Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
The rugged reliability, and the safe carrying characteristics of the Ruger® Single-Six® Convertible Single-Action Revolver make it a superb sidearm to take along on most outdoor adventures, including backpacking, fishing, and big game hunting. The Single-Six is also a fun gun for plinking, and a great choice for teaching shooters the fundamentals of handgun shooting. Ruger’s patented Transfer Bar mechanism provides a block between the hammer and firing pin until the hammer is fully cocked all the way to the rear and the trigger is pulled. With the hammer down over a loaded chamber, the Single-Six can be dropped directly on the hammer with no chance of the revolver firing—an important feature for a sidearm carried in rough country. The frame, cylinder, and barrel are constructed with corrosion resistant stainless steel for ease of maintenance in any environment. The Ruger Single-Six Convertible comes with 2 cylinders; one that is compatible for shooting .22 Long Rifle, Long, and Short, the other for shooting .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). The 2 interchangeable cylinders provide tremendous versatility for hunting and protection with one firearm, as well as finding compatible ammo in times of scarcity. The Ruger Single-Six Single-Action Revolver comes with a fixed, ramp front sight that facilitates drawing the sidearm from a holster, and an adjustable rear sight that can be precisely dialed in for hitting small targets with various types of ammunition. The Ruger Single-Six has been one of the quintessential firearms for the outdoors for over a half a century. Made in USA.
- Superb sidearm for outdoor adventures
- Stainless steel frame, barrel, and cylinder
- Comes with 2 interchangeable cylinders
- Fixed, ramp front sight
- Adjustable rear sight
- Fixed, ramp front sight
- Transfer Bar mechanism
My dictionary defines “survive” as “to remain alive or existent.” Most of us will never find ourselves in situations in which we are totally on our own with nothing but a few portable resources between our survival and disaster. Given the geography of most areas, having to survive in this way for a lengthy period of time is unlikely. But it could happen, and when it does the survivor will need to have equipment, supplies, skills and knowledge. Depending on the area, shelter from the elements may be a vital concern. Elsewhere, protection from some forms of fauna may be needed. Regardless of the region, survival for an extended period of time always involves obtaining food.
Need for a Firearm
No better description of the value of a firearm in a remote area can be found than that given by James Oliver Curwood in the classic adventure novel, “The Wolf Hunters” (Grosset & Dunlap, New York, 1908, p. 210). Curwood writes, “Only those who have gone far into the silence and desolation of the unblazed wilderness know just how human a good rifle becomes to its owner. It is a friend every hour of the night and day, faithful to its master’s desires, keeping starvation at bay and holding death for his enemies; a guaranty of safety at his bedside at night, a sharp-fanged watch-dog by day, never treacherous and never found wanting by the one who bestows upon it the care of a comrade and friend.” Curwood spent a lot of time in remote areas and understood the issues. I agree with his assessment wholeheartedly, but I would amend the piece to make it read rifle or handgun
The choice of a firearm is a personal issue and a topic for discussion around campfires, either real or imagined. One person may prefer a 30-30 Winchester lever action and another may choose a 45 Auto. Although many firearms are suitable companions for desperate situations, I believe that it is versatility that is the most important consideration.
Rimfire cartridges in .22 caliber come in many varieties and the Ruger Single Six Convertible can fire all of these.
It is only the items that you have immediately at hand you can rely on. Equipment in a well-stocked cabin or left in a truck or boat miles away won’t help you when you are on the other side of a mountain and disaster strikes or you are hopelessly lost. For me, the logical firearm for survival situations is a handgun because you can have it with you at all times. Portability is a serious concern, and a handgun can allow you to have both hands free and weighs less than a rifle. A rifle can be fired more accurately than a handgun, but having a rifle always at hand may not be convenient and it adds more weight and bulk to the survival equipment. However, to be a useful tool, the shooter must have sufficient skill with the gun. In some regions it may be possible to procure food by fishing or harvesting indigenous plants, but in many cases the main source of protein will be from animals and birds. Acquiring such food is most conveniently done with a firearm. A former shooting buddy referred to ammunition as “concentrated meat.”
