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Discussion Starter #1
Lets talk about the Ruger New Model Bearcat and Smith M63 shall we. I haven't handle a Bearcat since I was a teenager in the early 80s (never did shoot it) but have owned several Ruger New Model Super Single Sixes and did own a M651 4". Now, I am not looking at purchasing this for myself. Its to be a gift to my 2yr old grandson when he's capable, gotta make him into a little handgunner like I did his father. Which you choose for your grandson's investment in shooting rights? (keep this to pistols as his dad's getting him the youth .22LR rifle)

CD
 

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I bought a stainless Bearcat for my wife, and they are little jewels for sure.

I have never owned a 63, but they are sure neat guns.

One real advantage for the 63 is the sights. My wife has trouble shooting the Bearcat well due to the tiny sight picture. The fact that it is stainless doesn't help, although the 63 would also have a stainless front sight, I think.

I honestly find the double action revolver the easiest gun to learn (load, unload, verify unloaded, etc). I was teaching my youngest son how to operate the Bearcat and he fired a round into the ground after he loaded it (they load from half-cock).

There is no question the 63 or the Bearcat would be a wonderful gun to hold onto for life.

I would bring up the cost difference, but spread though a child's, then man's lifetime, that just does not matter. Besides, you are making those deployed contractor big bucks. :D

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Andy,

You mean my wife is getting the paychecks!:D
Thanks for your imput. The 651 I had did have a red ramp front sight. Smith is making the M63 with a 3" or 5" tube this year. I can't wait to start taking him out to great outdoors. He is growing up in Colorado Spings.:)


CD
 

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I would find him a nice model 18. Teach him how to handle and shoot a revolver, and how to properly care for walnut and steel at the same time. Besides, it would be an instant classic that would only gain in value.
 

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I have all three model's you mentioned. Actually the Model 63 is the stainless steel version of the old Model 34 Kit gun. My Bearcat was one of the last produced in the original series when the trigger guard was steel instead of anodized alumnium. All have been used extensively hunting small rodents and varmits. Actually won a bet against another hunter who used a rifle vs my pistol who could take the most gophers so both are accurate. Mostly a toss up as to which one I like better as all three shoot well, have decent trigger pulls and are plain fun to shoot.
 

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Does it have to be a revolver CD? My grandsons shoot my Single Sixes and model 17 S&W but they seem to migrate to and prefer the Ruger Mark I and Mark III. They seem to get bored with the single action and double action revolvers but will shoot the auto all day. They also seem to be more accurate with the auto. I want them to understand that safe use and operation of all three but beyond that, I let them shoot what they want. Could be the auto burns through ammo faster, you know how kids are...
 

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I have a couple of Bearcats, one blued and one stainless, a 5” 63-4 and am looking forward to the availability of the 3” 64 next month, and a Single Six. My SS Bearcat is with Cylinder and Slide Shop at the moment for installation of S&W J frame sights. The cute little Bearcat has a very small grip and practically unusable sights. Might be a great gun for my grandkids, but they are all under 4 at the moment so I have a while to wait.

I think a better comparison may be the Single Six and 63. They both have grips that could be used by smaller people, but have descent sights. I will see how the Bearcat compares when it comes back with descent sights.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the suggestion folks. Started by leaning toward the Bearcat and then reconsidered the Smith. Clem, like your suggestion on the J frame sights on the Bearcat. In regard to Cylinder and Slide Shop, I meet Bill Laughridge down at Ft Benning and won a 1911 trigger group from him. Good folks and treffric work.

CD
 

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I'm a Ruger nut, so I'd totally go with the Bearcat. :) He'll enjoy the gift.
 

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I have a 63 and a Bearcat. They are really a pair of "on the other hand" guns. I name a good thing about one, then think "on the other hand" and come up with a good point about the other.

One of the plusses of the 63 to me may be a negative to you. I like it being double action to use for cheap DA practice, but you may want to limit the rate of fire for a youngster. It's easy to shoot a lot when shooting a .22, so the Bearcat's natural speed limit might be good.

I guess if pressed to choose just one, I guess I'd keep the Bearcat. It's a little cuter. It's really that close of a race.
 

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I love my little Bearcats, but the sights are so small, and my arms are long, that the sights are very difficult to use. I hope it is a different story with J frame sights on the Bearcat. If they work, I will probably do it to the other one as well.
 

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Having owned a few of each and still posess a couple of each model I would go with the Smith & Wesson. It is easier to teach with and the double action Smith is easier to shoot. With the biggest advantage being the Smith has adjustable sights. The Bearcat I have now is nowhere near regulated to accurate shooting. To hit near my intended target you must hold the front sight as low and as far right as possible in the rear sight notch just to get close.
 

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I'm not a fan of handing a semi-auto anything to any beginner from six to sixty six. If you're not in the habit of knowing where it's pointed, any distraction can be scary to the bystanders. Even a pretty fair share of accidents with autoloading weapons are people shooting themselves.

Bearcat sights are tough on an experienced shooter, but Single Six sights are actually quite good. Boredom factor is high for kids wanting to shoot at clay birds in a gravel pit though. The Smith J Frames are probably a better bet.
 

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About 33 years ago, bought my soon to be wife a SuperBearcat (which was the original all steel version). She picked it up, liked the feel, and wanted to plink with her own gun when we went out to the gravel pit. taught her the old trick of load one...skip one...load -cock and lower on an empty chamber.

Lost that gun, but thankfully not the wife. Bought her the new stainless version. Still has the fixed sights (if you work at it, can get them shooting 'on'). Even with the transfer bar in the new version, she'll still follow the old drill (load one..skip one...load 4..etc.).

Normal sized man-hands have to work at it, but the guns can shoot. Fits her little hands quite well, and i won't go head-to-head with her using her own gun.

I've always liked S&W "kit guns" in all calibers. Had .22's and .22mags. pass through my hands over the years, but for a confirmed bullet caster, the old 4" J-frame (or even older I-frame) .32SWL's made wonderful small game guns.

An old .4" .32 got willed to me, and wonder of wonders, the sights are "on" for cast bullets in the 100gr. weight range. If I had to go out small game hunting with a small gun, it would still get the call.
 

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The only gun in my collection that the wife thinks is "pretty". Elegance in steel. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Grandchildren love to shoot the Bearcat.

 
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