Anybody got a Ruger Bisley?


October 16, 2004, 12:32 AM
I am thinking about getting another revolver now that I have a job again (only part time but still better than nothing). I am leaning hard toward Ruger and am thinking either an old Security Six, a GP-100, or maybe a Bisley. I had a .45LC blackhawk and found that when I fired the gun it would roll up in the air and beat the snot out of the knuckle on my middle finger with the back of the triggerguard. Consequently, I didn't shoot it much and I sold it not long after I bought it.
I have read that the grip frame of the Bisley sits on such a sharp angle to keep the gun from rolling during recoil. I was wondering if anyone here has one or has shot one much. I am really just looking for a GP woods carry/plinking gun that may be used to knock off a deer once in awhile if I get good enough with it. I know a fair amount about the other two, but not much about the Bisley.
Can you get one in .357? If not I may go with .44 mag and just load it fairly light until I can handle full power rounds, but I might consider another .45LC too.
Any advice, shooting impressions, anything at all would be appreciated.

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Jim March
October 16, 2004, 01:41 AM
The Ruger Bisley grip MAY indeed help.

And yes, it comes in 357, 44Mag and 45LC.

I recommend you shoot it first - it's either going to work with your hands or it won't.

Also: with all these SA guns, changing the grip thickness also changes exactly where your knuckle goes, and whether or not it "lines up" with the back of the triggerguard.

And there's a seriously wide variety of grip thicknesses available with all of these.

October 16, 2004, 08:05 AM
I have a problem shooting the standard Blackhawk configuration also. With heavy loads, my trigger finger gets mangled. I tried the Bisley and have subsequently converted all my Blackhawks to Bisley Blackhawks.

Since you are looking for a good general purpose gun, Acusport has been commissioning limited runs of stainless steel Bisleys with a 5.5" barrel the last few years. They have done 45 Colt, .44 Magnum, and .41 Magnum so far. A second run of the 45 Colt version was done earlier this year and is still available.

The special run 5.5" barrel Bisley is very easy to carry. I think the current standard catalogue Bisley Blackhawks are all blued with 7.5" barrels. Not so convenient to carry.

But as Jim March recommends above, try shooting a Bisley before you buy. You will either love it or hate it.

October 16, 2004, 08:46 AM
And yes, it comes in 357, 44Mag and 45LC.

Some chambered in .41 magnum were recently released as well and are distributed by Davidson's. The Acusport 45 model is still fairly easy to find on the on-line auction sites. The others are not so easy to find. (trust me on that:( )
I've got 2 of the stainless 45 Bisleys and find the grip to be a bit more comfortable but then I didn't mind the other styles of grip frame either. Maybe someone at a local club has one you could try.

October 16, 2004, 10:04 AM
What kind of 45LC loads were you shooting ....?

The standard loads are pretty mild in such a heavy gun as a Blackhawk or Vaquero. To me, lighter recoil than a 38 sp.

I shot some really hot 45 handloads in a friend's Bisley, and that banged the heck out of my knuckle. Six was all I wanted to shoot. I think he said these were pushing 1500fps :eek:

October 16, 2004, 10:52 AM
I don't really recall the exact load, but they were fairly hot. I used the "Blackhawk" section of my reloading manual for them. They weren't maximum loads, but they did have some steam. I think that they were about 10.5 grains of Unique with a 255GR Oregon Trail bullet, but I don't remember for sure.
I will agree that standard loads were mild, but I bought a Blackhawk because I wanted to be able to use hotter loads for hunting. When I found that the gun beat my hand up, it wasn't really much use to me anymore. As for trying a Bisley first, it is undoubtedly a good idea, but I don't know anyone who has one and there are no ranges around that rent guns. Unless I get outrageously lucky, I am probably going to just have to buy one and see.
My hands are sort of strange. I have big hands with long skinny fingers, but a high capacity semi auto still doesn't really feel quite right. My SIG P-225 fits just perfect. I have also found that a S&W with a Hogue Mono-Grip fits very comfortably.

