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Tested: Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite Pistol

It seems several folks have their own war stories when it comes to reassembling Ruger’s classic .22 pistols. My story goes something like this:

Long ago and far away, when Napster was new and cellular phones were used to make phone calls, I worked at a sporting goods store. It had a large and well-stocked handgun case and we often took in used guns on trade. One day the store received a used blued-steel Mark II in excellent condition. I had received permission from the manager to field strip and inspect the used guns during breaks and slow times in order to learn more about them. I was quite interested in giving the Mark II a look-see because I hadn’t handled one before. After breaking the pistol down following the directions in the printed gunsmith reference guide we kept on hand (there were no YouTube videos in those days), I soon found I was unable to put it back together. 

Because I had no previous experience with the Mark pistols, I thought I had somehow broken something along the way. Over the next day or so I asked a couple of my gun counter compatriots to lend me a hand. They both threw up their hands and begged off saying they had no idea how to fix a Mark II. I should have gone to our all-knowing floor manager at that point but I was afraid he would tell me I had to buy the gun with money I didn’t have.

In desperation, I tried a few more times. Whether by divine intervention or pure dumb luck, all of the bits and pieces finally snapped into place. With the Mark II finally restored to its original condition, I ran it through a set of  bench checks and placed it back in the display case, never to handle it again. Despite their reputation for excellence, I steered clear of these Ruger pistols for a long time.