Ruger No. 1-S Craig Boddington African Adventure Series Medium Sporter .375 Ruger Single Shot Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 20th, 2008




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At the 2008 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lipsey’s announced a new limited edition series of Ruger No. 1 single shot rifles titled the “Craig Boddington Ruger No. 1 African Adventure Series”. This is a very limited set of No. 1 rifles, which will consist of five rifles per set, all chambered for cartridges suitable for hunting the African continent. Regular readers of are most likely already familiar with Lipsey’s. They are one of the nation’s premier firearms wholesalers, and are regularly bringing interesting limited edition firearms to the market, and this new Craig Boddington series is some of their best yet. The rifles will be chambered for the 7mm Mauser, .300 H&H Magnum, 450/400 Nitro Express, .450 Nitro Express, and the .375 Ruger cartridges, all of which will have special serial numbers, and a different name for each rifle. The serial numbers of the first rifle of the set will be CB1-00001 thru CB1-00250. The second rifle in the series will be CB2-00001 thru CB2-00250, on through CB5, etc. Purchasers of these rifles will contact a Lipsey’s dealer who is participating in this special series, and subscribe to a set, each rifle having matching serial numbers, with the prefix CB1 through CB5.

This series of rifles is named after the famous big game hunter, Craig Boddington, who has hunted the world over, and is known to most who read Guns & Ammo magazine, or watch their television shows. Mr. Boddington has killed many African animals, and worked with Lipsey’s and Ruger on the specifications of this rifle.

The first rifle in the series is chambered for the .375 Ruger cartridge, and is named the “Lion”. The second in the series will be named the “Buffalo”, and will be chambered for the .450/400 Nitro Express cartridge. I do not know the rest of the titles, but they will each be named after another African game animal.

Each of these Craig Boddington rifles will have a matte blued finish, and the stocks will be made of Circassian walnut, as shown on the rifle here. The barrel weights will vary depending upon the cartridge. The Lion has a twenty-two inch medium weight barrel that measures .670 inch diameter at the muzzle, just in front of the barrel band front sight, which has an ivory bead on a raised rib. Coupled with the express rear sight, the sight picture is quick and easy to pick up. The rear sight does not fold, which is just as it should be on a dangerous game rifle. It can be quite embarrassing to raise one’s rifle at a fast-charging mound of teeth and claws, only to find that the sight has been folded down. The rear express sight is adjustable for windage correction, and is very sturdy in construction. It is set into a quarter rib, which also contains provision for Ruger’s scope mount rings. On this Craig Boddington rifle, instead of the standard Ruger rings, a set of Warne Quick Detachable rings is supplied, which is a very good idea. This allows the quick removal of the scope without tools, should the hunter need to go to the express sight for any reason. Personally, I prefer to use a low powered scope in any situation that calls for a close up and fast shot. The express sights are good ones, but I can see and hit better with a quality low powered scope myself, so I mounted in the Warne rings what is probably the best choice for a rifle of this type; a Leupold VX-III 1.5 to 5 power variable. The VX-III has a sleek profile, which can be mounted low and still easily clear the express rear sight. Weighing only 9.5 ounces with a length under ten inches, the scope is not only light and handy, but just looks right on this compact No. 1 rifle. The VX-III has Leupold’s Matched Index lens system for optimal light transmission, and finger-adjustable one-quarter minute click adjustments and resettable dials. The matte finish on this VX-III closely matches that of the rifle. Set to its lowest power, I can shoot quickly with both eyes wide open, and should the need arise, cranking it up to five power gives me all the magnification ever needed on a big game rifle scope. This fine scope has plenty of eye relief for a rifle that comes back a bit when fired, and this Ruger does have a fair amount of recoil. Weighing in at only a hair over seven pounds, this is a short, handy rifle to carry all day, but it does make you aware of the laws of physics when you pull that trigger, which releases crisply and cleanly at just three pounds, ten ounces on the sample rifle. The trigger is somewhat adjustable on the No. 1, but I left it alone, as it was about right for a dangerous game gun as delivered. With an overall length of only 38.375 inches, the No. 1 handles easily, and comes to the shoulder quickly, much like a good bird gun, pointing naturally to get on target in an instant. One of the most endearing traits of a Ruger No. 1 is the way that it handles. While usually one shot is all that is ever needed if properly placed, the Ruger can be loaded a lot faster than most shooters think possible. The action opens easily, and a generous channel is hogged out to allow a smooth, quick path to the chamber. With this No. 1, as is common with most large cartridge cases, upon ejection the empty case catches upon the safety instead of being thrown clear of the action. This is fine when shooting from the bench, as it allows the shooter to remove the cases for reloading, but in the field, it is better for the case to be thrown clear for a quick reload. No.1 shooters have for many years trimmed the front of the safety a bit to allow the cases to fall clear of the action, and it is a very easy modification to make.

