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  #1  
Old 11-16-2012, 12:19 PM
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Default Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads

I figured a lot of forum members have experience with Ruger single actions.

I want to pick-up a Ruger single action and can't decide if I want a .44 Mag or a .45 Colt that can handle the hotter +P loads. I'm leaning towards the .45 Colt due to the larger dia. bullet. I really don't have any plans to shoot really hot loads, I just like having the option. I do reload for both calibers (including Spl.). I've also read the Blackhawks have an aluminum grip, making the gun lighter (and recoil with heavy loads worse).

What Caliber would you choose and why?
Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:33 PM
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Default Not your only option

The Blackhawks I have shot were punishing to say the least.
If I was going to buy a 44mag to handle hot loads, I would look
For a Dan Wesson.
Of course that's just my opinion, and the fact that I do own a DW.

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Old 11-16-2012, 12:39 PM
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some reloading manuals give loads listed to be shot in Ruger blackhawks only. That should tell you something. The hog leg type grips don't transfer recoil like a 29 will. I own 2 pre 29s a Super Blackhawk 3 screw and an old 3 screw flat top Blackhawk. The blackhawks are more comfortable to shoot. Most of my shooting now is done with 44sp in the old flat top
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:49 PM
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First what will the gun be used for? I have guns in .44 mag, .45 colt and .44 special. I seldom shoot my .44 mag anymore. The .45 colts and .44 specials I load to close the same performance. My last gun I bought is this flat top ruger in .44 special. The .45 colts and .44 specials in my experiance can all be loaded up to do everything a normal person needs and is lighter and less bulky to pack.

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:48 PM
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For woods/farm carry, I have used a Ruger 41 mag for years...and have probably fired it more than any other gun I own.

Having shot the 44 mag a lot [Ruger, too] I don't notice much, if any difference. Neither is too hot to handle as far as I can tell.

The trick with these guns is to let them recoil where they want to go...don't try and hold them back, just keep a decent hold, and let the recoil do what it does...

I firmly believe it's the shooter fighting the kick too hard that makes the experience difficult for some.

In the words of the Kinks, "well, I'm not the world's most masculine guy"...but I still find these guns a pleasure to shoot in all calibers.

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:15 PM
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Go with a Bisley model. I think they all have steel grip frames and they handle recoil much better.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:22 PM
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Ruger used to make two sizes of frames for their centerfire single actions. The 357 was on a "colt-size" frame, and all the others - 41, 44, 45 and (for some strange reason) 30 carbine - were on the "super blackhawk 44 magnum" frame.

Along came 1973 and the New Model, and the "colt-size" frame disappeared. Now the 357 was also built on the 44 frame.

Then came the "New Blackhawk" (that's what feralmerril's picture is), and it is, again, on the "colt-size" frame.

If you get a "New Blackhawk" in 45 Colt, and attempt to shoot "Ruger-only" loads in it, you will damage your gun. "Ruger-only" loads are only safe in the regular New Model Blackhawk and the standard Vaquero, both of which are (were? do they still make this gun?) on the 44 magnum frame.

Super Blackhawks have a nicer hammer. The shape is different from a standard hammer - it is lower and wider - and it is much easier to reach. Like a Smith Target hammer compared to a Service hammer. The Super has a wider trigger, also. And the Super's grip is larger, which may or may not be good for you. I've been told by others that the square-back trigger guard hits you when you shoot, but mine never has.

http://www.ruger.com/products/newMod...mages/0505.jpg
http://www.larrywillis.com/blackhawk.jpg

So, in my opinion, if you want the ability to shoot "super magnum loads", you should get the Super.

But if I was just going to go buy a new Ruger, I'd get a Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt. It's got a better hammer shape, a better trigger shape, and a MUCH better grip shape for heavy recoil. And while mine will take "Ruger-only" loads, I see no reason to shoot 'em in them.

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:25 PM
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Yes, and sweet candies of doom, don't try a Ruger Only load in an aluminum plow handle Blackhawk... Ouch...
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:28 PM
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I have started selling my .44 Mag revolvers and shooting more in .44 special and .45 Colt. I still have a 10 1/2" Super Blackhawk .44 mag that softens the recoil a lot. One of my most accurate .45 Colts is a 7 1/2" New Model Blackhawk and I also have a Vaquero that has the .45 Colt and .45 ACP cylinders. I have a 8 3/8" 25-5 and a 4" 25-9. Both are accurate.

I shot a friends .44 Mag Super Blackhawk Hunter last weekend. From a rest at 15 yds, 6 shots went into a 1" ragged hole. .44 specials in the same gun are just as accurate and a lot milder to shoot.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for the info. I never liked the looks of the Bisley, but maybe it's time to go handle one.

