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Thread: Tell me about the Ruger 1 & 3 , 1885 clones , Contender Carbine

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Tell me about the Ruger 1 & 3 , 1885 clones , Contender Carbine

    Interested in straight walled pistol chamberings like 357 or 44 mag , maybe even 45 Colt . Are the barrels throated like most rifle barrels ? Some brands have forcing cones instead . Seems like they offer better accuracy than most leverguns . These will be for woods hunting at 100yds or less . Usually less if I do my part .
    I've never had a Contender & know next to nothing about them . I've heard factory barrels can be a crap shoot . So what would I need to put one together ? Frame , buttstock , forend & barrel . I'm thinking 16 - 18 inches in 357 , 18-20 inches in 44 . G1 or G2 ?
    Then we got the new Henry rifles . They look nice & have terrible triggers . I've read about changing springs . I don't know if the hammer / sear are just surface hardened or if you can polish them up . Added plus in my book are correct twists , reasonable chamber dimensions unlike the Handi Rifles . For the price they might be the practical choice .
    FWIW I like & use the LBT WFN & would like something that'll work with them .

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've had two Ruger #1 B rifles, both were bottlenecks. A 7mm RemMag and a 30-06 that I had converted to an a.i. and love it. I even had my NEF converted to an a.i.
    I've wanted a Ruger #3 but since all of my money goes to the hospital someone will have to give me one.
    My #1 has a fixed 6x on it and shoots wonderfully. I use 160 gr. Lee cast for fire forming and 180 gr. GameKings for hunting loads, not that I go hunting anymore but you never know...... I also had a trigger job done about 15 years ago and it's satisfactory. On the 7mm I had an adjustable Moyers trigger installed, and had it set to 2.5 pounds.that was one very accurate rifle. I don't think Moyers is in business anymore, but there are other aftermarket triggers that will do as well, I guess...
    Tom
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The Henrys are the way to go. I have 3, a 223, 243 and 30/30. I am waiting on availability of a .357 Henry single shot. I plan on reaming the chamber to .357 Maximum. This chamber will shoot anything from a .38 special on up.
    The Henry single shot, is pretty easy to work on, can polish out all the roughness in 1/2 an hour taking your time. All three rifles will shoot between 1/2" and 3/4" groups at 100yds. If you need any more info, please PM me.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    One of the nicest/handiest rifles I've ever had was a Winchester/Browning/Miroku Model 1885 Low Wall in .45 Colt.

    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  5. #5
    Hello Boatbum101,

    I have 3 1885's, one original in 32-20, A Uberti High Wall in 45-70, and a Uberti Low Wall in 30-30. I also have a Ruger #3 in 45-70, the most fun to shoot. It really jumps. The Low Wall has a very tight chamber, most times the ejector won't pull the cartridge out. That's the only complaint.
    Personally I think any falling block action manufactured today should be a good shooter.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I have an MGM 14" Contender barrel in .44 Magnum. It has a nice, short throat. (unlike the some factory T/C barrels) Very Accurate.

    One thing though, this .44 mag barrel on the Contender does have some heavy recoil with magnum loads. It recoils more than a .35 Remington barrel I once owned.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickok View Post
    I have an MGM 14" Contender barrel in .44 Magnum. It has a nice, short throat. (unlike the some factory T/C barrels) Very Accurate.

    One thing though, this .44 mag barrel on the Contender does have some heavy recoil with magnum loads. It recoils more than a .35 Remington barrel I once owned.
    I'll second this. I have a Gen1 Contender (a little harder to open but you get used to it) and I HAD a .44mag barrel for it. Even though it was well ported and had a nice Pachmayr grip, it was still uncomfortable to shoot with magnum loads (I'm generally not recoil sensitive). Something about the geometry is just brutal. I can shoot my .44mag Redhawk all day long, but MAN...that Contender was nasty. Now I just use it for lovely 7mm TCU

  8. #8
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    14" contender in 44 Mag is a real pussycat. I have shot one in an 8" bbl that wasn't. Weight makes all the difference.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickok View Post
    I have an MGM 14" Contender barrel in .44 Magnum. It has a nice, short throat. (unlike the some factory T/C barrels) Very Accurate.

