actions in general.

Anyone have any experience with the Ruger Number 1 in a varmint caliber (220 Swift/22-250)?  Understand in some cases a set screw is required for the forearm hanger to improve accuracy.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 12:55
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Mike, Rifledude and Bugsandbows are our resident Ruger experts. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 13:25
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I only have two Ruger #!'s… one in 458 Lott, the other in 458 WinMag that I keep threatening to rechamber to 458 Express.  I've never had to use the forend adjustment screws. However, I do have some friends who shoot Ruger #1's in 30-06, .243 and .220 Swift.  Two have free floated the forend, one (220) got a Hicks Accurizer for Ruger #! from E Arthur Brown.  All three are happy.  I've thought about putting the Hicks Accurizer on my 458WinMag… it is 1MOA and I've just never really felt the need.  Still may do it someday.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 15:00
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Kickboxer:  What is your impression of the trigger?  Since your 458 WinMag is shooting 1 MOA, it is working for you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 15:12
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I like the trigger, some don't.  I've never had the need to do anything to the triggers… I think Bigdaddy may have done some polishing on the 458 WinMag when he had it, but it was quite some time back.  It feels really good.  
The 458 Lott shoots well under 1MOA.  I've put 5 rounds in under 4 inches at 400 yards.  That's as far as I've ever tried to shoot with it.  It is my absolute all time favorite rifle.  I have other rifles that I like better in different roles, but if I had to choose only one, all around everything… The Lott wins hands down.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2016 at 15:33
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I've long been a fan of the #1's. Some get finicky, but can be helped with the Hicks unit Dan referred to above. Triggers seem to range from decent / good to downright crappy. Wood tends to be fair to ok. Personally, I like the 1V config with the blocks but my 1S sure feels great in hand. 

I also have had (or do have) 1885 Low and High Walls and B78 versions. Generally, they all had better triggers and were more accurate than my #1's ... except for a 1V in 25-06 that shot well. 

I will say that I think the #1's are some of the handsomest, production rifles out there.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 07:01
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I, too, have an 1885 High Wall... in 300 H&H.  It is a fine rifle.  I like it because it can be "just" a 30-06 equivalent or stepped up to heavy magnum.  Very accurate and still wears iron sights.  I've considered getting a vernier for it.  
As for the #1's… one reason I've never gone to the Hicks "improvement" is due to variations in temperature and humidity and their effects on the wood, the rifle needs rezero from use to use.   Can't depend on same POI from the time you put it up to the next time you use it.  Not a really big deal… I generally rezero every time I use a rifle, but that ONE time could happen…  It is my understanding that the Hicks improvement provides the greatest opportunity for fine tuning/precision zero, but the free floating is overall consistent/unchanging.  The guy with the Hicks adjustment on 220 Swift rezeroes (checks zero) every time he goes out with it.  Works for him.
With the 458's, I'm not looking for 1/4 MOA performance… just drilling 1/2 inch holes through anything and everything that gets in their way and dropping big animals on the spot.  They do that very well at any range I've chosen to shoot.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 07:14
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Thanks Gents.  I'll go check on the Rugers again.  They had three in 220 Swift, which was unexpected.

I just like that caliber.  One rifle I regret buying was a Ruger M77 varmint in that caliber.  A friend's rifle that would shooting inside a 1/2" all day.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 07:21
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Originally posted by Marine24 Marine24 wrote:

Thanks Gents.  I'll go check on the Rugers again.  They had three in 220 Swift, which was unexpected.

I just like that caliber.  One rifle I regret buying was a Ruger M77 varmint in that caliber.  A friend's rifle that would shooting inside a 1/2" all day.

I have a Remington ETRONIX in 220 Swift… most accurate rifle I've ever had my hands on.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 08:37
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I had the Ruger #1V in a .204 Ruger, and found it to be very finicky.  3-shot groups were great (1/2 MOA or better with factory ammo) but any more shots than that and it would start stringing shots vertically (to the point where after 8 shots, I'd be 4+MOA high).  I played around with some of the different little forearm tricks out there, but never could get the shot stringing to go completely away, and it was always very sensitive to forearm pressure and hold.  Because it was my varmint rifle, and a lot of repetitive shooting was expected from different positions, I sold it.  I did NOT try the Hicks Accurizer befor selling the rifle.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 12:56
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Ah yes... the legendary Ruger No. 1!

