Rugers best years

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RRMan03

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
33
Like all gun companies I am sure Ruger had a time frame where their fit ,finish and attention to detail on their revolvers was better than others. In your professional opinions what years did Ruger make their best Blackhawks and Single Sixes? Give me a from to a to in years.I know this is an opinionated question but having said that that is wht I want your opinions.I do not have the knowledge yet to form a valid opinion but I think all new guns do not show the craftsmanship that the oldr guns did.We all remember the Colts and Smiths and Rugers from days gone by.What hapened to all the hand fitting and hand polishing of those days. I know as I visit the plants from time to time.The new CNC machinery took out the skilled labor force buy doing the same work except 20 times faster but in that we lost one important think. The human touch. The guy who could look,feel and know if the gun was perfect.I remember watching the guy checker the grips for the N Frame guns at Smith. He was an artist. Now thats gone to a CNC woodworking machine. Sue no to guns were the same but that was what was so great about getting a new gun. You had the only one in the world exactly like it. Now they are produced to.001 tolerances so they are the exact same gun. Yes I am OLD SCHOOL.
 
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yes, they may have "lost" the human touch, but fitting cost time and money..I recall in conversations I had with Dan Wesson ( yes, THAT Dan Wesson) back in the spring of 1973, he told me he admired that Ruger ( the old man) could cast parts and have them close enough to "almost drop in, be used", thus saving time/money........I wish the guns were still "old school" ( old models) but with todays vastly better materials, improved alloys......the other thing is todays finishes are completely different , the polishing techniques ( yes, again, hand work for the most part) they may be more durable, easier to do, faster ( time /money again) and the lustre, "blue" is NOT there...the 'nitre' was removed from the salt baths, such as Houghtons and Dulites chemicals...............
LOOK closely at some of the many of the "old guns" and you can "see" just how rough and primitive many actually are, yes, "humans are just that,human" good days, bad days, Friday afternoons, and Monday mornings....ah yes, we miss those days........ 8)
 

chet15

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 22, 2001
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Dawson, Iowa
past years of 1949 into the 1990's were the best, but today is not bad either.
Worst time was during Ruger's transition after the Ruger's were out of the company. They fired a lot people at that time (a lot of knowhow) and with that went a lot of waste out the door, but also a lot of gunmaking experiennce. Guns were missing gripframe screws and even ejector housings, missing barrel rollmarks, front sights were not lined up with top dead center, guns were getting out with mis-matched calibers in barrels and cylinders. Just an overall bad time for the company. About 2009 though the problems pretty much cleared themselves up though.
Chet15
 

Chuck 100 yd

Hunter
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
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3,251
Location
Ridgefield WA
I just picked up a BH flat top Bisley 5 1/2" .44 Special a week ago.
Going over it with a fine toothed comb, I could not be happier with the workmanship from Ruger. The only issue I found was with the grip panel fit. They fit very good on the front and rear of the grip frame but are about 1/32" short on length leaving the frame standing proud. Knowing that Ruger does not make the grips, the quality of this gun is beyond good. I am very pleased.
I don`t own any 3 screw guns but the pair that my brother has are very nice but no better than my new .44 in fit or finish.
 

RRMan03

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
33
So from what i can gather you guys are just as happy with a new gun as an older one. That being said the only collector items should be items made in low numbers making them rare as the workmanship has nothing to do with the value of the gun. Now I am just going by what has been stated.I am not well enough educated on Rugers to know so I am learning that your are crazy to pay a high price for a great old gun when you can get a new one that is as good or better.
 

DonD

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
201
rugerguy said:
yes, they may have "lost" the human touch, but fitting cost time and money..I recall in conversations I had with Dan Wesson ( yes, THAT Dan Wesson) back in the spring of 1973, he told me he admired that Ruger ( the old man) could cast parts and have them close enough to "almost drop in, be used", thus saving time/money........I wish the guns were still "old school" ( old models) but with todays vastly better materials, improved alloys......the other thing is todays finishes are completely different , the polishing techniques ( yes, again, hand work for the most part) they may be more durable, easier to do, faster ( time /money again) and the lustre, "blue" is NOT there...the 'nitre' was removed from the salt baths, such as Houghtons and Dulites chemicals...............
LOOK closely at some of the many of the "old guns" and you can "see" just how rough and primitive many actually are, yes, "humans are just that,human" good days, bad days, Friday afternoons, and Monday mornings....ah yes, we miss those days........ 8)

Good post. While there were certainly more steps requiring hand work in older production, I believe for the most part that todays' guns are fine products. By and large, these new guns ARE made with much better materials and held to consistent and tighter tolerances than in the past.

