Okay, if it were FACTORY it would be priceless or at least very spendy or valuable predicated on selling or buying.
That being said, there are NO factory 257 Roberts in the "AB" configuration. If the seller is telling you differently ask for PROOF, like a personal letter from William Ruger Sr. and get the serial number and call the factory records department.
The "AB" was first offered in the non prefix rifles 1967-1969. The "Standard Light Sporter" was offered on any caliber that would go down the skinny barrel. SO there are numerous calibers of non prefix "AB"s. The 257 Roberts was NOT offered in this time frame.
To the best of my knowledge there is only one non prefix #1 in 257 Roberts and that is a standard "B" rifle delivered in 1972 as FOB rifle.
The 257 Roberts was first cataloged in 1980. AT that time it was cataloged as a "B" and has never been cataloged as anything other than a "B" with a 26" barrel from then till discontinued in 2003.
The only exception was the run of stainless/walnut "A" Light Sporters offered by Lipskys as a Dealer Special.
The AB was once again offered/cataloged in 1980-1983. At that time it was NOT offered in 257 Roberts. It was offered as a 223, 270, 7x57 and 30-06. More recently it was offered in the 204 Ruger.
There is another current post of a 22" 257 Roberts and the poster says he called the factory and the rifle is in the records as a "B" with a 26" barrel.
My very best educated guess is that it is a cut down factrory rifle. To check if you want, the barrel end of a true "A" barrel is .562" A "B" or 26" barrel cut off at the 22" point will mike right around .681.
Unless it can be PROVEN to be a factory "AB" which I seriously doudt, it's a $500 shooter/parts rifle. It can be sent back to the factory and re-barreled to the correct "B" 26" barrel for $396.40 plus shipping both ways.
That would result in a correct but somewhat spendy 257 "B" at $1000 or so when a guy was done.
MarK: If you look at "Ruger #1 Question" on this same page it would appear that there are at least two of you Georgia boys looking at the same rifle. ;-)
He got the serial number and called the factory and they confirmed that the rifle is in fact a "B" with a 26" barrel that has been cut down. Or at least it left the factory as a 26" barreled Standard Rifle in 257 Roberts.
I would be the first guy to be delighted if in fact there were some unknwn 257 "AB"s showing up on the market!!! Sadly I don't think that's the case.
As a note some years ago I ran across a Shilen barrel, stainless match grade that was turned to the factory Ruger "A" Light Sporter profile, 22" long and fluted. It had already been threaded for a #1 and the extractor cut. All the rib holes were drilled and tapped. It was chambered in 257 Ackley Improved. Apparently my smith had built it for a guy that then took it off because it wouldn't shoot!!!
After a lot of questions which boiled down to the guy thought trying one factry load and fire forming at the same time would produce decent accuracy and when I didn't he flipped out and had Jim pull the barrel and re-barrel to something else.
Anyway Jim and I worked out a deal and I bought the barrel from him, dirt cheap, and he installed it on a 243 "A" I had surplus at the time. That way the extracor did not need to be altered and the rib and barrel band fit. It is essentually an "AH" the same thing except with the Alex Henry forearm and the barrel band sling attachment. I put a Leupold MKii 2x7 Compact on it and have used it off and on for the last four years to kill deer, antelope and the occassional Big Horn Sheep.
That little light buggy whip barrel is surprising. I am getting sub MOA with 120 Noslers driven at just below 3000 fps and they kill game.
Last year a fellow memebr sold me a Control base for the #1 and I installed it on the "AH" along with Conetrol rings and it is a sleek little rifle that doesn't weigh a lot.
Yes, Ruger should have made one.
Lipskeys has been saying they are going to make a stainless/walnut 250-3000 "A" for nearly 3 years now. Of course they still say they are going to make it but it isn't her yet.
Many of us old farts are anxiously waiting and counting our pennies awaiting delivery.
I sure wished this was factory, even if I didn't end up with it. Just because I'd know to look for others.