|07 Aug 2011 05:12 PM
[b]Story and Photos by Dave Lortscher[/b]
I have to say that the show in Harrisburg this year was the best to date. Just when you think the displays could not get any better and you’ve seen it all, someone opens up a whole new meaning to Wow! In this year’s case that someone was everyone. The displays were all exceptional with some very unique pieces on display.
The intermediate class this year was headed up by Russ Doucette and his exceptional display of the John Wayne offerings from Ruger.
Russ had both the serial #1 blue JW and serial #1 Stainless JW. The stainless one was without the engravings. It was just a plain gun with the JW serial.
The John Wayne .32 short barrel on display was the first JW gun completed even though it was serial #19 it was not a prototype but was the first gun to have been finished.
Also on display was the hand engraved Serial # JWV1001. It has a last cowboy engraving on the backstrap. This gun is unique as only 1000 guns were to be made yet this is JWV1001, and it has the last cowboy engraving on it. Russ is still digging for more info to see if this was the prototype for the 1000 standard JW guns. Either way it appears to be the last cowboy John Wayne gun Ruger has ever done.
Russ's fine display was awarded Best of show for the Intermediate class. Russ will be moving up to the advanced class for his next display. Congratulations to Russ on an exceptional display and wonderful collection.
Jack Coogan with “Take it to the Max….Ruger .357 Maximum”
Jack informed us that one of the contributing factors to the demise of the 357 Max was the testing done not on a Ruger max but on a Seville. The testing was done to see why the competitor’s gun did not show the same problem and troubles of the Ruger. It was after this testing that Ruger abandoned the project. The Seville shows many signs of testing including several dimples on various areas of the gun from hardness testing.
Jack also included the #32 prototype in his display along with several low numbered guns. Serial 9, 10, and 11, as well as 19, 20 and 54. The serial #54 gun was previously owned by John Wootters.
Serial #143 from Bill Ruger’s yacht boat captain William Harris and #108 and #1000 rounded out the display.
David Lortscher rounded out the intermediate class with a display entitled “Ruger Collecting 101” David educated collectors as to the different ways we expand our collections.
Included was a Liberty edition 25-06 One Shot Antelope gun originally presented to Mr. Paul Thayer. Mr. Thayer was the Dep. Secretary of Defense for President Ronald Reagan. Other firearms included John Wootters Custom 338-06 Number One and a pristine 3 digit boxed Bearcat.
David received an award from Nick Jubinski, the shows promoter, for the most educational display of show.
Up a class we found Rod Kirian taking home RCA top honors in the masters class.
Rod showed us his fine collection of “A baker’s dozen of Early Ruger 44 Flattops”. Rod’s display included two, three and four digit flattops. Among them was #59 and three rare version one flattops in serials #121, 204 and 379.
Most astounding was his find of serial #738. What makes this one so unique is that it was included with the original box and shipper with the railway label still on the split top shipper! The box was mint will all paperwork including the original sales receipt from a sporting goods store in Chicago Illinois.
The dozen displayed were all stag gripped with the lone “Baker” being Ivory. Rod was very appreciative to all those that have helped him make this collection possible.
Other fine displays included Tyrone Phillips and his display entitled “Ruger Collecting terms 101” Tyrone’s fine display educated the public on some of the terms we use as collectors such as transfer bars and the safety conversion, Old Model vs New Model, and what to look for in non-firearm collectables.
In his display were a variety of items including a Red Eagle auto, Brass frame 45 Old Model, Lightweight Single Sixes and an abundance of memorabilia.
Included in that memorabilia among the books and patches, was probably the most unique Ruger item I have ever seen. A little pocket game that was used as a Promo to announce the new “44 Flattop. As of this time the whereabouts of only three like it is known. There also appears to be two versions to the game as the “holes” in some are in different locations.
Terry Tawney again made the 3000 mile journey from California to show us his collection of “Unusual Ruger Double Action Revolvers”. Terry had many rare pieces including three Speed Sixes that were mis-marked as “Police Service Six”. Included was one of two known San Francisco Sheriff Dept. marked guns.
