45 Flat top vs New Model


March 23, 2012, 10:58 PM
Guys- I am looking at a 45 Colt Ruger Blackhawk.

I would prefer the 5.5" barrel in stainless but can only find that in the Bisley, of which I am not a fan. It looks like the New Model w the western/traditional grip is hard to find, but the 5.5" barrel seems impossible. Does this exist?

45 Long Colt Ruger New Model Blackhawk 5.5" barrel in stainless, (not Bisley)?

What are the limits to the smaller framed flat top in terms of loads it can handle? The vast majority I shoot will be with lighter/more pleasant loads for every day shooting and varmints around the place. That being said, I like the idea of shooting a 300 gr bullet at 1500fps. Not a deal breaker, but it seems cool.

So, Flat Top vs New Model in a 45 LC. Handling, balance, pleasure to shoot, etc?

The stainless is a deal-breaker. I like the stainless. Thanks!

If you enjoyed reading about "45 Flat top vs New Model" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
451 Detonics
March 23, 2012, 11:02 PM
Have you dealer contact Lipsey's and see if this one is available...


March 24, 2012, 10:04 AM
The flat-top is a mid-frame and should be held to 22-23,000psi.

The regular Blackhawk is a large frame and safe for 32,000psi loads.

Both are "New Model" single actions.

Neither can safely push a 300gr at 1500fps.

March 24, 2012, 02:12 PM
If you are not experienced in full-house "Ruger only" loads I'd suggest trying a friend's before committing to them. Having said that, as I grow older and my wrists complain of the cumulative effects of heavy loads, I am quite satisfied with 8-10 gr of Unique under a 250-270 gr cast. All the fun and little of the pain. Go with the full-size BH for the skookum loads.

March 25, 2012, 11:59 PM
Thanks. I am debating going with the smaller framed flat top because I can't find a 45lc in the larger in a 5/5" barrel. If anyone knows of any out there, I would appreciate your help.
I don't plan on shooting the super-stinky loads very much but I figured if I am going to buy a Blackhawk, I might as well buy the one that can handle the "Ruger only loads".

I have found the larger framed stainless 45lc in a 7.5" barrel but not 5.5". Did Ruger not make a 5.5" in stainless? Thanks.

March 26, 2012, 08:09 PM
Thanks. I am debating going with the smaller framed flat top because I can't find a 45lc in the larger in a 5/5" barrel. If anyone knows of any out there, I would appreciate your help.
I don't plan on shooting the super-stinky loads very much but I figured if I am going to buy a Blackhawk, I might as well buy the one that can handle the "Ruger only loads".

I have found the larger framed stainless 45lc in a 7.5" barrel but not 5.5". Did Ruger not make a 5.5" in stainless? Thanks.

If you cannot find one, it doesn't cost that much to shorten the barrel to the length that you prefer.


March 27, 2012, 06:12 PM
I've been looking at the same gun. Seems like the barrel lengths I want from Ruger are always in blued versions as well. I like stainless better. The big plus with that convertible is that I can shoot any .45acp that does not function well in my semi-auto pistols as well.

March 27, 2012, 07:28 PM
Maybe the answer is to find a 7.5" barrel and have it taken down. I am surprised that is my only option. For a popular manufacturer and popular cartridge, I thought a stainless model would be easier to come by.

March 27, 2012, 07:39 PM
Look here:http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?


April 2, 2012, 01:56 PM
I've seen a couple 7 1/2" barrel stainless Blackhawks in the full size 45. If I bought one of these, would a 45 ACP cylinder from a convertible gun fit or do the convertible cylinders only fit convertible guns? Not a big deal if not, but if possible, I will keep my eyes out for a 45 ACP cylinder.

April 2, 2012, 03:49 PM
From what I understand the cylinders still need to be fit, though you may luck out and the ACP cylinder you find may work.

Ruger of course will sell you a new one and fit it.

I'm enjoying my 9.3 grains of Universal pushing a 250 hardcast in my '87/'88 Blackhawk, but my poor, worn brass has been used to the light Schofield loads,

I finally split an old case this week with the +P Ruger loads, They had 15 or so light Trailboss or Titegroup loads before them... 2 loads of the Hot stuff was the last gasp for the poor thing.

My first split case in thousands of rounds, for some reason it registers in my head as a major milestone. :D The Colt cylinder is large enough that a .452 slug drops through, might look into a new Cylinder at some point with tighter tolerances too. The ACP cylinder appears un-throated.

It's about time to order virgin brass, Till now was just collected once-fired from before the Press. I'm shocked it lasted as long as it did without any ruptures.

April 2, 2012, 08:33 PM
Too bad you are exlcuding the Bisley grip frame. I talked a buddy into buying one (Super Blackhawk Bisley 44 mag.) and he was happy he did. It it such a pleasure to shoot compaired to the old plow handle. He is mainly shooting the 245 Kieth bullet at about 950 FPS. Not much different than a max. 45 Colt in a SAA, but again so much more comfortable.

