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The Ruger Single Six, designed and manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 1953. The Single Six is a single action, six-shot revolver. Ruger, having spotted a gap in the market for single action revolvers (the Colt Single Action Army having gone out of production prior to the Second World War) came up with the Single Six to cater for the needs of Western films.
The Ruger Single Six was designed as a single action revolver, a novelty in the 1950's with the main single action revolver, the Colt Single Action Army, going out of production before the Second World War. Being a single action, prior to 1973 atleast, the Single Six couldn't be safely used with all six chambers loaded for fear of accidental discharge.
In 1973 the 'New Model' Single Six was released, featuring a transfer bar mechanism. The transfer-bar prevents the hammer striking a cartridge without the trigger being pulled, hence preventing accidental firing.
Avaliable barrel lengths are 4.625in (117mm), 5.5in (140mm), 6.5in (165mm), 7.5in (190mm) and 9.5in (241mm). The Single Six is finished in either Blued or Stainless Steel.
All versions of the Single Six use a six-shot cylinder. Upon its release the Single Six shot the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, but is also chambered to shoot the .22 WMR (Magnum) and .17 HMR cartridges.
'Convertible' Single Sixes have been made by Ruger, allowing one Single Six to shoot both the .22 Long Rifle cartridge and the .22 WMR cartridge. Cylinders that are sold with these versions are engraved with the final three digits on the serial number, and should only be shot from that specific gun.
The Single Six, although replaced by the Blackhawk and its varients in terms of usage in Westerns, remains in production and has gone through a couple of transformations:
"New Model" Single SixEdit
Released in 1973 and, as mentioned above, featuring a transfer bar mechanism the "New Model" Single Six is considered an improvment on the Single Six design, replacing it in production lines and forming the basis of other Single Six models.
"New Model" Super Single SixEdit
The same frame and action as the Single Six, combined with the transfer bar of the "New Model" the Super Single Six features adjustable sights. There are no other changes from other models. The "New Model" Super Single Six is no longer in production as of April 2013, with other models of the Single Six becoming more popular.
"New Model" Single Six ConvertibleEdit
The "New Model" Single Six Convertible uses the same set-up as the standard "New Model" Single Six, however the Convertible is sold with two cylinders, one of which accepts the .22 Long Rifle cartridge and the other the .22 Magnum (.22WMR) cartridge. It is avaliable in a range of barrel lengths ranging from 4.6in (120mm) to 9.5in (240mm) and finished in either blued or stainless steel.
"New Model" Single Six HunterEdit
The Single Six Hunter uses the "New Model" Single Six frame but is designed to accommodate a scope. The Hunter is chambered to fire both the .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum, achieved by the use of two different cylinders, meaning the Hunter can be considered a modified Single Six Convertible, although it is considered (and sold) as its own model.
"New Model" Single Six .17 HMREdit
The "New Model" Single Six .17 HMR is, as the name suggests, chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge. Because it uses a lower power round the Single Six .17 HMR is given a rifling twist of 1:7", the tightest of any of the Single Sixes and indeed any Ruger revolvers.
"New Model" Single NineEdit
The "New Model" Single Nine is a nine shot revolver using the "New Model" Single Six frame. The Single Nine can only fire the .22 Magnum (.22WMR) cartridge, capable of reaching a velocity of 1,400 ft/s (430m/s) when shot down the 6.5in barrel of the Single Nine.
"New Model" Single TenEdit
The "New Model" Single Ten is a ten shot revolver using the "New Model" Single Six frame. Chambered for the .22 Long Rifle round the Single Ten is a relatively high maintenance version of the Single Six, requiring more barrel cleaning due to the larger cylinder capacity. The Single Ten also features fibre optic sights.