Ruger .357 Maximum Blackhawk


July 20, 2009, 09:27 PM
I recently acquired a Ruger .357 Maximum Blackhawk, seven-and-a-half inch barrell, single action revolver. Ammunition seems to be scarce for this particular gun. It looks to have never been fired, and to my knowledge, it never has een fired. My question is: is this a collector's item or a usable firearm (or both)? If it is usable, where might I get ammunition? I understand that it was built for 180gr - 200gr ammuntion, but cannot seem to find any. Thoughts...opinions? Thanks, wolf....

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July 20, 2009, 09:41 PM
Best bet, leave it as-is, head to and you'll find everything you'll need about this model.

July 20, 2009, 09:56 PM
Didn't that cartridge suffer from the "light bullet at really fast speeds w/slow burning powders" thing?

Learn to reload.

July 20, 2009, 10:35 PM
Isn't this round prone to gas cutting? :confused:

July 21, 2009, 12:26 AM
VERY VERY collectable! And while a good round and you could have fun with it shooting 180 grain bullets at 15-1600 FPS, If it was a cherry my advice would be to make a pile of dough on it!

July 21, 2009, 01:47 AM
The round is loaded to higher pressures than typically encountered in the 35 and 44 caliber chamberings. The results was flame cutting on the top strap of the frame. Open the cylinder, look at the inside of the frame just above the barrel face. If you see etching into the metal, it has whats called flame cutting or erosion. This would progress to a given point the stop proliferating and the revolver was still safe to use, according to Ruger Firearms.

You said yours looked clean so it just may be unfired so you probably don't have any cutting. It is collectible, so baby it, if unfired, you may consider leaving unfired. If you determine it has been fired and want to shoot it, I'd only use downloaded ammo to avoid that value dropping erosion.

July 21, 2009, 02:00 AM
I bought mine because it was recalled. It is a very versatile gun. I shoot everything from .38 Special LWC target rounds up through .357 Mag and .357 Max. Just remember to stay away from very light bullets in .357 Max.

The Lone Haranguer
July 21, 2009, 08:04 PM
It has collector status because few were made before Ruger pulled them from the market, more so in the condition you describe. If you buy it and it should ever need repairs, don't send it to Ruger, as it is under a recall and you won't get it back.

If you wish to shoot it with Maximum (capital M) loads, you will need to handload, avoiding maximum (small m) loads with light bullets. You can also shoot normal .357 Magnum.

July 21, 2009, 10:51 PM
If it is usable, where might I get ammunition?

July 22, 2009, 09:14 PM
1. What ever else you do, don't let Ruger get their hands on it. That will mean bye bye.

2. Remington brass is still available.

3. The flame cutting thing was due more to a bad factory load than to the cartridge design itself itself.

4. Proper handloads will allow full power without excessive flame cutting.

5. All revolvers suffer flame cutting to some degree.

6. If you really want to avoid flame cutting get a thin feeler gauge, cut out a tab and glue it on the under side of the top strap above the cylinder gap.

7. It does have collector value. It's a toss up whether you should shoot it or not. Only you can decide.

If I had it I probably would not shoot it, but then I have a 357 SuperMag which will outperform the 357 Maximum and I have a 357-44 B&D which will nearly match it.

July 22, 2009, 11:31 PM
357 SuperMag which will outperform the 357 Maximum

They're the same thing! Remington dubbed them 'Maximum' for their own ammo marketing reasons.

July 23, 2009, 07:12 PM
The 357 SuperMag is NOT the same thing as a 357 Maximum. The two cartridges seem doomed to be ever confused.

Elgin Gates developed the 357 SuperMag as a wildcat. This inspired Ruger and Remington to go commercial with it, but Ruger did not want to make the cylinder window long enough to accommodate the 357 SuperMag. Remington proposed a light bullet hyper velocity load. Elgin Gates told them this would lead to problems. It did exactly that, creating the flame cutting fiasco.

The SuprMag is longer than the 357 Maximum and will not chamber in the Ruger. I've tried it. The Dan Wesson and possibly the Seville were chambered for the SuperMag, not withstanding the Dan Wesson being marked 357 Maximum adding to the confusion.

The 357 SuperMag case is 0.005 longer than the Maximum case, not a big difference. Primary difference is the OAL. The SuperMag is 0.125 longer than the Maximum allowing heavy for caliber bullets to be properly seated. In the Maximum they must be deep seated eating into the powder room. The original concept was for heavy for caliber bullets rather than light bullets at hyper velocities.

Bottom line: Gates developed the 357 SuperMag and said himself the 357 Maximum was not a SuperMag.

July 23, 2009, 09:47 PM
0.005 longer

And that nets you what, around 500 FPS more velocity?!?!? Lighten up, there is no practical difference between them.

That's one-half turn too many on the case trimmer.

July 24, 2009, 04:20 PM
Seems there is some confusion between the gun and the ammo. Same name for both? I guess I will hang on to it as a collectable as I have no idea of its worth, yet. I can always get a .357 to shoot, but can't always get a collector's item. Thank you for the input.

