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Old 09-21-2013, 04:16 AM
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Default Ruger Blackhawk convertible

I'm tinkering with the idea of purchasing a Ruger Blackhawk convertible in 45 LC/45acp with the 4.5" barrel. I am planning on purchasing it new to use strictly as a shooter, 200-500 rounds a month.

I previously owned a Ruger Blackhawk in 357/9mm years ago. It was a good shooting pistol but at the time I was not reloading so I did not put very many rounds through it before I got rid of it. Not because it wasn't accurate but mainly because I lost interest in it.

I know the Blackhawks are pretty much bullet proof but I plan on putting several thousand round through one and want to know if it would be the best choice. I have loaded some 45 LC that I think compare or excel the 44 mag cartridge. I have been shooting these loads in a older Win 94 and want to try some in a revolver. I think the Ruger is fit for the hotter 45LC as well as the mild 45 acp plinking rounds.

Looking for any members that own a Ruger convertible in the 45LC/45acp any pros or cons? Any other convertible style revolver I should be looking at? Anyone that has put a few thousand rounds though the 45LC/45ACP Blackhawk?

Thanks for any information.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:58 AM
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I own 4 Vaquero 45 Colts, but shoot on the other end of the power scale. I've put thousands of rounds through each of them shooting Cowboy Action. The revolvers require the basic maintenance of cleaning and proper lubrication. Shooting safe high energy loads will wear you out before the Ruger wears out. Older model Blackhawks are heavier and the weight helps with felt recoil, another inch or two of barrel length will go a long way in recoil management. There is a huge difference in the felt recoil of the 150 to 180 grain 357 bullets and the 250 to 325 grain 45 bullets. I know of a shooter out west engaging man sized targets a 1000 yards, but special attention must be paid to diameter of the chamber throats and seldom are the factory dimensions what is necessary for that accuracy but reems are readily available from Brownells and others. The consistency of bullet weight, hardness and diameter are also important and if using cast bullets you will probably need to cast your own in the old method of a dipper and a single cavity mould. "Rifle" and "Reloader" magazines have a large number of articles on all these subjects. Half the fun of getting those great loads is overcoming the obstacles in the way. Ivan
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:53 AM
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I guess it's never a bad thing to have the capability to use more than one ammo , but I really see the .45 ACP cylinder as superfluous. Might have been a better deal back when surplus .45 ACP ammo was cheap. I guess ya could still use cheaper steel cased stuff like Wolf with no issues.

And to me , there's just something wrong about shooting ,45 ACP in a single action sixgun. The ACP was made for autos. The .45 Long Colt was made for thumb busters.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:10 AM
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I have a Blackhawk convertible in 45acp and 45 Colt. I shoot 45 Colt handloads and factory acp. Both cylinders function fine in my revolver and I like the capability of being able to use both loads. Accuracy wise, the 45 Colt cylinder is signifiantly more accutate then the acp cylinder. Maybe handload development would help the 45acp accuracy. I won't be throwing my acp cylinder away but have decided that 45acp should be shot in a revolver designed specifically for it, or in my 1911.

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Old 09-21-2013, 09:51 AM
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I own one with the 4 5/8" barrel. It shoots both very nicely, but the edge goes to the .45 Colt. The additional "jump" of the .45ACP bullet takes a bit of accuracy out of it.

I load the .45 Colt up pretty warmly. It's digested everything, and the shorter barrel puts out a muzzle flash that's really fun to watch, especially at dusk.

I carry it as a "hiking" gun.

I don't think you can go wrong with it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:01 AM
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I have had a Blackhawk 45 colt/45 acp convertible since 1978. I have shot 1000's of loads approaching 44 magnum pressures-velocities with no ill effects whatsoever! Just as tight as the day I acquired it. I wont list my loads but they were taken from an article in a late 70's vintage Shooting Times. I backed off some from the published maximum loads. Excellent accuracy with cast bullets too.
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:21 PM
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I have a Vaquero with both cylinders. When I bought it used, the .45 ACP Cylinder was unused. It now has exactly 6 rounds through it. I agree with others here that the .45 Colt is a more accurate round in this gun.

I do not have any other revolvers that shoot .45 ACP, but I do have several pistols that do and they are almost as accurate as the Vaquero.

I have a .45 Colt 7 1/2" Blackhawk that is one of the most accurate guns that I own.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:39 PM
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A few months ago I bought a Ruger convertible in the 45LC/45acp and I love it. It has the 4 5/8Ē barrel and a nice deep bluing. I have not shot it enough to tell you much other than it works and shoots well.

I use it to carry around my land and for target practice. I only shoot .45 ACP rounds in it as I donít have any of the .45 Colt ammo and I have no desire to add another type of ammo at this point.

I picked up a nice leather Triple K western style holster with buckle to carry it.

