Mark I, II & now III - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-12-2010, 01:26 AM   #1
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Mark I, II & now III

I recall buying my first Mark I target pistol, the Ruger T-678 in 74. I installed a Clark trigger and a set if Micro Pistol Sights and had a friend who worked at Metallic Arts in Spokane hard chrome the grip frame for me. I learned to shoot well with that pistol and it shot very, very tight groups at 50 yards once I learned how to shoot with precision, that is. That was also the handgun that I used to figure out just how Elmer Keith managed all those long handgun shots that he wrote about. Elmer was right, 400 - 600 yard accurate shooting with an open sighted handgun really is possible...

After being talked out of that pistol by a good friend, the Ruger Mark II t-678 in "stainless" was out and I could hardly wait to have a lower maintainence pistol as I used mine in the field for small game shooting, target shooting and everything in between and would not have to carry an oil cloth anymore! It too, was equipped with the Clark trigger, but by then, Micro was gone and I was able to clean up the rear sight blade and tighten the wobble of the rear sight enough to get the accuracy I needed. Carried that one for a long time. By the time that I was talked out of that one, I had learned how to not only tune the Ruger trigger system to 1 1/2 lb pulls, but to also tune the system for a high reliability factor. That Mark II was a great pistol to have around.

Anyway, Jim Clark had used a 6 inch std model of the ruger pistol in 76 to win the ISU championship and the only modifications to the pistol were installing his trigger and a set of Micro Pistol Sights. That is what prompted me to get a 6 inch standard and see what I thought. Had the std blue steel 6 inch for a few years and found it to be a very good field gun for small game, long range shooting and just all-around, a joy to own. It shoot very small groups at 50 yards...

Moving on to today. I have a 6 inch std in stainless that I have used hard, but taken excellent care of and it continues to serve me well as a field gun, target gun and everything else i can think using the .22lrhp for. Makes a fair impression when shooting beer bottles at 200 - 300 yards(yes, bottles! You see, where I come from, we cleaned up our messes. Still do.) But that is besides the point. I have owned the gov't target model in 678, had one cut to 4 inches back in the 80s and didn't like it. Had the slab side target 678 but gave it to my daughter a few years ago which brings me to the Mark III T-678 that I currently own along side my 6 inch ss std model.

Now, at first, being old school, getting used to the Mark III was not easy; loaded chamber indicators, magazine disconnects, 1911 style mag release(like they got that right in the first place) The current blue steel MarkIII brought back memories of my beloved Mark I and I was determined to get as close to that fine pistol through this Mark III as I could. So, what I am about to say should not be taken as advice or guidance concerning what some "other" guy with a Mark III pistol should do! I did what I did with full knowledge of what how and why and am perfectly happy, content and set. First, the magazine disconnect had to go. It was not entirely laid to rest in "the spare parts bin", no, it came in handy to make the spacer for the hammer until my Volquartzen "MARK II" hammer and sear arrived from Brownells! Once that was gone, the 1911 style magazine release need not be of further concern and I can shoot the round left in the chamber with the magazine removed!
Now I'm happy. The Volquartzen hammer and sear are advertised as "drop-in parts" but after a little jewellers rouge on a polishing wheel, they were indeed, ready for "drop-in" and the difference is noteworthy. I chose to bend the sear return spring leg a bit to lighten the pull against the sear, afterall, that has worked for a lot of years without fail, so keep the "good" spring from V and use the original spring as modified. The inside of the grip frame where moving parts make contact have been smoothed and polished as have all other contact points. The current bolts do not appear to be as well finished as they were in the old days, so I spent some time cleaning that up and smoothing it out. The last thing to do was polish the feed ramp. I always polish feed ramps on any auto pistol. I like a nice smooth and flawless finish on my feed ramps! My Sigs, Colts, S&W and Ruger .22lr autos all have to have a polished feed ramp. My current Glock 20C? Had to polish it to! The runway has to be clean and clear of imperfection if we expect a bullets flight to begin properly and sometimes, depending on the pistol, it helps them with landing correctly as well....

This Mark III sports a clean & crisp 1 3/4 pound trigger pull with no over-travel. At 50 yards from a proper field rest and me doing my part, it shoots three shot groups that go abit above and sometimes a bit below the 1/2 inch mark, so some things about the Mark series has not changed. The Target models have retained quality barrels over the years which is more than I can say for what they have done to the 10-22! I sight my pistols to shoot 3 inches high at 50 yards. This piece will hopefully be the last Mark series target pistol that I will ever have to buy for my own personal use. I am a very big fan of these, always have been. Ruger, you need to quit loving money and get back to loving to build high quality, reliable, accurate guns for a fair price. The over-all take-down and re-assembly of the newest target and std version .22lr pistols is testimony to your poor atitude toward customer service!
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:37 AM   #2
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Impressive post, thanks much!

What did you do to "clean up the rear sight blade and tighten the wobble of the rear sight" on the Mk II?
Old 06-13-2010, 08:54 AM   #3
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Free T....I'm in total agreement with Ret D...excellant post...My favorite Ruger 22 is one I bought from a Pawn Shop in Little Rock Ark in 1970 for $55 with a holster , pistol was preowned but probably hadn't shot 20 rds when I bought it . I guess it is a MK1 , I don't want to dig thru the safe to find out , I think a 5in. , I know it is Bull Barrel , 2.5 lb trigger IIRC.....This one taught 2 sons and a daughter from My first go round how to shoot , 2 daughters from this go round , grandsons....pistol is still goin' strong

I liked Your comments about ELMER KEITH......Seldom see His name mentioned anymore...I never doubted He could hit a deer at 400 yds with a 4in Smith 44mag , I had seen GrandPaw and Daddy hittin' targets over 400yds with a Colt model P 44 Special they had worked over....No gunwriter will ever beat SIXGUNS and HELL I WAS THERE , comes to shootin' and Huntin' Elmer did it all

Wild Bill
Old 06-13-2010, 07:35 PM   #4
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Sight Wobble.

When it comes to saving money and getting every bit of use out of original equipment, I sometimes go "anal" :wink: Back in the early 70s, I removed the rear sight blade and re-cut the top angle with a file so that the top angle slanted properly toward the front of the pistol, finishing it with 400 to clean it up and touch up blue finished that part. Shim stock that doesn't rust comes from aluminum cans and is readily available and thats what I used to shim the side to side wobble out of more than one Ruger adjustable rear sight. Fit the piece to the recess, work the elevation screw and spring holes out and install.
Works like a charm and doesn't cost but time.

The std 6in. that I have used for some time now is much better off with the cut down Remington front sight hood that installed and am currently looking at doing that on the MIII t-678. Shaded sights are a God-send when the shot absolutely cannot miss and there ain't always a tree casting a shadow in the right place!

I grew up with Elmer and the boys. Learned a great deal from all of them. It has been a sad time to be alive at times with the passing of the greats of handgunning. Thier legacy will never be equalled or rivalled. The long range technique is so much fun to employ that everytime I'm done teaching a student the art of pistol-craft, I finish with a lesson on that and it never ceases to amaze them when they are actually hitting small targets at rifle distance with a handgun. It has been great pleasure teaching my son who is always surprised how the sub-conscious mind takes over in his shooting! He was started out on a Colorado Centennial model single six when he was 4 years old. As he grew, he got "fire-power-fever" and thought the world would be a better place if he had an auto pistol in .22lr. So, I gave him my 6 in. std to use and after a couple of years, he gave it back stating " you know Dad, that single six is my first gun and I think you can have the auto back now. I like my "sixgun" a lot better now that I can shoot it"! He didn't know that I was teaching him trigger control, sight alignment and stance until that day. For some reason, the entire time that he had my auto, he was always resorting back to his sigle six He is well on his way to being a real pistolero!

Last night, I cut the hammer spur off my GP-100 while he was sleeping and finished it. He was a bit surprized, but I had warned him that soon, that DAR was going to be converted to a real gunfight gun, and when he saw that had taken yet another step in that direction, he was not sure what to think. When I was in LE, my handgun of choice was the DAR, a S&W cut down and DA only. I earned a Master pin with that gun from the state and won every competition that I ever entered with it. Nothing to fancy, no target Bbls or fancy sights. All original but for the work that I did and the trigger stop that I had installed and one modification that a combat gunsmith had not thought of in over 40 years building combat guns! You could re-load the gun in 2 seconds or bit less and it shot all 6 chambers into 3/4 of an inch at 25 yards. I sold it to a dear friend who at the time was also in LE at the time that I was getting out. Having "his gun" meant something special I guess... plan on recreating the system with this GP so one day, my son will know, understand, appreciate and be well skilled in the art of double action revolver gun fight technique. Society isn't getting any cleaner. Carrying and knowing how to use a good handgun has come in handy for me, it will for him to.

Last edited by Free Trapper; 06-13-2010 at 07:58 PM.
Old 06-13-2010, 11:14 PM   #5
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Thanks much FT.
Old 01-03-2011, 10:51 AM   #6
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Great thread, Free Trapper. We have had the good fortune to live in the golden age of the legendary pistoleros. What a gift........
Old 07-03-2011, 07:50 AM   #7
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I really enjoyed this, too. Sorry if I'm dragging up old posts, but oldies are often goodies, and I figure a good post then is a good one now. Really interesting, reading all those experiences. Elmer Keith was an icon for sure. Funny how many guys I hear think he was fictional charaCTER ALMOST. It was either him or his stories... I think it was dedication. I believe he did those 400-600yd shots too.

I have a MKI(Actually a std) that my Dad gave me a couple years back. It was the first handgun I ever fired. It was actually the first gun I ever fired PERIOD. I swear I could never see parting with this gun. Not till The End. Bury me with it, actually! Thanks for the good read.

I have a tactical solutions top end for a MKIII, so it's given me an idea to buy 1 or a 22/45. I'm looking forward to dropping some squirrels with it!

Last edited by Alabaster; 07-03-2011 at 07:52 AM.

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