Troublesome Triggers ... a Rifle With Ears

Why would a Ruger No. 1 discharge when it shouldn't? How much is a rabbit-ear side-by-side worth?

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: I recently heard about a problem with a couple of Ruger No. 1s owned by a friend's cousin. Supposedly the gun went off while the breech was being closed. The problem didn't occur until around 500 rounds were fired from each gun, and Ruger said their guarantee didn't cover the problem.

I greatly admire Ruger firearms and would like to own a No. 1 as my next hunting rifle. Have you heard of this problem? I admit that two guns having the same problem in the hands of one shooter is suspicious. Perhaps the trigger was modified, or some other alteration was made. --C.

A: Because Ruger claimed their guarantee was void, I'm making the same guess: Somebody tried to "adjust" the trigger too lightly or replaced it with an aftermarket trigger that was adjusted too lightly.

I hunt a lot with Ruger No. 1s and have owned a bunch in calibers from .220 Swift to .375 H&H.; I do my own trigger work but don't try to reduce the pull below 3 pounds, and I have never had the slightest problem, despite shooting some of them far beyond 500 rounds. Go ahead and buy your No. 1, but if the trigger isn't satisfactory, take it to a competent gunsmith and have it adjusted to no less than 3 pounds.

Q: My brother has a 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun with "rabbit ears" made by the American Gun Co. You recently wrote that it may have been made by the Crescent Firearms Co. I have the serial number of this gun, and we'd like to find out what year this gun was made (approximately) and its worth. --C.P.

A: According to Ned Schwing's Standard Catalog of Firearms, the American Gun Co. was the private brand of H&D; Folsom of New York City, and the guns were indeed made by Crescent Firearms Co. of Norwich, Connecticut. The American brand was manufactured between 1892 and 1922, and an outside-hammer gun (the rabbit ears you mention) would be worth between $250 and $800, depending on condition. If it looks like it's been used much at all, it would be worth closer to the lower figure than the upper.