Ruger Super Bearcat


by Bill Hamm

photography by Bill Hamm

March 22nd, 2006



1971 to 1974

In June 1971, about one year after the original “Bearcat” production ended, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. introduced the steel cylinder/grip frame “Super Bearcat” single action revolver.  The steel versus the alloy cylinder/grip frame on the original Bearcat was the major difference in these fine little kit guns.  The Super retained the 4 inch barrel and oiled walnut grips with the heavy pressed aluminum medallions and weighed in at 22-1/2 ounces versus the 17 ounces of its predecessor.  Super Bearcat serial numbers all began with a “91” prefix.  The retail price was $54.00.

The first Super Bearcats had brass anodized trigger guards just like the original Bearcats.  They were also shipped in Bearcat boxes with Bearcat instructions until the supply of these were exhausted.  Boxes marked “Super Bearcat” began to show up in the last quarter of 1971.  About 37,000 Super Bearcats were made with brass anodized trigger guards.  They can be found with or without “.22 Cal.” Marked on the barrel.  

Super Bearcats with blued steel trigger guards were introduced fairly early in 1972.  About 27,000 of this variation were made.  Only rarely did they not have “.22 Cal.” Marked on the barrel.

The Super Bearcat proved to be very popular with outdoorsmen and sportsmen of all types.  In its relative short 2-1/2 year life about 64,000 were made and sold.

The known serial numbers range from 91-00001 to 91-64417.  The Super Bearcat was made longer than any of the other Old Model Ruger single action revolvers which did not have the safety transfer bar system found in the New Models introduced in 1973.  Production ceased in January 1974.

Bill Hamm

Read more about Bill on the "About Us" page.

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Example of a Super Bearcat with brass-anodized aluminum trigger guard.



Close-up view of the brass-anodized aluminum trigger guard on #91-32828.



Barrel address without "SR" inside the Ruger Eagle and no ".22 Cal." marking. Found on s/n 91-32828.



Close-up view of the "Cat" on the Super's roll-marked cylinder.



Example of a Super Bearcat with the blue steel trigger guard.



Close-up view of the blue steel trigger guard on #91-59512.



Barrel address with the "SR" in the Ruger Eagle and ".22 Cal." marking. Found on s/n 91-59512.



View of s/n 91-59512's alloy ejector rod housing and short front sight found on all of the Super Bearcats.



View of a Super Bearcat box top.



View of a Super Bearcat box end.



The early Super Bearcats came in these Bearcat boxes with Bearcat instructions dated 9/69.



Bearcat instructions dated 9/69 came with the first Super Bearcats. Later guns had Super Bearcat instructions; example shown is dated 9/72.



This is a picture of Elmer Keith's Super Bearcat, s/n 91-00015. It is new in its original box with all the papers. This rare gun is the pride of my modest Super Bearcat collection.



Close-up view of Elmer Keith's Super Bearcat, serial number...#91-00015.



Shipping label on #91-00015's cardboard shipping carton. Sent from Sturm, Ruger & Co. to a Salmon, Idaho hardware store for Mr. Elmer Keith.



Picture of the handwritten note inside of #91-00015's box top from Elmer Keith to his good friend when he traded the gun to him.