Gun Review: Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk Hunter in .44 Magnum

When it comes to dedicated hunting handguns, there may be nothing better than a single action .44 Magnum revolver. In this review we will be taking a look at one of the premier luxury hunting handguns available today: the Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk Hunter.

In my last article on a Ruger revolver, the Redhawk in .44 Magnum, I was somewhat critical of it as a choice for self-defense in the woods due to the weight and the power level of some upper-end .44 ammo. This review, despite looking at the same cartridges, is very different. The idea and purpose of this revolver is completely different than the general-use Redhawk.

What we have here in the New Model Super Blackhawk Hunter is just that: a dedicated primary hunting gun. Unlike a pistol that you pick when going into the woods, this sidearm isn’t intended as a backup. The size of this revolver prevents it from being particularly useful as a close-range self-defense weapon in the event of an animal attack.

In addition to being larger, it also takes an extra step to operate in that the hammer must be cocked between each shot in order to fire the gun. A single action revolver isn’t a terrible choice in this role, but there are better options.

This New Model Super Blackhawk is a hard-use hunting tool that caters to the gentleman shooter who enjoys medium to large game challenges inside 100 yards. Everything about it is geared for this and it truly excels in every aspect when compared to other, non-specialized options.

The most distinctive feature of this revolver is its long 7.5-inch barrel. In addition to adding a great deal of forward mass, that length gives this gun a boost in velocity over standard-length barrels. While not a huge boost, it does offer an edge when using heavy-for-caliber bullets suitable for hunting.

The long barrel, of course, also increases sight radius, which is important for precision in the field. If you choose to use a magnified optic (or even a red-dot sight), the revolver comes with a set of scope rings that allow your chosen optic to be mounted to the barrel. I didn’t use a scope for this review, as I do most of my shooting with iron sights. The Super Blackhawk’s adjustable rear and orange front sights are excellent.

I tested the exact same ammo I used in my review of the Redhawk under the same circumstances, although I field tested several types of ammo at ranges out to 100 yards later. Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of five shots fired from a distance of eight feet over my Oehler 35P chronograph.

Buffalo Bore 340gr +P+ Hardcast ————————1491 fps, 2.5”
Buffalo Bore 270gr JFN————————————1497 fps, 2”
Buffalo Bore 225gr Barnes XPB ————————–1559 fps, 2”
SIG SAUER 240gr V-Crown——————————–1340 fps, 1.75”
SIG SAUER 200gr V-Crown (.44 Special)—————–924 fps, 2”
Black Hills 240gr JHP————————————–1397 fps, 1.5”
Black Hills 300gr JHP————————————–1126 fps, 1”
Black Hills 160gr HoneyBadger—————————1748 fps, .75”
Black Hills 210 FPL (.44 Special)————————–825 fps, 2.25”
Black Hills 125gr HoneyBadger (.44 Special)————1366 fps, 1.5”
Hornady 240gr XTP—————————————–1504 fps, 1.8”
Hornady 300gr XTP—————————————–1149 fps, 1.25”
Hornady 225gr FTX—————————————–1453 fps, 1”
Hornady 180gr XTP (.44 Special)————————–851 fps, 2.6”
Hornady 165gr Critical Defense (.44 Special)————1010 fps, 2.33”

Overall, the accuracy was spectacular given the Super Blackhawk’s light, single-action trigger pull. I experienced no problems at all as far as reliability is concerned with any type of ammo. Extraction was a bit difficult on some of the higher pressure offerings, but it wasn’t a great challenge thanks to the long ejector rod.

Firing .44 Special in this gun was like shooting rimfire. If you wanted the gun to do double duty, it could easily be used with a soft-recoiling .44 Special load on smaller game at close range.

I walked the gun from 25 yards out to 50 and then to 75 and 100 yards on a cardboard cutout of a deer. I had no problem putting rounds on the vitals at any of these distances. A stable rest and a firm grip allows the gun with its black laminate grips to simply roll in the hand with minimal strain on the palm.

The high recoil of the .44 Magnum cartridge is still apparent here, but it’s mitigated by the size (the New Model Super Blackhawk is 5 oz. heavier than the Redhawk) and intended use of the gun. I don’t think that there will be many hunters who fire this revolver without some sort of rest.

For the right person, this is an extraordinary gun. Ruger really thought it out and made it a perfect tool for the handgun hunter. Handgun hunting takes place at the same ranges you’d use a bow, and it’s very challenging. With the New Model Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter, you have everything you need in one package that comes field-ready right out of the box.

Specs: Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk

Caliber: .44 Magnum, .44 Special
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Barrel Length: 7.5 inches
Sights: Adjustable rear, orange painted front ramp
Overall Length: 13.7 inches
Weight: 52 oz
MSRP: $959.00

Ratings (out of five stars)

Accuracy * * * * *
While the .44 Mag is powerful and hard to tame, it can be done in this gun. Mastering recoil takes time and some patience, but once you learn to let the gun ride in your hand, making accurate hits is very easy.

