Before I buy a Ruger Single Six - 3 decisions


December 29, 2006, 08:06 AM
For as long as I can recall, I've wanted a Ruger Single Six and I've decided to get one. It will mainly be a plinker, but honestly, I also want something that will be easy to carry around some property we have in Central Texas. There have been reports lately about an increase in the number of rabies cases in Central Texas and I think it would be a good idea to have a .22 with me when I'm out clearing cedar.

The above paragraph is my attempt to justify buying a Single Six - here's the real reason: I want one.

However, there are three main decisions I need to make: barrel length, blued vs. stainless and fixed vs. adjustable sights.

Barrel length: I either plan to get a 5.5 inch barrel or a 6.5 inch. While I usually lean towards the longer barrel lengths (I have a MK II with a 6" bull barrel) I really think the 5.5 would be a better length for this handgun.

Sights: Fixed or Adjustable. I really can't decide about this. Do the adjustable sights "stick out" too much or do they tend to get snagged? Would the fixed sights be suitable for my stated reasons (real or otherwise) for buying this handgun?

Blued vs. Stainless: I have no idea. I like both and I have handguns in both. Is there any real reason to get one over the other?

There seems to be at least several people here who own a Single Six and I would appreciate your thoughts on any of my questions. Oh, I have read through the archives and I know that some of my questions have been asked but I really did not see clear answers - maybe there aren't any - maybe it's all based on whatever I like.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks.


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December 29, 2006, 08:21 AM
I'm so envious that you get to just wander out the back door and drop the hammer on some tin cans... I can't do that with a BB gun here in Northern Virginia. I'm still looking for a place even if I have to drive for an hour. However, that said. Santa brought me a Ruger .44 magnum with a note advising not to take pot shots at his reindeer. (there's a picture posted in the picture section, its the one on the fleece Levi jacket) Now this is the ultimate gun for plinking, especially if you drop a magnum round in from time to time since the .44 specials aren't all that special.

I can remember going out with my Dad about a zillion years ago and plinking with his .25 Auto Beretta, it was OK. But I take my sons to the range and poke holes in paper and there is nothing like the thrill of the BIG Bang. Too bad I can't get them out in the country to whallop some tin cans. Just my 2c's.


December 29, 2006, 08:31 AM
Hi Pbody...

Barrel length - My gun happens to be a 6.5" but that's because I bought it long before the 5.5" was an option. Were I to buy one today it would be a 5.5" just for a little sweeter "portability" and comfort when hosltered. An extra inch of barrel isn't much but an extra inch of holster is.

Blue/Stainless - Mine is blue, I bought it in 1969, and I cannot see where stainless would have provided any advantage at all.

Sights - Mine are adjustable and I'm happy with them, but, to tell you the Truth - I sighted the gun in years ago and haven't changes the sights since then. Non-adjustable sights are not overly-fashionable but - in use - they are just fine (unless through some gross error they are way out of line, and that isn't too likely).

I would pay much more attention to triggers - try several guns and get the one with the trigger that feels best.

Local opinions may vary. :)

December 29, 2006, 08:33 AM
Hi Franco...

Thumbs Up, Dude! Santa was pretty darned good to you! :D

December 29, 2006, 09:26 AM
I bought a long barreled, blued, fixed sight Single Six Convertible in 1961.. I learned shoot hand guns with it.. During college a friend and I would go out once a week and shoot jack rabbits.. We each had a Ruger. We would generally kill enough rabbits and sell them for .50 apiece to a Dog food place to keep us in beer for the weekend.

I bought it and shot it.. never moved the sights.. I can still walk cans across the pasture with either the LR's or Mags..

My GunnySgt son will no doubt teach my grandson to shoot with it some day.

The blue is worn from holster wear. Maybe if there had been stainless available when I bought it, I might have chosen that..... Nah... I like blue.

Barrel length... I like what I have..

Good luck in your quest.

December 29, 2006, 09:33 AM
The stainless Six has a steel gripframe so it's a little heavier than the aluminum gripframed blue model. On the newer ones, that aluminum is powdercoated, not anodoized. To my eye, that gives the gun a cruder look.

