Ruger 75th Anniversary

Ruger Celebrates Innovation, Value and Enthusiasm
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With plenty of real estate to mount a scope and the bulk to
help get hunkered down on a rest, the Ruger Super Redhawk
.22 Hornet might just be a groundhog’s worst nightmare!

Sturm, Ruger & Co., or as we commonly call it — “Ruger” — has a rich history, marked by innovation, quality craftsmanship and a commitment to American manufacturing. The company was founded in 1949 by William B. Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm in Southport, Conn. And the rest, as they say, is history for American shooters. To say the founder, Bill Ruger, is a legend is to understate the truth.

I was fortunate enough to meet William Batterman Ruger on a few occasions at various Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Shows over the years. As a writer, I was invited to the much-anticipated Ruger parties a few times, held in the “Ruger Suite” wherever the SHOT Show was held. It always astounded me a 16-year-old gun crazy kid — who wished he could be a “gun’riter” someday — was there, rubbing elbows with industry royalty and actually chatting with Bill Ruger himself. Mr. Ruger was always personable, and, understanding how writers helped build his company (before the explosion of “influencers” today), always took the time to talk about his guns, what he had planned and with a twinkle in his eye, hint about something unique coming down the road.

Mr. Ruger retired due to health issues in 2000 and passed in 2002 at 86 years old. Those 86 years were filled with adventure of all sorts — and the building of the company we still respect. I think comparing Ruger with John Browning isn’t out of line at all. Both essentially re-invented the gun industry in their own right and the legacy they leave still drives firearm design forward.

I think, while Mr. Ruger’s life was full of astounding events, his long list of milestone firearm designs essentially stand for the history of the company. It’s simple to say “Oh, they made a lot of great guns …” but to line them up shows why and how they affected us all so much. I doubt any experienced shooter in America can say they’ve never fired a Ruger firearm. I wonder what the industry would look like without the Ruger .22 Auto, the No. 1 rifle, the 10/22 and the host of other iconic designs we’ve all loved over the decades?


Even a rifle scope can be used on the .22 Hornet Super Redhawk
as the modest recoil allows getting “down and dirty” with the optic.

The Birth Of Ruger

In 1949, William Ruger and Alexander Sturm set out to create a revolutionary .22 caliber semi-autopistol. The result was the Ruger Standard, introduced in 1949, which quickly gained popularity. Looking a bit like a Luger helped, I suspect. The grip frame was actually based on a hand drill Ruger had designed, and showcased the stamped and welded technology of the drill. At an MSRP of $37.50, it under-sold the competition like the Colt Woodsman and positive reviews in The American Rifleman almost assured success. By 1950, Ruger had sold 1,138 Standard models and by February of 1950, Sturm, Ruger and Co. had a back-order of over 5,000 Standards, with production capacity of about 900 guns a month. Ruger never looked back.

Keep in mind though, in 2024 dollars, that first Ruger cost $470. Still a bargain today, but at the 80-cent hourly wage at the time, it meant someone would have had to work a full week to buy one! Nonetheless, the success of Ruger’s first pistol laid the foundation for the company’s future and established Ruger as a prominent player in the firearms market. Much to the surprise of some of the old school, I think.

Through the 1950s, Ruger continued to grow and attract attention, introducing the ground-breaking Single Six .22. Amazingly enough, both designs are still in production and still as popular as ever. The Blackhawk was also introduced in the 1950s (in .357 and .44 Magnum) and became an instant star. It too is still being produced. Bill understood the American market.


Design Growth

The 1960s saw Ruger expanding its product line to include rifles, more revolvers and .22 auto pistol variations. The Ruger 10/22 rifle, introduced in 1964, became one of the most important and popular .22 caliber rifles in the world. Its reliability, accuracy and affordability made it a favorite of anyone who was a shooter, hunter or plinker. We all know how the 10/22 has taken off in the custom and competition world and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. The Ruger .44 Magnum carbine was introduced, along with the M77 bolt action and the ground-breaking No. 1 single shot rifle. A busy decade indeed.


The Mini-14 And More

In 1973, Ruger introduced the Mini-14, a semi-automatic rifle in .223 for civilian use, although it was used modestly by some police and foreign military units. The Mini-14 gained popularity for its versatility and reliability, becoming a favorite among ranchers, small game hunters, casual target shooters, for defense and with a growing list of customization accessories added through the years. The Security Six .357 revolver series showed itself and got a foothold among revolver shooters and some police agencies. I carried one in the late 1970s as a cop in San Diego. It was brawny, rugged and accurate.

In 1970, the “One Millionth” old model single action was sold, and in 1978 the one millionth 10/22 saw the light of day. I’m betting Bill Ruger smiled a lot.

During the 1980s, Ruger continued to innovate with the introduction of the Ruger GP-100 series of double-action revolvers. These revolvers were more muscular than the Security Six models, and were quickly famous for their robust construction and reliability. They sold well to law enforcement, recreational shooters, handgun hunters and in the self-defense market.

Ruger continued to innovate in the 2010s with the introduction of the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) in 2015. The RPR gained immediate notoriety for its out-of-the-box accuracy, modular construction and amazing price for the features it offered. A 30-’06 model is my favorite hunting rifle.

