Question on the Super Blackhawk 4 5/8 (KS458N)


July 6, 2005, 12:08 PM
I'm in the process of thinning the herd to make room for a new acquisition, which most likely will be a 44 magnum revolver. I roll my own, and have been working with the 44 special, which btw is a greatly underappreciated cartridge.

I would like the 44 mag for long walks in the woods, load development, and handgun hunting deer in the northeastern woods. I do not want to scope it as it will be a dedicated utility gun. It must be portable and powerful yet be shootable.

For now I would like to focus on the Super Blackhawk with the 4 5/8" barrel and unfluted cylinder (KS458N).

Since I live in a blue state (translation: chock full o'libs), these pistols are hard to come by, as most don't sell well and are not found on dealers shelves. So if I want to see/try one, I will have to special order it. Most dealers tell me they are more pistol than most people want to handle, as most folks are looking for a longer barrelled pistol or rifle in this caliber for hunting use only.

I would also like to address this question to those who own or have owned them or those who have considered buying one and the outcome of their decision.

What are your thoughts about this revolver in terms of weight/portability on the trail and recoil with warm loads 240 thru 300 gr.? I'm looking for well reasoned answers on this one...

Thanks in advance for your replies,


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July 6, 2005, 01:12 PM
I had one, and got rid of it. That gun is probably the main reason I am now such a big fan of the Bisley grip frame.
The currently cataloged 4 5/8" Super Blackhawk has the same shape grip frame as the Blackhawk, although it is steel. I found it very hard to control with full snort 300 grain loads. It would generally stand straight up and drive edge of the frame around the hammer back into the web of my hand.
It's a handy little gun, but so is my 629 Mountain Gun, and it is more comfortable to shoot. Any light, short barreled gun is going to recoil, some guns just transfer that recoil to your hand better. For me, the short Super Blackhawk wasn't one of them.
For hunting, I prefer a longer barrel.
My opinion, FWIW.

Sharps Shooter
July 6, 2005, 03:17 PM
The Super Blackhawk does NOT have the same grip frame as the Blackhawk. I've owned a half dozen of each. The Super Blackhawk's grip frame is long enough for me to get all four fingers around it, while I have to put my pinkie underneath a Blackhawk's grip frame. I do agree - the Bisley grip frame is better, as far as I'm concerned, for heavy recoil. However, as I've stated in several other posts, every time I hear those tall tales about the vicious recoil of a .44 Magnum, I point to my 5'2" 110lb wife - she has a whole wall full of trophies from knocking over metallic sillouettes from 50 meters to 200 meters. She used a Super Blackhawk with a 220 grain Sierra bullet ahead of a massive dose of 2400 or 296.
As far as the 4 5/8" barrel goes, I too would prefer the 7 1/2" if I was going to be mostly hunting with it - you'll lose a little velocity with the shorter barrel and have a shorter sight radius. But if I was going to be using it for mostly bumming around the woods and occasionally taking a deer if the opportunity presented itself, I'd go with the 4 5/8". The recoil of the shorter barreled Super Blackhawk is sharper than that of the longer barreled one of course, but whether it's worse or not, is a matter of opinion. I have a 5" M629 Smith
that hurts me a lot worse with hot 225 grain loads than does my 4 5/8" Super Blackhawk with hot 300 grain loads. The Super Blackhawk twists upward in my hand, taking some of the recoil, while the Smith comes more straight back, into my elbow.

July 6, 2005, 03:31 PM
Actually, RCL is right. The SBHs with the round-back trigger guard use the BH grip frame; the SBHs with the square-back trigger guard have the "full-size" SBH grip frame.

I have a 4 5/8" SBH that I like a lot. It's very handy, but as RCL says with 300 gr full-power loads it is a handful. I found the BH grip just didn't give me enough to hang onto. I bought a Bisley parts kit from Brownells and now have a 4 5/8" SS Bisley in .44 Mag. It's much easier to handle with the Bisley grip. It's not a big job, though being careful goes a long way toward a good result. Here's a pic:

July 6, 2005, 03:57 PM
Actually, there are three grip frames in use on the Super Blackhawk (not counting the Bisley).
The 4 5/8" and 5 1/2" guns use the short XR3-RED steel grip frame, same as used on the large frame Vaquero.
The 7 1/2" and 10 1/2" guns use the longer grip frame with the square back trigger guard.
The hunter models use a longer grip frame with a round trigger guard.

