Re: 7mm STW Brotherhood - For those who shoot the 7mm Shooting Times Westerner
I got my Sept 1989 issue of Shooting Times and there was Layne Simpsons article.
Nobody was making them BUT I had a Ruger #1 "S" Medium Sporter with the Alex Henry fore arm, sights, barrel band sling attachment AND a factory 26" barrel. If you have the original magazine Simpsons second STW was simply a rechambered #1 and he recommended it as the cheap easy way to try it.
It wasn't that cheap or easy. I had to buy the reamer for the smith because of course he didn't have one. At the time RCBS had the dies but they were Group "G" Custom dies and cost $158! I rounded up 100 8mm Rem Mag cases by the time the smith had the rifle ready in early November.
I didn't get to do much load work before hunting and used Simpsons published 140 grain Nosler load. It shot right at MOA and I went hunting. I killed a decent 4x4 mulie and 6x6 bull that November.
I don't use it all the time but any time I think the range is really going to be stretching things, I pack my STW.
I got a lot of flack from friends and family for a few years and all the crap about not needing anything that big. Then in 1991 my Cousin Wayne drew a late season tag in Owyhee County for mule deer. That late the snow is usually on the ground and you hunt by running the rim rocks of the buttes. Maybe the buck will be 100 feet away straight down below your feet and sometimes they are down below the chaparral in the high sage 300+ yards away. I talked Cousin Wayne into using my STW rather than his 270 Win. On the third day his buck got up at the bottom of the sage. BOOM!! I was watching. He lost the sight picture under recoil and didn't seeit hit or the deer go down and assumed he had missed. Heck I saw it go through him AND heard that 140 Nosler hit him. Wayne was in a panic. I "suggeted" we go look ad start trailing him. He just about fell over when we got down there. First he saw the blood spray out across the snow, then his buck. A 28" 4x4 with a 49" chest girth. He had me find him a #1 and had his built by the next season. Years later when we got our first laser range finder we checked from where the buck was to the rim, 358 yards.
Since then the smith has built 13 more on #1s for other family members. He uses the same reamer and they are all throated exactly he same so the ammo interchanges from rifle t rifle. At about rifle #5 I started doing some serious load work. We switched to 150s. We/I have used almost all the premium bullets and all the newer slower powders as they came out, Retumbo, H100, RL24 etc but we settled on IMR7828 and Noslers, right where we started. We did switch to IM7828SC when it came out. By the way the load we use is published in the original article and is safe in a #1 but it's about 4 grains over anything published in a current manual.
Some of the cousins or brothers have tried bolt guns but a 26"-28" barreled mag action bolt gun isn't all that handy or light. My brother bought a Model 70 when they came out. WE were worried about the magazine. That wasn't the problem the problem was it was throated even longer than my #1 and stuff that fit the magazine well was SAAMI but it wasn't anywhere near the lands and accuracy suffered. He sold it and the smith re chambered another Ruger #1 from 7mm Rem Mag.
As for scopes it seems most wear some variation on a 3x9 Leupold (3.5-10 etc) predicated on age and Model.
I did buy 2 factory #1s when Ruger finally brought them out in 2004. The problem was they brought it out in stainless/laminate the KB model and it was only made for the one year before being discontinued. I sold one to Cousin Dan and kept the other NIB.
The part that is funny was I talked to the Ruger people including Bill Sr.at the SHOT Show in Vegas, in 1993 and encouraged them to bring out the 7mm STW instead of losing the sale to used rifles in 7mm Mag. They didn't seem very interested. When the did finally bring it out the new had worn off and it was a slow seller. Of course one of the 500 made demands a premium price, NOW.
Out of all the rifles I own I find myself hunting with the same 5 or 6 95% of the time. One of those is the original #1 "S" I had made in 1989.
Each year I go out and shoot 5 through it. Then I shoot another 3-5 hunting. The rifle and the original barrel will outlive me.