modern 45 colt blackhawk


August 15, 2006, 01:11 AM
I've been lusting for a blued 45 colt blackhawk for some time and depending on feedback it will be my next purchase. My concern is the accuracy problems with 45 colts made to SAAMI specs. Is this an easy fix? What will I have to do? I plan on shooting mostly heavier hunting loads and I really dislike poor accuracy out of either revos or rifles. If I can't get a 2 inch grouping out of a full size revo at 25 yards I feel like I've been scre*ed.

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August 15, 2006, 04:33 AM
Get a long barrel. Many people choose the Ruger NMBH as a medium and large game hunting handgun. I've read one author who stated that the NMBH is sufficient for medium game at up 60 yards with iron sights, so long as the shooter is proficient.

I can hit clay pigeons at 25 yards 2 handed standing, without too much difficulty, and my NMBH has a 4+5/8" barrel.

Old Fuff
August 15, 2006, 10:29 AM
Ruger had (has?) a problem with undersized chamber throats in their .45 Colt revolvers. This affected accuracy, especially with cast lead bullets. Thee are a number of small gunsmith operations that offer to ream the chamber throats to match the bore, and this often has a positive effect.

Replacing the cylinder base pin with an oversized one (available from will also improve accuracy.

The standard .45 Colt loading itself is very accurate in a good revolver (and a Blackhawk isn't a bad one) at ranges out to 200 yards on targets the size of a large dog or a wolf.

Tom C.
August 15, 2006, 08:02 PM
In the past Ruger has been famous for undersized chamber throats. That may have changed with recent production. I don’t know. The ones in .45 Colt that I own have all, to a greater or lesser degree, needed the following:
Ream chamber throats to a consistent .4525”.
Recut barrel forcing cone to 11 degrees.
Replace the cylinder base pin with the Belt Mountain pin. I, too, get mine from Brownell’s. This takes out the slop in the fitting of the cylinder. It usually helps, but not always.
Replace the cylinder base pin latch spring with a heavier Wolff spring. This helps keep the base pin in place.
Replace the main spring and trigger spring. I use Wolff, but there are several other suitable brands.
Lightly polish the internal parts and smooth up the trigger.
Check the chambers to see if they need polishing.
Check the barrel where it goes through the frame for a constriction of .001” to .002” that is referred to as “choking”. One way to remove it is firelapping. You can also probably reduce or eliminate it by firing heavy, jacketed bullets. They break in the barrel and pound out the choking.
When you finish this work, as needed by your gun, you will have one of the sweetest feeling and shooting guns available. I use NMBHs in CAS competition, first .45s before switching to .357. My Rugers are a match for any Colt with an action job. Unfortunately, they are sometimes a bit of a diamond in the rough, and take some work to bring out their best qualities.

August 15, 2006, 10:51 PM
Mine shot pretty darned good out of the box but it's even better after the chambers were reamed. Mine's a convertible and since almost all of my reloads are lead I sent both cylinders to and got them back in about a week.

August 16, 2006, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the info, folks. If the bills allow, a blackhawk may come home with me before christmas.

August 16, 2006, 11:38 AM
I have a new model Blackhawk (Bisley) in .45 Colt. I have done nothing to it except shoot it. It is a REALLY accurate firearm. Mine seems to LOVE 300 gr hard cast bullets with an ample of H110.

I have a similar gun (in stainless and .44 mag-Bisley hunter model) that did require the chambers polished to aid extraction and I put in a Belt Mt base pin. It is also a great shooter.

My experience with the recently made Ruger stuff has been very positive in the accuracy dpt.

Good luck with yours. You WILL enjoy it! Be sure to try the big, long, heavy bullets.

August 16, 2006, 07:11 PM
I have one with the 7.5" Barrel and I think mine shoots pretty good. On a good day I can keep most in a softball sized circle at about 30 yards off hand.

Vern Humphrey
August 16, 2006, 07:39 PM
I have one, virtually brand new, that wouldn't give me good accuracy, even after throating the chambers. I finally figured out that original Colt .45 loads used a hollowbase bullet. I looked around for one, and found the Lee Modern Minnie mould -- this comes in .450 and .454. I bought the .454 (around $18.00), which throws a nominally 298 grain ball, and did some cogitating.

