Blackhawk 44 mag

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  • firemn260

    Member
    Sep 15, 2015
    288
    Harford County
    Few months ago I acquired a Blackhawk from my neighbor and it’s pictured here under my 5.5” SBH. From what I read, it’s serial number puts it manufactured in 1957.
    When the county I deer hunt in started allowing the use of strait wall cartridges I was looking forward to trying handgun hunting. Then of course I realized that little law that states the barrel length on my super black is a 1/2” to short to be a legal hunting weapon in MD. My luck would be the day Mr green legs wants to check my equipment and just so happens to be carrying a tape measure.

    Anyway this new piece of shooting iron fixes that problem. My neighbor told me the cylinder timing was off on it but I can’t for the life of me tell if it is. It locks up as strait as my eyes can tell.
    Now for a few questions for anyone who knows about these older pieces.
    The trigger is decent but how hard would it be to clean up a little bit of the creep it has? My biggest struggle in pistol shooting is my trigger pull and I need all the help I can get to get a consistent straight back break.
    Second thing I struggled with was learning how to grip a single action to be able to shoot well. The grip frame is on the small side for my big mits so I really have to be mindful of how a grasp the grips in order to get a consistent strait back trigger pull. I have resisted putting the big ugly houge grip on my SBH.
    Third, can the grip frame be changed out to say a bisley grip and would it be worth doing?
    Thanks
     

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    slsc98

    Active Member
    May 24, 2012
    4,617
    Escaped MD-stan to WNC Smokies
    I know the SBH trigger is easily improved, relatively speaking, although I was blessed my late-70’s 7-1/2” stainless came from the factory with a near-icicle break trigger albeit a tad heavy … but, I DONT KNOW HOW to do it (guessing YouTube is your friend there)

    The grip panels are not only sh*t simple to switch out I found it absotively necessary to do so!!!!!

    Few things I found as unpleasant as shooting full house factory loads trying to hold onto those stock OEM ridiculous teardrop pieces of walnut.

    My powder puff .44 Spl reloads no problem.

    I carried one of two after market grips on my SBH - one were Pachmayr Presentation grips (WITHOUT any finger grooves!) and the other was a set of FAT, OVERSIZED walnuts which I can’t for the life of me remember who they were made by (it was a major custom maker, d*mmit!) … I wanna say “Giles?” (I am pretty sure they were NOT “Sile”)

    In any event I picked em by watching CDNNSports.com but, it doesn’t appear they have anything for SBH’s “at the moment” (their inventory stock changes like Biden flip flops on what he tells the brain dead)

    https://www.cdnnsports.com/gun-parts/grips.html

    Looks like MidwayUSA has 4 of the pachmayrs in stock - PREPARE TO BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED!!!!

    Pachmayr Presentation Grips Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk Rubber Black:​

     

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    John from MD

    American Patriot
    MDS Supporter
    May 12, 2005
    16,722
    Socialist State of Maryland
    Tuning the SBH was written about for some years back in the seventies. I had lots of trade tuning them for folks. The three biggest things to change are the trigger spring, hammer spring and grips. Most of the other work was polishing to make the gun smoother and keep the bolt from marring the blued finish on the cylinder.

    In later years, someone developed a different pawl that would allow you to free spin the cylinder. The reason for this is that, if you over rotate the cylinder when loading, you have to go all the way around again to get to that chamber.

    They may sell hammers and triggers to reduce the trigger creep, I don't know. I know that I made a jig to hold them so I could stone them to the correct angles to eliminate creep. I wouldn't recommend free handing this as you could wind up with an unsafe trigger.
     

    Bisleyfan44

    Active Member
    Jan 11, 2008
    1,653
    Wicomico
    Few months ago I acquired a Blackhawk from my neighbor and it’s pictured here under my 5.5” SBH. From what I read, it’s serial number puts it manufactured in 1957.
    When the county I deer hunt in started allowing the use of strait wall cartridges I was looking forward to trying handgun hunting. Then of course I realized that little law that states the barrel length on my super black is a 1/2” to short to be a legal hunting weapon in MD. My luck would be the day Mr green legs wants to check my equipment and just so happens to be carrying a tape measure.

    Anyway this new piece of shooting iron fixes that problem. My neighbor told me the cylinder timing was off on it but I can’t for the life of me tell if it is. It locks up as strait as my eyes can tell.
    Now for a few questions for anyone who knows about these older pieces.
    The trigger is decent but how hard would it be to clean up a little bit of the creep it has? My biggest struggle in pistol shooting is my trigger pull and I need all the help I can get to get a consistent straight back break.
    Second thing I struggled with was learning how to grip a single action to be able to shoot well. The grip frame is on the small side for my big mits so I really have to be mindful of how a grasp the grips in order to get a consistent strait back trigger pull. I have resisted putting the big ugly houge grip on my SBH.
    Third, can the grip frame be changed out to say a bisley grip and would it be worth doing?
    Thanks
    First of all, congrats on your new 44! That's an old model flattop 44 Blackhawk. The triggers on the OMs are usually pretty decent. Maybe yours has been retrofitted by the factory with a transfer bar??? Cock the hammer and look for a bar between the hammer and firing pin. If it's been converted, you'll see the bar. If so, you can't really clean them up. If not and it's factory original more shooting will usually smooth things out. But a gunsmith can usually improve them some.

