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  #1  
Old 05-15-2015, 01:21 PM
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TEDDY BEAR RAT
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Ruger No. 1 Rimfire Conversion Complete!



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Just so we're clear, I did not do any of the work on this rifle. I think sometimes it's best to allow an experienced and talented craftsman to ply his trade, instead of an inexperienced hack stumbling his way through a tough project (after about 30 years of home ownership, I have finally learned to apply this wise principle to plumbing projects, as well ). I had this work done by a gunsmith named Tom Moyer. In some regards, though, I wish he had allowed me to perform some of the work, as I am a bit dissatisfied with the aesthetics (more on those later).

First, here it is in all its glory. It features a Shilen barrel and Bentz chamber. Even though we tried to duplicate the 1A, or light sporter, barrel contour as closely as possible, you’ll note the front sight is still too far forward, so the ID of the front sight will need to be opened up a bit to allow it to slide back enough to expose about .100” of the muzzle, just like the factory. As pictured, it weighs 6 lbs 12 oz:


After doing considerable conjitatin', I determined I did not like the way most of these conversions are done. Specifically, I feel the way the extractor/ejector is handled is less than ideal. Most adapt an original ejector (usually one for a Hornet) to .22 rimfire service. I know this can be done successfully, and I won’t criticize anyone who takes that route, but that approach can present some problems, especially with tighter-than-SAAMI-sporter chambers.

First, the Ruger #1 extractor engages only a very small portion of the case rim, in and of itself a potential problem for small rimfires. The rim on .22 LR cases is also quite shallow and rounded, compared to most centerfire rims, making positive engagement more problematic. If you doubt the significance of this, I would refer you to the Winchester Single Shots, on which Winchester elected to use a completely different extractor configuration on the rimfire version that engages nearly 180 degrees of the bottom half of the rim. Further, the BSA International, a rifle exhibiting the most energetic rimfire ejector of which I am aware, also uses an ejector with 180 degrees of engagement.

Also, the Ruger engages at about the 9 o’clock position, pulling back and down, with the “down” part being most significant. After the first .150” to .200” of travel, the rim engagement can be lost as the extractor arcs downward. This can leave the case in the chamber unextracted, especially with a tight chamber. Also, the further the case is backed rearward, the more it tends to cant to the right, away from the extractor, allowing it to slip away from the extractor edge, exacerbating the already minimal rim engagement.

Finally, the Ruger extractor remains rearward and down after it has actuated and then snaps around the case rim after the cartridge is chambered and the bolt closed. I may be a bit anal in this, but the “snapping around” on a live rimfire cartridge gives me that uneasy feeling in my crotch. Even point loading on the rear of the rim when extracting a live round bothers me. Of course, one can “double clutch” the lever and force the extractor back to the forward position before chambering a round, but who wants to do that?

Amazingly, this design addresses all the aforementioned issues. Well, you may ask, how on earth can that be done? Here’s how: First, the extractor is replaced with a similarly shaped and actuated arm that does not engage the case itself. Instead, it engages the rear of an extractor plate that encircles 180 degrees of the rim, kicking it in the arse to eject, so to speak. While allowing much more grip on the minimal rimfire rim, it also snaps back around the hardened steel extractor when closing the bolt, instead of around the live brass rim. Well, you will ask, how does the actual extractor move back into place? Just think of an ejector for an O/U shotgun that telescopes straight out and snaps back into place with a pull spring after the case is ejected. In this design, the extractor is always tight against the breech, allowing loading of a round, even with the bolt completely down and the ejector arm still in the rearward position. Thus, the extractor plate moves straight out, instead of arcing down and away from the rim…does that make sense? I would rate the energy of the ejector as similar to the original Winchester SS rimfire ejector but less than that of a BSA International.

