Single-Action Satisfaction

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A Ruger Bisley chambered in .480 Ruger shown with a few cast bullets is a wonderful hunting handgun.

The elegance and history of a Remington 1875 and 1890, made by Cimmaron, shows just how beautiful thumb-cockers can be.

Some may think my love for single-action (SA) revolvers odd, or short-sighted, but this would be their problem, not mine. Their beauty is paradoxical in nature, consisting of simple elegance, combined with brute strength. What could be better? I could handily live the rest of my life using only SA’s without feeling slighted in the least. In fact, it’s comforting, knowing their great strength and reliability.

A smorgasbord of available calibers provides versatility to tackle anything. From mild to wild, the SA gets it done with boring reliability. Sure, I’d miss my semi-autos, single shots, and double-action wheel guns. Who wouldn’t? But I wouldn’t feel the negligible difference semi-autos and DAs offer during follow-up shots, nor the accuracy of the single shots.

No sir, the SA handles these jobs just fine. Just ask any seasoned SA owner. With a look of disbelief, he’ll show you how effective SAs still are. An adept SA shooter can shoot nearly as quick as a good DA shooter. Shooting heavy loads narrows the gap. Mounting a scope shows you how accurate SAs are too, giving single shots a run for their money, but with faster follow-up shots — perfect for hunting.

The dual-cylindered Ruger CarryHawk chambered in .45 Colt/.45ACP
provides versatility in a compact package.

Tank’s Magnum Research BFR, chambered in .500 Linebaugh, from the
custom shop, is a capable SA shooter for anything.

Why Not?

The SA’s simplicity is its most charming feature. Its hammer is a natural built-in safety. Cocking it is required for shooting. What’s more natural than that? Modern transfer bar safeties prevent discharges from hammer strikes, should something hit the spur. And everyone knows older SAs should be carried with the hammer on an empty chamber.

After cocking the hammer, you’re ready to unleash some of the most powerful cartridges ever designed. Why do you think these cartridges are housed in SA revolvers? It’s the inherent strength SAs exhibit, compared to their counterparts.

SAs have stronger guts than a turkey buzzard. With fewer moving parts, there’s less to go wrong, something to consider when on the trail. The SA’s mechanical simplicity makes them lighter and more packable than DA, too.

A Ruger Shopkeeper customized by Bobby Tyler, engraved by Dale Bass,
shows just how beautiful an SA can be.

A coveted Ruger SA Flattop with a 7.5" barrel, perhaps the most famous,
sitting on a rock in the NM desert.

The Spice of Life

I’ve got SA shooters from the .22 rimfire to .500 Linebaugh. Each has a specific purpose. A good .45 Colt, in a strong Ruger SA, just might be the ultimate all-around caliber/handgun combination out there. A stainless 5.5″ dual cylinder .45 Colt/.45ACP just might be the perfect packing piece allowing you to tackle any task you’re faced with.

So, if you see an old codger packing an SA, don’t make the mistake feeling sorry for his seemingly old-fashioned thumb-cocker. He just may know how to use it!

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