April 5, 2012, 12:34 AM
I have to admit I have not even shot the Bisley's simply because I think they look a bit 'off'. I should probably go shoot one before judging it for it's 'saggy' posture. I almost bought a Bisley simply because I couldn't find a 5 1/2" stainless in the old style handle, but it still isn't the style I want. I've been looking for this gun for a while. I've found a few of the 7 1/2" barrels (KBN-45) That might be my pick if I can find one that's for sale. There are a few out there but none that I've found in time yet.

We've got quite a few critters around the place; raccoons, porcupines, badgers, etc. and 158 gr works well on them. I would really like to pancake some badgers with 240 gr. And I hear the 45 Colt is much easier to be around than a .357.

Let me know if you find a KBN-45. I'll try and find a Bisley to get my hands on to try.


April 5, 2012, 01:16 PM
I suggest you take a good look at Hodgdon's data to realize how little that extra 10 kPSI Craig mentions above actually delivers in fps and, more imortantly, field effectiveness. Took me awhile to learn but I max my 45's, large and small, out at 20 kPSI or so and really do not believe I am giving up anything.


Gary A
April 5, 2012, 05:05 PM
There were some wonderful full-sized frame 5 1/2 inch Bisleys in stainless steel, both 45 colt and 45 convertible versions from both Acusport and Williams shooters supply. Don't know if any are still floating around. You might want to reconsider your thoughts on a Bisley. I know there were also quite few of the smaller flattops in 5 1/2 inch stainless trim also.

April 7, 2012, 12:08 PM
The 5 1/2 barrel is going to have some noted recoil over the 7 1/2. In my Colt single actions with the plow handle, a 900 FPS 255 grain bullet recoils the barrel to the full 12 oclock position with authority when shooting one handed. The 7 1/2 is more comfortable and the bisley 7 1/2 Ruger is simply a joy to shoot. I did shoot my friends Bisely Vaquero 5 1/2 but it was only with 200 gr. cowboy loads so I can't compare full loads.

April 10, 2012, 12:34 AM
I've debated over the Bisley but it still looks a little goofy to me. I've played with a 7 1/2" barrel 44 and I like it. I think I am decided on a 7 1/2" 45 if I can find one. Again, they don't seem to surface very often. If anyone knows of any, please give me a heads up.

I don't plan on shooting the real stinky hot loads much. I will mostly load lighter/standard stuff with better manners, but I would also like to use the same pistol when packing into bear country. The last couple trips I have run into grizzly and I like the idea of a big bullet with some stink behind it. I imagine the full size frame with standard loads will be real pleasant to shoot. If I can get my hands on a Bisley, I'll give it a whirl but I'm not real excited about the guns looks, that and I like the looks of the fluted barrel.


Gary A
April 10, 2012, 12:48 AM
MacLloyd - Davison's shows the 7 1/2 inch Blackhawk convertible in 45LC/45acp in stock (http://galleryofguns.com/genie/default.aspx?pg=list&mfg=Ruger&mdl=Blackhawk&cat=1&type=Revolver&cal=45LC&fin) but they are blued, not stainless. Of course, that also means they are lighter with the alloy grip frame. I have one and like it very much. They are not flattops, rather are the full-sized frame.

April 10, 2012, 08:41 AM

Bud's Onliine has the stainless 5.5 .45 flattop convertables. Just got mine yesterday.

April 10, 2012, 03:03 PM
Over 10 yrs. ago I wanted a 5 ½” stainless NMBH in .45 Colt. I think they made them in small batches in the past, but I couldn’t find one. I decided to make my own. I got a 7 ½” stainless and sent it to the factory for a barrel change out. While they were at it, I asked for a .45 ACP cylinder. Now I have a couple of stainless .45 Colt NMBHs with 5 ½” barrels with .45 ACP cylinders that have been trimmed to headspace .45 Auto Rim. They work great and are very accurate. Might work for you too.

April 10, 2012, 05:25 PM
Wow! You have exactly what I have been looking for. That is the first one I've seen. It sounds like I am in the same boat. You said you now have a coupleof these? Did you have another one made as well?

Your 45ACP cylinder had to be fitted at the factory? I was wondering if that was the case or if I could simply buy a ACP cylinder.

Do you mind me asking what sending it to the factory to get the barrel turned down ran you?

I thought about getting the barrel taken down to a 6" or 6 1/2" but it might be hard to find leather for it. Most likely I will get a 7 1/2" and stick with it for a while, but you have done exactly what I would like to do.

That is a dang nice piece. I am surprised that isn't an option from the factory.

Would you recommend getting a new barrel put on at the factory or is it possible to have a 7 1/2" barrel taken down by a gunsmith?