Today, we have people like Les Baer guaranteeing 0.5 MOA groups out of the box, accuracy that was about unheard of even from custom smiths in the not too distant past.

Doesn't mean an occasional turkey/lemon doesn't escape the factories. That to be sure happened in the "good old days" as well, it's just now the internet allows unhappy or unreasonably critical buyers to scream out their anger to millions of other people. Don
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
Actually rarity comes from not only low production, but low serial numbers, desirable types of firearms, (High demand, and not enough to go around,) etc.
A good example is the OM 44 Flattops, & the OM 45 Blackhawks. Many made, but high desirability. Many of the NM's have been made in much lower quantity, yet do not command the $$$ the two listed above do.
 

No-1

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
296
In the mid 70s my wife gave me a SBH. Nice finish - but not as glossy/deep as a S&W. Great trigger for a production gun. Earlier this year I bought a early 60s Bearcat - still haven't shot it. It appears unused without even a hint of a turn line. It's a real gem. I've bought 3 No1 this past year all excellent even if you include the plum colored receiver on my 90s RSI.
 

Buckeye!

Blackhawk
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Joined
Jan 20, 2008
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Orange County, CA
Agree with Chuck 100 yard; my 2013 Lipsey's .44 Spl. Bisley Flattop is as well finished as any Ruger I've had, and I started buying them in the late 1950s. Maybe the "Distributor Specials" get a little extra, but I doubt it. I just checked the polish against my Gold Label and it is every bit as fine.

I have to admit to being a little surprised by the weight of the gun, tho. Not used to factory Blackhawks that are ALL STEEL! (But I'm gettin' used to it....fast.).

Not selling my shares.
 
Joined
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Kentucky
RRMan03 said:
So from what i can gather you guys are just as happy with a new gun as an older one. That being said the only collector items should be items made in low numbers making them rare as the workmanship has nothing to do with the value of the gun. Now I am just going by what has been stated.I am not well enough educated on Rugers to know so I am learning that your are crazy to pay a high price for a great old gun when you can get a new one that is as good or better.


All a matter of opinion. "Better" is in the eye of the beholder.

If all you want is a gun to shoot, perhaps hunt with, and care not at all for the history of Ruger and the Old Models, then by all means buy a New Model. Quite servicable guns, those.

If you want a usable gun with a little history and panache behind it, buy a "shooter" Old Model.

And if the Old Models just really blow your skirt up, regardless of condition, then by all means indulge yourself with one or more of these ol' wonders, letting your budget be your guide.

It's all good.

:)
 

finesse_r

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 6, 2013
Messages
291
The problem is the cost of labor. It would drive the cost of a revolver up by several hundred dollars to do the old time craftsmanship involved in hand fitting and polishing every gun and supporting a very large and active quality control section. Those are the things that no manufacturer, including S&W and for certain Colt do any longer, and have not done for a few decades.

It is a shame as that kind of craftsmanship produces some incredibly fine revolvers and beautiful revolvers. I can live with the tool marks, the burs, and even the slight anomalies in finish, but the loss of the quality control departments that insure truly bad guns do not get shipped really bothers me.

I really expect something new to be ready to go and I hate having to polish, replace springs, file off large burs, deal with misaligned barrels, cylinders, and sights which almost all manufacturers are sending out these days.

With the rapid expansion over the last few years, manufacturers like Ruger, S&W, and Colt, have hired a lot of new young workers who do not have the experience or craftsmanship that the old craftsmen had. Without adequate quality control, we are seeing more and more guns with serious problems get shipped out and the public so far is just accepting it as typical.

They have found it cheaper to just deal with those that complain and send them back for warranty work. Today it is all about the bottom line.

That is why I primarily buy older guns and very, very few new ones.
 

exlogger

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 8, 2011
Messages
211
Location
Montana
For those who say Ruger's quality is as good as it was 10+ years are either smokin crack or just plain blind. I know this comment might ruffle some feathers, but oh well, I'm no posting for the itching ears. If Bill Ruger saw my last 3 brand new Ruger revolvers he would have rolled over in his grave. 2 of those 3 were defective beyond repair.

