That’s Him!

“That’s him!” whispered Doss as soon as he put the spotting scope on this buck. We were hunting this one specific buck and I did not want to make the mistake of shooting the wrong one! My long time young friend Doss Summers and Guide on this trip knows every shootable and NON shootable buck on this 13,000 acre low fence Ranch in LaSalle County, Texas. This Ranch has only been hunted in the past by family, charity and youth hunts, and Military and Wounded Warriors. This last Summer, Doss had told me that for the first time ever that a very few hunts would be sold. I asked him to put me on the list for a good buck!

The Hixon Ranch is MLD permitted so we could have started hunting in October, but other Ranch commitments and the weather put off this hunt until the weekend before Thanksgiving. We also needed a North wind. I had been watching the weather forecast for weeks and finally it looked like a strong enough front would come through Thursday night, November 21st. I drove the the 5 hour trip on Thursday and we hunted a different location that afternoon. We saw a big Axis buck and a nice young 10 point buck-on the NO Shoot list. Overnight, the wind turned to out of the North; we went to the stand where this buck was most likely to be seen. A long morning and a long afternoon in the blind and this buck was not there today. Again, Saturday morning, we were in the blind at 5:50 AM and we both took a nap. Legal shooting time in Texas is 30 minutes before sunrise, which would be 6:35 AM. I woke Doss up at 6:30 and we looked out.There were 2 small bucks right in front of us. About 6:35, I saw a buck come out on the road about 200 yards in front of us. Not him. I think Doss dozed off again, because at about 6:40 I said “ there is another deer coming in from the right”. As Doss put the spotting scope on him-immediately, he said “That’s him”. I still could barely tell it was a buck with my binoculars. Both these bucks were moving slowly down the road towards us, slowly getting closer. Now 170 yards. Doss suggested I put the binoculars down and get him in the scope. “Can you see him well enough to shoot?”. “Yes”. “Then, you need to be shooting first good opportunity”. Well, first, the little 8 point is in the way; then my buck is facing us; then facing away; then the 8 point is in the way. After 10 minutes of this, he turns broadside. I shoot; he runs off. I was sure he was hit, but I was not sure how well. He runs to the left and within 10 yards is behind trees. We did not see him come out anywhere.

Doss suggests we wait 20 minutes before going to look. For 20 minutes we scanned every inch with binoculars and spotting scope. We could not see any downed deer. We started out about 10 minutes after sunrise; went to where he was standing and no blood and no dead buck in sight. I walked about 40 yards the way I thought he had run and no buck. Now, go back to where he was standing and look for blood; finally, about 2 drops! I take off that way again and no dead buck. Another circle and we are not finding any more blood or a deer. I am getting anxious and just about ready to ask Doss to text Mike, the Ranch Manager, and tell him to bring Charlie, the ranch blood dog. Then about 20 yards away, where we are not looking, I spot an antler tip sticking out above the knee high grass. “There he is”. What a relief! A heart/lung shot and he ran the 40 yards- just at a right angle to the direction we thought he went. All this only took about 10-12 minutes, but it seemed like an hour.

We get our pictures and get this buck off to the cooler.

Hunting a very specific buck is a different kind of challenge. You have to know what he looks like and be able to recognize him on sight.

Now, about the very special rifle I was using- the Joe Clayton Classic; a Ruger No.1A in 280 Ackley Improved with a 25” barrel. I was able to get Ruger to make a 125 rifle run to honor my long time friend and Ruger No.1 mentor- Joe Clayton. They are serially numbered JDC-001 through -125. Joe wrote the book on Ruger No.1 rifles in 1983 and was the first serious collector of these classic rifles.


Ruger No. 1 “Joe Clayton Classic”

The Ruger No.1 Joe Clayton Classic is finally a reality after a year in the works. Joe’s new favorite caliber is the 280 Ackley Improved; that was the first hurdle in getting Ruger to chamber a new cartridge for them. Secondly, the 25″ A weight barrel; never done before except on the Chester Hape rifle in 1968. Shown is serial# JDC-041.

