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

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