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Ruger No. 1 stringing?

5382 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  myfriendis410
I have many guns so some might go for more than a year between uses. I pulled out the Ruger No.1 in 270 and took it to the range yesterday. This gun had originally had the Ruger No. 1 problem of vertical stringing which I fixed more than 15 years ago. The fix was a tensioning screw on the front hand guard support tang that is part of the front of the receiver. The screw forces the tang down by pressing against the barrel bottom. Also the hand guard is free floated away from the barrel and bedded to the tang. These are the "known" fixes for these guns and tests many years ago proved it worked on this gun.

So I set up and did a five shot string. There it was again, a six inch long vertical string of five shots. I tired again and the same thing. For the life of me I could not remember where the gun needed to be supported on the hand guard and I initially chose as close to the receiver as I could get. Next I slid the gun on the bags to the point on the hand guard where the checkering comes to a point on the bottom (about half way out on the hand guard). Behold two 1 1/1/4 inch five shot groups at 100 yds.

I love the look of this gun, the fit and finish, but most certainly NOT the susceptibility of how it gets supported on its hand guard. All the work I did and there is apparently only one place that it works out. This is so strange as the Winchester single shot rifle has an excellent reputation for accuracy and apparently no susceptibility to how it is supported. At least my Browning 1885 in 223 shoots accurately without this support susceptibility.

I don't hunt but if I did this has to be the last gun I would take on a hunt. What are the chances of even getting a kill if the gun has a six inch long potential hit point at 100 yds?

This gun was bought used about 20 years ago and is marked as a USA 1976/1996 USA Bi-Centennial model. Has Ruger ever fixed this problem?

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That is a shame Bennett. I have never heard of that. The No. 1's are known for their accuracy. Have you spoke to Ruger about this problem. I have been thinking of picking one up.

In 1989 the Wolfe Publishing published a home gunsmitihing book based on articles that appeared in their "Rifle" magazine over the years. The book was "Gunsmithing Tips & Projects". The Ruger No.1 article first appeared in Rifle #51, May /June 1977 but was on page 110 in the book.

The articles was this fix. It is a well known problem with these guns from at least 1976 and back, based on my experience. In current guns...I don't know(??). I wonder if they fixed it (??). If they did I have heard nothing about it.

It is funny but the Browning 1878 single shot suffered the same problem. It was replaced by the Browning 1885. Both were suppose to be modern clones of the Winchester 1885 single shot as designed by John Browning and those original Winchesters apparently don't have the problem nor do the new 1885 Brownings. At least mine doesn't (High wall in 223).

If you intend to buy one you might want to do a little research to see if the current guns are different from mine and earlier ones. It is not easy making the modification as you have to drill and tap the hand guard hanger (tang) and bed the forearm to the tang. I would be anxious doing this on a brand new gun...mine was slightly used. I have no idea if Ruger knows of this problem but they just have to if the Rifle magazine published an article about it in 1977.

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Take a close look at the barrel crown as Ruger at one time had a crown problem on some early guns.

Also, you may need to retorque the action/stock. If that fails, slide something, matchbook cover, business card ,about an inch or so down between the barrel and stock and try again.
my no. 1 in .458 has had severe accuracy issues since I've bought it about 7 years ago. I'm no my 5th bullet mold trying to find a combo that works. Got it decent but most loads are terrible at best for consistency. It will put 3 in the same hole and then one a foot off!

I have not done the fixes yet, that's on my to do list but with my newest bullet (500gn RN) I'm ever hopeful it will prove more consistant.

I will have to keep the front handgaurd placement in mind next range session, got about 100 rounds loaded up.
this was the accurizing link I found not long ago, is there anything else to add to this?
The Rifle magazine fix used a drilled and tapped hole in the end of the hanger (hand guard tang) to do the same as the wedge but you could dial in how much tension you needed. I believe they also wanted the hand guard to not touch the receiver front. At least that's the way I did mine. It did not remove the susceptibility to support position but when the support is in the middle of the hand guard my 270 shoots close to one inch groups at 100 yds with no flyers.

If accuracy is your goal under all condition then I don't think the Ruger N0. 1 is a good candidate. Any good bolt gun has less problems right out of the box. If you like a challenge then go for the Ruger No. 1 and do the fix, either the wedge or the tensioning screw plus the bedding of the guard but it may not work all the time as my fix did not.


This mod is way beyond a match book in the stock. Remember this is a gun with a two piece stock. One piece is bolted to the rear of the receiver and the other piece is a hand guard hung on a tang or hanger, off the front of the receiver, below the barrel and is free floated off the barrel. The tension screw or the wedge replaces a match book cover in spades. My problem seems to be that the handguard is not stable and where the gun rests on the front bag makes the hand guard touch the receiver in the back which makes the gun vertically string the shots. Moving the support forward apparently keeps the hand guard off the front of the receiver and accuracy returns. in original form the gun was highly inconsistent for accuracy and the mod (when the support is in the right place) gives the gun accuracy you could expect from a hunting 270 rifle.

