The Mag-Na-Port Mongoose!

A Compact Single-Action Snake Eater

Tank’s “Mongoose” — Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port first made a few cuts, shortening
the barrel and ejector-rod housing. The deep bluing and glare-eating serrations are obvious.

Buster gifted the gun to me years ago. A handy piece, it had plenty of bite to match its bark, especially with heavy handloads. Sadly, it was shoved to the back of the safe as other guns came along. Neglected, but not forgotten, it came to mind when Fermin Garza started making front sights a few years back. With gears churning, a dandy project came to life using the resources from several amigos.

The barrel was dovetailed, ported and marked as a Mag-na-port Custom.
Hammer and trigger were also jeweled.


The Ruger Birdshead Single-Six Vaquero was a limited run several years ago. Chambered in .32 H&R, mine came with cylinder throats measuring 0.311″ — too tight for top-notch accuracy, so I open them to 0.314″ using the split rod, emery cloth, hand drill method. It tightened groups and stopped all barrel leading. However, the fixed sights shot over 2″ left of aim at 25 yards.

I could have turned the barrel, regulating the sights, if I had barrel vise. Then Fermin Garza came out with his dovetail front sights and the rest is history.

Motown Modification

While visiting Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port, I brought along the .32 H&R Single-Six Vaquero and told him my wishes. I wanted a compact, fire-breathing dragon capable of being the envy of any true sixgunner. You know, nothing too exorbitant!

Of course, I want the action tuned, timed and titillated by Ken because he’s that good! Then, the whole works would be deep blued. You know — just your typical Mag-na-port custom job.

A little file work and drifting of the Garza front sight had Tank’s Mongoose ready to fight.

A Mongoose in the Making …

The mongoose is a complex critter. Meaner than a honey badger with the tenacity of a Tasmanian devil and with reflexes faster than lightning — it eats cobras for breakfast. Yet they are cute and cuddly to look at despite their aggressive personifications. The name sticks and Ken’s ministrations fill the bill to perfection.

He lopped the 4 5/8″ barrel down to 3 1/2″, just before the fixed blade sight. He then milled a dovetail for the Garza dovetail front sight. The blade is purposely high so I can file it down so the point of impact coincides with point of aim at 25 yards.

Ken removed the factory warning from the barrel and polished the whole works so the bluing gives it the deep, dark desirous look sixgunners live and die for. The trigger and hammer were given the Mag-na-port trademarked high-polish jeweling, providing just enough “bling” to tastefully accent it. This is Motor City after all, home of chrome bumpers, high-polish paint jobs and huge, shiny grills to catch everyone’s attention. Mag-na-port follows suit.

Ken also trimmed the ejector-rod housing and base-pin knob so full case extraction is possible when working the ejector rod. He also milled a small fingernail notch to make base pin removal easier. Lastly, he tuned and timed the action, finishing the works with a creep-free trigger job breaking right at 2.5 lbs.

When handloaded to its full potential, the .32 H&R becomes a different cartridge.


Factory .32 H&R loads are on the mild side due to some earlier revolver releases not as strong as Ruger’s Single Six. Handloaders soon realized they didn’t need to hold back for the stronger Ruger.

I don’t feel shortchanged with Single-Six .32 H&R handloads. My favorite bullets include Lyman’s 311008, a radiused flat-nosed 115-grain slug; RCBS 100-grain SWC; and LBT’s 120-grain FN design. Using 2400, H110 and AA #9 powders allows top velocities of over 1,200 fps for the .32 H&R.

As the Garza front sight was made tall by design, filing was required to regulate elevation at 25 yards. Windage was spot-on, but is easily adjusted by drifting the front sight.

A Barranti Leather Hipshot holster is perfect for the Mongoose.

That’s A Wrap

The Mongoose is a portable package with the power to take care of most camp chores or trail problems. Carried in a Barranti Leather Hipshot holster, you’d never know it was on your hip until needed. Made of heavy skirting leather, it leaves the hammer and trigger exposed by design, with a hammer thong for added security.

It fulfills all holster functionality with its minimalist, straight-drop design. Together, the Mongoose riding in the Hipshot are a formidable duo worthy of any sixgunner wanting a sleek, stylish revolver with plenty of bite from a tenacious small-bore caliber. Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog — and the Mongoose has plenty of fight! Just ask any cobra.

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