Old Model Mystery

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lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
Hi all,

I have a mystery that can only be solved with your help. The father of one of my closest friends died recently. His father would rotate with three other fathers taking us kids shooting on Saturdays. We were all very familiar with our local gun stores. When his father died he inherited as part of a very large gun collection 4 Old Model Blackhawks. The Blackhawks normally would not have been a surprise but they were consecutive serial number guns.

The mystery is that I always thought that ordering consecutive serial numbered Rugers was a recent thing. In the late 1950s early 1960s how common was it to find consecutive numbered guns in a store? None of us remember any of the 3 gun stores keeping more than 1 or 2 of any model in stock unless it was S&W or Colt. Now before you say that your local gun store kept a large stock of single action Rugers back then, that might be true but we grew up in Miami. The big gun store push did not start until the 1980s.

My buddy will be calling Ruger this week to see if they have any information.
 

WMB30

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 16, 2004
Messages
441
Location
Reno,Nv
Ifpiii

Have your buddy ask Ruger for letters on those Blackhawks as to what they shipped as, when and to who. I'm no help late 50s early 60s Blackhawks I'm getting light headed 4 in a row I think I'm passing out.......KLUNK
Bill
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,756
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
In general,, most gun shops did NOT get consecutive numbered guns. But,, it did happen occasionally. Back in the early 80's,, a friend & I went to a police supply house for him to purchase a handgun. I went along to have him purchase me a Security-Six. (I wasn't a cop,, he was.) When I asked to see a couple of the Security's,, the guy brought out 2 of them,, & the numbers were just 4 apart. I asked if he had any "with the numbers in line." He came back with 3 sets of consecutive guns. I nearly fell over,, & I started digging into my wallet. I had enough $ for one for me,, and a friend had given me some $$ in case I found a good deal. Well, My friend & I own a set of consecutive Securities. But if I had been able to,, I would have been matching up as many as I could have & bought them.
So,, it does happen from time to time,, and it sounds like you may have been able to get a serious set of consecutives there.
 

chet15

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 22, 2001
Messages
5,726
Location
Dawson, Iowa
Had heard stories in the past from some pretty credible sources that Ruger even made the attempt to not ship consecutive serial numbered guns to their distributors. Would be tough to do though I would think...and would waste valuable manufacturing time.
More than likely it would seem that the reason for not seeing consecutive guns go to the same distributor in the same shipment was a case of the huge delay between first and last steps of all guns through the manufacturing process since Ruger has never produced their guns "intentionally" in serial number order, although they are serial numbered that way. But once the sn is put on, consecutive guns could leave the factory months or even years apart.
But expounding on the "consecutive" serial numbered thing, WBR was funny about things like that....that is, anybody having an opportunity to make more $ off a gun that what he was able to sell it for originally. And it has long been recognized that "consecutives" often have a potential of bringing a premium.
Chet15
 

lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
Well my buddy called Ruger on Monday and there are more questions than answers. He first got put on hold for ten minutes and then they told him they would have to find a file before they could give him an answer. They called him back on Wednesday. The guns were a special order approved personally by Bill Ruger. According to a letter in the file it looks like Bill and Charles’ father had meet at one time. Way cool!!! The guns were shipped directly to him at the MPD. Charles Sr. retired as a Captain with the MPD. Ruger is sending him a copy of the letter and historical letters for the guns.

But all this opens up more questions.

1. Why did he order 4 identical guns? Before anyone says anything. Charles’ family is old Miami money. Dad became a cop because he wanted it was certainly not for the money.

2. When would he have every meet Bill Ruger? He did go to police conventions every year. It is possible that they could have meet a convention but did Ruger even make any guns law enforcement would have purchased prior to 1960?

3. Why did his dad never mention Bill Ruger? Charles and I always hung on all his gun and police stories. I would have remembered a store on meeting Bill Ruger.

