VOL. 29, No. 2

The Journal is the official publication of the Ruger Collectors' Association, Inc. The journal is scheduled for publication on a quarterly basis. It is mailed to each member in good standing as of the date of mailing.
Contributing members include:
Bob Beach
Neal Brooks
Bill Cross
Roger Dorsett
John Dougan
Wes Durkle
Don Findley
Bob Goodrich, Jr.
Bill Hamm
Jim E. Henry
Jay Hansen
Jim Hoobler
Robert Livingston
Dave Lortscher
Shawn R. McCarver
Fred L. McDaniel
Bob Nelson
Lee Newton
Matt Olivier
Charles Sharps
Lee Sundermeier
Rick Verzal
 

Please send changes of address and Membership inquiries to the R'ger Collectors' Association, Inc., P.O. Box 240, Greens Farms, CT 06838. If possible, please include the mailing label from your latest Journal or Members' bulletin and/or specify your Membership number.

The Ruger Collectors' Journal is distributed to Members of the Ruger Collectors' Association, Inc. an independent association of Ruger Collectors. The Ruger Collectors’ Association is not affiliated with or sponsored by Sturm, Ruger & Company. Publication of articles and opinions in the Journal is not an endorsement by the Association, nor does the Association assume responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in the magazine.

Submission of articles for publication is encouraged. Articles submitted become the property of the Ruger Collectors' Association and cannot be returned. All technical data presented in the R.C.A. publication reflects the experiences of individuals using specific equipment under specific circumstances. Such information is intended solely as guide and should be used with caution. The Ruger Collectors' Association accepts no responsibility for results obtained using this data.

RUGER COLLECTORS' JOURNAL (ISSN 0742-7492) is published quarterly by the Ruger Collectors' Association Inc. (P.O. Box 240, Greens Farms, CT 06838) for the benefit of its Members. Annual domestic dues $30.00; foreign postage, add $18.00 (U.S.).

  Cover: 50th Anniversary .44 Magnum Flattop New Model Blackhawk, S/N 89-00527.
From the collection of Bill Cross.
 
Entire contents copyright 2013 by the Ruger Collectors' Association, Inc.
No part of this publication may be produced without written permission of the R.C.A.


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Table of Contents
VOLUME 29, No. 2   
 
  • Notes
  • From Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
  • A Seller's Market?
        By Shawn McCarver
  • An Engraved Blackhawk .357 Maximum
        By Fred L. McDaniel
  • Paul Lantuch - Master Engraver
        By Don Findley
  • The Dallas Show
        By Bill Hamm
  • The Tulsa Show
        By Bill Hamm & Vince Carabetta
  5
6-8
9-11

12-15

16-21

22-26

27-31

 


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NOTES .................

Happy Holidays and welcome to this special edition of your RCA Journal. In addition to the printed journal for your reference library, we are posting this Journal, Volume 29, No. 2, on the RCA website www.rugercollectorsassociation.com, to introduce the world to the wonders of Ruger collecting. We plan to make this an annual event, our special season's greetings to collectors everywhere.

2014 will be an exciting New Year for us all. The quality of material coming in from you members is excellent and fresh, and Ruger keeps pulling amazing innovations out of their hat. A new feature in the Journal will be photos and descriptions of Ruger historical developmental work from the archives of a former engineer. Also, we plan to start revisiting articles published in the Journal long ago, pieces of significant interest that our newer collectors have never seen.

As always we look to you members to write up what turns you on in the Ruger world. We also solicit your ideas for articles you would like to see our specialists write up.

In closing think about this ....... What if Bill Ruger had gone to work for Winchester. Why do we ask? You will find out in 2014.

Cheers!
 


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From Ruger

The SR-762 Piston-Driven Rifle Chambered in .308 Win./7.62 NATO

October 17, 2013

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is pleased to announce the new Ruger® SR-762MTM, bringing the .308 Win./7.62 NATO cartridge to the popular SR-556® family of rifles. The SR-762TM offers the downrange authority of the .308 cartridge in a two-stage, piston-driven rifle that runs cooler and cleaner than traditional gas-driven AR-style rifles.

The SR-762TM is an ideal rifle for those who appreciate the familiar and ergonomic AR-style platform. The .308 Win./7.62 NATO cartridge is perfect for hunting medium and most large-sized game and enhances the capability of the AR-style platform in defensive or tactical roles.

The SR-762TM retains the features of the original SR-556® that make it a solid performer among AR-style rifles. The patent-pending, two-stage piston delivers a smooth power stroke to the one-piece bolt carrier, which reduces felt recoil and improves the rifle's durability. The four-position gas regulator allows the shooter to tune the rifle to function reliably with a broad variety of ammunition and in varying environmental conditions.

A heavy contour, 16.12" chrome-lined, cold hammer forged barrel with a 1:10" twist features exterior fluting to minimize weight, yet provides outstanding accuracy. With the Ruger® Lightweight Adaptable handguard in place, the SR-762TM weighs 8.6 pounds and balances comfortably.