I like to browse the gun stores, and I haven't seen one of measurable quality.
 

chet15

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 22, 2001
Messages
6,025
Location
Dawson, Iowa
exlogger said:
For those who say Ruger's quality is as good as it was 10+ years are either smokin crack or just plain blind. I know this comment might ruffle some feathers, but oh well, I'm no posting for the itching ears. If Bill Ruger saw my last 3 brand new Ruger revolvers he would have rolled over in his grave. 2 of those 3 were defective beyond repair.

I like to browse the gun stores, and I haven't seen one of measurable quality.

Not sure what shops you've been to???
Please define "Defective beyond repair" and provide some pics as well.
Chet15
 

RRMan03

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
33
Finesse R:

I have to agree with you 100%. Reason is I know it for a fact.I used to be a CNC field service repair man and I had all 3 of the biggies,Smith,Colt and Ruger as customers on their milling machines. They all went from high skilled CNC setup people to button pushers who cost them about 15 per hour or more less than the skilled group.As for quality control,Smith used to shoot every gun,3 cylinders with proof loads,then they went to 1 cylinder from a proof load then just one with regular factory ammo.That went on during the late 80's and 90's and 00. Then they changed back to the old mode but look at the prices 900.00 and up.Colt did it but about 10 years earlier and a much more skilled hand assemblying work force.And they have never recovered fully due to the cost of doing that now.Ruger was more leaning on the machines earlier and thus the cost were down earlier but they had some very good machine people and the finish on most /rugers holds up well.Rugers cost is now coming up and not due to anything but the stock market.The CEO has to keep the stock holders happy (profits) and if you have to use cheap parts or cut a step to save time but make 5 more guns a day that is how American manafacturing works today. I see it in every type manafacturing. That is why most of the stuff sold here is not made here.I am OLD SCHOOL. I like it made here and by someone who actually knew how to operate the gun once it was assembled. Back in the late 70,early 80's is when skilled labor got killed dead and with that the knowledge all went home with the workers.I used to watch the QC guys go over a gun with an eye loop before wrapping the gun and putting on the box label. And the custom shop guns got even better treatment. So if I want a new gun I now have to go back 30 years and start in somebody's safe.Isually after taking something out of mine o afford it.
 

Coop

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 24, 2001
Messages
607
Location
Mt. Lebanon, PA USA
Interesting post.

I think the finest revolver I've ever owned was a .357 S&W Model 19-5. Bought it in a gun shop near Lancaster, PA in 1998. Its fit and finish is outstanding. The bluing is the deepest blue I have ever seen on any firearm I have ever handled. And the DA/SA trigger action is beyond belief. I wish Ruger could come up with an DA/SA action like that. I do not have it anymore, but it is still in the family. My youngest son came by about 5 years ago and shot it at our local range. He went GaGa over it. I gave it to him as a Christmas present that same year.

My wife and I are still shooting four SA .357 Ruger Vaqueros purchased in 1997/8 with the faux CCH finish. All are as lovely today as the days' they were bought. Fit and finish all excellent. They are well shot and well maintained.

The nicest firearm I've ever received from Ruger is my beloved 12 GA SxS Gold Label, built in 2006. Fit and finish is stunning.

Some additional comments, not firearm related:

1 - I think Honda redefined automobile manufacturing and quality control, dragging the big three out of their manufacturing/QC mindset. That was many years ago.

2- I think Taylor Guitar in California redefined guitar manufacturing and quality control, dragging Martin Guitar out of its horrible past.

I am curious - who here thinks what firearm manufacturing company is leading the way for manufacturing and quality control?
 

22/45 Fan

Hunter
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Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Funny reading postings nostalgic for Colt's former "quality". I remember when every Colt 1911 was a parts kit needing a lot of attention and refitting to make it both reliable and accurate. THESE are the good old days.
 

22/45 Fan

Hunter
Joined
Dec 8, 2001
Messages
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Location
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Coop said:
I am curious - who here thinks what firearm manufacturing company is leading the way for manufacturing and quality control?
They aren't the big volume manufacturers but Les Baer, Wilson and Ed Brown set the standards for 1911's these days.
 
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