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.357 Single Action Advice

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mdrisc85, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. mdrisc85

    mdrisc85 Member

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    I am thinking I'd really like to add a single action revolver to my collection sometime in the next few months.

    While I have handled a number of them at venues like SHOT Show, but never had the opportunity to fire one. I own several double action revolvers and for that purpose I'd prefer one in .38/.357 so i won't have to add another caliber. Intended use is range work and knockabout field carry.

    Aside from that- what would you recommend for the first time single action shooter? I've been looking a Ruger Blackhawk which seem to be very practical, but also seen some very nice Uberti and other SAA repros as well. The 4 5/8 barrel length seems to look the most handy but I'm very interested in others experiences.

    Thanks for your wisdom in advance.
     
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  2. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    For field carry and range work I think you answered yourself with the ruger blackhawk, the gun will take more abuse than your body ever will, theyre priced accordingly and Ive seen them go on for about 350 at the lowest in some places, The Uberti makes a good gun but the lack of adjustable sights for your purposes leaves the gun wanting, I say go for a used blackhawk, and use the money you saved on some good leather.
     
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  3. JohnB-40

    JohnB-40 Member

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    I recently purchased a Ruger New Vaquero 4.62" .357 Mag. Common sense was telling me to get the Blackhawk,with the adjustable sights and costing less coin....But I couldn't be happier in choosing the Vaquero.
     
  4. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    The vaquero is a good gun for its intended purpose, for carry, for self defense, for plinking its a fantastic weapon, only mentioned the blackhawk for the OP because of what he mentioned his purposes for as well as the fact that hes in Nevada which he may need to take longer shots than me in the Hills of Texas
     
  5. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I think a large part of it is whether you want a larger, modern, adjustable sighted revolver, or a Colt SAA clone. Nothing wrong with either one, just a choice that only you can decide.
     
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  6. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    I'm a big SA revolver fan and have them in 6 different calibers. Used copies in 357 should be easy to find if cost is a factor. If you prefer fixed sights, the Vacquero is great but others from Pietta, Uberti, and Rough Rider get good reviews. If possible, try to handle different barrel lengths to see which balances best for you. The 4 and a fraction length barrels are popular and easy to carry but some prefer longer barrels.

    If you get the chance, try firing a SA to see if the recoil and feel suit you. It's different from DA revolvers. My bet is you will like the feel. After all, it's been popular since about 1835.

    If I were to own just one single action (way too late for that), it would be a Blackhawk in 357. Also, some Blackhawks come with an accessory cylinder to use 9mm ammo.

    Jeff
     
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  7. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I've made similar considerations myself. As such, I can only write as someone with a similar attraction and not as one who's owned many of these for any length of time. The way I see it, there are the 1873 Colts and Colt clones, then there's the Vaquero which delivers almost exact Colt looks but with a modern transfer-bar action that is also likely to be more durable, and then there are the Blackhawks, older Vaqueros and Super Blackhawks which are larger and much stronger than the Colt replicas, and those Super Blackhawks are also the basis of the macho single actions from Freedom Arms and the BFR which have a higher level of fit and finish and are offered in larger and more powerful chamberings.

    I do own a Ruger single action. It has a blued finish and so has the aluminum grip frame and trigger guard. That makes it a mere 34 ounces, which is as light as I've seen them. It has a 5.5" barrel. I find it nearly impossible to carry concealed. I've tried standard and crossdraw holsters and even a temporarily rigged shoulder holster. I couldn't do it. Between the long barrel and the plow-handle, it prints badly. I'm sure a bigger guy has done it. Maybe you don't even care, but for me, a gun that can only be carried open-carry is limited in practicality.

    It's not the most practical gun. So what? So don't be rational about the other criteria. So what if you already have .357. If what stirs you about a single action is the most elegant platform to drive a .500, then just do it. Of course, if you actually want to shoot a lot, a .44 magnum or .454 still isn't "practical" but it's less impossible, and not really any less macho considering how hot they can be loaded in these guns.

    For some people, macho is not the thing at all. It's more about cowboy and nostalgia. In my mind, if that's what it is, then it's got to be genuine cowboy and authentic nostaliga. Some might say that Colt is the only real deal, but I'd counter that it would have to be a first-gen Colt because the Colt of today and the guns they make aren't the same. But as far as I'm concerned, the replicas are at least as genuine as any western movie, which have their own authentic nostalgia, and the replicas, while not practical, are a lot less impossible. Nevertheless, I'd argue that among replicas, the1873 is the most "Hollywood." An 1851 Navy or an 1849 Pocket would be closer to the real deal.