Three 20-round MAGPUL® PMAG® magazines are provided with the SR-762TM. Folding backup iron sights, a Hogue® Monogrip®, Picatinny rail sections and rail covers add considerable value to the package, as does the six-position stock, sight adjustment tool, and a soft-sided carry case. The Ruger® SR-762TM has a suggested retail price of $2,195.

For more information on the new Ruger® SR-762TM, or to learn about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger® firearms, visit Ruger.com or www.Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger® SR-762TM, visit www.ShopRuger.com.

 


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Red Label Over-and-Under Shotgun

October 24, 2013

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) announces the launch of the newly redesigned Red Label over-and-under shotgun. Known for years as a top choice of American hunters and clay shooters for its world-renowned rugged construction and handsome American styling - the Red Label returns. The shotgun now features refined inner workings, a new center of gravity and reduced recoil. These new improvements deliver improved comfort and an enhanced shooting performance.

Shooters that have frequented the woods, fields and clay courses know the Ruger® Red Label shotgun has been a reliable performer that swings easily. The new 12 gauge Red Label has a redistributed center of gravity for even greater instinctual swing and pointing. Two-inch extended forcing cones, maximum backbored barrels and a soft Pachmayr® buttpad enhance the shooting experience with reduced recoil. The Red Label's familiar, low profile receiver reduces muzzle climb because the centerline of the bore is closer to the gun's center mass. The new Red Label makes for an extremely comfortable shooting shotgun in the field or on the range.

"After 32 years of production, we put the Red Label on hiatus in 2011," commented Ruger President and CEO, Mike Fifer. "We knew we could employ newer technology, improve the design and deliver a better performing Red Label. We have done that and restored the Red Label as the best American-made, over-andunder shotgun on the market."

The Red Label features an American Walnut stock with a 1.5" drop at comb and a 2.5" drop at heel. Red Label shotguns are available with 26", 28" or 30" barrels and each model features a 14.5" length of pull. The new models retain the Red Label's classic lines and good looks, which are further enhanced by the new stainless steel top lever. The suggested retail price for all three models is $1,399.

Each shotgun includes a custom molded, semi-soft case, five Briley® chokes (two skeet chokes and one full, one modified and one improved cylinder choke), a premium-quality Briley® choke tube wrench and a safety lock.

For more information on the new Ruger® SR-762TM, or to learn about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger® firearms, visit Ruger.com or www.Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger® SR-762TM, visit www.ShopRuger.com.

 


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Ruger Named "Manufacturer of the Year" for Seventh Year in a Row

November 15, 2013

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) was presented with the Firearms Manufacturer of the Year award by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers for the seventh consecutive year during the Association's 40th Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. The award was presented to Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer by NASGW Chairman of the Board Kent Williams and NASGW Vice Chairman of the Board Pete Brownell.

"Winning the Manufacturer of the Year award for the seventh year in a row is a real honor for Ruger," said Fifer. "We are so pleased that our dedication to two-step distribution is consistently valued and appreciated by wholesalers, and we continue to strive to meet their needs with innovative, high-quality products. We want to thank NASGW members for this award and their continued business and support," Fifer concluded.

NASGW wholesaler members evaluate the performance of manufacturers on distribution policy, marketing, sales and promotion, logistics and operations, as well as NASGW and industry support. The assessment of manufacturer performance is designed to provide a balanced appraisal that identifies the best manufacturer in each respective category. The NASGW Awards recognize top manufacturers who best demonstrate a commitment to two-step distribution and who provide outstanding value and service.

 


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A Seller's Market?

(Or, How a Shooter and Collector Can Take Advantage of the Current Market)

By Shawn McCarver

A gun buyer would have to live under a rock (for that matter, almost anyone would have to be so situated) not to be aware of the situation that has plagued the gun industry since the last Presidential election. Gun manufacturers are operating at full capacity, gun dealers are having trouble obtaining and keeping merchandise to sell because buyers are engaged in buying much larger quantities of almost everything gun related. It is difficult to read minds, but it seems that much of the current situation is driven by fear that something will be banned or outlawed. Whether that something is certain types of guns, certain kinds of ammunition, or other gunrelated products is different for each buyer. It is best judged on a case-by-case basis as each person has his or her own reasons for buying.

Whatever the reason, items as simple as .22 Rimfire ammunition is simply not available in places, and in places where it is available, it is best described as “limited availability.” A salesman for one very large gun distributor told me that warehouse personnel are “shipping off the pallets”, and that products received from manufacturers is, in turn, shipped out the same day it is received such that warehouse personnel are not even shelving products upon receipt. Most all of the gun distributors have computer ordering or inventory control available to their dealers who have accounts. However, quantities routinely show as “zero” available because shipments are going out as soon as product is received, and product is being shipped against large back orders placed by large stocking dealers. One dealer told me that a pistol model normally available most anytime in years past was on backorder for seven months. Popular new products, such as the new Ruger SR45, take months to get, and Ruger has never caught up with demand for its SR1911.