The “standard” 1A with the 22″ barrel is one of the special runs for Cabela’s in 30/40 Krag is shown for comparative purposes.

$1700 +$40 for shipping to your FFL. Serial numbers are JDC-001 through JDC-125*. Recently, Ruger was trying to run the No.1 production line in January/February. Jason at Lipsey’s was going to order a few of Previously made models and I ordered 30 more of the 280 Ackleys. They were supposed to be in the regular serial# series(134-54XXX), but they came in as JDC-126 thru 155. Good news is, wood is near spectacular, so I will be shipping these before the last 12 of the rifles which were under #125.

The Box label
Serial# JDC-041(SOLD)
The Caliber Rollmark
Serial number marking
Comparison with a 22″ barrel 1A and the 25″ barrel 1A 280 Ackley IMproved
25″ vs. 22″
My personal rifle JDC-010 (Not For Sale)

The Engraved Ruger No. 1’s

The 1967 Catalog stated(in very small print):

Engraving: Our engraving is done in the English pattern(i.e., floral scrolls and borders, monograms, game vignettes) but no bas-relief engraving will be undertaken. We cannot furnish inlays or carvings of stocks. Prices for engraving (3 patterns available) start at $125.00, which is in addition to the basic retail cost of the rifle. For details on engraving, please write to the factory.

If someone wrote to the factory for details (per last sentence above) on engraving, it is not clear to me what they would have received. If anyone has this information, I would certainly like to know of it. Three patterns were advertised starting at $125.00, but the cost of the other two patterns is not stated. Of the three engraved rifles discussed below, it does not appear that they were of three different styles and coverage, as all three 1967 NRA Show rifles(#954,#956 and #962) have the same style and coverage, excepting the animal vignettes.

For any number of reasons, no engraved rifles were ever sold in a public way. The Writers guns and several Presentation pieces were done by A. A. White and the Ruger Creedmoor rifle (cover of 1969 Gun Digest) by John Warren, but, alas, no others!

The plan was to have three engraved No. 1 rifles at the 1967 NRA Meetings in Washington D. C. A letter dated March 2, 1967 from Ed Nolan to Alvin White states “Yesterday we mailed three RUGER Single-Shot rifle frames to you for engraving, as per our conversation with Mr. Larry Wilson”. Each receiver was to have a different animal; a Bear, an Elk and a Bighorn Sheep. The serial #’s were 954, 956, and 962. Rifle #962 was auctioned on the Ruger Auction site and ended 2/05/08.

NRA Show Rifle # 962 NRA Show Rifle # 962

Serial #962 Right Side Closeup

Rifle #954 was auctioned on the Ruger Auction site and ended 6/8/2011
Ruger No.1 #954 Ruger No.1 #954

Rifle #956 is pictured in the R. L. Wilson book-Ruger & His Guns on pages 80 and 94. The Caliber/Configuration of these three rifles is the AB in .308 Winchester.

Ruger No.1 Serial #956, right Side Serial #956, right Side

All further references to page numbers will be for the Wilson book, Ruger & His Guns, unless noted otherwise. The rifle pictured below is #962 and is from a period A. A. White Engravers brochure and a R. L. Wilson article titled “Gun Engraving” in the GUNS & AMMO 1969 Annual. The caption to this picture on page 204 of the GUNS & AMMO Annual indicates the cost of this engraving to be “about $375 plus the cost of the rifle”. This was most likely the style with the most engraving coverage.

By April 10, 1967, an invoice for $600.00 ($200.00 each) was sent to attention of Ed Nolan. I do not have the information as to whether the receivers or completed rifles were on display at the Meetings. During the Summer and Fall of 1967, the project seems to have been put on hold. A letter dated 8/8/67 from Ed Nolan to Larry Wilson states: “Thanks for your note of July 25 about our plans for engraved presentation of Single-Shot rifles. I must confess that we have not given much thought to engraving since our last conversation, but we are certainly going to get to it as we can clear the decks of a few other matters.”By 1968, a proposal was made by A. A. White Engravers for the engraving project generally referred to as the “21 Club” rifles.

