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2nd Annual Huntsville, Alabama Display Show

JAN. 28-29, 2017

Narrative by Bill Hamm
Photographs by Vince Carabetta

A group of ROCS Members and friends converged on Huntsville, Alabama to participate in the 2nd "ROCS IN ROCKET CITY" Display Show. They traveled from Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, and a few from Alabama. There were eleven outstanding displays of some great Ruger firearms.

Everyone had a great time socializing, answering questions and talking to the public about our Rugers. Member Denny Polter and others worked the ROCS table telling folks about our club, renewing several memberships and signing up 3 new members!!

ROCS awarded each class winner with a certificate and a beautiful Case Trapper knife with their 1 st Place winner class and ROCS Logo engraved on the blades in a nice presentation box. All displayers and attendees at our Awards dinner received a small ROCS 2017 Rocket City embellished knife in appreciation for their support.

Our host, Allen Daniels, Collectors and Shooters Club, LLC Gun Shows and long time Ruger Collector, presented all of our displayers our with an embellished Ruger knife. Allen also presented each class winner and the displayer who traveled the longest distance with generous cash award. We want to thank Allen for hosting us and gifting the displayers so generously.

Chad Hiddleson, Red Eagle News Exchange/RENE, awarded each class winner one free year's subscription to the great RENE publication. RENE will also send an award certificate and free one year subscription to the winner of the Best Ruger of the Show. The award certificate can accompany the gun the rest of its life!

This show has a great venue and heavy attendance by the public. The Embassy Suites Hotel where we all stay is attached to the Von Braun Civic Center where the show is held. This sure makes coming and going very convenient.

It was a really good get together. We got to spend time with old friends and made new friends. It is just great when you can enjoy spending time with a group of like minded folks who enjoy the same hobby. I encourage any and all of you to come to some of these shows. Help support ROCS, display one or many Rugers, I guarantee that you will have fun!!

The displays are as follows:


Displayer: Bob Brown, Awarded 1st Place Novice Class

Bob's display consisted of two pair of his favorite Rugers that he hunts with.

There were two fine Ruger classic No. 1 rifles chambered in .45-70 and .204 calibers. Then he displayed two of his favorite Ruger single action revolvers. One was a Blackhawk .44 Special and the other was a Single-Seven chambered in the hot little .327 Federal Magnum cartridge.

A pair of Ruger logo beer mugs enhanced the display.

Bob displayed some of his favorite Rugers that he hunts with, just like they are intended to be used!!

Super Blackhawks:
A Six Pack of Boxed Guns

Displayer: John Hightower, Awarded 1st Place Intermediate Class

John's great display featured six early Ruger Super Blackhawks, each with its Mahogany presentation box.

The Display featured:

Two of the standard dull polish finish Super Blackhawks. One had the normal Ruger Eagle Logo stamped on the barrel and one had the rarer Blackhawk .44 Flattop barrel address without the Eagle logo.

Two High Polish finish Super Blackhawks, one with the Ruger Eagle Logo stamped on the barrel and one without the Eagle logo.

Two very rare Long Grip Frame Super Blackhawks. One with the Ruger Eagle Logo stamped on the barrel and one without the Eagle logo.

There was also a Rare Mahogany box with Silver hardware, complete with its almost unique outer cardboard shipping sleeve. A few advertisements and other educational memorabilia enhanced the display.

Wow, what a six pack of fine old Supers!! Their presentation was outstanding. We are sure happy that John brought these for all of us to enjoy!!


Displayer: Glen Fleming, Intermediate Class

Glen is back this year with his 11' tall Big Red Bird. There are 44 early Rugers plus period boxes in the display.

The centerpiece of the display features 7 "Micro" sighted, stag-gripped Single-Sixes in a tribute to his friend and fellow Ruger collector the late Wayne (Americal) Barksdale.