It is definitely a seller’s market in the sense that popular guns are selling for inflated, or certainly not discounted, prices. In addition, models that are either new, or of foreign origin, or models or makes that might ordinarily not even be popular, are selling simply because there is nothing else on the shelves. While I certainly can say, for one example, that certain Turkish firearms companies have a reputation for making high quality arms, those arms have not been sold in great numbers in this country previously, and therefore, most Americans are not aware of even the names of the companies. Circumstances have changed that.

Is there any way that a buyer can participate in such a market? What about a buyer of good ole’ American-made firearms, such as Ruger? It may just be that buyers can do well in this market if they know what to look for and where to look. I decided to go on a hunt for Ruger products just to see what is available. Sort of a snap shot of the current market as of 7:09 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 26, 2013. A check of in-stock new Ruger products at one of the country’s largest distributors revealed NO handguns of any type or caliber in stock for shipment to a dealer. Does that mean none are to be had? No, it simply means that everything the distributor has in terms of Ruger handguns has been shipped out to its dealers. Thus, a handgun shopper is going to have to hunt for the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” A particular model in a particular caliber with the particular barrel length, sights, finish and grips gets difficult to locate. As I know from personal experience, getting something which is “almost what you want” does

 


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not satisfy over the long haul. Buyer's remorse quickly sets in, and a trade to your friendly neighborhood local gun store (LGS, as the forum people say) comes next followed by the inevitable feeling that you just got robbed when you find out from the “fat gent behind the counter” how common that "rare model" is that you are trying to trade in to the same dealer who told you how rare it was a year earlier.

What is one to do? Well, if you are like many in the "gun culture," you don't just like one kind of gun. Many shooters like almost anything that shoots. Have you neglected your long gun collection? It might be time to wait on that elusive handgun and see if the last few spots in your gun safe can be filled with something. Preferably something you can shoot and enjoy while it still holds good value as an investment. Now we are talking. Investment conjures up gold or silver or diamonds, something the wife can get on board with. How about a rifle? Well, as of the date and time mentioned, the brand new Ruger American rifle in both .30-06 and in .270 was in stock available for immediate shipment to your favorite small dealer who may not be able to pull the strings to get that $3,000.00 target pistol you wanted. In fact, not only were both rifles in stock, there were over 100 of EACH in stock. The only excuse your small dealer would have for not being able to get one on demand is a failure of either his phone or internet. I suppose lack of gas for the shipping truck might also be an issue, but unlikely as this is written. If that were to become an issue, we will likely have bigger issues to think about.

The same distributor had Hawkeye rifles in blue, stainless and African models in various calibers and features. Maybe it is the right time to get that new rifle for fall hunting season. Although not every variation is in stock, the distributor had Hawkeye rifles of some description in calibers .300 Compact Magnum, .243, .25-06, .30-06, .204, .22-250, 7mm-08, .308, .223, .375, .270, among others. So, there are quite a few rifles, and if you have extra cash and nothing else is available, try a rifle. They are fun! That is the end of the good news from the distributor end of things, at least as far as firearms. No other firearms are in stock at the distributor as of the date and time mentioned.

What other options are there as far as new Ruger products? As of the date and time mentioned, the distributor had a small number of other product numbers in sufficient quantities so as to be odd, at least in this market. For example, almost 50 SR9 ten round magazines and almost 400 SR40 ten round magazines are available as this is written. Now, before you say "who would need those," I would remind us all that a small, but apparently growing number of citizens live in semi-free states where ten round magazines are now required. In addition, even if you live in a "free state," high (standard) capacity magazines are in short supply and some extra ten round magazines for practice or carry are better than no extra of the roomier capacity magazines. When you finally get your high caps, you can pass off the magazine version of the “red-headed step child” to a friend in need, or you can use them for drop practice at the range, or test them to destruction, if you want. That is pretty hard to do, but have at it!

Got a 1911 of any variety (Ruger SR1911s are still very difficult to obtain)? Well, the aforementioned distributor has, as this is written, almost 500 SR1911 7 round magazines. They will work just dandy in any maker's 1911. And, if you buy Ruger magazines, it will encourage you to be on the hunt for the pistol to match as that model becomes more available. LC9s have been exceeding popular. As this is written, 1,000 of the 7 round magazines with the finger extension are in stock at the same distributor. How about magazines for your new American rifle? In stock. Need 1,000 30 round AR Mags? This distributor has the new Ruger black Teflon.

 


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coated metal magazines. There are various other magazines in stock in smaller, but significant numbers. Thus, it might be time to invest in the "extras" you always meant to buy for a firearm you already own.

