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.

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

Advertisements

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.

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)
JDC-010
JDC-010

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.

 

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.

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.

9

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. Photo was most likely taken Fall 1966 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.

Five Editions of the Clayton Ruger No. 1 Book

Five Editions of the Clayton Ruger No. 1 Book

I would think that everyone with a serious interest in the Ruger No.1 rifle, whether collecting, shooting or hunting, would have a copy of this book.
But, did you know there are 5 different editions?
  • 1st Edition -Numbered-500 copies
  • 1st Edition -Trade
  • 1st Edition -Leather-100 copies
  • 1st Edition -Special Leather-100 copies, but JDC believes only about 10 were made up. This Edition only has green leather (4.5″x7″) on the front with Title & Author. The binding appears to be a fine weave grey cloth
  • 2nd Printing-Softcover.
I have been told there were only 2000 copies printed in the 1st Edition.
If you have any of the first 4 Editions, consider yourself fortunate. I would also expect the Journal Supplement to be quite scarce!
Photos below are:  Below-Books, Left to Right; a 1st Edition without the dust jacket,the rare green leather title edition, the leather edition, the latest softcover reprint, with the covers same as the original dust jacket. NOTE-See Books for Sale to order a 2nd Printing Softcover. The 2nd and 3rd Photos are the front and back of the 1984 RCA Journal Supplement.

5 Editions of the Ruger No. 1 Book
The Five Editions of the Ruger No. 1 Book

An 8 page RCA 1984 Journal Supplement was also printed advertising and promoting the book. This Journal Supplement is the only place that the Cover Rifle pictured on the DJ is identified as a .222 Remington with the 200th Year Anniversary barrel marking. Also noted is that it is one of two such rifles in existence.

RCA Journal Supplement for the Ruger No.1 Book

RCA Journal Supplement- .222 Description

 

 

Ruger No.1, The Untold Story

Ruger No.1, The Untold Story

By Carl Ross

It was a beautiful October day in the Big Hole area of Montana. The Elk season was underway so Don Hartmann and a hunting buddy Bob Perkins decided to hunt in the area southwest of Wisdom. Don had picked a location in the Cow creek area. He was scouting along a ridge overlooking Cow creek and he spotted a Bull Elk across the draw on the next ridge. The rifle Don was using was a Ruger No 1 with a twenty-two inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm and no sights in 7mm Rem Mag. It was equipped with a quarter rib and scoped with a 2×7 Leupold. Don had the scope set on 4 power and as he sighted the Elk in the crosshair he could not quite make out the full rack because of the trees. Don estimated the range at 400 to 500 yards so he held the crosshair at the top of the Elks back. He took the shot and saw the Elk disappear in the brush. Don hiked down the ridge and across the draw and up the other side to where he thought the Elk was. As he approached the spot the Elk got up and staggered about 50 feet and collapsed. Upon examination Don saw that he had shot the Elk right through the rib cage. The bullet had passed through both sides making a clean kill. It was a huge 6 point bull and was one of the largest Elk Don had ever taken. Don was very pleased with the rifle he was using and decided he would like to purchase it or one like it.

Ruger No. 1, Serial number X-1, 7mm Magnum

Well, you probably think this is just another hunting article, what is the big deal? As Paul Harvey says here ís the rest of the story. During my thirty some years of collecting Ruger No1 rifles you hear all kinds of stories but very few that are verifiable, this one is.

While conversing with a friend, Kelly Lorge of Bowman ND a few months ago this story came to life. Kelly had been to a gun show in Glendive MT where he met Don and first heard the story. Kelly found out that Don also collected Ruger No.1’s and had a couple of early non-prefix rifles. Kelly gave me Don’s phone number so I could get the story first hand from him.

I called Don and he related the story to me and told me he had documentation to prove it and would send it to me. The letter arrived about a week later and was I astonished.

If you are knowledgeable about the early Ruger No.1’s we know that it was announced in late 1966 but the earliest production rifles were not shipped until April 1967.

Don’s hunt took place in October 1966, so what was he using?

Larry Koller from Monroe NY who was the Supervising Editor of Guns and Hunting magazine and a very good friend of Bill Ruger in 1966. Larry was a very popular gun writer during this period so he was loaned one of the prototype Ruger No1 rifles to test and comment upon. Larry took the rifle with him to Montana that year for range testing and hunting. Larry had to return home early for some unexpected reason and did not get to hunt with the rifle. Larry left the rifle with his good friend R.D.Shipley to use on an Elk hunt that fall. Ship, his nickname had several other rifles and decided not to use the rifle, so asked his friend Don if he would like to use it. Don was elated to try out the new rifle.

Now for Don’s proof of the story…

 

Letter to Mr Don Hartmann, Miles City, MT dated December 2 1966 from Larry Koller, Letterhead GUNS and HUNTING from Seven Springs Rd Monroe, New York

Dear Don

Just had a note from Ship telling me that you killed a good bull elk with the Ruger S.S. which is just great. Hope you got some pix for me. If so, I would appreciate your sending me the negs so we can make the right blow-ups. Ship says also that you want to buy the Ruger. I’m sorry; it just isn’t possible for that particular one. In fact, I can’t even get it myself. It’s a first pilot model with the light barrel and in 7mm Magnum so they really want it back for further test purposes. I’ll get you one just as soon as they are available if you will write me just what you want: barrel length and weight, caliber and forend style. The price will be right, don’t worry. I will appreciate it if you will ship the Ruger back directly to: Ed Nolan, Sturm-Ruger, Inc., Southport, Conn. And ship it express collect, insured for $2000. Nolan originally asked me to have you insure it for one grand but I just now talked to him on the phone and he said to make it two. I do want to thank you once again for your kindness in giving us the hunting courtesy on your ranch and, most of all the pleasure and fun of your company.

