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A Big Number One: The Ruger No.1 Single-Shot Rifle

It’s always interesting to see what Ruger is doing with their No.1 single-shot rifle.

Essentially a knockoff of the old British Jefferies rifle, the No.1 was the brainchild of Bill Ruger. Everybody said that making a single-shot rifle in the modern market was a mistake, but old Bill proved them wrong.

Actually, proving the rest of the world wrong was kind of Bill Ruger’s greatest gift. The No.1 was, is, and probably always will be, an American favorite.

What keeps the No.1 popular is a strange combination of the added sport you get working with just one bullet, fine craftsmanship and the ability to be chambered for just about any cartridge under the sun.

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Every year Ruger picks out a few new or different chamberings for their single-shot, and it always brews up some excitement with the hardcore, cartridge guru, crowd.

A falling block action doesn’t have the same hang-ups that a bolt gun does when it comes to chambering it for a cartridge. There are no problems with bolt face sizes or receiver lengths, pretty much anything goes with a single-shot.

This wide array of possibilities makes a lot of us wonder where Ruger will go next. This year they are offering the No.1 in a cartridge you’ll definitely never see in a new bolt gun — the 450/400 Nitro Express 3 inch. Like I said, with a No.1 anything’s possible.

You might be asking yourself why anyone would turn out a mass-produced rifle in an old Nitro caliber. The short answer is: because they’re awesome.

And also because weirdness is more or less the No.1’s bread and butter. Ruger doesn’t sell a lot of No.1’s, but the ones they do sell usually go to folks looking for something different. The 450/400 Nitro is about as different as it gets.

Like most of the Nitro Express cartridges, the 450/400 looks a bit like a Coke bottle with a bullet jammed in the bottle mouth. It’s far too big for anything but double rifles and single-shots, and will do a fine job on the pesky neighborhood rhinos.

That having been said, the 450/400 has a few characteristics that make it stand out from its Nitro Express brethren.

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The 450/400 is kind of the runt of the Nitro litter. It’s a 450 Nitro necked down to .411 caliber. The case is big, but the bullets only run from 300-400 grains, so recoil is a lot lower than one might expect.

This Ruger rifle will only kick about as much as a .338 Winchester Magnum, so anyone acclimated to modern magnums should be able to handle it just fine.

This combination of ample power and lowered recoil made the 450/400 a favorite among savvy elephant hunters like John Taylor, and should make the new Ruger a hit with elk or bear hunters.

The 450/400 is just as useful now as it was at the turn of the century, and buying one will not only provide you with a fine rifle, but you’ll be the only kid on the block with a real Nitro Express.

Now there’s a tempting reason to open your wallet.


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A Big Number One: The Ruger No.1 Single-Shot Rifle