10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ruger Blackhawk [Video]

There’s just something about a revolver that still appeals to millions of American gun owners. They’re used for everything from home defense to plinking, to hunting and bugout bag duty as simple, effective survival guns.

Ruger began making their venerable Blackhawk over sixty years ago and it’s still a popular choice among wheel gun devotees. One of the reasons is that they’ve been chambered for everything from .30 Carbine all the way up to the stout .480 Ruger.

The Blackhawk has evolved over the decades from its original design and has accumulated a noteworthy history. Here are ten things you may not know about the Ruger Blackhawk revolver.

This video courtesy God, Family and Guns. You can find their YouTube channel here.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    If you’re preparing for a real end of the world scenario there’s no downside to a Blackhawk chambered in .45 Colt. No magazines to lose or damage and in an extreme situation the .45 Colt is still a viable self defense round when loaded with black powder.

    Try loading the modern plastic fantastic with black powder and cast lead bullets. Plus the single action revolver is just fun to play with.

    1. avatar JW says:

      Well… except the opportunity cost of not having an extra Glock for sharing 🙂

      (Proud admirer of both)

      1. avatar jwm says:

        You’re not restricted to one each. 🙂

    2. avatar James69 says:

      I’ve always wanted one of the .357/9mm models. (two cylinders) Instead I went with the S&W Governor .410,45L,45ACP,45GAP etc..

      1. avatar Wes says:

        I looked at those today and thought about buying one but I really prefer the GP100 series. Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t a bigger buzz that the GP100s now come in 7 shot 357!

        http://www.ruger-firearms.com/search/new/revolver

      2. avatar Ted Unlis says:

        And like the Taurus Judge, that Governor makes an excellent boat anchor as well.

    3. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      I’d prefer the Redhawk in .45 Colt. With moon clips, you can shoot .45 ACP.

  2. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Every range day I watch pistol shooters peppering their papers with random holes and taking minutes to clear jams while my snubby 642 and 3 inch 686 that I cc are shooting 2 inch groups at the same distance with any ammo I put thru them. I’ll gladly sacrifice capacity for reliability, the ability to fire with the barrel in contact with a bad guy, of from a jacket pocket, wider choice of reliable ammo, and ease of maintaining my firearm under adverse conditions.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      DaveDetroit,

      You just described all the advantages of revolvers — which is why many people still carry them as their primary self-defense handgun.

      The most compelling reasons to carry a revolver, in my opinion, are that you can shoot it multiple times:
      (1) in a coat pocket, and
      (2) while the barrel is in contact with an attacker.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Don’t forget that a DA revolver can be carried, even in a pocket, and put into action instantly with only a trigger pull and still be completely safe. Plastic fantastics just can’t match that. No safety gadget that puts itself off with a trigger pull is safe. That is why the requirement to carry that type firearm in a holster with the trigger covered, and also why the current axiom of; “the most likely time for a(n) ND/UD is when holstering”.
        True that…, but ONLY for the glock type of firearm. Any time a firearm is specifically designed to allow for quicker training, that same less training will create a less well trained, thus less effective, user. The problem with ‘idiot proofing’ things is, it only creates a new and better(worse) class of idiots…

    2. avatar Frank in VA says:

      I also like that you can load and unload the same ammo in a revolver many times without worrying about the bullet setback you would eventually get in a semi-auto.

      If you unload your carry ammo to shoot with cheaper target ammo often enough, this matters.

    3. avatar Ran Dumb! says:

      For God’s random sake, let’s stop randomly saying random when there randomly isn’t any random reason to randomly say random but we’re randomly just randomly imitating other random people.
      It’s IRRITATING!
      Why?
      Not just because it’s randomly wrong, but because we’ve randomly become a random nation of weak people: random people who just randomly imitate any randomly latest random trend and random fashion instead of randomly thinking for our random selves..or randomly refusing to just randomly act like the other random monkeys instead of randomly refusing to randomly go along just to randomly get along.
      That’s why.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        That was just so random.

  3. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Guess I’m old….and a Ruger student….I know all those things.

    The Blackhawk and its kin are truly fantastic guns. You can’t go wrong with one.

    Couple of things…..
    they have made 357 Blackhawk Flat Tops in the last couple of years. Doesnt have the “ear” around the rear sight.
    the original vaquero had the same frame size of the Blackhawk – sans adjustable sights. The NEW Vaquero is built on the smaller frame.

    It still kills me that he says “Three-fitty-seven”. I can’t help but chuckle when I hear it.

  4. avatar SurfGW says:

    Around 2000-2001, someone treated a Blackhawk in .44 Mag (I think) as a long range weapon shooting from a vise using a level and angle measurement to over 800m. I cannot find the video anywhere. I would like the see this if anyone has it.

    1. avatar How_Terrible says:

      It would be awesome as hell to see that.

  5. avatar mark says:

    Ruger Redhawk started to have barrel separation issues after years of no problems. Ruger extended the frame at the barrel to fix the issue. This became the super redhawk. It was later found that wrong barrel assembly lube was used for a time and causing the isolated problems.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      About that barrel sep. issue –

      If I happen to acquire Blackhawk that is prone to that, it it as simple as a proper re-assembly by a competent smith to correct the issue?

