Ruger #1 barrels

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Joined
Nov 20, 2007
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Southwest Washington
I have a question about the evolution of Ruger #1 rifle barrels as they relate to quality and accuracy.

I currently own a half dozen or so #1's from different time frames and do not notice any difference in accuracy between late 60's production, clear through to 2004.

Is this an overblown myth or what?? Please educate me.

What I think I know is that the non-prefix rifles had Douglas barrels. Then came Wilson. And finally Ruger produced their own. Is this correct?

Thanks for the insight! :)

Dave
 

Silent Sam

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Feb 26, 2006
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"Is this an overblown myth or what?? " - Yes. Others more knowledgeable than me on Ruger history can fill you in on the details of outsourced barrels.
 

El Numero Uno

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Feb 21, 2006
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Pidcoke, Texas, USA
Dave,
You have the general sequence of Douglas, Wilson, then Ruger correct.
Douglas are generally considered to have been used until the 1971-'72 time frame; Ruger barrels came in the early '90's. Would appreciate anyone with a better fix on the dates jumping in.
While there is no marking of any kind to distinguish them, a very good friend and very knowledgeable rifle collector has pointed out to me that the Douglas "air-gauged" barrels can be identified by the very slightest, and barely noticeable, silver ring in the bore at the muzzle. I have noticed this on some of my early rifles, but have not made a concerted effort to study it to form an opinion.
I think the barrel issue is more myth than fact. One of the worst shooting No.1's I ever had was an early .25-06 that was most likely a Douglas.
 

wunbe

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May 19, 2002
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Reston VA USA
No, it was not just rumor! There were serious problems in the 70s and early 80s when standards at Ruger sliipped.

Ruger used to buy its barrels and lowest bid was the order of the day. Wilson and Douglas were the main suppliers. The quality was very high on many of the early ones but it became uneven. Only Ruger knows the rejection rate at the plant but guns in circulation had chambers that were sloppy and some were ragged and bored off center too. Final assembly also caused many bad results but flaws in barrels readily could be demonstrated and complaints focused on that solid irritant. Persistent complaints about the bad ones from unsatisfied shooters were giving the brand name a rep for dubious quality among shooters who increasingly cared about such things. Remington and even Savage were more highly rated.

Ruger went to in-house production of its barrels for a lot of reasons but mainly to improve overall quality. And there seems to be a lot more guys now getting decent to very good accuracy from their rifles out of the box.

Part of the story also was poor PR. Ruger used to respond to the complaints about 3 and 4" inch "groups " at a hundred yards with a go-to-hell claim that such "hunting accuracy" met their standard. Now, that they have made a turn-around with their own barrels, they more often replace bad barrrels that slip through final inspection gratis after testing.

All that said, the quality of wood and final fit and finish overall has slipped steadily from the early days.

I have a modest collection -- @ 30 of the #1s- - of all vintages that bear witness to this performance record . I find my newer #1s show accuracy results OOB that are much better in general than those from #1s made in the late 70s and early 80s.

1B
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
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Feb 26, 2006
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I don't disagree that there were issues w/ outsourced barrels. It is the extent to which it has been taken which I disagree with. The "overblown myth(s)" I take issue with are the blanket statements* concerning Ruger accuracy that someway or another seem to be rooted in outsourced barrels from 20-30 yrs ago.
*"Rugers don't shoot"
*"Ruger barrels are junk"
*"Ruger doesn't make their own barrels"
*"Hammer forged barrels aren't as good as other methods" etc...
 

picketpin

Buckeye
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Jun 29, 2006
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Owyhee County, ID, USA
The barrels are in order and about right.

Early non prefix #1s had a Douglas match grade barrel. The point for change I have heard used throughout the years is that they were CERTAINLLY changed by 130-10,000. Certainly the non prefix guns and the early 130 guns, say 130-5000 or so have Douglas barrels. After that it's a guess when they actually changed. Like most things at Ruger it probably wasn't instantanious and probably lagged over time.

The Wilson barrels came in 1972 - 1973.

Ruger barrels began in 1991.

Without a doudt some Wilson barrels in particular had issues. Was it far reaching and throughout the production? Probably not.

THe very best Wilson seems to shoot just as well as any other barrel and I'll go beyond saying factory Douglas, Wilson or Ruger barrels and add Hart, Krieger and Lilja to the mix.

I looked at my non prefix rifles for the "RING' and don't see it. To the best of my knowledge there is simply no way to lknow for sure, period. Even non prefix and early 130 guns have been re-barreled and had barrels swapped over the years. If you bought a rifle second hand there is simply no way to know for sure. As an aside not even non prefix may meen that much. I have non prefix #1s that letter from 1968 all the way into 1974 according to the factory letters.

My gunsmith thinks I'm nuts but I actually have the maker engraved on the bottom of the barrel if I know it and the action it came on.

So the problem did exist. How "Overblown" is an open question. Me, I just buy them for the wood and if they shoot I keep them. ;-)

Ross
 
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