That is probably about the right model for it to start, wasn’t much need for a subscription program when there was only ONE model, but the 44 Flat top seems about the right time, enough models for folks to start wanting to ‘match the numbers’, especially with the single actions.
Ruger's low serial number program technically began about August/September 1957. That is when Ruger decided to purge their archive of two-digit guns. Somebody must have convinced WBR (or maybe it was WBR himself) that he could make all the guns he wanted, so really didn't need to save all of those early guns... and a move to the Lacey Place address was soon in the future.
So in August/September 1957 friends of the factory or other important folks in the industry were assigned a number and at the time the individual may have received up to four guns (maybe even five). The .357 Blackhawk (flattop) and .44 Blackhawk (flattop) were the two that were definitely included. But, if they were still in the archive, the original Single-Six or even the Lightweight Single-Six may have been included in that shipment. I know of one set that may have also received the red eagle auto at that time (#0030) but haven't yet seen documentation on when the auto left the factory.
A few years earlier, In 1953/1954 Ruger decided to send writers and other important folk an early numbered Single-Six, probably to "wow" the individual with the low numbered example (but keep in mind, there was no intention at this time for future gun model production... so no official beginning of a program or assignment of a number). A few employees also got in on the action at that time, #4 went to Ruger's comptroller Walt Berger, the #5 eventually went to WBR, Jr., #6 to Ruger's patent attorney Hal Seagraves, etc. If you had a number assigned to you in 1953, 1954, you also received the later introductions.
For the Standard Auto in 1949, Ruger really didn't have a process for assigning a number. But I am 99% positive WBR intentionally set back the first 25 serial numbers up to 0025 for himself/archiving. Numbers 0026 and 0027 are known to have been among the first guns shipped commercially to the market. 7 and 8 went to Warren Page and Julian Hatcher. 3 was picked off the line for a Jack Boudreau who worked at the factory and was a well known competitive target shooter of the day. 0013 may have also went to somebody in the factory at an early date.
In 1976 and 1977 somebody (WBR?) gave the OK that a few of these first 25 autos could go to employees. 0012 went to longtime employee Walt Sych, 0024 went to WBR's buddy and grip maker Bill Lett, and 0025 went to Rugers PR man Ed Nolan. Several of these low numbered guns existed at that time only in the form of a barreled receiver (remember that numbers 1 through 8 never had an external serial number), and were safetly packaged away until (we heard) the new administration that came in after the Ruger family era decided to scrap them.
If there is a red eagle auto in the collection, it was never meant to be in such a collection... with the exception of maybe #30 mentioned above (maybe it was shipped in 1957), and 12, 24 and 25 which were added to the collections at least 27 years after they were made.
The Single-Six was the first in the set, in 1953/1954. And if you were a writer, employee or friend of the factory and got an early one or two-digit Single-Six in the 1953/54 time period, you probably also got your number in the .357 and .44 flattops in August/September 1957 when those were purged from the archive in 1957 and the "low serial number program" was officially begun. If the Lightweight was still in the archive in 1957 you may have received that as well.
I spoke with the original owner of the 103's. His first gun was the .44 flattop which he probably picked right off the line because the subscription sets weren't up to that high of a number by that time. But he received a bunch of 103's after that as far as I know... not sure about the Bearcat.
No subscriber ever received every one of his guns in the early days as far as I know. Often times a gun would get picked off the line and sent to somebody for testing or some such. I think the #10 Hawkeye went to Bob Brownell for example (might have been Len Brownell). Before that John Amber had a lot of the 10's. I think the 11's were pretty complete, but he never had the 0011 auto as far as I know.... Would have had to been released circa 76-77 probably if he would have requested it.