Ruger Blackhawk .45 Convertible or Super Blackhawk .44 Mag?


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MacTech
December 9, 2011, 09:12 PM
Capsule summation;
I own a NM Blackhawk .45 Convertible (.45 Colt/ACP), blued 7.5" model
I'm contemplating trading towards a Stainless 10.5" Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag....


I've been kicking around the idea of making the switch from .45 Colt to .44 Mag fora while now, I like that .44 Mag ammo is easier to find on store shelves, even though I reload, it just opens up more options to me if I want to go shooting and either don't have ammo loaded up, or need to pick up a box on the way, or just feel like being lazy that day....

I have been reading how .44 Mag and Special are flatter shooting and more accurate than .45 Colt, I like accurate guns and I haven't been *completely* happy with my .45 Colt NMBH accuracy, although truth be told, it's far more liely that *I'm* the bigger factor in the lack of accuracy department

I've been reading about how some NMBH Convertibles have had sloppy chamber dimensions, I can drop a 250 Gn .452 jacketed Gold Dot hollow point through five of the six chambers in the Colt cylinder and it drops straight through with no resistance, it gets stuck in the sixth chamber, the very edge of the nose of the bullet is flush with the end of the cylinder chamber... apparently, .44 Mag chambers are more consistent

Then again, I do like that the Colt throws a (slightly) bigger chunk of lead, and does it with less pressure than the .44 Mag, and that the recoil is going to be softer than a Magnum loading, then again, I can shoot Specials in the .44 Mag if I want a soft shooting round, and I can move up to Magnum power levels for when I want more thump, without the added "risk" of Ruger Only Colt loads

the gun will primarily be used for punching paper at the range, so I want something inherently accurate, and around here, the biggest huntable animal I encounter is white tailed deer, which either gun would be more than sufficient for

How much more unpleasant is the recoil impulse from a .44 Mag fired from a 10.5" barreled Single Action revolver, when compared with the recoil from an equivalently "hot" loaded Ruger Only .45 Colt loading? (yes, I know this part is subjective, just speaking generally here)

I just don't know which way to go here;

.45 Colt pluses;
I already own and reload for it
soft shooting and pleasant recoil when loaded light
can shoot .45 ACP as well
no nasty Magnum sound and pressure wave

.45 Colt minuses;
Ammo harder to find in stores/more expensive
possible accuracy issues due to sloppy oversized chambers?
"rainbow" trajectory at distance

.44 Mag pluses;
flat shooting and accurate
ammo easy to find in stores
shoots .44 Spl, ?.44 Russian?, and .44 Mag
Leverguns in .44 Mag easier to find than in .45 Colt
10.5" barrel

.44 Mag minuses;
Dont own it yet, small out-of-pocket expense to purchase it
Have to get new reloading dies, and shellholder for my Lee Auto-Prime
have to get new brass and bullets
can't share bullets with my .45 ACP Kimber Custom II
harsher recoil with Magnum loads (possibly mitigated by the 10.5" barrel length)
Not as easy to holster carry in the field, more likely a range-toy only
Have to resist the urge to quote the Danny Vermin line from "Johnny Dangerously" ("It's an 88 Magnum, it shoots through *Schools!* " ) ;)

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Rob47
December 9, 2011, 10:09 PM
I don't know if the 44mag is more accurate, but the convertible blackhawks are (or so I have heard) not as accurate as the standard ones.

A 10.5'' blackhawk will have the least recoil of any 44 mag revolver that I know of.

BossHogg
December 9, 2011, 11:23 PM
I see nothing wrong with what you have.

Vern Humphrey
December 9, 2011, 11:33 PM
.45 Colt minuses;
Ammo harder to find in stores/more expensive
possible accuracy issues due to sloppy oversized chambers?
What to you mean "possible accuracy issues?" It's your gun -- go shoot it and see how accurate it is.

"rainbow" trajectory at distance
The .45 Colt trajectory with "Ruger Only" loads is as flat as that of the .44 Magnum -- and both are flat enough to take game at any range you can reasonably expect to get a clean hit.

