Update On the Ruger No. 1S .300 H&H Magnum

This post reports shooting results for a Ruger No. 1S in .300 H&H Magnum.

I have really enjoyed having Cabela’s Commemorative Ruger No. 1S around this year.    Great to have an excellent, finely finished arm to gaze upon and admire.  Yes, and handle, also.  I first described this gun in a post published last February and I then reported brief shooting results that were obtained on a cold day in December.

Now I can report a few more results of shooting this serious magnum.  Ironically, these results came from a trip to the range on a day when the mercury crowded 95 deg.  The shooting range I visited has a covered firing line and there was a bit of a breeze, so it was bearable.  However, burning 70 grains of powder in a medium-weight barrel does cause it to get mighty hot mighty fast, so a leisurely shooting pace had to be maintained.

About the Ruger No. 1S .300 H&H Magnum

For accuracy shooting I installed a Burris Hunter Benchrest scope.  The scope is intended for Hunter Benchrest Competition which is limited by rule to a magnification of 6 power.  Now, I have never participated in this kind of competition, and 6X is a bit low for my taste in testing accuracy, but the scope is of high quality and it has target turrets, so I thought it would fit my purpose.

Ruger 1S with Burris 6X Hunter Benchrest Scope

Ruger 1S with Burris 6X Hunter Benchrest Scope

The .300 H&H Magnum is a very long cartridge, so long that most rifle actions that are “long actions” and will handle the .30-06 are still not long enough for the .300 H&H.  That cartridge takes a “magnum action,” and that makes for a long receiver, indeed.

Interestingly, a falling block single shot, such as the Ruger No. 1, is not subject to this requirement.  There is no bolt which must travel back and forth through a distance longer than the cartridge in order to load and eject the ammo.  Therefore, the receiver of a No.1 taking the .300 H&H is exactly the same size as that of a No. 1 taking a tiny cartridge like the .22 Hornet.  It is a very compact setup, leading to a relatively short rifle, even with a 26-inch barrel.  You gotta like it.

Two Ruger No. 1s:  Top, .22 Hornet;  Bottom, .300 H&H Magnum

Two Ruger No. 1s: Top, .22 Hornet; Bottom, .300 H&H Magnum

Shooting the .300 H&H

My shooting results on this roasty day were a mixed bag, at best. I tried a couple of factory loads and one handload.  The factory load choice for the .300 H&H is limited.  Remington and Winchester, the usual suspects, appear to have no offerings in this caliber.  I really don’t blame them, much (?), for trying to stay in business by catering to the mainstream of shooter interest and ignoring low-volume items.  However, Federal, Hornady, and Nosler can help old magnum lovers out, but the number of different loads in each line is quite limited.  A box of twenty rounds of the Nosler, using one of their partition bullets, will cost you $78.99 at one of the large online distributors.  Yes, math fans, that is more than $3.00 apiece.  The Federals and Hornadys are a bit more economical, but an old British name, Kynoch, is producing a couple of .300 H&H loads and they demand about 32 smackers for 5 of them.  Yes, just five cartridges.  Darn, they are out of stock.  OK, that is what I get for messing around with something old and out of date.  I don’t care.  It is so much more rewarding (for me, of course) than fooling with “modern” plastic, and handloading the big .300 is still an option.

I tried some Federal 180-grain loads with a Trophy Bonded Copper bullet.  Eight rounds averaged 2828 fps, with an extreme spread of 101 fps.  Accuracy was good.  Two four-shot groups at fifty yards gave me 0.75” (1.5 minutes-of-angle).

I also tried some Hornady Custom Ammo with a 180-grain interbonded bullet.  This one flirted with 3000 fps.  The average was 2949 fps for eight rounds with an extreme spread of only 46 fps.  Excellent uniformity, but that did not show up in the accuracy department.  The best I could do with this load was about 1.5” at fifty yards (3.0 MOA).  That would be marginal for long-range hunting, but I hasten to add that the day was hot, the barrel was hot, and I (also hot) might bear some fault for this result.  I would like to give this round more of an accuracy trial on a better day, and I will.

Trying A Handload

I made up a dozen rounds using 68.2 grains of Hodgdon H4831SC and a Sierra 180-grain Spitzer flat based bullet.  A Remington large rifle magnum primer was used for motivation.  These are quality components.  The Hodgdon 4831 is very much at the slow end of powder burn rate, which is appropriate for the magnum case.  The SC stands for “short cut,” meaning that the cylindrical grains are shorter than those of regular 4831 and the powder, therefore, measures more smoothly and accurately.  This advertising claim holds up in practice.

This load gave me an average of 2689 fps and an extreme spread of 113 fps, in which I was a bit disappointed.  Accuracy, however, was not bad with two, 4-shot groups averaging 0.86” at 50 yards (1.72 MOA).

Observations and Plans

I fired 23 rounds of 300 H&H from the bench on this day.  I had previously fired about 40 rounds of 300 Savage, so I was beginning to get a might punchy when I got to the H&H.  When you launch 180-grain bullets pushing 3000 fps from a sporter-weight rifle you are going to get pounded. In fact, the Hornady rounds kicked the snot out of me.  This is something you would not notice in the hunting fields, say, while boinking a large antelope on the plains of Africa, but it is a factor when you are testing ammo at the bench.

I am not terribly sensitive to recoil and I get along OK with the thumpers on a limited basis.  But to do the amount of shooting I want to do with this gun, which may mean 50 rounds in one session, I am going to need to find some handloads that are a little milder.  My handload reported above at 2689 fps was not so bad, but I think I will investigate some loads with 150- and 165-gr bullets at around 2600 fps.  I think the Sierra 168-grain MatchKing should also work well in revealing the gun’s accuracy potential.  Powder in the 4350 burning range, either IMR 4350 or H4350 (SC) should work, as well as H414, or maybe even IMR4320.  I have a pretty good supply of the necessaries.

While shooting groups I noted that the point of impact walked sideways a bit as the barrel heated up.  The fit of forearm to barrel is snug, so heat expansion probably caused contact on one side.  I will be investigating this condition along with all aspects of the fit of the forearm to the hanger and receiver.  This fit is an important factor in the accuracy performance of Ruger No. 1 rifles.

One other thing I know as a result of this session is that I need more glass for my work with this gun.  The Burris 6X is a fine scope, but I need more magnification, at least 12X, for accuracy work.  Got to survey my holdings for something that will work.

I have just scratched the surface in evaluating this rifle.  I have other Ruger No. 1s, but none this muscular.  You have to live with each Ruger No. 1 for a while.  They have certain needs when it comes to shooting from the bench, and these must be learned by experience.  That is the fun of it.  You can expect to see more on this topic as time goes on.

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