In 2016, Ruger introduced the Ruger American Pistol, designed for military and law enforcement markets but immediately accepted by American shooters of all sorts. The American Pistol showed off Ruger’s ability to keep up with — and lead — the market with features like modular grips and a short take-up trigger.


The .22 Hornet Super Redhawk is an “eight-shooter” with tremendous
accuracy potential, making it a great hunting revolver for small game.

The .22 caliber hole looks a bit odd in the beefy
cold-hammer-forged barrel of the Super Redhawk,
but also contributes weight to give additional stability
for better accuracy.

The LCP Breaks New Ground

One of Ruger’s most significant successes in the 2000s was the introduction of the Ruger Lightweight Compact Pistol (LCP) in 2008. This was a compact, lightweight .380 ACP pistol, becoming instantly popular for CCW due to its small size and reliability. I know I carried one for years, until the LCP Max was introduced. Both models are inherently accurate and a delight to shoot.

Ruger also continued to expand standard lines, offering new calibers, models and features. The Hawkeye, No. 1 and Mini-14 models all saw new touches and were extremely popular with shooters. Ruger was always known for value, utility and performance and this well-grounded “American Made” thinking helped it grow.


The dual-adjustable rear sight sits atop one of the
beefiest top straps in the revolver world.


Ruger hasn’t slowed one bit, either. Their Custom Shop was opened, offering top-end models. The line of revolvers continues to grow with the likes of the Wrangler series, their polymer revolvers, hunting revolvers (like the Super Redhawk .22 Hornet on the cover) and almost too many long guns to list. Ruger continues to tempt us with new products like their 5.7 models along with other surprises keeping us all off-guard. “Huh? What? Ruger did that!?” And keep in mind we only glossed over things in our little jaunt down memory lane here.

It’s hard to believe 75 years have vanished from the time Bill Ruger and Alex Sturm set up shop in a little red barn. It almost seems as if some sort of angel of mercy looked over Bill Ruger’s shoulder over the years. But in actuality, it’s a classic case of hard work, solid engineering and design skills, and brilliant marketing paving the road making Ruger the success it’s become. Luck, while fortunate at times, played only a minor role in this adventure.

Our friends at Ruger continue to focus on innovation, quality and American craftsmanship — all offered at prices we mere mortals can afford.


Ruger Super Redhawk Gear List
Scope: Leupold Vari-X Compact 3-9x
Ammo: Winchester Varmint-X 35-grain Polymer Tip
Case: Boyt PS65 Pistol Pad
Knife: Ontario Knife Co. RAT 3

Ruger Super Redhawk .22 Hornet

Hand-Held Master-Blaster!

At first I thought — “but why?” But after shooting it, I understand completely. I’m an old Thompson Center Contender shooter and the .22 Hornet has always been one of my favorite barrels. But it’s a “shoot once, break open, reload, close, cock hammer, shoot again” situation. I thought, if the Redhawk shoots like I’m hoping, this will change up the game. And it does.

Built initially to handle cartridges like the .44 Magnum, .454, .480 Ruger, and even the 10mm Auto, the Super Redhawk is big, beefy and brawny and shows off its strength with a heavy frame and barrel. It’s waaaay over-built for the Hornet, but that can be a good thing. It also comes with good sights, set-up to use supplied scope rings and a decent single-action trigger. Adding the .22 Hornet was a moment of inspiration at Ruger and my initial shooting shows they made the right decision.

At 4.1 lbs. the Redhawk needs a rest to shoot most effectively, and carrying it in the field, at least for me, is a zippered case with a shoulder strap. Barrel length is 9.5″ with an OAL of 15″. A Hogue Monogrip makes it easy to handle, the transfer bar keeps things safe to carry fully loaded and the HiViz sights make even using the irons possible. But scoping this .22 Hornet terror is the way to go.

I scoped it with a couple of different scopes, from a Burris handgun scope to a rifle scope or two. The rifle scopes rocked and the close eye-relief didn’t matter as there’s essentially no recoil. The ammo I had on-hand was the Hornady Varmint Express, a 35-grain V-Max, and their 45-grain SP Match. Out of curiosity I chronographed them both out of my CZ .22 Hornet rifle and the Redhawk. The rifle showed 2,770 fps for the 45-grain load, and 1,937 for the same load out of the Ruger. The 35-grain V-Max zipped out at 3,194 from the rifle and 1,887 from the Redhawk. So, you lose some snap out of the shorter barrel, but in either case, things are still stepping right out. There was actually quite a bit of muzzle blast and a sharp report out of the Ruger and this is no combination you ever want to shoot without hearing protection!

At the target range is where the Ruger shone. At 50 yards from a good rest, I was chasing the 1″ average range for both loads in a light wind. Moving out to 100 and really taking my time, I averaged between 1.5″ and 1.75″ with most groups, and a couple a bit bigger but I think it was due to wind. The gun seeming to favor the heavier 45-grain load a tad more. I think this could easily be a 200-yard prairie dog combo or even a 250-yard groundhog blaster. Just take your time with the trigger in single-action mode.

So, would I buy one? I love the .22 Hornet, load for it and enjoy shooting this mild-recoiling and effective classic cartridge. There’s much less fuss than a .223 and there’s something just relaxing and fun about handling this tiny, pleasantly shaped cartridge. Those old timers were onto something. To enjoy it in an accurate shooter like the Super Redhawk will keep things even more fun. This one stays here!

MSRP: $1,499

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