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calendar   Thursday - May 21, 2009

Gun Pr0n !!

The Ruger 50th Anniversary Bearcat Revolver



Ruger started making the Bearcat single action revolver a couple years before I was born. It was designed to be a “kit gun”; an inexpensive pistol to put in your “kit” whether you were going fishing, hiking, or just messing about. Back in the late 50s the gun sold for about $40 I think. Production continued for years and years. This was an aluminum frame pistol, to keep both the weight and the cost down. At some point in the early 70s, Ruger came out with a steel framed version called the Super Blackhawk, and gave those pistols a golden anodized trigger guard. Production ran until the mid 70s, at which point all of Ruger’s revolvers were modified to have the internal transfer safety bar system. This means the hammers no longer have the firing pins on them, and instead whack a plate which then whacks the back of the firing pin. And that plate, the transfer bar, only rises into position when the trigger is fully pulled. This means that the gun will NOT accidentally go off if you drop it, no matter what. But when they had done the conversion of all their models, there was no more Bearcat.

But there was still a strong demand for it. So, in 1993 Ruger brought the gun back to the market, and it’s been uphill ever since. From 1958 to 2008 is half a century, so last year Ruger made up a special 50th Anniversary model, even though the gun has actually only been made for 30 of those 50 years. Who cares? It’s gun porn of the nicest kind. Pretty, but not a closet queen.


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I think they did a very nice job. The gun comes with cocobolo wood grips, is properly polished and deeply blued, it has some nice roll engraving on the cylinder, the cylinder and the top of the barrel are given gold filled accents, and the trigger guard is gold plated. This makes for a quite pretty pistol with some class, but it isn’t engraved to the point of uselessness. It’s still a shooter, just one with a bit of fine and fancy.

“We have strived to make our special limited edition 50th Anniversary New Bearcat a faithful and worthy tribute to its humble 1958 forebearer,” said Ruger President Stephen L. Sanetti. “It has plain but handsome cocobolo wood grips, a gold colored trigger guard, and a special gold-filled rollmark “50th Anniversary BEARCAT – 2008”. It also has a special serial number prefix, and will only be manufactured in 2008.”
...
The special limited edition 50th Anniversary New Bearcat joins the ranks of the 50th Year Ruger .357 and .44 Commemorative Blackhawk® New Model single action revolvers, issued in 2005 and 2006 respectively, as a fitting tribute to Bill Ruger’s genius in designing and building firearms “to a standard that we would buy them even if they were made by a competitor.”

You can read all about it here. Or over here! And you can read about the regular Bearcats, back in production in blued steel and stainless steel, over here.

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And the nicest thing? This is not a “hogleg” that fires the .45 Colt cartridge. Or the .44 Magnum. This pistol is only a .22 rimfire. It’s a tiny little jewel of a gun, weighing barely a pound and a half. It’s maybe 9” long overall with it’s 4” barrel. It’s small enough for little kids to learn to shoot with (this is not a toy, duh!), or for folks with smaller hands. A lightweight 6 shooter for your side.


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Notes: The 50th Anniversary model looks quite a lot like the Super Bearcat from the early 70s. It’s easy to spot the difference, because the Super Bearcat doesn’t have the gold detailing on the cylinder, and it’s anodized golden trigger guard looks pretty shabby compared to real gold plating. And the Anniversary model is polished. It really looks nice.

Right now, the MSRP for the blued regular Ruger Bearcat is $500. The stainless steel model MSRP is $540. ( expect a 15-20% discount from that MSRP ) The gun market is a bit crazy at this moment in time, and some folks try to get a big markup for “collector guns”. This one isn’t really, really, a collector gun yet. Ruger made as many as they could sell. So they’re fairly easy to find; the market is saturated with “special editions” and “anniversary editions” and “signature editions” and annual “limited editions” of every make and model of firearm going. It’s overkill. So guns like this that were made just 6 months ago don’t command much of a premium. So snap one up now.

The large pictures I posted here are from an auction site, where one of these is for sale, brand new in the box, for $450. Considering the plain old blue one is retailing for $425 new, that sounds like a deal to me. You have 28 hours left on the auction to get your bid in. Right now nobody else has bid ... and there are a dozen more guns just like it for sale at that auction site, for a lot higher starting price.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/21/2009 at 02:20 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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