Sharps Shooter
July 6, 2005, 04:51 PM
I don't have a digital camera and cannot post a picture, but believe it or not, in front of me right now is my wife's 44 Magnum, 5 1/2" Super Blackhawk with a square back trigger guard and a long, steel, grip frame, as well as my .45 Colt Blackhawk with a round trigger gaurd, short, aluminum, grip frame. I think some of the confusion may have arisen when Ruger, back in the 70s, started building the "Super" Blackhawk. Before then, I've heard all of Ruger's "Blackhawks" had the same grip frames - including their .44 Magnums.

July 6, 2005, 04:54 PM
Very good info so far...

Here's some information on Ruger Grip Frames that I dug up on the Sturm Ruger site - Parts Booklet:

Grip Frame XR00300 Blackhawk - Blued Models 34.50
Grip Frame KXR00300 Blackhawk & Super Blackhawk - Stainless Models 112.00
Grip Frame XR00301 Super Blackhawk - Blued Models 105.00
Grip Frame MR00300 Super Blackhawk, 7 1/2 & 10 1/2 bbls. - Blued Models 113.00
Grip Frame KMR00300 Super Blackhawk, 7 1/2 & 10 1/2 bbls. - Stainless Models 122.00
Grip Frame BR00300 All Bisley Models 128.00
Grip Frame KHR00300 Hunter 122.00

It appears there are four options for what I want:

1. KXR00300 - SBH Stainless (all other barrell lengths)
2. KMR00300 - SBH Stainless (7 1/2" & 10 1/2")
3. KHR00300 - SBH Hunter (Stainless)
4. BR00300 - SBH Bisley (Stainless)

I will need to try each of these and see what feels best. This has also opened up some options, as I might just buy the gun with the best feeling grip frame and have Ruger re-barrel to the length I want. This may be the cheapest way to get the right fit.

Keep the info comming...

July 6, 2005, 05:02 PM
Years ago, these were "custom only" items and like a lot of Ruger products, they saw what the public was doing and introduced them.
Before that happened, Phil Engledrum /GunTests Magazine got hold of one of the customs- had a jewelled hammer and some other fancy aspects.

"This is the perfect thing for gunning Eldos (eldorados) in Pimpsville!"

It really deserves a bit more credit that that but they do tend to kick and they are a bit harder to hit with than a 5.5" .44 Blackhawk.

July 6, 2005, 08:07 PM
buy the gun with the best feeling grip frame and have Ruger re-barrel to the length I want

I am pretty sure you'll find that Ruger will not do that unless it's a cataloged combination. They have a policy against creating "custom" variations via service requests. There are plenty of gunsmiths out there who will do that work, however.

July 6, 2005, 08:39 PM
Sharp Shooter you have been mislead somewhat on your Ruger gripframes. When Ruger began centerfire single actions in 1955-56 (Flattops & Single Sixes) the .357 and .44 both wore the small XR3 grip. In 1959 the Super Blackhawk came with the long dragoon grip. In about 1961-63 the .44 flattop was dropped in favor of the Super and the .357 flattop became the three screw with sight protector lumps we now know. At this time, the grip had space added behind the trigger guard creating the XR3-RED grip. Calibers were added to the Blackhawk line and the grip remained but the only .44 mag was the Super. At about the introduction of the Bisley grip in the 1980's, Ruger did begin to offer a Blackhawk and Vaquero (in addition to Super) in .44 mag. Since that time there has been a fair amount of mixing of grip styles and frames driven mostly by large orders by various distributors whose names we've forgotten. A great many of these variations were never in the published catalog. Whether aluminum or steel (incl. stainless) there are basically only four Ruger grips, the XR3 (Flattops, 50th Annv., New Vaquero), XR3-RED (Blackhawks, Vaqueros, Single Sixes, some Hunters & distributor specials), Bisley (Bisley, Single Sixes, some Hunters & distributor specials) and the Super (Super). Hope this helps.

July 6, 2005, 09:25 PM
I have one in SS and love it it carries nice while bumming in the woods, but I have to agree with those who said it is a handfull with full bore 300gr loads, I loaded a few and have to say that is the only time I could say it hurt to touch off a handgun, all other loads were fine to shoot and I would not hesitate to load some 300gr CP to use on elk this fall and I might just do that but won't be making a habit out of "plinking" with them on a regular basis. :what:

Sharps Shooter
July 6, 2005, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the info Blackhawk44. I give. I was only going by my personal experiences with Blackhawks and Super Blackhawks. I was not exaggerating - I've owned over a half dozen Blackhawks chambered for everthing from the .30 Carbine to the .45 Colt with barrel lengths from 4 5/8" to 7 1/2". They all had short grip frames and rounded trigger guards. On the other hand, I've owned at least that many Super Blackhawks chambered for the .44 Magnum, with barrel lengths from 4 5/8" to 10 1/2" and they all had long grip frames and square back trigger guards. That includes the 5 1/2" Super Blackhawk my wife has now.
I can't tell from my 2005 Handguns catalog just what grip frame goes with what from Ruger this year. So I'll take your word for it and just alter my statement: The Ruger Super Blackhawk does not NECESSARILY have the same grip frame as the Ruger Blackhawk. Obviously it can though. :)