There are plenty of options for the Ruger aficionado even if you want new, in the wrapper items that your LGS does not have in stock. What about the shooter/collector? Have you checked the auction sites lately? There seem to be a larger number of shooter grade firearms, including Rugers, as many owners are seeking to cash in by putting their ordinary, non-collector item firearms out for auction. There are large and small gun buying web sites that also offer firearms for sale, which, like the auction sites, will require shipment to your local FFL dealer. I like to look for out-of-print Ruger revolvers at Guns America. Do so at your own risk, as all sorts of people post for sale ads there, and although many sellers are reputable, be careful who you are dealing with. A spot check today reveals a small number of Security Six revolvers. There are not going to be any more, and they were good revolvers. If you ever wanted one, but were too busy buying the combat handgun of the month, maybe it is time you looked at one of these instant collector’s items. Naturally, there are many Redhawk, GP100s, SP101s and LCRs listed, if you prefer something newer. There are categories for every other type of Ruger firearm you may be interested in owning, and if you cannot find what you are looking for, be patient or check the internet. When demand is high, sellers come out of the woodwork. A sharp eye and a skillful negotiation might just result in a nice addition to your collection. Another idea is police or security company trade-ins. Frequently, these revolvers are carried much, shot little and while they may appear rough on the outside from holster wear or too many bumps against the steel door of an armored car or the door handle of a company car, the insides are usually in good shape. Such revolvers are less desirable, and perhaps more available in today's market as most of the panic buying is directed at items buyers think might be outlawed in the near future.

Although times are tough in the sense that you cannot just have your dealer ring up the distributor and order anything in the Ruger catalog that might not be in stock locally and get same day shipment, there are still some things that you probably always wanted, or accessories that you meant to buy someday. Well, that day has come.

 


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AN ENGRAVED BLACKHAWK .357 MAXIMUM

By Fred L. McDaniel

A neighbor and family friend, G. Richard "Dick" Shaw, was a Director of Sturm, Ruger and Co., Inc. and headed their sales for much of the western United States and Canada. He was also kind enough to secure for the McDaniel family a series of several low serial numbers of newly manufactured Rugers for our collections. When firearms came out with our serial numbers, since I was a Federal Firearms Licensee, they were shipped to my licensed premises, logged into my bound book, and distributed to family members after the necessary paperwork.

With my FFL Dick also used me for his shipments, and I got to see what was new or in the planning stages at Ruger. With this responsibility came the admonition that some of what I saw or was told was not to be discussed outside of Dick and family. On one occasion in 1981 or early 1982, he picked up an unremembered firearm from me and plopped down a box of Remington ammunition with the end label reading ".357 REM. MAX." and the word "EXPERIMENTAL" all in bold capital letters for my cartridge collection.

This unknown ammunition piqued my curiosity to say the least. When asked about the new caliber, Dick simply answered "It's still experimental so don't say anything about it to anyone for now." Having this box of ammo in my possession without being able to show it to some of my collector friends was about the same as having a new convertible and not being able to drive it!

Then came 1983 and the Sturm, Ruger and Co., Inc. introduced what was said to be the start of a new era in handgunning when the Ruger New Model Blackhawk .357 Maximum Single Action Revolver hit the firearms media. Ruger, in conjunction with the Remington Arms Company, Inc., announced the then new Maximum and proclaimed it to be a new innovation on par with the .44 Magnum for hunters, silhouette shooters, and long-range aficionados.

On January 28, 1983, packages started arriving at my licensed premises from Ruger bearing our new Maximums in serial numbers 128, 129, and 131. I have always tried to share my experiences with other collectors and especially competing dealers, so I naturally began making the rounds of the local gun shops which were either owned or managed by several of my friends.

As all real collectors know, this sharing experience has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gloating, however. It is done merely for the pure joy of sharing with other shooters and collectors something that they have never seen before. In my possession with the intent of sharing with others, of course, was the new semi-unknown Ruger Maximum and absolutely unknown ammo.

Most of the gun shop owners or managers had heard the media hype but none had seen the new revolver. In every one of the gun shops that I visited this new Ruger was not only the hit of the employees but many of the patrons as well. Everyone wanted to look at and heft this new innovation in firearms technology. The real eye-opener was when I produced the experimental Remington ammo. Oh's and ah's for both the gun and the ammo were the words of the day.

 


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After upstaging a few of my friendly competitors, my serial number 131 went back into the collection to display with my other Ruger masterpieces of firearms technology.

A few weeks later while I was at work, Dick called and asked if he could come by and chat for a few minutes and ask a favor. With as many favors as he had done for me, how could I refuse to return one? After an offer to come to his house was declined, a time was set to meet. At almost the appointed minute, he appeared and greetings were exchanged and immediately a discussion on the current goings-on at Ruger ensued.

After several minutes of casual conversation, Dick popped the question: "Would you mind if I borrowed your Maximum for a short period of time?" He did not want the box or paperwork so without hesitation I produced the requested revolver and one of my best fleece-lined leather pouches. After a bit more conversation, ¡Adios! was said and he drove back home with Ruger Maximum serial number 131 in his possession.

