A Visit with Bob

I was on my way to the dentist yesterday, and I got a call– the dentist had needed to tend to some emergencies, and could I come a half-hour later? I was only a mile or so away– set to arrive a half-hour early, so I was somewhat committed. I could have diverted and gone over to Bass-Pro for an hour, but by the time I came to where I could turn around, traffic was so bad, I found myself less than a half-mile from my buddy, Bob. Bob is an old retired gunwriter– shooting editor for Gun Dog Magazine several decades ago. Bob is a big Ruger collector. Bob is the last survivor of my original hunting buddies. His legs went and he has not been afield this century.

I had a couple of pistol cases that were banging around in my back seat– belated Christmas gifts, so I decided to drop in and deliver the cases. It was raining and miserable. There was a foot of snow on the ground, but it was turning to slush. As I pulled up, the thunderstorm started.

Bob was appreciative of the gun cases, and pulled a small rug off the top of the pile and produced a Ruger pistol to test fit the case I had given him. The pistol was a Standard in 22 LR with a phosphate coating and a red logo on the grip and a serial number below 200.

“Bet you never saw one like that.” Bob said.

“You’re right,” I said.

“I picked that one up cheap years ago,” said Bob. “One day I had a chance to pull it out for Bill Ruger and showed it to him. He let out a laugh and yelled, ‘Where’d you find THAT?'”

“The story Bill gave was that back in 1949, they were just mailing out the first pistols. Sturm asked for a half-dozen to take on a sales trip up through New England. He planned on touring the national guard armouries and try to sell a few to fellows who wanted a cheap alternative for keeping up their pistol competency. The gunsmith that was doing all their bluing had just read an article on how to do a faux phosphatizing using old bluing salts and some other chemicals. The result was supposed to make these things look more military.

“Sturm sold three on the trip, and they sold the remainder with a letter in the box saying that the special coating would be recoated to a standard blue on request. Ruger remembered one of the three coming back. That left five out there.”

“What you are looking at right there, my friend.” said Bob, “Is probably the oldest Ruger in Ohio.

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