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The Ruger Bearcat is .22 caliber, single action, six-shot revolver produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co. from 1958. Three varieties are produced, the 1st and 2nd issues from 1958 through until 1975. The 3rd issue signified the reintroduction to production of the Bearcat in 1993.
The Ruger Bearcat is single action, chambered to fire the .22 Long Rifle cartridge and its varients. Although not officially recognised, the Bearcat can be seen as an alternative to the Ruger Blackhawk, produced from 1955 or a development of the Ruger Single Six, produced from 1953.
The frame was originally made of an alloy, however from the 2nd issue the Bearcat was manufactured with a stronger, all steel frame. All Bearcats are solid framed, and the lightest revolver that Ruger manufacture.
The Bearcat is based on the Remington revolvers from the mid 19th century. The single action mechanism is taken from the Single Six.
The 3rd Issue Bearcat features Ruger's patented transfer-bar mechanism, designed to prevent accidental firing by preventig the hammer striking a cartridge without the trigger being pulled, which was not included in the original two models, whose production was stopped soon after the introduction of the transfer bar.
Two barrel lengths are used with Bearcats. Original and 2nd Issue Bearcats use a 4in (101mm) while the later 3rd Issue Bearcat uses a 4.2in (107mm) barrel.
The Bearcat has had several changes applied to it. Several changes have been made to improve the Bearcat both aesthetically and mechanically:
Bearcat 1st IssueEdit
The Original Bearcat, built from 1958. The 1st Issue uses a solid alloy frame with un-chequered walnut grip and fixed Partridge front and square rear sights. Production ceased in 1973.
Bearcat 2nd IssueEdit
Production beginning in 1971 and ending in 1975, the 2nd Issue was sold as an all-round improvement on the 1st Issue. The alloy frame was replaced with a steel frame, aswell as an unfluted, engraved cylinder and music wire coil springs.
Bearcat 3rd Issue (New Bearcat)Edit
The Bearcat was reintroduced in 1993 as the 3rd Issue. Featuring the patented Ruger transfer bar (lacking from the first two Bearcats), as well as rosewood grips with Ruger medallion embedded and finished in blued or satin stainless steel. The 3rd Issue also uses a marginally longer barrel at 4.2in (107mm).
Chambered to fire the .22 Long Rifle round from a six-shot cylinder the Bearcat, in all its forms can fire most varients of the .22 round. Specifically the Bearcat can fire:
- .22 Long Rifle
- .22 Long
- .22 Short
- .22 WMR
The Bearcat is sold as a .22 Long Rifle revolver ideal for hikers or campers.
The New Bearcat is described as "a mechanical jewel" and fulfills the idea of a small "kit gun".