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July 10, 2006

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Ask Dave: Is the Ruger No. 1 in .325 the right rifle for elk and mule deer?

Dear Dave, I have read your recent articles regarding the .325 WSM and the Browning A-Bolt. I am planning an elk and mule deer hunt out West in the next year or two and had been thinking about the Ruger No. 1 in 300 Win. Mag. I am not sure if Ruger offers the No. 1 in .325 WSM yet. After reading your articles, I had thought about the No. 1 in .325 WSM. What are your thoughts about the Ruger and the .325 for elk and mule deer? Thanks for your advice.--Jim Stewart

Jim, My experience with the Ruger No. 1 is that it's a very fussy and erratic rifle. I've seen some that shoot extremely well, but usually they've been to the gunsmith before they would do it. As for the .325, it's way too much for mule deer, but just about right for elk. Its only drawback as an elk round is that once in a while you get a long shot at an elk, and unless your .325 will shoot 200-grain bullets accurately, it can be a problem at long distances.

If it were me, and I was going to hunt both species, I'd get a .270--perfect for mule deer, and with good bullets it will kill an elk handily. --DP


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Ralph the Rifleman

I agree with you Dave on the issue of Elk and Mule deer shooting, for I believe a good minimum caliber for hunting both of these species is the .270 Caliber--I think people overate the need for big shoulder kicking calibers to take Elk,a nd normally set aside there "deer gun" to purchase another caliber they will need to practice with and may never use again. Now don't get me wrong, if my budget would allow it-I would own a long list of rifles, but if I were planning a trip for elk, I would take one of my existing rifles I own (.45/70,or .270)know the limitations of each, and hunt with it. Just my thoughts....



mike shickele

I would agree with Dave one the Rurer Number 1. The last time I met someone in the bush, they where carrying one, and his words where "It's heavy." Nothing else said. Admittedly though, I'm a bolt action man.
I would think that there where better cartridges than the 270Win for elk though; my choice would be the 30-06 with 180 gr bullet. But I'm also a 30-06 man.

Roger E. Reeves

I am a 71 yr old disabled/handicapped hunter, who tries to go to the Rockie about every 2 yrs. This year I will hunt Antelopes in Wy, then on to Montana for Mulies and Elk. For the Lopes I will use a Rem 700 in 25-06, using ll5 gr.Winchester Ballistic slive tips. For he Elk/Mulies,I will use my new Rem.700 CDl in 30-06, using Rems l80 gr. Scricco Amo. The l80 gr. will patern 2' at 200 yds all day long, if I do my part. Last year I killed a 8pt W-tail in Montana and a 8 pointer her at home. Each animal dropped in ther tracts, as i prefer neck shots to al others. My 30-06's have kille 6x 6 Elk and 3 x 3 Mulie, each with one shot and the Mulie ra about 20 yds and dropped, the Elk went about yds and fell over. Both shots were l65 yds up=hill. I prefer my wood stocked firearms to weigh about 9-10 lbs. and that eliminates a bad kick .When you shoot a 5 l/2 lb gun, any large caliber you gonna gt busted. If you unable to carry a 9-10 lb firearm, then hie a porter.At9-10 lbs your aim will be more steady and accrate. I always use Stoney Point shooting Bi-pod. A 30-06 will kill any game I hunt, other than the big bears, and i don;t plan to hunt them. On another plus side, ammo is available at most gun shops r Wal-marts, and K-Marts, get a new fangle caliber and you may have a gun on a hunt with no Ammo. In my opinion and 52 yrs experience, the 30-06 is all you need, plus can hunt any game you desire.I;m taking teh 25-06 fr Lopes, as it will shot flatter, and I want to try it out on Lopes at long ranges. I bought a Winchester model 70 in 300WSM, was not pleased at all, plus enough recoil to kill a big Bear. Needless to say, it was traded for another 06.My only objection to the 06, is, I don;t get to hunt enough with it, thats chngeing this yr, as I will be hunting out west for 30 days, or less, depending on filling my tags early, then will go for Coyotes with the 25-06 for pratice and eliminate a few of the fawn killing beast.

Paul Parten

Hi! Enjoy reading your work!!!
Question???...I am considering a RugerM77 in Laminate Wood stock..Left Hand 300winmag to go "out west" with...will the laminate stock prove comparable to synthetic stock as far as dependability in various weather conditions. I am having a hard time getting the LH gun I want...Bass Pro points are just sitting there! TY! Paul

Barry Moore

The key to making a Ruger No 1 shoot right, is knowing how to reload for them. My family owns 7 of these guns, and every single one of them will absoulty drive tacks. None of them have been to the first gunsmith (it is all in the way you Reload), in fact my family owns very few bolt-actions and 99% of the time we will be hunting with our No.1s


OK, Barry Moore, I'm callin ya out! I've got a beautiful No. 1 in .270 Win. that I can't seem to get to shoot much better than 1.5". (I know, stop complaining.)My standard load is H-4831 and Nosler Partitions. So, what's your secret. And I need details. If you're uncomfortable divulging load data or techniques to the whole world, I'll be glad to send you my e-mail address. But I'm stumped and I've pretty much put the rifle in the back of the closet. A couple of years ago I sold a .22-250 cause it wouldn't shoot any better than the .270 and that was unacceptable for a varmint rifle. Help!!