I LOVE falling block single shot rifles in general, as hinted by my avatar! The combination of the compact vault-like action and the elegant lines of a nice falling block "had me at hello!" Conjoin the package with some beautiful wood and I'm totally smitten! I currently own a Ruger #1, Dakota M10, and a Winchester 1885. Buddies have owned countless other Ruger 1s, Ruger #3s, 1885 high wall/low wall and Browning B78s. Love them all! On the #1, I prefer the shorter Alexander Henry style forend over the B and V model forend, though functionally the latter is superior when used as a varmint rifle, off a rest, and of course if you want to use a bipod.

Although I love the Ruger #1, if you're looking for consistent out of the box gilt-edge precision, the #1 is not the rifle for you. I've seen some very accurate #1s and some outright stinkers that produced shotgun pattern "groups." Stringing is not an uncommon problem with #1s. The reason for the inconsistency is related to the fact the forend attaches to a long forend hangar that also houses the hammer mainspring and ejector spring. So, out of the box, the forend touches this hangar, the front of the receiver, AND the barrel. When the rifle is fired, the main spring unloading is causing the forend hangar to flex/vibrate, which then transmits those vibrations to the forend, and the forend to the barrel. 

The purpose of the Hicks accurizer is to stabilize/dampen the forend hangar and allow you to float the forend away from the barrel with set screw pressure. It also allows you to "tune" these vibrations by varying the set screw pressure. Before the invention of the Hicks accurizer, people were doing essentially the same thing by simply taking the rifle to a machine shop, drilling & tapping a hole in the forend hangar near the forend attachment point/pivot point for the main spring, and installing a set screw there that provides upward pressure on the barrel, keeping the hangar stabilized. Then, by drilling a small hole in the forend in line with the set screw, you can vary screw pressure with an Allen key without having to remove the forend. This is what I did to my #1, and it works well. Another trick is to sand the rear edge of the forend where it mates with the front of the receiver slightly so you provide a tiny amount of clearance, but not enough clearance that you have an unsightly gap...just enough to relieve pressure. Then, sand the barrel channel in the forend just enough to free float it away from the barrel.

The other issue regarding Ruger #1 precision is that in the past, Ruger bought their barrels from a couple suppliers and had inconsistent quality. Today, they hammer forge their own barrels in-house and the barrels are generally quite good. They began producing their own barrels around the time they changed from the red colored recoil pad to the black pad, so on average the "black pad" guns tend to shoot a little better than the "red pad" guns, though of course there are always exceptions, as is the case for pretty much all factory rifles. It's luck of the draw.

Bottom line... if you get a #1 that doesn't shoot, there are remedies that usually work, as long as you don't have a lemon barrel. If you get one that shoots pretty well (1.5 MOA or better) and you get essentially "round" groups without any stringing, leave it alone and enjoy it for what it is -- an elegant, well-balanced, very strong and dependable, nice looking rifle. They usually won't hang with a well-tuned bolt action's potential, so if that is your expectation, odds are, you're going to be disappointed. Then again, I've seen some spooky accurate #1s that would hang with anything, usually in the heavy barreled Varmint (1-V) model. A buddy had one such tack driver in .220 Swift, in fact.

Unfortunately, wood quality has gone the opposite direction over the years. For many years, Ruger #1s have been characterized by having above average wood, and some have even had stunning AAA-level wood. The newer "black pad" rifles, on the other hand tend to be equipped with very plain wood, to keep costs under control. You can still find some black pad rifles with beautiful wood if you look hard enough, but it's pretty rare to find any new #1s with anything above utilitarian grade lumber. Higher wood grades have become very expensive, and Ruger tried to keep the #1s cost under control so it would still remain a fairly affordable rifle. Sadly, the fact the #1 is expensive to build overall is the reason Ruger is planning to discontinue it. 

I'm willing to put up with the Jeckyl and Hyde quirks of the #1 because I'm a falling block slut and I like tinkering with rifles to make them shoot anyway. And, I have a sickness. But others may not be as patient as me and for them, I would recommend the 1885/B-78 family over the #1, if they want an "affordable" modern falling block single shot rifle.


Edited by RifleDude - January/23/2016 at 13:01
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 18:06
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Everything described by Ted above also applies for the more recent Winchester and Browning 1885 rifles made in Japan, in regard to attachment of forearm. It's fussy to say the least. 
I have a Browning  45-70 BPCR target rifle, with long heavy part round part octagon barrel and beautiful walnut stock. It has a Badger barrel of exquisite quality. If i rest the heavy barrel on a sandbag (8" from muzzle)  the rifle shoots literally one hole groups. If i grab the forearm and try to shoot by holding the rifle, it's all over the place,. And it was shooting differently on different days and with different ways of holding the rifle.  I Took the forearm off and i discovered that the hanger bar has plenty of flex and movement in it, the forearm was moving and touching the barrel, etc. After trying various tricks, leather and steel shims, and whatnot, i decided to send the rifle to an excellent and famous and wonderful gunsmith who will take the hanger bar out and mount the forearm the way God intended, screwed right onto the heavy barrel and relieved slightly at the receiver end. (as Ted described).  