I have a 5.5" stainless with adjustable sights, and a 4" blued. I prefer the stainless- it just looks nicer and feels better in my hand. The 4" also has adjustable sights. It's a slighty faster handling gun.

You really can't go wrong with any model of Single Six, I believe. I will say that my 5.5" stainless is my favorite. It's the one gun that always goes to the range with me.

If you like custom grips, here's some eye candy:


Old Fuff
December 29, 2006, 09:52 AM
Barrel length and finish are a matter of personal choice, but keep in mind that this revolver (which is a great plinker and field gun) comes with an optional cylinder in .22 WRM. It will likely shoot to a different point of impact then the .22 LR, and for that reason you might find adjustable sights to be an advantage (I do). If you buy a holster with a sight track that covers the rear sight you won't have any trouble carrying it - snagging and whatever. Also Bill Ruger designed two little "wings on each side of the topstrap to help protect it.

For what it's worth, the longer length barrels are also better when using the .22WRM because the powder is designed to best burn in rifles.

Relative to the rabies problem, I would carry it loaded with Magnums, and plink & play with the .22 LR.

December 30, 2006, 04:23 AM
5.5 - eaiser handling, smaller holster.

stainless - if your gonna carry it youll want it as rust proof as possible plus I like stainless

fixed sights - I like ajustable sights myself, couldnt tell you why, but if your gonna carry it youll want it as reliable and consistant as possible.

December 30, 2006, 04:38 AM
I recently bought a new Super Single Six for the same reason, dispatching varmints while working outside. I went with the 6.5" blued model with adjustable sights and couldn't be happier with it. I ordered the leather Triple-K holster for it from Ruger's website for only $35 and it is fantastic. Once you adjust the sights leave them be and holster that puppy.

I don't find the 6.5" to be too long, but some don't like longer barrels. I am a big fan of longer barrel revolvers, so besides my carry snubbie for CCW I don't buy any revolver with a barrel under 6.5" if I have the choice.

I keep a coat of Breakfree CLP on mine because it is blued, but I'd do the same thing if it was stainless.

Jamie C.
December 30, 2006, 06:10 AM
I've owned both a 6-1/2" and 4-5/8" barreled Ruger Single Six.
I didn't care for the shorter barreled gun at all, and sold it within a few months. Kept the 6-1/2" version for nearly 20 years.

My next Single Six will most likely be another 6-1/2" version with fixed sights. ( For some reason, both the .22lr and .22mag always printed in the same spot for me, so the sights never got re-adjusted after the initial sighting in. And given that they're rather fragile and not too pretty, I can do without the adjustable ones.)

As for stainless vs. blued... Ruger doesn't seem to make a fixed-sight Single Six with the longer barrel in Stainless. So, my choice for a "carry everywhere, knock-around work-on-the farm/ranch" gun would be this:

And really, you won't notice that extra inch of barrel... except when it comes time to shoot at something a ways off. ;)


December 30, 2006, 02:40 PM
I have a 6.5" blue convertible (Ruger,not Ford) and keep the .22 magnum cylinder in it. It's been a super gun in the 33 years I've owned it. I consider it my wilderness survival gun. My dad liked it so much that he bought one in stainless. That's the way I'd go now - stainless with adjustable sights.

December 30, 2006, 03:41 PM
The Single-Six is a wonderful gun and mine is 5.5-inch barrel, adjustable sights and stainless steel. The shorter barrel length is perfect for good point shooting and would be better for snake loads, I'd think. Adjustable sights on a gun that takes two types of ammo also is a must. Finally, stainless is a superior metal that doesn't show holster wear. It keeps its value more than a blued gun and always looks great.

The gun is a mite heavy, has grips you have to get used to and, when the hammer's back, it can poke the top web part of your hand. Its ability to take .22 mag loads makes it a winner, though.

December 30, 2006, 09:49 PM
I noticed in reply 3 that Shawnee said that at one point they didn't make a 5 1/2 in. barrel. I recently bought a New model single six that got me thinking,back in the early 80's I bought one and have been trying to remember if it was a 5 or 6 1/2 in barrel. If I knew when they added the extra barrel length it might settle the debate for me,anyone have any idea when this happened ?

