Rare Ruger Hawkeye .256 Winchester Magnum Single-Shot Pistol, MFD 1963 C&R

SOLD FOR: $1,830.01

WOA#: WY240318RU050

Make: Ruger

Model: Hawkeye

Serial Number: 1086

Year of Manufacture: 1963 (https://ruger.com/dataProcess/serialHistory/)

Caliber: .256 Winchester Magnum

Action Type: Single Action, Breech Block, Single Shot Pistol

Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked with “RUGER HAWKEYE. / WIN. .256 MAG. CAL”, a Ruger logo, and “®”. The left side of the frame is marked “STURM, RUGER & CO. / SOUTHPORT, CONN. U.S.A.”. The right side of the frame is marked with the serial number “1086”. The top of the barrel where is meets the frame is marked “S”.

Barrel Length: 8 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated blade integral to a base screwed to the barrel. The rear sight is a square-notch leaf pinned to the topstrap that is adjustable for elevation and windage. The top of the barrel is drilled, tapped, and filled for optic rail options.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth wood panels. There are light handling marks, a more notable compression on the left panel, and a few light nicks on the bottom of the right panel. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Fine condition.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright, and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion. There is some faint copper fouling in the grooves.  In this writer’s opinion the bore rates 9.5/10.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 95% of its metal finish. The breach-block release shows moderate finish loss and the frame has taken on a light plum hue. There is minor finish loss on the right edge of the trigger guard frame.  There is wear on top of the barrel from a previously mounted optic rail.  The screw heads are sharp with strong slots, and all markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in about Excellent condition for C&R.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The lock up is solid with light side to side play.  As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment:  The Ruger Hawkeye .256 Winchester Magnum Single Shot Pistol, introduced in the early 1960s, was a bold and innovative departure from traditional handgun designs, leveraging the robust framework of the Blackhawk revolver. By replacing the cylinder with a .25-caliber barrel and incorporating a unique breech-block system that tilted out to the left, Ruger created a mechanism that allowed shooters to manually load cartridges directly into the barrel. This design not only streamlined the shooting process by eliminating the barrel-cylinder gap typical of revolvers and the magazine-feed ramp found in semi-automatics but also significantly enhanced the potential for accuracy by simplifying the bullet’s path before firing.

Economically, the Hawkeye was also a sound product. Many of its components were already in production for the Blackhawk revolver, allowing Ruger to offer the Hawkeye at an introductory price of under a hundred dollars—a compelling price point in the early ’60s. Despite these innovations and its economical production, the Hawkeye did not meet commercial success and was discontinued after only about 3,000 units were made. The pistol’s lack of popularity could partly be attributed to its chambering in the .256 Winchester Magnum, an update of the black powder-era .25-20 Winchester that never caught on among shooters. This cartridge was initially without a firearm chambered specifically for it until Marlin introduced a .256-caliber lever-action rifle.Moreover, the Hawkeye’s advanced capabilities were somewhat ahead of their time, particularly in terms of accuracy at long ranges which could have benefited significantly from high-quality optical sights—technology that was not readily available in 1962. Consequently, the Ruger Hawkeye, though a marvel of engineering and foresight, remained underappreciated in its time, ultimately remembered more for its pioneering design than its market success. This narrative underscores the Hawkeye as not just a firearm but as a testament to Ruger’s innovative spirit and a poignant example of being too advanced for the commercial realities of its era.  Please see our photos and good luck on your bid! – L.S.

Rare Ruger Hawkeye .256 Winchester Magnum Single-Shot Pistol, MFD 1963 C&R
Rare Ruger Hawkeye .256 Winchester Magnum Single-Shot Pistol, MFD 1963 C&R