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Which Blackhawk???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by WestKentucky, Apr 4, 2020.

?

What to buy...

  1. .30 carbine

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. .357 mag

    24.2%
  3. .41 mag

    27.4%
  4. 45 convertible

    48.4%
  1. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    I'll tell you a funny story. When I was in my 20s, back in 1975, I wanted a Ruger Blackhawk. And it had to be chambered for 45 Colt. So I found this one in a local shop. 45 Colt and 45ACP cylinder. The price was $150, which was a lot of money for a kid in his 20s in 1975. I was really only interested in 45 Colt, I could buy reloads pretty cheap, I simply was not interested in the 45 ACP cylinder. So dumb kid that I was I asked the dealer if I could buy it without the ACP cylinder for a little bit less. He looked at my like the idiot I was and said no, I had to buy all or nothing. So I coughed up the entire $150. I get a kick out of all the guys who tell you how much cheaper it is to shoot 45 ACP than 45 Colt, but the fact is I never fired that ACP cylinder until about 10 years ago. Shot a box or two, then put it away and have not used that cylinder since. No, it is not for sale.

    plZsbaNdj.jpg




    Don't even think of buying a revolver chambered for 30 M1 Cabine unless you get a chance to shoot one first. Talk about a deafening round fired from a revolver.



    Yes, you can run Ruger Only loads in every Ruger. Let me restate that. You can run Ruger Only loads in any modern New Model Ruger single action with a transfer bar. I would not try it in an old Three Screw.

    So I don't have to type it all over again, see what I had to say on this subject just a few days ago. Pay particular attention to what I say about the location of the locking slots on the cylinder, compared to a Colt or Smith and Wesson. Even though my comments are about a Ruger double action revolver, the same holds true for the position of the locking slots, and hence the strength, of a Ruger single action cylinder.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/da-6shot-45-colt-high-pressure-recomendations.866237/




    Look very carefully at this photo. Left to right is a Ruger 'original model' Vaquero cylinder, a New Vaquero cylinder, and a 2nd Gen Colt cylinder. All chambered for 45 Colt. The 'original model' Vaquero is not made any more, but the cylinder dimensions are identical to the a standard Blackhawk cylinder. Don't just look at the thickness of the metal between the chambers, look at the position of the cylinder locking notches. On the Colt, and every replica of the Colt, the deepest part of the locking slot cut is directly over the center of a chamber. That is actually the weakest part of the cylinder, not the thin cross section between chambers. There is less metal there than anywhere. If a cylinder bursts, the rupture usually starts there, and then propagates along the length of the chambers. Notice how on both Rugers, the deepest part of the locking notches are not centered on the chambers. Ruger purposely moved them a little bit, so there would be more metal between the chamber and the deepest part of the cut. Most shooters are not aware of this subtle change Ruger made when he added the transfer bar.

    poRDfyvQj.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  2. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    I vote for the .45 Colt/ACP. I have one and think .45 fits the large Blackhawk frame better than most anything else.

    Also, it's rare to not have either .45 Colt or .45 ACP on hand. It's nice to have something that can handle either.
     
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  3. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    OP, I would choose a 45 colt in your position. If the 45 Colt you are looking at has ears next to the rear sight (stick up from the frame) you can run the ruger only loads. If not, you can run up to 45 acp+p pressure. I say the 45 because it is versatile with the extra cylinder and can be loaded mild to wild. The only consistent thing in power from a handgun is bullet weight, and 45 colt gives you more weight than other rounds. Velocity does nothing but decrease after a bullet leaves the barrel, and while a bullet can expand, a 45 has that much more it can expand. Since there is not a capacity issue like there is in a pistol, (six for sure) then go ahead and get the biggest caliber and don't look back. It also has the advantage of being the lightest weight, since the cylinder holes are the largest.

    Be sure of what you are looking at, a 45 colt flat top (no ears sticking up from the frame surrounding the rear sight) cannot take the ruger only loads.

    The flat tops are really nice, but you need to reload to get the most out of them. With the regular blackhawk, you can buy ruger only loads at the store.
     
  4. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    .45 Colt/acp Convertible...without doubt. .357 second choice. Distant second.
     
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  5. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

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    I concur with the .45 Colt/ACP convertible. The versatility is great.


    BH45pconv574.jpg
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I say plain Blackhawk .45 or .45/.45 even though I have no interest in "Ruger only" overloads.

    Smaller calibers are heavy and poorly balanced.
    New Vaquero and New Flattop have steel grip frames that add back the weight saved by smaller frames. Clunky.
     
