Well, the thought of Law Enforcement can probably be ruled out if these guns were indeed shipped in 1960. Ruger didn't have much of a production line at that time and the first true LE guns weren't introduced until 1970.
What is intriguing however would be the question of what condition are these guns in? Just from my past experiences, guns ordered for special purposes like this often remain as NIB condition with all papers, two-piece boxes and the outer brown cardboard shipping sleeve. Do we dare to dream?
At the very least, I'm thinking they are a run of 4 consecutively numbered 6-1/2" .357 flattops with 6-groove barrels :shock: , but would be a five-digit serial number instead of the four you described.
A lot of folks err in measuring the barrel from the end to the front of the cylinder frame, but the true measurement needs to go back to the front of the cylinder.
If he still has the boxes for these, they will also say BKH-36 6-1/2" barrel on the end.
I have an update. First the serial numbers are 5 not 4 digits, I just forgot to add an X. They have 6-1/2 barrels. I had to remind him the correct way to measure.
Ruger historical information confirmed that guns were shipped directly to him at the police department. Many do not know that until 1968 most people in the USA could order guns shipped directly to them. Good old days.
Only one of the guns appears to have been fired since it has a slight turn ring. I will be taking pictures when I get to FL.
He found the boxes and shipping containers. The four factory boxes came with a light brown / tan outer shipping box. All four packages were packaged in a larger box that was addressed to him at the department. The guns were shipped via USPS. Sadly for whatever reason his father penciled a serial number on the outside of each box.
The receipt shows a price of $84.00 per gun plus ivory grips $16.50 and walnut grips no charge. I wish that we had prices like that today. I should say that the extra grips are MIA but who knows. Does anyone know what kind of plastic they used back then to make the ivory grips? Was it bakelite or some other plastic?
I have ordered the Ruger book to see if there is some evidence of a personal connection. Chet15 confirmed what I thought. The connection cannot be law enforcement related. I will update as I get more information.
Ah, Ivory grips at $16.50.......that is a very, very strong clue that the guns were sent with Ruger's genuine Ivory Grips.
A pair of these grips command a four figure price!
Yeow! This story is AWESOME. Now, Ruger did NOT usually send guns directly to "consumers". Ruger was very dedicated to using distributors and dealers to market his products. So, what we have here is something special. Somebody knew somebody to make this deal happen.
Oh, no need to "hot poke" the grips. They are sorta heavy and the look is unmistakable, especially since they are over 50 years old.
Ruger purchased Ivory grips from a couple of suppliers back in the early '53 to late '56/early '57 period. Pistols and Revolvers states 610 pairs were ordered during that time.
Cost? Check out this advertisement I found in a circa '55 magazine....
Ruger also purchased stag grips from the "grip industry". As stated above the Ivorys were no longer ordered after early '57 and the Stags were phased out in '61/'62, IIRC.
PS One more observation, re: your comment about the serial numbers being written on the boxes. Ruger ALWAYS writes the guns' serial number on the surface of the shipping sleeves. (We collectors usually call the shipping sleeves a bookwrap or a shipper.) The packaging certainly adds to the value of the whole package. :shock: