fondness for Ruger's excellent Bearcat 22 sixgun is well known;
I am, in fact, a self-confessed and proud Bearcat nut. To me,
the little 22 sixgun is just the perfect Single-Action 22
revolver; accurate, rugged, and perfectly sized to the 22 Long
Rifle cartridge. I own many Bearcats in various factory
configurations, as well as a few custom Bearcats, including a Bowen
Classic Arms lightweight Bearcat with adjustable sights and
second 22 Magnum cylinder, a Bowen
Classic Arms "Perfected" Bearcat, and a 32 Magnum
five-shot Bearcat conversion by Alan
Harton of Single Action Service.
in 1958, Ruger's original Bearcat was small enough to easily
pack in a pocket, and its aluminum alloy frame made it very
light in weight; in short, what my friend and brother Shootist
John Taffin calls a "PPP" (Perfect Packing Pistol).
The original Bearcats were produced from 1958 to 1970; in
1971, the Bearcat was supplanted by the Super Bearcat, which
was basically a steel-framed version of the original. Although
slightly heavier than the original Bearcat, the Super Bearcat
remained a very packable sixgun; unfortunately, with Ruger's
switch to the "New Model" Single Actions and their
patented "Transfer Bar" safety system in 1973,
production of the Super Bearcat was halted in January 1974.
Finally, the void left in the Single-Action revolver world by
the Bearcat's passing was filled in 1993 with Ruger's
introduction of the New
Bearcat, which is basically a Super Bearcat adapted to use
Ruger's Transfer Bar safety. The little sixgun has continued to
flourish since, in both blued and stainless
steel models; and, thanks to our friends at Lipsey's
distributors, in several wonderful variations, such as the Bearcat
Shopkeeper with shorter barrel and "Bird's-Head"
grip; the Adjustable-Sighted
Bearcat with modern ramp front sight and fully-adjustable
rear sight; and even a
version of the fixed-sighted Bearcat with a 6" barrel.
This latter long-barreled version was especially appealing to
me, and my pal Jason Cloessner let me have the prototype of this
model that he debuted at the 2017 Shootists Holiday. The 6"
barrel was a pleasure to shoot, and nipped at the heels of the
next logical step: a true Target Bearcat. So, I began waiting
for Ruger, no doubt at Lipsey's urging, to take that next
A few months ago, my friend Bobby Tyler of Tyler
Gun Works called me up to tell me about a new project he had
in mind. Knowing of my love for Bearcats, Bobby was wondering if
I would be interested in sending him an adjustable-sighted
Bearcat as a test bed for a Tyler Gun Works "Target
Bearcat" package. Bobby laughed a bit as I jumped at the
chance, because he knew how much I love Bearcats; in fact, my
introduction to Bobby Tyler came at the 2017
SHOT Show, where he showed me his custom
Bearcat Shopkeeper. Bobby and I have been fast friends since
that time, and he knew that I would move mountains to have
another custom Bearcat!
I sent Bobby a blued Lipsey's Exclusive
adjustable-sighted Bearcat, and in short order Bobby returned to
me a true Target Bearcat, all dressed-up in fine
Sunday-Go-To-Meeting fashion. I have been shooting this Tyler
Gun Works Target Bearcat for a few weeks now, and I am
immeasurably pleased with this sixgun in every way.
Tyler Gun Works Custom 6" Target
|Base Sixgun: Lipsey's
Exclusive Ruger New Bearcat 22 LR - Catalog
|Custom work Performed:
6" Bearcat Barrel
| Crown Barrel
| Set Barrel /
Cylinder Gap to 0.003"
| Install Fermin
Garza Front Sight
Cylinder Roll Mark
| Blue Barrel
| Color Case
Receiver, Hammer, and Trigger
| Action Job
| Set Trigger
Pull to 2 Pounds, 8 Ounces
| Disassembly /
| Mark Barrel
| Metal Prep
| Fit Stag Grips
As befits a custom sixgun, this Tyler Target
Bearcat is a thing of beauty. The barrel does not appear overly
long, but rather makes the Bearcat look more like a
shrunken-down 7-1/2" Ruger
Blackhawk or Colt
New Frontier. Bobby removed the familiar "Bear and
Cat" cylinder roll mark, and the smooth-finished cylinder
is very attractive and businesslike in appearance. Bobby
has achieved a measure of fame with his finish work, and
this sixgun shows why: the bluing of the barrel and cylinder is
deep and lustrous, while the beautifully color-cased frame lends
a wonderful and subtle contrast. The hammer and trigger on the
New Bearcat are stainless steel, but Bobby was able to
almost-magically color-case the stainless to match the hues and
luster of the frame. "Tyler Gun Works - Friona, TX" is
nicely etched into the top of the barrel, and as a finishing
touch, Bobby fit and installed a beautiful set of Stag grips
with Ruger medallions. This little sixgun is nothing short of gorgeous
- as a custom sixgun should be.
