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Bill Ruger - Among the Best Gun Designers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Savage92, Dec 2, 2007.

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Do you think Bill Ruger is among the greatest gun designers?

  1. yes

    106 vote(s)
    49.1%
  2. no

    110 vote(s)
    50.9%
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  1. Savage92

    Savage92 Member

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    "I have always thought part of his special genius was in making affordable and high quality firearms."

    So does Savage, Marlin, Henry, Remington and a lot of other gun makers. Ruger's guns aren't any or much cheaper than most other brands. Most are more expensive.

    The Mk I was probably the only innovative thing he did, as I can't think of another single thing he did that wasn't a copy of something else, except maybe the loading gate that releases the cylinder, but before I also though he was the first to design the transfer bar safety, so I don't know.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2007
  2. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Ruger was good at taking existing designs and figuring out how to make them cheaper for mass production. I don't see much of his that I would call truly innovative.

    For instance, check out this old air pistol and tell me Ruger came up with his Standard Pistol in 1949 all by himself.


    standard.gif
     
  3. George Hill

    George Hill Member

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    Nothing really original or creative. Nothing remarkable. His rifles are copies of Mausers, his .22 pistol is a visual rip off of the Luger and almost as complicated... his revolvers are not much different from anything else out there.
    So, no. No he isn't.
     
  4. LoadedDrum

    LoadedDrum Member

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    I have owned five Rugers; a Mark II, a 10/22, a Mini-14, a P95, and a PC9. I pretty much got rid of them all for the same reason. I found them all too much of a pain in the butt to reassemble after field stripping. Every one of those guns was far more trouble to put back together than the gun I replaced it with. Hence I vote no.
     
  5. rust collector
    • Contributing Member

    rust collector Contributing Member

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    Saxon Pig is right on the money. Bill's strong point was cutting manufacturing cost, and he was a fair hand at marketing. The pistol did to the Colt Woodsman what the M3 grease gun did for the Thompson--got the job done more cheaply.

    When you can make folks think you made a better mousetrap by cutting manufacturing costs, that's good marketing.

    I have an M77 and 10/22, and the latter has certainly earned the title of classic. Rugers have always seemed a bit clunky to me, but when I see what Walther and Beretta charge for a bit of ergo-aesthetic tweaking, Ruger's approach is vastly preferable.
     
  6. Conqueror

    Conqueror Member

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    I don't get everyone in here comparing him to JMB and saying "Ruger isn't great because he didn't come up with anything groundbreakng."

    DUH. He didn't have to. Smart engineers don't reinvent the wheel every generation, they improve upon it. If you set out to make a new car, odds are good that you'd use a 4-stroke internal combustion engine, not try to sit down and figure out the next Wankel Rotary.

    I can't fault Bill Ruger for using tilt-barrel actions or a Luger-like grip. Those are proven technologies and ergonomics and you'd be wasting time and resources trying to come up with something else just for the sake of being different.

    The Ruger .22 pistol is among the finest rimfire weapons in history. Hundreds of thousands if not millions have been sold, and a significant portion of american shooters learned to shoot with a Ruger pistol or rifle. That's a hell of a legacy.
     
  7. Bazooka Joe71

    Bazooka Joe71 Member

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    What don't you get?:confused: That was the question.

    No one is really saying he sucks...But he definately should not be mentioned in the same breath as JMB, Sam Colt, etc.
     
  8. Conqueror

    Conqueror Member

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    up with =/= equal to

    You'll note that the sentence ends with "and other great gun designers." Pretty much no one else deserves the same breath as JMB and Sam Colt, doesn't mean they didn't innovate and improve. When you say "one of the best", how many does that include? The top 3? The top 20? I think Ruger might be in the top 20. That makes him "one of the best" IMO.

    I mean, heck, even the Kalashnikov is kindof an improved SKS, he didn't have a completely new design.
     
  9. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Bill Ruger was kind of like Henry Ford. It's not that Ford invented the automobile, he just figured out a better way to produce it and get it to consumers. Same with Bill Ruger and firearms. Not really a good designer but a good industrialist/businessman.
     
  10. Savage92

    Savage92 Member

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    In an article, they said he was the modern day John Browning, and I just don't see how that is right when almost everything that has been given credit to him was done in the past. And making a gun from cast parts isn't gun designing, that is a cost cutting way of manufacturing, and it seems that the Germans and Russians had already done that long before Ruger. I think his guns are good, not always the best but I like some. But I don't think he is one of the best gun designers, a good businessman most of the time (the exception obviously being the high capacity magazine thing). If you don't agree, point out some of the innovative things he has done.
     
  11. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    the problem is we aren't using the same size for "best"

    if you said "is he among the top 5 gun designers" or if you said "is he among the best 100" then you'd have a great deal of consensus in your poll. i.e. 95% no and 95% yes respectively
     
  12. Savage92

    Savage92 Member

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    Well I meant somewhere around the top 10 or 20 or so and whatever the article I was looking at was comparing him to Sam Colt and John Browning. I think Smith & Wesson were one of the best gun designers as they designed the first cartridge, the first lever action and the first cartridge revolver.
     
  13. simpleguy

    simpleguy Member

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    Gotta be one of the best all I have to say is 10-22. Yeah, some of the guns have their quirks. But the innovation is there. It's just like Frank Lloyd Wright, the guys houses were almost uninhabitable, they leaked, they were uncomfortable but just like Bill he's become an icon.
     
