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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all,

I am looking for information on the "Ross Type 1" variant Blackhawk. I recently acquired an OM three screw that certainly has all the characteristics of the type 1 and falls within the serial # range of the Ross variants.

I have read Bill Hamm's article on Gunblast and compared his information and pics to my revolver...100% match.

I've read that there was a fairly extensive write-up on the Ross variant in the 2017 ROCS Fall Digest and Bill is sending me a copy.

I have gleaned a small bit of information on an older RF.com thread.

I've contacted Ruger, who of course, has no idea what I am talking about, and

I've also searched the discussions here to the best of my knowledge and came up with nothing.

I was also informed that Bob Campbell was the definitive source on the Ross variants, but has unfortunately passed.

I am hoping that someone here can educate me beyond what I have already learned and/or steer me in the right direction. I am considering having Bobby Tyler reblue all but the cylinder frame (it is a nice plum with some of the orange lightening streaks) but would like true collectors advice on altering the gun from the original.

Thanks in advance...
 

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Well, I reckon I'm with Ruger on this ~ I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you'd care to elucidate just what a "Ross Ruger" is?

Bob Wright
 

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Found this:
This out-of-sequence serial number situation (#14684 – 15483) was first brought to our attention in 1978 by late collector and author Bill Ross. As such, collectors have endeared these guns as The Ross Variation. Actually this group of .357 Magnum Blackhawks is not a separate and distinct variation; rather, they are an interesting marking variant, and as such are regarded as an integral part of a Ruger flattop collection. In early 1956 numbering of the .357 Blackhawks was progressing in a routine manner when at serial number 4684 - for some unknown reason the operator spanned the ten thousand (5th wheel) figure wheel on the stamping head from the blank position to number 1 rather than turning the first wheel to 5, resulting in serial number 14684, the error persisted consecutively to serial number 15483. When it was discovered, the offending wheel was simply spanned back to the blank position and the other wheels reset, sequential numbering continued at 4685. Fitted with components in use at the time, most of the out of sequence Ross guns were inspected and shipped in June 1956, while the regular numbered guns (4684 – 5483) were inspected and shipped the previous month. There is some assembly overlap indicating both groups were mixed with numbers before 4684 and after 5483. At the time there were several thousand numbered receivers in the shop, in all stages of production.
Heretofore, erroneous theories have been established, chief among them, that Ruger intentionally serial numbered the Ross group of guns out of sequence in an effort to appear that they were producing Blackhawks at a greater capacity – or that two guns bearing each serial number were unintentionally marked, and later number 1 was added to the number sequence of one set of guns to differentiate them from the former. Blackhawk production numbering in the 14XXX and 15XXX serial number range was not produced until May 1958 - two years later. See the following chart for detailed serial number data.
 

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I'm the "caretaker" of Bob Campbell's famous "List". I'll answer any questions I can concerning the ROSS guns. The List has quite a few of these recorded.

:)
 

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THE ROSS VARIATION & CORRESPONDING BASIC SERIAL NUMBERS A sampling of final inspection dates and overlap in 25 gun increments 793 net base numbered guns (# 4684 - 5483) inspected April 30 - June 29, 1956 777 net Ross guns (# 14684 - # 15483) inspected June 6 - Sept. 28, 1956

