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Old 04-09-2019, 10:27 PM
lizardtrack
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I am interested in a BC.



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How do I find out what model is desirable, what to avoid, what prices for what model. What advantage or disadvantages of the different models? Gotta start somewhere. Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:38 AM
Terminatorret
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Here's some good info on the "Old Model" Bearcats:

https://gunblast.com/Hamm_Bearcat.htm

New models?...I hear they are great, but never handled one myself.

I paid around $375 (if I recall) for a 1973 Super Bearcat last fall. It's a wonderful shooter. There's a NIB Shopkeeper for sale locally for $475 that the owner has had listed for quite a while...evidently no takers, yet. I haven't shopped online recently to quote you any retail prices. Hope this helps.

Last edited by Terminatorret; 04-10-2019 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:21 PM
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Not sure how to answer everything, but I'll start with what I have, two stainless New Bearcats. I prefer stainless for obvious reasons, no blue to wear, rust resistant and easy to remove scratches.

My favorite thing on Bearcats is the indexing cylinder. Loading and unloading, the cylinder clicks back to align each chamber with the ejector, like a Colt SAA. No fumbling around like with a Single-Six ( which is also a third bigger and a half pound heavier than a Bearcat ).

The 4.2 inch barrel gives a good sight radius for better accuracy. Both of mine shoot the same, I'm in the habit of shooting at fifty feet and they are both 1.5 inches low and dead on for windage. I use a 12 o'clock hold to fix the elevation. 25 yards would likely bring the hits up to bullseye. I normally group just over an inch at my 50 feet.

The shorter Shopkeeper version is okay, but the basepin and ejector button tend to get in each other's way. Also, with a shorter barrel, the ejector has to be shorter, and the brass doesn't quite clear the cylinder when unloading. Most say that a sharp quick push does get them out.

Grips are a personal thing, some can't do the smaller Bearcat grip, and the Shopkeeper's birdseye grip is even smaller. I like the grip, I wear size large gloves, and my fingertips just touch the meat of my thumb.

The Bearcat has a 23 pound mainspring. Wolff offers a set of 18 and 16 pound replacements. I have the 18 in mine, makes a nice difference in trigger pull. Wolff also has "extra power" basepin latch springs, no poundage stated. I use them, as sometimes I would bump the latch just enough for the basepin to sneak forward a little bit. This interferes with the transfer bar. With the Wolff's no more issue.

Also, up until IIRC 2016, New Bearcats had anodized aluminum ejector rod housings, as did most Old Models. Then Ruger finally started using blued steel and stainless housings to match the gun. Mine have aftermarket housings that are no longer made, but Ruger sells them for those that want to upgrade from aluminum.

Other models; there is a six inch barrel blued and fixed sight version from Lipsey's. You can also get blued or stainless 4.2 inch barrel Bearcats with adjustable sights. I think they kind of kill the classic SA "look", but some folks like adjustable sights. I do fine with fixed.

Price? Standard Bearcat list is $689 for stainless, street price is around $589-625. Blued, all of those are $50 less. I bought mine in 2011, about $490 then.


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Last edited by bearcatter; 04-10-2019 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:13 PM
Pete44ru
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.

There are several different developments over the Ruger Bearcat's production life.

* The earliest has blue-anodized alloy cylinder frames, a gold-colored trigger guard and plain Rosewood grip panels w/o a Ruger Medallion.

* The next development was to add medallions to Walnut grip panels.

The 1st year guns had plain SN's, then alphabetic (F, X, etc) SN prefixes for a few years, later reverting to plain SN's until discontinuance in 1969.

* Around 1970, Ruger announced the Super Bearcat, which has a blued steel cylinder frame, a blued trigger guard & Walnut grip panels.
Which model was discontinued around 1974.
The Supers will have a SN prefix of "90" or "91".

* In 1993, Ruger introduced the New Bearcat, with blued carbon steel & stainless steel cylinder frames, and SN prefixes of "93".
The New Bearcat's cylinder frame is slightly larger than the frames of the older Bearcat's to accommodate an extra cylinder in .22WRM - which was soon discontinued/recalled.
The New Bearcat's also has Rosewood grips that appear to be a lamination.


Within all the categories above, there are numerous different permutations (like EJ housing & grip material, gripframe shape, SN prefixes, & factory second's, etc, etc) all of which drives the Bearcat collector market (and collectors crazy).