I'll probably just have to buy one of each caliber.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:45 PM
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Yeah, I thought they were really dumb-looking. Then I picked up that stainless one in a store, one day. I played with it for three days, before it won me over.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feralmerril View Post
First what will the gun be used for? I have guns in .44 mag, .45 colt and .44 special. I seldom shoot my .44 mag anymore. The .45 colts and .44 specials I load to close the same performance. My last gun I bought is this flat top ruger in .44 special. The .45 colts and .44 specials in my experiance can all be loaded up to do everything a normal person needs and is lighter and less bulky to pack.

Pretty much same experience. Sold all the 44 Mags. Now have 44 SPC and 45 Colt Flattops. MUCH more fun and comfortable to shoot, and will do everything I want to do, include killing a deer.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:44 PM
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As a guide part-time in college, I had plenty of opportunity to shoot and see shot wild pigs from about 150 lbs on up. I currently shoot 44 spl, 44 mag, 41 mag, 41 long colt (what the hey!= thought I'd throw that one in, along with the 44-40 I used to have), and 45 Colt from Cowboys up to near 454, Ruger-only loads, as well as a 454. I saw or shot 357, 41, 44 mag and standard and hot 45 Colt loads on several 200 lb or more pigs. Have had to kick a couple to get room to shoot.

That being said:
1) I found little or no difference in killing power between 41 mag and 44 mag, except the 41 penetrates better on the gristle plate (or skull) of a large hog. Hot 45 Colt loads are much better. I have not shot game with a 454.
2) The Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk both control felt recoil better than S & W models 58 and 29 (4"). The 45 seems to be more of a push. The Bisley does reduce felt recoil more- although I agree they are butt-ugly.
3) You have to be VERY careful not to shoot Ruger only loads in anything but an "old model" Vaquero, or Blackhawk (not the little Blackhawks)
4) I carry a 45 Colt with a 3.5 barrel while hunting. If in grizzly country, I'll pack the same thing with a Bisley handle. Wife carries a 41 mag New Model Blackhawk.

I would NOT have a 357 for field carry. Use one for CCW, but had too many failures to stop with hogs.

I own "several" 45 Vaqueros, 44 Vaqueros,, two Super Blackhawks, two Old Model Blackhawks (3-screw) and some S & W, also.

Here's the two I carry and my wife's 41 mag:





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Old 11-16-2012, 03:57 PM
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I used to have an original .44 Mag Blackhawk, now have a .44 Super Blackhawk. When I first started shooting them, it was actually painful to do so with hot loads. I bought a pair of larger aftermarket rubber grips, and it is much more tolerable now. Would recommend not using the Ruger factory wooden grips if you plan to shoot hefty loads. I use the Super Blackhawk factory grips for CAS, along with light lead bullet .44 Special loads. I truly don't think it's possible to damage a Ruger with any load you can fit in its chambers - a really tough revolver.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpo View Post
Then came the "New Blackhawk" (that's what feralmerril's picture is), and it is, again, on the "colt-size" frame.

If you get a "New Blackhawk" in 45 Colt, and attempt to shoot "Ruger-only" loads in it, you will damage your gun.
Sir, is this true of all current Blackhawks? I thought it only applied to the flat-top reintroductions and the new, smaller Vaqueros.

Thanks, and Semper Fi.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:19 PM
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The "New Blackhawk" is what Ruger is calling the flat-top reintroductions. That's why I put it in quotes. I'm not saying "any new Blackhawk", 'cause I don't know if they still make the regular New Model Blackhawk, on the 44 frame. But the "New Blackhawk" is the smaller framed gun.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:31 PM
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The lower hammer and longer grip (of stainless steel) made my Super B. a pleasure to fire, compared to my S&W M-29, and repeat shots were easier than expected with a single action.

I DO NOT like the light alloy grip frame and ejector rod housing on blued Blackhawks.

I'd take the .44 Magnum, to ensure being able to find powerful factory ammo when needed. You can load milder ammo for normal needs. I really wish that factories would again offer milder .44 Magnum ammo, like the lead one that Remington used to make at about 1,000 FPS, at the instigation of gun writer Hal Swiggett.

The Ruger Bisley frame is much like the SAA Colt frames altered for Elmer Keith many years ago. He designed his guns to be the most efficient SA's ever made. It differs significantly from the original Colt Bisley frame.