July 6, 2005, 09:57 PM
They are real barbie dolls. Just about every possible grip or barrel configuration has been out there at one time or another. Hard to tell from the very ugly picture, but this 5.5" .44 has a short "Blackhawk" grip frame and was called a Blackhawk even thought the frame was marked "Super Blackhawk
Mid 1990s

July 6, 2005, 10:18 PM
I had a 4 5/8" with a square backed trigger guard frame that WAS factory installed. In fact, I had two, one blue (ordered for a customer) and a SS that I bought for myself.

These were limited editions done for Williams Shooters Supply, back in the early 90's.

I sold the SS in a fit of my usual stupidity, and bought a blue 5 1/2" SBH which did come from the factory with a standard Blackhawk XR3-RED style grip frame.

Personally, I would like a 7 1/2" SBH with a fluted cylinder and the Hunter grip frame, but that would take three different revolvers to accomplish!

July 6, 2005, 10:37 PM
I bought one about 3 years ago for $300.

I like the gun with Spls but mags are a bit much for me.

I injured my hand 20 years ago and have very little strength in my pinky, and with the smallish grip I have to rest the gun on it.

Firing mags 240gr magnums cause enough discomfort that I can only manage one cylinder before it feels like my hand is rebreaking.

I had a Bisley about 15 years ago that I could shoot comfortably with 300s

The grip of my SBH feels to be the same size as the grip on my Old Model Vaquero .45 but I can shoot the .45 that way with little problem

July 6, 2005, 10:56 PM
Tonight I took a trip to a local distributer and handled a few Super Blackhawks.

I was really surprised at how well the 7 1/2" balanced. The 5 1/2" was a close second and the 4 5/8" a distant third. The 7 1/2" had the uncanny ability to just hang on target.

As to the grip frames, the KMR00300 on the 7 1/2" with the square back trigger guard was the most comfortable. I have big hands and this grip fit the best. I even preferred it over the Bisley. I will have to try the Hunter model as a final comparison.

I will need a 7 1/2" in the near future.

As to the packing/utility gun, it sounds like I will have to either search around for the one thats just right, or make my own.

4 5/8" or 5 1/2" barrel
Unfluted Cylinder
KMR00300 Grip Frame
Belt Mountain Base Pin
Exotic wood grips
Quality leather

In order to get this combination I'm wondering whether I just could buy the 7 1/2" with the unfluted cylinder and have it rebarrelled to 4 5/8". That would fit the bill and I would have the 7 1/2" barrel if I feel like a change of pace.

Is it possible? I'll call Ruger tomorrow and find out.

July 7, 2005, 12:15 AM
I cut an OM flattop .44 to 4 5/8" many years ago; used it for a while for similar things and then mothballed it. But it was a good packing gun if fairly brutal with full loads. I usually loaded it with .44 special level loads. Still have it and use it occasionally.

Of late I have become quite fond of a NM .45 convertible Blackhawk in .45 Colt/.45 ACP. It does the same basic job, weighs only about 38 ounces, and shoots extremely well with both cartridges. The .45 Colt can be loaded to any sane level necessary.

In theory the .44 Magnum is the better cartridge but if handloaded I lose nothing. Since T-Rex is reportedly extinct I see no pressing reason to go to the .44 Magnum or any of the other dinosaur level loads anyway.

Sometimes we can get all wrapped around the axle about things that aren't that big a deal.

July 7, 2005, 04:56 AM
The short Super Blackhawk is a fine gun. But for me I find that the fluted 5" model just balances and points better.

Buy the barrel length you prefer.
Brownells will sell you whatever gripframe you prefer. You can swap them yourself. Aluminium, blue steel, stainless steel, brass. Whatever you want it's out there.
You can even get a Birdshead version so you can pretend your Val Kilmer with an even badder attitude. ;)

I absolutely hate the original Colt Bisley gripframe. But I simply love the Ruger version.

The current flock of Blackhawks mystify me.
The 7" which looks like it always has with the square guard and the unfluted cylinder.
The 5" has the round guard standard Blackhawk grip frame (XR-3 RED*)and has a fluted cylinder so it looks like a regular Blackhawk with the wrong hammer.
The 4-5/8" model has the unfluted cylinder of the 7" model but with a round guard frame. To me it would look much better with the fluted cylinder but the day Ruger called to ask me what they should do, I was out.

