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Ruger Bisley 5.5" .44 Special or .45LC/ACP Convertable

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by santacruzdave, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. santacruzdave
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    santacruzdave Contributing Member

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    Darn pal of mine just picked up a new Vaquero. And I had to shoot it yesterday afternoon. Now I've a hankering' for a single action side arm. I'm sold on the 5.5 inch version of the Bisley and need help deciding between the Blackhawk Bisley .44 Special flattop and the New Model Blackhawk Convertible in .45 LC / .45 ACP. I'm all setup to reload .44 Special and .45 ACP, so that part is easy. Gearing up to reload .45 LC is a slight speed bump, but I'm willing to go there.

    I"m mostly interested using this new Ruger at the range with a small possibility that I may use it as a backup on hog hunts and more likely, a secondary home defence gun. I've been running Skeeter loads in a model 69 (7.5 gr Unique under a 240 gr SWC) and would be using them in the .44 is that's the one I decide on.

    What advantages do you see in the convertible? I'm mostly going to shoot long colts of approximately the same power as the Skeeter loads I shoot now. Any questions about overly hot loadings I should be aware of?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

    David in Santa Cruz
     
  2. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    The cowboy in me says flattop. My ruger bisley is in 32 H&R Mag
     
  3. 25-5
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    25-5 Contributing Member

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    The New Blakhawk Bisley blued 5.5" bbl is hard to find in .45 Colt. SS is at buds guns.
    I am getting the .44 special blued w/rosewood grips 4.6" bbl. You can put a devastating .44 load in a Ruger.
    I have had many Bisley's (Super Blackhawk and Vacqueros) and like"em.
    No more SASS, so I want the adjustable rear sight.
    7.5" bbl is too long for me and others per their critiques.
     
  4. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    If you're planning on running Skeeter loads in the .44 Special or similar in the .45 Colt, then no.
    Keep in mind the .44 Special is the flat top on the smaller frame. It will still handle stiff loads, but I wouldn't go trying to make a .44 magnum out of it.
    The Skeeter loads of 7.5 grains of Unique or 7 grains of 700X will take care of your target and hog hunting backup needs.
    The .45 Colt will handle pretty much whatever you throw at it, within reason. You certainly can make a magnum out of it if you are so inclined.
    I've loaded a 250 grain bullet with 26 grains of H110 in my .45 Colt Blackhawk with no ill effects (other than to my hand and wrist).
     
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  5. exbrit49

    exbrit49 Member

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    I'm sold on the 45acp /45 Colt convertible Blackhawk. Its extremely accurate with either cylinder and allows me to shoot standard 45 ACP ;loading's to really stout loading's in the Colt Cylinder. It retains its accuracy across all bullet weights and velocities. Had mine three year and still love it as much as did when I bought it.
     
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  6. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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  7. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I would take the full-sized frame and (especially) adjustable sights every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    I've had the 45 "convertible" for around five years and like it very much.
     
  8. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    If you reload, then it's totally up to you. Over the last few years I loaded/shot .44 Special and 45 Colt extensively. One of the frustrating things I discovered about the 45 Colt is great vertical dispersion between heavy and light bullets. After my "discovery" I was thumbing through my copy of Keith's "Sixguns" and he had mentioned the same thing. A buddy recently bought a SA 45 Colt and picked up a box of 185 gr. self defense loads. He said they shot WAY low. I've figured out this can be somewhat mitigated by sticking to one weight bullet and loading it up or down as needed.
    So, take all that for what it's worth.

    I've been thinking for years I would buy a Ruger Flat Top 45ACP/45 Colt, but I KNOW I'd never use the 45 ACP cylinder. If you're a handloader, what would be the point when one can easily load a 45 Colt to 45 ACP ballistics.

    As far as "hot loadings" go, the Ruger .44 Special will handle loads up to and including the Keith load of a 250 gr. cast SWC running 1200 fps (17.0 grs. of AL2400). I've owned my Flat Top .44 Special for several years now and it's a dandy revolver. I shot a few of the Keith load-

    429421100yds-ed_zps11ec5c24.jpg

    ...but just don't see the need in this load which is equal to, and in some cases exceeds the ballistics of factory .44 Magnum ammunition. Here is a link to a great article on .44 Special revolvers and loads for them: Handloading the .44 Special

    The Flat Top convertible and the New Vaquero are good for loads in the 20-23,000 psi range, or the same pressures to which 45 ACP +P's are loaded.

    35W
     
  9. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I have not been happy with the oversized cylinder throats of Ruger's .44 cal revolvers. .433-.434" is to large for my liking.
     
  10. santacruzdave
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    santacruzdave Contributing Member

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    Whoa, I'd not be happy either. My current .44 is a Smith M69 4.2". It's very accurate. I'd hope the .44 flat top would be just as accurate!
     
  11. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    The throats on my .44 Special are OK

    35W
     
  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    The throats on my .44SPC Flattop were all over the map, and it had a torque bulge in the barrel. Having said that, the little .44 was a pretty darn handy pistol, and I really liked it a lot... until I tried to shoot it. I still have my .45 Colt Vaquero (old Blackhawk frame) and it feels like a pig compared to the svelte .44... but if I wanted something to back me up with hogs, that would be what I would grab for. OP, if you have the chance, handle both of them... they are two different pistols (unless the .45 is one of the smaller New Blackhawk frames, which appears so.)
     
  13. ravenn

    ravenn Member

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    Yep, 27 grains of H-110 and a hard cast 273 grain SWC will uproot trees, set of seismagraphs and upset birds nests just from the recoil!
     