  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I'm pretty well set in the .45 Colt segment but no convertible with the extra .45 ACP cylinder. Mighty tempting as is the .41 Magnum. Still have the reloading components for that cartridge from back in the day when I had a S&W Model 57 and a Model 58.

    I would probably go with the .45 Convertible, blued if it's available.
     
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  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    You must go with your gut [email protected]
    I have both. I would steer you into .45colt.
    Much more pleasant to shoot. Easier to load those big fat cartridges.
    20190408_191741.jpg 20190329_172952.jpg
     
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  9. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Just FYI, you can also get the 357 as a "convertible" with a 9mm cylinder.

    I own the 357 convertible and the 45 convertible. They are both terrific revolvers and I was unable to recommend one over the other.

    I would prefer the 357 for plinking, teaching someone who is recoil averse (38's), and with the correct ammo, SD (though for me it's not a SD handgun).

    That being said, I shoot the 45 more often. I like to shoot at least one big-bore revolver on each range outing. I usually have access to handloads, but not always. 45acp ammo is normally cheap and plentiful, so I shoot lots of it out of my Ruger.

    With both convertibles, the various calibers seem equally accurate to me (YMMV).


     
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  10. murf

    murf Member

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    the blackhawk 45 colt/45acp convertible is a small frame (like the new model vaquero frame) revolver. you should not shoot "ruger only" loads published in reloading manuals. most keep the heavy 45 colt loads to 45acp +p pressures as max. a google search for 45 convertible loads should get you started on max loads for this gun.

    if you want to shoot "ruger only" loads, ruger still makes the large frame 45 which is not a convertible.

    luck,

    murf
     
  11. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I've heard some stories (anecdotes is all they are really). The .45 Colt chambered BHs sometime have throat sizing issues. And going from .45 Colt to .45 ACP can cause some noteworthy POI changes.

    Facing the same choice (minus the .30 Carbine, which I had and sent down the road), I chose .41 Magnum. I've not been disappointed.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?attachments/img_20190126_132734697-jpg.841373/

    It's the lower of the two, and has borrowed a few parts from the SBH above it.
     
  12. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    They have recently made convertibles on both frames. Correct, that the flat tops can't eat the hot stuff, but the large frame will.
     
  13. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Driftwood, does this also include the New Vaqueros in .45 Colt? I would not think the New Vaqueros could handle Ruger Only Loads The size of the overall gun and cylinder definitely is not as beefy as the original model Vaqueros in .45.
     
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  14. whughett

    whughett Member

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    41 Magnum never really caught on. How plentiful are bullets and brass.
    45c would be my choice and the 45ACP icing on the cake so to speak.
    357 gives you the option of 38 special also. A two for one. But like white on rice they are every where.
    I’ve loaded and shot 30 carbine for decades but only in the carbines. Haven’t a clue what it will or won’t do in a revolver.
     
  15. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I voted .41 Magnum. I dearly love .357 Magnum and .45 Colt but when I read your first post I thought a .41 Magnum would be appropriate.

    I would take Driftwood Johnson’s advice on the .30 Carbine. It puts out a seriously loud “Crack” from a revolver with lots of “flare”. If you read up on the ballistics of the 30 Carbine in a short barrel it really isn’t that impressive for the report and fireball you get. A friend of mine had one and it was fun to shoot but too many negatives for me to ever consider one.

    Whatever one you finally decide on will be a great handgun so you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
     
  16. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    I would probably lean either 357 or 41. The reason I don't typically go for the .45 Blackhawks is because you WILL have undersized cylinder throats and a barrel constriction which means accuracy won't be the best, not saying it will be "bad" but all Ruger .45 Colt Blackhawks need "fixing" from the factory and for me, that's just something else to pay for when it really shouldn't be there in the first place, but it is.
     
  17. whughett

    whughett Member

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    The 41M votes don’t jive with the comments fact at this point there’s twice the votes over posts. :evil:
     
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  18. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    Ruger has done both. I have owned a large-frame .45 Convertible since 1995. I'm not sure what year they switched, or if they still offer the .45 on both frame sizes. But there are bound to be a lot of them out there still.
     
  19. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    .45, it's the best choice .