The wood on this Ruger No. 1 is gorgeous, being whittled out of some nicely-figured Circassian walnut, yet the grain is tight enough to handle the recoil from the .375 Ruger cartridge. The comb of the stock is classic Ruger in design, and the Alex Henry forend has always been my favorite style on a No. 1 rifle. The rubber butt pad helps a bit to soften the recoil, but it does not have a lot of give to it, being rather stiff in composition. The .375 Ruger Cartridge was introduced a couple of years ago, and for more details on that fine cartridge, I refer you to my review of the .375 Ruger Hawkeye bolt action rifle. Having little factory ammo and no load data at that time, I did a lot of experimenting with handloads, and some of the results are posted in that review as well. With this Lion rifle, I used nothing but Hornady factory ammunition, as it is now readily available, and loaded to surpass the legendary .375 H&H Magnum velocities, and from a shorter barrel. From the twenty-two inch barrel of this No. 1, I chronographed the velocities of all three factory loads at a distance of twelve feet from the muzzle. Chronograph readings were taken on a clear day with about sixty percent humidity, a temperature of seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, at an elevation of about 600 feet above sea level. The 270 grain Spire Point load clocked 2827 feet-per-second (FPS), the 300 grain round nose soft point clocked 2656 fps, and the 300 grain full metal jacket bullet clocked 2587 fps. The .375 Ruger packs a big punch, and from the bench recoil is pretty stiff. Shooting from a standing position to test the impact point of the express sights, the 300 grain soft point loads printed dead on for me at fifty yards. Perfect. Standing on my hind legs like a man, recoil is not dreadful at all. However, to test the rifle for accuracy, shooting from the bench for extended sessions can get downright painful. The reward was, however, the exceptional accuracy displayed by this rifle when using the Hornady 300 grain round nose soft point ammunition. While the 270 grain Spire Point loads turned in very respectable accuracy for a medium bore No. 1 rifle, hovering right around the one and one-half inch mark, the 300 grain loads would keep them all in one hole at 100 yards if I could do my part. Outstanding performance! The first group fired with that ammunition was a half-inch three shot group, and the rifle could repeat that performance as long as I could endure. I did not have enough of the 300 grain FMJ ammo to do extensive accuracy tests with it, but the few rounds that I did have showed good promise as well. Even running at the high pressures specified for this cartridge, extraction was effortless, and no stickiness was observed at any time.

Beautiful, classic, and a delight to carry, the Lion is also a very practical rifle for those who pursue dangerous game, whether in Africa or anywhere else. It is also a good choice for carry in the thickets and woods while chasing elk or moose through the mountains. It packs well, comes up on target quickly, and is only the first in the series of what promises to be one of the most beautiful and practical sets of rifles to ever come out of the Ruger factory.

If you are interested in purchasing the set of Craig Boddington Ruger No. 1 rifles, contact one of the dealers on this list.

For more information on the VX-III and other quality Leupold products, go to

For specifications on high quality Hornady ammunition and reloading products, go to

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to:


Express sights are simple, rugged and fail-safe, as befits a dangerous-game rifle.



Warne quick-release scope rings.



Leupold VX-III 1.5 to 5 power scope.





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- Boge Quinn




Click pictures for a larger version.


Ruger No. 1-S Craig Boddington African Adventure Series Medium Sporter .375 Ruger Single Shot Rifle.





Compared to a bolt-action rifle, the handy size of the 1-S Craig Boddington "Lion" rifle is readily apparent.





Safety is mounted on the top tang as it should be, but empty cases can catch on the safety upon ejection.



Trigger is adjustable.





Sling attachment points.



Left to right: 270-grain Spire Point, 300-grain Round Nose, and 300-grain Full Metal Jacket loads.



The Ruger 1-S Craig Boddington "Lion" rifle proved to be superbly accurate right out of the box.