It has punched a jillion targets, plinked a million tin cans, served sportsmen well in woodchuck pastures and jackrabbit flats and has even seen action in distant, clandestine theaters of war. Ruggedly constructed, it shoots and shoots forever, much to the delight of millions of owners. Having been America's favorite .22 pistol for 67 years, it was high time for a major facelift.
Over its lifespan, the Ruger .22 pistol had undergone incremental changes as reflected in the Mark I, II and III. Over the same span, custom gunsmithing houses and suppliers like Brownells, Volquartsen and Majestic Arms brought to market a variety of mechanical, stylistic and handling improvements for the stock pistol--enhanced triggers, bolts, firing pins and extractors; extended bolt and magazine releases and safeties; compensators, sights, Picatinny rails, magazines, extended magazine base pads, complete accuracy kits, stocks and maybe the most important accessory of all, the Majestic Arms "Speed Strip System" which enables the shooter to remove the bolt of his Ruger without tearing the pistol apart.
While Bill Ruger's design for the Standard Pistol of 1949 was easy to make and economical to buy, it had a certain degree of complexity capable of defeating many an owner who was adventuresome enough to disassemble it in order to remove the bolt and clean the pistol from the breech end. The problem was many owners were not knowledgeable enough to put the parts back together again. The Ruger is indeed a bit quirky when you have to reinstall the mainspring housing assembly properly in the frame.
Simply because there are so many millions of them out there, I imagine more Ruger Mark I, II and III pistols have been brought into local gunsmiths as parts-in-a-box than any other design of our era.
When I went into Murphy's Gun Shop in Tucson to pick up Ruger's new Mark IV for review, I just had to ask Brian Murphy, the owner and a skilled gunsmith, what his experience was with Ruger pistols and frustrated customers. He laughed and admitted he once charged his customers to put their disassembled Rugers back together but now provides the service for free. He'd gotten tired of seeing mangled guns from exasperated owners and untutored hands.
ADDRESSING A NEED
Suppose you were the engineer tasked with updating the pistol. Where would you start? You'd probably begin by reviewing all of the custom accessories and upgrades contained in the aforementioned catalogs. Sources...