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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I bought my MK III, I also want to get a MK1, and I have found a few local that are a decent resale price, and look to be in great shape. One is a circa 1961-1962, plastic grips, looks well cared for and one from 1974-1975 and has wood grips, and also looks to be pretty well cared for.

If I buy one, I prefer the wood grips, but it got me thinking- are there better or worse years in the MK1 production? Any I should look for/avoid? Or are they all pretty much the same, and just buy the cleanest one with least wear?

The 74-75 model may have more bluing wear and it comes with a holster, the 61-62 model just comes with the one mag and no extras.
 

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Since I bought my MK III, I also want to get a MK1, and I have found a few local that are a decent resale price, and look to be in great shape. One is a circa 1961-1962, plastic grips, looks well cared for and one from 1974-1975 and has wood grips, and also looks to be pretty well cared for.

If I buy one, I prefer the wood grips, but it got me thinking- are there better or worse years in the MK1 production? Any I should look for/avoid? Or are they all pretty much the same, and just buy the cleanest one with least wear?

The 74-75 model may have more bluing wear and it comes with a holster, the 61-62 model just comes with the one mag and no extras.
You can find wood grips for the earlier gun (found mine on eBay) Just make sure they have the correct screw hole layout
Irrelevant pic of mine lol
 

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Assuming those vintages are correct, there would be a practical advantage to the 74-75 in that it can usually use standard MKII 10 shot magazines as is, no mods needed, since it uses the A100 grip frame, same as the MKII.

The 61-62 will have the earlier A54 grip frame which uses the original 9 shot mags with the follower on the right side of the mag. You can convert later 10 shot mags for use in the A54 grip frame by switching the mag follower to the right side, but with varying degrees of success, depending on the vintage on the 10 shot mag. Some have worked for me and some have not. If you want to go all original with those early 9 shot A54 frame mags, finding vintage used mags can now be quite a challenge. If you do go with the 61-62 gun, be sure to check function with the one supplied mag if possible.

As for the wood grips on the 74-75, if they are original factory Ruger walnut, that's a plus for value. Lot of aftermarket wooden grips for the MKII and some of them are very nice, so not necessarily less desirable.

Much harder to find wood grips for the 61-62 with the A54 grip frame, though. Ruger did offer walnut grips as a factory supplied option, but those are hard to find and very pricey, now. Have heard that some current grip makers are making grips for the A54, now, but I have no experience with them. Just note that A54 grips are NOT the same as the A100 grips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Assuming those vintages are correct, there would be a practical advantage to the 74-75 in that it can usually use standard MKII 10 shot magazines as is, no mods needed, since it uses the A100 grip frame, same as the MKII.

The 61-62 will have the earlier A54 grip frame which uses the original 9 shot mags with the follower on the right side of the mag. You can convert later 10 shot mags for use in the A54 grip frame by switching the mag follower to the right side, but with varying degrees of success, depending on the vintage on the 10 shot mag. Some have worked for me and some have not. If you want to go all original with those early 9 shot A54 frame mags, finding vintage used mags can now be quite a challenge. If you do go with the 61-62 gun, be sure to check function with the one supplied mag if possible.

As for the wood grips on the 74-75, if they are original factory Ruger walnut, that's a plus for value. Lot of aftermarket wooden grips for the MKII and some of them are very nice, so not necessarily less desirable.

Much harder to find wood grips for the 61-62 with the A54 grip frame, though. Ruger did offer walnut grips as a factory supplied option, but those are hard to find and very pricey, now. Have heard that some current grip makers are making grips for the A54, now, but I have no experience with them. Just note that A54 grips are NOT the same as the A100 grips.
I looked them up by the serial numbers. The dates are correct, unless Ruger's listings are wrong :)

Well, I went to the shop on lunch, and ended up buying one.

I can't believe some shops sell what they sell though... The sales guy said one was a police confiscation.

The 61-62 standard did not even have a magazine with it, it was pretty dirty, bluing was decent, grips were good, but the middle of the barrel where it meets the frame had some spots were the bluing was completely gone... Three small spots, but it looked like there was small rust spots, and someone scrubbed too hard, took the rust and the bluing off. That and the fact it didn't have a magazine put me off. Otherwise it wasn't bad. Could tell it had been shot a lot- a good portion of the bluing on the bolt had been worn off.

So I set my eyes on the 74-74 year range model, which is the one I was more interested in as it had wood grips, and a holster and one magazine (which at least one mag is a bonus lol). Looking it over, it had a few minor corrosion spots (light surface rust) on the base of the grip by the magazine, and up by the charging handle but ones you can polish out. The magazine has a bit of light surface rust on it, not able to be polished out but at least it has a magazine. The holster is a pretty cool vintage "hunter" leather holster, I may be able to use it with my Ruger Wrangler as well. The wood grips are pretty cool, makes it feel more like a vintage Nambu or Luger (which is why I like the standards anyway).

Both guns were the same price, $399, were $100-200 less than the ones I looked at a couple days ago that had no bluing left on the top of the receiver, so I made my mind up and bought the newer model with the wooden grips. I am very happy with it. This one really needs a good cleaning, so I will get more practice on taking them down and cleaning them, and I will take good care of it now that it is in my possession.

Pics coming...
 

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Good looking gun, vintage holster is a plus. Just throwing it our there since no one else has, unless I missed it. To the best of my knowledge there's no such thing as a MKI Standard. The MKI and Standard were separate models with the MKI being a target gun. Then when the MKII came along the whole series was given the MK designation including the standard variations. Not really important but it's a common mistake and I think a interesting part of the history of the series. Also for the little bit of corrosion I've found that scraping it with a real copper penny really helps remove it and won't scratch the bluing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Squirrel thanks for the education. I’m new to the Mark pistols- I thought the standard was basically a Mark I, and the Mark II started the target versions with heavy barrels etc… I need more history on them, but man I love the pistols.
 

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I have made brass scrapers for rust. 1st thing is to soak the rust with a decent pen-oil while you take a brass cartridge case and flatten the neck. File a chisel edge on it and scrape the soaked rust spots. Once you get to a dry looking surface add more oil to soak.
What makes this work without ruining the blued surface is brass is softer than steel yet hard enough to pop rust flakes.
Some swear by the Big 45 pad, Ive never used one.
Btw, that holster is for a semi-auto, revolver holsters are cut/built a bit differently
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was able to get 99% of the rust off with break free CLP and a brass brush. It looks loads better. I saw some weird stuff on the bottom of the barrel and a couple other places, but nothing too concerning.

The magazine it came with is hard to get in and out, I think the button to help load it is too big, it drags. I grabbed a MK-I magazine from a local shop on the way home yesterday, but it was for the A54 frame, so I can’t use it.., have some MK II mags on order…
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I grabbed a MK-I magazine from a local shop on the way home yesterday, but it was for the A54 frame, so I can't use it.
Original RST/MkI A54 mags are in demand so you may be able to trade for a new Mark II magazine.
I was able to sell it in a couple hours online. I paid $10 for it, sold it for $40 as the base plate had a couple chips in it, but it functioned just fine.
 
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