Classic looks, long-lasting performance and quality are all hallmarks of the Ruger No. 1. Those virtues get noticed, even during the hectic pace of gun sales during 2020. Last year it was the second-most-popular single-shot rifle among FFLs using the services of GunBroker.com. It’s a slight drop from 2019 when it claimed top honors, but the timeless looks and craftsmanship buoy it to or near the top annually, despite being a firearm design more than five decades old.
The Ruger No. 1 was introduced in 1967. The single shot hit the market when the rest of the industry concentrated on bolt-action repeaters with the added capacity of box magazines. But William Batterman Ruger understood there’s beauty in a marriage of timeless looks and fine firearm craftsmanship.
Roughly 50 different chamberings have made available in the rifle, which features a falling block breech mechanism with Farquarharson-style internal hammer. The list of cartridges it’s been made for includes everything from the diminutive .204 Ruger to powerful dangerous game cartridges, like the .450 Nitro Express.
Four models are currently offered from the factory—each distributor exclusives that can be ordered through any FFL. They include .257 Rob., 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-30 Win. and .475 Linebaugh/.480 Ruger. The safety is located on the tang and, if wanted, the ejector adjust to extract only. Barrels are cold-hammer forged and their lengths are 20", 22" or 24", depending on chambering.
Each No. 1 model is a limited run. The company changes furniture, metal finish and chamberings annually. Last year, for example, you could get one direct from Ruger with wood laminate stocks in .450 Bushmaster for $1,899. It’s no longer offered.
MSRPs aren’t available for the four models being made in 2021. Metal finishes this year include satin stainless and satin blued. All wood is American walnut. Each have integral scopes mounts, and some come with iron sights.
Dave Campbell summed up the Ruger No. 1 best in his review of one for American Rifleman. “The man who hunts with a No. 1 probably enjoys hand-rolled Cuban cigars, cognac from France and dry-aged rare steaks.”