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Ruger .45 in 4 5/8" or 5 1/2" Barrel?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by il.bill, Jun 10, 2013.

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  1. il.bill
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    il.bill Member

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    I am ordering a Ruger Blackhawk Convertible Revolver in .45 Colt and 45 ACP. but would like to ask you folks for some input regarding barrel length. I will be using it for general plinking (if you can actually apply that phrase to a .45), occasional carry in the woods, and was thinking about trying tp participate in some organized Cowboy action shooting after I retire in several years. The majority of use will be with my .45 ACP reloads. I already have revolvers in .357 magnum and .38 spl., both SA and DA, but this will be my only .45 other than a 1911 pistol.

    I have never had a .45 Blackhawk in my hand. The only one I have ever held is a friend's .357 with a 6 1/2" barrel; it is a sweet shooter, but the long barrel seems unwieldy for holster carry.

    I only have pictures to go by when ordering from my local FFL, and I am sure I will be satisfied with whatever barrel length I get. The single preference data point I have is that the 5 1/2" barrel looks a little nicer to me than the 4 5/8" one since it extends a bit beyond the ejector housing. Does anyone have any practical input on the pros and cons of one barrel length or the other? Thanks for taking the time to read this post - I really feel I can't go wrong either way.
     
  2. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I like the 4 5/8" barrel, but it's a subjective thing, just like the looks. I don't think the 5.5" would shoot any better for me. My .45 Colt shoots 2" groups at 50 yards off the bench and that's about all I can do with ANY handgun and iron sights. I've hunted with it a few times, haven't got a shot with it...YET. I plan to hunt more with it in the future. I have a 6.5" .357 with which I've taken a few deer and hogs out to 60 yards. I have carried that gun around the mountains in New Mexico, too, wasn't THAT unwieldy in an Uncle Mike's belt holster. A 4 5/8"er is, of course, a bit more compact. :D If you're worried about carry afield while hiking or something, I'd suggest the blued steel version as it has an aluminum grip frame. My stainless .45 is a little heavier than the blued version, but it ain't that hard to carry, either. :D The weight is appreciated with heavy loads.
     
  3. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    I very much like the look and the balance of the 5.5 inch guns but for my purposes I go with the (to me) handier 4.62 inch guns. I also like the way they look and balance. I am not a big guy and the shorter barrel is just a lot handier for me for a variety of uses. A 4 5/8 inch Blackhawk .45 Convertible is far and away my favorite handgun. I don't think you can go wrong with whatever you choose. The shorty does have a nice "bulldog" look to it, IMO.

    Re-reading your post, if the 5 1/2 inch looks better to you, you may have answered your own question. There really is little practical difference. I agree with McGunner that the blued (all the standard blued convertibles are large frame with alloy grip frames) version is the proper weight and balance, especially if the majority of use will be with .45 ACP. A perfect balance of weight and power.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I prefer the short barreled guns. I don't find most 5½" guns to be attractive at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I would suggest holding both in your hand, and see which one feels right to you.
     
  6. il.bill
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    il.bill Member

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    In a better organized world I would be able to, but no one local has either model in stock, and I do not want to burn up gas driving around to find one. My local dealer told me they are 'allocated', which he says means that there is already a dealer waiting to purchase every one that Ruger ships out right now.

    I have convinced myself I will be happy no matter which of the two barrel lengths is on the blued revolver I buy, especially since it will be the only one I have ever had in hand so there is nothing specific with which I can compare it. I know no one will be able to tell me what I would like best (even my wife of 38 years gave up trying to figure that out). I appreciate all who share their experience and give me something more to think about. Thanks again!
     
  7. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    The 4 5/8" works for me. Long enough to be easy to shoot.
    [​IMG]

    .... and compact enough for easy carry.


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    Personally, I've always thought the 5.5" barrel looks more proportional and aesthetically pleasing and I also prefer the slightly longer sight radius. Just a preference though, as you said you really can't go wrong with either.
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I also like the 5.5" barrel in a SA revolver. I have one I really like, it's an original Ruger Bisley Vaquero in .45 Colt with a 5.5" barrel. It's probably my favorite SA revolver I own.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    For me, a barrel longer than 6 inches starts being a bit cumbersome when carrying it, having to sit down etc. In Ohio, in order to use a handgun for deer hunting, the barrel has to be at least 5 inches long. For these reasons, my preferred barrel length is 5 inches in a handgun.

    If the pistol is to be used for concealed carry only, then I'm happy with shorter barrels.
     
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    My own preference has always been with the 4 5/8" barrel. I just think it makes the gun look properly balanced rather than having that extra barrel length extend beyond the ejector rod housing.
     
  12. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    at less than an inch I don't think it matters, I went with a 5.5" because my state says I need a 5" barrel to hunt with my gun. Anything less than 6" carries easy to me and anything 4" or longer on a revolver is enough sight radius.
     
  13. fatcpa

    fatcpa Member

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    I have both 4 5/8 and 5 1/2 inch Blackhawks. I like the looks of the shorter one, but I shoot better with the longer one. Both are great guns.
     
  14. HankR

    HankR Member

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    As others have stated, it's personal preference. I prefer the 5.5, especially for hunting or "Ruger only" loads. I've never done the CAS thing, but I would think that the shorter barrel would be better for any game that involves a "fast draw" component. I find it difficult to sit in a vehicle with the longer barrelled gun in a belt holster. As others have mentioned, if hunting is ever going to be a possibility you should look into the regs for the state where you hunt.
     
  15. 340PD

    340PD Member

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    I just bought a 4-5/8 barrel because I liked the looks of it. .357/9mm. Nice gun, and lots of fun to shoot.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    The simple answer.. BOTH. I bought my 5.5" 1st. the 4 5/8".. I'll get here in a little while. :)
     
  17. il.bill
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    il.bill Member

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    The next Blackhawk Convertible will most likely be chambered in .357 magnum and 9x19mm.

    I tell my shooting buddy that 'he has it bad' when I catch him talking about the handgun he is looking to get after he orders the one he wants to buy after he takes possession of the one that is currently being shipped to our local FFL dealer!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    "Both" is never a wrong answer. ;)
     
  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    My preference is the 4 5/8". But that is all it is a preference I don't think it makes a hill of beans difference in actual performance.
     
  20. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    Before buying my 5.5" SS 45 convertible bisley blackhawk, I shot several blackhawks with barrels from 4.5 to 7.5". I found that the 5.5" just felt and looked best to me. That being said, which ever one you choose, you WILL end up buying another SA revolver down the line...so the point is really moot;) Blackhawk revolvers are an addiction!
     
  21. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Everyone feels the additional velocity of the added 7/8 is insignificant? I am considering a 5.5" .44 mag.
     
  22. skt239

    skt239 Member

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    I'm partial to 4 and 5/8 when it comes to single actions.
     
  23. guitarguy314

    guitarguy314 Member

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    I really love my .45 convertible.

    The shorter Barrels just look...incomplete to me. 5.5 inches all the way. aside from looks, my 5.5 feels well balanced and shoots great!
     
  24. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    I like the 4 5/8" a smidge better for looks, But they both balance good to me and I agree that the only correct answer is ultimately both.
    There are enough variables that the added 7/8" doesn't necessarily guarentee any added velocity, on average it'll probably be less than 50 fps.
     
  25. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I likw the quickness and pointabilitiy of my 4 5/8ths. I like the sight radius and accuracy of my 7 1/2.
    I have taken deer with both.
    Perhaps the 5 1/2 would be a compromise. ?
     
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