    A small-bore Blackhawk isn't either of the above, but if you've got nothing to prove and no way to pose, there's nothing wrong with them.
     
  8. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Exectly. Remember....the smaller the caliber, the heavier the revolver. I used to own a 6 1/2" .357 Blackhawk but it was too heavy for a "fun" revolver to carry in the field or plink with. Several years ago I bought a couple of Uberti Hombre's in .357 to get the wife and I started in CAS. Well the CAS bug passed but the single action bug is here to stay. I now own 7 or 8 SA's mostly in .44 Special and 45 Colt. I hadn't fired the Hombre's for a few years, and really not fired them outside of short range CAS stuff, so a few months ago whim I got one of them out. I was more than surprised at how accurate these little revolvers are at 50 yds....

    Uberti%20Hombre%2050%20yds_zpss8m5ngfp.jpg

    and even 75 yds....

    Uberti%20Hombre%2075%20yds%20reduced_zpslf9vhmoa.jpg

    I think the only advantage to adjustable sights is a better sight picture. The other side of the coin is people use adjustable sights to ivercome bad shooting habits. A properly made revolver with fixed sights, held and fired properly, will put the bullet where it's supposed to go. There might be some difference in POI between light and heavy bullets, but that is easily overcome.

    Besides all that, Colt reproductions have cleaner lines and classier looks than Blackhawks, but to each his own!

    35W
     
  9. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    I had a lot of experience with DA revolvers and had never fired a SA revolver prior to my first cowboy action match in 2010. It took me a while to feel comfortable with the “plowhandle” shape of most SA revolvers but they are not difficult to shoot, just different.

    Years later I acquired a Ruger “Bisley” SA. To me it has a feel that is very close to that of a modern DA revolver. Unfortunately, I don’t think Ruger offers a Bisley Blackhawk in .357. The New Vaquero is offered in a Bisley configuration in .357 so that is an option if you are willing to give up the adjustable sights.

    My favorite Blackhawk is the New Model “Flattop” variant. It is available in a .357/9mm convertible.

    I use .357 New Vaqueros in cowboy action matches. Adjustable sights are of little advantage in that game but for general purpose shooting the adjustable sights of the Blackhawk make the gun more versatile.
     
  10. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Another vote for a Blackhawk from me. I don't have a 357 Blackhawk right now, but I've owned several in the past, including one with the interchangeable 9mm cylinder. Although, I never found it all that accurate when running 9mms through it. I contributed that to running .355" bullets through a .357" bore, but it might very well have been my shooting too.
    I personally didn't find my 6.5" Blackhawk any less "handy" for a "carry around in the hills" gun than my 4 5/8" Blackhawk. And I was a little better with the longer barrel anyway.
    The 4 1/4" Freedom Arms 357 I have now is far and away the most accurate (or "precise" if you prefer) I've ever owned. But even though I got it at cost when the dealer, an old friend or ours was retiring, it was pricy.
     
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  11. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I bought a .357/9mm Ruger Blackhawk convertible with 4 5/8" barrel on my 21st birthday. It served me well for many years. I don't presently own a .357 SA revolver, but I do have a Stainless .45 Colt Blackhawk and it is also excellent.
     
  12. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I forgot to mention one other variety of single actions, the "single" six, seven, nine etc, and the Bearcat. I think these are easily the most practical of all. One of these rimsfire rugers is what I own, but I want a centerfire .32. With the centerfire, I can use lead-free primers and lead-safe plated bullets.

    Conceivably, with a short-barrel, birdshead grip Single Seven with .327 magnum loads, I could carry it concealed. It would be an experiment. But a better reason I'd like a .32 is to load .32 S&W Long for kids and new shooters. It's on my list. A Baby Dragoon or 1849 Pocket would be even cooler though. However, lead safety is a deal for me and I haven't found lead-free caps and the only lead-free 0.323" or "0" buckshot I know of would have to be cast by me from a bismuth ingot.
     