Also on display were Lightweights, plated guns, No. 3 rifles, .22 Auto Pistols, a Hawkeye, an example of all the Flattops, and his latest find, a 10" .357 Magnum "Flattop". His favorite gun on the table is a 4 5/8" Single-Six convertible with Micro sights and stag grips, serial number 173xxx.

This was a fine showing of a lot of interesting Rugers!!

My Ruger Birds Heads

Displayer: Bill Ridge, Awarded 1st Place Advanced Class
Bill's great display shows a history of the Ruger Birds Head Vaquero models including Single- Six and Bearcat fixed sight Birds Head models. The display is divided into three sections.

  • 1. Left are the Original Vaquero models. They include models in .45 LC and .357 Magnums.

    Blued with case colored frame and High Polish Stainless models are displayed several with factory simulated Ivory Grips. A blued TALO .45 LC "Last Cowboy" is shown with TALO marketing items on the backdrop and box with LC insert.

    A single blued/case colored and a consecutive serial number set of Stainless .45 LC AcuSport Exclusive models with unusual 4 5/8" barrels. The standard Ruger Birds Head .45 LC had 3 ¾" barrels.

  • 2. The center section shows several of the Single Six models in .32 H&R Magnum, Bearcat Shopkeeper .22 LR, and Single Six .22 LR/.22 MAG convertible.

    Featured is a TALO .32 H&R Magnum "Last Cowboy" with the factory supplied Hunter holster with Ruger and "Last Cowboy" insignia tooled in the leather that shipped with each gun (only 143 made). A consecutive serial number set of TALO John Wayne "DUKE" pistols is shown with TALO Marketing displayed on the backdrop. All three variations of the stainless .32 H&R Magnum are shown including the roll stamp on the side of the barrel and both Southport and Newport "Clean Up" models with roll stamp on the bottom of the barrel. There is also an SSMBH-4F S/N 650-57896 "Newport" that shipped in 2016. These guns are a Davidson's Exclusive with the number made yet to be determined but estimated by RENE around 300. This gun has the new black laminated grips and a blued cylinder frame rather than case color and the box is marked case color.

    The .22 caliber is represented by a consecutive serial number set of the TALO .22 LR/.22 Magnum Stainless Convertibles (400 made), and a Lipsey’s Exclusive Stainless and Blued Bearcat SHOPKEEPERS.

  • 3. The right section shows five models of the NEW MODEL VAQUERO BIRDS HEAD.

    They are all TALO Exclusive. Variations displayed include .45 LC blue and stainless, .45 ACP blue and stainless, and a pair of the stainless TALO .44 Magnum with 2 digit consecutive serial numbers 59-00052 and 59-00053.

    MY ONE-OF- A-KIND 10/22

    Displayer: Charlie Davis, Advanced Class

    Charlie brought out his very rare one-of- a-kind Ruger 10/22 .22 caliber semi automatic rifle. This rifle was a gift to Charlie in 1997 from Gerald Bersett, Ruger's COO at the time. Charlie volunteered to man the Ruger booth at the Grand American Trap Shoot in Vandalia, Ohio when an employee was late in arriving due to car trouble and the other Ruger employees had to leave the event. Charlie had gotten to know and made friends with the Ruger folks during several visits to the Grand over the years. They also knew about his extensive collection of 10/22 rifles.

    Since he was just helping out his Ruger friends he did not expect and was completely surprised when after the show he received an envelope in the mail from Bersett thanking him for his help and telling him to go to his gun dealer and pickup his special rifle. What an honor to receive such a gift.

    This is what he says makes his 10/22, s/n 246-78842, a true "One-of- a-kind":

    1) A laminated Rosewood Burgundy stock (a prototype and the only one known).
    2) A factory "Jeweled Bolt" (the only one known jeweled at the factory).
    3) Shipped with a Ruger sling with Ruger Logo.
    4) A factory letter by Gerald Bersett, Ruger COO, and the factory test target shot with the gun.

