The Ruger Single Six is a single action rimfire revolver produced by Sturm, Ruger. The Single Six was first released in June 1953.
The Single Six is currently produced as the New Model Single Six. The term “New Model” simply means that this model includes Ruger’s transfer bar mechanism for increased safety, allowing one to carry the revolver safely with all 6 chambers loaded. Prior to 1973, the Single Six was produced without the transfer bar mechanism, making it less safe to carry with all six chambers loaded, and with the hammer resting on a loaded chamber. The transfer bar safety allows the weapon to fire only when the trigger has been pulled. Ruger provides the transfer bar safety upgrade free of charge for owners of any old model Single Six, though this will lower the value for those in pristine, collectable condition.
Less than 100 guns were actually produced in 1953 but in a short time production was firmly established . About 10,000 guns were produced in 1954 and about 20,000 guns produced 1955, and production steadily increased thereafter.
The first production guns were roll-marked on the left side of the cylinder frame “RUGER .22 CAL. SINGLE-SIX ”. These guns had a 5-1/2 inch barrel, a steel cylinder frame, three cylinder frame screws, fixed drift adjustable rear sight, fluted .22 caliber cylinder ( long rifle, long, or short ), flat cartridge loading gate, small serrated ejector rod button, alloy Colt-style XR3 black anodized grip frame, and Black checkered hard rubber grip panels with the trademark Black Eagle medallions. These early production guns are known today as “Flatgates”.
Early on in the Single-Six production, stag and ivory grip panels with the Ruger Black Eagle logo could be purchased from the factory for $8.50 and $16.50, respectively. Varnished Walnut grips later became available around 1955 for $5.00. These varnished Walnut grips actually became the standard about 1960 with the Black checkered hard rubber grips still available but costing $1.00 less. The ivory grips were dropped from the catalogs about 1958 and the stags were dropped when the grip fame was redesigned in 1962.
The so-called Old Model or the three screw production ended in 1972 and the New Model Super Single-Six went into production in 1973 and is still in production today.