It was my first single action revolver but not my last. I am a bit of a snob as I only buy Ruger or Smith and Wesson in handguns. I found what I like and I am too old to go looking for something else. Besides if it is not broken don't try and fix it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:57 PM
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I don't know about new Rugers but I assume they would be as bulletproof( pun intended ) as the older models and for sure meant for shooting...lots of shooting.
I wouldn't hesitate on this one. I'll probably do the same real soon. Let us know how it works out.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:26 PM
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I picked up a practically new 5.5" a couple months ago. Haven't shot a lot through it yet but for my purposes it's plenty accurate. My primary use is for woods packing. I also carry a .45 acp a lot and like the idea of being able to switch ammunition if I want. Haven't shot the ACP cylinder yet, though, so I can't make a comparison...
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:15 PM
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The Ruger Blackhawk .45, built on the large .44 Magnum frame, is very strong. Most reloading manuals have special "Ruger only" loads for them. Ruger is also building .45s on the smaller, .357 frame. These should NOT be used with the "Ruger only" loads.

I have a .45 Blackhawk that I bought in the late '90s. It has been shot many, many times. Into the thousands, I'm sure. I have used the ACP cylinder for 99% of my shooting. It is very accurate.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:31 PM
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I'm looking at getting one too...they seem to be readily available. I like the .45 Colt (long? not really all that long) and the .45 ACP both, and have quite a bit of ammo for each. I'll mostly shoot .45 Colt though. My Vaquero eats up the hot loads with aplomb, but I need a longer barrel and adjustable sights.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:51 PM
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The new Flat Top 45 convertibles and the Lipsey 44 Flat Tops are built on the 357 frame. Full power RUGER ONLY loads are not recommended. There is info on the Ruger forum about such.
Pic has top to bottom:
45 convert.
44 Spec. 44 Magnum
357 Magnum 30 Carbine
22 convert.
22 LR pair
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:05 PM
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OH, yeah. I've had two Old Model (3-screw) 4 5/8" .45 convertible Blackhawks; sold one and regretted it, now have only one. I also have a large-frame hi-polish stainless .45 Vaquero convertible; retrofitted the action so it loads like the original Blackhawks and Colt single actions. I also have a non-convertible large-frame Vaquero Bisley model in .45 Colt, similarly modified.

Like some of the others mentioned here, the .45 Colt cylinders get the most use, and that's where the guns shine. From cowboy loads to hell-for-leather .44 Mag-equivalent loads, these revolvers have no peers. They are built like tanks, and it would take Godzilla to tear one apart. Amazingly versatile and a whole lot of fun to shoot.

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Old 09-21-2013, 10:04 PM
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I currently jhave 2 "OM" Vaqueros and an OM (three srew) Blackhawk. In the 70's I used one for guiding on wild hogs with "hot" handloads. I now carry one when in grizzly country with "Ruger Loads":. I also use it 45 Colt for cowboy. I also have an antique Colt Bisley (in the mail now), had a Vaquero Bisley and a S & W Model 1989, have an 1878 Colt double action, a '73 Uberti, and a few others Colts SAAs.

Yes. I like the caliber and use it. Personally, it's likely the best choice in a firearm, if you had to choose one only. The ("older") Blackhawks and Vaqueros can handle anything you load, from cowboy black-powder loads to "mini" 454 loads. But, be sure it's a large frame Ruger, before you load the hot stuff.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:55 PM
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I have had a 41/2" convertible for a bunch of years. The light weight makes it a great woods gun. The .45 ACP cylinder is extremely accurate. A 1911 mag. makes a good spare ammo carrier. There is very little I want to do with this revolver that I can't get done with the shorter cartridge. It does not seem to care about the jump to the forcing cone. All my heavy ..45 Colt work gets done in my 5" Bisley. It's a bunch heavier & the grip handles recoil better.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:52 PM
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I second Muley Gil's comment about the smaller frame Convertable, not the same gun as the older frame gun, use some caution in your loading.
I own a 5.5" model but haven't really had the time to work with it much. Love the feel of it tho, seems to shoot pretty good with both cylinders. I need to get this one out and work up a good load for both cylinders.
My only problem with the newer Rugers is the stock, it seems to be rather 'flat' right at the area that your middle finger folds over it, this is pretty painful to me, kind of digs into my finger. I've taken mine and rounded them off and put new finish on them, works much better. Of course a nice set of Grasshorns gilds the lilly.
Enjoy your gun if you decide to purchase.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:37 AM
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I have three of em, a 4 5/8" a 5 1/2" and the new Lipsys mid frame in 4/5/8", they are all excellent shooters with the .45 ACP although I cannot say with factory jacketed ammo as I only shoot cast bullets out of both calibers. The neat thing is with full power loads both shoot to about the same POA out to twenty five yards or so. A neat trick with the .45 ACP is that you can thumb the rounds out of a .45 ACP mag into the chambers whilst reloading, got a few odd looks and comments while packing one with a mag pouch with two .45 ACP mags. As for why, why not?
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:46 AM
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I had a Ruger Bisley Blackhawk in .45 Colt.