      1. avatar Tim says:

        IIRC, that was a Redhawk, not Blackhawk issue. But, if you were to run into that, send it back to Ruger and they’ll make it right. I had to send my GP100 back for a barrel issue, and they were great to work with.

  6. avatar Al Bondigas says:

    This whole business about knowledgeable old timers and dusty cowpokes carrying a single action revolver hammer down on an empty chamber is questionable. No one I know who was shooting in the early/mid 20th century can recall hearing such a tale until AFTER the Ruger lawsuit. Then a bunch of gun writers in various publications started spreading the tale of the empty chamber to the public. I always thought this was an attempt to shift the blame away from the manufacturer and, deservedly, onto the shooter. A noble effort, but still a historical fiction. Nonetheless, one definite positive remains: the Ruger New Model single actions are among the safest firearms ever made…in any century.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Need to read some Skeeter Skelton and Elmer Keith.

      They were cow men and had witnessed some kabooms with fully loaded single action. Usually when working around cattle and horses.

      I personally saw it with a friend of mine in high school with a Colt New Frontier. It slid off his truck seat and hit pavement, discharging the round under the hammer into the roof of his truck.

      Couldnt have driven a needle up his butt with a sledgehammer after that.

      Generally happened when someone who wasnt a gun guy got a single action and loaded it with 6. Doesnt need a finger on the trigger when something drives the hammer home.

      5 beans in the wheel is a worthwhile motto for non-transfer bar revolvers.

      1. avatar Shotgun Sam says:

        “Couldnt have driven a needle up his butt with a sledgehammer after that.”

        I have no idea what that means, but I can’t stop laughing.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Clinched up tight ……lmao

      2. avatar Kenneth says:

        I, personally, had a ruger bearcat put a .22 short right past my ear when it fell out of my holster while getting out of the saddle in 1972. I was 12 years old. I had never heard of carrying on an empty chamber before. No one told me.
        I tore that gun apart to find out why, as I had to carry it loaded, otherwise what good would it be? Everything I shot at would be long gone before I could get loaded otherwise. That was the beginning of turning me into a gunsmith.
        Once I found out how the firing system on an old style SA worked, I came up with the idea of carrying just the one chamber unloaded. I really thought that it was MY idea… I was in my twenties before I found out that old timers had been already doing that for a century.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Ha. My first handgun was a Super Bearcat in 1973 at 10 years old.

          I had been reading Skeeter and Elmer for a couple of years so fortunately I knew the load one, skip one, load four drill.

          That’s why it’s important to share our knowledge with newbies and oldies.

          A couple years ago, a friend my age bought an Old Model Blackhawk and carried it fully loaded until I pointed out the right way to do it.

    2. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      I suppose it would have been after the lawsuits, but my Dad wasn’t the type who really followed gun news like that (doing so was much harder back in the ’60s!), and I remember him teaching me back when I was only about 8-9 years old, which would have been 1970-71, to keep the chamber under the hammer empty. My dad was older (born in 1917) and I believe most of his gun handling knowledge came from before the 60s.

  7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I’ve got a 50th anniversary .44 mag flat-top and a .44 mag birdshead Vaquero. One of the bigger advantages of the Blackhawks IMHO is that in .44 mag they’re substantially cheaper than a Redhawk or Super Redhawk. Most of us don’t need a DA revo lver in a heavy caliber, although if you’re hiking around in large bear country DA could be an advantage.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Curious, Gov, how bad does that Vaquero birdhead grip make your palm sting?

      1. avatar BLoving says:

        Gov?
        Hey, Gov?
        Huh. No answer… welp, I think I recall him addressing that very question a while back. If I recall, he said it had a firm push to be sure, but the rounded frame of the grip works well for some hand types – his being one of them and he has no regrets.
        If a magnum makes you squeamish, just load it with .44 special and you’ll do nothing but smile; .44 special out of a Blackhawk/Vaquero is an absolute treat. 🤠

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Sorry, some of us have some semblance of a social life on Saturday nights. The birdshead grip is shockingly, yes shockingly comfy. It’s a 39 ounce .44 mag so there’s no denying the physics of it, but for a man with a 2XL glove size and a two finger grip, it’s surprisingly comfortable both single handed and with a support hand. It’s a little thin and very round, but far more comfortable to shoot than you probably imagine.

        Bear in mind that the Redhawk with a 2.75″ barrel weighs in at 44 ounces and the Super Redhawk Alaskan with a 2.5″ barrel weighs in at 45 ounces. Or, a Smith 329PD at 25.2 ounces. The birdshead seems to me to strike a nice balance between light enough to carry and not too painful to shoot. And if saving a couple hundred bucks in the process is a significant issue for you, it would probably make a good compromise in bear country.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          I had me a Superedhawk .44 Mag 7 inch barrel with a scope on it, years back.

          The extra mass was *wonderful* in soaking up recoil.

