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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2010 - Page 36
TAFFINTESTS John Taffin THE SIXGUNNER HIMSELF: GUNS, GEAR AND MORE Long Range Rugers Was a Lot of Money … $150 A Ruger .357 Maximum as shown at the top was used by Ben Forkin to do 6-shot .445 SuperMag conversion. Ruger’s 10" Flat-Top .44 Magnum with the excellent Al Goerg shoulder holster. I t had been a long hot summer, in fact the last of three painful summers. Summers are meant for shooting, camping, hiking, outdoor activities with the family. However, my last three had been spent sitting in a graduate school classroom at the University of Montana working on my Master’s Degree. Now it was finally over. I had survived and received my degree. I deserved a reward. A stop at the Gunhaus revealed the appropriate specimen so my wife graciously presented with me with my first Long Range Ruger. At the time, 1971, I felt $150 was a lot of money to spend for a single action Ruger sixgun, however it was unlike any Ruger .44 Magnum I had ever seen, and the stocks, although factory, were made of beautifully grained fancy walnut. What made this Ruger .44 A comparison of the .44 Magnum and the longer .445 SuperMag. Flat-Top different is the fact it was one of the very rare 10" sixguns made in the early 1960s. My wife insisted we could afford it and she has proven to be far more perceptive than I am, as that Flat-Top Ruger is now worth at least six times what we paid for it even though it still remains in the Not-ForSale category. For hunting, that Ruger was matched up with one of the Al Goerg shoulder holsters of the time. I would hate to have to retrace all the miles the Ruger, shoulder holster, and I made together. When Ruger dropped the Flat-Top Model in favor of the Old Models in 1963, the longest barrel offered was the 71/2" version Super Blackhawk, and with the debut of the New Model Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum in 1973, the barrel length stayed at 71/2". As a mate to my 10" Ruger Flat-Top .357 Magnum with heavy bull barrel installed ready for refinishing. Flat-Top, I had Trapper Gun build me a custom New Model .44 Magnum with a 10" barrel and a satin nickel finish. That sixgun is marked “Trapper Long Range” on the left side of the barrel and has also been used for many hunting trips both with iron sights and a scope for more than 30 years. But Wait, There’s More T 36 hat could have been the end of Long Range Rugers except for the rise of silhouetting. My wife and I both were early participants and eventually settled on a pair of Long Range Rugers as our sixguns for Revolver Category. Ruger finally brought out 101/2" .44 Magnum Super Blackhawks for the silhouette shooters and they were fine. Both of those sixguns were magnificently accurate, however even they are runner-ups to Ruger’s next longrange sixgun, the 101/2" stainless Ruger Super Blackhawk. With the addition of the stainless version, and our subsequent retirement from long-range silhouetting, both of the blued Super Blackhawks went the custom route. Both Continued on page 82 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2010