    These Rugers are hard to shoot without a lot of practice. The hammer, once cocked is under significant pressure from the hammer mainspring. When you press the trigger, unless you have a firm grip, the muzzle will tend to rise as the hammer falls. Accuracy can be destroyed. Grip it firmly, not death grip, and increase your trigger pressure until release. The secret is keeping the gun still. Focus on that.

    Adding an aftermarket grip can help. Although I think they are ugly, the Pachmayrs do a great job at helping you control the gun. The Hogues do too, bit they are bigger. If you have bigger hands, they may be the answer. All my shooters have Pachmayrs.

    DO NOT order the grips listed above. They don’t fit your guns. The 5.5 " Super you have and the 44 Old Model both have the XR3-RED grip frame, which is identical to the New Model Blackhawk grip frame. That is the one you want. The Super Blackhawk grips listed above will fit models with the square-backed 7.5" and 10.5" model Supers and the SBH Hunter model.

    The Bisley grip frame will fit your 5.5" Super and can be easily fit to your frame. It cannot be fit to your OM Blackhawk 44. Old model lockwork vs. new model lockwork, they're different so the gripframes are not interchangeable.

    Hope this helps a little.
     

    squaregrouper

    6.5 Man Bun
    MDS Supporter
    First of all, congrats on your new 44! That's an old model flattop 44 Blackhawk. The triggers on the OMs are usually pretty decent. Maybe yours has been retrofitted by the factory with a transfer bar??? Cock the hammer and look for a bar between the hammer and firing pin. If it's been converted, you'll see the bar. If so, you can't really clean them up. If not and it's factory original more shooting will usually smooth things out. But a gunsmith can usually improve them some.

    These Rugers are hard to shoot without a lot of practice. The hammer, once cocked is under significant pressure from the hammer mainspring. When you press the trigger, unless you have a firm grip, the muzzle will tend to rise as the hammer falls. Accuracy can be destroyed. Grip it firmly, not death grip, and increase your trigger pressure until release. The secret is keeping the gun still. Focus on that.

    Adding an aftermarket grip can help. Although I think they are ugly, the Pachmayrs do a great job at helping you control the gun. The Hogues do too, bit they are bigger. If you have bigger hands, they may be the answer. All my shooters have Pachmayrs.

    DO NOT order the grips listed above. They don’t fit your guns. The 5.5 " Super you have and the 44 Old Model both have the XR3-RED grip frame, which is identical to the New Model Blackhawk grip frame. That is the one you want. The Super Blackhawk grips listed above will fit models with the square-backed 7.5" and 10.5" model Supers and the SBH Hunter model.

    The Bisley grip frame will fit your 5.5" Super and can be easily fit to your frame. It cannot be fit to your OM Blackhawk 44. Old model lockwork vs. new model lockwork, they're different so the gripframes are not interchangeable.

    Hope this helps a little.
    THIS!!!
    I had a 1st year Flattop Blackhawk and the XR3 (not red) grips beat the crap out of the palm of my XL bear hands. If aftermarkets grips under $300 existed, I was unable to find them.
    FWIW, there is a distinct collector's market for Flattop Blackhawks w/o transfer bar and/or the early conversions where Ruger sent the original parts back with the gun after conversion. I THINK I got $1100 for mine on GB (95-98%)
     

    RRomig

    Member
    Industry Partner
    MDS Supporter
    Aug 30, 2021
    711
    Burtonsville MD
    Congrats on the find. While it sometimes pains me to uglify a gun function will always outweigh form. First thing I “had” to do to my S&W 44 was take off the great looking wood grips and install Houge. Also I find the Bisley grip angle odd. As for the trigger I’d check with some cowboy action shooters. I used to know a few that could do the job but not sure who is still doing it.
     

    firemn260

    Member
    Sep 15, 2015
    288
    Harford County
    Tuning the SBH was written about for some years back in the seventies. I had lots of trade tuning them for folks. The three biggest things to change are the trigger spring, hammer spring and grips. Most of the other work was polishing to make the gun smoother and keep the bolt from marring the blued finish on the cylinder.

    In later years, someone developed a different pawl that would allow you to free spin the cylinder. The reason for this is that, if you over rotate the cylinder when loading, you have to go all the way around again to get to that chamber.

    They may sell hammers and triggers to reduce the trigger creep, I don't know. I know that I made a jig to hold them so I could stone them to the correct angles to eliminate creep. I wouldn't recommend free handing this as you could wind up with an unsafe trigger.

