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Thread: Blackhawk confusion

  1. #1
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    Blackhawk confusion

    This may sound really stupid to you Ruger guys. I am counter-clockwise S&W guy and get their system. So if there is anything erroneous please correct me!

    Recently I've become enamored with 44 special and big bore cartridges in general, and in particular am thinking 45 Long Colt.

    I read Brian Pearce's 2009 article on Ruger's 44 special Blackhawk by Lipsey's. In here he states that the 44 special Ruger Blackhawk is the same size as the original 357 Blackhawk, having a smaller cylinder than the orginal 44 magnum SuperBlackhawk.

    In 1973 Ruger then intrduced the "NEW MODEL" change with transfer bar mechanism and other improvements to allow safe carrying of cartridges in all 6 chambers. At this time I guess all the New Model SuperBlackhawks and New Model Blackhawks were built on the same 44 magnum sized frame.

    I used to have a New Model SuperBlackhawk Bisley with a long barrel, it was 7+ inches. I didn't like it and sold it though I did a lot of 44 magnum work then in days of severe magnumitus where I developed a flich and I could never figured out why I could shoot my little 38 special K-frame so well and my NMSBH so poorly.

    Now I read that Ruger has a New Model Blackhawk in 44 special that is built on the old original 357 cylinder size. Is this so? Because that is what I want. That or in 45 long colt. I know the 44 special can take the 25k PSI level III type loads. I am assuming the 45 long colt cannot take the 30kPSI Linebaugh loads?

    In any case if one wants to dream my ideal model would be:

    44 Special New Model Blackhawk built on the original (small) 357 frame size with 4.5-5.5" barrel. With a walnut grip panel and the regular Plow-handle grip shape and case colored frame ideally. I guess I wouldn't mind an aluminum rod housing and grip frame since it's lighter, but I'd like steel or brass just as well I think. Was such a beast ever made?
    Last edited by curioushooter; 08-31-2020 at 01:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    The Lipsey's Blackhawk 44spl is built on the mid-size frame, same size as the original 357.


  3. #3
    Boolit Bub navyvet's Avatar
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    The Lipsey's 44sp came with black plastic grips, wood will have to be after market grip. Then you can pick your favorite wood and grip maker. Case colored frame, custom work. The Lipsey's run was for 2,000 only, 1,000 in 4 5/8 and 1,000 in 5 1/2. Can be found. Now they have Bisley Flattop in 44 sp as Lipsey's Exclusives.
    https://www.lipseys.com/itemdetail?i...URNVB-445-SPCL

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    The New Vaqueros are on the 357 frame and I would expect the Bisley also . The 45 Colts Bicentennial I had was on the 44 Mag frame .

    The 357 frame and cylinder are strong enough for the 44 Special , 45 Colts and Schofield at standard pressures . To my knowledge they are not chambered in 45 ACP nor a magnum larger than 357 . I don't know which frame the 38-40/40/10mm was on . The 44-40 is on the 44 Mag frame .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    So the Lipsey's special Blackhawks were the ONLY New Model Blackhawks in 44 special built on a 357 Frame/Cylinder?

    That pictured one is gorgeous and pretty much what I have in mind!

    The linked to model is very nice too, but it is a Bisley grip, and also quite heavy for that reason. It weighs more than my 6.5" N frame 44 special!

    The handiness factor seems to favor the AL grip frame with the 4.5" barrel like the one pictured. Those are sharp looking grips! Custom?

    Is there a visual tell that a given Blackhawk is built on the large or small frame?

    Zero interest in Vaqueros. Adjustable sights are an essential on anything to be used beyond near ranges IMO.
    Last edited by curioushooter; 08-31-2020 at 01:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    When teenager in 60s I had every Ruger SA made. From Bearcat to SBH. I had the original Flat Tops not to be confused with these new models going by same name. I did have a 41 mag BH that I switched grip frames with a factory SBH frame. The reason being my dad was getting beat up from SBH trigger guard, so I switched them. I have no experience with new model Rugers. The last new Ruger SA I bought was a 357 for my dad in 70. I did by one each of the Buckeye Specials, since Buckeye was my primary distributor.

  7. #7
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    rintinglen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    So the Lipsey's special Blackhawks were the ONLY New Model Blackhawks in 44 special built on a 357 Frame/Cylinder?

    That pictured one is gorgeous and pretty much what I have in mind!

    The linked to model is very nice too, but it is a Bisley grip, and also quite heavy for that reason. It weighs more than my 6.5" N frame 44 special!

    The handiness factor seems to favor the AL grip frame with the 4.5" barrel like the one pictured. Those are sharp looking grips! Custom?

    Is there a visual tell that a given Blackhawk is built on the large or small frame?