MacTech
December 10, 2011, 12:21 AM
I've been thinking a bit more on this dillemma, and may have solved my own problem

I'm a revolver guy at heart, my handgun collection is 99% revolvers;
'75 vintage pre-warning Stainless Single Six with fluted .22WMR and fluted .22LR cylinders
'85 vintage Ruger New Model Blackhawk .45 Convertible (ACP/Colt)
S&W 64-1 (unsure of vintage) .38 Spl

and my only semiauto is a boring, mundane, bog-standard Kimber Custom II (80 series Yonkers model) that I bought used in 90% condition, the MIM thumb safety lever has worn bluing (50% loss), there's holster carry wear on the muzzle, and it's been a tad fussy with the OAL length of my reloads, I feel no emotional attachment to it, I bought it because it was cheap and I wanted to try out the 1911 platform

I'm also getting sick of chasing brass

I could trade the Kimber in towards a revolver, if I went with the Super Blackhawk, I'd actually get some money back, or I could put the store credit towards what I'd *REALLY* want, a modern SA/DA .44 Mag revolver like a S&W or Ruger Redhawk/Super Redhawk

I'd keep the .45 NMBH as I *DO* like it, and since it has both a .45 Colt *AND* ACP cylinder, I could still shoot and reload .45 ACP, plus, I could try warming up my ACP reloads just a tad as the NMBH is a stout gun....

I'd use my S&W 64-1 as a carry gun when I eventually get my CCW, but since I don't CCW yet, a carry gun is low on the list of priorities anyway

Besides, while I *DO* like the 1911 platform, I've never really warmed up to my Kimber Custom II, it's just sort of .... "there", biring, mundane, and ignorable....

...y"know, I actually can't remember the last time I shot it, come to think of it, I hate chasing brass, and the semiauto just feels so.....dead and impersonal to me, it's been almost a year since the last time I took it to the range, and at that time, it was pretty fussy with both my reloads, and factory 230Gn Ball ammo

I see semiautos as the "automatic transmission car" of the gun world, and revolvers as the "Manual transmission car" of the gun world

I prefer manual transmissions, I actually *HATE* automatics, boring, lifeless, power-robbing sludgeboxes that take control away from the driver (control over gear ratios and shift points) but that's a rant for a different day and different forum

Basically, to me, revolvers just feel more natural, more organic, and just plain *right*....

I'm a manual-action guy, on the rifle side, in the past I've owned an SKS, a few Ruger 10/22's , a few Marlin semiautos, and even a High Standard "Gill-Gun", they all lasted less than a couple months before I got fed up or bored with them and traded them in on manual-action guns, my rifle collection consists of bolt actions and lever actions, and I'm completely happy with them, and have no plans to trade them off

okay, enough rambling, I've convinced myself, I'm going to trade the Kimber Custom II (and a spare rifle scope) towards a .44 Magnum revolver, not sure if it'll be a plain SA or a SA/DA, depends on what's affordable, and what feels right in hand

....besides, if I ever feel the need for another 1911, I now have a better idea of what I want to get, something with a forged frame, full length slide, no MIM parts, and preferably in stainless

.....my current worn-bluing-has MIM Safety UglyGun 1911 doesn't fit my wants, besides, ever since the Dirty Harry films (and Sledge Hammer! TV series ;) ), I've always admired the .44 Mag from afar, the .44 Mag just has an aura of "cool" that's unmistakeable.....

In the infamous words of Inspector Sledge Hammer.....
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUt6LpajX5Y&feature=related) :)

BCRider
December 10, 2011, 01:38 AM
I found myself nodding in agreement on so many points in your last post. I've got a few semi autos mostly because I enjoy the action shooting events such as IPSC and IDPA. But for pure enjoyment at the range during plinking sessions the revolvers see the most daylight.

I'm sure you'll enjoy a Super Blackhawk, Redhawk or whatever you finally get. My one thought is that a 10.5 inch barrel seems like it would feel a bit muzzle heavy. I've got an SB with the regular length and find that it's as muzzle heavy as I'd like. A 10.5 just seems like it would be a little too much of a good thing... :D

There's so many things that affect accuracy that I'm not sure you'll find Nirvana in a box of .44Mag. It still comes down to bullet shape and how it engages the rifling and finding a powder that really works in harmony with the bullet and barrel so it all "sings". With a bit of work I suspect you could make that Convertable "sing" as well.

One thing I noticed is that you mentioned jacketed bullets for testing the chambers. Have you shot some cast lead from your reloads? It depends on the gun of course but in more than one case both with semis and revolvers I've found that I get noticably tighter groups on a consistent basis with cast bullets than with jacketed. It may be something to play with in your case as well.

