Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ruger's 1st Double Action Revolvers

I'm not sure if Bill Ruger saw himself making a double action revolver when he went into business with Alexander Strum in 1949, but by 1970 a Ruger Double Action Revolver was quickly looking like reality.
Bill Ruger would not be happy just making a "me-too" revolver. He set about making a gun that was better than what was currently being produced. His new revolvers would be tougher than anything else made.

His design used a solid frame with no side plates, no screws (the only screws on the gun are in the rear sight and the grips) and coil type hammer springs.

The solid frame was also thicker in key areas like the top strap, barrel shank and the cylinder walls (by making the cylinder slightly larger in diameter than a comparable S&W model).
Another great idea that Ruger had was to move the cylinder stop recess on the cylinder closer to in between the chambers where there is more material. Rather than directly over the chamber.
 The picture on the above left is a S&W K-frame model 65, on the right is the Ruger Security Six.

In the picture below you can see how Ruger moved the cylinder stop to the right side of the cylinder opening. This was possible because there is no side plate on the Ruger as there is on the S&W.

Again, the S&W on the left, the Ruger on the right

The frames were created using the Investment Casting process that Ruger resurrected.

 The near perfect castings from this creative manufacturing technique saved a lot of machining time. We all know time is money, these dollars could be passed on to the customer. 
The Security Six Revolver originally sold for just $89. This was nearly 1/2 the cost of a S&W model 19 in 1972.

The guns can also be taken down with only a penny or dime for tools (you could also use the edge of a empty cartridge case). Once you removed the grip screw with the coin, the pin residing inside the grip was used to capture the hammer spring on the strut. Once the hammer strut was removed you could use it to push out the hammer pin and disengage the latch holding the trigger guard assembly in place. Once the trigger guard assembly was out the crane/cylinder could be slid out the front.

The Ruger double action came in three varieties: The Security Six, which was had a square butt and adjustable rear sight.

The "Police" Service Six, which had a square butt and fixed rear sight notch.

 The Speed Six which had a round butt and fixed rear sight notch.

The guns came in blued or stainless steel. The chamberings were .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger and a few were produced for export in British .38-200 (.38 S&W)
They were also made in both Double Action/Single Action and Double Action Only (bobbed hammer).

Two grip styles, standard and the larger target models.

Three barrel lengths were available: 2 3/4", 4" and 6".

Introduced in 1971 (1972 models) in blued steel, The original 150 series (through serial # 150-64961) had a different grip frame, which was changed in the 151 series in 1975.

in 1975 the stainless steel versions hit the market.

in 1976 the guns (as did all Rugers made that year) featured the roll stamp "MADE IN THE 200th YEAR OF AMERICAN LIBERTY"

The warning was added as the result of a frivolous lawsuit.

In late 1978/early 1979 the barrels were changed from slightly tapered to a thicker "heavy barrel" design (at the request of Skeeter Skelton).

Sometime during 1982 (starting with serial # 158-31336) Ruger started "scalloping" the right side recoil shield.

in 1988, Ruger discontinued the Security/Service/Speed Six Revolvers, replacing them with the GP100 (GP for General Purpose). 

The GP100 is a larger frame, incorporating a new grip/trigger frame design (similar to what Dan Wesson & The High Standard Sentinel revolvers used)
Ruger was following Smith & Wesson's L frame revolver (being larger and stronger than the K frame).
Here is a comparison of the Security Six and GP100 together.
The "Six" line of revolvers enjoy great popularity and have begun to increase in value. Many people are learning that you can wear out other revolvers, but not a Ruger.

We'll end this post with some "Six" porn

A Security Six with a Python barrel, what would you call this? A Cougar (Colt+Ruger), a Rugolt, a Secuithon?

Full coverage engraving, gold plating and ivory grips!

Color Case Hardened frame and S&W M&P style stocks. It also has a lanyard loop.

Ruger & His Guns by R.L. Wilson
American Rifleman Magazine
World Guns
Cold Steel from the Firing Line
Chuck Hawks
Shooting Illustrated
Shooting with Hobie
Strum, Ruger & Co.