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3rd Annual Huntsville, Alabama Display Show

JAN. 27-28, 2018

Narrative by Bill Hamm
Photographs by Vince Carabetta


A group of ROCS Members and friends converged on Huntsville, Alabama to participate in the 3rd annual “ROCS IN ROCKET CITY” Display Show.  They traveled from Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and a few from Alabama.   There were eleven outstanding displays of some very fine and rare Ruger firearms for all to view. 


Everyone had a great time socializing, answering questions and talking to the public about our Rugers.  Lee Sundermeier, Bill Ridge, Mike Womble, Bill Hightower, Ron Lutz and several other Displayers worked the ROCS table telling folks about our club, renewing several memberships and signing up 6 new members!!


We had a really nice awards banquet with some of the best food that can be imagined!!  ROCS awarded each class winner with a Crystal Award with their 1st Place Winner Class and ROCS Logo engraved on them.  Each class winner also received a great Ruger firearm.  All displayers received a Cabelas gift card for their hard work and ROCS support. 


Our host, Allen Daniels, Collectors and Shooters Club, LLC (CASC) gun shows and long time Ruger Collector, presented all of our displayers with a Ruger handgun cleaning kit. Allen also presented each class winner and the displayer who traveled the longest distance with very generous cash awards.  His son Ryan who manages the show saw to everything that we needed and was on the PA system announcing and directing folks to our displays.  We want to thank both Allen and Ryan 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.  This special award certificate can accompany the gun the rest of its life!


This show has a great venue and great attendance by the public.  Our headquarters hotel, The Embassy Suites, is attached to the Von Braun Civic Center where the show is held.  This sure makes coming and going very convenient; never have to move your vehicle or even walk outdoors.


It was another 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, you will have a fun time.


The displays are as follows:


  Front Row: (Left to Right)
   Lee Sundermeier, Jackie Lutz, Bill Ridge, Bill Hightower, Bill Hamm, Vince Carabetta.
Back Row: (Left to Right)
   Charles Hainley, Jim Schafer, Ron Lutz, Mike Womble, John Hightower, Carol Carabetta.
Over 4 feet tall ROCS Logo constructed by Glen Fleming.




By: Bill Ridge, Awarded 1st Place Advanced Class

Displayed are examples of the 5 Single Action Models introduced by Sturm Ruger in the 1950’s with the 50th Anniversary Models shown beside them.

1953 Single-Six .22 LR

The first model is a .22 caliber Flatgate Type 2 #24887, catalog RSS that shipped in 1955. It is shown with a non-number matching, but correct non-catalog number box. Alongside is the 50th Anniversary Single-Six #268-47843 with original commemorative box with box emblem and all paper work. The 50th anniversary was made in 2003 as a convertible with a .22 Magnum cylinder included. The 50th Single-Six carried a catalog number NR-4F-50.

1955 Blackhawk .357 Magnum

This is the first centerfire model introduced by Sturm Ruger. The gun shown is model BKH-3 serial number 1322 making it a 1955 first year production gun. It is displayed with the original number matching box and .357 Magnum addendum page to the original Single-Six Manual. The 50th Anniversary gun is #520-14070, model NVB34-50, with box and all the paperwork. This gun is one of a matching serial number set that included the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and a wood glass front case with Ruger 50th Anniversary .357 & .44 on the glass in red.

1956 Blackhawk .44 Magnum

The second center fire model was the Blackhawk .44 Magnum. Shown is 4 digit serial number 2976 which makes it a Type 2 1957 gun designated BKH-4 with 6 ½” barrel. Based a lot on the .357 Blackhawk Bill Ruger was able to introduce it the year following the introduction of the .357 Magnum. The 50th Anniversary gun is #870-14070; model S-465N-50, with box and paperwork. This gun is one of a matching serial number set that included the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and a wood glass front case with Ruger 50th Anniversary .357 & .44 on the glass in red.

1958 Bearcat .22 LR

The second rimfire single action was the BC4 Bearcat. Bill Ruger had a love of old cars and the Bearcat was named after the Stutz Bearcat Automobile that was in his car collection. The gun shown is serial number 12718 which makes it a 1961 gun. It is shown with its original matching number box, papers, and shipping carton showing postage metered from 1961 for $0.65 for shipping. The 50th Anniversary gun is #SBC-01169. It also carried a Special Catalog Designation SBC-4-50 and came in a White Box with a zipper case and Commemorative Brochure.