AA White “21 Club” Letter

The presentation inscription surrounding the gold initials was omitted, so that the engraving cost was $180.00-200.00, depending on whether 2 or 3 initials were used. Of the Writers listed on page 89(Warren Page-#13, John T. Amber-#9, Roger Barlow-#18, Pete Barrett-#33, Pete Brown-#23, Elmer Keith-#15, Pete Kuhlhoff-#19 and Jack O’Connor-#20) as receiving one of these rifles, I cannot confirm that Charles Askins was a recipient. There were others; note serial # 24 with the gold boar head for Bill Lett on page 93, which is a different engraving pattern than the Writer’s guns. The WBR rifle, serial #270 in .270 Winchester is pictured on pages 79, 227, 296, and 306. The caption on the rifle pictured on page 308 indicates it to be #270; a study of the photographs will show it is not. I now know(as of 4/5/2009) that this rifle is #222, a .222 Remington in the BHS configuration. This #222 has the later forearm checkering pattern and does not have a grooved front sight. The engraving is not signed, but I believe it to have been done by Alvin White. Notice that the forearm and forearm checkering on this rifle and #270 are of the 1969-1970 style. On page 89, two rifles are ascribed to Herb Glass; they are actually #8 and #16. Serial #9 was John T. Amber’s rifle. The Glass rifles have slightly more coverage than the rifles for the Writers and a gold Whitetail deer along with the gold initials. I have seen #8 and pictures of #16.

The Prince Abdorreza Ruger No.1 Rifle

A rifle was engraved by A. A. White for Prince Abdorreza, brother of the Shah of Iran. The serial# and caliber/configuration of this rifle is not known. The Prince was a noted Worldwide big game hunter, 1962 Weatherby Award Winner, and friend of Jack O’Connor and Bill Ruger.

Roy Weatherby with Prince Abdol Reza and Princess Para Cima; believed to be at the Weatherby Award Dinner where the Prince was the 4th Recepient of the Weatherby Award.

This rifle is pictured on page 216, lower left corner.

The drawing made by R. L. Wilson of the engraving pattern submitted to Bill Ruger for approval before the engraving was executed by A. A. White is shown below.

Prince Abdorreza Engraving Pattern Ruger No. 1 Prince Abdorreza Engraving Pattern

The sketch is matted and framed. Written on the back is:
Hadlyme, CT
Jan.16, 1989

For C. Lee Newton
This frame contains my design drawing for the Prince Abdol Reza Presentation No. 1 Ruger Rifle which was taken by Wm. B. Ruger to Iran for a thank you present on Bill’s hunt there. I met with WBR to discuss the design concept and then presented the idea to him-though I believe he may have thought of an Iranian Prince hunting on one side and an Indian warrior on the other.
This is one of my all-time favorite Alvin White guns—-With best regards and happy you are the owner of the drawing-Larry Wilson

I believe the hunt in Iran to have taken place in 1970. Some information is found in the February and March 1989 issues of Outdoor Life. There were two installments of the Jack O’Connor Letters which included excerpts from letters exchanged between O’Connor and Robert Chatfield-Taylor. These letters spanned a period of nearly 30 years. Following are excerpts from two that relate to this hunt in Iran by Chatfield-Taylor and Bill Ruger
(JO’C-3/11/70){Chatfield-Taylor had said he was planning a hunt in Iran–Jack’s reply} You would enjoy a hunt in Iran. When will you go? Eleanor and I are going to land in Iran around the last of October. Abdorreza{the prince} and Pari Sima{Abdorreza’s wife} were going to be in Paris for about a month, but they will come back to meet us. If you and Bill{Ruger} are over there when Abdorreza is home, I will ask his nibs to ask you up to see his trophies, for a drink and so on.
(J’OC–6/5/70) I have written Abdorreza to be on the lookout for you and Bill. You must have impressed him as he has asked about you several times, and I have given Bill quite a buildup.