October 16, 2004, 12:41 PM
I think that they were about 10.5 grains of Unique with a 255GR Oregon Trail bullet, but I don't remember for sure.
That's about "middle of the road' or "warm" load in my estimation. Almost exactly what I load now for my Vaquero. I don't think it should beat you up that much, but I guess it could if you shoot a lot at one time. I don't know how much difference in felt recoil there is between a Blackhawk and a Vaquero - I would guess almost none. The 44 mag BH (plowhandle) that I shot one time had a lot of "muzzle flip" but was not painful.

Hot loads == recoil ... no way you're going to change that.

Maybe you could use some shooting gloves, or just some regular (cheap) gloves with the thumb and forefinger cut off ...?

Another option might be a double action Redhawk. There should be lots of aftermarket grips - something that fills the gap between the trigger guard and (the normal) grip.

October 16, 2004, 01:35 PM
It wasn't really the recoil. The recoil itself was pretty tame.
It was the gun. When the gun cracked, it would roll in my hand. The back of the triggerguard would then come into contact with the middle knuckle on my middle finger. Eventhough it didn't have a whole lot of force, it had enough. It doesn't take much on a knuckle. It only took a few rounds to put a tiny little focused bruise on my knuckle. The gun was absolutely useless to me if I couldn't shoot fairly hot loads in it, so I sold it. I don't know if different grips would make a difference or not, but I think a different grip shape would. I have shot quite a few other handguns and never had this problem with any of them.
The worst recoil I have felt on a handgun was my friend's SP-101 with S&B .357 mag loads. For some reason, those things really make that little gun roar. Even at that though, it wasn't bad to shoot. It recoiled much more than my Blackhawk did, but I still could shoot it all day and not have any problems.
I am also sort of contemplating a Redhawk now that I thought of it. I have always liked single actions, but for some reason a double action just seems to work better for me.
Still though, I am going to look into the Bisley.

Tom C.
October 16, 2004, 02:07 PM
One place to go to try to find Bisleys to shoot is a cowboy match. You will probably not have much trouble finding someone with a Bisley who will let you try it.
I have one of the SS Bisley .45s, as well as Blackhawks in .45 and .357. I like to use medium to hot loads in both the Bisley and Blackhawk .45s. Both are very sensitive, in my opinion, to grip shape and thickness. I have large hands and heavy loads in the Bisley rapped my knuckles until I found a pair of smooth Gunfighter grips. They are actually thinner than standard grips, but they altered the relationship of my knuckles to the grip frame and they are very pleasant to shoot. I have grips for the Blackhawks that do the same thing. I really don't see much difference between the Bisley and Blackhawk, with suitable grips.
It comes down to personal preference, and careful selection of grips.

October 16, 2004, 02:17 PM
Goon, if the Mono-Grip fits your hand so well, (I like the feel of them too), why not just get a S&W Model 629 .44 Mag with a 4" or 5" barrel. I've got one, the Mountain Gun model, and these are great shooting handguns. Another option would be a M686 .357 (although I personally have no use for the .357 Magnum cartridge). You can load down the .44 for plinking or pick whatever power level you want for hunting.
That said, I also have a couple of Bisley's that are also great shooting guns. I would describe there recoil as somewhere in between what you would feel from a Blackhawk grip and a double action grip.

Jim March
October 16, 2004, 03:23 PM
Goon, you had an incompatibility between the grip and your hand. It happens.

A grip that fills in the space behind the triggerguard might have helped a lot. These are available in otherwise-classic-looking wood, or there's the rubber grips (ugly, but they do work).

Or mess with the grip thickness to relocate the knuckle. Eagle "gunfighters" are thinner, the rubber stuff and some aftermarket woods are thicker than stock, or you can switch out the whole grip frame.

October 16, 2004, 07:35 PM
In addition to trying out the Bisley (which I've had a few of), I'd try out the Ruger Dragoon gripframe (found on 7.5" Super Blackhawks) too...I've switched all but one of mine over to the gripframe, and it is my #1 favorite for heavy loads.

All you can do is try. - JM.

October 16, 2004, 09:34 PM
Hmmm, thinner grips would have helped.
Which grips for the blackhawk are the thinnest? I know where to find a used .357 blackhawk.