  14. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Member

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    Designer no, innovator possibly.
     
  15. Savage92

    Savage92 Member

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    A lot of the reason the 10-22 is so popular is because of the aftermarket items for it. And by the time they're finished with it, the only thing that has the Ruger name on it is the receiver.
     
  16. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    But engineers are plentiful and most of them are "smart." Derivative engineering is admittedly "smart," but it isn't "great." I own a couple of Ruger firearms and they are good guns, but hardly great -- and I certainly don't know anything about Bill Ruger that suggests to me that he should be considered a "great" firearms designer.
     
  17. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    He was certainly one of the most successful and to my mind one of the best. Sold lots of guns and built his company out of his cash flow, not with loans - other than the first one in 1949.

    Let's see, the Single-Six, the 10/22, the SA and DA centerfire pistols, the Red Label, and on and on. Perfectly useful firearms in a wide variety of models and styles.

    Winchester, S&W, Browning, Colt, Marlin, Remington, heck, name a gun company and the majority changed owners every few decades if not more often. Ruger just keeps motoring along.

    _________

    "Part Henry Ford, part Sam Colt, part Enzo Ferrari, but 100 percent his own man and an All-American original, William B. Ruger has made a resounding success in modern times in an industry many thought was dying. He started in 1949 as the underdog who was told: "It can't be done." Today, his line of firearms stands supreme, and his factories are the model for contemporary business entrepreneurs and enlightened manufacturing techniques.

    From a meager $50,000 investment and the partnership of his friend Alexander Sturm (son-in-law of Alice Roosevelt Longworth),Sturm, Ruger & Co. mushroomed into an industrial powerhouse that made more than 600,000 firearms in 1994, outsells all competitors, and boasts the broadest client base of any arms maker in history—guns for hunting and target shooting, for collecting, self-defense, law enforcement, and the armed forces. These are original designs made with time honored style, but using space-age technology."

    - from Ruger and His Guns
    _________


    John
     
  18. BobMcG

    BobMcG Member

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    IMO no, not even close. That doesn't make him a bad business man though.
     
  19. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    The SA pistol transfer bar he invented revivified SA revolvers for hunting. A very simple and powerful innovation.

    The "#1" series of rifles is pretty much entirely his doing, from what I can tell. They are very cool, and very unusual. A number of folks will tell you that he pretty re-invented the single shot rifle market.

    I think that both of those bring him pretty far up in the standings.

    He had a genius for interpreting classical looks in modern designs.

    Mike
     
  20. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    I voted no. Most of what I know about the firearm industry is on the military side, so I may be overlooking something here, but Ruger didn't produce any products that changed the face of the firearm world forever. Maxim (y'all seem to forget him) produced the first automatic weapon, John Moses Browning produced everything, Colt was the first guy to really create good, true revolvers, Kalashnikov took a bunch of stuff and wrapped it up in a cohesive, reliable package. What did Ruger do?
     
  21. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't place him on the same level as JMB, but he made significant contributions.


    Transfer bar safeties. Revolvers with modular (and simple) takedown. Investment casting. An ejector rod for DA revolvers that is ONLY an ejector rod. A rimfire rifle that can be COMPLETELY disassembled and accessorized with no special tools. Just off the top of my head.

    I think his biggest contribution was putting rugged, reliable, durable, good quality firearms in the hands of those who might not have otherwise been able to afford them.
    Part of that was just when he was born. Who's to say he wouldn't have been thought of VERY differently had he started his career when modern firearm design was in its infancy? By the time he came along, the basics had already been laid down.
     
  22. Savage92

    Savage92 Member

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    "The SA pistol transfer bar he invented revivified SA revolvers for hunting. A very simple and powerful innovation.

    The "#1" series of rifles is pretty much entirely his doing, from what I can tell. They are very cool, and very unusual. A number of folks will tell you that he pretty re-invented the single shot rifle market."

    The #1 is pretty much an exact copy of a farquharson. The transfer bar safety wasn't designed by Bill Ruger, Iver Johnson invented it, I think about 50-70 years before Ruger copied it.
    What he did most of the time was copy the looks of an older gun and then copy the design from various other designs. Like the blackhawk, it has the looks of a Colt SAA, the adjustable sights of a semi auto pistol and the transfer bar safety of an Iver Johnson.
     
  23. GaryP

    GaryP Member

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    Yep, and Bill Ruger took a lot of ideas, added his own innovative ideas and created affordable, reliable, & durable firearms that will be around many years into the future. Several of these may very well exceed the life cycle of the 1911 design created by JMB. Bill Ruger was a great Engineer, Firearms designer, Production Process expert, Business Man & Marketing expert. None of the others come close to all of these within their lifetime. Bill Ruger built the foundation Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc. operates on today which is why they continue to produce affordable, reliable, and durable firearms and why they continue to remain financially sound.

    Many here bash Bill Ruger for his position on large capacity magazines. Well, what was Colt and S&W doing during this same time period?
    Who gave the NRA a cool Million dollars to continue the fight for OUR RIGHT to Keep and Bear Arms -- Not Colt or S&W --

    The positive impact Bill Ruger has had on the American Firearms Industry and the American Gun owner is awesome especially when one considers the times we now live in.

    I voted YES without a second thought! :)


    :evil:
     
  24. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

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    One of the greatest? No. Stays in business? Granted.. Good? yes.
     
  25. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    J.M. Browning of J.C. Garand he wasn't; however, he did have a lot of very good designs
     
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