Best Regards
Larry Koller
(Signature)
Supervising Editor

Letter to Mr Don Hartmann, Miles City, MT dated December 2 1966 from Larry Koller, Letterhead GUNS and HUNTING from Seven Springs Rd Monroe, New York

Don shipped the rifle back to Sturm Ruger as instructed in Larry Kollers’ letter and received the following document as his receipt.

Ruger No. 1 X-1 Prototype Invoice
Ruger No. 1 X-1 Prototype Invoice

Invoice for Ruger No. 1, Prototype X-1

Original Invoice from STURM, RUGER & CO., Inc. Southport, Connecticut 06490

Sold To Don Hartmann 12/20/66 Powderville Stage Miles City, Montana 59301

Date Received: December 16,1966 Our Invoice No 28979

Description

RUGER #1 RIFLE CAL 7 MM SERIAL NO _______ 1 ON LOAN CREDIT

(RETURNED FROM ON LOAN) ITEM COMPLETE

Now there is not always a happy ending to every story. The sad part is that Mr Larry Koller passed away unexpectedly at a young age in Aug. 1967. And to this writers knowledge did not write the article about the hunt.

Larry Koller Memoriam
Larry Koller Memoriam

What is the distinction about the Ruger No.1 rifle that Don Hartmann hunted with? It was PROTOTYPE RIFLE NO. X-1, the first Tool Room model.

This should not be confused with the production SN 1 which is a 30-06 caliber, 22 inch barrel Alex Henry forearm and factory sight’s or currently as model 1A. Don later purchased a 4 digit Ruger No.1 in 7mm Mag, 22 inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm, quarter rib rings just like the Prototype he used in 1966 and still hunts with it.

The configuration of the Prototype No X1 was made only in the non-prefix rifles and was not standardized. There are currently 23 rifles known in this configuration starting at SN 70 to SN 5529. The projected total made for this model is 107 of a total production of approximately 8000 non-prefix rifles. If any reader can furnish any further information about Ruger No 1’s please contact this writer or Classic Sporting Arms.

Carl L. Ross
RUGER1SOCIETY@openrange.net

Addendum to this Story

When I originally wrote this article I did not know that there was more information for the story. When I conversed with Don Hartmann during the months that followed he told me he had photographs of the Ruger No.1 X1 Prototype rifle and the October 1966 hunt.

I inquired if he could send me some duplicate photographs that I could use for a revised article in the future. Don said he didn’t have access to any photographic facilities at the time but said he would be glad to send me his original album of black and white photographs so I could get the duplicates made.

I was able to get two complete sets of duplicate photos made from his originals and had some of them colorized to bring them up to date.

I sent Don a complete set of new photographs along with his original photos and he was very appreciative for them and the color photos.

When I received the photographs I was surprised to actually see the very first Prototype Ruger No.1 rifle. The original Ruger X-1 prototype rifle had a 22 inch light barrel with no Quarter Rib. The Scope was mounted in a set of Rings unlike any I had Ever seen. There were two separate scope blocks on the barrel.

The barrel band was also a lot wider than the standard barrel band on the Production rifles. The Checkering pattern on the buttstock was also different from the first Production models. The Checkering pattern on the X-1 prototype had a two pointed pattern on the pistol grip. A similar pattern like this was used on the Ruger No.1 model celebrating one hundred years of the 30-06 cartridge.

The forearm checkering looked very similar to the first production models. During the years after I found the information on this rifle I have inquired Several times to the factory records and other sources to determine the whereabouts of the rifle but to no avail.

Don later acquired a new production Ruger No.1 SN 4192 of his own. The Rifle was an AH configuration in 7 Mag with 22 inch barrel and Quarter Rib with Horizontal Rings. Don hunted with his rifle many years then sold it to a friend who is a Ruger No.1 collector.

Final Chapter of this Story:
Carl Ross has informed me that Don Hartmann passed away on October 18, 2009, at the age of 79. Don Hartmann was a collector of  Ruger No.1 rifles. He is the only person known to have hunted with X-1 Prototype No.1 rifle.

Don Hartmann Obit Page 1

Don Hartmann Obit Page 2

Bradford O’Connor and The Jack O’Connor Heritage Center

At the Dallas Safari Club Convention in January of 2015, I was able to meet Bradford O’Connor and hold Jack’s #2 Winchester Model 70 in 270 Winchester. That is O’Connor’s Pilot Mountain Dall on the right and the Dall on the left is from the Herb Klein collection. It ranked high in the book when it was taken.

In 1988, Bradford was instrumental in directing me to his sister Kathy that culminated in my purchase of the Jack O’Connor “21 Club” Ruger No.1 rifle, a 375 H&H magnum, serial #20.

The Jack O'Connor rifle, serial# 20 in .375 H&H.
The Jack O’Connor rifle, serial# 20 in .375 H&H.

O'Connor left

The Jack O'Connor rifle, serial# 20. Note the vertical ring in the front position. this rifle is pictured in O'Connor's book, The Hunting Rifle, page 58.
The Jack O’Connor rifle, serial# 20.
Note the vertical ring in the front position. this rifle is pictured in O’Connor’s book, The Hunting Rifle, page 58.