Inscription on the Prince Abdorreza Ruger No.1 Rifle

Looks to be a Mershon recoil pad, but still no info as to serial# or caliber/configuration.

Will the owner of this rifle, who contacted me several years ago, please contact me again.

RUGER & His Guns by R. L. Wilson on page 106 shows Iranian guides admiring Ruger No. 1 rifle with International stock. The same No.1 International appears to be the one pictured in the gun cabinet on page 314. It is engraved here in this photograph, but the forearm sling attachment and checkering pattern appears to be the same; different from the later produced No.1 RSIs. On page 24 of Ruger No.1 by J. D. Clayton is noted:In 1970, Lenard Brownell made a special Mannlicher stocked No.1 rifle, chambered in the 7×57 cartridge, for Bill Ruger’s personal use. This rifle was brought to the NRA national meetings of that year and was seen and handled by a very small group of editors and friends of the Company. It was not on public display

Ruger M77 50th Anniversary “High Grade” Available Now

Ruger M77 50th Anniversary
Ruger M77 50th Anniversary

The first M77 rifles were shipped in the Summer/Fall of 1968. First calibers offered were the 22-250, 243 Win., 6mm Rem. And 308 Win.

Terry Wolosek, the M77 man, has collaborated with the Factory to have a special High Grade Commemorative M77 produced. There will only be 77 made and they will be serial numbered 7750-00001 thru 7750-00077. They are only available as a Classic Sporting Arms Exclusive. Contact Terry to reserve yours at 715-572-1030.


2008 Mexico Hunt with Ruger No. 1AH .25-06

In field judging game, Jack O’Connor is often quoted: “The big ones always look big!” That quote is found at least in one place on page 326 in Hunting Big Game in North America. The December 1973 Petersen’s Hunting magazine contained an article titled “The Big Ones Look Big”.

I will remind myself of that many times on future hunts!

It was Friday, our last day to hunt. At 3:30 PM, I decided that the “Flaco Nueve” would be shot on sight. At 4:40, he stepped out of the brush, at about 125 yards, right where I had taken his picture some 5 hours earlier. I only put the binoculars on him long enough to ascertain that he had not broken off any points in the last 5 hours. Then I got my rifle into position with the steadiest rest I could in that old tripod.

This hunt all got started last July when I visited with Judge Joe Clayton in Tyler, Texas. I had gone to pick a supply of his new printing of the Ruger No.1 book. While admiring several of his whitetail mounts taken in South Texas and Mexico, the discussion naturally turned to deer hunting. Joe mentioned he had scheduled a Mexico hunt the first 5 days of January, 2008 and there might still be an opening.. I knew of the rains that nearly all of Texas received in the first 7 months of the year; I knew that rainfall is highly correlated to the number of B&C quality bucks taken in that year. It had to be a super year for taking big bucks in South Texas and Mexico. In anticipation, I had entered the Los Cazadores Big Buck Contest in Pearsall in December. I was returning from a trip to the Chaparral WMA. I also signed up for the Los Cuernos de Tejas Contest at Carrizo Springs.

Continue reading “2008 Mexico Hunt with Ruger No. 1AH .25-06”

The Ruger No.1A in .275 Rigby-A Lipsey’s 2016 Exclusive

Jack O’Connor wrote in the October, 1966 issue of Outdoor Life about the introduction and his testing of the new Ruger No.1 single shot rifle. He concluded the article with these words:  “I am going to try to sneak enough dough out of the budget for a Ruger No.1. It is to be a light, handy rifle for a lazy old man to hunt sheep with. I think it will be a 7×57, a 270, or a 280 with a 4x scope and a 24 or 26-in. barrel to weigh about 8 pounds complete. I wouldn’t want anything better!”(1)

Over 10 years later, J O’C wrote in Petersen’s Hunting magazine an article titled Sheep Rifles: Fast, Flat and Accurate-With a Punch.(2) He wrote:  “A rifle that I have had my eye on and would like to take on a sheep hunt is a Ruger No.1 single shot in .270, .280 or 7×57. Because it does not have the long receiver, a No.1 with a 24-inch barrel is about 4-inches shorter than a bolt-action rifle with a 22-inch barrel”

Continue reading “The Ruger No.1A in .275 Rigby-A Lipsey’s 2016 Exclusive”

Ruger No.1 Advertising

Magazine advertisements featuring the No.1 rifle were first printed in 1967. An example of the first ad is featured below.

