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One of my favorite sections of the NRA’s Annual Meetings & Exhibits is Collectors Row. Sure, I enjoy seeing all of the new guns and gear, but I can’t help but be drawn to the rare and/or historic pieces.

Here are some historic Rugers owned by both men after which the company was named.

For starters, we’ve got the first-ever Ruger Standard to be shipped out of the factory. Bearing serial number 3, it left the factory on September 15, 1949.

Of course, in order to ship the aforementioned pistol, Sturm, Ruger & Co. needed an FFL. Also on display in Atlanta was the original FFL document issued to the company on July 21, 1949.

Serial number 10,000 is a modest milestone for any firearm, so when the Ruger Standard reached it just more than a year after production began, the gun was one of four to be factory-plated in chrome … and owned by Alexander Sturm (photo at top). The gun was delivered in November 1950, so Sturm would only have a year to enjoy the gun until his passing in November 1951. It finally left the factory in April 1956, when Sturm’s father Justin came to retrieve it.

Next up is a special revolver. Upon first glance, it may look like just another engraved Ruger Single-Six, but it most certainly isn’t. This 1956-made gun was created as the test canvas for a new engraving pattern. Bill Ruger liked it, kept the gun, and eventually a total of 12 Single-Six revolvers were made with this pattern. This is the only one that Ruger himself kept.

The Single-Six is also pictured with a full box of Bill Ruger’s business cards, circa 1962, complete in their original, signature blue box, as made by Tiffany & Co. in New York. Each embossed card is protected from the next by a thin piece of tissue paper.

These are just some of the amazing historic and/or rare firearms that were on display at NRAAM 2017 in Atlanta.

Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Click here for a free 3-page download with tips about caring for your antique and collectible firearms.

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    “No, Dr. Jones – you belong in a museum!”
    I could linger over those displays for hours… still wondering if I really want to spring for a Ruger Hand Drill to mount on my wall – that would just be too cool.

  2. William Batterman Ruger, was a visionary.

    He liked guns, saw demand that was not being met by the old-line gun makers, and took a risk.

    Paid off big.

    He was also somewhat of an eliteist and was afraid of negative pressure from the government about small-concealable handguns.

    After his death, the Ruger Company jumped into the civilian defense market with both feet.

    If he hadn’t gambled in 1949 with the 22 auto, we would have far fewer options.

    Not just the Ruger offerings, but other American companies would not have had to address the Ruger threat and would have given the public what they wanted to give us.

    Colt did that and they are basically defunct.

    Say what you like but Ruger has been good for American gunners.

  3. Ruger is a rock solid 100% American company; we have them to thank for many things related to firearms, including unflinching support for the 2A.

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