Reliability * * * * *
I had no issues with the revolver at all.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Have no illusions about this gun. It’s not an EDC piece, it’s a true hunting implement. It benefits from classic single-action curves and it shoots easy. Carry will likely be accomplished in a chest rig or in the hand while in the field.

Customize This * * * *
The owner can choose a number of options as far as optics, sights, and grips. But this gun comes ready to hunt right out of the box.

Aesthetics * * * * *
The long 7.5-inch barrel, laminate wood grips, and smooth lines make this a classic gun you won’t mind staring at during those dreary hours in the stand.

Overall * * * * *
For what its intended purpose, you will be hard-pressed to find a revolver better suited. The Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk is a wonderful field hunting tool that just wants to be out there and in action. It will serve the dedicated handgun hunter well for many, many years.

 

comments

  1. avatar Bing Crosshair says:

    Man these things shoot great. I have a shorter barrel version and it handles the recoil just fine. They’re good looking, well made, solid revolvers.

  2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Very high probability I’ll purchase one of these one of these days.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Governor,

      I have a Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum that I have been planning to sell for years. (For whatever reason, I never get around to actually trying to sell it.) Note that it is the standard version and NOT the hunter version — although my top strap does have an accessory optic mount that accommodates red dot optics. The trigger of course is excellent. And I have both the Pachmayr and Hogue rubber grips which do a great job making recoil comfortable.

      As I implied, I am in no rush to sell it. If you think you might be interested in the next couple years, let me know in the comment sections here. (I am not sure if it would be practical since I live in a different state and we would have to transfer it through an FFL which adds a fair amount to the cost. Nevertheless, I thought I would throw this out there.)

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Unfortunately I’m a seller right now and not a buyer. One item I’m not selling is my 50th Anniversary .44mag flat top Blackhawk (not Super-B).

        I’m wanting put a scope on the hunter.

  3. avatar Weldo says:

    I’ll take mine in .45 LC, please!

    1. avatar Dave says:

      I have the Bisley version in 45 Colt. I can reload “cowboy” loads that are like shooting a 22 or heavy “Ruger Only” loads of 300gr @1300 fps that thump like a 44 magnum. Of all my pistols and revolvers, I like to shoot it the most.

  4. avatar Tom T says:

    Another item I have absolutely NO use for, but would still love to own. Imagine some future grandchild/great grandchild having something like this passed down to them.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Tom T.,

      Darn it, now you just gave me a compelling reason to NOT sell my revolver!

      It sure would be fun to be there and see the look on their face when they realize they are now the proud new owner of such a wonderful contraption!

  5. avatar DrewN says:

    340 grains at 1491? Daamn. I’d pay to see someone run a full cylinder of that through a 329.

    1. avatar Vicrattlehead says:

      I saw that too…
      That’s like (3) 9mm fmj’s fired off simultaneously, at 1500fps to boot!!! If ‘stopping power’ could be quantified, THAT would be it!

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I’d stand a good distance away from that. +p+ = Ruger only load.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Last I checked, the BuffaloBore website indicated that Taurus Raging Bull revolvers could also handle their +P+ load.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I think I knew that, but Ruger/TaurusRagingBull only load just doesn’t roll off your tongue so well.

    3. avatar Defens says:

      I’ve shot that load through my 328PD – but not a full cylinder full. Do I get partial credit? 🙂
      That’s actually my carry load in bear country when out picking huckleberries.

  6. avatar possum says:

    Wow the prices have went up. I’ve not got the hunter model, I’ve got the silhouette model. $198 with a box of Winchester 240 gr SWC. 1978. It’s still running fine, besides the cylinder pin latch screw and back straps screws working loose no problems. ( Finger nail polish on screws fixed that) . And as I’ve mentioned the trigger pull can really be reduced by slipping one of the trigger return springs dogs off of the pin they rest on. I bent mine a little so it wouldn’t bind up on the grips but that’s not needed. I do not prefer optics on my pistols. Iron and wood, something you can pass down to the grandkids.

  7. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

    I had the sure redhawk in a 7 inch barrel.

    With a scope on it, .44 mag loads recoil was manageable…

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Mine as well. The 7.5 inch barrel nets serious velocity. Deer can easily be taken 75+ yards. .

      1. avatar Geoff "Kill a Commie for Mommy" PR says:

        Sure redhawk…Super Redhawk…

        Yeah, it was a fun gun…

        *mutter*…

  8. avatar TyrantRex12 says:

    Never will understand why a wheel gun costs $1,000+. The Super Blackhawk and Redhawk are great guns though and I have had plenty of trigger time on both in .44 magnum. There is just no way I’m even considering shelling out $1000 or more for a revolver is if its a Colt Python, Anaconda, or some other rarity.

