Ruger Blackhawk Convertable


Ohio Rifleman
July 31, 2006, 02:17 AM
I'm a little leery about single action, but I found this revolver that has me interested. The big selling point on it is that it is convertable from 357 to 9mm with a quick cylinder change. They say you can do this without any tools. There's a link to the gun on Ruger's site. Does anyone own one of these guns? Is it worth it, or should I just go with a GP161? Like this one Keep in mind, my experience with handguns is pretty limited. In fact, the only handgun I've ever fired is a Ruger P-series 9mm semi-auto. As my name would suggest, most of my experience with guns has been with rifles. I'm mostly a target shooter, also, but I'm not ruling out home defense. I'm under 21, so ccw is out of the question.

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July 31, 2006, 03:10 AM
Ohio Rifleman,

I asked about the Blackhawk convertibles a while back and the folks here got me some good info. 9mm bullets are .355" dia, while 38/357 Bullets are .356" or .357" dia. The result is that the rifling, set up for the 38/357, doesnt grip the 9mm bullets well and accuracy with 9mm suffers. However, the other convertible Blackhawk is 45 ACP/45 LC, which both use .452" dia bullets, so accuracy doesn't suffer when using the conversion cylinder. The cylinder swap requires pushing in on a captive pin at the front of the frame to release the cylinder pin that you pull out. Open the loading gate, remove one cylinder, insert the other, reinsert the cylinder pin. Once you get a feel for it it only takes a few seconds. If you like the single actions I'd go for it; no reason to be leery of them, they're as safe as any other modern revolver. The Ruger GPs are also very nice. I suppose it all depends on what you really want, SA or DA. Any Ruger revolver will be a very good gun purchase.

I'll also add that with limited handgun experience a nice 22 LR auto or revolver is a great way to have fun, learn handgun shooting fundamentals, and get very cheap practice. I've been shooting handguns for several years and recently bought a S&W K-22 revolver so I could have fun and get cheap practice. I think a 22 would be a good start before stepping up to a centerfire.

July 31, 2006, 09:49 AM
I own the .45 Colt/.45 ACP convertible and love it. Don't have one in .357 yet. I hear a few complaining and many more surmising about the accuracy of the 9MM in ths gun. Hell, most autos in 9MM are not that accurate past 10 yds compared to to the .45s and some other rds. I'd wager many people can't shoot well enough to tell the difference any way. The Ruger convertible is not meant to be a target pistol. A plinker with reasonable priced ammo and regardless of what some say the 9MM is a good home defence gun. As far as changing cylinders, it's a quick and simple no tools operation. The only downside to a single action is that it's rather slow to load and unload especially to a new shooter but it gets a bit faster with practice. I always tell people to go to the Ruger forum and ask there but I'll bet you'll get a lot of feedback here.

July 31, 2006, 11:51 AM
A Ruger Blackhawk is an all time classic revolver that everyone should give a try. The .357/9mm convertible is a good gun and you really can't go wrong with it. While it's true the 9mm cylinder makes for less than stellar accuracy, it is still not all that bad and still plugs a soda can at 25yds just fine. Give it a try and I think you'll find it a lot of fun. The GP-100 is another fine gun that you won't go wrong in buying, why not buy both!

July 31, 2006, 11:56 AM
Edit: Removing a post that really isn't High Road.

Ohio Rifleman
July 31, 2006, 01:36 PM
My cash is really limited, so I can't really buy both, as much as I'd like to. I thought that there would be some accuracy issues, I was worried that the gun would sacrifice accuracy for that conversion feature. I'd also like a revolver that will challenge me a little more than a 22. Like I said, cash is limited, I can't afford to buy a 22 and then a centerfire a few months after that. Well, maybe I could...I don't know. How much is a 22 revolver? They can't be that expensive.

July 31, 2006, 01:50 PM
I think you will find that the caliber of the pistol doesn't dictate the price. A quality .22 revolver will go you just as much as a quality .38 revolver. If it is a choice of going cheap or not at all, I suggest you save and wait until you can purchase quality.