Ben Shepherd
July 24, 2009, 04:41 PM
Punch 357 Maximum into the forum search window. Lots of info on that gun/cartridge in the archives.

I've got one, but due to consistent problems with remington pistol brass, it's in retirement until I can afford to have it rechambered in 475 or 500 Linebaugh.

But as noted above, whatever you do, DO NOT send it back to Ruger for any reason, ever.

The flame cutting thing boils down to this-

It only progressed to a certain point and then stopped.

Stick with 140 or heavier slugs and it isn't an issue anyway.

July 24, 2009, 06:50 PM
s4s4u, while I always welcome constructive criticism, it would be best if you read my comments before criticizing them.

I believe I stated that the 0.005 difference in case length was NOT a big difference.

I believe I stated that the primary difference was in the OAL, 0.125 longer for the SuperMag. This is more than three times the difference between the 38 Special and the 357 Magnum.

I believe I stated that a SuperMag will not chamber in the Ruger. That alone makes it a different cartridge.

The SuperMag was intended to use a heavy for caliber bullet. Given a 200 grain bullet the SuperMag will certainly outperform a Maximum. Even loaded with a middle weight bullet of 158 grains the SuperMag will not chamber in the Ruger. I also believe I stated that Ruger declined the option of making the cylinder window long enough for the 357 SuperMag.

I have separate loading data for the two cartridges. This would also lead one to think of them as two separate cartridges. Not to mention that the 357 SuperMag was Elgin Gate's child and he said the 357 Maximum was a different animal.

July 25, 2009, 09:58 AM
but then I have a 357 SuperMag which will outperform the 357 Maximum

Did you not say this?

OAL (.125") has naught to do with case capacity (.005").

July 25, 2009, 09:23 PM
I did not say that an increase in OAL of 0.125 inch has naught to do with case capacity. I said it was the primary difference. It obviously increases the effective case capacity by 0.125 inch times the internal diameter, particularly when using heavy bullets which is what the cartridge was designed for.

With light bullets there is a smaller difference, but then neither cartridge is at its best with light bullets. I consider 158 grains to be the practical lower limit for bullet weight with either cartridge.

July 26, 2009, 12:33 AM
mt timberwolf, Shoot it or not, your choice. These seem to carry a $200 to $300 premium over other Blackhawks on Gunbroker. It won't change the date you can retire. I look at all Rugers as shooters until I can find a Mexican Ruger. I just got a Blackhawk 30 Carbine 3 screw and intend to shoot it a bunch just for fun. Nothing like a fireball to make you grin.

July 26, 2009, 12:22 PM
Here is the ammo I use in my Dan Wesson 357 supermag when I bought it it was 10 dollars cheaper but the ammo is excellent. Don't believe people when they say the only way to get mmo is to reload, and reeds ammo have all but the most obscure calibers.

July 26, 2009, 04:16 PM
obviously increases the effective case capacity by 0.125 inch times the internal diameter

Look, you make no sense. If the case is .005" longer that is all you can compare when it comes to capacity and, in turn, performance. OAL only refers to the max length a loaded round should be, I can seat a bullet in my Max to the same OAL as you keep refering to and hence the same capacity -.005 x (.179 squared x PI)

In the purest sense they may be "different", but in my Contender there is no practical difference and your SuperMag will not "outperform" my Max.

I'm out......

July 26, 2009, 06:36 PM
You don't seem to get it. If you load with Maximum data to Maximum length specs you have a Maximum. If you load with SuperMag data to SuperMag specs you have a SuperMag. Which will NOT chamber in a Ruger. Elgin Gates developed the SuperMag and said the Maximum was a different cartridge. That's right from the horse's mouth. Elgin warned Ruger and Remington against the Maximum concept and said it would fail to do the SuperMag's job which it does fail to do. The Ruger and the Maximum were developed for each other. If a SuperMag won't chamber in the Ruger than it ain't a Maximum, not to mention it exceeds the SAAMI spec length for the Maximum. A 357 Maximum won't chamber in a 360 Dan Wesson so it ain't a 360 Dan Wesson. A 458 Lott won't chamber in a 458 Winchester so it ain't a 458 Winchester.

Case capacity per se means nothing. It's how much powder room you have with the correct bullet seated to the correct depth. It should be obvious that if I seat the bullet farther out I have more powder room. And there is that 0.005 inch case length difference if you want to split hairs.

People do all sorts of weird things with single shot pistols. But a lot of those weird things ain't any standard commercial, proprietary, or wildcat cartridge.

July 26, 2009, 06:46 PM
The way I understand it is if you put a commercial production 357 supermag in a blackhawk it will stick out just enough to catch the forcing cone thus keeping the cylinder from rotating. Here is the full explanation of all the supermag cartridges I went through the confusion when I bought my Dan Wesson 357 supermag. You can almost compare it to the 223/5.56 difference. Here is another good thread discussing the whole thing

July 26, 2009, 06:59 PM
Precisely. A SuperMag cartrdige placed in the Ruger Maximum will have the bullet protruding from the front of the cylinder.

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