November 2010

Narrative by David Lortscher

Photography by Matt Olivier

The 2010 Tulsa RCA display show was as every bit as educational and informative as it was stunning.  Thirteen displayers showed the country some of the rarest Rugers out there but also some of the finest displays. A testament to this was the fact that in the Wanamaker show awards we took home 2 of the top three honors with a 1-2 placing from Steve Adamson and Rod Kirian. The RCA and Red Eagle News Exchange provided a year's membership and subscription the winners of each class. RENE sponsored the Best Ruger of Show award. Many thanks to the RCA Leadership team and a special thanks to Matt Olivier and others for all their hard work that resulted in a smoothly run show, dinner and auction. The Auction was as spirited as ever, with many good laughs and entertaining moments. Many thanks to all those who donated to the event, and to those who bid. Without your help, events and display prizes like we have would not be possible.


(Click Pictures for a Larger Version)

In the Novice Class, Col. Mark Rendina took the win with his complete set  of Number Threes in all calibers. Most were in Boxes. Mark had a first production 45/70 serial # 228 and  beautiful "Liberty" 30-40 Krag. Congratulations to Mark on a fine first display, and his service to our country.

Moving up a notch to the Intermediate class, 1st place went to Steve Adamson for his stunning display of the 50th Anniversary of the Super Blackhawk. Steve’s display rivaled many of the Master Class displays and was also credited with the "Best Gun of Show" for his White Boxed serial #9 Super Blackhawk. Steve also won Best of show for all displayers in Tulsa, not just for Rugers.  Steve had 22 Supers in all including a Prototype Super Blackhawk, serial #15528, one of two made from Flattop .44s.  This Prototype has a machined standard Super grip. The serial #6 was Ruger’s former Patent Attorney, Hal Seagraves', High Polished Standard frame gun. The serial #9 was John Amber's (Editor of The Gun Digest) number and he had both the Old & New Model Supers given to him by Bill Ruger. The 50th Anniversary Super Blackhawk Serial #SBH-00009 is also with the earlier #9 Guns. Serial #9 was shipped to John Amber in a White Box numbered to the gun & also it is a Long Frame. Making it the lowest serial number White Boxed Super & it is a Long Frame Super.  Also serial # 10946 is displayed it is the highest known White Box Super shipped from the factory numbered to the gun.  The last Super was Serial #SBH-00050 50th Anniversary Shipped to Bill Ruger's granddaughter, Victoria Roberts.

Rounding out the intermediate class was Vince Carabetta and his twelve-gun display of Old Model Blackhawk Convertibles. Vince has eight 357/9mm and four 45 Colt/45 ACP combos including a rare 4-5/8” barrel. Vince had several boxes and different varieties of cylinder boxes as well.

Jerry Hertel's display included several Old Models, including  an early 3-digit Bearcat, as well as a "D" Bearcat, several rare Single-Sixes and five  Lightweight Single-Sixes, including an "S" marked example, a rare "S" marked Hawkeye, and an "S" marked 30 Carbine Blackhawk. Several Blackhawks, including a  2-digit 41 Mag, Type 1 44 Flattop, 7 1/2  44 Flattop, and a  pair of brass-framed 45 Colts, both  4-5/8" and 7-1/2".

David Lortscher’s display of "Affordable Fun 22s" included several examples of different 22’s used for hunting, plinking and target use. Included were a set of three consecutively-numbered New Model 4-5/8” Single Sixes  with fixed sights, an Old Model 22 Mag convertible and a 3-digit Bearcat.


Moving up a class to Advanced, Dale Dalbotten took home top honors with his display of "The Numbers Game".  Dale had four Old Models on display. #63 44 Flattop, #63 357 Flattop, #64 357 Flattop and #64 Single-Six.  The pair of 357’s both sported factory Ivory Grips. Only 602 pairs of these are thought to exist. The other two were both dresses in factory stag grips. Interestingly, all four guns were shipped in August of 1957 to Gopher Shooter's Supply in Minnesota. Dale had the original sales receipt for the #64 in 367 and it was sold for $70! Dealer cost was only $67 and the gentleman that bought it put it on lay-a-way to boot. Also included was original packaging and instructions that would have been included with the original purchase.

Also displaying in the advanced category was Rick Verzal with his “Before They Made Guns” display. It featured the Red Eagle Standard Auto serial number 3 with an original salt cod box and paperwork.

Also displayed were several  Ruger tools, including two variations of the Yankee screw drivers "short manual type and long automatic return type", two variations of the 1010 brace bit, two types of the egg beater style hand drills and two variations of the pistol grip hand drills, along with a very rare shoulder brace pistol grip hand drill.

The Sturm section featured several of the "Problem Fox" books and various dust jacket combinations along with a one-only-known type dust jacket.  Three of the very rare fox statues that only about 9 are known to date. Also the "Ambush to Zig Zag" books with dust jackets, and a dust jacket from the book "Silly Willy" that features on the back Sturm's "Ambush to Zig Zag" advertisement.