1959 Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum

In 1959 after three years of experience with the Blackhawk .44 Magnum Bill Ruger decided a heavier version of the .44 Magnum revolver was needed. The Super Blackhawk had a heavier frame, better grip, squared off trigger guard, and a standard 7 ½” barrel. All designed to cope with the .44 Magnum cartridge. The gun displayed is #30859, a 1967 gun, model S47 with original number matching box and papers. The 50th Anniversary model is a high polish, Gold embellished one of only 1500 made. Unique serial number SB-00600 model S-47N-50. It shipped in a special commemorative White Box with zipper case and 1959-2009 Super Blackhawk label on the box.

Other Display Items:

Period advertising and period ammunition.
Holsters for a Bearcat and a Blackhawk.
Wood Display Case for the 50th .357 and .44 set.
Several Books including:
Ruger and His Guns” issued by RCA signed by Author to William Ridge RCA 07838.
"A Blacksmith Guide to…Ruger Flattops and Super Blackhawks” by Bill Ross.
"Know Your Ruger Single Action Revolvers, 1953-63” by John C. Dougan.

Bill did an outstanding job on his display and it is definitely a winner!!



By:  Glen Fleming, Awarded 1st Place Intermediate Class

Glen Fleming displayed again this year at "ROCS in Rocket City."  A 10' ROCS Phoenix double-headed logo towered over his exhibit.  This huge ROCS logo is simply outstanding!!

Glen’s great  display held 21 boxed early Rugers including a .44 RS Carbine, a 10/22 International, two micro-sighted stag grip Single-Sixes, five Bearcats and Super Bearcats, one Mark 1 target pistol and one Tri-Color Lightweight.   The centerpiece of the table consisted of six 9 1/2" Single-Sixes, two 10" Blackhawks and one .44 flattop with a 12" ported barrel and stag grips in a western quick draw rig.  Also displayed was an early Super Blackhawk which is the subject of one of his two original paintings that flanked the table.

I very colorful and interesting display and well deserving class winner!!



By: Charles Hainley, Awarded 1st Place Novice Class

1981 Standard Model .22 LR Semi-Auto Pistol

Serial Number 17-50959, Catalog Number RST-6.  Manufactured from 1951 to 1981.  Complete with original Shipping Box, Ruger Box, Instruction Manual and Warranty Card.

The Ruger Standard model is a rimfire semi-automatic pistol introduced in 1949 as the first product manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co., and was the founding member of a product line of .22 Long Rifle cartridge handguns. Its style is reminiscent of the German P08 Luger pistol, enhancing its appeal. It was marketed as an inexpensive .22 caliber rimfire intended for casual sport and target shooting and plinking. Designed by company founder William B. Ruger, the Standard model became the most accepted and successful .22 caliber semi-automatic pistols ever produced.

2014 10/22  50th Year Commemorative Autoloading Rifle .22 LR

Serial Number 829-27247 Catalog Number 10/22 RPF.  Carbine Model 01151.  Complete with original Ruger Box, Instruction Manual and Warranty Card.   It is also displayed with a BX-25 Genuine Ruger Factory 2 Coupled 25 Round Magazine.

The Ruger 10/22 is a series of semi-automatic rifles introduced by  Sturm, Ruger & Co., chambered for the .22 Long Rifle Rimfire Cartridge. It uses a patented 10-round rotary magazine, though higher capacity box magazines are also available. The standard Carbine version of the Ruger 10/22 has been in production continuously since 1964, making it one of, if not the, most successful rimfire rifle design in History

2000 Red Label Over and Under Shotgun 12 Gauge

Serial Number  411-41781,  Model 04165,  Catalog number KRL 1227-BR, 12 Gauge 28 inch Barrel with 5 Screw in Chokes

The Ruger Red Label is an over and under shotgun that was built by Sturm, Ruger & Co.,  In 1979, Ruger began to offer the Red Label in 12 Gauge.  The design was born of William B. Ruger's desire to produce a quality US made over and under shotgun. In order to achieve this and put quality on par with hand-made European shotguns, Ruger invested in expensive machinery to do most of the work.