Last edited by Texas Star; 11-16-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feralmerril View Post
First what will the gun be used for? I have guns in .44 mag, .45 colt and .44 special. I seldom shoot my .44 mag anymore. The .45 colts and .44 specials I load to close the same performance. My last gun I bought is this flat top ruger in .44 special. The .45 colts and .44 specials in my experiance can all be loaded up to do everything a normal person needs and is lighter and less bulky to pack.


Merrill-

Nice Safariland holster. You buy that new or just get really lucky and find a used one?

I found a used Model 29 (holster) that looks new. I grabbed it to wait until I can afford a M-629-3 for it. Safariland used to make some nice holsters for sportsmen.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:35 PM
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FWIW , the Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk frames are the same.

Never could understand why Ruger put that aluminum XR3-red grip frame on the blued steel New Model Blackhawks , but used the same stainless material on the stainless version? They don't match , rarely fit well , and throw the balance out. And besides , it just seems designed all wrong , ergonomically speaking. It just doesn't fit my hand.

So I found a stainless Super Blackhawk grip frame and mated it to my 4 5/8" .41 mag Blackhawk , to create my favorite sixgun.



The grip on the new Flattop is more like the early Rugers , which is like a Colt SAA.

But they still used aluminum , though they are beautifully fitted , it still throws the balance off.

Fortunately , I found a blued new style SBH grip frame for my 6 1/2" Flattop. This one will get faux ivories.


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Old 11-16-2012, 09:45 PM
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I have a Blackhawk with 2 cylinders 45 Colt, and 45 ACP and 4 5/8" barrel. I usually shoot it with the ACP cylinder. When I first bought it, I loaded some (stupid) Ruger only loads in the Colt cylinder. It had some recoil, but not painful. Im sure others will have different experiances, but thats mine.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:26 AM
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If I were reloading and restricted to one gun only, it would be a Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum. With .44 Magnum brass one can tailor reloads form light .44 Specials to "Bear Killers".

But I have not yet met anyone who can truly own one gun.................
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:50 AM
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The stainless model of the New Blackhawk has a stainless grip frame. The Blue model has the Aluminum grip frame. They can be interchanged with some fitting.
Gunsmith and hunter John Linebaugh has done a lot of work with the Blackhawks in .45 Colt. He has load data with pressures up to 32,000 CUP, and thinks that the heavier bullets and larger calibers make more effective hunting handguns than the higher pressure magnums, while being nicer to shoot.
See:

Linebaugh's Custom Sixguns - The .45 Colt - Dissolving the Myth, Discovering the Legend

for some good reading on the subject.

Best,
Rick
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:19 AM
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Have had both .44 and .45 Blackhawks, sold the .45 years ago,haven't loaded any .45 long Colt in years,but the brass had a pretty short life as I remember, but someone now makes a heaver case for the .45?
Had a .45 LC barrel for the Thompson Contender, very accurate, but there is a much wider choice of .44 bullets to load.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverrat38 View Post
The stainless model of the New Blackhawk has a stainless grip frame. The Blue model has the Aluminum grip frame. They can be interchanged with some fitting.
Gunsmith and hunter John Linebaugh has done a lot of work with the Blackhawks in .45 Colt. He has load data with pressures up to 32,000 CUP, and thinks that the heavier bullets and larger calibers make more effective hunting handguns than the higher pressure magnums, while being nicer to shoot.
See:

Linebaugh's Custom Sixguns - The .45 Colt - Dissolving the Myth, Discovering the Legend

for some good reading on the subject.

Best,
Rick
Great read. Thanks.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:32 PM
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I have two 45 Blackhawk convertibles, a 44 special, and a 357 convertible. I also have a 44 Redhawk and previously had a 44 Super BH. I would expect to have to have the cylinder throats fixed on any 45 that Ruger built. If you do so I think that is the best combination of power and carry-ability out there today. If you are not able to fix the throats or do not reload I would go with 44. The 44 Lipsey special Ruger built a while back is a wonderfully balanced gun that will easily push a 250 gr bullet just short of 1000 fps. Ask yourself how much more you need than that. I live and play in Grizzly country and that would take care of most of what I need.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:15 AM
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Well, after much consideration, I went with the completely impractical. I figured I could carry it as a trail gun once in awhile loaded with some .44 Spl (no Grizzly here). I figured the standard models are always available and didn't want to miss out on this limited edition "punch to the hand".
Thanks for all the replies.

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Last edited by Dump1567; 11-19-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:44 AM
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Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk for Magnum type Loads  
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There's nothing impractical about that. I presume it is a .44 magnum. Short, light, stout, stainless and utterly reliable. Excellent choice. C.B.
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