    Zero interest in Vaqueros. Adjustable sights are an essential on anything to be used beyond near ranges IMO.
    Ruger made them as a Catalog item for several years. Both I and my brother have them in 4 5/8 inch versions, and they are the best 44 Spls. I have ever shot. The cylinder throats are nearly identical and they shoot very, very accurately. I need to take a more current picture. Those factory stocks were replaced long ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Likewise, my flat top 44 is the most accurate cartridge revolver I own. Ruger got everything right with that one. If you find one, buy it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    So the Lipsey's special Blackhawks were the ONLY New Model Blackhawks in 44 special built on a 357 Frame/Cylinder?

    That pictured one is gorgeous and pretty much what I have in mind!

    The linked to model is very nice too, but it is a Bisley grip, and also quite heavy for that reason. It weighs more than my 6.5" N frame 44 special!

    The handiness factor seems to favor the AL grip frame with the 4.5" barrel like the one pictured. Those are sharp looking grips! Custom?

    Is there a visual tell that a given Blackhawk is built on the large or small frame?

    Zero interest in Vaqueros. Adjustable sights are an essential on anything to be used beyond near ranges IMO.
    Ruger made them as a Catalog item for several years. Both I and my brother have them in 4 5/8 inch versions, and they are the best 44 Spls. I have ever shot. The cylinder throats are nearly identical and they shoot very, very accurately. I need to take a more current picture. Those factory stocks were replaced long ago. I was dumbfounded to see that Ruger no longer catalogs any of the flat tops in any caliber, save for the Lipseys Bisley specials.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by rintinglen; 08-31-2020 at 02:53 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harter66 View Post
    The New Vaqueros are on the 357 frame and I would expect the Bisley also . The 45 Colts Bicentennial I had was on the 44 Mag frame .

    The 357 frame and cylinder are strong enough for the 44 Special , 45 Colts and Schofield at standard pressures . To my knowledge they are not chambered in 45 ACP nor a magnum larger than 357 . I don't know which frame the 38-40/40/10mm was on . The 44-40 is on the 44 Mag frame .
    The New Model Flattop Blackhawks (medium frame) were chambered in 45 ACP as there were some limited runs of convertibles made, Lipsey's had some made, a couple of different runs of 1,000 guns each run, not sure about Talo.

    The medium framed 44 is good to 25,000psi, the medium framed 45 is good to 23,000psi which is 45 ACP+P pressure, Ruger rates the gun for this much. They do not rate the 44 Special for more than factory ammo pressure, but if the 45 is good to 45 ACP+P of 23,000psi, then the 44 with it's slightly thicker cylinder webs and walls is good to that same amount plus some.

    The 38/40, .40 and 10mm were all on the large frame, 2 dig prefix in the serial number.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM-> http://castboolits.gunloads.com/priv...=newpm&u=29606 Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub navyvet's Avatar
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    Do a search on gun broker for Ruger New Model Black 44 spl and 4 of them should be right at the top.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    So the Lipsey's special Blackhawks were the ONLY New Model Blackhawks in 44 special built on a 357 Frame/Cylinder?

    That pictured one is gorgeous and pretty much what I have in mind!

    The linked to model is very nice too, but it is a Bisley grip, and also quite heavy for that reason. It weighs more than my 6.5" N frame 44 special!

    The handiness factor seems to favor the AL grip frame with the 4.5" barrel like the one pictured. Those are sharp looking grips! Custom?

    Is there a visual tell that a given Blackhawk is built on the large or small frame?

    Zero interest in Vaqueros. Adjustable sights are an essential on anything to be used beyond near ranges IMO.
    All Blackhawks in 44spl are on the medium (357) cylinder/frame. They also have steel gripframes which is why they weigh more than a comparable large frame revolver.

    I believe the best way to determine mid-frame status is the presence of a 3 digit prefix in the serial number.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    Thanks Doug that's good to know .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

    I was young and stupid then I'm older now. Me 1992 .

    Richard Lee Hart 6/29/39-7/25/18


    Without trial we cannot learn and grow . It is through our stuggles that we become stronger .
    Brother I'm going to be Pythagerus , DiVinci , and Atlas all rolled into one soon .

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold lscg45's Avatar
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    my flat top .44spl is my favorite sixgun. only thing I didn't like about it was the stainless hammer so I added one of the power custom blued hammers. would love to have one of the .45's.




  15. #15
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    All Blackhawks in 44spl are on the medium (357) cylinder/frame. They also have steel gripframes which is why they weigh more than a comparable large frame revolver.
    Is this a certainty? And is the New Model 357 frame significantly smaller?

    I say this because my Brother In Law has a 4.6" New Model Blackhawk in 357 Mag and I've handled it. It looked absurdly fat to me, and I'd be hard pressed to say it was any smaller than my New Model Super Blackhawk was. It was my understanding that all New Model Blackhawks and SuperBlackhawks were the SAME FRAME/CYLINDER SIZE until relatively recently.

    What is the actual diameter of the cylinder on a 44 special blackhawk? What is the actual diameter of a New Model SuperBlackhawk?

    Like with S&Ws a K is 1.45" an L is 1.56" and an N is 1.7." It would make sense for the 357 frame size Blackhawk to be somewhere between a L and N but closer to N because S&W chambers 44 caliber L frames with only five holes. Or is the small frame Blackhawk larger than an N?