4684 May 25, 1956 5100 May 29, 1956 Omitted or (14683 - May 5, 1958) 15100 June 12, 1956 scrapped 14684 June 27, 1956 5125 May 13, 1956 numbers 4700 May 29, 1956 15125 June 20, 1956 14700 June 27, 1956 5150 April 30, 1956 5191 15164 4725 May 21, 1956 15150 June 11, 1956 5218 15165 14725 June 22, 1956 5175 May 8, 1956 5228 15169 4750 May 14, 1956 15175 June 25, 1956 5297 15171 14750 June 22, 1956 5200 April 30, 1956 5300 15174 4775 May 28, 1956 15200 June 12, 1956 5323 15178 14775 June 23, 1956 5225 April 30, 1956 14810 15179 4800 May 28, 1956 15225 June 11, 1956 14993 15180 14800 June 23,1956 5250 May 1, 1956 15154 15181 4825 May 29, 1956 15250 June 29, 1956 15155 15182 14825 Feb.14, 1957 5275 May 10, 1956 15157 15183 4850 June 11, 1956 15275 June 21, 1956 15158 15185 14850 June 20, 1956 5300 July 6, 1961 15161 15186 4875 May 24, 1956 15300 June 28, 1956 15162 15189 14875 June 20, 1956 5325 May 10, 1956 4900 May 9, 1956 15325 June 28, 1956 Ross Guns 14900 June 12, 1956 5350 May 24, 1956 Inspected later 4925 May 8, 1956 15350 Sept. 11, 1956 14925 June 23, 1956 5375 May 3, 1956 14765 8/2/57 4950 May 28, 1956 15375 June 26, 1956 14803 1/29/57 14950 June 23, 1956 5400 May 4, 1956 14825 2/14/57 4975 May 24, 1956 15400 June 28, 1956 15018 12/10/57 14975 June 28, 1956 5425 May 8, 1956 15031 1/16/57 5000 May 23, 1956 15425 June 28, 1956 15067 12/10/57 15000 June 27, 1956 5450 April 30, 1956 15151 1/29/57 5025 May 29, 1956 15450 June 28, 1956 15153 7/26/57 15025 June 25, 1956 5475 April 30, 1956 15252 1/6/58 5050 June 12,1956 15475 June 27, 1956 15298 2/14/57 15050 June 20, 1956 5483 May 1, 1956 15307 1/16/57 5075 May 9, 1956 15483 June 27, 1956 15352 1/16/58 15075 June 25, 1956 (15484 - May 7, 1958) 15399 1/6/58
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for this. I'm not sure I am reading it entirely correctly, but if so my 15470 shipped on either 27 or 28 June 1956?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think, from Mr. Dougan's list provided by Redmaxx, it is most assuredly a Ross variant. I am unsure if there is any additional information you can provide on this specific one, Serial # 15470, but if so, I'd be much appreciative if you could share.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Unfortunately, this particular specimen has been converted. There is the normal holster wear on the muzzle, cylinder frame, loading gate and ejector rod housing. The front sight post has been painted white and most noticebly, the bottom of the grip frame is a little beat up (has a slight nick in the front bottom.) The cylinder frame is a nice plum with some slight orange "lightening streaks' in places and it appears to be wearing original grips.

So, the question is, is this ol' Ruger collectible/rare/valuable enough to leave it as is (other than removing the white paint)or, do I have the bottom of the grip frame straightened out and reblue everything other than the cylinder frame?

And lastly, do I convert it back to original by replacing the cylinder stop, trigger and hammer (with plunger springs and retaining pin?)

I appreciate any input.
 

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Thank you for this. I'm not sure I am reading it entirely correctly, but if so my 15470 shipped on either 27 or 28 June 1956?

Bob's List puts it right at June 26, very close to the last ROSS gun, 15483, shipped June 29, 1956.

Were it mine, I'd leave it just as it is. Any "improvements" would simply remove the originality of the piece. Many collectors would agree with this position. It is, of course, your gun, your decision.

:D
 

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Well, I reckon I'm with Ruger on this ~ I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you'd care to elucidate just what a "Ross Ruger" is?

Bob Wright
O.K. I did a little further research on the Ross variants and found the following distinctive features:

1. The grooves on the front sigh blade and ramp are wavy lines. The lines run parallel to the blade and ramp.

2. The elevation screw has an index mark on the screw head.

3. The ejector rod head is rectangular, with groves.

These differences noted on .357 Blackhawk #885.
 