Another aspect with the ACP vs Colt cylinders is that with the ACP round being shorter there's considerably more distance to jump to engage with the rifling. As such the bullet is moving a lot faster by the time it hits the rifling. I suspect that will cause the sides of the bullet to smear more before it bites in than it would with the .45Colt rounds where the bullet travels a much shorter distance. If I'm right it may show up in the .45Colt cylinder being more consistently accurate than the .45acp cylinder. Has this been your experience with the gun?

MacTech
December 10, 2011, 08:14 AM
"With a semiauto in hand, I feel like I'm holding a hair dryer."
I love that quote :D perfectly sums up my feelings as well....

As far as lead bullets go, that's 99% of what I shoot, and I'm pretty close to finding my ideal "pet load" for the gun, with 9.5Gn of Unique under a 250Gn LFN bullet, the gun prints really tight groups if I do my part, recoil is smooth and controllable, with enough punch to let you know you're launching a substantial amount of lead, but with no Magnum shockwave or supersonic crack, it's more of a deep, throaty *BOOM*

And even after that, the fired cases simply drop free of the cylinder, maybe needing just the tiniest tap of the ejector rod

When I drop a 250Gn LFN bullet into the Colt cylinder, it stops pretty much right at the front of the cylinder, on every chamber, the bullet needs to be pushed all the way through with a cleaning rod, IIRC (I'll test this later on today)

Really, the only gripe I have with my NMBH .45, to be perfectly honest with myself, is the time it takes to eject and reload the cartridges, even though it's not a problem when playing on the range, I've just always liked the ease of eject/reload with a swing out cylinder revolver

the more I contemplate my options, the more I realize that I've never been completely happy with my Kimber Custom II anyway, the finish wear, albeit only cosmetic, is annoying, yes I could get the gun refinished, but I'd also want to sink more money than I feel is worth it into the gun to make it right**

Basically, I see my Kimber as mundane, boring and above all, easily replaceable, wheras my wheelguns are not as easily replaceable;

NMBH .45; 7.5" barrel and nice deep bluing, 7.5" barrel length not currently produced anymore
Single Six Stainless; 6.5" pre-warning barrel and factory fluted WMR cylinder, current models have warnings stamped on the barrel and WMR cylinder is not fluted
S&W 64-1; a pre-lock model with a beautiful, crisp SA trigger pull, and a ball bearing smooth DA pull

Kimber Custom II; one of the billions of bare bones entry level model, mass-produced assembly-line-assembled Kimber 1911's, their bottom of the line model, still being made today, easily replaceable

Same thing with my rifles, as stated above, two pre-safety Marlin levers (.22 and .30-30, a CZ-452 Ultra Lux (LOVE that 28.5" barrel, so quiet, no suppressor needed for subsonics or ultraquiet rounds) none of these are easily replaceable

I guess I could sum it up this way, my tastes are simple, I only want the best that I can afford....
to me, that means manual action guns, there's a quality and precision there that *I* feel is lacking from semiautos, manual actions give me that "swiss watch" feeling, semis give me that "mass produced" feeling

**refinish it a with Parkerized (or Melonite) finish, replace the MIM thumb safety, and lightweight beavertail grip safety (it feels like it's made out of tinfoil it's so light and insubstantial) with non-MIM parts, replace the barrel (it has some dark gray discoloration on it that Flitz doesn't remove, looks kinda' thumbprint shaped, like the previous owner let a spot of rust appear on the barrel), replace the FLGR and cap with the standard GI guiderod and cap, replace the guiderod spring for routine maintenance

Quoheleth
December 10, 2011, 08:55 AM
I agree that a 10" barrel puts a LOT of weight out front. I had a 7 1/2" NMBH in .41 Mag, and that was part of why I sold it. I have small hands and wrists and that was just too much weight out front for a comfortable, long range session. It wasn't painful or anything, just uncomfortable. My point - find one locally and heft it before you buy it.

Q

MacTech
December 10, 2011, 07:32 PM
Well, I did it, I did it and I'm *GLAD*!.....