    I can handle cleaning up surfaces and polishing but cutting new angles and such is above my skill set.

    First of all, congrats on your new 44! That's an old model flattop 44 Blackhawk. The triggers on the OMs are usually pretty decent. Maybe yours has been retrofitted by the factory with a transfer bar??? Cock the hammer and look for a bar between the hammer and firing pin. If it's been converted, you'll see the bar. If so, you can't really clean them up. If not and it's factory original more shooting will usually smooth things out. But a gunsmith can usually improve them some.

    These Rugers are hard to shoot without a lot of practice. The hammer, once cocked is under significant pressure from the hammer mainspring. When you press the trigger, unless you have a firm grip, the muzzle will tend to rise as the hammer falls. Accuracy can be destroyed. Grip it firmly, not death grip, and increase your trigger pressure until release. The secret is keeping the gun still. Focus on that.

    Adding an aftermarket grip can help. Although I think they are ugly, the Pachmayrs do a great job at helping you control the gun. The Hogues do too, bit they are bigger. If you have bigger hands, they may be the answer. All my shooters have Pachmayrs.

    DO NOT order the grips listed above. They don’t fit your guns. The 5.5 " Super you have and the 44 Old Model both have the XR3-RED grip frame, which is identical to the New Model Blackhawk grip frame. That is the one you want. The Super Blackhawk grips listed above will fit models with the square-backed 7.5" and 10.5" model Supers and the SBH Hunter model.

    The Bisley grip frame will fit your 5.5" Super and can be easily fit to your frame. It cannot be fit to your OM Blackhawk 44. Old model lockwork vs. new model lockwork, they're different so the gripframes are not interchangeable.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Thank you. Mine has not been fitted with the transfer bar. I don’t mind carrying only 5 rounds in it so it shall stay that way.

    I can tell you it was very difficult for me to learn how to shoot them with any amount or repeatable accuracy. The 44 mag is pretty much what got me into reloading and casting bullets. Of course I couldn’t help myself in loading up some true magnum loads. All that resulted in was causing a horrible flinch. After a good scolding from my reloading mentor, I settled on a 240 lswc and 7 grains of unique. Hundreds of them later and I’m finally able to concentrate on trigger pull and sight picture. I still have to curl my pinky finger under the grip in order to get the most straight back consistent trigger pull. It would seem a grip frame that’s a bit longer would benefit my hand position. With my pinky curled under the recoil is forced more into my palm then rolling through it if that makes sense.

    THIS!!!
    I had a 1st year Flattop Blackhawk and the XR3 (not red) grips beat the crap out of the palm of my XL bear hands. If aftermarkets grips under $300 existed, I was unable to find them.
    FWIW, there is a distinct collector's market for Flattop Blackhawks w/o transfer bar and/or the early conversions where Ruger sent the original parts back with the gun after conversion. I THINK I got $1100 for mine on GB (95-98%)
    That’s exactly the issue I’m having with my big mits too.
    Fortunately enough this one was never converted.

    Congrats on the find. While it sometimes pains me to uglify a gun function will always outweigh form. First thing I “had” to do to my S&W 44 was take off the great looking wood grips and install Houge. Also I find the Bisley grip angle odd. As for the trigger I’d check with some cowboy action shooters. I used to know a few that could do the job but not sure who is still doing it.

    I would rather uglify the 5.5” for the sake of accuracy and shootability as far as hunting goes. It’s frustrating that it’s a half inch short of a legal hunting weapon.
     

    trickg

    Guns 'n Drums
    Jul 22, 2008
    12,076
    Glen Burnie
    These Rugers are hard to shoot without a lot of practice. The hammer, once cocked is under significant pressure from the hammer mainspring. When you press the trigger, unless you have a firm grip, the muzzle will tend to rise as the hammer falls. Accuracy can be destroyed. Grip it firmly, not death grip, and increase your trigger pressure until release. The secret is keeping the gun still. Focus on that.
    I have two older Ruger Blackhawks - one is a 3 digit SN 41 Magnum and the other is an older (probably mid/late 60s) 357 mag. Both are very easy too shoot accurately - I have never had an issue with either one of them. I'm not sure why anyone would consider them hard to shoot at all.
     

    firemn260

    Member
    Sep 15, 2015
    288
    Harford County
    I have two older Ruger Blackhawks - one is a 3 digit SN 41 Magnum and the other is an older (probably mid/late 60s) 357 mag. Both are very easy too shoot accurately - I have never had an issue with either one of them. I'm not sure why anyone would consider them hard to shoot at all.

    I’m not saying the design is difficult to shoot. My difficulty comes from how I have to hold onto it with my big hands. I already struggle to get a consistent straight back trigger pull on any pistol I shoot. If I don’t concentrate enough I will always throw rounds to the left. My wife is a firearms instructor and she can tell by watching me that the shot went left without even looking at the target.
     

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