While I have more interest in Smith and Wesson firearms, I also have some Rugers.
Apart from their innovative approach to production (which increases quality and precision a the same time it reduces waste and costs), their mechanisms are quite clever.
The GP-100 / SP-100 revolver action is among the most interesting I've ever examined. Besides eliminating the need for a "side plate", it's a unified removable unit, on par with the M1935 and SIG P-210 modular action.
It's worth getting a copy of "Ruger and his Guns", a book published in 1994 about the origins of Ruger, and his approach to design, process, production and business. He's unique in his way of doing business, and unique in some very responsible ways:
- Ruger operates without corporate debt. They invest in plant out of retained earnings, not loans.
- Ruger sells only through master distributors, and has no warehouse for finished stock. They ship it when they make it.
- Ruger has been a good investment - not stellar, but solid. They make money for their owner / investors.
- Ruger deals with critical suppliers and skills by acquiring them using retained earnings.
I guess, in the gun industry, Ruger just "thinks different"...