He also showed one of two known low back GA-36 (6” stainless 357mag. Security Six), un-cataloged Liberty GS-84 (4” stainless .38 spl. Speed Six) and one of two known un-cataloged Liberty GF-32 (2 ¾” stainless 357mag. Police Service Six). Terry has since learned of a third un-cataloged Liberty GF-32
Others included a RCMP prototype SDA-85H-CM (5” blued, 38 spl Police Service Six), a CHP prototype GA-86T (6” stainless 38 spl. Security Six), an un-cataloged GF-33 (3” stainless 357mag. Police Service Six), an un-cataloged GS-83 (3” stainless 38 spl. Speed Six), a SDA-384L, and a SDA-384 both in 380 rim (38 S&W) Both are 4” blued Police Service Six. The ‘L’ designates a lanyard ring.
The SDA-384 was formally owned by Skeeter Skelton and given to him as a gift by Bill Ruger. It is marked “Ruger Service Six”, the export marking, rather than “Ruger Police Service Six”.
Many thanks to Terry for again making the trip to educate us on Ruger Six Series Double Actions.
Nick Jubinski, the show promoter, awarded Terry the award for furthest distance traveled to display for a second year in a row.
Lee Sundermeier stepped out from behind the short guns to show us his beautiful collection of Number Ones. “Announcing the New Ruger No 1 Rifle” included several early and transitional examples of the younger years of the Number One rifle.
Lee’s collection included serial #40 that was shipped to Gopher Shooting Supply in Minnesota. The rifle remains unfired. Another early three digit 7mag in AB configuration and a four digit 222 and 25-06.
Lee’s early transitional 130 prefix included a very early 1S 7mag and a 1H 375 H&H. Both showed the early checkering pattern on the grip and two panel on the forend. One of Lee’s favorites (and mine) was an exceptional figured 1B in 25-06. The Burl wood figure in this rifle is nothing less than stunning. This rifle has shown to be exceptionally accurate and sports a nice Leupold tactical scope. Another favorite shooter is a 22-250 1V also with a Leupold target scope.
Last and certainly not least was a 1S 38-55. Was make this rifle so special was not only the exceptional quality of the wood but a tag inside the box that said “Hold for Mr. Ruger”. Evidently Bill was a big fan of the 38-55 and fortunately for Lee he never got around to this one. The box shows several years worth of inventory tags from storage at the factory.
Lee also educated us with information on the scope rings used on the early guns. Both vertical and early big hole horizontal rings were shown as was a Mershon pad and 1967 catalog.
Mike Womble and the “Standard Variations of Ruger 44 Flattops” Mike teaches us there are eight different known variations of the 44 Flattop. Each of these was represented
Type 1 and the serrated ejector rod button.
Type 2 and the dimpled ejector rod.
Type 3 with its collared base pin.
Type 4 with straight slot ejector rod housing.
Type 5 with 7 ½” barrel.
Type 6 with a 10” barrel.
Type 7 with 6 1/2’ bbl and XR3red grip frame
Type 8 6 ½” bbl XR3red grip frame and un-fluted cylinder
Also shown was an example of a box for each of the barrel lengths. Shipping sleeves for each as well as period correct advertising and memorabilia.
Mike really topped of the display by also showing each of the grip options for these flattops by showing the wood, Stag and Ivory that was available as an option.
Nick Jubinski awarded Mike the promoters Best of Show award. Congratulations Mike.
The Masters class assembled at this show was nothing short of awe inspiring. All displayers showed us a culmination of years of collecting. Though this category is not judged each displayer still enters into the Best Ruger of Show award completion. Bill Hamm was this shows winner. Many thanx to Lee Sundermeier for the difficult task of judging this award
Bill Hamm and his “Fancy Ruger’s” left me speechless. Spanish engraved #5100 is the first gun (in the first group of twenty consecutive serial numbered Single-Sixes), that was sent to Spain for engraving at the beginning of Mr. Ruger's engraving program. I spent much time admiring this beautiful piece of artwork. I will let the picture tell the rest.
Also displayed were a pair of blued Single Six’s that were Jerred engraved. Serials 24372 and 24374 Also a triplet of Jerred engraved Single Sixes. 44933, 44934 and 44935. Serial #50689 was shown in its original display case. Each of these exceptional pieced of functional art has its original display case and all paperwork. Kudos to Bill for such a nice collection.
James Schafer and his” Single Six Lightweights” was very informative. I for one had no idea how many variations there were. Jim had a couple of three digit guns that had dimpled ejector rod housings, round loading gate and tri-color.
