Friday, June 11, 2010

Ruger Mark III Slab Sided Competition Pistol Review - Sniper's Squirrel Hunter Build

Ruger Mark III Slab Sided Competition Pistol Review - Sniper's Squirrel Hunter Build

Building the Perfect Day/Night Critter Getter

If a sniper designed a squirrel pistol this would be it. Apparently the question of how accurate could a stock Mark III be was soon to be answered after a recent trip to the gun shop. There is was like a beckoning siren's song, a used Ruger Mark III in stainless for $250. I just bought a Mark III in blue what was I thinking... not sure. OK not completely stainless either, the lower is steel coated with the rust proof parkerized finish Ruger manufactured for certain distributors. Whatever goofy distributor special this slab sided Ruger Mark III Competition was, it was in like new condition with case, two magazines, rosewood grips, weaver rail, a screaming deal, and clearly mis-priced by $250. The sales guy noted the price after I said I would take it and attempted to make the switch up to $450, but alas my Paypal card was faster than he.
Knowing what I know now about this deal of a Mark III, it may have been that the gun was returned for functioning issues and was traded in as such, not sure. I knew that if the previous owner had just gone through my above tuning steps he wouldn't have traded it in.
My first trip to the range with the gun confirmed why it was thrown to the wolves, it jammed like it was designed to be a single shot. I pulled the chamber indicator actuator at the range and it became a different gun altogether with very good reliability and above average accuracy.
Additions were my old trusted Tasco Red Dot sight with A-Square rings, UTG Tri-Rail Shotgun Mount and a high power Green laser powered by a single CR123A battery. It was a pain to find a rail mount for the Mark III. Am I the only one who wanted to mount a 1" laser or tac light to a Ruger Mark III? Volquartsen has a rail mount but $250 was seemed steep for what I needed so I was lucky the $20 UTG shotgun mount worked.
The Tasco was tried and true on my old Colt Cadet 22 and still has a few years of service left and provides 9 levels of dot intensity. The UTG mount is perfect for providing a permanent mount for the green laser and attachment points for a tactical lights for night hunting. You would think this class of laser is overkill, however I would disagree. Less powerful lasers you simply cannot see in daylight and even in dusk conditions dots can be tough to pick up visually on moving
game. The green laser you can SEE even in daylight and for dangerous nut nabbing tree rodents, it's visible at the top of even the tallest trees. Raccoons and other night stirring varmints can be quick moving and sometimes aggressive, so this reliable point and shoot option can be handy.
After polishing the throat and ramp, sharpening the extractor and tweaking the trigger, the results were this 30 round 1" group with CCI Mini-Mag HP. Sub-.5" groups are now common with match ammo.
For night hunting or just taking the dog out after hours a spare 1" tactical light provides plenty of light out to 40 yards. The light mounts and dismounts quickly via a standard thumb screw Weaver scope mount on the bottom rail. Yeah the gun starts to look like something from Bladerunner, but on the other hand it's a very handy pest elimination & hunting tool when it's dark out.
The Sight Mark green laser works great... but...the pressure switch sucks. I have resoldered the connections about a half dozen times and they fail due to the thin wiring. I removed the wiring and soldered a piece of wire from the center connection to the side connection and can now use the rear end cap like a momentary switch with my left index finger - which is a nature grip with my left index finger pointed forward. If I want to lock on the laser I can simply give the end cap a 3/4 twist and it will stay on.
Next steps are install a full Volquartsen Performance Kit, Extractor and possible some new grips, perhaps a 2-6 Simmons scope, but for now I will have to manage with a sub-1" gun... uh I mean two.
More great groups.

The laser and red-dot sight setup worked great until I reclaimed the laser for my Kel-Tec Sub 2000 build and burning need on the Mark III slab side for a smaller lighter red-dot that did not require me to hunt for the dot.  I did use the laser quite a bit however as not of my use was at night a much smaller laser would do. For now I am very happy with just a Bushnell TRS-25 mounted on the pistol which provides for a very fast shooting gun and instant sight picture.

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