Best Single Action Revolvers...


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sprice
December 5, 2009, 02:43 PM
I'm looking for a single action revolver in .357 mag/.38 spc. What is the best kind? I don't want a colt (to expensive) and I'm not sure I'd want a ruger (just don't like 'em and they have a funny safety), but please tell me about them anyway. So what is the best single action .357 for about $500 ($0-$800), if it has adjustable sights I'd like that a little better by the way.


Actually I'm starting to rethink my ruger hatred... This one looks like what I would want: http://ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkStainless/models.html. Can I get one with a 9mm cylinder to switch out so I can shoot .357,.38 and 9mm?! That would be perfect! :)

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SharpsDressedMan
December 5, 2009, 02:53 PM
I think you are looking for an OLD MODEL (called a three screw) Blackhawk Ruger. Quality, adjustable sights, .357, NO transfer bar, and priced between a Colt and a newer Ruger. Be sure the gun you are buying HAS NOT been modified by Ruger (they offered this "service" to the older guns, to make them safer) with replacement parts. Probably get a nice one in the $500-$700 range.

rcmodel
December 5, 2009, 03:00 PM
(just don't like 'em and they have a funny safetyThere is nothing "funny" about the Ruger transfer bar safety.

It works perfectly all the time, and you won't even know it is in there.

It allows you to safely carry 6 rounds in the chambers instead of 5 rounds like a Colt or early three-screw Ruger that must be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer.

rc

X-Rap
December 5, 2009, 03:37 PM
You asked for the best and then disqualified it in the next sentence, like RC said you will never even notice it and being novice enough to ask this question you probably wouldn't know the difference.

frankiestoys
December 5, 2009, 03:39 PM
Ruger blackhawk can be had in various cals. Great revolver

Jim K
December 5, 2009, 03:53 PM
There are plenty of single action revolvers, but all the imports have some kind of "funny safety" because of the import laws. The Rugers are nice guns, but the actions are not "traditional". If Colts are out, the only reasonably priced guns that come to mind are the USFA guns. IIRC, they make the Rodeo in .38 Special. Freedom Arms makes a nice SA, but they are expensive (close to $2000) and also have a safety.

I have owned Colts in .38 and one drawback of the regular size SAA type (by any maker) in .38/.357 is the weight. The cylinders and barrels are sized for .44/.45 and the smaller hole means a lot more steel and a lot more weight. I bought a 50th anniversary Ruger BH in .357 with the steel backstrap and traded it off; just too heavy, bigger and a lot heavier than the original model.

Jim

The Bushmaster
December 5, 2009, 03:56 PM
Except, rcmodel, when you go to load it or remove the empties. Colts and the old Rugers were timed to the loading gate. I have both (newer Ruger). I would much rather load my Colt in the dark then the Ruger. You don't have to be lookin' at your gun when you load the Colt or older Ruger SAA...

rcmodel
December 5, 2009, 04:05 PM
They fixed that with the Reverse Indexing Pawl.
At least on the Vaquero and 50th Anniversary Blackhawks.

http://www.ruger-firearms.com/products/vaqueroSASS/features.html

Don't get me wrong. I love old Colts, and own a few.
I no longer own any New Model Rugers.

But for a first timer who has to ask, it is a heck of a lot safer gun then any Colt or Colt clone.

rc

sprice
December 5, 2009, 04:15 PM
Don't the colts have a half cock?! That's really as safe as I need a revolver to be.