Opinions will differ but my handgun choice is a revolver. Some autoloaders will not fire without a magazine in place. Even if one will fire, you may lose the magazine or it may get damaged. Moreover, some semiautomatics, particularly rimfire pistols, will function reliably only with full power loads or certain types of ammunition. If I were preparing for survival situations and could have only one firearm it would be a rimfire revolver and my choice is the Ruger Single Six Convertible that comes with two cylinders. One will accept 22 LR and all shorter cartridges while the other accommodates 22 WMR and 22 WRF cartridges. Ruger single action revolvers are well known for being simple, accurate and durable.
The .22 LR cylinder can accommodate a wide variety of types of cartridges.
What is a rimfire capable of? In my youth I lived in a rural area and home processing of meats was routine. For some time, I seemed to be the “designated shooter.” Admittedly, the range was measured in feet and the shots were “head on” but in only one instance out of many did I fire two shots. Even though it has little stopping power, a bullet from a 22 LR is capable of killing large animals. Stories that substantiate this observation are easy to find.
Although a 22 LR would not be chosen to stop charging bears, it is the utility of that caliber in obtaining food and in possible protection situations that makes it an excellent choice. All manner of small game could become food to a hunter with an accurate 22 LR. Under survival conditions, even medium game could be taken by well placed shots at short range. Some hunters even use a 22 LR to dispatch cougars brought to bay in trees. This may not be sporting, but we are describing survival scenarios. A well placed 22 Short will kill a small game animal just as dead as will a more powerful cartridge and leave more edible food in the process.
The .22 WMR cylinder allows 22 WRF and all types of 22 WMR ammo to be fired.
There is currently an increasing and very appropriate fad of hunting small game with airguns. Even a 22 Short far exceeds the energy of all but the most powerful airguns. Well directed bullets from a 22 LR provide a considerable measure of defense. Having seen autopsy photos of a victim of a shooting with a 22 LR, I have no doubt that a well placed shot or two will terminate aggression even though this may be an unlikely event. Fired from a handgun, the 22 WMR is not as potent as when fired from a rifle, but it produces almost 200 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. That is sufficient to provide some measure of protection or permit the taking of larger game if necessary and makes it possible to defend a food supply.
Far from a source of ammunition and faced with a long stay in a remote area, I would want a lot of ammunition. That is possible with a 22 rimfire because the cartridges are so light in weight. For example, on my postal scale 50 rounds of 22 Short weigh only 4.4 ounces and 50 rounds of 22 LR weigh 6.0 ounces. Even 50 rounds of 22 WMR weigh only 7.4 ounces. For comparison, 50 rounds of 9mm Luger (115-grain bullet) weigh 20.4 ounces, 50 rounds of 30-30 Winchester (150-grain bullet) weigh 37.3 ounces, and 50 rounds of 45 Colt (250-grain bullet) weigh 41.8 ounces. I might prefer more power than that delivered by a rimfire handgun, but I would much rather have the flexibility provided by a generous supply of cartridges. When planning for the long haul, a rimfire is the most practical choice.
Within each type of ammunition there are several choices available. The accompanying table summarizes some of the attributes of the various types of 22 rimfire cartridges. Also, don’t overlook the utility of shot cartridges in both 22 LR and 22 WMR calibers.
Cartridge Bullet wt. (gr)/type Velocity/ fps Energy, ft. lbs.
Aguila Colibri 20/solid 375 6
Aguila Super Colibri 20/solid 500 11
CCI CB Short 29/solid 706 32
CCI CB Long 29/solid 706 32
.22 Short 29/solid 1010 66
.22 Long 29/solid 1090 76
.22 Long Rifle 37/hp 1135 106
.22 Long Rifle 40/solid 1085 105
Aguila Super Sniper 60/solid 950 120
.22 WRF 45/solid 1105 122
.22 WMR 30/tipped 1610 173
.22 WMR 40/solid or hp 1480 195
Although none of the 22 rimfire loads has awesome power, all are capable of dispatching game and pests. Even a very potent airgun, touted by some for taking rather large species, produces less energy than a 22 Short fired from a handgun. On the other end of the spectrum the 22 WMR generates almost 200 ft lbs of energy, which is not much less than a 380 Auto or some 38 Special loads. Not only will well-placed bullets from 22 handguns keep you in food, they will also give you a considerable measure of protection if the handgun is used effectively.
