Super Blackhawk


March 11, 2012, 08:15 AM
Not too long ago I go I bought a used Super Blackhawk, a stainless version. The gun appears to be in like new condition. I can not get this thing to shoot well at all.

I have tried a variety of handload combinations. I have mixed and matched dozens of components.

Yesterday I took a three by three piece of plain cardboard and set up at twenty five yards. I used a sandbag as a rest. In the center of the cardboard I placed a paper dinner plate.

The groups were not groups by any definition. One thing I like about this revolver is the adjustable sights. I can't adjust them because the bullets are not hitting anywhere near each other. I am not exaggerating. One shot would hit near the top right corner of the cardboard, the next might hit a few inches below the plate, and a third round might not even hit the target area at all. Firing six shots did not result in six holes anywhere on papaer.

If a person was standing twenty five yards away from me and I needed to shoot them for defense, good luck. If I aimed center mass the bullet could hit the person in a knee, maybe between the eyes, or even miss all together.

Now, I will admit that when it comes to pistol shooting I am not the best by any means. But there was another guy at the range and he let me take a few shots with his 1911. I fired five rounds at the same target I was using for my Ruger, all shots hit the plate at twenty five yards. Three of them would have nailed a jackrabbit. I really couldn't hit a moose at the distance with my Super Blackhawk.

Has anyone here experinced anything like this?

How did you resolve the problem?

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March 11, 2012, 08:30 AM
What caliber is it?

March 11, 2012, 08:38 AM
The caliber is 44 magnum.

I have never experienced a gun that shoots this lousy. I have a little Bersa 380 that puts this Blackhawk to shame.

March 11, 2012, 08:44 AM
I have one that is pretty accurate, but the Magnum rounds cause a flinch for me. I'm not familiar with any guns that have shot wildly like that so I can't think of the answer to your problem. But you might try .44 specials instead. Even if you are the problem, there should be some commonality to where the rounds are hitting.

March 11, 2012, 08:48 AM
Thanks, but I have tried reloads ranging in power from 44 Special to full-power magnum. Nothing, I mean nothing groups. Calling the groups shotgun patterns would not be an exaggeration.

highlander 5
March 11, 2012, 09:02 AM
There are a couple of things you can check on your SBH. First,slug your bore then check the the chamber mouths of your cylinder. If your shooting lead bullets you should size/buy your bullets to the diameter of the chamber mouths. When slugging your bore pay close attention to how the slug slides down the barrel.I'll bet iit's pretty rough and if your SBH is like mine you'll find that the area where the barrel is screwed into the frame will give more resistance to pushing the slug thru it. Barrels on the SBH are a crush fit so that portion of the barrel is going to be restricted. I had to fire lap my SBH/BH to get the to shoot decently. Midway has a fire lap kit and is easy to use.

March 11, 2012, 09:24 AM
I have several SBH and they all shot really well. I have a SBH convertible 45/45lc now that is hands down the most accurate handgun I have ever owned. Have you let anyone else try shooting it to see if it is you or the gun?

March 11, 2012, 09:28 AM
You have inspected the crown for damage I assume?

I've never had to lap a Blackhawk or SBH to get acceptable accuracy, but do know people that have...

I have never seen an SBH that likes .429" bullets...My current SBH likes the jacketed Hornady 265gr #4300 at .430", and cast at .431" 0r .432"...

Keep trying, and you should find something that yours likes...

March 11, 2012, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I will keep trying to get this thing to shoot. I love single action revolvers. I have a Single Six in 32 magnum. It shoots fine. To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement.

Could it just be a defective gun?

March 11, 2012, 12:49 PM
I just spoke to a local gunsmith about this revolver. He recently worked on a friends rifle and did a fantastic job. So he seems like a good one.

I explained to him what was happening with my SBH. He suspects it could be the crown. He said he recently fixed the crown of one for someone else and it solved a similar problem. He said that a bad crown can make a big difference.

Can a guns crown really screw up accuracy that much?

March 11, 2012, 12:55 PM
I'm on my second SBH now, having greatly regretted selling the first one. Of my pistols, it's the one I'd carry in the woods in lieu of a rifle, if I decided a rifle was too unwieldy for what I was doing.
I'd agree with the above. Something's off, and fortunately most things can be fixed or adapted. Both of mine have been surprisingly accurate, and I used to bullseye boulders in a canyon at several hundred yards with mine. Wouldn't try to shoot anything living at those ranges, but I could walk .44 mags into a rock at distances I wouldn't hunt with my .300 Win Mag.

...and yes. If the crown is off, the gases following the bullet will escape unevenly around it as it exits, upsetting the bullet and causing you to shoot patterns, rather than groups. Even a tiny burr can likewise destroy the accuracy on an otherwise superb firearm.

March 11, 2012, 01:07 PM
Can a bad crown be seen with the naked eye?

March 11, 2012, 01:14 PM
Is this your only single action? If not, how well do you shoot the others?

I have a SBH convertible 45/45lc...
You have a Blackhawk convertible. Supers are all .44Mag's. Or were until the Hunter models in .41Mag and .45Colt were also marked "Super Blackhawk".