SharpsDressedMan
December 5, 2009, 04:18 PM
HELLO -OH! Wlhat's wrong with steering him towards the original Blackhawk? It's a SA, in the right price range, .357, a quality gun, and holds it's collectors value. A USFA is just as expensive as a Colt. Yeah, one would have to keep the hammer on an empty chamber, like Colt's, but we all learned how to do that, right?

sprice
December 5, 2009, 04:19 PM
I'm only going to use it camping and at the range so I see no reason why it has to be overly safe.

oldfool
December 5, 2009, 04:34 PM
"I see no reason why it has to be overly safe. "

there is no such thing as overly safe, friend
If Bill Ruger was still around, he might explain why new models have transfer bars (real expensive lesson in modern litigation)

half-cock is NOT a safety, fact (common misinterpretation), not on any gun long or short, any/all make/model

with all that said, in your price range, Ruger Blackhawk, yes, adjustable sights a plus, yes
if older model, load only five
if newer model, load six
either way, be prepared to get happy
shoot well, be well, be safe

ruger700
December 5, 2009, 04:36 PM
I'm only going to use it camping and at the range so I see no reason why it has to be overly safe

That is a horrible statement. Be SAFE and you will have an enjoyable life. If you think there is a thing as "too safe" with a firearm; an "accident" will happen. However, it won't be an accident; it will be a simple matter of not following the rules of safe gun handling.

MovedWest
December 5, 2009, 04:37 PM
Except, rcmodel, when you go to load it or remove the empties. Colts and the old Rugers were timed to the loading gate. I have both (newer Ruger). I would much rather load my Colt in the dark then the Ruger. You don't have to be lookin' at your gun when you load the Colt or older Ruger SAA...

This is my biggest pet peeve about the new models. Loading on the old models was timed like a master clock. The new models require fiddling with to load. It's the kind of nuisance that Ruger should've accounted for from the beginning.

RC - you say the newer new models have fixed that? Do you know when they did it and do you know if they do it on the current run of super blackhawks?

-MW

sprice
December 5, 2009, 04:38 PM
true I guess the overly safe thing I said was stupid; what I meant was why have more parts wich makes the gun more complex and leaves more room for malfunction- and all in the name of safety? I think the more simple the gun the better it is. I'm pretty sure john browning said something like that, and that's all I meant.

rcmodel
December 5, 2009, 04:41 PM
Don't the colts have a half cock?! That's really as safe as I need a revolver to be.In a real Colt or clone, the tip of the trigger in the safety notch is all that stands between you and a blow to the hammer putting a new hole in your hide.

That tiny trigger tip is not much bigger then the end of a flat toothpick and can be easily broken by a blow to the hammer! Either by dropping the gun, or by something hitting it.

It has been a well known fact for over 100 years that carrying a live round under the hammer on the "safety" notch is an accident waiting to happen.

The other "half-cock" notch is only used when loading the gun so you can spin the cylinder to each chamber. It has nothing to do with the safety notch.

rc

sprice
December 5, 2009, 04:48 PM
But extra parts in a gun and calling it safe when the design was safe in the begining ( if used right anyway- point in safe direction, hammer on empty chamber, ect.) seems pointless and overly complicated. Single actions have been used for years with minimal safety issues so I see no reason why there would be a problem with safety now. If I am safe with guns I don't think the safety should be the issue- afterall as said in hunter safety the safety switch is a mechanical feature and should not be trusted. What makes safe firearm handling is the user not the extra parts in the weapon; but that's just my oppinion.

sprice
December 5, 2009, 04:51 PM
I'm new to revolvers so thank you all for my ignorance about the revolver and half cock by the way- much appreciated information. :)

rcmodel
December 5, 2009, 04:55 PM
As long as you fully understand the safety implications of the original Colt design, and always act accordingly, you are right.

But your first post asking the question, and following comments after some folks answered the question, made many of us wonder if you knew enough about single-actions to do that.

If you understand the safety implications of the Colt design, then disregard everything I said and just buy whatever tickles your fuzzy.

rc

X-Rap
December 5, 2009, 05:05 PM
If you started counting all the possible deaths due to slowness in loading or malfunction due to the crossbar safety today you'd not hit the bodycount of AD's prior to the new model in a hundred yrs.
Everybody knows that you are supposed to only carry 5 but there are still a pile of tombstones from those who have had them fall from their truck, off their horse, hooked on brush and hit the ground, you name it. When it happens the paper calls it a "Freak Accident".

oldfool
December 5, 2009, 05:05 PM
"If you understand the safety implications of the Colt design, then disregard everything I said and just buy whatever tickles your fuzzy."

ditto
nothing else implied (yes, finger & mindset is always safety #1)
enjoy !