Gun was as tough, and as heavy as a boat anchor, which I always called it. I shot many thousands of rounds out of it- it was the first gun I really started experimenting with loads in- and I was the second owner.

I bought a used .45 ACP cylinder and it dropped right in, but only shot a few rounds out of it.

I traded the gun to a friend of mine who was a "hot rodder" reloader. He sized down 300 and 405 grain .458 bullets to .452 and shot them through it with no ill effects. Somehow, I ended up back with it again, and traded it off after a few years again to a bear hunter that moved north.

As far as I know, it's likely still kill'n bears, even after being abused.

A feller can't own more than two dizzy buzzard guns at once, or he might be accused of being a collector of them.

I did hate the front sight on that gun (or any blackhawk for that matter)- needs a gold bead and V-notch rear for any good target work. As they come, the front sights can double as a pair of brass knuckles in a fight though.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:30 AM
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I love mine and gifted my son one as well. The acp cylinder is very accurate and as a caster I can load what ever I want to in it. I definitely like having the dual cylinders.
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:56 AM
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Based on all the comments the Blackhawk obviously is durable, accurate and serves its purpose well as a shooter.

Just to clarify, if I understood it right, the older convertibles were build on the large frame. The newer ones are being built on the smaller 357 mag frame. If I want the large frame convertible I will have to find a used one? Or purchase a new vaquero that does not have the extra cylinder.

Even though its not recommended to shoot the Ruger only loads in the new smaller frame 45 colts, the smaller frames still feels and looks pretty solid. I'm sure someone has run the Ruger only loads through the smaller frame. Has anyone seen the smaller frame come apart or result in damage from those loads?

The 45 Colt loads that I actively shoot in my 94 I would not dare shoot in my 25-5 but I think the smaller blackhawk would hold up fine. I have a lot of extra 45 acp that I could plink with so I would like to have the extra cylinder. I'm not into paying more for an older shooter as the new ones are priced very reasonable and seem to be plentiful.

Thanks for all the comments and information!!
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:32 AM
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Andy,

Did you get a lot of lead splatter with that extra 45 acp cylinder? If not I think I could locate an older large frame 45 Colt easier than an older large frame convertible.

I thought that the extra cylinder would have to be fitted to the specific Ruger revolver that you wanted to use it in. If I was gunsmith then that would be the thing to do. Unfortunately I'm at best a backyard mechanic, which means I would have the extra cost of having a smith fit the cylinder. This would probably not be cost effective for a shooter unless the cylinder doesn't have to be fitted.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:34 AM
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I have two of the convertibles and keep a ACP cyl, in one and the long colt in the other. I like them equally.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:39 AM
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I have an early 1980's 4 5/8th inch Blackhawk Convertible which shoots very well with .45 ACP 230 grain cast or plated bullet loads. It is not nearly as accurate with factory hardball. The ACP cylinder has VERY tight chambers. Loads that fit and function in my match chamber Springfield and Para Super Hawg would bind in the Blackhawk. I now use its cylinder as the final 'plunk test' for my lead 45 ACP loads.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:56 AM
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If you pick up a used cylinder it should be fitted. However, there is a slim chance that it might just drop in- I got lucky.
The only way to obtain an extra cylinder for a gun that did not come with one is to buy a cylinder used or have one made by someone- Ruger has a very obnoxious and draconian parts department bureaucracy, and will under no circumstances sell one, nor fit one to a gun that did not come with it.

On the issue of the new, smaller frames- not all Blackhawks are on the smaller frame. Deandog has some pictures of some distributor exclusives in the two stainless Blackhawks, one of which is a Bisley (very, very nice I might add ) .

I don't believe that any of the Blackhawks (including the new flattop frames) are on the smaller frame of the new vaquero, but I could be wrong.

I tried to google a picture of that pin on the frame and I cannot find one.

Don't discount the Bisley if you are going to be throwing some fairly hot loads, as it may offer better control for you under heavy recoil- at least feel of one.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:23 PM
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I have had several cylinders just "drop in". The usual problem is the length of the cylinder, not the timing, at least according to the posts I've read on the Ruger forum.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:38 PM
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I have both a NM Blackhawk and an OM Vaquero in .45acp/.45 Colt. Both have given me great service and have proved themselves just as accurate in either caliber.
The only problem that I have had is the Blackhawk's ejector shroud stud came off. It looked like it was silver soldered from the factory but now it is TIG welded.

Mark
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:26 PM
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Thanks for the info. I think I will just purchase the standard convertible.

The LGS has plenty in stock for $489, after Uncle Sam gets his part that makes it $512.53 OTD. I don't think I can go wrong at that price.
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