The Company's first advertisement for the the Ruger No.1 rifle featured a full photo of Prototype rifle #X-3, a 22-250. The view of the action is not identifiable yet.
The Company’s first advertisement for the the Ruger No.1 rifle featured a full photo of Prototype rifle #X-3, a 22-250.
The view of the action is not identifiable yet.

The last sentence, “Our comprehensive brochure awaits your inquiry” has always intrigued me. What did you get as a “comprehensive brochure” if you wrote for it?? After many years of searching, I have obtained a copy of what I believe was mailed out. It was basically and order form. The copy is presented below.

This is what I believe a requester got if they wrote to the Company for more information about the Ruger No.1 rifle
This is what I believe a requester got if they wrote to the Company for more information about the Ruger No.1 rifle

From 1967 until the end of 1969, a purchaser basically “custom ordered” their Ruger No.1, by specifying caliber, barrel weight and length, forearm style and sighting equipment: ie, no sights, sights, or target scope blocks.

In early 1970, the available calibers and configurations were standardized with those we still use today; the 1A, 1S, 1B, 1V and 1H.

This 1970 advertisement presented the 5 available configurations and utilized the Catalog Numbers of 1A, 1S, 1B, 1V and 1H.
This 1970 advertisement presented the 5 available configurations and utilized the Catalog Numbers of 1A, 1S, 1B, 1V and 1H.

In the order they were presented, these rifles were called the Light Sporter, Medium Sporter, Standard Rifle, Special Varminter and Tropical Rifle. To be continued.

Ruger No.1 at Corbin Park

By Lee Newton

The photo below was taken at Corbin Park, also called the Blue Mountain Forest and Game Preserve and/or the Blue Mountain Forest Association. The Park is very near Newport, New Hampshire. Pictured R-L, Ed Nolan (Ruger Sales Manager), Bill Ruger, Robert E. Petersen (Petersen Publishing), Knieland Wheeler (Blue Mountain Forrest Assoc. Caretaker). Man with Ruger No.1 rifle is not identified. (As of May, 2024, we believe this gentleman to be Palmer Read, Jr.)Photo was most likely taken Fall 1966(or 1967)at Corbin Park. Thanks to Mr. Howard Avery for furnishing and the use of this photo.

Bill Ruger and Group at Corbin Park with the new Ruger No.1. (R-L) Ed Nolan, Sales Manager; Bill Ruger; Robert E. Peterson, Peterson Publishing; Kneeland Wheeler, Caretaker at Corbin Park. Gentleman holding the new Ruger No.1 is not identified.
Bill Ruger and Group at Corbin Park with the new Ruger No.1.
(R-L) Ed Nolan, Sales Manager; Bill Ruger; Robert E. Peterson, Peterson Publishing; Kneeland Wheeler, Caretaker at Corbin Park. Gentleman holding the new Ruger No.1 is not identified.

First Introduction of the Ruger No.1 Single Shot Rifle

At the 1966 NRA Convention & Exhibits in Chicago, Illinois, a select group of Writers and Editors were invited to a private meeting for the introduction of the Ruger No.1.

Either 3 or 4 Prototype rifles were shown to the attendees. Below is a copy of the Invitation sent, courtesy of my friend Don Findley. Don is Historian for the Ruger Owners & Collectors Society, Inc.(www.rugersociety.com) and has an extensive collection of Ruger papers.

At the NRA Show in Chicago in 1966, Prototypes of the Ruger No.1 rifle were shown to a selected group of Gun Writers.
At the NRA Show in Chicago in 1966, Prototypes of the Ruger No.1 rifle were shown to a selected group of Gun Writers.