March 11, 2012, 02:16 PM
I own a Single Six in 32 mag that I shoot pretty well. If one of my shotguns patterned like my SBH I would take it to a gunsmith.

March 11, 2012, 03:09 PM
a couple suggestions:

check the grip screws (5). make sure they are tight.

make sure your base pin is all the way in and latched.

check your rear sight: pivot pin, elevation screw and windage assembly. they need to stay put and not wander with each shot.

make sure your grips are tight and not wandering.

run some factory ammo through it and make sure your reloads are not the problem.


March 11, 2012, 07:29 PM
I did all that except for the factory loads. I have been reloading for 35 years and in most of my guns my reloads outshoot factory loads.

I am going to take it to the gunsmith tomorrow.

March 11, 2012, 07:44 PM
I will be curious to know what the problem turns out to be. I bought my SS Super Black Hawk the first year they were made in stainless, about 1982. Since then it has shot extremely well out to 200 yards.

You could contact Ruger and see if they will take care of it.

Did you check to see that your sights are tight? That happened to me a couple of times with firearms. I spent a lot of money trying to fix a NM Garand only to find that the front sight was loose, not loose enough to fall off, but loose enough to totter on the base. A quarter turn later with an allen wrench and the Garand shot MOA.

March 11, 2012, 07:58 PM
q-tip = crown checker. if a crown doesn't have an obvious flaw that can be seen with the naked eye, take a standard cotton swab from your bathroom and put the tip into the barrel. place the tip against the bore and pull toward the muzzle. do this for a full 360. any knicks or gouges will snag the cotton and show you damage.

if all else fails, contact ruger, explain the situation and ask them to test fire it.

March 11, 2012, 11:12 PM
I really appreciate all the feedback.

I bought this gun to carry when I go exploring in the desert. I figured a 44 magnum should solve most situtations. And I love single action revolvers.

I also own a little Bersa 380. With the way my SBH shoots, my Bersa is a better option. At least I can hit with it. You have heard that carrying any gun is better than throwing rocks. With my SBH that would be a toss up. The accuracy is that bad.

March 11, 2012, 11:27 PM
.44 Mag SBH was my companion on *many* a wander in the high desert, and I felt well armed even I didn't have my ol' Marlin levergun in hand. Get her right, and treat her right, you'll probably never have another problem.

March 11, 2012, 11:57 PM
The pictures of poor crowns I've seen, can be seen with your eye. I would have the gun smith check it out. I'm just getting into revolvers, but from what I am gathering there are several things to check out. The timing of each cylinder. The diameter of the cylinders. I had just read an article by someone who had to said he "fixed those".... and about the forcing cone.

March 12, 2012, 01:52 AM
I would really think about checking the cylinder throughts...if your cylinder is swaging the bullets down to .428 or even smaller (some Rugers have been known to have very tight throughts) then there is no chance for the bullets to engage the rifleing correctly, if at all.

To see accuracy as poorly as you are seeing, may someone at Ruger screwed up and put a 45colt barrel on your 44...:D

Take some .429 or .430 jacketed bullets and see if they can be pushed through the cylinder with finger pressure...if a .429 won't go through with finger pressure, then you need to reem the cylinder throughts.

After you have made sure your throughts are big enough, you can check the timeing....Make TRIPLE sure the revolver is empty and them cock it and look down the barrel with a flashlight at each chamber....if the timing is out just little bit you will sure be able to see it with the light. I tiny bit will probly not effect accuracy like you are seeing and if it is way out of time, it should be throwing a lot of trash out of the cylinder I doubt it is the timing, unless you have been carring a pocket knife to dig the chunks metal out of your face.

March 12, 2012, 08:15 AM
One reason I always carry some sort of gun in the desert around here is that we do have feral dogs. I fear those more than any natural wild creature. I also take my dog when I go explore. I figure if any "wild" dog decides to engage my dog I will engage it with some high-speed lead.

I can't use my SBH for this purpose.

If a feral dog was a few feet from my dog, taking a shot would really risk the life of my dog. I would aim at the attacker and hit my own pooch. Then again I might hit the feral dog. There is also the possibility the bullet will miss both. I would have to be close enough to make muzzle contact with the dog to make sure of the shot. This is the poorest shooting firearm I have ever experienced, and believe me, I have had some doozies.

This is a major disappointment to me. The revolver is beautiful. I want it to shoot right badly. This gun is like meeting the most beautiful girl in town only to find out she has the personality of a badger with a tooth-ache.

I am going to take it to the gunsmith this morning, it is bugging me too much. Wish me luck.

March 12, 2012, 08:28 AM
I had a 44 hunter model that I remember not being able to shoot very well either. Ended up offloading it, ammo too spendy.

March 12, 2012, 09:03 AM
I will post the diagnosis later.

March 12, 2012, 06:04 PM
It is the crown. The gunsmith said it looks pretty bad. I will know the results in two weeks.

March 13, 2012, 09:06 AM
Please let us know how it turns out...