    One thing though, this .44 mag barrel on the Contender does have some heavy recoil with magnum loads. It recoils more than a .35 Remington barrel I once owned.
    Hickok,

    I had to laugh when I read this. I went through the "every possible pistol cartridge in a Contender" phase. And, like many Contender shooters, I learned that some combinations are just no fun.

    I dropped of my barrel with My Favorite Gunsmith one day on my way to work. Six weeks later he called me to pick it up. When I got there, I laid my eyes on a thing of beauty-

    He shortened it 4", permanently installed a 3" Vais muzzle break on it that was seamlessly blended into the barrel, added a SSK TSOB scope base, and reblued the whole thing. The best part?

    He re-chambered it to .444 Marlin! To complete the package he added a Leupold Handgun scope.

    It is now amazingly accurate, amazingly comfortable to shoot, and is amazingly popular with my nieces and nephews. It doesn't get shot as much these last few years which is very unfortunate. Every time I look at it I am reminded of the hunts it has been used on. My gunsmith throated it for heavy bullets loaded long, and all I use is a 300gr XTP and a 300gr LBT WFNGC. I've been considering putting a rifle buttstock on it, registering it as a SBR with a tax stamp, and changing to a standard rifle scope. I think I would start using it more this way. But I digress...

    Hickok, don't give up on that barrel- there are many options to make it enjoyable!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Todd,I was thinking of getting it Magna-ported, 4 ports, or threaded for a brake. I have 2 S&W 44mags, a 4 inch and a 6 inch, and a Win. M94 in 44 magnum. But this T/C barrel is the nasty sister to them all!

    I also have SSK 8mm JDJ barrel which has the 4-port Magna-porting, firing 175 gr Sierra @ 2400fps, and it is milder than the MGM .44 mag. barrel. I have some cast loads that are "milder" to try when the snow clears!
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting.

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Well I have NO1, a low wall a high wall and Contenders. As far as the cartridges you are looking at it is down to the Browning low wall, trad Hunter in 45 Colt. I have a super14 stretched to 18 inch that I played with on the Contender carbine, but it really doesn’t do it for me. The low wall is wonderful. It is the only 45colt I own so I treat it as a rifle. It has a very large dia chamber. A fired case will let a .460 sized bullet drop in! It did not shoot my friends 255 gr cast well at all. It is very accurate with a Gould HP loaded on 296 and sized to .459! I tried that load and it shot so well I have never bothered to look farther. I have reduced the charge slightly below the max but it is still within the boundaries for 296 to be safe and, if memory serves, runs the big 340 gr bullet at 1600 out of the 22 inch barrel.
    I like all of them, but the others are in rifle cartridges.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Having to use straight case cartridges have done a lot with them last 5yrs. Mostly with 45/70, 375W and 44mg. 45/70 Marlin 1895 JM and #3 Ruger. 300gr JHPs. Used IMR-3031 & 4198. The Marlin edged the #3 by a hair at 100yds. The 375Win in Marlin and #3 Ruger. 200gr Sierra Hp. Still in R&D with this one, with bullets as well as powders. The Ruger #3 was doing 1.25” at 100yds and Marlin 1.75”. Now working with Speer 235gr semi spritzer in #3.

    The 44 mags have a bigger test pool of rifles. Marlin 1894 JM, Ruger auto, Ruger #3 and Ruger 77/44. I have #3 & Marlin 1894. These 2 pretty even performance at 100yds. The 77/44s were most accurate 44mgs. All guns shooting 240jhps.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I have most of what you asked about though the Ruger #1 and #3 are rare in straight walled pistol cases. They would be kind of heavy in most smaller caliber rounds. The .44 Mag #3 that a friend bought was an original rifle and was kind of rare. However it had that 38" twist barrel that I do not like. The only straight wall cased rounds that I shoot in the Ruger #3 are the .45-70 and the .375 Win. Both have the short SAAMI throats.