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LD, have you experimented with different preload tension amounts on the tang spacer screw?
Also, when you floated the barrel & bedded the tang did you free-float the forearm wood to receiver joint?
And did the wood get completely sealed after you were done inletting/bedding the forearm?

The forearm wood to receiver junction is the one that caused me the most grief. I was taught to gap that to at least 1/16" (0.06") to compensate for any future shifting of the wood.

But on my standard-weight 6mmRem I did have to play with the tension to get it to settle down. I also had to play with a lot of different loads once I got tired of tweaking the tension. It was a nice grouping rifle with 75gr & 87gr bullets.
I forget exactly what the hanger/barrel gap was that I wound up with on that #1 but it was a lot more than the normal 0.035" gap that most of the textbook fixes call for. I think it wound up being well over double that spec...and I was half scared I was going to strip the threads on the tension screw if I tightened up anymore.

I never did notice any changes in grouping caused by different bag positioning. I know that my 6mm and .22-250 did not like to be shot off of a bipod at all. That would just plain make em group like an improved cyl stringing, just huge erratic groups.

As far as I know Ruger has never changed the forearm hanger setup on the #1/#3 so yeah the new ones will likely still need the same attention.
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I did float the hand guard off the barrel and the receiver but apparently not enough off the receiver. I was concerned that it would look funny with a huge gap between the front of the receiver and the hand guard. When I pushed the bag back near the receiver the hand guard must tip and touch the receiver. The whole hand guard mounting system is screwed and the reason for the inaccuracy reputation of the Ruger No. 1, in my opinion.

I did all this "fixing" at least 15 or more years ago so I don't remember the details of the testing I did at that time. The testing done yesterday proved that my gun is still not right but as long as I now know where to support it when shooting off the bench (the only use I have for this gun) it will be fine. It is just a shame that Ruger never fixed this problem. But it is hard to argue with 1 1/4 inch five shot groups at 100 yds for a hunting gun. Mine is the standard barrel version so it is a hunting gun weight barrel. I did not cool the barrel between shots but just punched out two strings of five shots each after moving the support bag.

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Yeah, it isn't the best design. Actually, maybe not so much a design issue as it is an execution problem. I agree with ya that it's flawed. Shouldn't have to do anything with a $1200 rifle.
While I do think the idea of putting the mainspring under the barrel on that hanger is a neat idea and makes the rifle balance out better, it just doesn't work as intended. That's the biggest departure from the Farquharson pattern and the biggest problem with the #1/#3.
I think the hanger needs to be made stiffer so it doesn't get any mainspring flex imparted to it. Once that's cured, the barrel could be properly tip-bedded to the hanger.

Between my three #1s and several others owned by friends, the only ones that were real consistent out of the box are the heavy barrel varminters. The medium, standard, and lightweight all have the stringing problem and I just keep coming back to a flexing hanger and a fully free-floated barrel as the problem. The only barrels I've ever seen that consistently do worth a toot when fully free-floated are heavy profiles.

The Dakota Model 10 doesn't have this problem...but they don't have the same hanger/mainspring setup as Ruger either.
I'd like to say that I own a Model 10 but it'll probably forever be out of my budget. I am lucky enough to have a hometown guy married to one of my cousins that works for Dakota and I have toured the place several times while visiting the Black Hills. Drooling the entire time I might add! Beautiful machines...but I'm sidetracking.

If you do decide to attack it further, I would try opening up the forearm/receiver gap a little more...or at least smoke/talc the surfaces and see if there is contact when you're shooting. I would bet there still is.
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Yes, I have to agree. When I moved the rifle away from the receiver I think I stopped the tipping of the bedded hand guard. The bedding surface is pretty skinny on that hanger. The tipping had to be in the direction of the receiver and I know I did not make that gap between the hand guard and the receiver large at all.

The target I shot has two five shot groups that are strung vertically at least 6 inches and the other two five shot groups (shot with the gun moved up on the bags to the middle of the hand guard) are nice round groups at about 1 1/4 inch. The hand guard has to be tipping into the receiver, no doubt.

I'll clean the turkey and put it back in the safe and take out a different rifle that will shoot a lot better without the support bag shuffle! But the weather has changed again and we have rain coming for nearly a whole week so the next shooting session will not be soon!

I ran into accuracy issues with my #1 in 7mm rem mag years ago (coincidentally a bicentennial gun too) and did the whole bedding/floating of the forearm. It too is sensitive to where I rest it on the bench; right behind the front sling swivel stud. That's okay for me as I rest it there on sticks when I'm hunting. I also have my off-hand on the bell of the scope. Allowing the gun to free recoil absolutely destroyed the groups. I had to hold it down. When I floated the gun the point of impact dropped ten inches!
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