  14. joneb

    joneb Member

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    If you run a patch down the barrel see if it chokes down at the forcing cone. If it does
    this would not be a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  15. joneb

    joneb Member

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    S&W cylinder throats run about where they should be .429"
     
  16. Choctaw

    Choctaw Member

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    Bisleys.jpg Here are my Ruger Bisleys. The top depicts a Flattop in 44 Special and the lower one is chambered in 45 Colt. Both have shot very well and I have not had any trouble with either. The 44 Special will kill hogs and deer just fine and it is a pleasure to carry in the field. But my love affair with 45 Colts continues...
     
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If what you are getting is fixed sight guns, I would avoid anything with multiple cylinders and multiple calibers. One of those cylinders will not shoot to point of aim. You will be lucky to find a load that shoots to point of aim in a fixed sight pistol. I have been through this, filing sights, turning the barrel. Once I get a fixed sight pistol dialed in, with a specific load, I don't change things.

    Sometimes you cannot do anything to change point of impact. This fixed sight 38Special, I am not going try to index the barrel, and I am not going to file on the front sight. I don't like having to hold off, to get the bullet in the middle, but sometimes, it is, what it is.

    XJwh7va.jpg

    4G8fy7T.jpg

    My 44 Special came with adjustable sights. This is a wonderful pistol, powerful and accurate.


    jCqNekV.jpg

    k0MBRD3.jpg

    ym1rY8s.jpg

    Shoots fine out to 50 yards

    yrNep9r.jpg

    The classic load of a 240 gr bullet with 7.5 grains Unique will push a bullet to 1000 fps in my Ruger.
     
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  18. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    I firmly believe that fixed sighted revolvers not shooting POA are the fault of the shooter in most cases, and not the revolver. If you think about it, revolvers with adjustable sights don't really shoot POA either, their sights are moved so they DO shoot POA. I think there is something to right handed shooters whose revolvers always shoot left. Case in point is the photo of the top of the Flat Top above. Notice how the rear sight has been adjusted top the right? Driftwood Johnson mentioned here once that if you'll notice, most revolvers with adjustable sights have their rear sights adjusted waaaay over to the right. But there are exceptions.

    I recently bought a beater Ruger Police Service Six that shot to the left. But it was clear that the barrel wasn't completely torqued at the factory. So I removed it and found a burr on the front of the frame that prevented the barrel from being tightened properly. Dressed the burr down, re-blued the front of the receiver, re-installed the barrel, and voila!

    2018-11-29%2016.06.24_zpswd6kmg9b.jpg

    My favorite old Uberti "used to" shoot left, until I learned to shoot it!

    Uberti%204.75%20%20RCBS%2044-250%2050%20yds.-text_zpsrjoeb9hu.jpg

    I used to bend front sights, file on them, etc., but the more I shot, the more I realized I was the problem, not the revolvers.

    35W
     
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  19. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I like 45 Colt and 45acp can sure be convenient.
     
  20. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    When I was researching buying my Bisley for a bear gun, I was told that the .45 acp/.45 Colt conversion models were not as strong as the regular .45 Colt models and to avoid them if you wanted to run hot loads.

    So I bought the pistol in my avatar...

    JotUSW5K9NDRbLUpK-D8hHbmNmpSTvj4dBwXKH7PIEgpX92IB.jpg
     
  21. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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  22. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    There wouldn't be any controversy on the subject were it not for the fact that they're done a horrible job naming their Blackhawks. They offer a New Model Blackhawk Convertibles in 45 ACP/45 Colt that are two entirely different revolvers. One has to know that the model with the Flat Top has the smaller frame of the two and weighs 3 oz. less. The Flat Top version, by virtue of the fact that it is chambered in 45 ACP, whose +P loads have a maximum chamber pressure of 23,000 psi, is likewise good for similar pressure in 45 Colt. For handloaders this equates to a 280 - 290 gr. cast bullet at over 1100 fps out of a 4 3/4" model. Personally, if I need more power than that, I need a carbine in the same caliber.

    35W
     
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  23. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Of course Ruger has ALWAYS said no +p loads in any 45 Colts.
     
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  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Wow, there is a LOT of misinformation in that thread, perpetuated by its tyrant administrator who thinks he knows everything and bans everyone who disagrees with him. He left the original RugerForum so he could post nonsense and not be argued with by people who know more than him. There's a handful of familiar names who have offered good info there, such as rclark and Dale53 but curmudgeon has offered mostly nonsense.

    There are TWO completely different .45 convertible platforms and they are produced concurrently. The large frame Blackhawk and the mid-frame Blackhawk. The large frame is like every other large frame Blackhawk since 1971, safe for "Ruger only" loads up to 32,000psi. The mid-frame can be distinguished by its flat-top receiver and is safe only to 21,000psi.

    Large frame, safe for "Ruger only" loads:

    https://ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/specSheets/0446.html

    Mid-frame, safe for .45ACP pressures:

    https://ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/specSheets/5242.html


    Exactly! Ruger has never condoned or endorsed overpressure loads in their guns, or handloads at all. If you're looking from answers from Ruger, you're going to get a canned, liability-conscious response.
     
  25. santacruzdave
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    santacruzdave Contributing Member

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    RU5250.jpg

    Thanks for all the input! I found a local shop that has some Bisleys in stock. I want to test the grip in my hand to see if I'm going to like the grip as much as I think I am. If so, this is getting ordered; Lipsey's 5.5" flattop in .44 Special:
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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