Firearms

5 Ruger Facts You Might Not Know

ruger facts

The name Ruger (shortened from Sturm, Ruger & Company) is ubiquitous in the shooting industry.

Their Ruger Mark 1 pistol is nearly as recognizable as their iconic phoenix logo, and since their founding seven decades ago, Ruger has become the largest producer of firearms in the United States.

From the pervasive Ruger 10/22 to a variety of revolvers and far beyond, the guns of Sturm, Ruger & Co. have permeated every corner of the American shooting market.

In honor of their 70th anniversary, let’s take a look at five interesting Ruger facts about the firearms giant you may not be familiar with.

1. Ruger was nearly the owner of the patent for AR-15 rifles.

Ruger facts - AR-15
Source: Ruger

Armalite Chief Engineer Eugene Stoner spoke with Ruger in the late 1950s in an attempt to interest the manufacturer in licensing and producing the Armalite Rifle, or AR-15.

Ruger ultimately passed on producing the cutting-edge semiautomatic rifle, and Colt stepped in and bought the rights to the AR-15.

Colt later sold the design to the United States military, which renamed the rifle the M16.

Though some may view that initial passing as a mistake, today Ruger produces one of the most popular AR models on the market: the AR-556.

2. Ruger’s first digital news announcement was for the .480 Ruger.

Ruger facts - revolver
Source: Ruger

Way back in December 2001, Ruger published their first news announcement on their website. It heralded the coming of the caliber .480 Ruger, the very first cartridge to bear the Ruger name.

In the article, Ruger also announced the Ruger Super Redhawk revolver chambered in .480 Ruger, a gun geared toward big game hunters.

3. Ruger once produced heads for golf clubs.

Ruger facts - golf course

Not limited to merely firearms and ammo, Ruger-manufactured golf club heads to be used on Callaway golf drivers.

The enlarged heads, crafted of titanium, were produced by Ruger’s investment castings business.

Ruger then entered into a joint venture with Callaway in 1995 to produce the Big Bertha driver head, and eventually bought out Callaway’s portion of the venture.

Ruger continued to manufacture clubs for a multitude of golf brands until 2005.

4. Ruger has more than one million social media followers.

Ruger facts - social media

At the time of this writing, Ruger has more than 1.15 million followers between Facebook and Twitter alone. That’s more than the entire populations of Rhode Island, Delaware and Wyoming.

5. Hank William’s Jr.’s logo was inspired by Ruger.

Ruger Facts - Hank Williams Jr.
Notice the Ruger-like logo at the top-right of Hank Williams Jr’s website.

While not quite identical, the logo used by legendary outlaw country music singer Hank Williams Jr. was directly inspired by Ruger’s triumphant phoenix.

According to country music lore, Hank (who had been an avid shooter and collector of Ruger firearms) was given permission from Ruger co-founder Bill Ruger to use the symbol sometime in the 1970s.

Williams liked the logo not only due to the brand it represented, but because it’s a phoenix, which he felt represented the rebirth of his career after a near-fatal mountain-climbing accident in 1975.

Well, there you have it—five lesser-known Ruger facts to impress your friends.

Hopefully you found these Ruger facts fun and interesting, and if there are any others we forgot to include, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (16)

  1. #^. The 10 round magazine limit was Bill Ruger’s idea. He thought throwing the magazines to the gun banners would save the rifles and while he was in charge you could only buy 5 and 10 round magazines for the mini from Ruger.

  2. my 101 is my go to carry gun any day 24/7. in the winter when i can cover more, i carry a .44 but in summer, which is about 9 months out of the year around here, it’s my 101 in .357

  3. to BOB AILANJIAN

    My Security 9 is hammer.
    I like all of my Rugers and the Customer Service is a plus.Not like the rude nonperforming people at S & W.

    Alan

  4. My first Ruger was a 3 screw .357 Blackhawk, given to me by my wife our first Christmas after marrying – 1965;) Still have that boy, grips are now almost white not blue.

