Ruger Collectors' Association Show 2003

by Bill Hamm and Wayne Dennis

photography by Bill Hamm

Ed. Note: In February 2003, our resident Ruger collecting expert Bill Hamm attended the annual Ruger Collectors gun show in Nashville, Tennessee. The show was sponsored by Bob Pope's Gun Shows.

Bill is a regular exhibitor at Bob Pope's shows, and he took some time from his busy weekend to visit the Ruger collectors, take a few pictures for us, and, with the help of Wayne Dennis, write brief descriptions of some of the exhibits.

Please let Bob Pope know that you appreciate his encouragement of Ruger collecting by emailing him at or calling him at (615) 793-7364. He will send you a schedule of his upcoming shows for both his Nashville and Knoxville venues. Be sure to ask when the next RCA show will be, you don't want to miss one!

Check out Bill Hamm's article on of the 2002 Ruger Collectors show at RCA Show 2002.

Check out my article on of the 2001 Ruger Collectors show at RCA Show 2001.

Boge Quinn

Nashville Ruger Collectors Show 

Bob Pope's Country Village Expo Center - Smyrna, TN 

February 15 – 16, 2003

 This was the 4th annual Nashville/Knoxville Ruger Collectors show hosted by long time Nashville gun show promoter, Mr. Bob Pope.  There were twelve Ruger displays 2003 representing various models and variations.  The quality of the displays and the rarity of the Ruger firearms displayed were some of the tops in the country.  Ruger collectors from as far away as Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio gathered in Nashville for the annual display show.  We all had a great time absorbed in “Rugers” all weekend!!  A few good guns other than the ones displayed made it into the show and provided for a few good finds and additions to collections.  As usual, Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. graciously provided all of the displayers several nice Ruger goodies.

I have listed the title of each display, along with the collector's name and a brief description below:

Click the images below to see a larger version.




A fine display of the Ruger .32s.  Bob displayed new in the box examples of thirteen Ruger Single-Six .32 H&R Magnum single action revolvers.  It contained five Bisleys, two Birdsheads, and four standard & two short grip framed models.  All were NIB (New-In-Box) guns.  Also shown were examples of boxes and gun magazine advertisements along with a detailed write up of the display and its contents.




by Don Wilks 

A great display of the really hard to get guns!  All three types of the very scarce .357 Magnum “Transition” from the Flattop to the protected sight guns with small serial numbers.   Don’s display contained six guns, two of each of the three transition types with both 4-5/8” and 6-1/2” barrel lengths.  The display contained a good write up of the history of the .357 Transitions and features of each transition type.




 by John Krukenberg

One of the finest displays of Ruger Number 1 rifles in the country.  John, our long gun man, displayed eight different rifles that were all special; all were engraved or embellished in some way.  Two NRA Special issues, one from 1977 and 1996, two master engraved and gold inlaid, and three limited edition models.  John had literature explaining the models displayed.  Man, the knock-out wood that adorned these rifles made you lust!




by Dale Dalbotten  --  Received THIRD place award Advanced Class

 An awesome display of different model Ruger single action revolvers with the same serial numbers.  Many of these fine old Flattops were sporting the rare ivory and stags from the by gone era.  There were eleven guns in all, four sets of two matching numbers and three guns with the same number.  Boxes, instructions, and a short write up about how Dale acquired each gun accompanied the display.




by Ken Sawyers

A very unique and eye catching display of “red” colored framed Rugers that all of us collectors love.  There were five beautiful red cylinder framed Rugers of all different models including a Hawkeye and an old really “red” Single-Six stamped with an “S” in front of the trigger guard.  Example of boxes and other Ruger memorabilia accompanied the display.




by Bill Hamm – Received FIRST place award Advanced Class

A one gun display of Elmer Keith’s Super Bearcat #91-00015.  This is one of only two or three #15 Rugers believed to be outside the Keith family collection.  The display included copies of handwritten correspondence between Elmer and the previous owner, Bill Wellshare, with whom Elmer traded guns.  The original shipping carton addressed to Elmer from Bill Ruger and the original box that has a handwritten note to Mr. Wellshare inside the box top were also displayed, along with other items of provenance.




by Jerizta Sawyers - Received FIRST place award Intermediate Class

 A fine display of seven rare old model Rugers.  An identification card accompanied each gun with a complete description of its rare features, shipping date, etc.  Included was the only known factory lettered  4-5/8” barrel .357 Magnum/9MM “Flattop” convertible. Also displayed was a brand new in the box 4-5/8” barrel .41 Magnum.  Boxes and other Ruger supporting items accompanied this display.




by Jim Schafer

Jim’s great display of eighteen Single-Sixes covering all the different variations of these interesting and rare guns.  Cards with each gun explained the special transition feature and production numbers.  Some are the only known example.  Examples of boxes, a sample board showing all the different transition parts, along with literature and a copy of Alex Sturm’s children’s book, The Problem Fox, accompanied the display.




by Jeanine May – Received SECOND place award Advanced Class.

This is a very colorful and complete display of each letter of the “Alphabet” Bearcats produced during 1958 - 1960.  The display contains 25 “Alphabets” all of which appear in minty condition.  An old 1863 Remington New Model Police revolver that Bill Ruger patterned the Bearcat after was displayed to show the likeness of the guns.  Examples of the packaging including shipping cartons and boxes, period catalogs, first and second Bearcat magazine advertisements, instruction manuals, and custom holsters accompanied the display.




by Lee Sundermeier

Lee’s display had eight guns in all, six of the early long 10” barrel Blackhawk “Flattops” in .44 and .357 and two 9-1/2” barrel Single-Sixes. Beautiful factory ivories and stags adorned several of these fine examples.  Five boxes for these guns were displayed along with sample of period advertisements, a dealer’s promotion packet, owner’s instruction manuals, and warranty card.




by G. W. “Budd” Given  --  Received BEST GUN OF THE SHOW award

Budd’s gun is the extremely rare Spanish engraved Single-Six, serial number 5113.  When Bill Ruger contracted with Charles H. Jerred, Master Engraver to engrave his Ruger Single-Sixes, this was the “pattern gun” that Bill sent to him to follow.  A letter from Bill Ruger to Jerred was displayed that explained in detail what he wanted the work to look like and prices that he was willing to pay for the work.  Budd also displayed copies of actual sales receipts.  A wonderful piece of early Ruger history.



“RUGER .357 S/A By TYPE plus PICAYUNE VARIATIONS 1955 – 1972”

by Robert “Bob” Campbell

Bob displayed 30 fine .357 Blackhawks including Flattops, Transition guns, and other types.  I imagine that this is the most complete .357 Old Model display known - really interesting.  Bob included a detailed book listing each gun by type and the features of each.  Boxes and ads accompanied his display.

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 (or to apply for an annual membership), write to: Ruger Collectors' Association, Inc., P.O. Box 240, Greens Farms, CT  06436

The Red Eagle News Exchange is a quarterly publication filled with new information, updates, and articles about collecting Ruger firearms and memorabilia. This is an excellent resource for the Ruger collector and/or enthusiast, and the wealth of information sent to new subscribers as a free gift with a paid annual subscription is alone well worth the money. Highly recommended. For more information or to subscribe, write Red Eagle News Exchange (Chad Hiddleson - Editor), 1945 Clover Avenue, Perry, IA  50220, or call (515) 465-2057.

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