    What a great one gun display!! We appreciate Charlie sharing this great piece of history with us and the public!!


    Displayer: Bill Hamm, Masters Class
    Awarded Best Ruger of the Show
    "Elmer Keith"s 4-5/8" .44 Flattop"

    Bill's display consisted of two extremely rare barrel lengths of the Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattop".

    They are:
    One was a Blackhawk .44 Flattop with its prototype 15" barrel. This was Bill Ruger's experimental Ruger "Buntline". In early to mid 1957 Bill Ruger was toying with the idea of building a Ruger "Buntline" and decided to build two on the .44 Magnum Flattop frame with 15" barrels, #5000 & #5001. He sent #5001, the gun displayed, to Remington Arms for testing on August 23, 1957. Sometime later he decided against producing them with such a long barrel and in 1958 he gave #5001 to his friend, Jack Behn. #5000 had its barrel cut at the factory to 10" so #5001 is the only 15" barrel Ruger .44 Flattop in existence that was made at the Ruger factory.

    The other is a special made Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattop" with its unique 4-5/8" barrel, #2331. The three standard barrel lengths were 6-1/2", 7-1/2" and 10". Bill Ruger only made two of these in 4-5/8" for two of his close friends and associates. The gun displayed, #2331, was made for Elmer Keith; famed cowboy, shootist, big game hunter, author and so-called "Father of the .44 Magnum" cartridge.

    Provenance displayed included copies of original invoices, a letter of testimony from Jack Behn and factory letters. The book, "Hell I Was There", Elmer Keith's autobiography and period advertisements accompanied the display.

    "VIP" A FEW SPECIAL .44s

    Displayer: Mike Womble, Masters Class

    Mike's fantastic display features four very special 2-digit serial number Ruger Single Action .44 Magnum revolvers. Each was originally owned by a "VIP" of the Ruger world!! They are:

    • 1. Serial number 25 Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattop" , owned by Ruger Vice President Ed Nolan, Bill Ruger's right-hand man in the 1950s. The gun is complete with original box and shipping carton, along with manual/warranty card/wax paper. It wears a pair of engraved factory walnut grips in acorn/oak leaf pattern that are believed to be a sample pair done by Charles Jerred, the Ruger engraving contractor at the time.
    • 2. Serial number 26 Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattop", owned by Wayne Fleming, marketer at Brownell's Inc of Iowa. This gun is complete with original box, paperwork, and outer cardboard shipping sleeve. It wears an original set of Ruger factory stag grip panels of the era.
    • 3. Serial number 58 Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum, owned by Tom Ruger, Bill Ruger's son. Tom worked at Ruger for many years until his untimely passing. This gun was made in 1959 but not assembled and inspected until 1965. It has all of the 1965 period features (aluminum sight, ER housing, high polish finish, oiled walnut grips, and period rollmark). This unique gun is also complete with its original (1965 era) two-piece box and paperwork, along with the outer cardboard shipping sleeve.
    • 4. Serial number 64 Ruger Super Blackhawk .44, owned by Walter Sych, a Ruger chief executive from the very beginning of the company. This gun is as new and complete with mahogany presentation case and paperwork.
    • The display is rounded out with biographical information on each VIP, along with ammunition examples and advertisements of the period.


      Displayer: Bill Hightower, Masters Class

      Bill displayed two special Ruger 10/22s that are limited editions from TALO Distributors.

      One was the 2015 Limited Edition called the "Gator" and has an Alligator carved into the stock and claw marks on the forearm.

      The other was the 2016 Limited Edition called the "Tiger" and has a Tiger carved in the stock and has claw marks on the forearm.

      TALO has left an open spot for the 2017 Limited Edition that is yet to be announced. Bill hopes that they will announce it soon and he can add it to his collection.

      Also displayed was a box with contents such as a scope mount, gun lock, handbook with warranty card and a brochure for Ruger knives. Also shown were the promotional ads for the two rifles.

