Tri-Color Loading Gate???????????

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wildwillalaska

Single-Sixer
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Did all tri-color lightweights have flat gates? I have a tri-color sitting in the back of my safe for a while, and was looking it over after checking out some of the pictures here and reading the discussions about ejector buttons, etc. All those I have seen are flat gates, mine is not. Conclusion--someone along the way replaced the gate? If so, how hard is it to find a replacement flat gate? Hen's teeth hard?

Thanks all,

Will
 

contender

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Hi Will & Welcome to the Forum!
To quote from the RENE Reference guide.
"Tri-Color" Lightweight with round loading gate & large concave (dimpled) face ejector rod button. Only #200047 (shipped Sept 1957), 200077 (shipped Aug 1957), and 200100 (shipped Sept 1957) have been verified. These are impossible to verify unless shipped after March 7, 1957 (example; s/n 204949 unseen, but shipped April 4, 1957). Factory letter mandatory. Extremely rare.

That said,, I do a polite call to Ruger Records with the gun in hand to ask the proper questions.

next,, it's very possible someone did replace the loading gate with an aftermarket one. (Or a Ruger one later on.)
 

chet15

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There are a few few tri-color Lightweights out there with contoured loading gates that have shipping dates from February 1957 or earlier. Again, there is no way to verify these since the factory has never kept track of what types of component parts on their guns. Of course, if anybody could get their earlier shipped Lightweight to letter with a contoured gate they'd have a huge rarity...but this will never be the case.
That said, some facts are in order...
The magic date for a change from a flat loading gate to the contoured gate seems to be about March 7, 1957. That is the date that Single Sixes serial numbered 61960 and 62073 were shipped from the factory, one with a flatgate and one with the contoured gate.
Once the round loading gates became available, somebody (WBR?) saw to it that the contoured gate was used exclusively, and he even retrofitted the RSSE he still had in stock to a contoured gate before the guns were shipped....even the all-blue Jerred guns and the Spanish guns that were there. Note that this was important that these guns be retrofitted.
Ruger made this decision because there were a lot of people who didn't like the flat loading gate (wasn't enough like a Colt gate), and don't forget that with Colt getting back into the SA market with their SAA and Scout (both models with traditional contoured loading gates), the company had every reason to make sure all new production had the new gate.
Note also that Ruger's advertising for the Single-Six and Lightweight Single-Six with new contoured loading gate began on March 15, 1957.
It is also proven that this is one of the rare cases where the company didn't just use up the last of the flat loading gates until they were gone....because flat loading gates were still available from the factory as late as the early 1970's.
It would be nice if those February 1957 and earlier shipped Lightweights could letter with round loading gates....but with the history above, the odds are largely against any of them being correct. Yes, J.D.'s book says the first small quantity of contoured gates were delivered on July 17,1956...but if Ruger was going to start using them right away, how come there aren't any Single-Sixes known (or even Lightweights...besides the 2-digit guns noted) with "small" ejector button and contoured gate? The button was changed to large round in October 1956 and there is a definite lapse in time (ala known high numbered flatgate Single-Sixes) before the contoured gate starts showing up.
I also have a note card here from Ruger that states the contoured gate was available for purchase, but Ruger would not guarantee it would fit the gun...so there must have been some fitting issues early on as well.
Chet15
 

weaselmeatgravy

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And then there is this fly in the ointment - my "all blue" Lightweight that has a flat loading gate and was shipped about normal time for the SN in May of 1957. I believe this was a "parts bin" gun that was accidently assembled with a flat loading gate that surfaced.

I got it as you see it, with the box and 1956 manual (except the grips were off and instead had Franzite "stags").

Now, the 1957 manual was already printed at the time this gun shipped, and the only difference between those manuals is that the 1956 features the flat loading gate and the 1957 was updated to show the round gate.

I think the earlier (and rarer) 1956 manual is a good sign that it shipped this way. Likely the flat gate was noted at during packaging/inspection and instead of sending it back through to have the gate changed, Ruger simply inserted the older manual that did not show the round gate.

Another point is that the original owner was a woman. Her widower was selling this gun when I bought it in 2004. It had 50's vintage fake plastic stags on it and he said the reason for that was that his wife did not like the look of an all black gun. She used to wear it in parades and sometimes shoot it. Since the gun belonged to a woman, I tend to think it unlikely that she would have "downgraded" the gun to a loading gate that was difficult to open and tended to chip fingernails! The seller did not try to draw attention to the gate or date on the manual, or even the fact that it had the rare box - he basically knew very little about Rugers and was surprised how high the gun sold for on GunBroker.

Sadly, as chet15 points out, there will never be a way to verify the gate as Ruger did not note parts configuration :(

lwac-205973-all-blue-w-box.jpg
 

wildwillalaska

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That is my gun Flatgate, well the loading gate is identical. Mine has more wear and certainly doesn't have them pesky factory stag grips. If those start to bother you, you can always shoot 'em my way.