July 31, 2006, 08:03 PM
I have the Ruger Convertible Blackhawk in .357 / 9mm. I've had it about 20 years now. Never once considered selling it -- it is a keeper. I bought it mainly for handgun hunting way back then, and that is where that .357 cylinder comes in. But it is lots of fun to take to the range for a day of target shooting, or just out plinking, and that is where that 9mm cylinder comes in. A box of 9mm is cheaper, easier on the wrist, and your Significant Other won't mind shooting it when it is loaded "down" to 9mm. And, of course, you can always shoot .38 spcl out of the .357 cylinder if you make sure to clean it well afterwards.

Swapping the cylinders takes about 10 seconds and involves no tools. Open the loading gate, push a button, pull a rod, remove the cylinder.... reverse to install the new one.

As for accuracy issues, it is true you won't shoot the eyes out of gnat at 20 paces with that 9mm cylinder, but I couldn't do that offhand with a match-grade .22 either. If you are to the point where the difference between an "X" and a 10-ring is important to you, you might look around for a different gun. Otherwise this gun is worth considering if you are in the market for a single-action revolver.

Edited to add: as long as the bore is not worn out, there should be no concerns about accuracy using the .38 / .357 cylinder, by the way. The only complaints anyone has (to my knowledge) is with the loser fit of the 9mm bullet in that .357 bore. If you need primo accuracy, switch back to the .357 cylinder.

If you are looking for a defensive weapon, double-action is a better choice.

July 31, 2006, 11:53 PM
By all means, the .357 cylinder gives up no accuracy at all. My convertible is probably one of my more accurate .357's. If given the choice of only one of the two guns you mentioned I'd be all over the Blackhawk just for versatility. Again, you can't go wrong with a Ruger.

Ohio Rifleman
August 1, 2006, 12:41 AM
I agree with 461, being able to shoot 3 different calibers out of one revolver is very appealing to me. Especially since 9mm ammo is dirt cheap and widely available. But I do like double actions like the GP161...decisions, decisions.

August 1, 2006, 12:45 AM
Step 1) Get a Blackhawk in .357 (w/9mm conv. cylinder if it has one; don't sweat it if it doesn't)

Step 2) Get set up to reload .357 (and .38; same dies. A very, very easy caliber to start your reloading adventure with; you can make better .38 OR .357 ammo than you can buy, for well under the cost of cheap factory 9mm).

Step 3) Toss the 9mm cylinder (if you got one) in a sock drawer, or use it as an attractive paperweight/conversation piece (the theme of the conversations it starts will always be, "man, am I glad I reload").

Step 4) Enjoy the remarkable versatility of the .38/.357 AND the remarkable fun of a single action in the remarkably robust Blackhawk platform.

Old Fuff
August 1, 2006, 01:01 AM
The current .377/9mm Blackhawk is built on Ruger's .44 Magnum platform, so the resulting gun is heavy to say the least. Be sure you handle one before you buy.

I see little use for the 9mm option. Sure you can buy cheap ammunition, but a lot of it is junk so far as quality goes. If you set up and reload the .357 Magnum you can do anything the 9mm can, and the ammunition you load will be a lot more accurate then the "white box" stuff sold in the various "mart" stores.

And of course if you use the extra cylinder money to get started in reloading you can take up loading rifle cartridges shortly thereafter.

August 1, 2006, 02:40 AM
I got two words for you: WOLF AMMO

Normally I don't recommend Wolf Ammo. Stinks to much and is too dirty. Also, I'm not keen on steel cases. At one point I broke down and bought a case of 45 acp. After 200 round, I stashed in the back of my closet and forgot about it. Sometime later I bought a Ruger 45colt/45acp convertible. I tried all sorts of both calibers and had a hoot shooting it. Then I remembered the Wolf Ammo. I figured the Ruger could withstand and abuse the steel casings could dish out, and the Ruger has proven VERY easy to clean. Next time I went to the range I brought the Ruger and the Wolf Ammo. I had a hoot shoot that stuff up, and clean up was still no problem. 45colt and 45acp ammo can get very expensive, except for Wolf Ammo. Now I keep a bunch of Wolf Ammo around for plinking witht he Ruger.

9mm ammo is cheap, but the Wolf variety is even cheaper. When you are plinking, you can load up with Wolf 9mm and have a grand old time. When you want accuracy, get some nice 38 special or 357 magnum.

BTW, the Ruger Blackhawks are accurate enough to hunt game out to 50 yards with open sights. you just need to be good enough.

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