    Also, in Brian Pearce's article he speaks of aluminum grip framed 44 specials. Was that just an error?

    Those are some outstandingly handsome grips LSG45! And that is some handsome and honest wear. It looks like a favorite!
    Last edited by curioushooter; 09-01-2020 at 11:47 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    Is this a certainty? And is the New Model 357 frame significantly smaller?

    I say this because my Brother In Law has a 4.6" New Model Blackhawk in 357 Mag and I've handled it. It looked absurdly fat to me, and I'd be hard pressed to say it was any smaller than my New Model Super Blackhawk was. It was my understanding that all New Model Blackhawks and SuperBlackhawks were the SAME FRAME/CYLINDER SIZE until relatively recently.

    What is the actual diameter of the cylinder on a 44 special blackhawk? What is the actual diameter of a New Model SuperBlackhawk?

    Like with S&Ws a K is 1.45" an L is 1.56" and an N is 1.7." It would make sense for the 357 frame size Blackhawk to be somewhere between a L and N but closer to N because S&W chambers 44 caliber L frames with only five holes. Or is the small frame Blackhawk larger than an N?

    Also, in Brian Pearce's article he speaks of aluminum grip framed 44 specials. Was that just an error?

    Those are some outstandingly handsome grips LSG45! And that is some handsome and honest wear. It looks like a favorite!
    The 44spl is built on the Flat Top medium frame. The New Model Blackhawk 357 is built on the same frame as the 44 magnum but uses an aluminum grip frame rather than the steel grip frame of the 44mag.

    At one time Ruger made a New Model 357 using the medium frame, the "Anniversary Model" Flattop. To the best of my knowledge that particular model has not resurfaced.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkrcpa View Post
    At one time Ruger made a New Model 357 using the medium frame, the "Anniversary Model" Flattop. To the best of my knowledge that particular model has not resurfaced.
    Ruger lists flattop (medium frame) convertible Blackhawks in 357/9mm on their website right now. They are Lipsey's specials available in stainless or blue steel and in two barrel lengths.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ickisrulz View Post
    Ruger lists flattop (medium frame) convertible Blackhawks in 357/9mm on their website right now. They are Lipsey's specials available in stainless or blue steel and in two barrel lengths.
    Well, there you have it. Good to know.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    As you have found,, there is a bit of confusion at times about the different Ruger frames,, and even the grip frames that have been made since the beginning of their SA production in 1953.
    1953, the Single-Six introduced. Immediately popular.
    1955, the first centerfire SA,, a .357 Blackhawk, with a flat topstrap, was introduced.
    1956,, the .44 mag flattop appears.
    1959, the Super Blackhawk appears,, and is a bigger frame than the FT 357's & FT .44's. It also has the Dragoon grip frame.
    1963, the FT models are dropped, and the .357 & .44's are all now Blackhawks & Super Blackhawks. Both using the larger frame.
    1973, the 3 screw, Old Model action design is dropped, and the New Model, with the safety transfer bar safety appears.
    1982, the .357 Maximum is introduced,, with a longer mainframe than any other model. Still called a Blackhawk.
    1988, the convertible Blackhawks, also known as "Buckeye's" in 32-20, .32 H&R, or the 38-40 & 10mm were introduced. The convertible 44-40 & 44 mag was also built but not officially a Buckeye. All on the Blackhawk frame.
    1993, the Original Vaqueros' introduced. All built on the same frame size as the Blackhawks. Easily identified by the 2 digit prefix serial number.
    2005, the 50th Anniversary .357's were built. FT frames, the same size as the original ones in 1953. Also known as "medium" frames.
    2005, the New Vaquero's built. Medium framed,, and identified by the 3 digit prefix serial number.
    2006, the 50th Anniversary .44 FT were built.
    2009, the NM Flattop .41 magnums introduced.
    2009, the .44 Spl FT introduced. First as a Lipsey's exclusive,, and shortly after a catalog item. Midframe.

    The NM Blackhawk in general, is the larger frame size. The FT versions, are normally the midframe size.

    Confused yet?
    Last edited by contender1; 09-01-2020 at 09:57 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by contender1 View Post
    As you have found,, there is a bit of confusion at times about the different Ruger frames,, and even the grip frames that have been made since the beginning of their SA production in 1953.

    2005, the 50th Anniversary .357's were built. FT frames, the same size as the original ones in 1953. Also known as "medium" frames.
    2005, the New Vaquero's built. Medium framed,, and identified by the 3 digit prefix serial number.
    2006, the 50th Anniversary .44 FT were built. Again, FT, and smaller frames.
    2009, the NM Flattop .41 magnums introduced. Midframe.
    2009, the .44 Spl FT introduced. First as a Lipsey's exclusive,, and shortly after a catalog item. Midframe.

    The NM Blackhawk in general, is the larger frame size. The FT versions, are normally the midframe size.

    Confused yet?
    Are you sure about that? My understanding is that the 41 and 44 mag Flat Tops are large frame guns.

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