Engraving of a Custom Ruger #1

Monday, May 2, 2016

At the Dallas Safari Club  (Dallas, Texas) show and convention in 2015 my friend and client Mr. Jacob found a custom Ruger #1 at the Griffin and Howe booth. We discussed the possibility of engraving this rifle. It was decided that this rifle would be a good candidate for a project especially since it had better than factory stocks and metal upgrades.

The people at the Griffin and Howe booth could not give us much information on the rifle. All they knew was that the rifle had been ordered by a local Safari Club International chapter.

The purchase was made. We discussed what would be engraved on the rifle, the bust of an elk  on one side of the receiver and a moose on the other side of the receiver.  A bear was to be placed on the grip cap. Scroll would tie it all together. The rifle was shipped to me not long after everyone had returned to their home bases.

Upon taking the rifle apart I found the James Tucker (Medford, Oregon) had stamped the inside of the forearm with his information. I relayed this information to Mr. Jacob. Fast forward to 2016 where at the Dallas Safari Club show and convention we talked to James Tucker about this particular gun. Some of the blanks were filled in as to how this custom rifle came about.

This Ruger #1 started as factory barrel action in caliber 338 Winchester Magnum. It was ordered by the Metro Chapter of Safari Club International in December of 1986. This custom rifle was finished in October of 1987. Stephen Heilmann (Grass Valley, California) turned the barrel, installed the sights and barrel band front sling swivel, made a new trigger and safety. The wood for the stock was donated by a club member. James Tucker machined the front of the action for a better forend look, did the forend screw set-up, made the stock and forend, final polish and assembled it. Originally the rifle was to be engraved, that did not develop. The rifle was rust blued by Duane Bolden.

We now know where and how this custom rifle came about. Twenty-eight years later it is in the stages of being engraved. I did some rough sketches on the gun to get ideas. I then did some on paper to send to Mr. Jacob. The OK given I was then ready to get serious. The rifle was completely disassembled and stripped of all blue. The Ruger was in pristine condition so no major polishing was needed.

Most of my lay out and drawing is done on the gun itself. When requested I do supply sketches with the understanding that it may be different once it is engraved on the gun. These sketches are just ideas and to keep heading in one direction. I will spend considerably more time on drawing out the animals on paper then transfer using my Cronite pantograph, which just gives a scribe outline that I then need to follow up with engraving.

With the receiver having been annealed it was time to start. I first lay out all my scroll work with pencil. I then work my animal in with pencil adjusting the scroll where I need to. When engraving different antlered animals within a scroll pattern the scroll sometimes needs to alter from side to side. I then engrave the scroll. If it will work for me I will do all the scroll before I start the animals. Gold was not an issue on this rifle as there would only be a gold band on chamber end of the barrel.

The scroll was my style of an Arabesque scroll. I used lines as shading for some of the background around the scrolls on the sides of the receiver. For the rest of the engraving there is no background treatment. The animals and scroll are all engraved with lines. Some of the lines being so short they are more dot than line. For most of the engraving a 90 degree square graver is used. My gravers vary  from 70 degrees to 110 degrees to help me get the desired effect. For the real fine shading, which is usually all the animal and most of the shading in the scroll, I use the palm tool and push only.

The finish blue was done by Glenrock Blue (Glenrock, Wyoming). I did the French grey on the sides of the receiver. A set of Tally rings were purchased. These of course were engraved to tie in with the rifle.

Moose drawing.

Bear drawing for the grip cap

Elk drawing for the other side of the receiver

Drawing, out line of the action. Layout for the scroll with the moose.

The scroll engraved with the moose scribe in and ready for engraving

Left side of action engraved

Right side engraved

Finished grip cap with bear and scroll engraved

Front sight hood engraved with scroll

Rear sight on quarter rib, gold line inlaid and scroll added.

Side of quarter rib engraved

Chamber end of the barrel

Right side of the receiver and chamber area of the barrel

Scope rings engraved

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