Barry Moore

With the #1's there is an extreme amount of freebore. This means you have to seat the bullet against the riflings and then turn the seating die back off about a 16th of a turn. This puts the bullet just off of the riflings, therefore there is no jump from the bullet to get to the riflings. Also don't start with a heavy load off the bat, work your way up and you will find the best one. The .270 is probably one of the worst calibers for the #1 (I am not shooting down a .270 because it is an excelent caliber, but it is just not a good one for the #1), it just doesn't work good with this gun. I have a .300 win mag that will shoot about a 3/8" group at 100 yds and I have shot deer and coyotes out to 522yds with it. My brother has a 25-06 that will put them all in the same hole at 100yds(literaly, I have seen it), all this improvement was done by seating the bullet correctly and finding the load the gun likes. We have found that one of the best powders for these guns is IMR 4350, because of its slow burn rate. If all this doesn't work for your .270 I would say just find another caliber, like a 30-06 or a .280.


Dave, I stand behind my brothers statements 100%. We both grew up shooting number 1's and preffer it. I have 3 myself and of the 3 my prefered hunting rifle is the 25-06. I have been hunting with it for 21 years. It is one wicked shooting gun and it has never seen a gunsmith. Is deffinetly the loading.



Thought I would put my 2 cents worth in on the No 1's. I guess I am the one at fault with the two boys above, I taught them to shoot and reload and always had the idea that one well placed shot was better than spraying 6 or more. I have been reloading the No. 1's since 1980 and the three of us have a .223, .257 Roberts, 25.06. 30.06, 2 - .300 Winchester Magnums and a .338 Winchester Magnum. We have had tremendous success with tuning the loads to the rifles, and the most important one aspect in the reloading is taking care of the freebore. Good luck on reloading, hope my son was of some help.


To: Barry, Jamie & Jimmy (I think you guys are all related, yes?) Thanks for the info, and I will try all of your suggestions. Frankly, I hadn't considered the freebore situation, but will give it a try - if it ever quits raining here. Will also try IMR-4350. Although I may not get the speed from it that I do from H-4831, if it shrinks groups below 1", I'll use it. Any suggestions as to primers or does it make any difference (I'm using Fed. 215's w/ H-4831)? Do you guys turn necks? And thanks again for all the help. MUCH appreciated. As I said, if it ever quits raining so I can get to the range I'll let you know how things turn out. Probably about June.


Oh, yes, Jamie and Barry are my sons, you can tell we like Ruger No. 1's. We use the same primer (Fed Mag #215)in all the No. 1's and the same powder (IMR-4350) except for the .223. You are using the primer we use. I turn case necks in my .22-250 Remington 700, but not in the other calibers. I could probably increase the accuracy a little more by doing so. I do use a file trim die with all the calibers and do this with each case every time. Lost my place to punch paper a couple of years ago and have not found a good place to shoot at 100 yards yet. Maybe the rain will quit soon and you can try it. Hope you have good luck, the No. 1 is a classy good looking firearm.



If you need to contact me, email me at [email protected]hoo.com



No problem, glad we could help. Good luck.


To: Barry, Jamie & Jimmy: Thanks again, guys. If I can ever get to the range (and then remember where to find this post) I'll let you know how your recommendations have turned out. You've been a big help and, again, it's much appreciated. And I don't care what Petzal says about you guys (& No. 1's), you're all right!


I have several No. 1 rifles and they are great. My favorite is a .30-06 with the Alex Henry forend. It shoots into 1/2-inch at 100 yards with 130 gr Hornady spire points and 4320 powder.


I love No. 1's especially versions like Joe described above. I wanted to point out that they will fit almost any rifle scabbard which is a plus in the mountains. You can even add that 28 inch barrel for your custom .30-.378 and still have a package much shorter than a telephone pole. Ever checked out the length of a Weatherby so chambered? The down side of No. 1's is that the owners are alway attempting to figure out how to reload as quickly as possible. I see them packing extra cartridges on their slings, on their stocks, on their belts, and even one guy who had sewed some elastic on the shoulder of his hunting coat so it would hold two .300 mag cartridges. Over the years I have also noticed that these rifles tend to be either very accurate or extremely inaccurate. If you examine the barrel support you wonder how they could ever be accurate at all compared to most bolt guns. Some have beautiful wood for factory rifles.


I shoot Ruger no. 1's because they are classy looking rifles and I just feel good when I shoot an animal with one. So far, I have no 1's in .223, 25-06 (a lightweight Lipsey's limited edition),7x57, & 9.3x74. I also have a custom Ruger no. 3 in 22 Hornet that is a nail driver, and will be converting another no. 3 into a lightweight custom stocked .250 Savage

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