Ruger Blackhawk question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by ChasMack, Sep 30, 2016.

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  1. ChasMack

    ChasMack Member

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    I think I know the answer but I'll ask anyway. I was fondling a Ruger redhawk, the new one that shoots 45lc and 45acp, SS, hefty. I have a Ruger Blackhawk in 45lc and it seemed so much lighter. Anyway my question is: can a Blackhawk take the same punishment as a Redhawk? I am wondering if they both can shoot hot loads like Buffalo Bore? I know the Redhawk can, I assume the BH can as well....but others who know more than me maybe they can let me know for sure.
     
  2. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    The ruger Blackhawk as long as it's not the midframe flattop models can take the heavy loads, the reason for the lightness compared to the redhawk is because the gun uses some aluminum parts as opposed to the redhawk all steel construction. You won't notice any difference in strength unless you get a 5-shot custom cylinder where you can push the envelope to 454 casull levels but at that point all your really gaining is velocity and not really more terminal effectiveness to do that we need to increase diameter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  3. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Yes. Both will eat BB loads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then a late night snack. Everyday. They will eat those loads longer than your wrists will be able to.
     
  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Actually, the large frame Blackhawk is good for 32,000psi "Ruger only" loads but the Redhawk can handle loads approaching that of the custom 5-shots, in the 50,000psi range.
     
  5. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    Well thats good to know! Thanks Craigc, If I needed more juice than the 32,000 psi loads I may just use a rifle or sluggun.
     
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  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Make sure it's not the new special distributor new new super new mid frame BH. There is one now, right?
     
  7. AlfonsDeWolf

    AlfonsDeWolf Member

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    Be aware some loads can encourage base pins to slip out. With these a different cylinder pin might be a necessity, but I have no personal knowledge on this...

    http://www.beltmountain.com/ruger.htm
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The Blackhawk is plenty strong. BUT, the Redhawk is stronger. The ultimate yield strength of either is limited by the thickness of the cylinder, and the Redhawk has the thicker walls of the two. Redhawk is stronger overall than Blackhawk.
     
  9. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    Actually the "ultimate yield strength" is a combination of the yield strength of the steels used, the wall thickness and the position of the bolt stops. Since both revolvers use different steels the yield strength of their metals is likely different. Blackhawks have been known to swell the frame prior to breaching the cylinder walls, so frame strength plays a part.

    Without knowing the exact steels and heat treatments used, it can be no more than that the Redhawk "appears" stronger. Bottom line for the OP - both revolvers can use "Ruger-only" loads safely.


    .
     
  10. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    They have? Not familiar with this, do you have more information?
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Fortunately, the strength of the guns in question is not unknown.
     
  12. Propforce

    Propforce Member

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    As an engineer I raised my eyebrow when I read the term "ultimate yield strength" on the post prior to yours. It was a professional hazard. But I think your explanation is balanced enough as a good explanation.

    I have a Blackhawk with .45 ACP and .45 Colt convertible cylinder. From all I've read, it does not handle the "Ruger-only" load for .45 colt. But it should handle the ".45acp +p" load which is 23,000 psi. I think it is plenty to handle anything in the lower 48. Anything hotter I am going for the .454 casull. I can still fire the "Ruger-only load" .45 colt in it without damaging my forehead.
     
  13. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    If you want to shoot barn burner loads and powder puffs in the same gun and you like the Blackhawk, get a super blackhawk in .44 magnum. That way you can either handload for the desired level or buy a wide spectrum of factory ammo. And you will not have to wonder if the gun can take a Ruger only ( beyond factory recommendations) load.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  14. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    First time I have ever heard of this. Can you expand on this, or provide a reference?
     
  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    As a professional engineer myself - who also has to pay Uncle Sam each year for the pleasure of working on guns - I didn't pick "ultimate yield strength" without knowing the consequence of the statement.

    Having previously researched the metallurgy and dimensional design, as well as having been a student of those who have done destructive testing of Ruger revolvers for over 20yrs, I'll stand by it.

    I have also NEVER seen a Ruger large frame single action revolver in which the frame was deformed but the cylinder not ruptured. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I HAVE seen plenty of ruptured Ruger single and double action revolvers, when they blow, the cylinder blows.

    The standard redhawk, not 454 or 480R Super, has a greater ultimate yield strength than the standard blackhawk or Super blackhawk, not 454 or 480 super.

