Ruger Old Model Single-Six "Magnum Only" Revolvers


by Bill Hamm

photography by Bill Hamm

May 17th, 2003



PRODUCED  1959 - 1962


 The .22 Magnum cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1959.   Ruger introduced its Single-Six single action revolver in .22 “Magnum Only” around June of that same year. 

The Magnum guns had 6-1/2 inch barrels, round loading gates, checkered black hard rubber grips, and no firing pin groove in the rear of the cylinder.  They were roll-marked   “RUGER SINGLE-SIX WIN. .22 RF MAG. CAL” in two lines on the left side of the cylinder frame.   In early 1960 the Magnum Only guns were also made available with varnished walnut grip panels.

These Magnum Only guns were put in a special serial number range of their own beginning with 300000 and ending at 340XXX.  About March 1961 Ruger began to produce these Magnum Only marked guns with an extra .22 caliber cylinder.  The extra cylinder, the .22 caliber in this case, had the last three digits of the gun’s serial number stamped on its front face, close to the cylinder base pin hole.   The idea of producing these dual cylinder guns or a “convertible” came from customers requesting that Ruger retrofit their “Magnum Only” single-cylinder guns with a .22 caliber cylinder or their .22 caliber only single-cylinder guns with a Magnum cylinder.

The “Magnum Only” marked guns came in a black and red box with a yellow wreath on top like the standard Single-Six but designated with Cat. No.“RSSM” on the box end labeling. 

The production of these “Magnum Only” Single-Sixes ended sometime in August – September 1962.  The 6-1/2” barrel length soon was made available in the standard “Single-Six .22  Caliber/.22 Magnum Convertible” model.  The boxes for these 6-1/2 inch barrel convertibles continued to be marked with the catalog number “RSSM”, not RSS6, throughout the Old Model Single-Six production that ended in 1972.

There are several rare or scarce variations of these guns, some with only one or two  known, that I will not attempt to cover here.  If you are interested in learning more about these guns, I suggest you become a member of the Red Eagle News Exchange.   The publisher of that newsletter has done extensive research and study and goes into considerable detail describing those and many other rare Ruger models and variations.




Single-Six , Magnum marked:

Roundgate, magnum cylinder, early XR3 marked black anodized grip frame,  black checkered hard Rubber or varnished Walnut grips, 6-1/2” barrel.


Roundgate, shipped with two cylinders from factory (.22 Magnum & .22 caliber), early XR3 marked black anodized grip frame, varnished Walnut grips, 6-1/2” barrel.


Roundgate, two cylinders (.22 Magnum & .22 caliber), the later redesigned  XR3-RED marked black anodized grip frame, varnished Walnut or oil filled Walnut grips, 6-1/2” barrel.

Bill Hamm

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Two-digit Magnum marked Single-Six, serial number 300019, with checkered black rubber grips.



Close up view of #19's serial number roll mark on the right side of the cylinder frame.



View of the maker and model roll mark on the left side of the cylinder frame.



Magnum marked Single-Six with varnished walnut grips, serial number 321217.



Close up view of # 321217's serial number roll mark.



Top, Magnum marked Single-Six, model "RSSM", serial number 301416 shipped with a Magnum only cylinder and varnished walnut grips.  Bottom,  Magnum marked Single-Six serial number 321217, model "RSSMX", shipped with a Magnum cylinder, an extra .22 Long Rifle cylinder and varnished walnut grips.  The last three digits of the serial number are stamped on the face of the .22 Long Rifle "extra" cylinder.



Front side of  # 300019's cardboard outer shipping carton properly numbered in lead pencil.



The model stamp that is just to the right of the penciled number 300019 on the cardboard shipping carton.



Magnum box end label, this box is numbered on the left end in pencil for # 300019.



Box top and instructions & warranty card for the Magnum marked guns.



Model stamp on the right end of a Magnum marked Single-Six's shipping carton.