By Kyle Jillson | January 15 2013 17:13

Two rare pistols from one of America's greatest firearms manufacturers on display at NRA National Firearms Museum

Ruger pistols at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia

Additions to the original article were added on 1/19/13

Fairfax, Virginia - Every time we walk into the offices of the National Firearms Museum there's something worth photographing. Today was no different as we caught Senior Curator Doug Wicklund cleaning two unique Ruger pistols.

Ruger, officially Sturm, Ruger & Company, was founded in 1949 by friends William B. Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm. Ruger provided gunsmithing, Sturm provided the much-needed $50,000 investment to start the company and together they began building one of America's most well known firearms manufacturers.

In addition to the initial start-up money, Sturm also provided the Germanic heraldic-based red eagle logo idea that is now synonymous with the company. Their pistols featured a firey red on silver Ruger logo on the grip until 1952 when Sturm passed away. Since Sturm's death, Ruger switched the color of the eagle in the grips to black. The original pistols have now become known as Red Eagle Rugers. The .22 pistol on the right, one of only 29,000 "Red Eagles" made from 1949-1952, happens to be one of those guns.

The original blued Ruger pistol is a piece that, considering its low 4-digit serial number, would have been shipped early in this handgun model's production run — when Ruger was manufacturing in a barn.

Ruger pistol grips at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia

For their 50th anniversary, Ruger released 5,000 special edition MKIs with William Ruger's signature on the barrel that featured a silver on red Ruger logo. The stainless pistol was offered in a recreation of the original wooden "salt cod" boxes in which the original guns were shipped. The .22 above on the left is an example of those collectibles and will go on display in the National Firearms Museum.

See these guns and thousands more at the National Firearms Museum here at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia? They're open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are only closed Christmas Day.

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