Additionally, the firing pin, that now hits at the 6 o’clock position, does not hit the extractor when dry firing, as the bottom of the breech of the barrel is not covered by the extractor plate. Here’s a pic of the pull spring and dovetailed extractor extension (please note the poorly stamped .22 Long Rifle, probably my biggest complaint with the work performed):



Unfortunately, that big ‘ol telescoping extractor plate needs room to back out before it snaps back against the barrel, so the top of the Ruger breech bolt must be machined down. This detracts, a bit, from the classic look of the No. 1. Also, this particular design uses a modified link that places the firing pin at the 6 o’clock rim position. I would rather have moved the firing pin itself down, but since the bolt is milled down anyway, I decided, what the heck. This does allow me to return the rifle to centerfire, however, just by replacing the old link and screwing on the old ’06 barrel:



The conversion includes a Shilen barrel, an improved, three-way adjustable steel trigger and bluing. The bluing matches the Ruger quite well, although the No. 1 receivers can purple with time, so we’ll see. I've tried to capture in these pics the extractor/ejector images, but it's rather hard to see without looking at it in person.


Ejector arm forward:


Ejector arm back:


Extractor plate back slightly before snapping back:


On other aesthetics issues, there is also a small gap in the wood-to-metal fit of the forestock, due to not being able to match perfectly the original barrel contour, and the gunsmith placed the quarter rib about an 1/8 inch away from the receiver front ring.


In fairness, Tom usually machines the barrel itself for direct attachment of the Ruger rings, so mounting the rib is unusual for him…still… Also, in the usual conversion, he machines the right side of the receiver away to allow easier access to the chamber for loading. This would have detracted so badly from the No. 1 look that I insisted he not do that. I'll probably do something about that crooked stamping, but, all in all, I'm very pleased.

I hope to get out to the range this weekend to do a full range report. Targets included with the rifle show great potential .

TBR

Last edited by TEDDY BEAR RAT; 01-10-2018 at 11:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2015, 01:43 PM
blueridgeranger

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Hello TEDDY BEAR RAT
This is very interesting to me. I have a No.! chambered for .223 Remington, and have thought about doing something like this.
I think if I kept the original barrel I would go with .22 WMR, as it is about the same diameter bullet, precluding a different barrel. Maybe I am cheap.
I've shot a couple of the ".223 adapters" but those are always a bit of a hassle, and do not give the accuracy that one expects.
No. 1's are one of my favorite rifles of all time, and you are to be commended for doing this.
Yup, the scrolling is not the best, but if this is all you can really complain about, you have done a super good job.
Now, about four or five different loads, and some time at the bench, and you should be able to smile broadly.
Thank you for sharing.
all the best
blueridgeranger
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2015, 11:04 AM
Hairtrigger
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I wanted a No.1 in 22lr and even bought an action and wood but before I found a gunsmith I found a sleek Winchester low wall made in the late 1990's (I think)
Ended up selling the Ruger parts
Your rifle looks great but I am puzzled why a gunsmith that does such nice work cannot stamp the caliber on the barrel in a straight line
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2015, 02:30 PM
cleanprone
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No.1 in .22

That makes a nice sporter. I had a friend who converted one for ASSRA type shooting in the 70s. He even installed one of those Stoeger import double set triggers and a heavy target barrel. My question to you is why the Benz chamber? Is there a lack of camming action to seat cartridges into the throat?
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:22 PM
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Wow, that rifle is a beauty. I understand the issues you brought up, TBR, but they are really things that pale in comparison to the overall appearance and "presence" the rifle projects.
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2015, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleanprone View Post
My question to you is why the Benz chamber? Is there a lack of camming action to seat cartridges into the throat?
I made mention of the problems inherent to tight .22 LR chambers and falling block actions, but, in my experience, the two are usually not compatible.

The most accurate .22 LR I've ever owned was a Miller Farrow falling block action (one of only about 20 made) with a Lilja .22 LR match chamber. That rifle, without a tuner, would average .235" five-shot groups at 50 yards (that was the actual average of 40+ groups). The action came with firing pins and extractors for centerfire and rimfire cartridges (I bought it as a .40-65 and put the rimfire conversion parts in myself when I rebarreled it). Its extractor was very similar to the Ruger No. 1, except it was not relieved and spring loaded to snap around a chambered round. As I indicated, the extractor would take a valiant bite and pry the most tight fitting case out of that tight Lilja chamber, but it would lose contact when the case was only out about .200". I would then have to fish the case out with my fat fingers. I even bought a fixed power Leupold scope without a bulky power ring in an effort to gain a bit more finger room in there. Here's a pic or two of that rifle:




Fishing out every other case at the bench can made fingers raw and get old quickly, no matter how tightly a rifle groups. I could have opened up the chamber, which I feel confident would have solved the problem, but it also could have "solved" the precision accuracy, so I left it as is.

