Ruger .45 Blackhawk accuracy


jim in Anchorage
April 20, 2011, 05:28 AM
What kind of accuracy can I expect with one using hot loaded 300-325 gr hard cast LBT bullets? I ask because I bought, about 8 years ago, a BN stainless bisley in .45 Colt and never could get better than pie plate size 25 yard groups with it. I tried H110, WW296, 300 and 325gr gas check or not, shot the gun till my right arm went numb, no help. I tried factory ammo, light handloads, no difference.

About 3 weeks after this mental and physical punishment with the Bisley started I spotted a used Vaquero .45 at a gun show I simply had to buy. Same story, no accuracy no matter what I fed it.
I traded the Bisley later for a .32 mag single six and kept the Vaquero as a light handy close in bear protection gun [ which it excels at; lots of power but so compact I forget I'm carrying it ]
But thats not what I want. I would like a .45 accurate enough to be used as a primary hunting weapon, not just a back up. I am getting bored with rifles and really think the 325gr LBT at 1250 FPS would be good moose/bear medicine At 75-100 yards or so.
These are big targets, would be happy with 4-5" groups at 100 yards. Is this realistic with a box stock Blackhawk?
Also, are there any real differences between a Blackhawk and a super Blackhawk?

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April 20, 2011, 06:37 AM
My experience with the Rugers is different from yours. I had a Blackhawk Bisley in .45 Colt that was superbly accurate. I currently own a Blackhawk Hunter Bisley SS in .44 mag that is my 'go to hunting revolver'. It has a 4X scope on it and it's accuracy is better than I could imagine.

Sometimes you have to have bullets of the right diameter, appropriate hardness to suit the speed at which you are running it, etc to get REALLY good accuracy. However, accuracy in the range of 2-3" at 50 yds should not be hard to achieve with most of them.

I do understand that some individual guns are hard to make shoot well.

Good luck in your quest.

April 20, 2011, 06:39 AM
OR, you might just save up some coins and buy a Freedom Arms and you will not have to guess about the accuracy!

April 20, 2011, 09:51 AM
My 4 5/8" 45 colt blackhawk regularly gives sub 5" groups at fifty yards, about the same as my son's Mossberg 20 ga with slugs. My load, a 260 grain RCBS 45-255KT, over the Lyman manual recommended load of Alliant 2400. I size to .452 and lube with the old Javalina formula. Most Rugers will do this well from a solid old Flat top 44 I had would give under five inches at 100 yards but my eyes were thirty years younger then.

April 20, 2011, 10:05 AM
Its not so much the accuracy of the gun , its the person shooting it , Ive seen many a man with High Dollar weapons that couldnt hit the broadside of a barn , and there are guys on this forum that can take an old SEARS MODEL .22 and waste anyone at the range with any calber!

So making assumptions about how good a firearm is really imaterial !

A good rule of thumb with firearms is learn to shoot from a professional , follow the simple rules and practice , practice alot ,when it becomes "second nature" there wont be a weapon out there that will intimidate you , expensive or cheap!

April 20, 2011, 10:45 AM
Any good Ruger single action should shoot well under 2"@25yds with preferred loads. Hopefully closer to 1". You may have undersized chamber mouths which will require reaming. If you can't push a jacketed bullet all the way through the chambers, they need reaming.

April 20, 2011, 12:45 PM
+1 to CraigC comments. My newer production .45colt blackhawk wouldn't shoot better than 3" or 4" at 15yds, measured the cylinder throats all 6 were at .450-.451. Had cylindersmith recut them to .4525". It's a different gun now. I only shoot home cast stuff, heaviest I shoot is a 280'ish grain RCBS 45-270-SAA Keith, it'll keep them at an inch at 25yds with a solid rest.

April 20, 2011, 02:39 PM
4 4/8" .45 Colt BH. Small chamber mouths, mediocre accuracy. I opened them up and accuracy improved dramatically. I prefer 2400 or 4227.

April 20, 2011, 03:34 PM
yah, you may have somewhat of a lemon. tight chambers and a badly cut forcing cone will give you fits. have someone else shoot it and see if they do better. 325grain bullet at 1250fps is a hard kicking load. not many people have the confidence to shoot it accurately. it takes a lot of practice to handle the recoil effectively.