The Bushmaster
December 5, 2009, 05:13 PM
Two "safe" positions on the Colt SAA...Hammer resting on an empty chamber or the hammer resting between loaded chambers. There is NO position of the hammer that is to be trusted as a safety. NONE...Except as stated above.

Old Fuff
December 5, 2009, 05:47 PM
sprice:

The latest version of the .357 Blackhawk is made on a smaller Colt-size frame, is safe to carry fully loaded, and when you turn the cylinder to load the chamber, it will be indexed to be in line with the groove in the frame. Most of the things that users didn't like about the first "new" model have been resolved. Also some of the parts that were likely to break in the original Blackhawks – especially the trigger – are more robust in these newer ones.

These have only been made (in .357 caliber) as a special extra-cost commemorative, but you will find them at a considerable discount if you follow this link. You will have to call their 800 number to get the latest prices, but take my word for it – they are VERY attractive.

www.cdnnsports.com

Why not an older Ruger Blackhawk that doesn’t have the transfer bar safety? Actually I prefer them myself. But keep in mind that those in mint condition are usually expensive, can only be safely carried with 5 rounds or less, and that (very important) Ruger will no longer provide parts to repair them.

TargetTerror
December 5, 2009, 06:40 PM
To me, any sort of internal safety does NOT bother me in the slightest. In fact, I like them so long as there presence is completely invisible to me as the user. In normal use, you do NOT know that there is any sort of transfer bar mechanism at play in a Ruger. This is not like an external safety where it actually interfaces with the user.

That said, I've had a few different Rugers in 44 magnum, (SBHs and SRH) and the only thing that broke was one of the springs connected to the transfer bar on my 4.5 inch SBH. Basically, it wouldn't clear the firing pin unless the gun was tipped back to let gravity do the work. Ruger fixed it for free.

You could say to that "see, more parts = more likely to break." That is not wrong, but sh8t happens with any model of gun. The benefits of knowing the gun will NOT fire unless the trigger is all the way back greatly outweigh this risk in my mind. Especially if you are camping. You really don't want to accidentally blow a hole in any part of you (or your buddies) in the middle of nowhere. That will ruin your day fast.

Jim K
December 5, 2009, 06:42 PM
"pile of tombstones"? Wow! I am sure that some folks were killed or injured by having their SA guns fall on the hammer or having the hammer hit, but I don't believe the streets were littered with the bodies. I knew one man who was seriously injured when his early Ruger .44 fell from his holster while he was getting into his pickup truck and shot him, almost literally, in the a$$. But that was one man and I have not personally known of any others.

The fact is that the half-cock notch was considered an adequate safety by none other than John Browning, who never put any other safety on his hammer guns until the Army made him add a grip safety and thumb safety to the 1911.

The recent concern about not loading that sixth chamber is mainly the product of Colt attorneys, fighting off a law that would have forced them to put a safety on the SAA and thus killing of its "Old West" authenticity. (They invented the $20 bill story; darned few cowpokes ever saw $20 - equivalent to $1000 today - in one piece, coin or bill.)

With single actions, for the most part they either used the safety notch or dropped the hammer between rounds, not unlike using the safety pins on the old Colt cap and ball guns, or the safety notches on the Remingtons.

Jim

billdavidmoore
December 5, 2009, 07:53 PM
Sprice, I shoot cowboy (Single Action Shooters Society, SASS). I see a variety of single actions, with the Ruger Vaquero and the New Vaquero being the most common. I shoot Cimarron colt clones. I love my 1872 Open Tops, and like my Cimarron Model Ps only slightly less. If you are going into cowboy action shooting, and want an Italian clone, (I paid $900.00 for a pair in California) take a look at Taylor and Company's "Smoke Wagon" or Cimarrons " Evil Roy". They have wider front sights, and a wider notch at the rear sight. I am happy with my italian clones, but you can not go wrong with the Rugers.

