Tag Archives: ruger no. 3

Ruger’s oft-Forgotten Budget Falling Block (and Anti-Tank Weapon Trainer)

For 13 years, Ruger produced an inexpensive yet elegantly simple falling-block single-shot rifle, the Ruger No. 3.

Based on the company’s more aristocratic No. 1 under-lever John Farquharson-style single-shot rifle, except in a simpler “American” design that evoked memories of the old Sharps series from the late 19th century, the No. 3 was introduced in 1973.

The Ruger No. 1

Vs the Ruger No. 3

Besides its production as an inexpensive and utterly reliable single-shot chambered in .22 Hornet, .30-40 Krag, .45-70 Govt., .223 Rem., .44 Mag., and .375 Winchester, the Ruger No. 3 was also a part of General Dynamics’ Viper tank buster.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Ruger’s budget falling block: The No. 3 rifle

Made for just a baker’s dozen of years across the 1970s and 80s, the Ruger No.3 is a little-known but often loved single shot rifle made in a host of interesting calibers– if you can find one.

In 1967, Bill Ruger was steadily expanding his growing company into a number of different ventures. One of these, he decided, would be a single-shot rifle based on a classic design that harkened to the old ‘great white hunters’ of yesteryear. Rugged sportsmen like Frank Selous and WDM Bell, men who had pursued and taken the largest, most dangerous game in Africa, did so with a Gibbs-Farquharson Rifle.

A Gibbs-Farquharson Rifle.

A Gibbs-Farquharson Rifle.

This huge bore rifle used a falling block action operated by a short lever to open and close a very strong breech behind a fixed barrel. These guns were designed in the 1870s and popular throughout Africa and wherever deadly big game such as lions, tigers, and bears were found. Typically chambered for rounds like .505 Gibbs and .416 Rigby, they were literal elephant guns. Made by custom gun makers like Holland and Holland, these guns were very expensive.

Bill Ruger took the old Farquharson design, improved upon it, and put it into production in the United States as the No. 1. The basic model was chambered in medium calibers like .223, .270, and the like, while the No. 1-H, commonly called ‘The Tropical Rifle’ went much larger.

The No.1 and its variants were so popular when first introduced that by 1973, ole Bill decided to make a budget version– that’s where the $265 Ruger No.3 came in.


Read the rest in my column at Ruger Talk