Lee Sundermeier displayed his collection of 357 Flat Tops with 10” barrels.  His display included the following: Serial # 23160 with 6 groove 10” barrel' Serial # 31625 with 6 groove 10” barrel in new condition, with the original box and all the papers; Serial # 37302 with 8 groove 10” barrel marked with a small “s” in front of the trigger guard that letters as a factory used gun (his gun shipped from the factory and was returned on three different dates, and is in the original numbered box for a 10” 44 Magnum with a small 357 sticker over the 44); Serial # 37345 with 8 groove 10” barrel in a correct box with all the papers (this gun shipped twice from the factory); Serial # 37513 has 8 groove 10” barrel (this gun has profuse gold and copper color in the cylinder frame); New Model Flat Tops with 10” barrel for the RCA 35th anniversary, Serial RCA-00007 and RCA-00008 (these guns were given a factory “High Polish” finish and are part of a limited 54 gun production run).

Lee's display also included original advertisements, introductory catalog from 1959 and for the first time ever displayed, a new LIFE Membership gold badge. Vintage ammo and factory letters rounded out the display.  Lee enjoys trying to learn and document the history of his collection with the use of factory letters and original owner invoices.

Rod Kirian’s display consisted of twelve early-shipped Ruger BKH46’s, commonly known as the Flattop. The serial numbers and ship dates of the twelve are #121 January 1957, #122 December 1956, #203 December 1956, #204 November 1956, #379 November 1956, #426 December 1956, #581 December 1956, #693 November 1956, #738 December 1956, #804 December 1956, #976 December 1956, and  #1239 December 1956. The centerpiece of Rod’s display was a split-top shipper and box that BKH46 serial number 738 came in....this is a complete pristine package with the ULTRA-COOL Railway shipping sticker on the shipper.

Rod didn’t win any RCA awards but did manage to get 2nd OVERALL from the promoter, Mr. Wannemacher.

Mike Womble's display of "The Blackhawk Flattop .44 Magnum-Standard Variations" featured one of each of the eight standard variations of 44 Flattop - Type 1 (6-1/2" barrel serrated ER button), Type 2 (6-1/2" barrel dimpled ER button) , Type 3 (6-1/2" barrel collared base pin), Type 4 (6-1/2" barrel, straight slot ER housing) , Type 5 (7-1/2" barrel), Type 6 (10" barrel) , Type 7 (6-1/2" barrel, XR3-RED grip frame)  and Type 8 (6-1/2" barrel, XR3-RED grip frame and non-fluted Super Blackhawk cylinder). An example of a box for each barrel length was displayed, as well as examples of factory hard rubber, walnut, stag, and ivory grips.  Also included with the display was an example of a complete packaging example:  shipping sleeve, box, manual, warranty card and wax paper.

Moving on to the Masters Class, Lee Newton showed his One Shot Antelope rifle and several pieces of memorabilia pertaining to the One Shot Antelope club.

Matt Olivier’s Green Laminate “Z” display.  Matt’s  display represents some of the scarcest factory green laminate guns that Ruger sold in the 1980s.  His display of factory original green laminate long guns included a 10/22, catalog 10/22RB-Z, with box and paperwork, a very scarce Mini-14, catalog Mini-14/5Z with box, a Model 77 in 270, catalog M77R-Z, with box and paperwork, and one of only two known Model 77 RLS in 30-06, catalog M77RLS-Z, in a vintage Ruger gun case.  Display also included the original 1980s vintage advertisement for the green laminate guns.  Also included in the display was a copy of all of the original purchase receipts for the M77RLS-Z

John Dougan’s display was titled "THE Ruger Hawkeye". The Hawkeye was developed by Bill Ruger and his chief design engineer Harry Sefried II, both names appear as inventor on U.S. Patent No. 3,142,924 issued August 4, 1964. Included in John's remarkable display of Hawkeyes were two of the four Ruger single-action revolvers initially chambered for the then newly developed .256 Win. Mag. cartridge; #X1 (a conceptual prototype); #X6 & #X13 (two production prototypes); #2668 (chambered in the Ruger tool room for .221 Rem); and serial #11, #12, #13 & #3000 production guns. Rounding out the group was a delicately engraved and gold inlaid specimen by renowned artist Bob Evans.

Also included in the display was a box of .256 Win. Mag. cartridges marked EXPERIMENTAL, Lot # 1, and several white boxes of test ammunition.

Made in the Olin Matheson model room, the original velocity test barrel, chamber reamers, and gauges were displayed, along with the roller-die used at Ruger to mark all of the Hawkeye barrels. The serial number stamping head used at Ruger is included as well.

Thanx again to all the displayers for their hard work and time. To those that have perhaps thought about displaying please consider doing so. It is fun and rewarding at the same time informative to the public.

David Lortscher

The Ruger Collectors' Association is the oldest organization for the Ruger collector and/or enthusiast. Membership includes the Association's sporadically-produced newsletter and invitation to members-only events. For more information, visit www.rugercollectorsassociation.com.

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