March 13, 2012, 09:39 AM
I will. I really want this to work.

March 13, 2012, 10:46 AM
Wow. I just bought a new SBH Bisley 44 mag, this thing is so accurate, it's scary, my fav load is Lee 240 gr. SWC pushed by 20 grs. 4227.

March 13, 2012, 10:58 AM
Hi ho hi ho it's off to Ruger it goes....:) You may drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out. Ruger made that revolver they know how to fix it, warranty or not that would be my advice.

March 15, 2012, 08:12 PM
To Ruger it does not have to go, hi ho hi ho.

The gunsmith called me and said he has cured the revolver. He was able to fire one inch groups at 25 yards off a sandbag. He said the crown was awful, but now it is good to go. hi ho hi ho:neener:

March 15, 2012, 09:12 PM
I skiimmed the thread, sorry. Is this a new purchase? My very fisrt pistol, 25 years ago, was a brand new Ruger 44 mag DA. You describe the exact reason I got rid of it. If your's is new, it sounds like Ruger has an age old problem. Or, we got the only two damaged crowns offf the line...

March 15, 2012, 10:32 PM
It was used, but in near new condition. I am going to go pick it up tomorrow.

March 16, 2012, 07:35 PM
And to answer your question: yes - even a slight problem with the crown can cause accuracy to shotgun on you. the crown is the last thing the bullet can make contact with: and hopefully it doesn't.

Lets say the gun drops out of holster or pack and lands muzzle first in rocky soil. Pick it up, dust it off - it doesn't look like anything more than some scratches. What you may not see are small scratches which have burs or swagged metal in the riffling perhaps on one of the lands or in one of the grooves.

Just a little ding: now every time a bullet hits that itty bitty bump where its swagged: what happens is the bullets rotation is altered and it's no longer stabilized in flight. Anyone who's ever fired the wrong weight bullet for their gun's rifling can tell you: if the bullet doesn't stabilize you'll notice.

In this case though it's even worse because a jump or bump at the muzzle end will dig into the lead round and leave it flying with possibly NO spin at all. The rotation could actually come to a complete stop at the muzzle and continue flying through the air as such. It probably wasn't that bad: but yes - burs at the crown are bad news. they can alter the bullet's spin and if the bullet doesn't stabilize then it's going to shotgun from one round to the next.

I'd go have a chit chat with the previous owner: he or she probably sold the gun because it was scattergun accurate. Also, if he or she sold the gun because of that: then he or she should have told you that a head of time. Apparently: the previous owner did -not-. I would be really rather upset, personally. I would be less than happy. I'm very sorry you had to deal with someone attempting to take advantage of you like that: it's terribly unfortunate that some people are so unscrupulous.

That kind of thing really irks my chain.

March 17, 2012, 10:26 AM
Post results after the recrown.
SOMETHING is certainly not right, my Super Blackhawk will pretty much have all the rounds touching at 25 yards.

I'd try a few things,
1) check the sights, be SURE they are not moving or loose.
2) let someone else shoot it
3) be sure when if/when you shoot off a rest you aren't laying the barrel over something hard like wood. That can cause some very erratic issues.

March 28, 2012, 04:43 PM
I picked up the gun the other day. It was ready last week but I decided to have the gunsmith smooth up the trigger.

Yesterday I got a chance to shoot the revolver and all I can say is WOW !!!

I set up a target like before, 25 yards using a sandbag rest. Great shooter now, it is a totally different beast now. It is shooting the way I had expected in the begining.

March 28, 2012, 08:56 PM
I love it when a plan comes together! :)

March 28, 2012, 09:51 PM

March 29, 2012, 09:03 PM
Cool.... glad it's doing what you want.

A Ruger single action is my go-to gun for the woods and mountains. My favorite is my New Vaquero in 45LC. A good-running Ruger is a thing of great pleasure!

Ron in Texas

March 30, 2012, 07:50 AM
I recently bought a Ruger Bearcat, just for fun. I couldn't shoot it well offhand and after benching it, found out why. It shot around the clock, but none in the center. Another cylinder full duplicated the "pattern" exactly, as did a third! Small 3-shot groups in six different places on the target.

It was a used gun and the Kittery Trading Post took it back without any questions. I checked the crown and that was okay and reamed the forcing cone a bit, which helped a bit, but something was amiss and timing didn't seem to be the problem. I suspect the cylinder boring may have been the problem.

March 30, 2012, 08:52 AM
It's not common to find a Blackhawk that won't shoot, but it does happen.

I've owned nearly a dozen Super Blackhawks over the years. They all shot acceptably well with two exceptions. One was a tack-driver. The other one wouldn't keep two shots within 6 inches of each other at 50 yards.

Give Ruger a call.

June 16, 2012, 12:57 AM
The crown problem need not even make contact with the bullet to throw accuracy off. The hot gases need to spread evenly behind the bullet as it exits the muzzle to keep from upsetting it, so the crown needs to be even all the way around.

June 16, 2012, 04:13 PM
Too late but, ask Ruger?

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