MCgunner
December 5, 2009, 08:22 PM
Well, Ruger is only the second best .357 magnum single action extant. I will bow to the Freedom Arms revolvers. I own a Blackhawk, though. I own 7 Rugers total, two Blackhawks and an Old Army. I own the Blackhawks because, well, I like 'em, but they're the best that I can afford. I could do a whole lot worse IMHO. My .357 is a "new model" Blackhawk, but not the new small frame Vaq. I prefer adjustable sights on working guns. My guns ain't for playing games or lookin' at, they're for killin' things and outdoor carry.

ArmedBear
December 5, 2009, 08:24 PM
My guns ain't for playing games or lookin' at

At least one of 'em's pretty nice to look at.:)

Got a line on a guy from Montana who does that kind of work. When we sell our old home, I think I'll have something engraved.

The question is... What?:D

MCgunner
December 5, 2009, 08:27 PM
This one's in .45 Colt, my .357 is a Blued 6.5" gun. Yeah, well, I do look at it. :D

http://i50.tinypic.com/2j4sqxx.jpg

MCgunner
December 5, 2009, 08:29 PM
BTW, AB, I'm more into single action revolvers, thus my choice, but 1911s have a large, flat canvas on each side, do look nice dolled up a bit. :D

ArmedBear
December 5, 2009, 08:43 PM
I've been thinking of having a Mark II Target done up, sort of a tongue-in-cheek idea, but I wonder how it would look. Half the people shooting at the club where I shoot pistol league after work have the things. It would be fun to have the "different" one.

A 629 might work, too. The local Elmer Keith museum gave me that idea, along with the recent post here "Skelton tribute". Keith's 29s were blue, of course, but he didn't seem to care for ANY guns unless they were engraved. He may not have been wealthy, but he had his priorities straight.:D

roaddog28
December 5, 2009, 09:18 PM
Dollar for dollar a New model Blackhawk is the best single action revolver today. It is bullet strong and probably the safest revolver on the market. A Freedom arms is nice but unless your shooting for competition I can not justify the cost.

That my take,
roaddog28

MCgunner
December 5, 2009, 10:52 PM
Well, i gotta admit, my Blackhawk shoots better'n I do. It will put 6 rounds into an inch off the bags at 25 yards with either of my loads, 300 grain XTP at 1120 fps or 255 Lee flat nose at about 950 fps. I know that I can't do better than that with iron sights, so the gun might actually be more accurate than that. That FA didn't shoot any better in that gunblast test I posted on the .45 thread that is current with this one. The Ruger isn't line bored, perhaps not as good a quality control, but at least MY gun is as good a shooter as was that test gun. My .357 shoots about as good as does the .45, too.

Magnumite
December 5, 2009, 11:53 PM
Being relatively new to single actions, might the OP be referring to the lock at the bottom of the mainspring assembly of the recent New Models? If so, just leave it unlocked and forget its there.

As stated, the Rugers are the most durable, accurate and reliable guns in the price range you are looking at. They are brutally strong, especially in 357 caliber. A 4.5" and 6.5" barrel is available so you can choose for a balance of power, weight and sight radius. The Colt clones typically have fixed sights and not very good ones, this is frustrating, especially when starting out shooting handgun. The adjustable sights on the Blackhawks will allow you sight in your revolver for that shooter.

I'd even put my neck out and say you won't find another single action near that good for money. My second handgun was (is) a Ruger Super Blackhawk, 7.5" blue New Model. I bought it new. It is highly accurate, you can't hurt it, put a sweet action job on it and I've been shooting it for almost 30 years. I've won trophies with it and every year we go looking for deer. This is one handgun I would really consider as an only handgun if it ever came to that.

