The Ruger I Shoulda Had Years Ago
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Thread: The Ruger I Shoulda Had Years Ago



  1. #1
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    The Ruger I Shoulda Had Years Ago

    I've heard of Flattops for quite a while now, but wish I'd have got one sooner. I knew they were built on a smaller Mid size frame, and didn't have the protective ears around the back sight. But I never had or handled one.
    I've had a few old models, but not Flattops, starting back in the early 70's.

    I was never too fond of the actions on the newer transfer bar models, although I've had a few nice ones.
    Around 15 years ago I found myself carrying a Bisley .44 Mag for bear protection in Montana. I'd previously used a S&W 629, a Redhawk, and then another 629, a Mountain Gun, all in .44 mag.

    That Bisley I stuck some Power Custom parts in, so it had 3 clicks and felt more like a Colt. A friend wanted it bad and traded me a nice Hi-Wall .45/70 with some pricey sights on it.
    Soon after I got another Bisley, this one in .45. I had a trigger job done on it, so it too had a nice action.
    Those were mostly carried a lot and seldom shot, those were for bear protection when camping, so shot stout loads. Bisleys are the way to go for heavy recoil comfort.

    When I moved to Arizona last year, I sold the Bisley, my Marlin .45/70, and my .338 bolt gun.
    My interest has been more for pleasant shooting mild loads. There are Black Bear and Mountain Lion around here but that's as big as it gets.

    After buying a S&W 686 a couple months ago, I thought I'd get a single action in .357 as I was already loading for that caliber.
    I saw a Blackhawk Convertible in .357/9mm so I bought it.
    It was new but had an action job done and free spin pawl put in it.
    I've taken it to the range several times and I just can't warm up to it.

    Things I don't like about it:
    1) With the aluminum alloy frame, and lots of extra metal in the barrel and cylinder from being a "small bore", it's really muzzle heavy.
    2) For a short chunky sixgun, the grip feels too small. I don't have large hands, and am used to having to curl my little finger under the grip, but this Blackhawk just never felt good to me. Give me a Bisley or Colt/Uberti any day.
    3) I'm used to having to stop the cylinder to line up with the loading gate and hold it there, I can probably do it easier being a lefty than most right handed guys. I watch some of my friends load/unload an SA and they look really clumsy.
    So I can handle a Blackhawk that doesn't index on each chamber, but I don't like it.
    4) I've never liked the feel and balance of a .357 SA, I guess it's that extra weight that throws off the balance, nothing as sweet as a .45 Colt SA. I don't know why I thought this one would be different, I just wanted to try a .357 for a change.
    5) This .357 won't kick out the brass when you eject. It knocks them out most of the way, but you have to pick them out with your fingers. I'd rather have it knock them out if I'm in a hurry. When I'm not, I can always grab them as they come out.

    On Sunday I drove down to Prescott and bought a Lipsey Distributor Exclusive, a Flattop Convertible in .45 Colt/.45 ACP.
    On the way home I put a box of Cowboy loads through it. Now I know why people like the Flattops so much.
    Feels and handles more like a Colt/Uberti, or more precisely a Colt New Frontier.
    Great balance, and it indexes at each chamber. Ruger put a 19 lb. hammer spring in these instead of the 23 lb. one the Blackhawks have. And this one has a sweet 2 3/4 lb. trigger.

    I find a 5 to 6 inch barrel just right, being decent for sight radius but easier carrying than a longer length. And looks "right" too.
    And Flattops come with an all steel grip frame and steel ejector rod housing, no "painted" aluminum on these.

    The only thing I might change is to put a Super Blackhawk grip frame on it. The grip is a bit longer so you don't have to curl your little finger under.
    Mine has the infernal, internal lock that Ruger used up until 2012. Changing the grip frame to a SBH one will do away with that.

    Ill be trading off the .357/9mm, no more NM Blackhawks for me, unless they are Bisleys or Flattops.
    One downside of the mid frame is they are rated for Tier II loads ( 23,000 PSI). No Tier III "Ruger Only" loads for the Flattops, but that's O.K. with me, a 250 to 270 grain @ 1000 fps. will do in anything I need to take care of.
    If medium loads are all you'll ever shoot, you'll get a sixgun with superior packing and handling compared to a large frame Ruger.
    Here's both of them, with the .357/9mm cleaned up to be sold or traded.
    Last edited by sandog; 06-04-2019 at 07:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have a 44 SPL Flattop with a 4 & 5/8 inch barrel that I am never going to let go of. Its one heck of a shooter!
    Rotary Mag Savage 99 lover
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    U.S. Army Retired (1984-2004) Yeah--spent time doin' the OEF/OIF thing


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