Click pictures for a larger version.
This latest version of the New Bearcat wears an
excellent set of adjustable sights.
Wood grips are very well-fitted to the frame.
Compared to the Ruger's Single-Six (left), the New
Bearcat (right) is much more compact.
Ruger has been
producing their dandy little Bearcat
single-action revolver since 1958, with the exception of a
break in production from 1974 until 1993, when they reintroduced
the little jewel as the New Bearcat, which incorporated Ruger's
transfer bar safety. The transfer bar allows the sixgun to be
carried safely completely-loaded with six cartridges. The
lockwork of the original style Bearcat necessitated that it be
carried with an empty chamber under the hammer for safety. While
on that topic, if you own an original Bearcat with the old-style
lockwork, Ruger will upgrade it for you to the transfer bar
safety at no charge. I reviewed the New
Bearcat back in the year 2000, soon after Gunblast.com was
started. That little sixgun shot really well, but having fixed
sights, the Bearcat has always lacked just a bit as a good
all-around trail partner or "kit" gun.
The New Bearcat, in all versions, is really
more like the original Super
Bearcat. The original Bearcat was built upon an aluminum
alloy frame, and weighed several ounces less. The Super Bearcat
was introduced in 1971, after the original had ceased
production, and continued until the entire Bearcat production
was halted in 1974. The New Bearcats have all been built upon
steel frames. Also like the Super Bearcat, the current
production sixguns have a wide, serrated hammer spur. All
Bearcat revolvers, both old and current, load with the hammer in
the half-cock position. Also like the originals, the New Bearcat
revolvers have a roll-engraved cylinder depicting the images of
a bear and a cat.
Shown here is a version of the Bearcat that
is long overdue. The addition of a good highly-visible set of
adjustable sights really make the little Bearcat into a whole
new weapon. The adjustable rear sight allows the user to adapt
the revolver to the ammunition, rather than the shooter having
to select ammo that shoots to point-of-aim for the revolver. The
22 Long Rifle is arguably our most-useful cartridge, but
different loads will certainly shoot to differing points-of-aim.
Also, one shooter does not shoot exactly like the next, so the
best that can be hoped for of a fixed-sight production gun is
that it be an acceptable compromise. Compromise is no longer
necessary, now that the little Bearcat wears adjustable sights.
This version of the Bearcat makes for an
excellent trail gun. Loaded with snake shot, if venomous snakes
are a problem around your area, a load of number 12 shot will
shred a snake at any distance of which he might pose a threat to
you. Loaded with a forty grain solid bullet, a handy little
rimfire trail gun can dispatch meat for the pot without ruining
any meat, or loaded with a high-velocity hollowpoint, the 22 LR
can be used to protect against vermin and predators, even the
human kind, if necessary. The 22 LR revolver is a very versatile
tool afield, and the Bearcat handles the job nicely, with a
minimum of weight and bulk.
I first had the opportunity to try out a
pre-production version of this adjustable-sighted Bearcat a few
months ago. Ruger sent one to me for me to give it a workout.
Ruger often does this with new firearms. They call these
"jury guns", and they want to get opinions and such
from shooters before the guns go into production. It was
discovered that the guns, at least the one that I had, was
shooting too high at twenty-five yards, and that the rear sight
could not be lowered enough due to interference of the hammer.
The production guns have taller front sights, and plenty of
adjustment for elevation to accommodate different loads, and
this one shoots right to point of aim for me with most loads,
with the rear sight in its intermediate position, allowing for
plenty of versatility in the loads used. I really appreciate the
way in which the folks at Ruger do the "jury gun"
program. It assures that when the guns go into production and
hit the store shelves, that they will be right. It would be
beneficial if every gun company did the same.
for the adjustable-sighted New Bearcat are listed in the chart
below. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed as
pounds of resistance. Linear measurements are listed in inches.
The cylinder length does not include the ratchet nor the
integral bushing. Height includes the sights, with the rear set
at its intermediate position..
||22 Long Rifle
||0.549 inch to 0.508 inch
|Barrel / Cylinder Gap
|Trigger Pull As Delivered
|MSRP as of January 2015
||$583 US (Blued), $635 US
test for velocity, accuracy, and function, I fired the Bearcat
with several brands of ammunition. The velocity results with
each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below.
HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose
bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet
above sea level, with an air temperature of 34 degrees
Fahrenheit, with humidity in the 77 percent range. Velocities
are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet
from the muzzle of the Ruger. Bullet weights are listed in
|Federal Bulk HP
|Winchester DynaPoint HP
|PMC Match Solid
|Wolf Match Solid
|CCI Mini Mag HP
|CCI Mini Mag Solid
|CCI Velocitor HP
|Remington Bulk HP
|American Eagle HP
|Aguila Super Maximum HP
|Winchester Wildcat Solid
|CCI Blazer Solid
|CCI Quiet Solid
do not know how much, if any, the barrel/cylinder gap affected
the velocity, but it did not seem to harm the accuracy of the
little Bearcat at all. Several loads proved to be exceptionally
accurate, grouping consistently under two inches at twenty-five
yards, fired hand-held rested atop a Target
Shooting, Inc. handgun rest. The barrel/cylinder gap
measures eight one-thousandths (.008) of an inch on the blued
sample gun featured here, which is larger than I prefer, but the
sixgun did not spit excessively from the gap, and again,
accuracy was superb.
In addition to the sessions shooting the
Bearcat for accuracy and velocity testing at the range, I
carried the handy little sixgun on my hip in a pair of Cattleman
holsters from Simply Rugged. Though tooled differently, they are
basically the same style of holster, which offers very good
protection to the weapon, yet allows quick access when needed.
As shown, the Cattleman is available with or without a hammer
thong, in plain or tooled versions. The Cattleman is an
excellent choice for the little Bearcat, and is quality-crafted
in Arizona from the best Herman Oak leather.
The Ruger Bearcat with adjustable sights is
without a doubt the most-versatile version of the Bearcat ever
built. The adjustable sights take the Bearcat from a dandy
little plinker to a rugged, reliable, handy little trail gun; a
working gun, for lack of a better term. This newest Bearcat
bridges the gap between the original Bearcat and the Single-Six,
having the versatility and capacity of the Single-Six, less the
magnum cylinder option, in a smaller, lighter, handier package.
The Bearcat can ride comfortably in a hip holster day after day
without being a bother, yet it is always at the ready to deliver
when needed. Like
all Ruger firearms, the Bearcat is built in the USA.
The adjustable sight Bearcats, both blued
steel and stainless, are Lipsey’s exclusives, so if your
dealer is not a Lipsey’s dealer, go online to www.lipseys.com
and click on the DEALER FINDER to locate a Lipsey’s dealer
For a closer look at this and other Ruger
products, go to www.ruger.com.
To order the trim little leather holsters
shown here, go to www.simplyrugged.com.
order quality rimfire ammunition, go to www.luckygunner.com
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Click pictures for a larger version.
New Bearcat with adjustable sights is also available
in stainless steel.
Bearcat comes with hard case, instruction manual, and
New adjustable-sighted Bearcat compared to Jeff's
The New Bearcat has a transfer bar safety, so that it
can be carried fully-loaded with six cartridges. Old-style
Bearcat (shown on right) should be carried with an empty
chamber under the hammer.
The New Bearcat keeps the tradition of the original
Bearcat's "Bear and Cat" cylinder markings.
Dandy little belt holster from Simply Rugged is
offered with or without hammer thong and tooling.