Four of the dual tone guns displayed were factory seconds with all four receiving the “S” stamping on the revolver. Two were marked in front of the trigger guard and two next to the serial number.
The collection also included a Fake factory second gun. It was marked with an “S” in front of the serial but does not letter as such. It was show to have left the factory as a normal production gun. Many thanx to Jim for teaching us to occasionally beware.
Jim also had displayed examples of both green and black wreath boxes. One box also was marked”used to ship factory second”
Thanx again to Jim for another fine display.
Matt Olivier showed us why indeed, he is BigBore 45Colt with his Massive display of Old Model 45’s.
Matt’s display spanned 16’ and two tables. Entitled “A Sampling of 45 Caliber Blackhawks”
Matt's display included 11 Old Model 45 caliber Blackhawks. Serial numbers displayed were 45-00006, 45-00009, shipped to John Amber, editor of Gun Digest, 45-00010, shipped to Len Brownell, Ruger employee, 45-00011, shipped to Mike Horelik, Ruger VP of Manufacturing at the time, 45-00024, shipped to Bill Lett, of Lett's Grips, 45-00051, shipped to Fred Davis, the pioneer or Ruger collecting, 45-00052, shipped to George Hamilton, brother-in-law to Bill Ruger, 45-00391, a December, 1970 (first month) production gun, and his first ever old model 45 Blackhawk purchased at a local gun store, 45-00666, flat new in the box with shipper, and 45-07368, one of only two known factory second (""S"" stamped) old model 45s. All guns were boxed with original paperwork. Most guns had their original shipping sleeve as well.
Many thanx to Matt for and impressive display and all his hard work.
Bill Hightower and “My favorite 44 Flattops” well they weren’t mine, they were in fact his, but several are indeed my favorites now. Bill’s favorites were each a different barrel length. The 6 ½” was #51. The 7 ½” was serial 24550 and my favorite was the #20708 with the 10” barrel. The 10” gun was displayed with its original box and shipping sleeve.
Also on display were some early magazine ads promoting the 44 Flattop.
Bill may make a flattop guy out of me yet. Thanx Bill for a great display.
I would like to thank Matt Olivier for all of his continued hard work. We should all thank him for coordinating displays like this. This takes Matt a great deal of time and effort I am sure.
Many thanx for all the great donations we received to help with the RCA display show fund.
Sturm Ruger and Co. for their continued support and their always generous donations. Ruger always seems to find some unique treasures for us to use for prizes and auction fund raisers.
I would like to thank Rob Leahy from Simply Rugged Holsters for donating two of his very fine holsters. The workmanship was excellent.
Thanx you to Doug Turnbull and Keith VanOrman of Turnbull Manufacturing for helping us out again this year and again working their magic by turning our raffle gun into a work of art.
Thank you Ed Schultz from Private's Customs Grips for donating a beautiful set of grips. The grips were a wonderful set of American Holly.
Turnbull’s, Rob Leahy’s and Private Schultz’s efforts were combined to make a magnificent revolver package that any Ruger aficionado would be proud to own. The end result is just stunning as you can see. Congratulations to Chris Heckart for winning this package and supplying the nice phots of his loot!!
Thanx you to Jay Hansen and the RCA for donating a year’s membership to the winner of each class.
Thank you to Chad Hiddleson and the Red Eagle New Exchange for again donating a year’s subscription to both Russ and Rod for winning their respective classes. Bill Hamm also received a subscription for best gun of show.
On behalf of the RCA I would also like to thanx Nick Jubinski the shows promoter, for having us back again. All of us who displayed and attended were warmly welcomed by Nick and the public. Nick took the time to stop by everyone’s table, shake their hand and thank them for coming.
For those of you considering doing a display I encourage you to do so. It is easier than you think, and far more rewarding than you can imagine. Someone once told me it was not a “woodworking contest” (thanx Dan). I have learned and still learn from those who have been at it far longer than I have.
Our goal for the RCA displays is to “Educate and Inform” the public. We did that in spades this year with everyone contributing.
Lastly I would like to encourage others to come out and share in the comradely that accompanies these events. From the days at the show, to the banquet dinners. Fun and good times are to be had by all.
Thanx to my Ruger family for another great show.