Limited .25-06 Ruger Number 1 Single Shot Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

October 13th, 2006




As I alluded to in my last article about the .35 Whelen Ruger Number One rifle being produced for Lipsey’s, I have also been shooting another limited production Lipsey’s exclusive Number One chambered for the .25-06 cartridge. The .25-06 is not a cartridge that gets much press anymore, but it is indeed one of the better cartridges obtainable for hunting much of the game available in North America, and elsewhere in the world. With all of the accolades now being placed on the "modern" beltless magnums, it should be noted that the .25-06 is one of the first truly beltless magnum cartridges. If the word "magnum" had been attached to the cartridge when it was legitimized by Remington decades ago, its popularity would surely be greater today.  Regardless of the name, the .25-06 has a case capacity to bore diameter ratio that makes it a magnum class cartridge. It is very flat-shooting for long range accuracy, and is versatile enough for varmint and predator hunting out to 500 yards, while packing plenty of power for whitetails and pronghorn antelope at extended range. Furthermore, the .25-06 does  all this with mild recoil and good accuracy.  Properly loaded, the .25-06 is very capable of taking larger animals as well. I find that the .25-06 can do anything that the much exalted .270 Winchester can do, and do it better.  I will also state that I do not believe there to be a better pronghorn antelope cartridge in existence than the .25-06. It is, of course, simply a necked-down .30-06 case, and has been a stellar performer since its inception, and is even better today with the ready availability of good premium bullets, such as the Barnes X and the Winchester Fail safe. For good all around performance on medium, there is also the factory-loaded Remington Core-Lokt ammo.

The Number One rifle featured here is the Model 1A-B, which wears a slim twenty-four inch barrel that measures just .551 inch at the muzzle. The beavertail forearm is slightly slimmed down as well from the forearm found on the 1-B model. The barrel wears no open sights, but is equipped with a quarter-rib base that accepts the Ruger ring mounts included with the rifle. The wood is checkered walnut, and exhibits some good grain figure on the sample rifle. The buttstock is finished with a dark gray synthetic pad, and a blued steel pistol grip cap, that has a gold-colored Ruger emblem inset into the center.

The sample rifle weighed in at seven and one-quarter pounds, and with the light contour barrel, balances very well, handling quickly and feeling about a pound lighter.  The Number One is equipped with sling swivel studs fore and aft, as every hunting rifle should be. The trigger pull measured just under four pounds, and released crisply.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold VX-III 6.5 to 20 power EFR scope. This is a dandy scope for target work, as well as varmint and predator hunting at long range. This scope has target knobs, and a very wide focus range, allowing sharp focusing on extremely small target as close as about thirty feet away, or out to as far away as you like. Seeing a target sharply really helps when trying to concentrate on accuracy testing.

I wanted to see how well this rifle would shoot with my favorite twenty-five caliber bullet, so I tried a load that has proven itself in other .25-06 chambered rifles. It uses the 100 grain Barnes XLC coated bullet over a good charge of Hodgdon 4350 powder. Setting up and firing a couple of shots at twenty-five yards to get the scope on target, I then moved out to the 110 yard range. The Leupold scope allowed me to see the tiny black target squares perfectly.  Firing the first group, I was disappointed to say the least. The Number One was grouping more like a shotgun than a rifle! Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but three inch groups from a scoped .25-06 does not impress me. Trying again, and again, and again, the groups were still disappointing. I was about ready to change ammo, when the trim little Ruger began to really perform. After about twenty-five rounds, the gun settled in and started turning in impressive groups, clustering three of the Barnes XLC bullets into tiny half-inch groups. I was finally impressed. I suppose it took a few of these coated bullets to season the bore, but once seasoned, the Number One proved to be a very accurate rifle.

The Number One is a dandy rifle; a very efficient and elegant package. If you are the kind of hunter who likes to have a magazine full of cartridges in a semi-automatic hunting rifle, the Number One is not for you. If however, you are of the type who places the most emphasis on that one, well-placed precision shot, you can do no better than a Ruger Number One. A hunter who carries a Number One is of a special breed. I have known a few hunters who were of the type, no matter what rifle they were carrying. It is a different attitude towards the sport, the hunt, and the quarry that sets apart the single-shot rifleman. While a Number One can be reloaded surprisingly quickly by a practiced shooter, usually, if the first shot is placed correctly, there is no need.  Contrary to what you might have heard, game animals are not hard to kill. No warm-blooded animal can live without a heart, except for the possible exceptions of wives and IRS agents. Any shot that takes out the heart, produces a harvested animal, be it a coyote or an elk; doesn’t matter. Placing the shot is the critical factor, and the weight, balance, handling, and accuracy of the Number One leaves that task to the hunter. The rifle is up to it if you are.

The 1A-B .25-06 is available only from Lipsey’s, and is a limited production rifle. When they are gone, they are gone. This rifle is also available from Lipsey’s with the Alexander Henry style forearm, for those who prefer that type. Have your dealer contact them at 1-800-666-1333, or for the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR icon at

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

Jeff Quinn


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