A couple of months passed and he and I had numerous conversations but the subject of the borrowed Maximum was never mentioned. There was never a question of trust in my mind, just a question of what the dickens was going on. Then came the afternoon several months later, when I received another call from Dick requesting a visit so that he could return my property.

At the appointed time, Dick appeared with handgun pouch in hand. Sitting down we visited, but my handgun pouch remained firmly under his control. He was a savvy businessman who was well known as being friendly but not necessarily jovial in nature, but this time he had a rather wry smile on his face as we talked. Finally he said that he had to depart and handed me the gun pouch at my front door with instructions to "open it."

After I unzipped the leather pouch, I slid my hand inside and removed what appeared to be a handgun that was not mine. Instead of a blued Ruger Maximum, I was holding a nickel-plated Maximum with extensive engraving. Turning the handgun to view the right side, I noted that it was indeed my serial number 600-00131. All that I could think of was how my Maximum had been transformed into an absolute work of art.

 


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It seems that Dick had viewed the new Maximum as being a prime candidate for engraving. The elongated cylinder and frame along with the long flat on the top of the frame became the perfect recipient of the engraver's hammer and chisel. Since Master Engraver Bernard "Bernie" Wolfe had his engraving studio at The Shooter's Emporium just down the hill from Dick's house, he had commissioned Wolfe to nickel plate and engrave the handgun in a Colt factory "C" style, a Wolfe specialty. And what a job he did!

As we stood at the front door, I could think of a thousand questions that I wanted to ask about my Maximum and where it had been for the past number of weeks. As the full story played out, Dick told of wanting a "Show Stopper" to entice his clients and figured that the Maximum was just the gun for the job. After the plating and engraving, my serial number 131 traveled the entire western United States (and who knows where else) and was viewed by everyone in the industry who asked about Ruger's new Maximum.

From trade shows to field sales calls, many dealers and distributors were given a taste of this beautifully engraved revolver. Dick said the response was very positive, not only about the new revolver but also about the engraving.

Upon its return to me, I asked if I could reimburse him for the cost of the engraving but this question fell on deaf ears. To paraphrase his reply, the sales benefit far outweighed the cost of engraving. Needless to say, it sits in a revered place in my gun room because of its beauty and the story behind the engraving

 


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R. L. Wilson pinpoints the total production of Ruger's Maximum to be 9,500 before being discontinued. The flame erosion problem on the topstrap of the revolver became critical and, as always, consumer safety is the company's byword.

According to author J. M. Henry in Vol. 20, No. 2 & No. 3 - Special Edition of The Ruger Collectors' Journal from 1998 in an article titled "Ruger Collectors Association, The First 20 Years," Henry states "The factory has now implemented a policy whereby one can return to them any pre-owned Ruger Maximum in exchange for a new Blackhawk, or the equivalent there-of in money. The factory will not repair these guns, nor will they return them to the owner. Be advised."

Still unfired, this engraved Maximum #131 is as pretty as the day that Bernard Wolfe finished his engraving 30+ years ago, and the factory will never have to worry about product liability for this revolver. Is it a true factory engraved firearm? Unfortunately, the answer has to be no. It does, however, have ties to the factory through Dick Shaw and his use of it in his sales presentations.

But does this Maximum have any collector's value or would value just be on par with any other Maximum? Could the value actually be decreased because it would be considered a non-factory or refinished firearm? To answer these questions, one only has to look at the exquisite engraving by the late Bernard Wolfe and ask "Would it fit in my Ruger collection?" With its inherent quality of both manufacturing and engraving and its unusual history, it fits very well in mine and I value it highly, just as I did my friendship with the man that commissioned the engraving.

 


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Paul Lantuch - Master Engraver

By Donnie Findley

Paul Lantuch grew up in Vilnius, Lithuania. Vilnius, located in southeast Lithuania, is known for its Old Town of beautiful architecture. As a young boy his passions were horseback riding and drawing. As a teenager he visited the Hermitage Museum at St. Petersburg. While there, he saw a section of the Greek Classic collection and left with an acute awareness of "cleanliness of thought and unadulterated by unnecessary details" displayed in 4th and 5th century B.C. intaglios.

Paul returned to Vilnius with a new outlook on life and a vision for the direction he would take. He studied at the Vilnius Institute of Art. He became increasingly frustrated with the communist government’s interventions in education. Art history was screened to the point at which it would conform to communist idyllically. Paul and a group of friends began to publish an underground newspaper with essays devoted to government banned artists. The dissident group was arrested, interrogated, and expelled from the academy.

Paul realized it was not enough to draw; he felt the need to paint, etch, sculpt, engrave, as well as carve wood and stone. He felt that the more of these goals he achieved the more freedom he would possess. Through trial and error Paul developed techniques that would prove invaluable in his later commercial success. As his reputation as an artist/craftsman grew Paul began to receive more and more commissions from the private public. The government condemned such activities as capitalistic. Since his arrest he was only allowed to earn at minimum wage. The KGB frequently invaded his home to more thoroughly monitor his activities. Paul is quoted "I lived a more artistic life rather than a political life in Lithuania".

