Gratuitous Gun Pic: When Speed Doesn’t Matter

There is something (okay, several things) about shooting an old-fashioned single-action .22 revolver that I like.  Take Ruger’s excellent Single-Six (and its modern -Nine and -Ten variants), for example:

The most common complaint about this kind of revolver is that it’s a royal pain in the ass to load and reload, in that you can only load one round at a time through the loading gate, and then, when the cylinder has been emptied, you have to push the spent casings one at a time back out of the gate with the ejector rod.

That’s not counting the PITA of only being able to fire the thing by re-cocking the piece manually after every squeeze of the trigger, of course.

To me, this slowness of operation is a feature, not a bug.  I like the slow, deliberate aspect of shooting as much as — or maybe even more than — the rush of sending as much lead downrange as quickly as possible.

It also satisfies the ingrained “make every bullet count” aspect of my shooting philosophy.

I can understand why shooting larger calibers like .357 Mag, .30 Carbine or .44 Mag ammo slowly through a bigger Ruger single action is defensible;  those big boys are expensive compared to .22 LR, after all.

But let’s be honest here, and compare shooting to fishing for a moment.  Is not one of the best parts of fishing the quiet relaxation of it, and would not the experience be a little spoiled if you hooked a fish every 30 seconds for the entire day?

I think that shooting single-action revolvers has a similar attraction.

Maybe it’s just part of getting older, but I’m starting to prefer an activity taken more slowly over something done in a frantic rush.  And I no longer own a Single-Six, mine having disappeared in the Great Gun Sell-Off Of 2015.

Which leads me to my final point.  I’m prepared to trade my new Ruger Mk IV 22/45 semi-auto (plus four magazines) for a Ruger Single-Six (and preferably a “convertible” with interchangeable .22 LR / .22 WMR cylinders).  I’m agnostic about blue- or stainless steel finishes and indifferent as to barrel length, just as long as the gun shoots accurately and the trigger is decent.

So if any of my Texas Readers is interested in getting a Mk IV and has a Single-Six gathering dust in the safe, let me know via email and let’s get together.

Update:  A Kind & Generous Reader has come forward.  We’ll be doing the swap sometime in the near future.


  1. Crap, I know I have all the guns I will ever need however after reading your posting now I am kinda getting the wants for a .22 single action revolver. I do have a nice S&W large frame .22 double action that shoots six rounds and I can shoot it single action so, there’s that. In recent years I have started shooting a lot of .22 Steel Challenge and it is great fun spending an afternoon shooting several hundred rounds without spending much money.

    Your Ruger Mk IV is a nice pistol and if I were not so please with my Browning Buckmark target pistol with a Vortex red dot I might be tempted to play let’s make a deal but right now I am short on money and long on .22 pistols already. I hope you get a match up for a trade.

    1. “…after reading your posting now I am kinda getting the wants for a .22 single action revolver.”

      And my job here is done.

  2. I have a Ruger Bearcat, a smaller Single Six, in a Shopkeeper model with short barrel and birds head grips. I love shooting it, but the short barrel means the ejector is too short to eject tight empties. Beautiful gun in stainless.
    I love my Browning 1911-22A1, an 85% sized 1911. Weighs only 19oz and is a hoot to shoot.

    I mention this asking if you’ve considered the Bearcat. I’m not in TX or else I’d consider the trade.

  3. I have one of those Rugers in Stainless with both Chambers. Unfortunately I don’t live in texas and really don’t want to part with the one I have. Shoots good but I don’t shoot it near enough.

    I got mine at a Scheels for 400 used.

    Single action works good but for anything but a fire fight and I doubt I will be in one of those, and should that happen I have many better models.

  4. I used to have a Ruger Blackhawk in .357magnum that was fun to shoot but I got rid of it after getting a S&W model 66. WHen I had the Blackhawk my wife bought a Single Six with the two cylinders as an understudy to the Blackhawk. We kept the Single Six in case I get the itch to shoot a classic six shooter like in Westerns. My wife doesn’t like the single six very much and I shoot it occasionally. It is a fun handgun to shoot. Single Sixes in the northeast have been going for stupid money around here. Even used they tend to be in the $400-500 range. I think my wife paid $275 or so.

    I’m not in Texas though. Keep the Ruger Mk IV if you can. They’re a lot of fun too!


  5. I have exactly what you want – a Ruger “New Model” single six that I have owned since 1987. It has a six inch barrel, blue finish, and looks and shoots like new. It is a “convertible” with 1ea, interchangeable .22 LR & .22 WMR cylinders. It even has a holster to go with it.

    I thought about getting a Mark IV and I would consider the trade, but unfortunately, I do not live in Texas.

    I will vouch for the fact that these guns are very accurate and a lot of fun to shoot, but you can not be in a hurry. A friend and I used to use this one to pick off buzzing cicadas and the odd grasshopper while walking around on his farm.

  6. I only ever owned one single action revolver, one of the ‘alloy’ Chiappa SAA style ones, and I never fired it; gave it NIB to my brother so he could use it to take his kids out with a fun handgun.

    We used to have an H&R Model 999 Sportsman, top break, 9 shot. It was SA or DA but of course much faster and easier to load than an SAA style. I loved that revolver, and would have inherited it. Unfortunately it was stolen by one of Dad’s caregivers and never recovered.

  7. I used to do western action shooting (SASS) matches with the Texas Historical Shootist Society and the Tejas Pistolaros in SE Texas. I used Rugar New Vaqueros in .357, though I shot .38 special at matches for cost reasons. I enjoy the single action revolvers.

  8. I won a Ruger Precision MkIII in a raffle a while back. While it’s fun and easy to shoot, reassembly after stripping for cleaning was… an experience. And by experience, it took both my father and I, along with the Ruger manual, two PDF downloads, and two Youtube videos before we finally figured things out.

    Glad to see that Ruger finally got their crap together with the MkIV.

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