          I was wondering as the Vaquero *appeared* light-ish in weight…

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Yes, well there’s no getting passed the laws of recoil energy physics. The shorter barrel helps though because it’s more prone to muzzle flip which absorbs energy, whereas a longer barrel tends to push straighter back into your hand.

  8. avatar ironicatbest says:

    SuperBlackhawk, purchased 1978, 2 years IHMSA, stolen once, recovered, continues use as hunting tool now. Thousands of rounds, still solid. Here’s a trick I stumbled on shooting silhouettes and their stock only rules, slip one of the legs off the trigger return spring pin.Really lightens the trigger pull.

    1. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

      I had a 10.5″ Super Blackhawk in .44 mag for IHMSA in the same time frame. What I did for lightening the trigger was I bought an aftermarket bent spring and then bent my OEM spring to match. Got the pull down to 12 oz.

      Wish I hadn’t sold that gun – but then, that applies to every gun I ever sold.

  9. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    Love my Blackhawk .45 convertible. I only wish it was .45acp/454 casull though that also could take a .45 “long” colt.

    You can’t beat shooting 230 grain acp for low cost of quality ammunition. And if I run dry after my 6, it makes a better club than my polymers.

  10. avatar kahlil says:

    can you please stop enabling the auto play of videos, if/when we want to watch them we will click on play. we don’t need that crap forced on us. this is getting tiring.

    1. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

      If you use the Opera browser (I do and recommend it), install the Disable HTML5 Autoplay extension. It adds an icon on the toolbar that lets you toggle autoplay on and off independently for each tab.

      Autoplay irritates the heck out of me, too.

      1. avatar Kahlil says:

        I’m pretty tied up in the Apple ecosystem, so I was looking for a fix on Safari for iOS. On the Mac you can disable autoplay but it doesn’t work that way on mobile devices. Anyway, as someone else had suggested, it isn’t difficult to have to click or tap on stop, but the editors here need to have some respect and thought for the readers. It should be the choice of the reader to start/stop media rather than having it forced upon us. At least we seem to have stopped with the silly “It should’ve been a DGU” posts, perhaps there’s hope one of the editors will wise up to using technology more effectively and wisely.

    2. avatar Art says:

      TTAG doesn’t care that auto play videos annoy its readers.

      At this point, it should be apparent now.

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      On Firefox you ca n go into the settings and shut it off. Google it for instructions. You have to type in something in the address bar and it opens up a bunch of features that c an be tinkered with, but you have to click off on a warning that says you might completely screw up your browser if you don’t know what your doing. But then you just scroll down to auto-play and click it off.

    4. avatar Big Bill says:

      Yeah, clicking the mouse to stop it is so hard.
      Much harder than typing a comment about it.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Difficult – no. Obnoxious – yes.

  11. avatar Don from CT says:

    I cringed every time he said the Blackhawk was “based on the Colt Single Action Army”.

    WRONG

    All WBR wanted the blackhawk to have in common with the colt was its looks. Which is something he achieved. EVERYTHING ELSE was different. The guns are completely mechanically different. The ruger is much simpler with fewer parts. It uses cheap and reliable coil springs, whereas the colt uses finicky and unreliable leaf springs.

    Finally the metallurgy of the Ruger was eons ahead of the colt. Because investment casting allowed SR to cast the gun very close dimensionally to its final size, less machining was required. Because less machining was required, tougher alloys could be economically used in its manufacture.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘All WBR wanted the blackhawk to have in common with the colt was its looks.’

      And the fact that they were both SA, both loaded through a loading gate on the right side, had an ejector that expelled a single spent case at a time, etc. The Blackhawk was a modernization of the old gun for sure, but it was hardly a looks only clone.

  12. avatar Hoyden says:

    Need more Bisley handles.

  13. avatar Ran Dumb America says:

    For God’s random sake, let’s stop randomly saying random when there randomly isn’t any random reason to randomly say random but we’re randomly just randomly imitating other random people.
    It’s IRRITATING!
    Why?
    Not just because it’s randomly wrong, but because we’ve randomly become a random nation of weak people: random people who just randomly imitate any randomly latest random trend and random fashion instead of randomly thinking for our random selves..or randomly refusing to just randomly act like the other random monkeys instead of randomly refusing to randomly go along just to randomly get along.
    That’s why.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      It’s no longer random.

  14. avatar Ran Dumb America says:

    Hey “davedetroit”…and everyone else, too:
    For God’s random sake, let’s stop randomly saying random when there randomly isn’t any random reason to randomly say random but we’re randomly just randomly imitating other random people.
    It’s IRRITATING!
    Why?
    Not just because it’s randomly wrong, but because we’ve randomly become a random nation of weak people: random people who just randomly imitate any randomly latest random trend and random fashion instead of randomly thinking for our random selves..or randomly refusing to just randomly act like the other random monkeys instead of randomly refusing to randomly go along just to randomly get along.
    That’s why.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Now it’s just randomly tedious.

  15. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I tried to watch this video. Well, the video that played had nothing to do with a Blackhawk – or any other make/model of revolver.

  16. avatar adverse5 says:

    I don’t carry anything bigger than my pecker. OK, that might be stretching it.

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