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 08:09 PM.
    Maineiac, Magwa45, jog and 19 others like this.

  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!
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  3. #3
    jog is online now
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    I also recently traded in my ruger Blackhawk none flattop 357. The LGS hade a pair of ruger new Blackhawk flattop 44 spl.
    The all steel model just feel better in my hand, a little extra weight doesn't bother me one bit. None flattops feel a little top heavy.
    4.6 inch barrel in blue. Fit and finish seem a little better than standard model's. So I'm going to order some nice walnut grip's.
    Ill put and order in at El Paso Saddlery for a new holster. Very happy with my flattop's

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  5. #4
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    That's purdy. Love it!
    jog and gunscrewguy like this.
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  6. #5
    Marlin Fanatic
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    When I was a teenager in 60s I had every Ruger SA they made. Some of them in each barrel length and caliber. Try having one of each today. You probably couldn't haul them in a truck. I didn't like the new model SA. First one I bought was a 357/9mm for my Dad. He liked it and it shot well. Then I bought a 32mg Super Single when they came out and the Buckeye Specials NIB. I don't buy them anymore but never pass up a good deal on a 3screw. There is nothing wrong with the New Model, it just ain't the same as the old ones.
    It may be sentimental attachment. I once fell out of a tree with a old model Single-6 and shot myself in the leg. Try to do that with a new model. Anyway learnt to load 5 in the old SAs.
    Never trust a man who rents pigs : Gus, Lonesome Dove

  7. #6
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    I've owned a slew of Ruger Black Hawks over the last 40+ years, and I became a NON-Fan of them, due to the Aluminum grip frames creating a top heavy pistol............(to me)
    I never liked the big blocky front sight either................ I much prefer the front sight on the Colt New Frontier.....Even though the Colt NF is not strong.

    I still find the older Black Hawks interesting, as those exhibit good fit and finish............. I've seen a few newer models and can't warm up to the new stocks and finish............yeah, I know action jobs will cure a host of ills....... and stocks can be easily changed on Rugers.

    I've never played with free spin cylinders or Power Custom parts, but I'll never doubt the strength of any Black Hawk...........they should really be referred to as "Universal Receivers"......They'll handle anything you can stuff into them...............One I had, I used as a "Universal receiver" working up 45 Colt loads to approximate 44 Mag Loads!

    Now, owning a few USFA's, and Colt SAA's, a New Frontier among them, and a recently acquired really great Uberti El Patron Competition, I'm no longer in the market for additional SA revolvers...............I'm NO longer looking for any new firearms!

    Sandog, I understand your complaint re: the weight of small bore six guns...........I have a USFA 12-22 that I HAD to have,(went directly to the factory to buy it) until I shot it off hand at 25 yards.............Boy!, that small bore barrel adds a lot of weight to the gun, offhand!

    Like you, I guess I like the weight of six guns on medium to small frames, with a 45 cal bore.................My newly acquired Uberti El Patron Comp. in 45 Colt w/ the 4 3/4" barrel seems be what I've been looking for, for the last 40 years!

    OH, ..............I've been shooting 1911's in various calibers at various types of targets and distances for the last 50 years...............I'm still learning to shoot SAA's well off hand......the learning curve is slow, but learning is fun, too.....

    Good Luck with that Flat Top.............Sounds like you know your Rugers, and what to look for, or how to build them to get good one...........

    If we were all really smart, and life was still simple..............we'd all have found our "perfect" firearms decades ago.............At least I'd like to think that!.

    The problem is,................. Our (perceived) needs and tastes keep changing !!!

    My Best ,

    Last edited by Tomray; 08-07-2019 at 06:57 PM.
    JMAG54, rob42049, Ret_Eng and 3 others like this.
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  8. #7
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    My first revolver was a 357 Flattop. I still have that gun and will never part with it.

    Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.

  9. #8
    Marlin Marksman
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    I've owned a slew of Ruger single actions but never owned a flat top. I love the Bisley with a 4 5/8" barrel. On acception was the 10 1/2" .357 maximum. She shot so sweetly.
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