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      https://www.nighthawkcustom.com/revolvers-20/mongoose-357

      I’ve held one, but didn’t get to shoot it. A thing of beauty.

      1. avatar Geoff "Kill a Commie for Mommy" PR says:

        ActionPhysicalMan-Vic Nighthorse has one of those…

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Doesn’t come from an injection mold. A better question is why a polymer pistol costs what it does when the level.of hand work is low.

      1. avatar MB says:

        Yup, considering the materials, machining and labor, the Ruger revolvers are real bargains of the handgun world. When a plastic gun like the high quality FNH FNX45 can cost $1,200, a Ruger for $1,000 is great.

  9. avatar Frank Bolyard says:

    265 g hand loads in 44mag, pep-sights, trigger stop, custom grips, trigger job, some machining – 10″ group at 400 yards – hard to believe but it was real at Conner, Ga competition…..Black Hawk only on line….all 357s and all other 44mags eliminated at less than 200 yards !

    1. avatar possum says:

      That is some mighty fine shooting there Frank.

  10. avatar SurfGW says:

    Rented a regular 7.5 inch Super Blackhawk at the range. Looked at a Super Redhawk, but the trigger reach was a little long for my medium size hands. There was no regular Redhawk, so I rented a bull barrel 5” SW 629, a Super Blackhawk and fired a friend’s .44 Taurus Tagibg Bull with ported barrell.
    The S&W was just unpleasant to shoot.
    The Taurus was reasonable recoil and accuracy.
    The Super Blackhawk (non-hunter) was softer shooting and very easy to hit accurately at 25 yards.
    The Super Blackhawk and a Ruger 77/44 with red dot sight are in the future whenever I can save up the $.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      had my S&W model 29 magna-ported years ago….and it made a significant difference in comfort…do they still do that?…..

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        yes. an ad for the michigan based company is in the back of ~all~ gun magz.
        my s. b’hawk came with the weird trapezoidal edm’d channels from the original owner.
        they catch a little lead buildup, but tame and v- flame.

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    I have one of these and I like it quite a bit.

    I do need a better holster for it’s intended purpose, which isn’t hunting, but overall I have found it to be a good gun for what I use it for.

  12. avatar Turd Fergusen says:

    I have a SS Super BlackHawk in .357 and not only is it a real pleasure to shoot, it’s a thing of beauty. I have a set of rosewood Altamonte grips that just add to the ease of handling and appearance. I would put that pistol in a glass case when not shooting it if I could. I love to just look at it….

    1. avatar possum says:

      Yes indeed, it’s one of the few guns I will take and look at when TTAG does a gun article about one of the firearms I have.

  13. avatar Bob Coon says:

    I bought one of these because I was under the impression that this was ruger’s finest single action revolver. I fell in love only to realize it shoots a foot and a half high at 30 yards with standard 240gr factory loads. NOT ACCEPTABLE. The worst part is they knew what they did and did it anyway. The front sight insert is the exact same style/height used in the SRH 44 mag which is installed on a ramped portion of the rib. The hunter uses the exact same insert but no ramped portion on the rib. Called ruger and they gave me the “I’m sorry, send it back” speech. I think I’ll make my own taller insert because apparently ruger knowingly sells flawed products

  14. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    As is apparent from my various other comments, I really LOVE .44 Magnum. With a reasonably heavy revolver, appropriate grips, and good technique, recoil is totally a non-issue for pretty much any reasonably fit person.

    Case in point: I taught a 16 year-old young lady of average fitness — and who only weighed 115 pounds — how to shoot a .44 Magnum revolver that had good grips and some heft to it. She loved it and shot multiple cylinders of ammunition — and is excitedly awaiting another opportunity to shoot.

    If you don’t already have a large revolver in .44 Magnum, get one. They are a thing of beauty and a lot of fun to shoot. And they are, of course, an excellent woods-defense handgun.

    (If you are financially strapped, consider buying a used revolver. Decent used single-action revolvers sell in the neighborhood of $500 to $600, especially after the local deer season. And if you maintain them, they will only go up in value.)

    1. avatar Matt in SC says:

      I’ve got 550 and an FFL. Still for sale?🤠

  15. avatar Wally1 says:

    I handled one at my local gun shop. It is a thing of beauty. Granted, a firearm is a tool, and many high quality tools are so well designed that they could classify as a work of art. This model is only made in .44 mag, I would prefer one in .45 Colt. As much as I would like to have one, the price is restrictive. Maybe a used one in a few years.

  16. avatar doyall says:

    Have had the non-Hunter version for 30+ years. First real gun I bought. Love to shoot it but it is brutal. Probably put less than 300 rounds through it. Thought many times about selling but can’t bring myself to it.

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