My 2nd lightweight; but which do I have?

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Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
I have a 1st variation Lightweight Tri-color # 204XXX. But too nice to shoot. Recently paid $195 for a no-finish 4 5/8" barrelled single six. Thought I had a compact 3 screw shooter. But, when I picked it up the 1st time after delivery to my dealer, I hit myself in the chin with it! I knew immediately I had a lightweight; maybe another 1st variation with very early number 200242. I think they started at 200032 (?).

Now here's where it gets interesting:
There's enough grey finish left on the cylinder frame to know it started life as a tri-color. BUT it has a blued steel cylinder AND does not have an "S" behind serial # or on bottom of the frame so doesn't appear to be an "S" model from 1964 or 1965. However, there is a capital "R" stamped in the underside of the cylinder frame under the trigger guard/grip frame. It has an XR3 grip frame with period correct walnut grip panels and medallions, earliest very curved trigger, #1 style ejector rod, #2 style steel housing, and although this gun obviously should have a flatgate, there is one of those aftermarket ill fitting contoured gates in its place. (now I have two for sale or trade)

Here are my questions:
Since it's not "S" stamped and still retains early trigger, #1 e. rod, #2 steel housing and XR3 grip, could I have another 1st variation tri-color retrofitted with a steel cylinder? When sent back to Ruger for retrofitting a steel cylinder (as so many were according to Dougan) did the factory stamp an "R" located as I described above? Does anyone have a Ruger contoured gate from the 3 screw era or flatgate to trade or sell? Does any one have a #4 alloy housing with no or little finish to somewhat make up for the weight of the steel cylinder? Were factory retrofitted cylinders engraved with the gun's serial #?

Well at least I have a lightweight I can shoot now. Thank you.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
It appears to me that your LW was returned to the Factory for work. The "R" stamping indicates it was fitted with the "Conversion Kit" lockwork. The presence of a steel cylinder in lieu of the aluminum version most likely indicates a new cylinder was fitted at Ruger. Since the gun was never a convertible Ruger probably wouldn't have numbered the cylinder to the gun, i.e. placing the last three digits of the s/n on the cylinder.

Premier Loading Gate?
357816416.jpg


Any Old Model Single-Six loading gate should work.

The walnut grips were most likely fitted after the gun was originally produced. The Lightweights began at s/n 200000 and continued up into the 212XXX range, IIRC.

What a fun shooter you have!

flatgate
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
7,771
I agree with Flatgate, and unless you get a verification that it just may have been a "second", I doubt it, sounds more like to me, the the 'martin coated cylinder' was just replaced with a replacement cylinder,for what ever reason, defective, worn lost or missing..no they will not and never did "refinish" those cylinders, and yes, the "R" definitely tells us it went back for the "safety update" and just may have been "serviced" for the cylinder, and yes, they may have ( we have seen many that were) numbered at this time ,in the front or yes, even the back end of the "new" cylinder......all the other features appear to have been left "intact"..yes, should be a "fun shooter....."
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,715
Rugerguy and flatgate,

Thank you both for the information. I believe it did have the transfer bar safety conversion by the factory at one time because it has a cylinder pin with the plunger in the end of it. And now your information about the R stamp prooves it. Apparently it was also converted back by someone. I'll need to find a standard cylinder pin as well.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
7,771
when you find the "parts sets" ( kits) the pin should also be in the bag...all the parts you need, just a question if the 'pawl' will work in your gun, if not use the one that s in the gun now, you can use it.......instead of one thats "wrong" (won't fit...)
 

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