While working on a project in Wyoming several years ago, my wife and I visited in the mountains with a couple whose son worked on a remote ranch. In our discussions of firearms they told us about the gun used by their son in his daily work. I wanted to include some discussion of the gun and a photo of it so the couple borrowed their son’s gun and brought it to me. It turned out to be a well worn Ruger Single Six Convertible with almost no bluing left and a few dings in various places. But it was a working gun and it performed well the tasks expected of it. I think that the ranch hand chose so well I do not have a better choice for a survival gun.
Although a more powerful firearm would be appropriate in some situations, it is the ubiquitous rimfire handgun I would choose for long term survival. A generous supply of ammunition is easily transported or stored, most 22 LR firearms are easy to shoot accurately and the round has enough power for obtaining food even if marginal for defense. If I could have only one firearm to ride out the storm it would be a 22 rimfire, and my choice would be the almost indestructible stainless steel Ruger Single Six Convertible.
Review: RUGER SINGLE SIX CONVERTIBLE
Best Handguns to Own
Alex Luffo from gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
The Ruger Single Six hearkens back to the popularity of TV Westerns that came with the dawn of television in the households of ordinary Americans in the 1950s. Back then, Ruger was a newcomer to the game–not the giant it is today. Colt stopped producing their legendary Single Action Army Revolver so they could focus on production for World War II contracts. By the time Colt got around to starting production again, Ruger and others showed up with their own single action designs, at the same time when those neat TV shows were generating renewed interest in the guns the cowboys and lawmen carried. Among these new competitors was the Single Six which mated proven, timeless lines with new manufacturing techniques paired with a useful cartridge anyone could shoot–the 22 LR.
The gun sold well, but like those old Colt Single Actions, there was no drop safety to prevent the hammer from setting off a round under the hammer. Old convention states loading five in a six-shooter so that the gun can be carried safely on an empty chamber but Ruger incorporated a transfer bar safety in the 1970s that prevented the firing pin from striking the primer unless the trigger was actually pulled by the user. Though not the first drop safety, this transfer bar setup is one we can see the world over today. This among other changes like switching from screws to pins in the grip frame has come to embody the current itineration available today, the New Single Six.
Ruger Single Six Revolver
My Ruger New Single Six came as a pawn shop find. The gun had some wear on the bluing, mild rust on the hammer, and the enamel finish on the aluminum grip frame was flaked off in places. I am not much of a single action revolver fan but I did cut my handgun teeth on Ruger single actions–not to mention the price was right. So it came home.
In the hand, the first thing you will notice is that the Single Six is a beast of a handgun for a 22. At 35 ounces, it weighs as much as a conventional 357 Magnum handgun. The aluminum grip frame and walnut grips were well formed and reminiscent of the feel of a Colt Single Action. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
The Colts are known as naturally pointing guns and the same is true with the Single Six despite the Single Six wearing a thick 5.5-inch barrel and a bulky one-piece cast carbon steel receiver. The high profile adjustable rear notch and front serrated post sight arrangement even out the profile of the gun. The only obvious breakup in the lines of the gun is the top strap of the receiver where the barrel meets the receiver. Otherwise, the Single Six operates like those old Colts with a spring-loaded ejector rod housed under the barrel and a loading gate on the right side of the frame where rounds are loaded and unloaded one at a time until you have your six rounds into the cylinder.
My particular gun came in 22 LR, but the Single Six line has since grown to include nine and ten shot arrangements with carbon steel or stainless steel to choose from, numerous barrel lengths, and cataloged calibers like 17 HMR,22 Magnum and 32 H&R Magnum
The Single Six line has since grown to include nine and ten shot arrangements with carbon steel or stainless steel to choose from, numerous barrel lengths, and cataloged calibers like 17 HMR, 22 Magnum, and 32 H&R Magnum.
On The Range
If you want a trouble free handgun right out of the gate, a good single action revolver like the Single Six is a good choice. The only learning curve the gun really gives is loading and unloading, which happens to be my favorite part of the shooting experience. It loads like those old cowboy guns. The cylinder is freed by opening the loading gate. There is no need to half-cock the hammer to get the cylinder to spin. With the gate open insert one round and rotate the cylinder to the next chamber to repeat until you have six rounds loaded. Unloading empty brass takes some finesse to line up the each chamber with the ejector rod so you can run the rod through and punch out the empties. Even though this is more involved than loading a swing-out cylinder revolver, I never felt I was spending a ton of time loading the gun but I did get to appreciate the experience and I ran myself out of bulk pack boxes quickly. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
The only learning curve the gun really gives is loading and unloading, which happens to be my favorite part of the shooting experience. It loads like those old cowboy guns.
