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Ruger Super Blackhawk: 5.5" or 4.62" (.44 magnum)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Snowdog, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    So I'm apparently on a single action kick here and I've been focusing on Ruger.
    I've always wanted a SA revolver in .44 magnum and I've been steered towards the Ruger Super Blackhawk due to the strength of these revolvers as well as the price.

    Taking a look at stainless Super Blackhawks at Bud's website, I find two that have really caught my eye, one having a slightly longer barrel with the other having a fluteless cylinder. I'll post the images below.

    I like the looks of the 4.62" Blackhawk slightly more as the barrel flush with the ejector is attractive IMHO. However, I'd imagine the 5.5" option will offer greater energy and this is important as I intend to use this as a trail gun in black bear country.

    I am curious primarily about the balance of the revolver with the different barrel lengths and if there's any real ballistic advantage afforded to the longer barrel (of less than an inch).

    Also, is the Super Blackhawk of today capable of handling heavy loaded .44 magnum or is this something attributed only to those from yesteryear?

    Thanks in advance!

    70181_1.jpg

    70182_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  2. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    I say go with the shorter barrel if plan on carring it on a regular basis, but the final decision is up to you, and the less than 1" difference in barrel lengths really isn't going to make that much difference in fps and ft. lbs. of energy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  3. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I have to agree: if the revolver is meant for regular carry go with the shorter barrel, especially if it's trail carry.

    The slightly shorter barrel means slightly faster "holster clearance" time.

    More importantly, it's a bit lighter. That's a big difference when carrying a load of other gear.
     
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  4. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    If the ODNR hadn't mandated >5" barrels, I'd have gone with the 4.75" myself. I only chose the 5.5" blackhawk out of necessity.

    Im not unhappy with the choice however.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I would say try both first (if at all possible), to see which one feels better with it's balance and handling.
     
  6. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    How do you feel about the balance of your 5.5" Blackhawk?

    According to the online spec sheet on Ruger's site, both weigh in at 45 ounces. I don't know if that's accurate, but I suppose the non-fluted cylinder saves some weight.
     
  7. dogguira

    dogguira Member

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    Personally I like balance of 5.5" barrel. But yes awkward weight to take fishing.
     
  8. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I would go with the 4 5/8” (4.62”) barrel for a Trail / Woods Gun.
    1. Shorter barrel is easier to clear holster
    2. Better balance
    3. Should be a tad lighter

    You mentioned Black Bear country. I have encountered quite a few black bears when hunting and fishing. In nearly every other one all I saw of the bear was it’s butt as it was running away. The only time I didn’t see the butt as it was running away was a mama bear with 2 cubs and I was in a trout river. I was the one who left.

    That 7/8” extra on the 5.5” isn’t going to make much difference in bullet energy.

    Besides, it looks cooler. :cool:
     
  9. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Having bought the 4-5/8" version, I can tell you a few things.

    I found the gun hard to control and painful to shoot with the plow handle grip. I converted mine to a bisley grip frame, which is much better for me. .41 mag is my comfort limit with the plow handle it seems.

    I like the length for packing, but would prefer more sight radius for shooting, and the extra barrel length for velocity. If it's mainly for packing, the 4-5/8" will likely be preferable.

    I don't believe the SBH of today is any weaker than those of previous decades. It's strong, but not Redhawk/Super Redhawk strong. I have no issues loading to max, or even working up handloads without data in my SBH. But if I think I'm going into +P territory (I have one load like that), it's Redhawk time.

    I do have one load using a 300gr WFN hardcast bullet, which is running just over 1200fps in a 5.5" barrel. I consider it perfectly safe for my SBH.
     
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  10. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Black bear.... Dude a semi wadcutter .38 or a 9mm FMJ flat nose will take a Black Bear. If your looking between these two I advocate for the 4.62 inch, you have enough barrel to take advantage of most loads, if your going to pack it on the hip look into Mernickle or Simply Rugged for a good holster to carry it.
     
  11. murf

    murf Member

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    the 5.5 inch barreled steel-frame gun will balance better. aluminum-frame blackhawks balance better with the 4.625" barrel.

    my opinion,

    murf
     
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  12. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    It's not much difference. A bigger difference is the aluminum grip frame on the blued Blackhawks, which I prefer the overall weight, but dislike the balance on. I prefer the weight to be more in my hand.
     
  13. fjblair

    fjblair Member

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    I love the look of the stainless short barrel Blackhawks, and if I buy another one that is what I will get. My 45 Convertible has the 5.5 however and it balances and shoots great.
     
