best length for Blackhawk?


August 28, 2013, 12:32 PM
What is the best barrel length for the Ruger Blackhawk in .357? I had thought about getting the shorter 4 5/8 barrel for looks. But after handling it; it seemed almost too short to handle the muzzle blast and recoil of the .357 magnum pistol. Any opinions?

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August 28, 2013, 12:40 PM
I really like my BH with a 6.5" barrel. Not something that you are going to conceal, but I bought it for a range gun/outdoors protection.

I actually picked up a Vaquero with a sub 5" barrel in .357 to be more of a hiking gun, but the adjustable sites and longer barrel results in the BH shooting circles around the little cowboy gun when you get down to accuracy. I do prefer the balance and looks of the Vaquero though.

In short, for ME, shorter barrel for hiking and clearing leather for self defense. Longer barrel for target shooting or if I were going to hunt with it. Especially if you are using hotter harder hitting loads.

Mat, not doormat
August 28, 2013, 05:32 PM
Cowboy shooters tend to go for the 4 5/8, as it's the fastest in and out of leather. .357s aren't at all unpleasant, though you might lose a smidgen of velocity.

The 5.5 doesn't make a noticeable difference in speed from leather, and some people like it for balance or a touch more sight radius. It's a game of tiny increments over the 4 5/8, in both regards.

The 7.5 is a different animal. It's considerably slower into and out of leather. It's bulkier and more annoying on the hip. The extra sight radius really does make a difference in my group sizes, shooting supported. Unsupported, wobbles seem to affect all lengths equally. It gets a few more fps out of any given load, and also slows the recoil cycle significantly.

FWIW, my .357s wear 4 5/8 barrels, and are good general purpose trail guns, in addition to their primary mission of winning cowboy matches. My .44s wear 7.5 barrels, however, and are better as dedicated hunting revolvers than for just knocking around the woods.

Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2

August 28, 2013, 05:36 PM
... on what you want.

The longer barrels give greater velocity and energy. Potentially (not guaranteed) longer barrels - with long sight radius - are more accurate.

Short barrels are handier and quicker in the hand.

Which is pretty much what Fiv3r and Mat said.

August 28, 2013, 05:50 PM
I've owned a lot of BH's over the years, and I prefer the 4 5/8" version. The 5 1/2" is a close second and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I found one in a caliber that I wanted. After owning 4 or 5 of the 7 1/2" tubes, I have finally convinced myself that they just aren't for me.

That said, go play with all of them and pick the one you think you like the best. Hope you're happy with which ever you choose :)

August 28, 2013, 06:08 PM
I have a 6.5" BH, a 7.5" and a 5.5" SBH. I like the 5.5" best but have no issues with the 6.5" on the BH.

Have found that sights do make a difference, and currently like an Alpha Precision front with a Bowen Target rear...nice and crisp. If you are going to shorten a barrel, you might spend some extra $s and try upgraded sights.

August 28, 2013, 06:31 PM
I have a 4 5/8 357 blackhawk. It is without a doubt the most handy length. Velocity is not an issue , I can push a 173gr Kieth over 1300 fps. A longer barrel will gain some velocity, but how much ? It is as accurate as I would ever expect it to be. I am not however.
I will add I am looking casually for a blackhack in 45 colt and it will wear a longer barrel.

357 Terms
August 28, 2013, 08:44 PM
I bought my blackhawk to use for hunting, 6.5in barrel.

Shoots great.

David E
August 28, 2013, 08:54 PM
357mag's full potential is out of 6"bbl. Any magnum needs barrel length to achieve their optimal velocity and shock power!

Then it needs a barrel longer than 6" to reach "optimal velocity."

Most people just need "adequate" velocity, so shorter is handier is better for many folks.

August 28, 2013, 09:40 PM
I've got several BHs. My favorite is the 4-5/8". Easier to
Carry and I'm a good enough shot with it to 50yds, it works great for me.

My hunting BH is a 7-1/2" BH hunter stainless in 41 Mag wearing a 2.5-8 weaver. Plenty accurate for deer out to 100yds if I do my part.

August 28, 2013, 09:42 PM
the 4.625" barreled gun balances best and, for me, shoots the best (accuracy). my 5.5" blackhawk (44spl) doesn't feel as good in my hand. my 44 magnum super blackhawk with the 7.5" barrel is noticeably muzzle heavy (and just plain heavy).

good earplugs or muffs take care of muzzle blast (get a good pair of muffs to reduce the flinching effect), weight of the gun and grip shape and grip type takes care of recoil. two or four ounces of weight difference (5 to 10 percent) between different barrel length guns is not significant regarding recoil (in this case). the stock grips manage recoil effectively as the 357 magnum caliber does not kick like a 44 magnum.


August 29, 2013, 07:51 AM
I've owned Ruger BH's for 50 years now, and have come to the conclusion that the 4-5/8" bbl'd models are the answer. Easy to pack, (don't dig your ribs while riding any sort of conveyance: tractor, horseback, truck, lawn mower). A good high ride Tom Threepersons open top holster does the trick here on the farm.

As to accuracy: my groups with the shorter barrels differ less than 1/2" at 25 yds from those shot with the 6-1/2" tubes. Muzzle blast is about the same as well, and for me, especially with the steel framed Flat Tops, the balance is better with the shorter barrel.

The only drawback that I can see is that some states may require a barrel of at least 5" for big game hunting.

HTH's Rod

August 29, 2013, 09:18 AM
Velocity loss isn't enough of a concern for me until barrel length gets below 4", so I could live with the 4 5/8" version from that perspective. Of course longer is better and you will come closest to published ballistics from a 7.5" barrel and also find it easier to shoot accurately.

But to me a handgun is meant to be small and compact. I would just as soon use a rifle as an handgun with barrels longer than 6", and tend to prefer shorter. The 5.5" gun is as long as I'd want, but I'd still probably buy the shorter barrel and live with the loss of velocity and accuracy.

August 29, 2013, 10:03 AM
I just prefer the balance and handling capabilities of the 4 5/8" barrel on the Blackhawk. Not really concerned about any additional velocities that might be gained with a longer barrel.

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