    The Super Blackhawk is also NOT significantly "stronger" than the large frame Blackhawk. The thinnest cross section of the cylinder - i.e. the weakest point - remains the same for either model. Yes, the 45 colt does have a bit less steel over the locking bolt notch than the 44mag version, but otherwise, metallurgically and external dimensionally, the two cylinders are identical. They'll even interchange with one another. Given a slow burning powder and equivalent bullet weight, the 45 Blackhawk (with the same cylinder metallurgy and same external dimensions) can actually get MORE energy than the 44mag with a lower pressure, and a lower net stress on the cylinder - so arguably, the 45Colt Blackhawk can tolerate MORE power than the Super Blackhawk 44mag (said as a die hard 44-o-phile with a huge chip on my shoulder towards the 45colt).
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  16. tark

    tark Member

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    I'm going to give it a close inspection today. If it checks out OK i'm going to grab it.

    I had one thirty years ago so I know how much fun they are to shoot. The thing I remember most about it was how accurate it was.
     
  17. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    tark

    Hey tark is this post supposed to be over with your thread on a Ruger Blackhawk in .30 Carbine? If so, did you get it and how does it check out?
     
  18. tark

    tark Member

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    OOPS!:p Wrong blackhawk thread. Yes I grabbed it. Off to the proper thread.
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Nope. The .44Mag maintains a velocity advantage across the board, for all bullet weights up to 355/360gr.
     
  20. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    The Ruger Blackhawk can digest the hot loads listed in your loading manual!
    Don't go crazy.
    you don't have to have super duper hot loads to kill deer
     
  21. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    If the Ruger can't handle them, doesn't it seem funny to call them "Ruger-only" loads? How old is your gun? Unless it was made in the past few years, I'm pretty sure it can handle the "Ruger-only" loads. As for those, looking back through my reloading manuals:

    The old Hodgdon manual from the mid-'90s has no "Ruger-only" loads. There is no write-up for it, but Hodgdonreloading.com has a section for "Ruger, Freedom Arms, & T/C Only".

    Sierra 5th Ed. (© 2003) has a section for "Ruger, Colt [Anaconda], Dan Wesson, Freedom Arms". The 4th Ed (mid-late '90s) has the exact same write-up. It says in part: "... renewed interest has resulted in the development of several new revolvers of modern design able to withstand much higher pressures..." Sierra's test gun was a 7-1/2" Blackhawk.

    Speer Reloading Manual No. 12 (© 1994) states: ... The Ruger Blackhawk and the T/C Contender can both handle somewhat higher pressures than traditional .45 Colt revolvers... The loads Speer developed are between 20,000 and 25,000 psi... These loads are intended for use only in the Ruger Blackhawk and T/C Contender... Speer's test gun was a Blackhawk.

    Hornady's 4th Ed. (© 1991) states: The following data is to be used only in the T/C or the Ruger Blackhawk...

    To add to that, I've had a Blackhawk .45 Convertible for the past 20-some years, and it has never had any issue using any of these "Ruger-only" book loads.

    But now having written all of that, it seems Ruger has muddied the waters a bit. They released their "New Model" Blackhawk 45 in 1974. Some of the "old model" guns were built on a slightly smaller frame, but the .45 was on a full-sized frame that could handle magnum pressure loads. Later on, Ruger released the Vaquero, which could also reportedly handle the "Ruger-only" loads.

    It seems in recent years, Ruger has gone to a small frame Blackhawk, but still called the "New Model" and hence some of the confusion. And it's not really easy to tell the difference right off. I just bought a 1965-vintage Blackhawk, and the difference between that and my .45 are very subtile. I had to break out the calipers to verify the differences (the cylinder is .050" smaller diameter, for example). Some people on the Ruger Forums refer to this original size as a "medium frame". So is the "New New Model" .45 on the "small" frame?

    Or are the Flattop models the "new new model", which are the only ones that can't handle the "Ruger-only" loads?

    What a hassle. Maybe it's easiest to just get a Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag and be done with it.

    :evil:

    eta: Some info on Blackhawk frame sizes here. That discussion doesn't get into loading for the .45 model, though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    GarretJ - the Blackhawk Flattop Convertible 45 ACP/Colt is on the mid-frame size, and is NOT capable of full house, Tier 3, "Ruger Only" loads.

    These particular models, like their mid-frame New Vaquero brethren, are only tolerant of Tier 2 Ruger Only loads, due to their smaller diameter cylinders and smaller cylinder frames.
     
  23. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    There were blackhawk convertibles made with the non flat top design that can take the ruger only loads.
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The ONLY Blackhawk .45 that cannot handle "Ruger only" loads is the recent flat-top.......so far.
     
  25. Steve Cover

    Steve Cover Member

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    Wow!
    Interesting thread.

    I'm not sure of the limits of the Super Blackhawk, I've only been shooting and reloading for it since 1968.

    Why do you think it necessary to shoot proof level loads in any firearm?

    If you need more power, get a bigger gun and don't try to blow your hand off.

    Stay Safe

    Steve
     
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