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Code Slinger
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Throughout the first 33 years of continuous production, the basic mechanical operation of the Standard Model and Mark I pistols remained essentially unchanged, just as Bill Ruger had originally designed it. The differences among them consisted only of variations in barrel shape and length and type of sights—and one small modification to the grip frame was made in 1971 when the original forming dies for the two halves (after 22 years) finally wore out. The new dies were made so that the cut on the bottom of the grip frame where the magazine follower button fits was on the left side, which is the opposite side from before. The new frame style was designated the “A 100” frame and was stamped as such under the left grip panel. Pistols with A 100 frames are termed different from the older guns in that their grip panels are not interchangeable (the Ruger eagle medallion is on the right panel on the New Model guns), and older magazines cannot be used in these later guns. The magazines made for the newer guns, however, have button slots on both sides and can be used in older guns simply by switching the button from the left to the right side (still an important fact to know, given the hundreds of thousands of older guns still in operation and circulation).

Notice the red circles on the below images, it shows the "high" screws location change in 1971.

I believe the post '71 pistols are compatible with Mark II grips as well. I will verify this over the weekend and report here.
 

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Keith , I would like to add to what you say and is a very good description and the best way I know of to tell at a glance just what 'era' MarkI /RST, one has.(bottom hole location)
The change to the "other side" we feel was in preparation for the coming of the "hold open lever" that was finally incorporated into the Mark II's, they needed the side of the receiver to be "flat" to be able to do this. Thus the "hump" had to go to the 'other' side, thus the change to "A-100".Speculation as to "why" they held off till the advent of the "MK II" to do this, as it would have been a 'major' manufacturing/production change, thus an entirely "new" model.
Yes, the 'later' MK I grips could be modified to fit and use on the MK II as the hole patterns are the same but if you use the MK II grip panel on the later MK I , the 'cutout' in the left grip panel allows the pin in the frame to "drift" over to the left and out, thus the 'lockwork' starts to come apart inside the frame (sear and hammer go out of alignment)
 

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Good information here guys. Even an old dummy like me can learn something new!
 

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I did-now I'll know better the age of what I'm looking at-now about the red and black eagles-are those a good indicator of age or random?
 

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It can be, but as the grips can be moved off and on and from gun to gun , in some cases, it takes a combination of the grips medallions and the color of the eagle as well as the serial number ranges to know for certain.
The 'red eagle' is ONLY on the early RST-4 and the first Mark I targets ,till 1951, after like serial number 35,000 or so, and the death of Alex Sturm, these eagles were done in 'black' and stayed that way till the new models (late old models) of the early 70's.
In 1999, when the company made the 50th anniversary model RST-4 , they used a "red" background (around the eagle) in the medallions AND the bottom of the magazine. These 'red background' medallions are still being used today on the autos and I'm thinking because each year , they been adding another "anniversary" model of one kind or another (2003) the Single Six. Now 2005 the .357 mag flatop and last year (2006) , the .44 mag flatop came out and they went back to the "Old black eagle" medallions, but these are "Blackhawks", so stands to reason.......
Bottom line , one must still "know" the vintage (serial number ranges used) and the parts that were used during this time, "Normally", I add , as there can and is always "exceptions".
 

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Very good info and interesting read. Thanks to rugerguy and especially Keith. Now my question. When and on what were the wood (walnut?) grips used. and the thumb rest wood version, is it factory and only on a 'target model' or a special order item?
 

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Code Slinger
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Discussion Starter #8
I am not exactly sure what qualified the pistol to have walnut grips. I believe the regular walnut grips were used on the Standard pistols and the thumb rest version came on the Mark's made in the '70's.
 

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I'm new, so forgive "stupid" questions...why is it that Ruger advertises the MKIII grips fit the MKIII "only" if the basic design is still the same? Is it due to the mag release button being on the left side v. right side of MKII? If so, would a simple modification to the grip to accomadate the release take care of swapping out a set of MKII grips with a MKIII?[?]
 

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The answer you seek is that the Mark III grips are similar to the Mark II grips with the exception of the relief for the magazine release hold down screw. A set of Mark II grips can easily be modified to fit the Mark III by adding one 3/8ths inch relief cut to the underside of the left grip. As seen below.