Thanks for the "welcome to the foum." I always forget to say howdy. Just an aside, I was on the forum for quite some time when I lived back in Texas. I was offline for a while though--busy in a new practice, then divorce, relocation to Alaska, enjoyed the lack of computer or television or much of anything that wasn't needed for work, hunting, or fishing. I had stepped away from collecting for a while anyway. During the process I had parted with a number of flat tops, several Texas Longhorn Arms and Freedom Arms. I guess a divorce and relocation tend to lighten the load at times.

So as things have improved over the past couple years, I decided to start picking a few guns up here and there. When I decided to pick up a couple OM 45's, last year I think, I went and tried to log in under my old handle, and realized my previous e-mail had closed, I could not recall for sure my handle--thought it was WildBillTX--which doesn't really fit any longer--so I created a new account. It wasn't like I had thousands of posts or anything--but wasn't an absolute greenhorn. Anyway, there ya go. Long story long.

I will look at the serial number, which is much closer to 204000's than 200100, and give Ruger a call. I gotta call anyway about getting a shipper on another gun. Once I have more info I will share.

Thanks,

Will
 

weaselmeatgravy

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Welcome back Wild Bill. I do remember you, I think you were still in law school when you were active on the forum before, maybe around 2003 or so? Just about to graduate at the time IIRC.

I remember buying some flattop from you back then, maybe a BKH40, but you had "seller's remorse" and sent me back my money.

Sorry to hear about the divorce, that is always rough, been through it myself.

Alaska must be quite a change from Texas! My uncle in Texas once said to his friend in Alaska, "Alaska ain't so big - if you melt all that snow it'd be the size of Rhode Island". To which his friend said, "Watch out or we'll cut our state in half and make Texas the THIRD largast state".
 

wildwillalaska

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Thanks all.

Well I called records, they assured it the gun shipped with a loading gate, just no idea if flat or contoured. The Gun is SN 20194x, and shipped December 1956. So, by all accounts it should be flat, correct? So I wouldn't be molesting some rarity if I was able to find a flat gate and re-install?

And, back to that original question, just how hard is it to find a flat gate?

Thanks,

Will
 

weaselmeatgravy

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wildwillalaska":2p2yuffc said:
just how hard is it to find a flat gate?

Just wait around a few hours, he'll be along :lol:

Post a WTB add in the Classifieds, people have them. I have one but won't part with it in case I ever need one for resurrecting a tinkered-with gun.

Does your round gate look longer (extending further back) than normal OM Single Six round gates? If so, it is probably a Premiere Waepons aftermarket gate and to the right guy might be worth an even swap for a flatgate (who should be coming along with a pic of a Premiere Weapons gate any time now...)
 

flatgate

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Dec. '56 would definitely be a flat loading gate. There were a couple of suppliers of "aftermarket" loading gates in the mid '50's. Premier Weapons Company made lots of "round gates" for the Single-Six. A friend found the remnants of a Premier Weapons Co. "loading gate display" that was designed to "stand" on the display case in the local gun shop. The display still has two Premier gates stapled on it's front side, awaiting a sale.....

357816416.jpg


I've also set examples of the common gates for comparison's sake. One other supplier was the Gun Re-blu Company in North Carolina. Elmer Keith had used their services over the years and, I believe, he convinced them to make a "round gate" for his s/n 15 Single-Six. I've seen one other early Single-Six with an identical gate and it was a "non-Factory" engraved example (probably engraved at Gun Re-blu). Anyway, here's a pic of Elmer's s/n 15 that I borrowed off the internet...
241827893.jpg


flatgate
 

wildwillalaska

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Very cool I found a flat loading gate and paln to swap it back to original once it arrives. How do I tell if the gate I remove is a later mfg. Ruger part or aftermarket. Is there any stampings?

Will
 

flatgate

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wildwillalaska":31s8mj76 said:
Very cool I found a flat loading gate and paln to swap it back to original once it arrives. How do I tell if the gate I remove is a later mfg. Ruger part or aftermarket. Is there any stampings?

Will

A simple comparison with the images shown in this thread should suffice.

flatgate
 
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Will ,welcome back.....no problem changing that gate out and I would hang onto the 'other' gate, never know the story behind it, so best to just keep it with the gun I'd say,,,,takes up hardly any room, and cost nothing......as said above (all good info by the way) there are NO markings on the gates and will be found in different widths from time to time....
good luck :wink:
 

wildwillalaska

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Kenai, AK
Looking at the photo's above, think its clear its the Ruger gate. Its a shorter gate than the elongated.

So, my next question is what the heck is a shooter quality tri-color that was molested, but brought back to correct configuration worth these days?

Thanks,

Will
 
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