In the same light, I ordered a Dakota Model 10 about three years ago, initially in .22 LR, but Dakota refused to chamber it using anything other than a SAAMI sporting chamber reamer, despite my impassioned pleas. They cited "functioning issues with tight chambers"...and I already knew what that meant. I might add that the M10 extractor is basically like a claw hammer in the way it extracts positively (no spring actuation here, like the Ruger), and would easily tear the rim off a case before it failed, but it does not have long extractor travel, so I was certain I'd be back to the Miller dilemma. I ended up going with .17 HMR, instead.

So, to answer your question, I could have taken a chance with a very tight Lilja chamber on this rifle, as I still have my reamer, and it may have worked with the Moyer conversion, but I decided on the Bentz chamber as a compromise. If you think about it, though, it's not much of a compromise, on a sporter anyway, since I would be more than elated to match the accuracy of the best custom 10/22s out there, most of which use the Bentz chamber.

As an interesting aside, it is my personal belief that one reason the Miller was so accurate is the very stout centerfire firing pin/hammer spring. After removing the barrel when I sold the Miller (returning it to .40-65), I installed the barrel on a 52 repro, using the same reamer and headspace, etc. While still very accurate, the repro, using the very same barrel, albeit set back about 1/2", would not group as consistently as the Miller. It would often duplicate the sub-1/4" groups, but the average was closer to .375". I realize there are many other factors, but I'm hoping that the centerfire-level ignition will be a real plus in this Ruger No 1 rimfire.

Just my observations.

TBR
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2015, 10:02 PM
rick w.

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Thanks for the pictures of Moyer No.1 conversion.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:18 AM
cleanprone
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Nice Miller

Thanks for the explanation. I once shot a friends rimfire Miller that had a chamber so tight it was nearly impossible to SEAT the cartridges, yet they had to be set a certain depth before the breech could clear the rim and chamber the round. Also a tackdriver. Were the Anschutz style reverse DSTs an option? Never seen that arrangement.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:55 AM
Kestrel4k
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I've been following your threads on this, a very interesting project most certainly.
I'd love a rifle like this but I'll have to live vicariously through you I'm afraid.
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2015, 12:32 PM
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TEDDY BEAR RAT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleanprone View Post
Thanks for the explanation. I once shot a friends rimfire Miller that had a chamber so tight it was nearly impossible to SEAT the cartridges, yet they had to be set a certain depth before the breech could clear the rim and chamber the round. Also a tackdriver. Were the Anschutz style reverse DSTs an option? Never seen that arrangement.
Just to be clear, this is not the Miller/DeHass action, it is the Miller Farrow, and Kyle Miller (not Dean) only made about 20 of them. I don't know about options, but I believe all the "F" (Farrow) Millers had this DST, a design, BTW, that far predates Anschutz. The trigger must be set to fire the rifle, so it acted as a pseudo safety when squirrel hunting.

Also of interest on the Farrow is the camming of the bolt. Instead of a straight mortise in which the breech block reciprocates up and down, the Farrow bolt cams forward about 1/4" on a curved raceway, so the camming action was about as good as one could achieve with a falling block. This allowed cartridge seating even with the tight Lilja chamber...pretty cool, but it also made the lack of effective extraction doubly disappointing. The Ruger uses an 11 degree breech block mortise and a beveled front edge on the block, so there is some camming, but not really enough for a .22 LR chamber that requires leverage to seat a bullet into rifling lands.

TBR
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEDDY BEAR RAT View Post
I'll probably do something about that crooked stamping, but, all in all, I'm very pleased.
I'd suggest that you mill it flat and have the caliber stamped properly or possibly engraved.
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