SINGLE SIX TIMES TWO
by AK Church
THE OLD MODEL
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There is a category of firearm I'll call scarce. Scarce guns are ones which are out there in fairly big numbers, but which you seldom see for sale. I can think of several, but the Old Model Ruger Super Single Six is a prime example.
Even excluding those exported, destroyed in home fires, lost out of canoe spills, or destroyed in our government's drive to disarm the serfs, these should show up for sale far more often but they don't. The Old Models made from 1964-1974 aren't a particularly common gun as Rugers go, with production at around 180,000. Still, 180,000 is not small compared to, say, Kimber .22 production, and I see them at most gunshows. So, my theory is that most Old Model Super Single Sixes are being kept by their current owners. I looked seriously for a good 4 years before stumbling across this one.
It was with some interest I walked into a rural pawnshop and noted the presence of a fairly rough but tight Old Model Super (hereafter OMSSS). It had a 6.5 inch barrel, with the earlier undercut front sight. I was, frankly, surprised to see it. For the aesthetically challenged appearance, marked $230, I thought it was priced way too high. I noted only one cylinder, the magnum (these things are always shy one, and it's usually the more useful .22 LR copy). I assume somewhere out there in the world is a .22LR cylinder for this very revolver, still in its red flannel bag.
A good three months later I back in the same part of the world. I ran by the shop, and saw same gun, in same spot in the case, but considerably dustier. I walked up to the owner, and asked "what's low dollar on that three screw?" A brief negotiation ensued, and it was mine for $175 and relevant taxes. Permits and the job delayed retrieval for another 10 days, and then it came home.
Mine was built in '67, one of about 20,000 built that year, making it 8 years younger than me, but ever more battered. Its history after that is obscure. The pawnbroker purchased it at police auction, and allegedly the revolver was seized during a drunk driving stop. I guess the trail ends there. I'm sure the feds will soon pay out our tax dollars to melt 'em.
It shows its age in the grips with the medallions showing a silver surround to a black eagle. The eagle has no SR monogram, and the barrel has the aggressively undercut Patridge front sight. Both didn't last much past '67. Externally many dings, a partially nude ejector rod tube, a little fine rust, a couple of gouges on the trigger guard warn that this one has likely ridden many a month under a pickup seat, next to the wire pliers and the filet knife. Since the previous owner doesn't impress me as being into guns, I'll guess it rode around with all 6 holes loaded. Not safe, but I doubt he knew or cared.
Internally it's as clean as a Hamilton watch. How it has been hauled around so much and, holstered apparently hundreds of times, and yet shot so little, I'll never know. It's not unknown to find Super Single Sixes (both Old and New flavors) missing the rear sight leaf, but thisn's all here. Trigger pull is surprisingly bad--heavy and stagy. I'm not used to Old Models having a really bad trigger, but this is a first. It'll be fixed by Miles Fortis in the fullness of time.
It will be cleaned up. As I write this, Gripmaker is producing me faux ivories to replace the beaver gnarled Ruger factories.
gripmakers' mexican eagle design
I am hoping to have it reblued, and the aluminum refinished bright by end of 2000.
I had R D Makers in El Paso sew up a field holster for it. The undercut front sight was a concern. They give a sharp defined sight picture I like, but are bad about gouging holsters. It hasn't proven to be the problem I had feared, at least so far. The holster is based on the #7, but with a retainer snap, and no trigger guard cutout. This is one I need duplicated for my .45 Blackhawk.
This one needs a .22LR wheel, if only because because of the expense of Mag ammo. Some minor dimensional oddities in the frame window have prevented any of my fleet of Single Six cylinders from fitting. Ruger would be happy to take my money, and fit it with one, but they insist on fitting these revolvers with the rinky dink transfer conversion, and I'd like this one left alone. So I'm still hauling it to gun shows on the rare occasions my job lets me attend, and hoping to find one.
THE NEW MODEL
I've owned a rough New Model Ruger Super Single Six for 9 years or so. Shortly after getting my gun show beater, I got hooked on the notion of having the Old Model Super to create a matched pair.
My NM is fairly rough-good bit of holster wear, a little hard to see rust, and the usual level of dings on the aluminum. As a plus, the uglies drove the price down very much to the affordable level. It's been shot a lot, but that was to the positive, as it had essentially received an action job. It had a trigger much improved by the 1 minute partial trigger spring unhooking method. Neither I nor Ruger assume no responsibility if you choose this Ruger-forbidden method of reducing your trigger pull.
It also carries the 6.5" barrel I prefer, and function is 100%. Both the .22LR and WRM cylinders accompanied this one.
It is, as I am learning is the nature of Single Sixes, no tack driver. What it has taught me, however, even to include long range work, is beyond calculation. I've put somewhere in the mid 11K range of rounds through it, and it wasn't fresh when I bought it.
My New Model will likely never be cleaned up in my lifetime. It's too useful to throw under a truck seat (not actually kosher around here, but...). And my odd feelings of pride for it showing honest battle scars fit in, too.
It will also get its own R D Makers holster like that for the Old Model.
The following targets show the comparative accuracy of the two beaters. Each fired a ten shot 25 yard group @ the J-T Ranch range with three different brands of ammo. As you can see, either one would be completely adequate for the majority of things needing shot with a .22.
Old Model targets below here. New Model targets below here.
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NOTE: Author Church regrets that he is unqualified to do appraisal, and cannot establish a value on your gun.