Limited Edition Ruger No. 1-A Light Sporter Chambered for the 6.5 x 55mm Swede


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

November 28th, 2011


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Limited Edition Ruger No. 1-A Light Sporter in 6.5x55mm Swede.



Rifle comes with Ruger scope rings and sling swivels.



The open sights on the 1-A are functional, elegant, and adjustable.



Quarter rib is machined to accept the included Ruger scope rings.



The 1-A comes equipped with sling studs, as should any hunting rifle.



The safety pushes forward to fire, and is mounted right where God intended.



Nosler Custom 140-grain ammo.




The Ruger No. 1 is a rifleman’s rifle. By that, I mean that the No. 1 is and always has been a rifle that is understood and appreciated by shooters and hunters who are confident in their ability as riflemen to get the job done with one well-placed shot. While a single-shot rifle can be fired, reloaded, and fired again by an experienced shooter much faster than most folks realize, most who hunt with the No. 1 or any other single-shot realize that the first shot is usually the only one needed. Hunting with a single-shot rifle is a different concept than that which the common hunter understands. Many buy a hunting rifle with the highest-capacity magazine with which they can legally hunt, and some even disregard the legal part. Hunting with a single-shot rifle is more about the hunt than about shooting, and the Ruger No. 1 is America’s premier single-shot rifle.

Introduced by the Sturm, Ruger Company in 1967, the No. 1 is arguably the most elegant single-shot rifle ever built as a production rifle. The old Sharps design was and is a fine rifle, and the Winchester 1885 and its modern replicas also are beautiful, refined, and accurate rifles. However, the Ruger, with its sleek lines which pay homage to the historic European single-shots, elegant under-lever, top-tang safety, and classic pistol-grip stock blend together in such a way that just looks “right“, for lack of a better term. My personal favorites are the 1-A, 1-S, and 1-H rifles with their Alex Henry style forearms and barrel band style bead front sights. The No. 1 quarter rib houses a folding open rear sight on these models, with a non-folding express style rear sight on some of the 1-H tropical rifles. The No. 1 quarter rib also serves as the scope base for the Ruger scope rings, which are included with each rifle. The Ruger rings hold the scope securely, but detach quickly, if needed, and remount with no appreciable change in the scope’s setting. Also on these rifles which have the Henry forearm, the front swivel mount is on a barrel band, which moves the sling mount forward and out of the way, and also adds to the rifle’s classic lines.

The short overall length of the No. 1, compared to a bolt-action rifle of equal barrel length, makes the single-shot very handy in the field. For example, the 1-A with its trim 22 inch barrel has an overall length of only 38.5 inches, barely longer than a yardstick, yet still having a barrel of sufficient length, giving good ballistic performance along with fine balance and handling qualities. Ammunition for the No. 1 is not limited to magazine lengths and design, as are magazine rifles, enabling Ruger to offer chamberings that are not available in any other production rifles built in the US, such as the 9.3x74R, 303 British, 450-400 Nitro Express, 450 Nitro Express, and the 475 Linebaugh. The Ruger No. 1 action has the strength to handle the pressure of the most modern belted magnum cartridges, and the geometry to accept the long lengths of even the old Nitro Express rounds.

Back to the hunter who uses a single-shot rifle, the men who carry these afield are usually experienced, competent riflemen. The first-time hunter will normally not choose a fine single shot, when he can buy a quality magazine rifle for half the price, which carries a fistful of cartridges in reserve. Spending hours in the woods during deer season here in Tennessee, I hear other hunters firing their rifles over on another ridge at times. Usually it is at dawn or dusk, when most game is moving in this area. If I hear one shot, it usually means that a neighbor has collected his meat. Sometimes, I will hear a shot, followed quickly by another, then another, and maybe ever a fourth or fifth, telling me that most likely, the deer escaped, or got away wounded. I like to hunt with a single-shot rifle myself, when I get to choose. Usually, when I am hunting, I am using someone else’s rifle, but when I get to use what I want, it is often a No. 1. I have two friends who hunt almost exclusively with Ruger No. 1 rifles. One is a Texas lawyer, Mark Hargrove, who hunts deer and hogs on his ranch, and has several No. 1 rifles that he uses for such activities. A lot of animals fall to Mark’s aim, and he has never expressed the need for more firepower. Another friend is Jim Wilson, well-known to readers of Shooting Times magazine for many years. Jim hunts everything on this continent and in Africa using the No. 1 rifle, and does so with proficiency, seldom if ever needing a second shot on game. Both men know where to hit an animal, and place their bullets in the right spot. They are riflemen, know their quarry, and know when and when not to shoot.