OP, I know you said you didn't want the safeties, but for the performance, you can't get a better gun that's a better trainer, keeper and hunting companion.

Bullit13
December 6, 2009, 04:10 AM
So whats wrong with having your Old Model Ruger BlackHawk .357 modified it's free it improves safety not to mention you can safely carry 6 rounds instead of 5 all original parts are sent back to if you ever want to convert it it back to the original condition

flipajig
December 6, 2009, 07:27 AM
no doubt in my minde a ruger blackhawk ive got 3 of them one in 22 lr/22mag,30 carbine and 44 mag one day a 357 mag and the transfer bar no problems with mine all work fine. and you can find them with a 9mm cylinder.

rcmodel
December 6, 2009, 12:37 PM
The fact is that the half-cock notch was considered an adequate safety by none other than John Browning,But the fact is, the safety notch & sear on a 1911 is about a 1/4" wide, and very heavy duty.

The same set-up on a Colt single-action is, as I said earlier, about the size of a flat toothpick.

BIG difference in impact resistance and likelihood of breakage.

rc

roaddog28
December 6, 2009, 10:41 PM
Dollar for dollar a New model Blackhawk is the best single action revolver today. It is bullet strong and probably the safest revolver on the market. A Freedom arms is nice but unless your shooting for competition I can not justify the cost.

That my take,
roaddog28
I have been thinking about getting a New Model Blackhawk convertible 9mm/357 in a 4 5/8 barrel. That gives me three choices in ammo. I am not a reloader and have to depend on whats availiable. One of the most availiable rounds is the 9mm luger. With the Blackhawk I would have the best of all worlds. Thats one of the reasons I think the Blackhawk is the best SA revolver.

roaddog28

Gordon
December 6, 2009, 10:50 PM
Freedom Arms makes the "best" non Colt copy IMHO, I've seen used ones gp for $800.

sw282
December 6, 2009, 10:50 PM
Freedom Arms makes a nice 357 SA revolver

RugerDoug
December 7, 2009, 08:53 PM
I am with Roaddog28, I do not reload and for me the Ruger 357/9mm is so far the only single action I own.

MCgunner
December 7, 2009, 10:18 PM
Quote:
The fact is that the half-cock notch was considered an adequate safety by none other than John Browning,


That is a "safety catch" on the Browning, not intended as a way to carry. If you wanna carry a 1911 condition 2, you can just lower the hammer all the way down on the firing pin. The firing pin will not protrude to the primer. The messiah...JMB... designed it to rebound. The hammer hits it and it hits the primer, then retracts back into the slide with the hammer down unless the firing pin return spring breaks. And, on a series 80, the firing pin is LOCKED unless the trigger is retracted.

Similarly, the hammer safety notch on a Colt SAA is there to catch the hammer should the thumb slip off upon cocking, not intended as a carry notch and since the firing pin is ON the hammer, protrudes with the hammer down, the ONLY safe way (I repeat, the ONLY) is to carry with the hammer down on an empty chamber. Don't be a Plaxico Burris know it all, be safe. As stated, the RUGER and some other single actions with transfer bar triggers can be carried with 6. I think the Beretta Stampede is one of those single actions, Colt look alike with a transfer bar action.

snakeman
December 7, 2009, 10:47 PM
Smith and Wesson, Colt, Ruger, Uberti maybe, Puma maybe, Rossi and Taurus are good too. I owned a Rossi, my dad owns it now. It shoots extremely well. I shot clay birds on the ground with it at 60 yards. He shot it at paper and got 2" six shot groups.

snakeman
December 7, 2009, 10:49 PM
that was at 25 yards. my bad

boomcrash
December 8, 2009, 02:06 PM
Ruger. period. check out CDNN in Abiline, Texas. .357 and .44 at very good prices.