December 30, 2006, 10:17 PM
I'd go with the 5.5" and adjustable sights if you want the Single Six. The sight issue is your preference.

For years I would only buy double action revolvers with adjustable sights. But I find that I rarely even adjust the sights even when they are brand new. Hence, fixed sighted guns are just fine. I have been shooting a 3" GP100 with fixed sights and I shoot it just as well as a revolver with sights. It is a case of how good is good enough and how good a shooter are you??

I prefer double action revovlers and although the Single Six is a great gun, I would go with a 4" double action 22 such as the Smith 617.

You don't need the 22 mag cylinder and I doubt you will use it much. Most animals that have rabies are skunks, raccoons, and sometimes a dog. You will be shooting from fairly close range and the 22LR is sufficient. If you see an animal that should be people shy and isn't, shoot it. It probably is sick and my have rabies.

A GP100 would not be a bad gun for your purpose either. It would have just a bit more punch.

December 30, 2006, 10:26 PM
i would recommend the following:

5.5" - easy to carry and handles a little quicker, dont need to carry a hog leg .22

Stainless Steel - Low maintance, no worries with scratches or blueing wearing off

Adjustable Sights - So you can buy a bunch of accurate ammo in bulk, sight it in and leave it accurate. if you need to use it fast, you want to draw and shoot, not take time to dope the fixed sights.

Black Rubber replacement grips (not the oversized hogue grips). - You wont have to worry about the wood cracking or being damaged or having wet slippery wood grips in bad weather.

if youre gonna use it in texas i really recommend using it with the .22 WMR cylinder for power and distance. you'll want to kill whatevers troubling you as far away as possible to avoid rabies. Also the .22 Magnum can be used more effectively with the shotshells than the .22 LR. i figure that shotshells would work better on a rare, aggressive rattler.

Whatcha think? -Eric

December 30, 2006, 10:45 PM
I'm right with borrowedtime on this one, right down the line.

@ bt69: where did you buy (and what brand) of rubber grips? That should make the Ruger well-nigh indestructible.

I'll also make my usual contrarian nod and put in a vote for the Bearcat, but I do admit that a SS w/ Mag cylinder might be better for your purpose. However, if the .22Mag capability isn't that crucial, and you want a more compact alternative to the SS, then go for a stainless-steel Bearcat.


December 30, 2006, 11:13 PM
Dittos exactly to what Monkeybear said.

December 30, 2006, 11:23 PM
@ bt69: where did you buy (and what brand) of rubber grips? That should make the Ruger well-nigh indestructible.

i would think you could contact ruger and see if there are any leftovers from any of the model single sixs they make/made with the rubber black grips, ie, any commemrative models or any of the 32 H&R models. or you can try Natchez or Brownells. ive never bought any cause i have a different gun for carrying out in the bush. i have a blued 5.5" BBL Sngl Six with rosewood grips.

and thanks for the thumbs up on the choises! :) -Eric

January 2, 2007, 09:00 PM
I really appreciate everyone taking the time to offer their suggestions and opinions.

Today I became the proud owner of a new Ruger Single Six in stainless steel, with a 5.5 inch barrel and adjustable sights. (Does anyone else feel like a kid with a new toy when you buy a gun? I know I do!)

Thank goodness I have an indoor range close to the office. I'll head over there during lunch tomorrow and throw some lead downrange.


January 2, 2007, 10:22 PM
Peabody - it's been a couple of days since you said you were heading to the range with your new Single Six. How'd it go??? Is she everything you expected? And congrats!! How about an update??

January 2, 2007, 10:58 PM
Time for a range report! I have, at the moment, three Single Sixes, and the five and a half inch bbl is my favorite. Kindly go ahead and validate my baseless predjudices. ;)

January 2, 2007, 11:03 PM
Steven -

Actually I only bought the Single Six today (1/2) and I'm going to the range tomorrow (1/3). I'll post a report after tomorrow.


January 2, 2007, 11:20 PM
I have a 5 1/2 blued, Adj Sight, convertable and love it. It is bull strong and very accurate. I like shoot the mags out of it. It is my constant desert bumbing companion and is a hoot to shoot. Let us know what you think of it.


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