      Bill said that this display was done in part to show new displayers that it is perfectly acceptable to show new model Rugers and not be concerned that you do not have old models or one-of-a-kinds to display to be accepted. It is all about having fun while enjoying and promoting our hobby. New displayers are certainly wanted and always welcome.


      Displayer: Jim Schafer, Masters Class

      Since 2016 was the 60th year of the .44 "Flattop", Jim decided to bring out his collection of 44s for us all to see and enjoy.

      His display included 17 Flattops from 3-digit guns to 5-digit guns. Included were:

      Four 3-digit guns. Included in these was a pair of consecutive guns, #456 & #457. #457 is a very rare Type 1 with its small seriated ejector button and #456 is a Type 2 with a concave/dimpled button.

      Thirteen guns in the display were BKH4/BKH46s with 6 ½" barrels.

      One BKH47 with its 7 ½" barrel.

      Three BKH40s with their 10" barrels.

      Also on display were three sets of factory Stag grips and one set of carved grips.

      This was certainly a fine showing to commemorate the 60th birthday of the great Ruger .44 "Flattop".


      Displayer: Lee E. Sundermeier, Masters Class

      Lee's great .44 "Flattop" display showed many related items that he added to his collection of Ruger's first Blackhawk .44 Magnum "Flattop". In November, 1956 the first shipments were made of this famous, 60 year old, big bore revolver by Ruger. As its popularity grew, the public wanted more options and accruements to enhance the use of the big .44 caliber single action revolver. An example of all of the items described below was included in this display.

      Ruger already offered several grip options for their first Single-Six and .357 Blackhawk revolvers. Checkered hard rubber, walnut, stag and ivory were eventually added to the lineup as factory options for the .44 Flattop as well.

      Barrel length options were offered after three years' production. These include the original 6-1/2", 7-1/2", and 10" lengths. Next, boxes and shippers had to be made to ship the three different barrel lengths. Hand gun shooters wanted to carry their revolvers in quality leather holsters. Lawrence was quick to respond with several styles of holsters to safely carry the three different barrel lengths.

      The .44 Blackhawk was capable of shooting three different commercial calibers of ammunition. Remington was already producing the .44 S&W, Russian and the .44 S&W Special. They announced the new .44 Remington Magnum in 1956 that can also be fired in their .44 Blackhawk.

      Ruger advertised their products every month in the NRA publication, AMERICAN RIFLEMAN. Three new Ruger ads appeared in the fall issues of August through December, 1956 for their new Blackhawk in .44 Magnum caliber.

      A set of triplets for any collector is an accomplishment, whether they are three consecutive serial numbered guns, three holsters for the same gun with different barrel lengths, or three different sets of factory grip options. Having all of these in one display certainly was something to see and enjoy!!

      Ruger Blackhawk
      "The Brass Option"

      Displayer: Vincent Carabetta, Masters Class

      Vince's outstanding display consists of all 9 models of the "factory" installed "Brass" grip frame made available to the public. There are 6 Blackhawks, one in each barrel length, in the following calibers: .357 Mag., .41 Mag. and .45 LC. All were shipped in 1972. In addition there are 2 Super Blackhawks, a non-prefix shipped in 1968 and a prefix gun shipped in 1972. And last is an Old Army shipped in 1973.

      The brass grip frame was first made available in 1965 on the Super Blackhawk only and discontinued in 1968. There were only about 60 produced and about 10 known today. In 1972 they were made available to be ordered on all Blackhawks (except convertibles) and the Old Army. The rarest being the Blackhawk .41 Mag. with a 4 5/8" barrel, only about 60 produced and about 12 know today. The one shown here is "NIB" with the very rare white shipping carton.

      Also shown were the boxes, paper work, catalogs, and a grip frame and trigger comparison, patches, pins, and misc. items.

      These "Brass" frames really are eye catching and very desirable to collectors.

If you shoot, carry, hunt with or collect Rugers, join our team!

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