MARCH 15-16, 2008

Narrative by Bill Hamm

Photography by Matt Olivier

The second annual Harrisburg, PA Ruger Collectors Association Display show hosted by Mid-Atlantic Arms Collectors was an astounding success!!  The show is a fantastic venue of 1,200 tables and thriving attendance.  There were 15 fantastic displays that covered practically all aspects of Ruger history.  Two fellow collectors came all the way from Washington State to support our activities and two displayers drove from Florida!

The show promoter, Nick Jubinski, presented two generous awards for displays that were determined by his Board of five Judges; $400 for First Place of the Show and $200 for Best Educational.

The RCA gave a one year free  membership to each of the first place winners in each class determined by the elected judges.  The RENE also awarded a free one year subscription to each first place class winner and also for the Best Gun of the show picked by member Bob Livingston.  John Dougan awarded the displayer(s) who traveled the furthest with one of his new updated serial number booklets that is hot off the press.

Several great guns were available for sale and/or trade.  There was a lot of activity among the attendees and a lot of great deals struck!  I observed several Flatgates, Light Weights, Flattops of all barrel lengths, cased Supers, consecutive numbered Jerred engraved Single-Sixes and rare paper.  A rare “Armamex” also came in the door!!

We had a great awards dinner with 50 in attendance. Ruger  provided several goodies for displayers, the RCA provided class award and displayer certificates, and the show committee gave each winner a nice plaque. Our after dinner auction was a huge success.  The bidding was spirited and everyone had lots of fun!  We raised over $2,500 for our display show fund.

Become a part of all this fun…Join the RCA at www.rugercollectorsassociation.com.



(Click Pictures for a Larger Version)


By Dave Lortscher

Award 3rd Place Novice

 Dave displayed 16 of the great No. 1 rifles.  He chronicled the transition of the early rifles from 1968 through the modern 2008 variety and explained the transition and features of the guns from each of the four decades.  Included in the display was a rare non-prefix .45-70 in a BHS configuration, a non-catalog Liberty in 7X57 Mauser and two of the very rare non-cataloged .45-70 1H Liberty rifles with one being new in the original box!  This group sure had a lot of beautiful wood too!!


By Budd Given, Advanced Class

 Budd’s colorful display had one each of the old model Rugers that was fifty years old and its 50th Anniversary special edition gun. This included the Auto, Single-Six, .357 Flattop and the .44 Flattop.  All of the guns had the introductory advertisements and factory letters.  All of the old models had either factory stags or ivories.  Lots of 50th Anniversary memorabilia was also displayed.


By Bob Nelson

Awarded 2nd Place Advanced

 Bob’s complete eleven gun display had examples of all the old model Blackhawk Convertible variations.  It included all barrel lengths and the grip panel medallion changes.  Included was a rare ”D” marked duplicate .357 Magnum/9MM convertible as well as the rare/scarce non-prefix .357 convertibles of both barrel lengths.  Revolver boxes, cylinder boxes, advertisements and pictures accompanied this great display.  


By Mike Womble

Awarded 2nd Place Novice

Awarded “Longest Distance Traveled” to display: 960 miles one way

 Mike’s outstanding display included a 3-digit example of each of the seven single action revolvers Ruger introduced in the 1950’s.  The Single-Six, Blackhawk .357, Light Weight Single-Six, Blackhawk .44, Bearcat, Single-Six Magnum and Super Blackhawk.  Two of the guns were adorned with beautiful factory ivories and two with factory stags.  Six of the guns had original boxes displayed along with their original factory advertisements.  Mike provided a brief background historical description for each model.  This was the first time that Mike had displayed and it was certainly a great showing!


By Dan Tanko, Advanced Class

Dan’s great display focused on the 50th Anniversary of the Ruger .22 caliber rimfires.  Featured were the RST-4 #0647 first week production and its 1999 50th Anniversary MK 450 #66; Single-Six #274 and its 50th Anniversary model; Bearcat #555 and a “Picture” of the not yet shipped 2008 BC-4 50th Anniversary model!!  Lots of colorful 50th Anniversary memorabilia accompanied this fine display.


By Richard Wilmot

Awarded 1st Place Novice

Richard’s first RCA display was something to behold !  Displayed were the Blackhawk .41 Magnums #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14 and 15.  Factory letters for each gun were displayed listing shipping dates and original owners of #7 and #11.  A copy of #11’s original invoice was displayed.  An example of the complete packaging for the .41 Magnum and box contents were displayed along with an original advertisement announcing the .44 Magnum.  Even though Richard was in the Novice Class his display was awarded the same amount of points as the winner of the Advanced Class!  Look out next year!!


