john fedorka, ruger, ruger MK1 ultralight, favorite gun, my favorite gun
John Fedorka's Ruger MK1 Ultralight. John Fedorka

OL reader John Fedorka from Shohola, Pennsylvania,​ sent us this account of his favorite gun. To share your own, email us at We want to know the story of your favorite gun, and what makes it special to you. And, of course, we want to see a nice picture of it. Scroll down for more stories, and tune in next Thursday to read about another reader’s gun.

I met a number of people through a shared love of hunting and fishing while attending MSU in Bozeman, Montana. One of them was my good friend Matt Davis, a born-and-bred Great Falls boy. He toted an old Ruger MKI Ultralight in .270 Winchester and used it to shoot everything. It sported a 20-inch barrel, had great balance, housed five rounds plus one, and had a nifty tang safety for those quick, unexpected shots. It was a tack driver with his 130-grain Nosler handloads, which felled everything from massive bull elk to coyotes, and a fair share of gophers in between.

I worked at the now-closed Yellowstone Gateway Sports, and I handled hundreds of rifles, both new and old. Yet I loved the Ruger instantly. This rifle was lively in my hands and felt right against my shoulder. I offered to buy it from Matt a number of times, but he always laughed. I knew I’d have to get my own one day.

Years later, I would move back East with my .300 Winchester Magnum—a great gun for the open country of Montana, but not the best choice for the East. I learned that the hard way when I lost a big buck my first season back in the big woods. By the time I fumbled the safety off and tugged it to my shoulder, the buck had put 50 yards of dense forest between us.

My spirits rose come Christmas. My father found a mint Ruger MK 1 in .30/06, topped it with a Leupold, and stuffed it under the tree. I may have been 25 at the time, but I felt like a little kid again. Every season since that special Christmas, I admire my rifle. I look at it and think of my father, and my college buddy, and the good times I’ve had with all three of them. It’s a new family heirloom that now has a few well-earned dings and scratches, as well as several deer and coyotes under its sling. And, maybe one day, a bear.