With his wife and daughter Paul immigrated to the United States in February of 1980 with $410.00 in his pocket. On arrival he was 33 years old, did not speak the language, and had no job. For the first couple of months Paul was unable to find employment. For a short time the family survived with assistance from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) until his wife found work in a sweat shop. She worked there until they moved to Connecticut.

After living in the U.S. for about two months, Paul's big break came by way of his old friend Leonid Tarassuk. Paul met Leonid in 1970 back in Lithuania. Tarassuk and his family had immigrated to the USA in the mid-70s. Leonid's friend, R.L. Wilson, arranged a meeting (for Paul) with CEO and co-founder of Sturm, Ruger & Co., William B. Ruger, Sr. Ruger was in the market for an in-house engraved. When Bill (Ruger) asked Paul if he could engrave a gun for him as a sample of his engraving abilities, Paul answered "sure!" He had engraved exactly zero guns. He had experience in creating and designing jewelry - some engraving was involved in that process. Bill gave him a Red Label shotgun and a cash advance for tools and material. Paul took the shotgun back to his apartment, in Brooklyn, New York where he and his family had settled. After several days of nervous agonizing, he started to lay out a design. In three months the shotgun was finished. He got the job. From that day forward engraving was Paul's primary trade.

 


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The Lantuch family moved to Fairfield, Connecticut, just down the road from the Ruger, Southport plant. Paul was allowed to work from home away from the distractions from the busy Ruger factory. As he settled in and life became more stable Paul was involved in jewelry design and print making along with creating jewelry.

Ruger closed the Southport plant in 1991. R.L. Wilson managed a group of engravers, engraving mainly Colt firearms. Paul joined Wilson’s group for the next couple of years, until contacted by Neiman Marcus Precious Jewelry Dept. For the next six years he became a vendor for Neiman Marcus where he designed and created jewelry for Neiman Marcus. After the disaster of 9/11 Neiman Marcus laid off most of their vendors.

Off and on for several years Sturm, Ruger had contemplated opening a Custom Shop. In 2003 Bill Ruger, Jr. started plans for creating the Ruger Studio of Art and Decoration. Firearms engraving would be the principal “product” of the new Studio. Ruger contacted Paul Lantuch for his opinion on the creation of the Studio, and to see if he would run it. The new Studio opened in January of 2004 with Paul at the helm. He rounded up his former bench jewelers and taught them the basics of the trade. Work at the Studio was intense and did not allow Paul time for outside contracts. The Ruger Studio is no longer in operation. Sturm, Ruger now offers engraving services through Baron Technology, Inc.

For the next five years Paul engraved shotguns, on a commission basis, for the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co., owned and managed by Antony Galazan. The next two years were devoted to engraving guns for Westley Richards & Co. Work for Westley Richards was also done on commission.

 


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Flush gold inlaid (P85): "WILLIAM B. RUGER"

Pair of gold inlaid and engraved Ruger P85 9mm center fire pistols. Grip frames for production P85s are cast aluminum. These grip frames were special made of steel for engraving. Stock grip panels (shown) were later replaced with hand fitted ebony made by Lantuch.

 


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Ruger Two Millionth Blackhawk single action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, serial number 48-26078. Gold inlaid with three colors of gold. Engraving in floral vine pattern. The legend "TWO MILLIONTH" inlaid in yellow gold, outlined in rose gold atop the 5½ inch barrel. Hand fitted ivory grips with a 24 karat gold medallion set in both panels. Donated to the N.R.A.'s Institute for Legislative Action, 2007.
Paul's personal Super Blackhawk engraved with recessed relief and inlaid in 22 karat gold, finished in brown patina, 1987 and Paul's Super Blackhawk relief carved mammoth ivory grips with 18K gold and silver bezel holding Canadian chrome jade
 


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Three Millionth Ruger .22 pistol. Serial number started with "1" in 1949. Ruger Mark III stainless target model with fluted barrel. Engraved and gold inlaid. "THREE MILLIONTH-RUGER .22 CAL. LONG RIFLE- MARK III TARGET" inlaid in gold just below the rear sight.
50th Anniversary .44 Magnum Flattop New Model Blackhawk, serial number 89-00527. Engraved in western scroll. 24K gold inlays, Ruger logo inlaid on the recoil shield and gold bands on the cylinder and barrel. Engraved and signed by Paul Lantuch at the Ruger Studio of Art and Decoration, 2006. After market carved elephant ivory grip panels produced and carved by Nutmeg Sports, Tolland, CT. From the collection of Bill Cross.
 