All Mark II Hogue monogrips now come with this relief precut for additional use with the Mark III pistol. The same type of cut can be applied to any wooden Mark II grip for fitting on the Mark III.

R,
Bullseye
 

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I am not exactly sure what qualified the pistol to have walnut grips. I believe the regular walnut grips were used on the Standard pistols and the thumb rest version came on the Mark's made in the '70's.
My MK1 bull barrel came with walnut thumb rest grips.
It was made in 1969. Think it was 60 some dollars new.
Mk1's had good triggers back then. Mine is a little over
2 lb.
 

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Was there a difference in the composition of the grip plates? ie. hard rubber, plastic or bakelite? If so when was the changes made? Thanks

Johnnymg
 

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Dear Rugerguy Sir:

Being new to this site, I have stumbled around abit.... Finally came across this topic & was more than happy to find this one.....

I snagged this auto pistol from one of my fellow crew members, as it belonged to his Grandpa & they just didn't need it anymore.....The Senior Gentelman had changed the grips to some rather large home made ones, as he was rather a very large man....They tried to locate the original grips with no luck....So I am on the hunt to find an original pair.....

I purchased a pair of "Standard" grips as that is what the man at the local gun store said I needed...... they didn't fit.....So I purchased a set of "Type I" & they didn't fit either......One of my partners in arms & I went to a local gun show in town, where I found "Mr Grips" that had a booth......I inquired to him as to the puzzle I had, with a notion he grabbed a set of grips & said these were the ones.....So without any fan fair I went to the ride & retrieved the gun, & making it safe to enter, showed him the gun & he said again "these are the ones", but to his saprize they didn't fit either....He looked the gun over & said well it's a Mark I ...so he fetched out a set & again said "these are exactly what you need".....But when he tried them on it, they wouldn't fit either......when he was done( after about 2 dozen failors), he had every type of grip he had.....he was just as puzzled as I.....So he labled it a "Bastard"...but then turned again & said I have these home made one's that I think will work & they did fit like a glove.... He stated the gun was half a standard & half a Mark I, something about Ruger running out of barrel assemblies & had a lots of the standard frames left over.....so they took some of each & made them work ??? So Sir I ask is their any truth to this story & where would you suggest I look for a real pair ???

The Serial Number is 14-57243 and was released in 1957 as I was also told...It does have the MARK I logo on the barrell assembly & nothing on the frame or any marks under the grips.....

Could try to send a pic if I knew how......so if you have an email I can do better their!

Thanks for any help on this puzzle!

Peace & Cheers!
Roy
 

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Cranky Old Man
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That frame change in 71 is, IIRC, when they were first stamped Mk I and why I call the guns prior to that stamp a pre-Mk I model. I have a Standard (what they were called prior to that stamping) that I got new in 1959 and it is not stamped Mk I and I have been looking for a stamped Mk I gun now for 2 years and find that everyone I contacted about a Mk I gun for sale has turned out to actually be a Pre Mk I gun w/o the Mk I stamp, the number of guns stamped Mk I was actually small compared to the other pre Mk I and Mk II guns. But I am still looking.
 

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Ed Mann
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That frame change in 71 is, IIRC, when they were first stamped Mk I and why I call the guns prior to that stamp a pre-Mk I model.
No.

The standard models, before and after the 1971 grip frame change, came with fixed sights and slender barrels.

My 1975 Standard (RST4 #12-952XX) is NOT marked Mark I.

When the 1982 change came, all models, fixed or target sights, were stamped "Mark II".
 

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You guys have a lot of great info. I have what I think is a Mark I, although it is not marked. The serial #127xxx indicates that it was manufactured in 1956. It has a ported barrel, and competition grips. Could this be a competition model?
 

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Cranky Old Man
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You guys have a lot of great info. I have what I think is a Mark I, although it is not marked. The serial #127xxx indicates that it was manufactured in 1956. It has a ported barrel, and competition grips. Could this be a competition model?
Target models in those days were stamped Mk I if I am of correct info from other more knowledgeable people. Which let to some people referng to all pre M II as Mk I models.
 

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Cranky Old Man
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1959 Standard and 1984 Mk II Standard, what a pair. Notice the screw placement and medallions. ;) Yes both are original grips.



 
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