    I have had an older Super 14 first model (hard to open) barrel that had a short throat that I did not shoot much. I swapped it for a 21" Contender carbine barrel in .44 Mag which also has a short throat. The carbine barrel is very, very accurate with the 200 grn Speer - grouping close to 1" @ 100 yards. The 21" Contender barrel has a 20 inch twist. I mention this because I once had a rather rare Rem 788 in .44 Mag with the 38" twist. It was very accurate with maximum jacketed loads but would not hit paper with 900 FPS cast loads.

    I also had a 10" Encore barrel in .44 Mag. It had a funnel forcing cone about 3/4" of an inch long. I sold it without ever shooting it. I have no idea if the new owner was happy or not. I traded for a standard weight 24" .45-70 Encore barrel that has a short SAAMI throat. The Rugers and the Brownings in .45-70 also have the short SAAMI throat but it is a rifle cartridge. The pistol cartridge throats in rifles may vary some. They sure do in the TC products.

    I have several Browning 1885s High Walls in 45-70. They are excellent shooters but the pistol rounds are not very common and were mostly found in the Low Wall clones.
    Last edited by EDG; 01-09-2020 at 02:55 AM.
    EDG

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    My goal is to find a Ruger #3 that can be rebarreled and chambered to 327 Fed Mag in a Rook Rifle style configuration... the ultimate casual single shot. Then again, I like strange stuff.

    Froggie
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  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Agree that 1 in 38 44 mag won't work for me . I like big fat heavy slugs with a wide nose . 1885's unless I get an action & build one chances of finding what I want probably nil . Ruger #1 been a run lately in 44mag but if 1 in 38 never mind . Not the practical choice anyway , but like the 1885 are classics . Levers or Henry SS looking like the most practical . Marlins got the 1 in 38 in 44 also . Contender would work but could probably get 2 levers for the same $ .

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    One of the nicest/handiest rifles I've ever had was a Winchester/Browning/Miroku Model 1885 Low Wall in .45 Colt.

    That's a Winchester/Browning Miroku???

    That style looks more like a high quality clone of an original?


    This is the Miroku Low Wall I am familiar with, are they making models more true to the original now?
    Winchester/Miroku

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    That is the Traditional Hunter variation, although mine has only a single trigger. I also have one in 45 Colt. About 6lbs and very nice. It came with a tang sight from Browning. It is the same action as the low wall you posted, but case colored. I am assuming the double set triggers are aftermarket. Looking closer, I think that pictures does not match his description, I’ll shut up and let Pietro clarify...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Picture of my version by Browning, grabbed from net
    Last edited by rking22; 01-09-2020 at 06:38 PM.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by rking22 View Post
    That is the Traditional Hunter variation, although mine has only a single trigger. I also have one in 45 Colt. About 6lbs and very nice. It came with a tang sight from Browning. It is the same action as the low wall you posted, but case colored. I am assuming the double set triggers are aftermarket. Looking closer, I think that pictures does not match his description, I’ll shut up and let Pietro clarify...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Picture of my version by Browning, grabbed from net


    Yes that looks more like all the Miroku built Winchester/Brownings I have seen (Extremely nice rifle BTW) and the differences in the receiver vs the other pic are apparent. What has me intrigued about that rifle is that while the receiver looks like one of the clones of the original 1885 (C Sharps, the Italian imports, etc) the wood in both style and finish looks for all the world like the Jap built Miroku?
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I agree, that picture he posted is a nice recreation of the original, not a Browning version. I am interested in what it really is, might wind up on my want list Glad you questioned it, being on an I phone, I don’t look to close at pictures that I (think) I know what shows, screen is really tiny.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by boatbum101 View Post
    Agree that 1 in 38 44 mag won't work for me . I like big fat heavy slugs with a wide nose . 1885's unless I get an action & build one chances of finding what I want probably nil . Ruger #1 been a run lately in 44mag but if 1 in 38 never mind . Not the practical choice anyway , but like the 1885 are classics . Levers or Henry SS looking like the most practical . Marlins got the 1 in 38 in 44 also . Contender would work but could probably get 2 levers for the same $ .
    What is your issue with the 1:38 twist of the Marlin? I have an 1894P .44 Mag and have no problems with iron-sight 150 yard accuracy- it's been minute-of-elk accurate since 2001. Friends with the same rifle say a scope lets it reach out even farther. I shoot 260, 290, and 300 grain WFN-GC.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check