Like loading, firing the pistol can be done faster than you might think. The gun’s hammer has to be cocked for each shot but the hammer is within easy reach for an average shooter and the checkered hammer spur allows for a firm grip. Thanks to that Peacemaker-like grip, constant cocking didn’t upset my sight picture much at all and I was back on target in no time. It did help that I am working with adjustable sights that pop out to the eye somewhat more than the fixed blade front/notch rear sighting arrangement of a typical single action revolver.
On the range, shooting the New Single Six was pleasant and I was apt to challenge myself by shooting small sixteen-ounce water bottles between thirty-five and fifty yards with some fairly surprising hits thanks to the gun’s point-ability, feel, and a fairly crisp trigger pull. In fact, the lack of movement in that light trigger surprised me and I sometimes threw a few shots, but otherwise, there wasn’t much guesswork. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
On paper at twenty-five yards, I could put six rounds into a four inch group and all rounds in one inch at ten yards firing offhand with Federal Automatch 40 grain lead ammunition.
On paper at twenty-five yards, I could put six rounds into a four-inch group and all rounds in one inch at ten yards firing offhand with Federal Automatch 40 grain lead ammunition CCI Blaser ammunition performed equally well and Remington 40 grain Golden Bullets came a close third. CCI Stingers with their lighter 30-grain bullets, opened up the groups to about five inches at twenty-five yards.
A Best Buy? For What?
I will usually find things I love and hate about a firearm in the middle of testing. The grip is too small, the safety should not be here, the gun malfunctions with ammunition it should work with. In the case of the Ruger Single Six what you see is what you get. The Six is a proven wheel-gun and it is probably best to chalk up what I say here as my own little referendum on a proven design.
Today, guns are chiefly associated as tools for “protection” or “safety”. This “defensive” mindset is one that constantly frustrates me as I feel it takes the fun out of ownership and some are so concerned with having that hard-hitting self-defense gun that the fundamentals of shooting are neglected–or not counted on at all. In this environment, a good 22 caliber handgun like the Single Six is discounted.
As a good all-around tool, a 22 handgun can do many things besides punching paper. Sure, it isn’t perfect for personal protection, but fifteen hundred rounds in with no malfunctions or failures leads me to think I would take the Six for that task if need be. Leaving the overplayed defensive niche aside, the Single Six can fill numerous roles and do them well–something larger pistols may not be able to. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
If you love the great outdoors, you have a good shooting gun that will get you meat in your pot and keep the curious coyotes at bay while you are on the trail, never mind that the Six is a bit on the heavy side for a 22. Thankfully, aftermarket holsters are huge and there is an arrangement to suit any need or want. Closer to home, the Single Six will serve in the typical 22 caliber role of removing pests without undue fuss and noise.
But where I think the Single Six excels best at is as a training aid and fun gun, like it was originally intended–a fun gun built on that timeless and familiar Western design. Truth be told, I forgot I was testing a gun after the first few dozen rounds. Loading and unloading forced me to take my time and my shooting was helped by a naturally pointing gun with a hefty weight, a light trigger pull, an easy hammer, and tall easy-to-read sights. This is gold for teaching new shooters and learning the fundamentals of shooting to include sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, ect. Once that hammer is back you have one shot and you make it count. Beyond fundamentals, the Ruger is easy to shoot with low noise and recoil like any 22 and shooting tin cans, my eight-inch steel plate, and clay pigeons out to some distance turned shooting from a chore to something fun and to be relished and improved like any skill. Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver
I will admit that the grip and weight of the Single Six can be a lot to bare for young shooters or those with small hands. For this, the tried and true little brother of the Single Six–the RugerBearcat–is an excellent alternative.
Even though my Six was a well-abused piece, Ruger’s build quality and the natural feel shone through. It was one hundred percent reliable with no failures of any kind and it shot very well through many range sessions and a few classes as well. It even looked good doing it.
Taken together, the Ruger Single Six may be a product of a different time with a different mindset–a mindset where the gun was just a general tool and in this role it would be hard to outclass. The Ruger Single Six still stands as a solid rimfire offering and one of the best all-around handguns you can buy today.
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Ruger Single-Six Convertible Single-Action Revolver In Stainless Steel