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Old 04-27-2021, 02:52 PM
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Anyone Ever Take A PD With A .458? (Just Half Kidding)

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Long story, as are most of my misadventures, but in discussing the idiosyncrasies of the various Ruger No. 1 rimfire conversions with a fellow RFC member, I had occasion to take my Moyers-converted 1A Light Rifle out of the safe and fondle it for a while. Doing so caused me to realize it just wasn't for me, so I ended up selling it here on the TP.

But, while the .22 LR conversion never really spoke to me, the styling of the Ruger No. 1 Light Rifle really does, and so there was a considerable hole left in my heart when the Ruger went down the road. But, this time, I decided, it had to be a .22 Hornet in that gorgeous configuration. I drooled over the Lipsey limited-edition .22 Hornet with the red pad, color cased receiver/lever, and tasteful jeweling here and there, but the NOS one I was eyeing ended up bringing $2200 (). Not worth it, in my view, and, though the red pad and jeweling were nice, I thought I would probably prefer the polished blue receiver over the uninspiring faux cased-colors Ruger applied to that rifle. Too, the wood-to-metal fit on most recent No. 1s is just demoralizing, and there is the ever-present crap shoot on Ruger barrel quality. This is not so with some of the earlier models, so a search ensued.

I was shocked at the prices No. 1s are bringing these days, and the 1As, or any No. 1 with the red pad, seem to bring a considerable premium, usually bringing a least $1500, even in mundane chamberings…“maybe I don’t want a Ruger .22 Hornet,” I says to myself.

I continued searching, though, and found a 70’s era red-pad Tropical Rifle with great wood-to-metal fit, higher polished finish, very attractive wood, with all the sexiness of the 1As…but chambered for, you guessed it, .458 Winchester. The longer and heavier barrel also adds about two pounds over the 1A. Still, the bidding seemed slow and was hovering around the $900 mark, even an hour before the auction was scheduled to end. I added $25 to the highest bid, and, heck if I didn’t win that rifle for well under $1000.

The Dilemma:
Rebarreling with a quality Shilen would add another $200 or so to the rifle ($300 for a Lilja), making it a $1200 No. 1 in .22 Hornet (about right in my mind), figuring in a taller quarter rib, banded front sight ramp, and Hornet extractor, all of which are readily available, but the barrel channel in the requisite and matching Alexander Henry fore stock would be way too wide. Not ideal, but not insurmountable, either. Then, I spied some .500” diameter .224” centerfire barrel liners at Track of the Wolf, and the wheels started turning again. Installing and chambering the liner would be pretty simple, but then I would have a 9 lbs rifle. I doubt anyone would decry the loss of a .458 Winchester barrel, but could I live with that weight? I was even thinking of lining the barrel 2” short of the muzzle and leaving the wicked .458 maw in place. No rebluing needed, just shallowly machining the .458 Win Mag away and re-engraving.

I already have several very light, carry-around .22 Hornets, a wispy 218 Bee, a very elegant .17 AH, along with a similarly powered wildcat in a Sako L-46, so, maybe I’m not so against a 9 lbs .22 Hornet for shooting from a rest. Even with a scope, the rifle would weigh about what a loaded M1 rifle would weigh. And Landis always preached that a 9.5 to 10 lbs rifle is just about right for the woodchuck fields (I’m not sure I agree, but it helps with the rationalization process, right?)

So, I dunno. It will be a week or so before the behemoth arrives, and part of me wants to shoot it. I’ve made a couple of .460s, even a .500 Weatherby, several .378s, and I owned a .458 Lott briefly, but never a .458.

So, what think ye?

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