April 10, 2012, 07:54 PM
Over a couple of years, I did it three times. Two were to shoot CAS, and one was to become a Bisley. About the time I was thinking about getting a Bisley grip frame, the first batch of 5 ½” stainless .45 Bisleys became available and I got one of those and didn’t modify the NMBH. I eventually got a 4th that I didn’t modify and left at 7 ½”. All the .45 Colt cylinders needed to be reamed. Several of the factory fitted .45 APC cylinders also needed to be reamed. One .45 ACP cylinder is .455”, but it seems to shoot well anyway. All the rest are now about .453”. I had to recut the forcing cones as well. At the time I used an 11 degree cutter. I now have 5 degree cutters that I use.

The reason I went with a barrel change was because the barrel was something like $60. Whenever I looked at having it cut, it was on the order of twice that. The cylinder was also around $60, so the whole thing cost something north of $150 with slight refinishing and other costs.

The first batch of Bisleys didn't include a .45 ACP cylinder and when I called Ruger about getting one, they said no, so I don't know if they will currently do it for a NMBH.

April 12, 2012, 12:36 PM
After as much shooting as you've done, what is your opinion of the Bisley vs the regular plow handle? Do you think it is more comfortable to shoot? What made you want to convert one of your NMBH's to a Bisley?

I have a Colt SAA in .357 that I like the looks, balance and feel. That's why I wanted the same style in a 45. I'm not wild about the looks of the Bisley. I was just wondering what made you want to convert to a Bisley.

I haven't loaded 45 rounds before. I am now shopping for brass. Am I correct in thinking that revolver brass doesn't matter much. I want to load 1000 rounds or so. Is there anything I should look out for when buying brass or can I buy 1000 rds of once fired, mixed brass?

Thanks again. Your time and advice is appreciated.


April 12, 2012, 03:33 PM
I started shooting the NMBH 12 yrs. ago. I had read a lot about the Bisley and I wanted to try it myself. That is why I got the third NMBH and had the barrel changed to 5 ½”, but the limited edition Bisley became available and so I didn’t modify the NMBH. After shooting the same slightly stepped up loads in both the NMBH and Bisley, both with Gunfighter grips, I really don’t see much difference in the way they handle recoil, but what difference there is makes me favor the NMBH over the Bisley. It is just a matter of personal preference. It is nice to have one Bisley, but I wouldn’t bother getting another. On the other hand, I have a 6 ½” Single Six and a bunch of NMBHs in .30 Carbine, .357 and .45 and a 5 ½” SS SBH. Most of them have the Gunfighter grips on them: smooth for heavy recoil, like the SBH, and checkered for lower recoil, like one .45 and the .357s, which I use for CAS. I also prefer them to the Bisley.

When I first got the Bisley, it was beating up the second finger of my right hand. I tried thicker grips to no avail, then I got some Gunfighter grips for it. They are thinner and allow the hand to rotate just enough to keep the knuckle out of line with the trigger guard. They make it comfortable to shoot, but it feels awkward compared to the NMBH. I also got a pair of 50th Anniversary .357 Blackhawks for my wife. I took them out and broke them and did trigger jobs on them. They are very nice, but they have the XR3 (Colt SSA) grip size. They work pretty well, but I prefer the slightly larger XR3-RED grip frame of the NMBH.

For punching holes in paper I actually use the .45 ACP cylinder in my .45 Colt NMBH and use .45 Auto Rim cases. They are much smaller than the Colt case and don’t have the excess airspace of the Colt cases with small charges of fast powder. The AR cases also seem to cycle more smoothly in the guns than the ACP cases and they headspace on the rims, which are nice and consistent, as opposed to .45 ACP cases which can have fairly large variation in case length and they headspace on the length. I could put in a longer firing pin in the NMBH, but it is much harder to do than it is in a S&W 625.

April 14, 2012, 11:05 PM
You really have to shoot them all with various grips to find out for yourself. Recoil is just too subjective. I am one who prefers the Bisley for heavy loads. I'm comfortable with the Colt SAA/Navy/Ruger XR3 for loads up to level of the 1200fps Keith load in the .44Spl. Above that and I want a Bisley. I find the Bisley to be imminently more comfortable than anything else available for handling heavy recoil. As do most sixgun shooters. There is a reason why 99% of custom .475 and .500 conversions utilize the Bisley configuration. It simply works best for the majority of shooters.

The Ruger XR3-RED and Super Blackhawk grip frames do not work for me at all.

April 15, 2012, 06:07 PM
Thanks guys. Craig, thanks for the input. I will mostly be shooting the standard/lighter loads so I am not overly concerned with the heavy stuff. I found a Ruger NMBH in stainless and it should be here in a week or less. It has the 7 1/2" barrel. I am excited to try different loads in it.

If you enjoyed reading about "45 Flat top vs New Model" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!