Vern Humphrey
April 20, 2011, 04:15 PM
First pf all, slug the barrel and chambers by pushing a slightly oversize lead ball through the barrel and one through each chamber. Here's what you want to look out for

1. Chamber throat smaller than barrel groove diameter.

2. Chamber throats vary from one chamber to the next.

If you have either of those problems, one solution is to have the chamber throats opened up to a uniform 0.4525"

Next, size your bullets to slightly more than throat diameter -- for a 0.4525" throat, size the bullets to 0.453"

April 20, 2011, 04:32 PM
My 4 5/8" .45 will group as good as I can shoot from a rest at 25 yards...which with its iron sights is 1" for 6 shots. It will do this with a 300 grain Hornady XTP in front of a large dose of 2400 (can't remember, would have to look it up) which gives 1120 fps or a 255 grain cast flat nose from a Lee mold pushed by 8.3 grains of Unique. Switching loads requires an elevation change of 6 clicks (have 'em marked on the sight).

I'd suspect the bullet first. Could be the gun, though, if it's THAT bad, I guess. I've heard tales of poor chamber throating, bought mine as a used gun and it's fantastic.

Red Cent
April 20, 2011, 04:35 PM

April 20, 2011, 04:47 PM
I shoot the Missouri Bullet 300gr LTC from my 7.5" Blackhawk and find great accuracy with it. I could not get great accuracy with 296/110 though. I use 2400 only in my hot 45 colt loads.

April 20, 2011, 04:49 PM
My 5.5 inch Ruger Bisley is extremely accurate with heavy loads for perhaps the first cylinder, then accuracy drops off considerably. Of course, it isn't the gun it's the flinch induced by the heavy recoil.
I usually shoot a few cylinders of light loads, then a single cylinder of heavies, then back to the light loads.

With the standard Blackhawk grip, I'm sure the recoil is even more punishing. So, you know, maybe mix it up when practicing. Zero your gun for the heavy loads, but shoot a lot more lights than heavies when practicing.

jim in Anchorage
April 21, 2011, 03:58 AM
Thanks for all the replies! I was always aware the throat was undersized as a .452 bullet would not come close to entering it when pushed by hand. That's why I tried jacketed bullets, thinking they would be more effective even if swagged under bore diameter by the throat.

Brownell's sells a .452 throat reamer I may try. I am by no means a ace pistol shot but there is more to this. Even the low power loads scattered, and all the shooting was done with my hand resting on a 25lb shot bag. Again, I am no Jack Weaver but I can get far better groups shooting my pitted bore 1917 S&W than this Ruger.

April 21, 2011, 11:50 AM
I would recommend just sending your sixgun's cylinder to The Cylindersmith. He does a good job, is honorable and will turn it around quickly.

April 21, 2011, 01:07 PM
Jim, I didn't specify but I'm using the same 325 grain LBT's in a stock Ruger Bisley using "Ruger only" H110 loads. It's not for hunting, it's for bear carry (even though I almost never carry it...), so I'm usually shooting at only 25 yards. At that range I stack them right up under 2 inches (until I get the recoil jitters). So, plenty accurate enough for hunting.

This might be obvious to all you Ruger guys, but all Ruger Blackhawks and Bisleys benefit from the "poor boys trigger job" - lifting one leg of the trigger return spring off its post. You reduce the trigger weight considerably and you'll see that in your groups.

April 21, 2011, 02:02 PM
Springs are cheap and I, for one, don't like feeling the other leg rubbing against the mainspring. Just get the Wolff reduced power trigger spring.

April 21, 2011, 05:06 PM
Heck, I'd ream it myself, but I have the capacity. I've reamed a lot of valve guides. :D

April 21, 2011, 09:26 PM
jim, from your last post it sounds like your chambers are smaller than your barrel. like vern said above, you need to get the chambers reamed out to at least the diameter of the barrel grooves. suggest you take craigc's advise and send to a good smith. a smith can also cut a correct forcing cone that should also improve accuracy. fwiw


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