Here’s a fresh look at Ruger’s Six-Series, classic and well-made guns that still see a lot of use.
by Dick Maheu
Ruger introduced its Six-Series with the Security-Six in 1971 and Speed-Six in 1974 as a competitive answer to the double action market that had basically been cornered by Colt and Smith & Wesson to that point. These sold from 1972 to 1988 and Bill Ruger set the industry back on its haunches with the new and excellent Six-Series revolvers in .357 Mag, .38 Special, and 9mm. Some models were also exported in small numbers to Britain chambered in .38 S&W.
Ruger’s design was completely revolutionary and made without sideplates, adding to its strength, along with its sub-assembly type engineering. It was designed for simplicity and ease of maintenance and came in three basic models: The Security-Six with squared back butt frame and adjustable sights, the Police Service-Six with squared back butt frame and fixed sights, and the Speed-Six with rounded butt frame and fixed sights. All three models came in 2 3/4” and 4” barrel lengths as well as 6” in the Security-Six. Special order revolvers such as the Speed-Six featured in this article came with a 3” barrel, originally a special order for the U.S. Postal Service Inspector Force. Target and semi-target grips were also available from the factory. There were several Commemorative issue revolvers to honor various law enforcement groups as well.
Many folks bemoan the passing of these great revolvers as their size and strength made for ease of handling by both men and women alike. I have owned several of these revolvers in all three models over the years, including those pictured and used in this article as well as the GP-100 and Redhawk pictured for size comparison. I like the size of the GP and Redhawk for hunting use but find them much too large and unwieldy for everyday defense and use.
These revolvers can take a lot of abuse and many thousands of rounds fired. Few things go wrong with them. Most of the problems encountered are due to amateur gunsmithing and tinkering! I’ll cover complete disassembly and some common problems along with aftermarket parts that will enhance the use of these revolvers. Although accurate figures are not forthcoming from Ruger management, it’s believed well in excess of one and a quarter million Six-Series revolvers were produced and sold during its production time frame.
Read more in the May 2017 issue.