    @Driftwood Johnson , I do acknowledge your vast wisdom but I've read otherwise-
    1586117573245611028770683887449.jpg
     
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  20. GarrettJ

    GarrettJ Member

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    I haven't voted yet, as that is a tough call to make. I had gone to a gunshow 25 years ago looking for a .357/9mm convertible, and ended up coming home with the .45 Convertible I noted above. I'm not much of a hunter, but I have used it to kill deer (Ruger-only .45 Colt loads) and jackrabbits (.45 ACP).

    I have Blackhawks in all of the calibers you list except the .41 Mag. I have held off on that one, just because I haven't wanted to stock yet another caliber of bullet & brass.

    I recently bought a .30 Carbine, from the first year of New Model production. I'm working through some light primer strike issues with it, but it seems to have the best long-range accuracy potential. I can reliabily hit my steel plates at longer distances than the .45 or .357 revolvers. The 10mm Blackhawks are the only ones that I have that seem to keep up with the .30 Carbine.
     
  21. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    With regards to Blackhawks and Supers:

    Bear in mind that you can achieve .44 magnum velocities with the same 240/250 grain bullet weight in the .45 Colt with comparatively reduced chamber pressures.
    Thanks to the increased internal volume of the .45 Colt case, what generates 35,000 PSI in the .44 magnum generates around 25,000 PSI in .45 Colt at the same velocity.

    This is certainly not an excuse to push the pressures higher than 25,000 PSI.
    It does however permit you to achieve similar velocities as compared to .44 magnum.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  22. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    From a weight standpoint a standard .357 Ruger Blackhawk is a real brick. The cylinder is massively heavy.
    I bought a 1978 New Model with the long barrel, but never again.
    So, I would definitely recommend the .41 or the .45, unless you are into really heavy 357 reloads.
     
  23. BBarn

    BBarn Member

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    The newer "mid size frame" Vaquero and Flattop models feel much better in my smaller than average size hands, so I would go with one of those unless I wanted the power available from a 41 Mag. or "Ruger Only" 45 Colt.

    Also, I have a 45 Convertible model, but seldom use the Automatic cylinder. I load my own ammo and prefer to shoot the longer rimmed rounds in a revolver.
     
  24. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    OK, that was an error.

    There are lots and lots of guys on various forums who claim the 45 Colt New Vaquero can take more than the standard SAAMI limit of 14,000 psi. The claim is made that since 45ACP pressures run higher, I forget how high, a 45 Colt New Vaquero should be able to take that pressure.

    Look again at the photo I posted of the three cylinders. The cylinder in the center is a 45 Colt New Vaquero cylinder. The photo on the right is a 2nd Gen Colt cylinder. I have measured the thickness of the web between cylinders in the past, but I don't have those numbers handy right now. Now look at how much thicker the web of material is between chambers on the 'original model' Vaquero cylinder on the left. The dimensions on that cylinder are identical to a standard (Large Frame) Blackhawk cylinder chambered for 45 Colt.

    I would stick with Ruger's recommendation for the New Vaquero. I would not put anything in the chambers that exceeds standard SAAMI pressure of 14,000 psi.



    This is an old Three Screw Flat Top Blackhawk chambered for 44 Magnum.

    Pay particular attention to the the profile of the top strap and the rear sight. Forget that this is a Three Screw and forget that it is a 44 Mag. Just study the top strap and rear sight.

    pmrMgbDyj.jpg




    This is my old 45 Colt/45 ACP Blackhawk. Notice the configuration of the top strap and rear sight. This frame has what are sometimes referred to as the 'ears' on the top strap that protect the rear sight from damage.

    plZsbaNdj.jpg




    I believe the Lipsey's Specials and other Flat Tops are built on the smaller frame, with a smaller cylinder. Do not put anything in one of them other than standard ammunition. No 'Ruger Only' loads.

    If it has the 'ears' protecting the rear sight like my old Blackhawk from 1975, it should be the large frame with the larger more massive cylinder.

    No, I have never felt the need to put anything hotter than standard loads through my old Blackhawk. But if I wanted to, I could put the 'Ruger Only' loads in it.


    Note: There is no such thing as an official +P load for 45 Colt. SAMMI does not have a standard for +P in 45 Colt like they do for 38 Special +P. So you are on your own if you want to put hot loads in any Ruger.

    The standard 45 Colt factory loads for many years were a 250 grain bullet moving at 800 fps. That has always had plenty of punch for me. Not the anemic 'Cowboy' loads.
     
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  25. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    Convertible.

    I have one so I'm biased. Like others have said, cheap 45acp for plinking all the way up to Magnum level with hot 45 LC.

    30 carbine would be cool if you already had an m1
     
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