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Bill Ruger was a hero to many people but he was a nightmare to BATFE. Prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968, there weren't strict laws concerning serial numbers. Ruger (the company) had very poor serial number management resulting in many mistakes. Sometimes these "mistakes" were intentional to make competitors think Ruger was manufacturing more firearms than they really were. These intentional serial number manipulations included skipping blocks of serial number within a sequence. Sometimes these blocks of serial numbers were used at a later date, making shipping dates versus manufacturing dates notably different. It's impossible to determine if the Ross variations were a mistake or if they were purposely serialized out of sequence.

If you read the details in the Gun Control Act of 1968, you will see many of the issues involving serial numbers were written specifically for Ruger. Prior to the GCA, Ruger used the same exact serial number sequence on all their product line. This meant you could possibly have several guns (different models) with the same exact serial numbers. Of course this drove the new National Crime Investigations Computer (NCIC) crazy because a search could turn up several different guns. The solution to this issue was simple …. after Jan 1, 1969, Ruger started using a prefix on all serial numbers, where the prefix was directly related to a specific model. Also, Ruger was forced to set up a much better serial number management system that eliminated duplicate serial numbers or missing blocks of serial numbers. Further, all firearms manufacturers and importers are required to report how many revolvers, pistols, rifles, and shotguns they actually made or imported each month. This eliminates manipulation so manufacturers can't spoof other companies.

Meantime, Ross variations (a defect in serial number management) have become very collectable, not that much different than factory defective bluing procedures that produced "plum" colored frames and loading gates. Collectors seem to love defects of one type or another, no different than a double struck coin for a numismatist.
 

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pappapratt, greetings, and welcome to the forum,,,,good info above, and as a "variation" that the 'late Bill Ross found and published g his book years ago,,,these are neat, and very collectible, as such try and keep it as original as you can, uyes clean the paint off the "wavy" front sight, keep your eyes out for any "parts" ( lockwork) that ypou can easily enough replace in the gun to make it more 'original' heck, if the grip frame is "bad"?? you can even find an old model, early XR-3 grip frame and replace that, would be as good as the original and better if the old one is damaged.........some of these "part" replacements can be considered a 'tlc' of the gun, versus having it "refinished" then your value goes down the drain......wish we could "see" it, ,.over the years our shops have gone over many of these old guns, cleaned them up and as a "last" resort' have even refinished them to the old original standards, today, the bluing that is offered will be incorrect" too black for your gun, so best leave as much as original as possible to keep its collectors value.......good luck and as noted above, we will NEVER know "exactly" why this Ross "variation" came about...those guys are all long dead and gone.
 

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In post #14 it is mentioned 3 character trates; 1 wavey groves on the front sight, 2 index mark on rear sight screw and, 3 the square head on ejector rod.
My old model Blackhawk unconverted 3 screw .357 with 3 didget serial number 9xx has all the same characteristics. I have been told it was made in 1955. Does it classify as one of the revolvers in the topic of this post? Thanks.
 

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In post #14 it is mentioned 3 character trates; 1 wavey groves on the front sight, 2 index mark on rear sight screw and, 3 the square head on ejector rod.
My old model Blackhawk unconverted 3 screw .357 with 3 didget serial number 9xx has all the same characteristics. I have been told it was made in 1955. Does it classify as one of the revolvers in the topic of this post? Thanks.
Don't take my word for it, but it would sure seem so. But I just learned of this phenomenon yesterday.

Bob Wright
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great information and advice gentlemen, I appreciate the thorough responses.

Old Deer and Bob Wright, the characteristics described are those of any Type 1 .357 Blackhawk. The Ross variation is simply a run of about 800 Type 1's, produced, inspected and shipped in 1956 along with the others, that, for some reason, had a "1" stamped in front of what would/should have been a 4 digit serial #, making it a 5 digit # and placing the manufacture date, erroneously, in 1958.

At least I think that is it, in a nutshell.
 
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