    Story I tell anyone that is thinking about buying a Ruger: My oldest son, about 15, at the time, was tromping through the Blue Ridge mountains with his cousin, while carrying his Blackhawk in a leather holster. He fell into a stream, getting both he and his rig soaked. The chemical reaction from the wet leather damaged the blueing on the cylinder and barrel of the revolver. Made contact with Ruger to see about getting the gun refinished. Informed cost would be $25. Sent it! Gun returned in short order. Surprised to find that everything except the frame had been ‘replaced.’ New barrel, cylinder, ejector housing. Repair report stated that “excessive erosion of the barrel throat” warranted its replacement. Gun had been shot extensively, probably not quite as much as we might say in the hills – “a blue million times,” but more than your average pistolero might. FINAL COST: $0.00!! Ole Bill was still kicking in those days, but I believe Ruger is still one of the best “stand behind their product” manufacturers out there. Needless to say, though I will, my sons and I own more than a ‘few’ Ruger products! Ruger will even ‘update’ my old 3 screw rig today, without charge, to incorporate that safer firing pin actuator bar – but, I’m cowboy enough to want it to remain original! 😉 No ‘involuntary’ discharges, or extra holes in the ole leg as yet…..

    BTW, ole Hank was behind me in acquiring his logo. I had no influence with Ruger, but in the EARLY ’70s I ran onto the Ruger design, at some gun store in Florida, selling plain brass belt buckles (w/o the R) (made in Taiwan – probably from WWII or Korea brass). Wore them for decades, but they are now heirlooms since their belt loops broke. Always had envious comments on that buckle, would love to have another, but can’t find any without that R;)

  5. The very first pistol I ever bought was a brand new Ruger mark 1. 6 inch barrel. Bought in 1979 for less than $100. Still shoots like brand new.

  6. I have been a Ruger .357 Blackhawk for over 50 years (6 1/2″ barrel) and now a .45 LC Convertible (shoots .45 LC or .45 ACP with a cylinder swap) for over 5 years. Both have been absolutely great! These are both single action Western style quite powerful handguns. But upon reading Bob’s comment above, I learned something. I Did not know about the two different methods of firing. Since both of my handguns are single action, this has never been a concern.

    So, I went and did a little research on the striker. And it clearly looks like the hammer type semi-auto handguns would be safer – i.e., easier to keep safe. But this difference is probably small, as compared to a single action handgun where you have to manually pull the hammer back always, and tied with the ability to see if the handgun is loaded or not VERY easily makes this type of handgun the safest of all. But I would imagine double action handguns are a lot of fun to shoot since all you have to do is pull the trigger again!

    At any rate, here is a link that discusses the difference between the hammer and the striker guns, and some indication as to which is better and when.

    https://www.dailyshooting.com/striker-fired-vs-hammer-fired/

    Vincent (09-28-2019)

  7. The first Ruger I bought was the 10/22 years ago and past it down to my son. I bought a P94 which is my favorite gun I own. Have super black hawk 44 magnum, black hawk 357 magnum they all shoot dead on.

  8. Great article! Ruger has an amazing heritage, history, and continues to turn out awesome products. Here’s to 70 years and many more!

  9. My wife and I currently own 2 10/22s, 2 Super Blackhawks, a MKIII Hunter and a Mark III 22/45 target, a Single Six, a Mini 14, an SR9C, an LCR and an American Predator in 6.5 CM, so I guess you could say we like our Rugers.

  10. Ruger has been my handgun maker since my first one, a SP101. Since then, P89, P95, GP100, and now I even have their AR556. Broke my heart when they went all striker fired. Had to find a new gun maker.

  11. Their nylon glass filled handgun chassis are tops. They aren’t mentioned enough. Bang for the buck, if you want a USA made gun, that’s affordable, Ruger is top notch.

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