By Rod & Cathy Kirian

Awarded 3rd Place Advanced


Rod’s minty display consisted of ten early 3-digit .44 “Flattops” in the #100 - #900 serial number range.  9 of the 10 guns were made in 1956 and one in 1957.  Three extremely rare Type 1s, #121, 204, and 379 were included.  One of the guns was truly a “complete” package, it was #738 which had a crisp as new box, all the papers, split top shipper with a Railway Express sticker from Klein’s Sporting Goods, Chicago, IL. Rod stated that he was very fortunate to have good friends who had helped him make this collection a reality.  He said that he valued the friendships as much as the guns.


By Jim Schafer, Non-judged Masters Class

Jim’s comprehensive display of “Transition Single-Sixes” included all known 5-1/2”, 6-1/2”, and 9-1/2” Type 1, 2, and 3 variations except one known RSS5W in the Light Weight serial number range and one other factory second gun.  The only other factory second, #330009 “s” was included in this display.  Jim showed all of the various parts that made up the transitions.


By Jack Coogan, Advanced Class

Jack’s attractive display included some very rare and scarce new models.  Included were thirteen “D” duplicate serial numbered guns.  There was one consecutive pair with the same barrel length and one consecutive pair with different barrel lengths!  One “U”, one “unmarked” warning, one consecutive pair of SSRs and one “unmarked” SSR were shown.  The Charles Jerred American Engraved 1 of 258 and the Robert Kain Spanish Engraved 1 of 20 were also displayed.  Rounding out this fine display were company employee Christmas Gifts from 1978-1988.


 BY Matt Olivier

Non-Judged Masters Class

Matt’s very complete display included examples of each of the Ruger “Factory Installed” brass frame guns known.  This includes an extremely rare .41 Magnum with a 4-5/8” barrel (1 of 50) and a very rare non-prefix Super Blackhawk complete with its box and outer shipping carton.  All of the guns had boxes and the correct paperwork.  Also displayed were examples of other rare and unique grip frames.  These included a XR3 gold tone, a XR3-RED gold tone, a New Model brass frame, a Old Model brass frame MR-3DB, and an as-cast New Model brass frame. 

“MY OLD .41s”

By Bill Hightower

Awarded 1st Place Advanced Class

Awarded “Longest Distance Traveled” to display: 960 miles one way

Bill’s great .41 Magnum display had examples of all the known variations.  Included were  the "no Inc” and “Inc” barrel addresses, Micro rear sight and plain rear sight, half round ejector rod, neck feather black Eagle grips, duplicate serial numbers, triangular ejector rod, prefix serial number with black Eagle grips, prefix serial number with silver Eagle grips, and brass grip frames.  The duplicate serial numbered guns that do not have the “D” stamped on them were also included.  Original packaging with boxes, papers, and outer shipping cartons were also included for viewing.


By Lee Sundermeier

Non-judged Masters Class

Lee’s outstanding display included three groups of “Old Model”, Low  Number Ruger revolvers and one rifle.  Group 1, six handguns and one No. 1 rifle, all serial number 40.  These guns were owned by the family who owned Gophers Shooting Supply Co.  Like new, they all have their original boxes.  Also displayed was some very interesting Gopher Co. memorabilia.  Group 2, five randomly numbered 2-digit Old Models with their original boxes.  Rounding out this display, Group 3, was the single-digit #5 Hawkeye and #7 .357 Flattop!!  Wow!!


By Tyrone Phillips

Awarded 1st Place Intermediate Class

Show Promoter’s Award for Best Educational

Tyrone’s unique display was designed to explain to the non-collector/non-Ruger layman the different terminology used in Ruger collecting.  It included examples of the Red Eagle and Black Eagle Auto, Flatgates, Tri-Color Light Weight, round gate, Old Model with protected sight ears and the New Model guns.  The “collector speak” terms used by collectors was demonstrated and explained.  The differences in the old models, safety converted old models and the new models with the transfer bar were also displayed and explained.


By Bill Hamm, Non judged Masters Class

 Show Promoter’s Award for 1st Place Show 

This display of twenty-seven .44 “Flattops” included examples of each major standard variation.  Also displayed was a British proof marked gun, a consecutive numbered pair of Type 3 Flattops, a consecutive numbered pair of late production XR3-RED grip frame guns, and a 6-1/2” and  7-1/2” with XR3-RED grip frames and non-fluted Super Blackhawk cylinders.  A very interesting 4-5/8” .44 Flattop was also displayed out front of the display.  Examples of original advertisements, instruction manuals, period catalog, boxes, split top shipping carton and an “as cast” cylinder  frame accompanied the display. 

I hope the readers enjoy this group of displays as much as we did at the show.  We would like to invite you to come to the Harrisburg, PA, Tulsa, OK or Puyallup, WA annual Ruger Display shows and meet all the folks who love Rugers!!   We would like for you to bring a display too, we always love to see different guns.  The show schedules at www.rugercollectorsassociation.com.

Hope to see you at one of our shows!!

Bill Hamm

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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