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Old 06-16-2013, 05:04 PM
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Default Ruger 3" SA Bearcat Shopkeeper - Review

If you're like me and have a 'thing' for 3" tubes, then here's one you might want to check out.

Ruger is currently building a special edition Ruger New Bearcat "Shopkeeper". It has a 3" barrel, .22lr, is single action (of course), and sports a rounded "birds head" grip.

I got mine a couple months ago and have had it out to the range three times. It is as accurate as you'd expect. I'd say it is more accurate than 'The Mighty Bobcat' or the NAA Mini I used to have. Equally accurate as my Ruger SR22p. But less accurate than my S&W M34-1 with it's 4" barrel or my Ruger MkII's. Again - which one would expect.

I do get the occasional 'light strike' which I think is due to not fully seating the round in the chamber. I only had it happen a very few times and it's only after 50-100+ rounds in a session. There was noticeable 'gunk' in the recess, so I don't think it's a design issue. Similar issue as I'd have in my 34-1.

A couple unique featers which I'll highlight: the extractor tab is crescent shaped (see pics) so that it fits over the cylinder-retention-shaft (probably not the right name for it, again - see pics). The ejector rod housing is stainless steel on this one and not cheap aluminum as it is on the regular stainless Bearcat. I consider that a 'big deal' as the stainless one for the standard Bearcat will run you $50+. The extractor rod itself is just a tad too short to fully eject the spent casings. But here's the deal; as you can see if you look closely in the pic - mine is slightly offset so that it catches the case mouth of the spent cartridge. In practice the casings eject without any problems.

Out of the box my copy had, what I thought, was some excessive 'spitting' of crud out of the forcing cone area. I sent it back and Ruger (I think) decreased the gap. The problem is no worse now than any other .22lr revolver I've ever shot. They also replaced a 'boogered up' screw and replaced the left grip which didn't fit the frame so well.

They're not cheap; the MSRP on this cute little gun - and it is just the cutest thing you ever saw - is $649 and they appear to be selling for that in the closed auctions on gunbroker - so I guess I'd believe that. However I picked mine up for closer to $500ish. So they ain't cheap, but only a bit more than a new stainless Bearcat would run you. I saw a second one at my LGS a month later for $529 plus tax.

In summary: I would recommend the Ruger New Bearcat Shopkeeper with it's 3" barrel in .22lr for anybody who's into 3" tubes and likes really unique, collectible, and especially "cute" revolvers.

Well, apparently, I'm attaching these pics as thumbnails because photobucket isn't cooperating with me today. I will repost the pics properly once I get my photobucket figured out. Right now I have to go visit my dad;

Happy Father's Day!
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Last edited by M3Stuart; 06-16-2013 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:06 PM
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More pics:

You can see the crescent shaped tab fitting over the cylinder shaft. It also shows how the extractor rod is just a tad short of the full case length.

Forgot to mention; you can shoot .22 short, lr or buckshot (ratshot as some call it) ammo. All in all a great 'training gun' for new shooters too. It weighs in at 22 ounces.

As you can see; it's no longer than the blade on your average pocket knife
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Last edited by M3Stuart; 06-16-2013 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:15 PM
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One more stock pic and a link:

Ruger Bearcat Shopkeeper Stainless 22 LR
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:40 PM
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You do realize that in the left side pics you've installed the cylinder upside down, right?
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:02 PM
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I gotta' admit - you made me go back & look at the pics.

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Old 06-16-2013, 06:26 PM
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I bet that is a fun little SA to shoot, but the cylinder engraving is a bit much.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:38 PM
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Compared in size to a Lipseys Special 3 3/4 Inch Birdshead Vaquero.



Mine fits in the Lobo flap holster Ray Cory made for a three-inch j-frame. Fits it like it was made for it.


It is pretty handy to carry in a jacket vest pocket, too.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:32 PM
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Pretty little gun indeed. Alas I have no place for one what with a 317 kit gun a 63 and an SP101 already in the stable.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:03 PM
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Fine little gun. I'm looking forward to seeing one polished, with stags. Surely someone will do it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:24 PM
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I am making room for one despite the other .22s I have around.
Have circled around several Bearcats in past years but never
"pulled the trigger."
This one was different. Ten minutes after finding out about it I was
hunting for a dealer who could get one for me.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:15 PM
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I used to see a .22 called the li'l Ranger on GB.
Since I couldn't find any info about materials or mfr.,
I never bid on one. Now, I kinda wish I'd held off on
getting my regular blue Bearcat.
TACC1
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:25 PM
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I'd like to see a birdshead grip with a regular length barrel.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:34 AM
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Great review and a neat gun. I mostly enjoyed looking at the box of .22's, which are pretty rare around here....
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