This was Charles first display and it was quite impressive, he did a great job!!



By: Lee E Sundermeier, Masters Class

Awarded Best Ruger of the Show


The original Ruger “Flattop” was first announced to dealers and the public in August, 1955.  It had many unique features compared to the Colt Single Action Army.  Ruger had difficulty producing the earliest .22 L.R. and .357 Blackhawks with the desired color of bluing.

Low serial numbered guns were frequently shipped to gun writers of the time, friends of the company, important employees and special customers.  Single digit serial number guns went to the company collection, family members or were saved for factory engraving.

Per the factory letter for my serial #7, this special .357 Magnum Blackhawk did not leave the factory until April, 1962!  This is over seven (7) years after the cylinder frame was numbered and the barrel, with attached front sight, were assembled.  The ejector rod and ejector rod housing are correct for 1962 when the gun was fully assembled for shipment to a special employee. 

In addition to this gun’s low serial number, the other outstanding feature is the bright purple color of the cylinder frame.  It is commonly referred to as red or wild cherry color.  This “improper color” even warranted a factory “Notice of Discoloration”, included in the box when the revolver shipped.  Extra effort in polishing these guns served to only make the color brighter!

The discoloration proved to be an improper mix of molten metal, as it was poured into molds.  Too much chromium is believed to have caused this color variation and no amount of polishing would make the part turn blue? My Blackhawk .357 Flattop, serial #7 has much color, a very late ship date, with both early and late production features.  Employee, Mr. O.M. (Oliver or Harry) Knode was fortunate to have owned this revolver, given to him by Mr. Bill Ruger.   




By: Jim Schafer, Advanced Class


Jim’s knockout display features eight Ruger factory engraved Single-Six revolvers.

A consecutive pair of “Spanish Engraved” guns with blued, engraved hammers and loading gates.  The “Holy Grail” of engraved Single-Sixes and a consecutive pair to boot!!  #5101 and #5102.

A Charles H. Jerred All-Blue gun with blue engraved hammer, round loading gate and Ruger factory ivory grips. 

An example of the pattern used in Bill Ruger’s ads.

Top of hammer engraved in the white and a flat loading gate.

Jerred engraved with plain loading gate and blue engraved hammer.

Jerred engraved flat loading gate and blue engraved hammer

Jerred engraved consecutive pair with blue engraved hammers, 1 with flat gate, one with Premier gate, both with Ruger factory stag grips.

Wow, what a fine group of these very rare to extremely rare factory scratched up Single-Sixes!!!




By:  John Hightower, Intermediate Class

John’s great Super Blackhawk display featured:

Two of the standard dull polish finish Super Blackhawks.  One with the Ruger Eagle Logo stamped on the barrel and one 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 Long Grip Frame Super Blackhawks.  One with the Ruger Eagle Logo stamped on the barrel and one without the Eagle logo.

The display also featured a Mahogany box with Silver hardware (John said that it is the only one that he had ever seen), an outer cardboard shipping sleeve, a few vintage advertisements, and some vintage ammunition.

This is a great Six Pack of fine Supers!!



By: Mike Womble, Masters Class

Mike’s display features the Ruger model RSSM, the Single-Six chambered in .22WMR, introduced in 1959.  The display has a fine 2-digit example, serial number 19, as new with the box and displayed with the paperwork and shipping sleeve.  This gun was originally sent to gun writer and Argosy magazine editor Pete Kuhlhoff.  The gun is superimposed on a life-size scale original advertisement for the .22 Magnum. 

Also shown are copies of Argosy magazine from the era, as well as a copy of Pete’s book, “Kuhlhoff on Guns”. Period ammunition and other advertisements round out the display.

Another great display by Mike of a very rare 2-digit Magnum Single-Six!!




Custom Super Blackhawks

By:  Vince Carabetta, Masters Class

Vince’s outstanding display shows 8 different Ruger Super Blackhawks that were all customized by Mag-Na-Port Arms and all produced in very limited quantities. These were produced from 1976 through the early 8o’s.