None of which means anything if the revolver
doesn't shoot well, and the Tyler Gun Works Target Bearcat is a
joy to shoot. The balance of the slim-profile barrel is superb,
with reliability and accuracy being everything one would expect
from a custom Ruger. There were no misfires or failures of any
kind with any ammunition I tried. Accuracy was impressive, due
in large part to Tyler's "Accuracy Package", which
includes tuning and polishing the lock work for a smooth and
creep-free trigger, with the trigger pull set to an optimal 2.5
pounds. The 6" barrel was set to a 0.003
(three-thousandths) inch barrel/cylinder gap, and finished off
with a very nice crown, which is essential to revolver
Ruger's Adjustable-Sighted Bearcat features
their tried-and-true fully-adjustable rear sight coupled with a
ramp front sight scaled for the Bearcat. While this is a very
nice sighting system, the front sight can be significantly
enhanced for a very modest price by replacing the factory unit
with a custom front sight by Fermin
Garza's Customized Shooter's Resources. Fermin Garza is a
skilled machinist, and an expert in making revolvers shoot, from
fire-lapping and throating barrels to manufacturing a wide
variety of sights for many revolver makes and models. Fermin's
sights are milled from bar stock to the customer's order, with a
great variety of blade heights and widths available, featuring
an almost-vertical rear blade face deeply grooved for maximum
visibility in nearly any lighting condition. I
have tested Fermin's excellent Bearcat front sights before,
and they are superb. If you are looking to make your revolver
shoot better, there is no modification as effective in enhancing
the practical accuracy of a revolver, at a modest price, than
the addition of a Fermin Garza front sight, and installing one
takes only minutes; or, if you are looking to have a custom
revolver built, I highly recommend you have your gun maker
contact Fermin for one of his sights to use on your project.
As I always say, fine guns deserve fine
leather, and I am proud to number two of the finest holster
makers in today's world among my close friends and brother Shootists.
Rob Leahy of Simply
Rugged Holsters is famous for his durable, well-designed, and
cost-effective holsters made to fit a wide variety of guns and
carry modes. Rob offers one of the slickest and most versatile
rigs on the market in his Chesty
Puller Suspension System. The Chesty Puller rig allows
nearly any Pancake-style belt holster to be carried as a chest
holster, and is a very effective mode of carry for field use, or
for those such as myself who rarely wear pants with a belt.
Above and beyond this, Rob offers a Conventional
Adapter for the Chesty Puller System that adapts the Chesty
Puller to allow virtually any holster with a standard belt loop
to be used, making the Chesty Puller the most versatile and
cost-effective rig on the market.
Mike "Doc" Barranti of Barranti
Leather is nothing short of a leather artist, in the
tradition of the finest leather craftsmen in history. His work
is impeccable, and he offers a wide variety of holster styles. A
few years ago, I had Mike make me a "Slim-Jim" style
holster for the Lipsey's exclusive 6" fixed-sighted Ruger
Bearcat; it is an absolutely beautiful holster, in fine stitched
leather and hand-carved in a traditional floral design. Back in
April, while reviewing Cimarron's
1862 Pocket 380 revolver, I found the little Slim-Jim
holster to be a great fit for the Cimarron, and naturally the
Barranti Slim-Jim was also a great fit for the Tyler Target
Bearcat. The taller, sharp Fermin Garza front sight did gouge
out a bit of leather inside the holster at first, but it quickly
worked-in and made the Barranti holster just that much more versatile.
The Tyler Gun Works 6" Target Bearcat is
everything a custom gun should be: reliable, accurate,
beautiful, and reasonably priced. As my brother Jeff would say,
it is a "dandy" sixgun; I am proud to own it, and I
cannot recommend it highly enough.
For a full range of custom gunsmithing and
metal finishing, visit Tyler Gun Works online at www.tylergunworks.com
or call (806) 729-7292 or (806) 929-1943.
View Ruger's extensive product line at www.ruger.com.
To find a Lipsey's affiliated dealer in your
area, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
Fermin Garza's Customized Shooter's Resources:
For the finest on gun leather, visit Simply Rugged Holsters:
or Barranti Leather: www.barrantileather.com.
Buy ammo online at Lucky Gunner: www.luckygunner.com.
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