BossHogg
December 8, 2009, 09:10 PM
Hard to beat Ruger in single action guns. Just a very solid platform . Can't guess how many I've shot, no problems that I can recall.

millertyme
December 11, 2009, 01:16 AM
What the hell is the big hang up on the transfer bar safety like the one on my Vaquero (Older Model 44 Mag)? I've shot tons of rounds through it of just about any variety I've come across. Zero problems, period. I would always rather have the capacity of carrying more ammunition in my pistol than not, especially if it was designed to hold 6. It's safe. So are seat belts. So are airbags. These things help idiot-proof our life and the transfer bar safety is no different. Why should you have to learn special safety practices? I wouldn't trade my transfer bar equipped Vaquero for any other revolver without one. Why does it not make sense to make something as potentially dangerous as a heavy-caliber handgun as safe as possible? What do you do with your wheelguns that a transfer bar impedes? Let's not forget the part that having the transfer bar prevents that firing pin on your old school SAA from getting broken off rendering your pistol useless at that moment. The transfer bar has proven itself to be safe, reliable, and functional. What's wrong with that. Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm ill-informed, and maybe I'm flat out wrong. I'd hate to be out teaching someone what little bit I know about shooting and have that hammer slip out from under their thumb with a SAA or clone in their hand.

millertyme
December 11, 2009, 01:20 AM
roaddog28, get that convertible and you will likely begin reloading. Makes nothing but sense when you put it all together. I'd like to get one of those too, now that you mention it.

Stainz
December 11, 2009, 06:21 AM
I still say, after many SA Rugers, that the best SA trigger is in a S&W K, L, & N-frame. Very safe - with 5, 6, 7, or eight - whatever their capacity - hammer down (They all got a drop-safe hammer block after WWII.). My 63, my only SA-capable J-frame, isn't too shabby, either. The added benefit of going bang when you just pull the trigger - without cocking that hammer manually - can't be ignored, either.

Now, if you have to have a SA-only - and you like the SAA - don't overlook the USFA offerings. If you don't mind a pedestrian finish, that Rodeo is a bargain. Made where the old Colts were - but with modern equipment - they are all super performers.

If you want a calibration standard for the worst trigger available, get a re-arsenalled Russian 1895 Nagant. DA or SA, you'll hear your finger's ligaments/muscles stretching long before it goes bang. Ruger SA's are somewhere between a S&W in SA and a Nagant.

If I ever get another SA, it will likely be a USFA revolver.

Stainz

Willy G.
December 11, 2009, 07:55 AM
Ya can't beat the convert. It's good to have options.

http://ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/images/10318.jpg

MCgunner
December 11, 2009, 09:43 AM
The added benefit of going bang when you just pull the trigger - without cocking that hammer manually - can't be ignored, either

For hunting or outdoor uses, even bear defense, sure it can. :rolleyes: I'm faster out of the leather with the Blackhawks than I am with DA guns. Just takes practice. They point more natural, too. I tend to shoot low point shooting at close range with a DA grip frame. And, if there are any better SA triggers out there than my Blackhawks, the difference is so minimal as to be un-noticable. Heck, if we ever get open carry here, one of my Blackhawks would be a preferred carry even for self defense because of its speed and pointability out of leather.



If you want a calibration standard for the worst trigger available, get a re-arsenalled Russian 1895 Nagant. DA or SA, you'll hear your finger's ligaments/muscles stretching long before it goes bang. Ruger SA's are somewhere between a S&W in SA and a Nagant.

LOL. Friend of mine has three of those things. I cannot place in my mind an actual use for a gun with such an un-manageable trigger. I can shoot DA pretty accurately, but the DA on all my revolvers, Smith, Ruger, Taurus, even Rossi, is far better than the SA on those things. I've never actually fired a round from his Nagants, but I don't know if I could hit squat with 'em. In DA I'm pretty sure I couldn't. :rolleyes:

millertyme
December 11, 2009, 06:44 PM
For sure, one thing I could wish for on my Vaq is a lighter trigger, but my buddy's 686 wasn't anything to hoot and hollar about. It was slightly lighter, but not by enough to equate a Ruger with the middle ground between a Nagant and a Smith.

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