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Paul has been acknowledged by the Firearms Engravers Guild of America for “excellence in engraving” as a Master Engraver. That title is not awarded casually, but must be earned. Paul is also a master at carving precious stone and ivory. In designing and creating beautiful jewelry his abilities would be hard to match. No doubt, his print design and execution will be ranked among the best in that field. The photographs included here will speak for his gold inlay design and implementation. Paul believes he is still learning and his best work is still ahead. History will remember Paul Lantuch as one of the outstanding artists of all time.

*All art, inlay, and engraving featured here was executed by Paul Lantuch unless stated otherwise.

Paul Lantuch at his work bench at New Haven CT
Special Thank You to Mr. Paul Lantuch
 


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RUGER COLLECTORS DISPLAY SHOW
DALLAS ARMS COLLECTORS ASSOCIATION
DALLAS MARKET HALL, DALLAS, TX
SEPTEMBER 21 & 22, 2013

By Bill Hamm

The Dallas Arms Collectors Association (DACA) invited the Ruger Collectors Association to Dallas for their September 2013 Display show. The show is a 2,000 table venue at Dallas Market Hall. Ten displayers made the trip to show off their Ruger Firearms, Ruger Tools and Memorabilia.

The DACA judged our Ruger Displays along with the other displays of vintage Gatling & Machine guns, Colt SAAs and Remington Percussion revolvers. The "Remington Percussion Revolvers" won the 1st Place Award and deservingly so, it was an outstanding display!! But Rugers did well!! Vince Carabetta's "Ruger Old Model Blackhawk .41 Magnum" Display placed 2nd and Bill Hamm's "Fancy Rugers" Engraved Single-Sixes placed 3rd in the overall judging and were awarded nice cash prizes. Bill Hightower's "My Favorite .44 Flattops" won the "Bronze Medal Award".

The DACA also gave all the table holders their table money back and a pot of award money just to be allocated among the Ruger Displays. The DACA Judges then judged the Rugers displays alone. Vince Carabetta's "Ruger Old Model Blackhawk .41 Magnum" won 1st Place, Bill Hamm's "Fancy Rugers" won 2nd and Rick Verzal's "US Marked target Pistols" won 3rd. Cash prizes were allotted to each winner. Bill Hightower's #51 Blackhawk .44 Flattop with its box and shipper was judged the Red Eagle News Exchange "Best Of The Show" Award.

 


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"FANCY RUGERS"
Bill Hamm, Alabama
"DACA Third Place Award" and "Ruger Second Place Award"

I displayed five of my favorite factory engraved Ruger Single-Sixes. Featured were two of the very rare 20 consecutively numbered Single-Sixes sent to Spain for engraving in December 1954 (#5100 -#5119). #5100 and #5115 were displayed. Both appear to be new with their presentation display cases. Original sales invoices from their original buyers were displayed. #5100 sold for $100 + $1 shipping in April 1964 and #5115 sold for $100 + $3 sales tax in July 1964. Interesting that after they were sent to distributors/consignees in September 1956, it was over 7 years before they were sold.

A Charles H. Jerred “All Blue” #24394, my first engraved Single-Six #44934 in its presentation case and one of the last seven guns engraved by Jerred at the end of Ruger’s engraving program, #100718, were also displayed.

I would like to thank the DACA for the invitation and all of their hospitality, we sure appreciate it!! I also want to especially thank Billy Carter, past President of the DACA, for joining us for dinner Saturday night and taking care of our every need while we were at the show!!

We all had a great time!! We all got together for a fine dinner together on Saturday night and talked guns, especially Rugers, deep into the night! I only wish a lot of other Ruger folks would have joined us in the fun! If you get a chance to attend any of the Ruger display shows please take the opportunity, I do believe that you would enjoy it!!

 


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RUGER COLLECTORS' ASSOCIATION
DISPLAY SHOW
WANEMACHER'S TULSA ARMS SHOW
NOVEMBER 9 - 10, 2013

Narrative by Bill Hamm and Pictures by Vince Carabetta

We want to thank Mr. Joe Wanemacher for inviting the Ruger Collectors' Association to take part in the NRA Display Show held at his great Tulsa Arms Show. Mr. Wanemacher's show had over 4,000 tables with about anything a gun person could desire. A lot of great Rugers of all types and variations were for sale and/or trade and some great treasures went home with collectors!

We had eight outstanding displays representing our fine Ruger firearms that were included in the NRA Display Show Exhibits. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the displayers, many who traveled long distances, for sharing their outstanding collections with other collectors and the general public. Our beloved Ruger Firearms made a fine showing among the other NRA Firearms Exhibits. We sure appreciate all their hard work and effort. It was very evident that a lot of time and research was put into getting these quality displays ready for the show. There were many very interesting, rare and unique guns and items on display. The public and other collectors enjoyed browsing through the Ruger displays as evidenced by their continuous presence at the display tables.

AWARDS DINNER & AUCTIONS

Well over 50 people attended the Saturday Evening Awards dinner and auction. Dave Lortscher organized and ran the event again this year and did a great job. Fun was had by all!