The No. 1 design is especially dear to left-handed shooters like me, being as fully-ambidextrous as any rifle can be. The under lever is centered, and drops straight down. The cartridges load straight in, right in the center of the rifle. Best of all, the safety is mounted top-center, just as God intended. The Ruger No. 1 rifle has a very good trigger, and is usually very accurate. It also seems that Ruger has always reserved its best grade of wood for the No. 1, as I have seen some fine-looking walnut on No. 1 rifles over the course of the past few decades. Even today, the No. 1 often displays some very well-figured wood, adding to the enjoyment of the owner of such a rifle. To some folks, who would be just as happy with a black plastic stock, this means very little, but to those of us who appreciate blued steel and walnut on a rifle, good wood means a lot, and Ruger seems to realize that fact.

Lipsey’s is a firearms wholesaler in Louisiana, whose owners and employees also appreciate fine rifles, and have offered several unique variations and chamberings of the No. 1 rifle for the past several years, including the 35 Whelen, 30 WCF (30-30), 303 British, 300 H&H, 257 Roberts, and others in limited quantities. The latest such variation, and the one featured here, is a No. 1-A chambered for the legendary Six-Five Swede, or more correctly, the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser cartridge.

Though there are many cartridges old and new that use the 6.5mm or 264 inch diameter bullet, when a rifleman refers to the Six-Five, he usually means the Swedish cartridge. The 6.5x55mm was introduced in 1894 as a martial cartridge for the Swedish Military, and has over the past many decades built for itself a stellar reputation as a reliable killer of game in the hands of hunters. The Six-Five Swede uses bullets of high sectional density for deep, reliable penetration, and as such, the bullets also usually have a high ballistic coefficient for a flat trajectory and superb long-range accuracy. Properly loaded in modern rifles, the Swede is every bit as good or better than modern cartridges of the same caliber, such as the 260 Remington, and on larger game such as elk and moose, tends to perform better than the 270 Winchester class of cartridges.

The rifle shown here, chambered for the Six-Five Swede, is being produced for a limited time, with a limited number of rifles being built. The steel is well-polished with a deep blue-black finish throughout, except for the falling block, which is left in-the-white. All of the exposed metal parts are steel, including the sights, quarter rib, and grip cap, as they should be. The walnut on this rifle exhibits some good figure, and is hand-checkered on the pistol grip and forearm. The wood to metal fit is very good, with the wood being slightly proud where it meets the receiver, but displaying no gaps. The forearm wood is fitted very closely to the contour of the twenty-two inch 1-A barrel. The barrel tapers quickly from 1.15 inches where it meets the receiver to a trim .56inch at the muzzle. The overall length measures 38.5 inches, with a 13.5 inch length-of-pull. The smooth-sided receiver measures 1.49 inches in width. The sample rifle weighed in on my scale at seven pounds, one ounce, unloaded. The trigger released crisply with three and one-half pounds of resistance.

I fired the Six-Five No. 1 for accuracy at 100 yards, using the only ammo available to me at the time. Range temperature hovered around the seventy degree Fahrenheit mark, at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level. The 140 grain Nosler ammo clocked 2598 feet-per-second average, ten feet from the muzzle of the Ruger. Accuracy was very good, firing from a solid rest, using a Leupold VX-III 2.5 to 10 power scope, set at the maximum magnification. The Ruger would group three shots into less than one inch, consistently, at 100 yards.

The 6.5x55mm Swedish No. 1 rifles are available only through Lipsey’s retailers. As of the date of this writing, they are in stock and shipping, but as mentioned above, the Six-Five Swede No. 1-A is a limited production rifle, limited to a run of 250 rifles, and collectors are snapping them up quickly, so if you want one, now is the time to order. As of today, Lipsey’s still has a very few of the 35 Whelen, 30 WCF (30-30), and 257 Roberts rifles left as well. For the location of a Lipsey’s retailer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

Jeff Quinn

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