Using the Hodgdon manual, which lists two sets of data for the .45 ("Regular" and "Ruger only"), I picked powders listed in both sections. The starting and max loads gave me 4 data points, with charge, pressure and velocity for each.

Dumping the data into a graphing function, I found it was all linear. That gave me confidence that I could interpolate, or extrapolate backwards if needed. I arrived at 14 grains of Li'l Gun (chosen because of it's low peak pressures and prolonged peak.) That should give just about 15,000 CUP (close to SAAMI spec for .45 Colt -- and a "regular" load) at just about 1,000 fps.

I discussed this with Ed Harris, and we decided to go a bit lower -- 12 grains. That should produce a few thousand less CUP and something around 900 fps.

The first loads went into 2" at 25 yards, and averaged 875 fps over my Crony chronograph. It's a comfortable load to shoot, as well. I may take a deer with it this season.

shooting on a shoestring
August 16, 2006, 10:02 PM
in November 2005 from a Sportsman's Warehouse. I took a feeler gauge and a split ball and 0-1 mic. I had a choice of a 5.5 or 7.5. I measured both for gap and chamber dimensions and bought the 7.5 as it had the best measurements. It has turned out to be a decent specimen. I have several 250gr lead loads that will do 2" at 25 yds bench rested. My tightest shooting load is 300 gr JHP at 1250 fps. I can get consistent 1.5 " at 25 yds rested, and its a real stomper.

Odd though, the fired case that came with the "new" gun was dated 2001. That tells me this NMBH spent 4 years on a shelf some place(s).

I'm in love with the .45 Colt caliber. This is my first one. I do want another in either 4.375" or a bird's head Vaq in 3.XXX.

August 16, 2006, 10:24 PM
Mine will put six rounds into an inch center to center at 25 yards off sand bags wit 255 grain cast lead flat nose bullets from a Lee mold over 8.3 grains of Unique. Now, maybe it was worked over, don't know. I bought/traded for it and it was used. It's a tack driver, though, and it's a 4 5/8" barrel. It's equally accurate with a hot handload using the Hornady 300 grain XTP bullet.

Harry Stone
August 18, 2006, 01:10 AM
I have the convertible with a 5 1/2" barrel. I noticed it had light pitting in the barrel when I got it home, even though it was new. I decided to shoot it before sending it back to Ruger. After a shooting session and a Belt Mountain base pin I'd never let them touch it. I went out to the range with a friend after I worked it over and picked off an empty 12 guage shell at 25 yards. There had to be some luck involved there but it keeps a cylinder full in about an inch at 25 yards with a rest. Even with the .45 ACP cylinder it shoots great.

If I had to pick just one of my guns to keep, it would be the Blackhawk.

August 18, 2006, 07:21 AM
I've had a 5.5" BH .45 convertible, a 5.5" SS Bisley BH (Whose uneven/small cylinder exits I reamed.), a 5.5" SS RH, a 7.5" SRH (.454), a 4.6" SS BHG Vaquero, and a 4" S&W 625MG, all in .45 Colt. The MG out-grouped all at 25yd with cowboy-ish loads - and tied with the RH at 50yd. I still have the BHG Vaq & RH - and, now, two 625MG's.

In fairness, the SRH took the prize at 50yd off sandbags, with a scope, and shooting 240gr XTP's in .454 Casull (1,985 fps!) - repeatable 1.5" 5-shot (I allow a flier...) groups.

Oddly, I still want another SS BH in .45 Colt... maybe just because I still have the reamer! The 625MG is more compact - and more fun. Plus, try as I might, I could never make that Bisley BH go bang without cocking it... the RH and MG's are more to my likes, I guess.


August 18, 2006, 12:48 PM
I bought a Ruger Bisley in .45 Colt. I put a spring kit in it and fire lapped the barrel. It shoots much better than I can, with several loads.
I'll never go back to standard single action grips for large caliber revolvers after using the Bisley.


August 18, 2006, 12:53 PM
How hard are they to take apart and put the springs in?

I took off one side of the trigger return spring as mentioned on Gunblast and it made the trigger MUCH better. Are the springs a further improvement?

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