  14. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I used to do some lead slinging in cowboy action, and I did carry a 44mag 7.5” super Blackhawk for about a decade as my EDC. I’ve owned dozens of and reworked hundreds of Vaqueros, single sixes, and Super/Bisley/Blackhawks.

    The 4 5/8” never has appealed to me for balance. I always find the 5.5” balances better and points better in hand. I favor the look of the muzzle extending past the ejector rod housing, and although I do favor the look of a non-fluted cylinder, the 5.5’s are where my money normally is spent.

    For a belt gun, however, I prefer a Vaquero with fixed sights and smooth tops. For a using revolver where adjustable sights are needed, I do prefer a 7.5” barrel. The 4 5/8” revolvers I own are predominantly Vaqueros, with slick tops, as the short barrel is meant and used for a different thing than adjustable sights, in my book.
     
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  15. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I have considered this practical or shootable vs packable question and I have not settled it. Some that have both prefer the 5 1/2" for shooting.
    Before buying a Ruger I would suggest you look into the issues owners have with them, mainly with the oversized chamber throats.
     
  16. Kevin Keith

    Kevin Keith Member

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    I've had both lengths SBH, I like the 4 5/8" better, it just feels right. But...if I was getting a new one today, I'd look at the Bisley 3.75" .44 Magnum real hard. I had an AccuSport Blackhawk Bisley .45 Colt and that grip was great. I can Imagine one of these .44s being a perfect packin' pistol.
    image486135-9aa0e6de5ad487bfac871e9b02673281.jpg
     
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  17. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    Everyone has summed things up well. I have a 5.5" .44 Magnum blued Super Blackhawk and it is really a sweet shooter! The extra barrel length beyond the ejector housing looks much sexier to me and the balance is great. The 4.62" barrel model will clear leather easier, but I do not see the extra weight as a big deal. I want a .44 Magnum revolver to have some weight - get a good gun belt and an appropriate holster.

    The original wooden plough handle grips taught me a lot about shooting magnum loads in a SAA / cowboy type handgun, but I recently put a set of rubber Hogue grips on mine and feel even better about going hot now and then.

    You really can't go wrong either way, and it is hard for me to imagine being able to shoot any loads that the modern Ruger won't handle with aplomb.
     
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  18. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    I haven't seen this issue in .44 mag it's a pretty standard size. .45 Colt sure .
     
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  19. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    I have two of these guns though the lipseys version in .44 it was my first EDC piece.
     
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  20. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    One thing I'd like to add to the conversation...

    With ~4" barrelled or less wheel guns, they work pretty well with just about any holster. With longer tubes I prefer crossdraw, or at least a strongside holster with a good forward cant.
     
  21. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    If you plan to hunt with it check regulations on handguns where you hunt. My state requires a barrel over 5".
     
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  22. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    I would suggest handling both before making a decision if that is possible. The short barrel is nice, but the 5 1/2-inch barrel isn't long and balances really well. Also might want to try out the different grip frames as that makes a huge difference in the shooting experience. I wouldn't think the velocity loss would be very significant with the shorter barrel and I would nix any concern over energy loss as it is meaningless in this context. Your bullet and placement are important, not some calculated number.
     
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  23. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    Everyone is different, but for me I do prefer the looks of the 4 5/8" barrel that sits flush with the ejector rod housing and I really like the way they feel. Yes a 5.5" will offer slightly better ballistics, but not enough that you (or the animal) would ever know the difference. Like MaxP said, don't worry about numbers, just put the bullet where it needs to go.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  24. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    Myself I like the 4 5/8 inch barrel ... But thats just my preference... Im sure you will increase the velocity with tbe 5.5 inch barrel
    The Super Blackhawk is a strong built revolver ... and have a great following.
     
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I suggest you do more reading as well. Ruger 45’s may have a history of slightly under-spec throats (as do Taurus and S&W, but most folks don’t seem to pay as close attention), but I have never seen one oversized. Always undersized, and solved either by a trip back to Ruger and a 3 week wait, or by any local revolversmith and $75.

    Even with undersized throats, it’s exceptionally rare any Ruger has accuracy issues, and throat regulation is typically more an issue of mental comfort for the owner, and occasionally a remedy for leading.

    Throat reaming services used to be a rather popular offering of mine, and I have done hundreds of revolvers, either as stand-alone jobs or part of larger action jobs. It’s exceptionally common.
     
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