Bill Ruger Changed Our Lives


Bill Ruger with his American Handgunner of the Year award.

Of all the guns in my safe, most are Rugers. It’s not by mistake either. I knew darn well what I was doing while acquiring them.

My first .22 rimfire rifle was a Harrington & Richardson Plainsman rifle I got for my 8th birthday. My first deer rifle was a Remington Model 700 chambered in .30-06.

My first Ruger was the classic .22 semi-auto 10-22 with rotary magazine. I still have it and can’t tell you how many hundreds of bulk packs of .22 ammo I’ve shot through that gun. It’s still as accurate as they day I got it and is now handling most of my daughter’s .22 shooting chores.

The Ruger Service Six was Tank’s first handgun.

First Handgun

My first handgun was compliments of the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department. It was a Ruger Service Six .38 special. I learned how to shoot double action with that gun, as well as how to dump empty cases, and loading with either loose cartridges, or speed loaders. This gun planted the seed for my long love affair with Ruger firearms.

Our academy firearms instructor explained Rugers were strong and reliable. We’d never wear them out. He said they’d get smoother the more we shot them. As an impressionable rookie, his words rang loud and strong, sticking with me my entire life. A long line of Rugers has since been added to my stable of shooters, each proving those initial words true.

The blue wax gun parts will be coated with white ceramic to create molds.

After the wax is melted out, melted alloy is poured into the ceramic molds.

Investment Casting

Bill Ruger was a manufacturing genius! He brought back the centuries old methods of investment casting for his guns. This method uses wax duplicate parts that are sprayed with ceramic. The ceramic is heated up and wax removed. Molten steel poured into the connected ceramic tree molds. When the steel cools, the ceramic is broken off the steel parts.

Little machining is needed to finish the parts and steel waste a minimum. It’s a quick and efficient way of making strong steel parts.

A Modern-Day John Browning

Bill Ruger had no formal training in firearms design or manufacturing. As a teenager, Ruger simply read everything he could find at the library on these subjects. Besides his mechanical and manufacturing genius, Ruger was a savvy businessman, not scared of taking risks on what he thought the public wanted. Two cases in point, a single action revolver and his No. 1 single-shot rifle. Ruger’s advisors thought him crazy for even considering such guns, but in the end, he was proven right.

Tank’s first Ruger was this 10-22.

Handguns O’ Mine

My department issued Service Six started me on a righteous path to Ruger handguns. Oddly, what followed next was a slew of big bore single actions in .44 magnum and .45 Colt. By now I was a judicious handloader and the bull-strong Ruger single actions were the perfect platform for my “Ruger Only” hunting handloads. The very fact most reloading manuals have “Ruger Only” handloads speaks volumes about the Ruger single actions.

Since the .44’s and .45’s showed such good manners, naturally the .41 and .357’s were added to the line-up. Afterall, I was a handloading/bullet casting junkie and needed guns to experiment with. A few, single sixes were also added, both in .22 rimfire and .32 H&R, a very potent caliber with handloads.

Next came the Redhawk’s. I love the Redhawk’s for their Service Six looks. Being both big and strong, they’re a perfect double action sixgun for hunting. Their longer cylinders allow seating cast bullets further out of the cartridge case, allowing more powder capacity, which lowers pressures, while increasing velocity.

The Bisley Hunter in .45 Colt is one of the best hunting handguns one can buy.

The Bisley Hunte

Ruger’s Bisley Hunter in .45 Colt is probably one of my favorite handguns. It was with this gun I made my first handgun kill, a cow elk in Idaho. About a dozen deer have since been credited with this gun. The grip is perfect for heavy loads and its integral scope cutouts make scoping a breeze, should I want an optic added. I admit, they come in handy for testing handloads for accuracy.

The .45 Colt Bisley Hunter’s manners were so good, I’ve managed to obtain them in .41 and .44 Magnum, also.

A Satisfied Life

I’ve only begun to tell you of the love and joy Bill Ruger has provided me over the past 50 years, and I haven’t even started in on all the rifles yet. It’s something only shooters and hunters can experience. It’s tough to explain, but we know it exists. Ol’ Bill made us quality guns, at affordable prices, so the working man, but more importantly, the working man’s kids, could experience shooting and hunting with quality firearms. They’re capable of being passed down from generation to generation.

I know Bill had a few chinks in his armor by agreeing with magazine capacity bans towards the end of his career, but you can’t take away his genius for inventing, designing and manufacturing quality guns for all of us to enjoy. If Bill were alive today, I’d proudly shake his hand and thank him for all the love and joy he’s provided me. Bill Ruger did indeed change our lives.