Mr. Phil Schreier, Senior Curator at the NRA's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA joined us right after dinner to make a special presentation. Phil presented the 18th annual NRA's Collectors Award for the "Outstanding Ruger Exhibit" sponsored by the Ruger Collectors' Association. Thank you to the RCA. The award went to Vincent Carabetta for his "Ruger Old Model Blackhawk .41 Magnum" display! The Ruger Collectors Association also gave an Award Certificate and one year free membership to the RCA to all First place winners in the Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice Category. Thank you Jay Hansen.

The Ruger Collectors Tulsa Display Show Fund then gave each 1st Place winner in the Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice Category a beautiful "Engraved Crystal" award. Dave also handed out a lot of Ruger goodies to all of the displayers.

Next, the RENE gave an Award Certificate and one year free membership for the "Best of the Show". This year's winner was Mike Womble for his outstanding pair of consecutively numbered NIB Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattops", #25 & #26, complete with their original numbered boxes and outer shipping sleeves!! The RENE gave a one year free membership to all 1st place winners in the three above mentioned categories.

 


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Next came our Live Auctions and the results of our silent auctions and raffles. This is how we raise money for our Display Show Awards and NRA Annual Meeting Display. Many Auction items were contributed by various Collectors and we certainly want to thank them for their generosity.

Dave began by announcing the winners of our Raffles and Silent Auction. Next we held a live Auction with Terry Wolosek acting as our Auctioneer. The bidding was spirited, we had a lot of new attendees that really got into the bidding and helped us raise our needed funds for display awards!! Terry did a great job squeezing ever cent he could get out of the items and raising needed funds to be used for our displayer awards. Heck, if the bids did not go high enough he would try to out bid everyone and buy it himself GREAT job Terry!!

I want to recognize and give a big THANK YOU to Pat Hunsinger and Kim Kamler. These two special ladies kept track of the numerous auction bids and managed the collection of the Auction funds!! They really helped me out.

We want to thank Vince Carabetta for contributing the little Single-Six to be transformed in to this year's Tulsa "Show Gun". We also want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Doug Turnbull, CEO of Turnbull Manufacturing, for his continued support and for making the beautiful "Show Gun" come to life!! This Single-Six was polished, case hardened, ivory stocked and engraved with 75% coverage by Tom McArdle, Master Engraver!! We also want to take this opportunity to thank Lee Newton, Ruger No. 1 Collector Extraordinaire, who won the “Show Gun” raffle and immediately donated it back to be auctioned off to raise additional funds for the Tulsa Display Show fund!!

Next we want to extend our thanks to Terry Wolosek for working with the Ruger Company to obtain some fine new Rugers to be auctioned off to support our Tulsa Display Show Awards Fund. And we certainly want to thank the Ruger Company for so generously donating three guns to us for our auction. They gave us one of the newly announced Red Label Shotguns, a Ruger SR22 Pistol and an American .22 Caliber rifle. These guns received hearty bids and went to some very lucky folks!

We know that everyone who attended had a great time! We hope that all of you reading this article will plan to attend, contribute some auction items and hopefully bring a display to one of our future display shows. We always need auction items and every contribution no matter how small sure does help so I ask that you please consider helping us out. Ask anyone who attends or has attended; you will have a lot of fun so plan to come next year.

 


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Descriptions and pictures of the displays are shown below:
 


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Descriptions and pictures of the displays are shown below:
 


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Descriptions and pictures of the displays are shown below:
 


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Announcing a fresh new book
Gun Digest Book of Ruger Revolvers

Firearms enthusiast and author Max Prasac calls the Ruger revolver "Every Man's Revolver." In Prasac's new book, Gun Digest Book of Ruger Revolvers, he qualifies that claim with the history and technology that have propelled Ruger to its iconic status in the firearms world.

Gun Digest Book of Ruger Revolvers is a definitive historical guide to Ruger revolvers and is jammed full of information for collectors and Ruger owners. Prasac shares various stories behind Ruger's rise to distinction in the firearms community. The book covers details for several single-action and double-action Ruger models. Readers will find information on technological innovations of the Ruger revolver, custom Rugers and tips on hunting with the revolver. Hardcover, 8.25" x 10.88", 256 pages and more than 300 full-color photographs detail the complex machine that is the Ruger revolver.

"Something just feels right about a Ruger," Prasac says. "They are not the most refined firearms, but they are very well engineered, built like a tank, not fragile in the least and they will serve you well for generations. Ruger strength is the stuff of legends."

Become a Ruger revolver expert by picking up an autographed copy of Gun Digest Book of Ruger Revolvers directly from the RCA. The price is $33.00 + $5.00 shipping & handling. Each book will be autographed by the author.

About the Author
Max Prasac was introduced to revolvers at an early age by his father. That introduction became a lifelong passion. Today, Prasac is a frequent contributing author to publications such as Bear Hunters Online and the NRA's American Hunter. He is also the author of Gun Digest's popular Big-Bore Revolvers.



 


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