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Last edited by Pete44ru; 04-10-2019 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:24 PM
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They are small and like my S&W J frames I find harder to shoot well consistently. I mentally lusted for a BC for decades then had a chance for a 'take it home for a while' trial; glad I did as the lust quickly wore off, it just didnt work out as well as I had hoped. Imo, a pop can popper not suitable for small game unless very close.
Btw, I used to shoot NRA Bullseye and am still a fair handgun shot; I can tell when the magic isnt there.
They are cute, though, especially that Shopkeeper! And faarrr better than a NAA Mini-Revolver (gun jewelry).
Ymmv, but I hope you can get to try one for a bit, not just one revved up range session.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:56 PM
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I already have a thread in Bearcat section about the material changes to Bearcats, per R.L. Wilson's Ruger book:

https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum....php?t=1146233
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:50 PM
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Many years ago I owned a blued Bearcat with the steel frame and brass colored trigger guard, the first series had an aluminum frame. I really liked the looks of my Bearcat, but I have rather large hands and I could just never comfortably shoot it, just too small. I much prefer the Single-Six. If I were to ever own another Bearcat, I would want a stainless steel model.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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You had a Super Bearcat, 1971-73, to me the best of the older models since it had a steel frame. Still, it had an aluminum ejector housing, and the gold finished trigger guards were aluminum. The last half of production had blued steel guards.
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:05 PM
lizardtrack
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Thanks for the info guys.
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:24 AM
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I like mine, accuracy is good enough to hit rattlesnakes in the head and knock shotgun empties around at 30 plus yards waiting for rifles to cool.
I have about stopped carrying a Single-Six fishing or on the ATV as the Bearcat size is better and accuracy plenty good enough for what is needed doing either.
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Old 04-14-2019, 04:55 AM
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I would pass on all the new or used models and go straight for a Lipsey Bearcat with adjustable sights.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearcatter View Post
Not sure how to answer everything, but I'll start with what I have, two stainless New Bearcats. I prefer stainless for obvious reasons, no blue to wear, rust resistant and easy to remove scratches.

My favorite thing on Bearcats is the indexing cylinder. Loading and unloading, the cylinder clicks back to align each chamber with the ejector, like a Colt SAA. No fumbling around like with a Single-Six ( which is also a third bigger and a half pound heavier than a Bearcat ).

The 4.2 inch barrel gives a good sight radius for better accuracy. Both of mine shoot the same, I'm in the habit of shooting at fifty feet and they are both 1.5 inches low and dead on for windage. I use a 12 o'clock hold to fix the elevation. 25 yards would likely bring the hits up to bullseye. I normally group just over an inch at my 50 feet.

The shorter Shopkeeper version is okay, but the basepin and ejector button tend to get in each other's way. Also, with a shorter barrel, the ejector has to be shorter, and the brass doesn't quite clear the cylinder when unloading. Most say that a sharp quick push does get them out.

Grips are a personal thing, some can't do the smaller Bearcat grip, and the Shopkeeper's birdseye grip is even smaller. I like the grip, I wear size large gloves, and my fingertips just touch the meat of my thumb.

The Bearcat has a 23 pound mainspring. Wolff offers a set of 18 and 16 pound replacements. I have the 18 in mine, makes a nice difference in trigger pull. Wolff also has "extra power" basepin latch springs, no poundage stated. I use them, as sometimes I would bump the latch just enough for the basepin to sneak forward a little bit. This interferes with the transfer bar. With the Wolff's no more issue.

Also, up until IIRC 2016, New Bearcats had anodized aluminum ejector rod housings, as did most Old Models. Then Ruger finally started using blued steel and stainless housings to match the gun. Mine have aftermarket housings that are no longer made, but Ruger sells them for those that want to upgrade from aluminum.

Other models; there is a six inch barrel blued and fixed sight version from Lipsey's. You can also get blued or stainless 4.2 inch barrel Bearcats with adjustable sights. I think they kind of kill the classic SA "look", but some folks like adjustable sights. I do fine with fixed.

Price? Standard Bearcat list is $689 for stainless, street price is around $589-625. Blued, all of those are $50 less. I bought mine in 2011, about $490 then.


.

Lots of good information here. I am thinking to buy a Wolff mainspring rather than clip a few coils off of the factory spring of mine.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:38 AM
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Fwiw, a coil springs tension is based upon its wire dia. and number of coils. Clipping coils does not make the spring 'softer'; just shortens its workin/loading length.
Stretch a clipped spring out to the original length and compare it on a spring gauge to an unclipped one to the same compression length and you will see this.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:55 AM
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Agreed, the spring rate does not change.

The preload force does change though.

F=Kx explains it all
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