*XR-3 RED stands for XR-3 redesigned. The original Colt sized frame tends to bang the middle finger when firing heavy loads. I for one am glad they changed it. A Colt feels better when fondling but a Ruger feels better when shooting.

July 7, 2005, 04:50 PM
I just spoke to Ruger, they will rebarrel a 7 1/2" Super Blackhawk to 4 5/8" and return the original barrel if that is stated in my letter to them.

Problem solved. Thanks for all the sage advice...

July 7, 2005, 08:39 PM
Sharps Shooter has it right, I also have a 5 1/2" Super Blackhawk with the square trigger guard and the long grip frame. To me, the 5 1/2" balances the best and carries just as easily as the 4 5/8".

July 8, 2005, 06:57 AM
Paladin-recently found one of these used, snapped it up pretty quick (never even seen one before). It has smooth and thinner imatation ivorys on it. Excellent pistol as is light to mid-range loads. The short grip is not as easy to control with full snort loads, but a simple addition of Pachmeyer rubbers helps considerable.

Have longer Bisleys in 44 and 45, but prefer the 4 5/8 barrel and shorter grip for balance, weight and handiness.

July 8, 2005, 08:24 AM
This may clear up some of the gripframe questions.

This is a good article to read: RUGER SINGLE ACTION GRIP FRAMES (

July 8, 2005, 08:25 AM
I wanted a BHG .44 Special/Russian 4.6" SS SA. I ordered a 4.6" .357M Vaquero BHG, adding a 4.6" SBH (KS458) when it arrived. The reason was economics... the bids on converting the .357M to .44 Spcl/Rus were out of my budget. I tried the designed gripframe swap, hoping to sell the resultant .357M Vaquero with a BH grip. The swap was impossible, too much gripframe thickness difference. I ordered a QPR BHG 'kit' and sold the .357M.

So, my favorite SA, since I built it over a year ago, is a 4.6" SBH with a BHG. It can be cocked and fired rapidly with one hand - fine for .44 Russians & Specials. The few 180gr 'hot' commercial .44 Magnums I tried left the muzzle skyward, the recoil 'roll' being highly accentuated. The 'thump' in your hand was acceptable, although I feel the 300gr .44M's may be a tad too much. The uncanny accuracy of some well-made .44 Russians and Specials will astound you from this revolver. On both range trips this week I was amazed how I could ping a 10" plate at 110 yd with it handheld (240gr LSWC & LRNFP's over 4.6gr Titegroup in .44 Special case with Federal primers). I want another one - to be left with the BH grip or have a Bisley gripframe added - for .44 Magnum use.

I think the absolutely best woods carry short barrel .44M would be my 629 Mountain Gun. The new .500 Magnum/X-frame backstrap-enclosing Hogue grips, a la the standard S&W 500 grips, turn the 629MG into a manageable recoil with .44M's. Admittedly, it is a quicker grab with the rounded non-f.g. Ahrends cocobolo stocks, a la the TR 21 & 329PD, but only with .44 Russians & Specials. The PD round I use, CCI Blazer or GA Arms 200gr Gold Dot JHP .44 Specials (Both ~ 843 fps from the 629MG), is fine so-stocked.


July 8, 2005, 10:06 AM
I recently converted my .357 Blackhawk to a SBH/357 with the addition of a grip frame/trigger/hammer from an expired SBH.

It handles much better than the original IMHO.

July 8, 2005, 10:58 PM
You guys are really great!

Thanks Old Wolf for the grip frame comparisons and Stainz I follow your posts here and elsewhere as you and I seem to think the same re: 44's. I too am a big fan of the 696 and Mountain Gun. I've had good luck with a 200gr LRNFP over 8.0 gr Unique in Starline 44 Special Brass and CCI LP Primers. Will need to try your Tightgroup recipe one day, after I work my way through a pound of 231.

I did find the 5 1/2" balanced better than the 4 5/8" too. Although I wonder what the 4 5/8" would be like with the KMR00300 grip frame? I will check it out again and try to get some time to shoot one this weekend. I found a local range that rents guns and may have one lying around.

By the time I get all this going it will be a few weeks from now, but I will report back on what I eventually end up with. The funny thing is that each time I go after the elusive 44 single action, without fail, I end up finding some hard to find S&W. Last time it was the 696 and the time before that a 3" 66. I even saw a near mint model 18 and would have bought it had it not been for a pitted barrel. Damn shame.

All the Best....

July 9, 2005, 12:56 AM
Thanks to OldWolf for posting that graphic.

Too bad though, that Gunblast didn't center the Bisley gips with the rest of them. The front and backstraps of th Bisley grips should align with the XR3-red, and the top should extent higher.

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