Last year, Ruger introduced a new
variation of their popular Vaquero single action revolver with a
Birdís Head style grip frame. I wrote a review of this gun
which was chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge (see Jeff's
article at Ruger Bird's Head Vaquero).
The Birdís Head Vaquero has met with great acceptance among
shooters, particularly those who enjoy a compact but powerful
Now, Ruger has begun fitting the Birdís Head
grip frame to their Single Six chambered for the .32 Magnum
cartridge. The .32 Magnum, while gaining fast acceptance with
Cowboy Action Shooters, is one of our most neglected and
underrated cartridges. Properly loaded, it will send a 112
grain lead bullet out the muzzle at over 1300 feet per second.
While these ballistics will not impress a Kodiak brown bear, the
little cartridge fills an empty void between the rimfire .22s
and the larger center fires. It is a great cartridge for small
game and larger varmints. The .32 Magnum is both flat shooting
and mild recoiling. For plinking and casual target shooting, a
100 grain bullet loaded to around 1000 feet per second is a real
pleasure to shoot.
I bought one of the first .32 Magnum Single
Sixes with the "Baby Vaquero" style frame a couple of
years ago. This little sixgun has become one of my
favorites (see Jeff's article at Ruger's Baby Vaquero).
The new Birdís Head Single Six is basically the same, with the
substitution of the Birdís Head grip frame for the plow handle
XR3-RED style on my earlier .32.
When reviewing the .45 Birdís Head last year,
I couldnít help thinking how handy that grip would be on
Rugerís smaller Single Six frame. After handling and shooting
the Birdís Head Single Six, I like the feel and balance even
better than the same grip frame on the .45 Vaquero. The Birdís
Head grip seems just right on the smaller .32, resulting in a
unique handling quality quite unlike any other Ruger. The match
of the new grip frame with the 4 5/8 inch barrel results in a
feel that is perfect in my hand. The little Birdís Head points
naturally for me; just like an extra finger. The hammer falls
right under my thumb for easy cocking of the action. The
trigger pull is nice and crisp, releasing at about four pounds,
which is slightly heavier than I prefer, but easily lightened by
a competent gunsmith. The trigger, while never rough or
gritty, became even smoother with use.
Shooting the new Birdís Head Single Six was a
real pleasure; a welcome break from shooting the heavier magnums
on an almost daily basis. I fired several different loads using
both the 100 grain Magnus lead semi-wadcutter and the
excellent Cast Performance 118 grain flat point bullets.
The powders used in this gun were Accurateís #5, Alliant
Unique, Winchester 231, and Hodgdon LilíGun.
The gun displayed decent plinking accuracy with all loads
tested, but the groups hovered around the three inch range with
no loads besting the others by much. With the sun glistening off
of the rounded front sight, three inches at 25 yards was the
best I could do with this little sixgun. Perhaps blackening that
front sight would have helped somewhat. The loads did, however,
shoot to point-of-aim at the 25 yard distance. The popularity of
the Vaquero-style sights notwithstanding, I shoot much better
with the ramp front sights as found on the Blackhawk revolvers.
For Cowboy Action Shooting, and general plinking, the gun will
do just fine with the sights as supplied.
The .32 Birdís Head Single Six is produced in
the bright stainless finish as shown here, and also with
Rugerís case-colored and blue finish. Both guns are supplied
with Black Micarta grip panels and with a 4-5/8 inch barrel. The
frame, grip frame, and ejector rod housing are all steel on
these guns, and results in a well-balanced heft of 33 ounces,
unloaded. The list price is the same as the .45 Colt Birdís
Head revolvers at $576. You can see Rugerís complete catalog
online at: www.ruger-firearms.com
You can view the complete line of Cast
Performance bullets at: www.castperformance.com
I have personally never been a big fan of
Birdís Head style grips on revolversÖÖ.until now. I think
that Ruger really did their homework in designing their version
of the Birdís Head, and got it just right. The .32 Magnum
Single Six with Rugerís Birdís Head grip frame is one
sweet handling little sixgun.
I like it.
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