Shown here are the:

Mark V, in a custom wood and padded case, only 200 produced.

Custom Six, in a Mag-Na-Port gun rug, only 50 produced.

RCA Tomahawk, in a Mag-Na-Port gun rug, only 90 produced.

Classic, in a custom wood and padded case, only 200 produced.

Safari Series, Cape Buffalo, Believed not to be more than 200 produced.

Safari Series, Elephant, Believed not to be more than 200 produced.

Safari Series, Lion, Believed not to be more than 200 produced.

Safari Series, Rhino, Believed not to be more than 200 produce.

All of the Safari Series have the same Mag-Na-Port serial number and were shipped in beautifully inlayed custom wood and padded cases that included the Mag-Na-Port brassard.




By:  Ron Lutz, Advanced Class

Ron surprised us and DIDN’T show his Six Series revolvers.  Instead, he displayed a nice collection of some GP-100’s with both civilian marketed and police contract guns.

Ron showed a great selection of both Stainless Steel and Blued GP’s and some very rare (in civilian hands) GP-100’s (KGPFNY-831 and KGPFNY-841) which were contracted by the New York City Police Department.  These revolvers were typically Double Action Only (DAO) but Ron does have a rare overrun model KGPNY-841 with a spurred hammer (a SA/DA model) which there were probably not over 500 produced.  Any of these revolvers can be identified as being in actual NYCPD hands by the star that was stamped on the crane signifying acceptance by the NYCPD armorer before being issued.

One very rare Ruger Ron has is a GP-100 that was made by Ruger specifically for the Friends of NRA (FoNRA).  These were made in limited quantities and only auctioned at FoNRA fund raising banquets, the funds benefitting those organizations promoting the shooting sports in the state where they were sold.

Along with this fine collection of GP-100’s, Ron had examples of the instruction manuals printed throughout the years and some unique documentation in the way of copies of the patents for the GP-100 sub-assemblies, the Jan 17, 1986 “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” LETTER announcing the GP-100, and various photos used by Ruger marketing, as well as his “display title”, a great cut away poster showing the major components of the GP-100 complete with Ruger parts designations.

A fine display of one of Ruger’s finest double action revolvers!


The Complete Package

By:  Bill Hightower, Masters Class

Bill’s display shows #23719 that is a Blackhawk 10” .44 Magnum “Flattop” with it’s rare box and super ultra rare outer cardboard shipping sleeve correctly numbered to the gun. Also shown is the oily paper that the gun was wrapped in, the instruction handbook and warranty card. Shown with it are a box of period ammunition and a box of reloadable brass for custom loading.


Truly an ultra rare “Complete Package”!!




By:  Bill Hamm, Masters Class


My display shows two extremely rare Single-Digit #5 Flattops owned initially by Tom Ruger and then later Hank Williams Jr. 


The .357 Flattop #5 was manufactured August 31, 1955 and sent to the “Cabinet” in the Red Barn the same day.  It is still NIB and it’s cylinder frame is a beautiful plum color.  No shipping date was recorded but sometime later it was given to J. Thompson “Tom” Ruger, William B. Ruger’s youngest son. It was enclosed in its split top shipping carton. This gun was included in the collection of serial number 5 Rugers that Tom sold in the early 1980s to his pal, Hank Williams, Jr., shootist, firearms collector and famous country music star.  

The .44 Flattop #5 was manufactured December 29, 1956 and is still NIB. It was also sent to the “Cabinet” in the Red Barn the same day it was made.  No shipping date was recorded but sometime later it was given to J. Thompson “Tom” Ruger. It was enclosed in the non-split top shipping carton that was put into use about mid-1958. This gun was also included in the collection of serial number 5 Rugers that Tom sold to Hank Williams, Jr.

Both the #5 .357 and the .44 came to me via Terry Wolosek from Hank’s personal collection. 

Accompanying the display was a general description of the Blackhawk .357 Magnum and the .44 Magnum “Flattops” along with pictures of Tom Ruger and Hank Williams, Jr.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be the caretaker of these two fine single-digit #5 Flattops for a while!!  Extremely rare guns!!

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

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