Sadly I do not think we will ever get answers.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
7,938
Location
Ohio , U.S.A.
good for them, part of Ruger lore and years back ,Ruger was always trying to get in the 'LE' business, ALL the time............. BUT, in this case you say they are 'Blackhawks' ,which are single action, and not really for 'LE'????yes, "consecutive" numbers do turn up but as you have found out, this case was "on purpose" very neat and interesting, but with his death went all the 'reasons why' lots of this sort of thing took place alll the time in the gun business, and by ALL the gun makers, people knew and met ,OTHER people and human nature is to calll for and ask for "favors"...MAYBE Ruger wanted an "in" to a local 'PD', I know Smith ,Colt and Beretta did this ALL the time, would trade a departments guns ( used) just to get them to use their guns............I knoe this because one of my shops back in the early 80's, LE/PD sales was our primary business, and we "bid" on orders and service.......
very interesting, and really "neat"... you never said what models (vintage) of guns they are? so hard to put a value on the 'set'..................

reminds me of our having 4 consecutive Bearcats back then, and yes, we sold them to 4 different people.... :cry:
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
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3,190
Location
51st state of Jefferson
Wow... :shock: What an intriguing story! Keep us up to speed OK? :wink: (BTW. An aside, I wonder if the "new" Winchester still has the sales records from the 40's? I have a .270 that Col Whelen ordered for himself but let my dad buy instead after WW2 when new guns were scarce. The documentation was lost decades ago in a move, but I'd like to get new verification to pass on to my son along with grampa's rifle....Anybody know about checking out old Winnies? Is there a fee involved? Check with Win or some historical group?...Don't mean to claimjump the topic so please PM if you have any ideas.. :wink: )
 

VAdoublegunner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
459
Location
Virginia, USA
Are all 4 Blackhawks in the same chambering, I assume .357Mag?

Maybe the intent was to hold them for family members or as gifts for his 3 closest friends since they rotated shooting trips with them and if he was the last one living he ended up with them all. Sort of a Blackhawk tontine. That is a truly interesting story in any case.
 

americal

Hunter
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
2,174
Location
Alabama, Athens
SURE would like to see photos --sounds GREAT :!: what model are they :?: like cal.--barrel length-- flattops-- etc --very interesting 8) tell us more :) if you don't mind :)
 

lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
single action":2pcyxf3m said:
where did Bill Ruger keep his yacht? could that be a clue? sa

I had been focusing on a lawenforcement connection but this could be it. Twice a year all of us would go to Key West and the adults went deep sea fishing. Us kids stayed on the beach and road dune buggies. Back then Key West was still a sleepy little town.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
What a fascinating story. We collectors are starving for more info!

At least give us calibre and partial serial numbers, i.e. like XX12, XX13, XX14 & XX15........

R.L.Wilson's Ruger and His Guns does indeed make mention of Titania being anchored in Florida........

flatgate

worthless.gif
 

lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
The guns have a barrel length of 5-1/2 in 357mag. The serial numbers date the guns as 1960 production. The guns end in xx30, xx31, xx32 and xx33.

Now does anyone know if Ruger sat on guns like S&W? At one time you could find a S&W serial numbered as 1960 production but not shipped from the factory unitil 1963.

Does anyone know if the R.L.Wilson's Ruger and His Guns book shows a picture of the boat?

Charles is going to look over his father's old files for more information. I plan to also look at old family records that my sister is storing when I go to Florida for a wedding.

I just hope we can get to the bottom of this soon. The mystery is driving me crazzzzy.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,756
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Now it gets even more interesting. Barrels at 5-1/2"???? They made them in 4-5/8" & 6-1/2",,,!!!!!!!
Yes,, guns did get "held" at the factory,, and shipped years after being built. Not totally uncommon.
Mr Wilson's book I do believe it has a pic of the yacht.
KEEP DIGGING FOR MORE INFO!
 

lfpiii

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
632
Location
Illinois
w18764560":1u4zsq8d said:
Hey what part of Miami? Igrew up shooting at what became Trail Glades...Tamiami Guns...do you remember it?
:0)

I grew up off of 115 Ave and 53rd St. I would go shooting at the Tamiami Gun range at the Concord Plaza. I even dated the daughter of the manager for a couple of years.

I will double check on the barrel length. I am not a Old Model expert and after what was said, I think Charles might have made a mistake in barrel lenght.
 

GDLT31

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
16
Location
Lady Lake,Florida
OK you have my Ruger juices flowing,need photos,PLEASE.I won't touch I just want to see.I was born in Miami raised in Hialeah.And spent a lot money at Hialeah Gun Range.I still have my Ruger .44 Carbine.My first gun purchase,That was 41 years ago.
 

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