Ruger Collectors' Association Show 2001

by Boge Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn

On March 17, 2001, Jeff and I saw a rather unique gun show in Nashville, Tennessee. The show was sponsored by Bob Pope's Gun Shows. Pope is a member of NRA's board of directors and a great American who has seen his gun show operation expand to include large Expo Centers recently built by his company in both Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee. His gun shows are among my favorites, as only vendors who handle high-quality gun and knife related products are allowed. No "junk guns" or jewelry shows within a gun show at a Pope event! 

What made this show unique were the exhibits of the Ruger Collectors' Association and numerous independent Ruger collectors. For boys like us, a show like this is akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca! Many rare and even one-of-a-kind Rugers were on display for all to see, and even a brief visit to the Ruger Collectors area of the show would result in an education in Ruger history.

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

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.


Please be patient. Since there are many pictures, this page may take a while to load!


Click the images below to see a larger version.


Our buddy Bill Hamm, a longtime Ruger collector and purveyor of fine Ruger firearms, brought an early production .22 Auto "Red Eagle" pistol for me to photograph and compare to the 50th Anniversary .22 Auto (story at following link: Ruger 50th .22).



There were some very nice limited edition Ruger #1 rifles on display, including the following examples:


NRA Commemorative .338 Win Mag, #129 of 550



RCA 10th Anniversary Commemorative



Safari Club International Commemorative



NRA - American Hunter 1977 "Hunt Of A Lifetime" unique edition



The Ruger Collector's Association portion of the show started out with a breathtaking array of "Flattops" and other Single Actions:

1956 Ruger Blackhawk "Flattop" .44 Magnum, S/N 696, 6-1/2" barrel



1956 Ruger Blackhawk "Flattop" .44 Magnum, S/N 698, 6-1/2" barrel - look at that wood!



1959 Ruger Blackhawk "Flattop" .44 Magnum, S/N 18888 & 18889, 10" barrel with genuine stag grips (1500 produced)

Detail of #18888



1960 Ruger Blackhawk "Flattop" .44 Magnum, S/N 25167 & 25168, 7-1/2" barrel with genuine ivory grips (1000 produced)



Original magazine ad for the Single-Six .22, retail price: $61.25!



Nice display of an original "Old Army" percussion revolver in blue, flanked by later examples in Stainless Steel



An assortment of typical "New Model" boxes



An assortment of typical "Old Model" boxes



A mind-boggling array of every kind of Ruger Blackhawk Convertibles imaginable - the term "convertible" refers to revolvers that are made to fire two different cartridges from the same gun by swapping cylinders, as in .38 Special - .357 Magnum / 9mm Parabellum or .45 Colt / .45 ACP.



An array of .357 Magnum "Flattops"



Examples of Old Model Blackhawks, all in my favorite barrel length of 4-5/8", along with some of the custom grip styles that were available from Ruger for the Old Models.



An informative display of Ruger parts


Roger L. Dorsett, field representative for the Ruger Collectors' Association, exhibited his award-winning "shadow box" collection. Dorsett won "best of show" honors at the 2000 NRA Annual Meetings for his unique display, "Firearms of Ruger Advertisements". His display showcases original Ruger guns in shadow boxes, mounted on original Ruger magazine advertisements that have been blown-up to "life size". Our congratulations to Dorsett on his award-winning, unique, informative and beautiful gallery of fine Rugers.


Assorted Ruger ads include an ad for the Mini-Thirty semi-auto rifle, autographed by the model



L-R: Single-Six and Super Blackhawk



Clockwise from top left: Single-Six, Blackhawk and Blackhawk Convertible, .32-20 / .32 H&R Magnum Blackhawk Convertible (Buckeye Sports Supply Limited Edition), Super Blackhawk, and Single-Six



Buckeye Sports Limited Edition .32-20 / .32 H&R Magnum Blackhawk Convertible



New Model .32 H&R Magnum Single-Six



1955 "Flattop" .357 Magnum Blackhawk - retail price: $87.50!



1958 Ruger Bearcat .22



1985 Ruger Target Bisley in .41 Magnum & Bisley .22 Rimfire



1957 "Flattop" Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum



L-R: Old Model Blackhawk .30 Carbine, Old Model Blackhawk Convertible .357 Magnum / 9mm Parabellum



L-R: Old Model Blackhawk .41 Magnum, Old Model Super Single-Six Convertible .22 LR / .22 WMR



1982 advertisement for Ruger's free Old Model conversion program, shown with an Old Model Blackhawk .357 Magnum. Ruger's conversion program was started after the switch to the "New Model" in 1973. The New Model SA revolvers featured changes in the lockwork that, for the first time, allowed a SA revolver to be safely carried with all chambers loaded. Prior to the New Model Rugers and dating back to the original Colt SA revolvers, the only safe way to carry a SA revolver was with the hammer down on an empty chamber. With the New Model revolvers, Ruger added their patented "transfer bar" safety system that requires the trigger to be pulled and held back before the hammer can contact the firing pin, thus allowing New Models to be carried safely with all chambers loaded. Ruger still offers the free conversion program, which installs New Model-type internal parts as replacements for Old Model internal parts, does not alter the gun in any way, and Ruger will return the original parts so as to maintain any possible collectible status of the guns. For more information, visit Ruger's web site at Or, we'd be glad to trade you a similar New Model gun for an Old Model in good condition...



1956 "Flattop" Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum



Top to Bottom: Rare Hawkeye .256 Magnum Single-Shot, Old Model Blackhawk .357 Magnum



Rare .22 Single-Six "Light Weight" variation



A rarer variation of a rare gun: 1957 .22 Single-Six "Light Weight" with steel cylinder



Ruger handgun lineup, clockwise from top left: .22 Autoloading Pistol, .22 Bearcat, Blackhawk, .357 Magnum Security-Six DA revolver, .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk, .22 Single-Six



1982 Ruger Blackhawk SRM .357 Maximum



1973 Ruger New Model Single-Six



Rare 1991 KP89X P-89 semi-auto pistol in 9mm / .30 Luger



1953 Rare "Flat Gate" 1st Model .22 Single-Six



1961 .22 LR / .22 WMR Convertible Single-Six



"Flat Gate" Old Model .22 Single-Six



1959 Old Model Single-Six .22 WMR



Rare variant .44 Magnum "Flattop" Blackhawk


Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.