Two New Ruger Sixguns:

Adjustable Sights Bearcat / .327 Single-Seven

The new adjustable-sighted Bearcats (blued and stainless) from Ruger are Perfect .22 LR
Packing Pistols and they shoot any sort of .22 ammo!

All Ruger Single-Sixes (.22’s) since 1964, with a few exceptions, have been offered only with adjustable sights. Unfortunately the little Bearcat had traditional fixed Colt Single Action-style sights which is the only negative attribute I could assign to it. Even its very small grip frame seemed to fit small hands of young kids learning to shoot as well as large hands such as mine. The problem was every Bearcat didn’t always shoot to point of aim and there was no easy way to adjust the sights. That did not stop the Taffin family from buying Bearcats. My son’s first gun in 1973 was a Bearcat. At the age of 10 he saved up enough money to pay for half and I kicked in the rest. Diamond Dot has an all-steel Super Bearcat, I gave my youngest granddaughter one of the special run of Lipsey’s/Ruger Shopkeeper Bearcats and my old original Bearcat is well-worn but still shoots very well. The only thing missing with all of these is the fact none have adjustable sights.

John found the Lipsey’s/Ruger .327 Single-Seven displayed giltedged accuracy.

The adjustable sights allow you to sight in perfectly, taking advantage of
the great accuracy of these little guns.

Wish List

This past summer Ruger’s Ken Jorgensen was here visiting and he asked what I would most like to see Ruger offer. Without hesitation I said an adjustable-sighted Bearcat. He said, with confidence, “It’s coming!” Three months later he personally presented me with the first adjustable-sighted Bearcat.

Two of my friends had worked for nearly a year contacting others in the industry and the result was an elk and buffalo hunt for me followed up by an appreciation dinner two weeks later. I was stunned and humbled when over 250 people, both local and from around the country, showed up for the dinner. Ken Jorgensen of Ruger went to the podium, looked down at me sitting with all my family, and asked: “Do you remember what Ruger you said you’d like to see when you were interviewed a few months ago?”

“An adjustable-sighted Bearcat,” I replied.

And with that Ken left the podium, came down to my table, and presented me with the very first adjustable-sighted Ruger Bearcat. I was stunned. After nearly 60 years we now have the finest little .22 Single Action Kit Gun, which is now a Petite Perfect Packin’ Pistol.

Ruger didn’t just adapt the regular Bearcat frame to accept an adjustable rear sight as many of the gunsmiths do, removing metal from the top back of the frame to accommodate the sight. Instead Ruger redesigned the frame to incorporate the same ears on both sides of the rear sight as found on all of their Blackhawk Models. The sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation and mates up nicely with the ramp front sight. The little sixgun not only shoots as well as all the other regular Bearcats, but it can now be easily adjusted to hit point of aim. With most loads tried, it places five shots at 1″ or less at 20 yards, and especially prefers CCI Mini-Mag +Vs, clocking out at over 1,060 fps and placing five shots in 5″!

This newest Bearcat is blued steel, but since I wrote this, they are offering them in stainless also. They have laminated grips and a transfer bar safety. However, unlike other such Rugers, this one has a half-cock notch and to load and unload the loading gate must be opened and the wide hammer put on half-cock to allow the cylinder to rotate. It is safe to carry with a fully loaded six rounds, and not with a hammer down on an empty chamber as with the earlier non-transfer bar equipped Bearcats.

The adjustable sights are a leap forward helping to make these the best Bearcats ever.
Original fixed sighted version on right.

Pocket Power

The second new sixgun to arrive from Ruger comes through Lipsey’s. Ten years ago when Ruger brought out the 50th Anniversary Ruger .357 Blackhawk they used the New Model action, however instead of making it the same size as the current .357 Blackhawks which have a frame the same size as the Super Blackhawk, they went back to the original Colt Single Action-sized frame. At the time I asked the then president of Ruger if we could now have a .44 Special version. He didn’t say no.

However, it remained for Ruger distributor Lipsey’s to get the ball rolling by placing a large order for .44 Special New Model Flat-Tops. They sold well enough to become a standard Ruger catalog item. Now Lipsey’s has led the way again. With the arrival of the .327 Federal Magnum, Ruger offered the Pocket Pistol GP100 and also chambered it in both the full-sized Blackhawk and GP100. I wanted a trimmer, varmint hunting version.

Now we have what is going to be about as close as possible to get to a Ruger perfect .327 Magnum and it is the Single-Seven. Using the Single-Six frame size, Ruger has built — to Lipsey’s specifications — a stainless steel, 7-shot .327 Magnum. It’s offered in the three standard barrel lengths of 45/8″, 51/2″ and my favorite choice for this type of sixgun, 71/2″.

With a small-bore cartridge like this I wanted the longest barrel for maximum velocity as well as maximum sight radius. Sights consist of an adjustable Ruger rear sight matched up with a ramp front sight, both of which are black as they should be even on stainless steel sixguns. I haven’t been disappointed as this gun shoots exceptionally well with not just the .327 Magnum but also three other cartridges which are applicable for use in the factory cylinder, the .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long and .32 Magnum. With the ability to accept four different .32 cartridges, the Single-Seven is exceptionally versatile.

With the .32 Long the NEI 100 SWC over 3.5 grains of Unique clocks out at over a 1,100 fps and places five shots in 7/8″. Moving up to the .32 Magnum Buffalo Bore’s 100-gr. JHP clocks out at nearly 1,400 fps while grouping into 11/4″. Hornady’s 85-gr. XTP over 11.0 grains of #2400 in .327 Magnum brass is also right at 1,400 fps with an amazing 1/2″ group. Other noticeable handloads, all grouping into a tight 1″, are Hornady’s 85-gr. XTP over 12.5 grains of H110 and 1,525 fps; Sierra’s 90-gr. JHC, 11.0 grains of #2400 at 1,400 fps and Speer’s 100-gr. JHP over 5.0 grains of Universal at just over 1,225 fps.

The Ruger Single-Seven accepts (left to right) .32 S&W, .32 Long, .32 Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum loads.

The cylinder of the .327 Magnum Single-Seven completely fills in the frame
window in order to accept the longer .327 ammo.

Some Differences

To shoehorn seven rounds of .327 Magnum into the Single-Six cylinder requires some judicious measuring and chambering. The cylinder is longer than that found on the standard Single-Six, filling out the frame window to allow for the longer length of the .327 Magnum.

I ran into one problem with loading and unloading the cylinder. If the cylinder is rotated until you hear the “click” of the bolt locking, it has gone too far to accept a loaded round or to eject an empty case. You have to instead rotate the cylinder almost to the click and then load or unload. It’s not too difficult to get a feel for this, however I wanted something easier so I had my gunsmith, Tom at Buckhorn, modify the action to give me a free-spinning cylinder — one rotating forward and backward. Now it’s a simple matter to rotate the cylinder until the chamber is centered in the loading gate. Loading and unloading is totally simplified.

We’ve come a long way since Bill Ruger decided there was a market among shooters for a single action. The two latest Rugers are welcome additions to my accumulation of single-action sixguns. If you are interested in the .327 Magnum Single-Seven contact Lipsey’s directly.

Read More Sixgunner Articles

Subscribe To American Handgunner