I traded my mediocre Kimber Custom II 1911 for a nice 1989 vintage Ruger Super Redhawk .44 Mag, it has the Ruger scope rings, and the rubber/wood hybrid grips, 7.5" barrel, balances and points well, timing is perfect, and it has the strongest lockup of any revolver I have tried yet, no end shake, and just the *tiniest* amount of side wobble, that you have to force the cylinder to detect, for all intents and purposes, lockup is 100%, heck, my NM Blackhawk single action has more side wobble than the SRH.....

the decision came down between a S&W 629-6 with the Hillary Hole (Blech!) and the RSRH, the S&W looked far nicer, more stylish, but had more side wobble than I was willing to accept, the SRH, although less asthetically pleasing, felt far more solid, besides, I prefer "overbuilt" tools anyway, and the SRH feels like a tank/anvil/piece of compressed Neutronium

The SRH just felt like it would last longer between service intervals, that it wouldn't shoot itself loose even with a constant diet of wrist-breakers, not that I plan on shooting those kinds of rounds on a regular basis, no, I'll more than likely stick to .44 Mag hardcast wadcutters loaded to Special pressures for range use, and keep the full-house Magnums for hunting/defense/masochistic playing at the range

So, as of right now, my handgun collection is 100% Revolver-Only, and I'm just fine with that

O sure, I know I'll eventually add a .45 ACP semiauto back to the collection, most likely either a CZ-97 or a 1911, but said 1911 will be a higher end gun than the old bare-bones entry-level 1911, after all, any decent collection needs to have at least ONE 1911, (and at least one .44 Mag revolver), but I was never really satisfied with the Kim Custom II anyway, bought it just because it was priced right (cheap), and since it was my first 1911, I had no baseline for comparison, now I know the features I want to have on my "Forever" 1911

Getting back to the SRH though, I can't wait to take it to the range tomorrow and see how it performs, it'll be a Big Bore Day tomorrow, I'll be bringing both the SRH .44 Mag, and my NM Blackhawk .45 Convertible with a bunch of my Colt reloads

And the best thing about owning *BOTH* a .44 Mag and .45 Colt?
I don't feel the need to "Hot Rod" my Blackhawk loads anymore, I can load them to normal pressure levels, and enjoy the .45 Colt for what it is, a soft shooting pussycat of a gun that just happens to lob a big ol' chunk o' lead

I think that a cylinder of light "Powderpuff" loads would be great to introduce new shooters to the fun of Big Bores anyway, perfect way to let my 9 year old nephew try out a Big Bore Gun (if and when *HE* feels he's ready, I'm not going to push him into trying it if he feels intimidated by it in any way)

BCRider
December 10, 2011, 10:55 PM
I'm sure you'll be happy with the SRH. I've got one of my own that when I saw the bobbed barrel I could not pass up on getting even though it carried a bit of a premium price. Well, and it came with a custom made Galco holster to go with it. I just need to pony up for some of those CNC'd speed loaders and loading plate from 5 Star.

http://www.5starfirearms.com/speed_loaders.html

This is the picture taken by the guy that shortened the barrel. I really need to snap a few of my own at angles which do it justice.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y252/BCRider/Gun%20pictures/SRedhawk.jpg

harvester
December 10, 2011, 11:31 PM
You will like the Redhawk. Good luck finding a 45acp 1911 platform without mim. Colt has the fewest mim parts of regular priced 1911s and I think you would like one of them someday. My Redhawks have been every bit the tanks you are talking about, a 45 Colt and a 44 magnum with 7.5 barrel.

CraigC
December 11, 2011, 04:18 PM
A lot has been written on this subject but I'm afraid that much of it is outdated. One must keep in mind that Linebaugh's "Dissolving the Myth" was written in the mid-80's. Much has changed and with modern LBT designs, the .44Mag holds a 100fps advantage across the board over "Ruger only" .45 loads. Forty fours also tend to be more accurate as they are less prone to funky chamber/mouth dimensions. The old myth that the .45 handles heavy bullets better is also bunk. The .44 tops out at 355gr and the .45 at 360gr. The .44 slings its 355gr 100fps faster and it has a higher sectional density to boot. The ONLY advantage the .45 has in 6-shot Rugers is its slightly larger diameter.

Given comparable bullet weights at comparable velocities, there will be no discernable difference in recoil between the two. Another myth.


...the convertible blackhawks are (or so I have heard) not as accurate as the standard ones.
Untrue.

ghitch75
December 11, 2011, 05:38 PM
mine shoots the same with Colt or ACP with around the same fps load.....when shoot faster Colt loads just have to aim a little lower at the same distant as i have other ACP wheel guns and 1911's so it was a easy choice....

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb368/ghitch75/S3010324-1.jpg

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb368/ghitch75/S3010419.jpg

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