October 17, 2004, 01:28 PM
I think you will like the Bisley Blackhawk. They handle stout loads better than the regular grip frame. I have a 7.5" .45 Colt, and it is fun to shoot with heavy loads.

October 17, 2004, 01:40 PM
The Ruger 'Bisley' frame handles extremely heavy recoil better than ANY other grip. The original Colt Bisley and clones are a little tight between front strap and trigger guard and heavy loads are not as pleasant as a SAA. They DO shoot lighter loads VERY well though!;)

Jim March
October 17, 2004, 03:07 PM
Eagle's "Gunfighter" grip is skinnier than normal. Available in standard Blackhawk/Vaquero type (what Ruger calls the XR3-RED grip frame) and Ruger Bisley. Ajax I think it is makes a skinnier grip for the XR3-RED.

The "Superblackhawk squareback" or "Dragoon" grip frame is oversize. It's a knuckle-wacker for a lot of people BUT if your hands didn't fit the XR3-RED it might be an option if you've got big hands.

Personally, I think if you intend to run 357Mag horsepower levels, the XR3-RED with a skinnier grip might be just the ticket. That setup would be a real beast with the 44Mag or higher power levels as the thinner grip means less of your palm is controlling the recoil.

But what would also work really well with 357 power is the Bisley with skinny grips (Eagle Gunfighters for Bisley is one good option). Esp. for those with big hands.

This article may help sort out the confusion - it's a complete "Tao Of Ruger SA Grip Frames" with pictures...LOTS of pictures...

October 17, 2004, 05:56 PM
Jim - Thanks. I am leaning hard toward a .357 because it will do what I need and be cheaper to reload and plink with. I also already have about 1K .357 cases left over from the other ones I had and an almost brand new set of RCBS carbide dies that I bought with my ill fated M-28. Might as well get some use out of them. :D

RCL - I have thought about the S&W and I really don't have anything against them. I had a 686 that I put about 5K rounds through. I bought it used and I sold it alot more used. I should have kept it, but alas, I am a moron. I have had four other S&W revolvers, two of which were perfect and two of which were definitely not. One of my friends has a SP-101 .357 that I have shot quite a bit and I am pretty impressed with it. The GP-100 just seems built really well to me. The same friend had a GP-100 and he told me that it handled his heavy 180gr hunting handloads easily. The Security Sixes that I have handled seem well made and fit my hand wel and from what I have read most everyone who has one likes it. And on top of that, I have seen them go for around $200-$250 in really nice condition on auction sites. That is why they appeal to me.
I also just like single actions and would like to have another one but every time I handle a Ruger I remember how my blackhawk beat the heck out of me. But now that I am getting some advice on grips, I am thinking that I can make a Ruger fit my hands.
For this one, it is almost certainly going to be a Ruger.

October 17, 2004, 06:54 PM
My wife bought me this Bisley Vaquero a few years ago. Its a .45 colt, and the Bisley configuration is really quite comfortable with heavy loads.


October 17, 2004, 07:29 PM
Goon, looks like you're in a win-win situation with all the guns you mentioned. Judging from your last post, it sounds to me like you should go for a 4" GP-100. I had one, traded it (if we all judged ourselves moron's for getting rid of a good gun, I would be one many times over ;) ). They are a tough, good shooting utility gun. Good shootin'!

October 18, 2004, 10:52 AM
The Bisley is a wonderful gun, I've got an Accusport 5.5" in .44 and dearly love it. I've had a few standard blackhawks too and like the Bisley better. For an all arounder in .357 though I'd look real hard at the GP-100 as you get the DA ability should a carry scenario pop up. The factory GP grip suits me just fine and once you put a few thousand rounds through it the trigger settles in nicely so you have a box stock revolver that needs nothing. Either way you can't go wrong, both are excellent guns.

October 18, 2004, 11:41 AM
I have a Bisley, and it is the most comfortable heavy revolver I have fired.

Just for your info, the gun is designed to roll in your hand when fired, to bring the hammer closer in to cock it faster. But, it also has the effect of dampening recoil. It's more like a push than a hard slap.

I have the 5.5 Bisley in .45 Colt. I love it!

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