  13. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that the Ruger offerings have a transfer bar and can safely be carried with all 6 chambers loaded, whereas some (most?) of the other SAA repros should not be. This may or may not have changed depending on the make and model; I don't really keep up with the latest on the non-Ruger offerings. Be sure you are aware of this in terms of what you want/need and factor this into your decision. It is a safety issue. Kind of surprised this hasn't come up...

    I have a Blackhawk and Vaquero in .357, both with the 4 5/8" barrel. I like them and would recommend them. Fixed vs. adjustable sights has not been an issue for me personally. I am sure the other brand names are fine, too; they are generally regarded as more "faithful to the original". Again, just depends on what you want/need.



    The OP was talking in terms of .38/.357 as far as I can tell, but since someone brought up rimfire I do have a blued Single Ten that I like a lot. It has been a good little all-purpose gun.
     
  14. red rick

    red rick Member

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    Blackhawk , you can adjust your sights for 38's to hot 357's .
    Vaquero , like how it handles , with the lower front sight .
    Uberti , I don't like the changes they made with the retractable firing pin . It is no more closer now to the original Colt than the Vaquero is now and I think that and it's price were it's main selling point over the Vaquero .
     
  15. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    The caliber is obviously your choice. Under the "anything you can do I can do better" theory, I like the 44 mag. I have two Vaqueros in 44 mag. For knocking around and targets, I like fixed sights, I reload the load to what the gun likes for the sights POI, and leave it. My fave is the 4 5/8 inch barrel, but the 3 3/4 inch birdshead grip is good to go. For a day at the range, or woods use, a nice 240 lead Keith at about 1100 fps second isn't too punishing, and does the job. I am sure you can find parallels to that thinking in any caliber.
     
  16. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Member

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    I would also vote Blackhawk. With a 5.5" barrel for the extra ooomph. I prefer stainless, but the alloy grip frame on the blued versions does reduce the weight.

    I handled a New Vaquero once, and didn't like the feel (smaller grip maybe?), or the reach and cocking motion of the hammer. Nice gun, just didn't fit me. Perhaps it will fit you though.
     
  17. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I also like the 5.5" barrel .
     
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  18. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    blackhawk for sure , I really like mine
     
  19. Saleen322

    Saleen322 Member

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    Another vote for the Blackhawk. We have a number of them including a 357/9mm. Very accurate, comfortable to shoot, and has good adjustable sights. The 357 Blackhawk is one of the most common made so finding a used one is pretty easy and generally the price is good.
     
  20. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Still yet another "Yes" vote for a Ruger Blackhawk in .357. Picked this one up used at a local gun show (at a very reasonable price), and have been enjoying having it in my single action collection for many years now.

    vwUx8gt.jpg
     
  21. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Bannockburn:

    Very nice Three Screw Blackhawk.

    The modern ones are built on the same frame as the 44 Magnum Super Blackhawk, so I find them to be a little bit larger than necessary. But you have to hunt a bit to find one of the old Three Screws. If it has not been retrofitted by Ruger, there is no transfer bar, so only load them with five rounds, empty chamber under the hammer. The old Three Screws were built on a frame pretty much the same size as a Colt.

    Three%20Screw%20357%20Magnum%2006_zps8sl8rill.jpg




    The New Vaqueros are built on the same size frame as the old Three Screws. Pretty much the same size as a Colt. This one happens to be a 45, but I have a couple of 357 Mags too.

    New%20Vaquero%2045%20and%20Colt_zps7er7twbt.jpg




    I completely agree with this statement. Whenever I buy a used revolver with adjustable sights, invariably the rear sight is pushed over to the right. This is usually because the previous owner was pushing his shots to the left with poor trigger technique. I pretty much shoot the same loads out of all my single action revolvers, so there is no need to be constantly adjusting the sights. Once I have them on target, the sight stays there forever. Adjustable sights do tend to give you an easier to see sight picture though.
     
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  22. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Driftwood

    Thank you for your concern. My first revolver was a Hawes Deputy Marshall .22 and I still practice load one, skip one, load four, and lower the hammer on the empty chamber every time on both of my older single action revolvers (the other one is a non-retrofitted Ruger Single Six).
     
  23. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I don't yet own a centerfire SA revolver (I have four rimfires) and have decided I never will..

    ..until I can afford the Vaquero.. in stainless.. in .357.

    That's just me.
     
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  24. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I knew you would know that. My advice about loading was for the original poster.
     
  25. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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