Friday, January 05, 2007

Ruger Single Six

Well I finally got my hands on my new, old, Single Six. I have been looking around for a nice one for quite some time, and I now own a beautiful example of craftsmanship. It was made in 1963 I believe from looking at the serial numbers on the Ruger website.

As an interesting side note, I called the factory yesterday and for free they will run the serial number and send me a certificate as to the date of manufacture and the original place of sale. I am always interested in that sort of thing. Smith and Wesson charges you $30 or $35 to do this, but they send you a nice certificate on parchment paper with the information on your weapon that is signed by none other than Roy Jinks himself. That autograph alone is worth the money in my opinion. We will see what Ruger sends for free - probably a plain piece of paper. But nice of them to do anyway.

When I got home I opened the box and was extremely pleased to see what I had purchased. Along with the gun was the second cylinder for .22 Magnum, (the first is for .22 short, long and long rifle) the original wax paper, and underneath...all of the original manuals and even the little tag that hung off of the gun in a gunshop sometime in the past. It reads "the frame of this Ruger Single Six revolver is made of chrome molybdnum steel. It is by far the strongest single-action .22 frame on the market". Click photo for larger.









As I was examining my find last night I was absulutely stunned and pleased at the condition of this firearm. It looked like maybe a few cylinders of the smaller ammo had been run through it, but the turn ring on that cylinder was light. The turn ring on the magnum cylinder was non existent! As I dug deeper into it I figured out why that turn ring was missing on the magnum cylinder. It wouldn't fit. I tried and tried for about an hour to put that magnum cylinder into the gun but it simply would not go in there. So finally, exasperated, I held both cylinders next to each other and looked them over closely to see if I could find any differences in them. I discovered the problem. The "hub" of the magnum cylinder was slightly (oh so slightly) longer than the hub of the other one. When I say "hub", I mean the machined part that sticks out toward the barrel, that the base pin enters. That tiny difference made it impossible to get the magnum clyinder into the frame. So I called the factory again and talked to an old coot there who told me that in fact some of these models weren't machined perfectly. His solution is in the photo below.










On the left you see a file and beneath the standard cylinder you see filings. On the right is the magnum cylinder. I carefully filed it down a tiny bit and it fit right in. I can't wait to get this thing out to the range. It has been in someones closet or desk for far too long. For the hell of it, I took a photo of my Rugers, old and new.

note - the spare parts you see in the box are from a conversion that Ruger did on the firearm. These are the original hammer, springs and some other internal workings. Apparently there was a problem with people carrying these things around with the hammer cocked on a loaded chamber, which is a dunderheaded move. When dropped or struck the firarm could go off. So Ruger offered to upgrade the firearm at no charge at the factory and the previous owner had this done. I may convert it back to the original configuration someday, but we will see.

8 comments:

Jonathan said...

Beautiful gun. BTW, the conversion prevents the gun from going off if the hammer is down on a loaded chamber. The old-fashioned solution was to load only five chambers and carry with the hammer down on the empty one. The modern solution is to sue, which is why Ruger changed the design.

Dan from Madison said...

Thanks for the info and compliment. I don't know why anyone would carry with the hammer on a loaded chamber anyway - I like the old fashioned solution better.

Jonathan said...

The old-fashioned solution works fine. The problem is that it only takes a very small number of people who have no common sense to hurt themselves and sue, and then the manufacturer is screwed. I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised if the trigger is also lighter and crisper with the old parts installed.

JoeBill said...

I hope you enjoy your find! I bought a new one in 1974 for cowboy action shooting along with my Marlin octagon barreled 22 carbine. Mine has always operated flawlessly, including changing the cylinder. For many years I kept the magnum cylinder installed loaded for home protection using CCI 22 Mag jacketed hollow-points. My new box is long gone, but still have my original manual, and my Bianci holster set-up, the only problem is now I've put on a few pounds and need a bigger belt!

Hammer said...

I love mine. It's the most well built revolver I own. That Ruger should function flawlessly for many generations to come.

Anonymous said...

Nice find! That is a beautiful gun! I've only seen one other like it. That was at rimfirecentral.com. One word of caution: Don't lose the mag cylinder! They are specially matched to your revolver and are a pain to try to replace!
~Annie

Anonymous said...

Any idea what a well used 1960 Ruger single 6 22 cal is worth? I have one and have no idea what to sell it for...It has the LR cylinder I think... out of my league obviously... An old cowboy friend gave it to me for protection. My 8 pound wonder dog does that now...
Thanks
mmh1@prodigy.net

Dude said...

That is a seriously sweet looking Ruger Single-Six. I guess the older models had fluted cylinders for both regular .22 long rifle and .22 Magnum rounds. I can see how that might be a tad confusing. The original older guns had a firing pin on the hammer that directly impacted the bullets. That's why you couldn't carry it with a round in the chamber. Now, they use a transfer bar mechanims that makes it much safer.

Here's my review of the New Model Single-Six.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/843963/a_handgun_review_the_ruger_new_model.html?cat=15