The only Ruger no 1 that i have experience and knowledge off is a 300 Mag that took 3 years to get to shoot well, by a person who has 10 times more patience and more money than i do. 
O also love falling block single shots. More than half of the rifles in my modest collection are such rifles. I would not purchase a Ruger no 1, unless it came from a friend who assured me that the rifle is problem free, or from a reputable gunsmith who has gone over the darn thing. From what i see, the no  1 has a lot of parts and a lot of potential problems. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 18:47
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I think I'll stick with the Browning.  Another falling block I like is E. Arthur Brown's 97D.  I had one in 6.5BRM but sold it recently.  Reminded me a lot of the Browning 78 and 1885, but prices have jumped considerably and availability in standard calibers isn't great.  Very accurate rifle and easy to tote around, but already had too many in that caliber range.

I've got a line on a B-78 in 22-250 plus a Cooper 22 VL in the same caliber.  These are in auction houses so who know's what the prices will do.

Couple nice pre-64 Winchester Model 70s as well, but I'm not holding my breath given what they have been going for lately.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 19:12
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With what's available now pre 64's might be overrated.

Just thinkin' it's only an action.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 19:29
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As with any "production" rifle, you may get a less than "standard" #1.  However, you stand as good a chance of getting a superior shooter.  I have two, one superior, one average.  The friends I have who have them have "good" ones.  
Negatives get a lot more attention than positives in almost everything.  Don't shy away from a Ruger #1 because there are "horror tales".  If you believer you must do that… give up all your Remingtons, Winchesters, Savages, Coopers, ARs, etc, etc, etc.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 21:46
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Kickboxer, i am not belittling the no 1. It's just that, for me, it would be a risky and potentially expensive purchase.  I know myself and what i want from a rifle. If i got a no 1 with problems and plain wood, i would feel sad. I would spend more money on fine tuning, trigger job, good scope rings, etc, i would spend another $1,000.  
On the other hand, the no 1 i am sure i would love probably costs $5,000 or more and it will not be made because i will not order it. 
I do like the no 1, just not exactly the way it is coming out of the factory.

Marine24: If you want a pre-64 as a collectible, i get it. However, if you want it because you want a great rifle, look at the brand new model 70 made in Portugal. 
I recently visited a dealer and looked at 6 of them and i was stunned by their high quality and appearance.
They have the controlled round feed of old and the machining  wood and fitting, are  perfect. They are fancy beautiful rifles. Nicer than just about anything made in New Haven in the last 50 years. The ones i saw had beautiful wood and still cost $800-900.  Checkering was very nice, as well as the wood finish. 
The only thing they did not have was the super deep lustrous polished metal finish, but it was not bad at all.  Way way better than my 1980s  USRAC era push feed hunting rifle (which was a piece of garbage until i sent it to Hill Country Rifles and it will forever remain ugly). 
And the trigger was good for a hunting rifle. Not perfect, but very good. 
I almost purchased a .308 with very nice fiddle back stripped walnut. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2016 at 22:17
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Didn't realize there were new production rifles in 220 Swift available.  Ruger was the one I was most familiar with but don't see any in their latest catalog and didn't see it on Winchester's website either.  I'll dig some more.  Most of what I'm seeing are used rifles other than the new Coopers.

Amweis:  If you have a line on these new Winchesters in 220 Swift, let me know.  So far I haven't come across one.


Edited by Marine24 - January/24/2016 at 15:09
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2016 at 06:58
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Fell in to a Savage 12 FV in 22-250 with a bucket of brass, bullets, dies and production ammo, but hunt for the 220 Swift continues.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2016 at 21:31
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I can respect your interest in the 220 Swift. 
However, you could pursue other "screamers" as well:
.22/6mm Rem (5.6x57)
240 Weatherby, 
.22 Cheetah (.22/.308)
or the forgotten .22/30-30 Improved and .230 Ackley (.22/30-06)



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2016 at 06:32
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The 224 and 240 Wby are on my list.  Feeding them can get expensive but always liked Weatherby calibers.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2016 at 06:34
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.204 Ruger is one I'm digging lately. 
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