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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a good look at a flat top 357/9mm today. I was dissapointed. The "kid" at the LGS swore up and down on the phone it was a NM Blackhawk,, which I guess technically, since it said so on the frame, it was. But when I specifically ask if it was a flat top, he said no. I already examined one flat top that I didnt like. So it was kinda a wasted trip.
There was more than an obvious attempt by Ruger to make this new flat top model faster, easier, and CHEAPER. The machine work looked sub par at best. And with the front sight "sweated on" instead of pinned,, so much for adding fiber optics. I raised the question about whether the old style, or whatever the distinction between the two is, "new model" rear sights would even fit the flat top. After looking things over, it did not look like they were cut the same.
overall, It didnt impress me one bit. I left it at the store.
I guess I'll hold out for a Willaims exclusive stainless 357/9. I see there are still a few NIB left online. So I guess the online route is where Im heading. I really dont like to buy online, but hopefully, the Willaims ones are alot better quality.
 

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Not to sound "correcting" but the stainless Blackhawks have the pinned sight, and all the blued Blackhawks since the 1950's have a cold soldered front sight. I have the stainless 9mm/357 convertible Flat Top and it's a 100% solid gun. You could easily mount a fiber optic on the stainless model.

It may not have Freedom Arms level finish,but you're also not paying $2,000 for it either, for $550 it's worth every penny and it's a tank.

The Flat Top uses a Micro rear sight that is not compatible with any other Ruger rear sight, but the blade is the same and Bowen makes a sight for the Micro cut Flat Tops, although you'll wait forever to get one, I've been on backorder since the summer.

They shoot just fine with 9mm, there's no reason to pass these up, it's one of my go-to guns. I have so many .357 revolvers, that I sold the .357 cylinder and just leave the 9mm cylinder in my Flat Top. You're missing out on a great range-trail gun by passing these up.

FYI the Flat Top, New Vaquero and 50th Anniversary Blackhawks use a different grip than the standard XR3-Red Blackhawk.

A Ruger thumb buster that shoots cheap $8 a box 9mm with decent accuracy? I don't see who wouldn't want one.

People gripe about there being no good 9mm revolvers available,and they don't want to mess with moonclips, but they'll turn away from a 9mm Blackhawk because they "want a DA" , which they'll likely shoot in single action anyway........I gave up trying to understand people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I really never picked up on that. I never tried to put fiber optics on my older blued Blackhawks, ( Except my single six's.) , but did my stainless ones. That made me just look at my 45lc/45apc. HAHA. I'll be darned. So thanks, learned something there.

With aging eyes, Ive become a fan of fiber optics. I wish I could get TruGlo TFX tritium for my revolvers. All my CZ autos have them. I still think I will hold out for a stainless 357/9. Im still chomping at the bit for a 9mm revolver for a trail/ range gun, , but would much prefer a stainless one. Its going to see alot of use and maybe a little abuse, rain, dirt, etc, so on ,,,. My favorite LGS said they were pretty sure they could get me a Willaims exclusive with the 6.5 bbl, so just waiting on the yes/no & price. If no, I guess Ill just buy one off gun broker and have it shipped. Like you, I want if for the 9mm. I will probably keep the 357 cylinder, but seriously doubt I will buy any 357 ammo.

But still, both flat tops I looked at had machine burrs and such. And I did not like the feel of the thinner grip. The XR3 red seems to be perfect to my liking.
 

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Good luck with finding your Ruger Blackhawk Flat Top Convertible Model .357/.38 Spec. 9mm. I would also get the Stainless Steel Model also.
 

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I have a 50th Anniversary flat top 357. It's an excellent gun and the fit, finish and functioning are top notch. I like it so much I went looking recently at some of the new flat tops and my experience was the same as the OP's. The fit and finish was less than ideal on all of them and the functioning (triggers, cocking and cylinder rotation) were all really gritty. Not just new gun gritty but sloppy machining gritty. I decided to pass and see if I could find one of the stainless versions.
 

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There are few aftermarket grip options for the Flat Top grip frame, I tried both the Pachmayr rubber and the Hogue rubber and neither of them fit. The only option , if you have 0 care about looks, is to put a Pachmayr XR-3Red grip on, don't use the screw (it fits perfectly just the screw won't go in) and then use a Hogue Handall to hold it on. It will wolrk but it will look like crap, but the whole "grip setup" will only cost you like $25 so there's that.

The best part of a 9mm Single Action is that it handles ANY 9mm, from the cheap steel case, to the reloads like Freedom Munitions , and you can also step up to the primo stuff like Hydra Shok or Golden Saber 9mm +P for the trail. I have even used my Flat Top for CC , it fits in an Uncle Mikes IWB holster for a 4" DA revolver. I loaded it with 9mm Golden Saber and I felt pretty good about it for defense.

Since my 9mm Flat Top was to be one of my "go to" guns I spent the coin on a nice looking set of red Pearlites off a guy who sells on EBay, they look and feel great, fit is perfect and they're thicker than the stock woods. There are a few other grip makers who make thicker wood grips for the Flat Top- New Vaquero grip frame.

I had thought about getting a standard stainless convertible with the 6.5" barrel but it would seem redundant, I don't think it would shoot any better than the 4 5/8" and it's not like I'm going to wear out a Blackhawk shooting 9mm:)

I shoot a lot of the TulAmmo with the bimetal jacket, people say it's "bad for the bore" but I figure if I shoot 50,000 rounds of the TulAmmo at $200 per 1,000, and the bore "wears out" I'll just pay Ruger to rebarrel it for me. I doubt I'll have a problem, I also doubt I'll have the time and money to shoot 50,000 rounds through any of my guns:)
 

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The only reason I do not like flat tops is they have the colt style grip frame and to me nothing is a worse feel except maybe for a luger or a glock. I know Iam in a minority but I love the ruger xr3 red grip frame.
 

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I have a 1957 357 magnum , and both blued and stainless 44 special flattops . They are among my most favorite Rugers . I haven't had the chance to look at the new 357 magnum/ 9mm exclusive flattops available now but judging by the 3 I do have , I'd agree with Exarmy. That they are,worth every penny .
My blued 44 special happens to be an excellent shooter with great fit and finish ( to me anyway), I hope the workmanship hasn't slipped a bit on these 357 mag. / 9mm flattops .
 

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Sorry to hear the story. I really like mine for .357 shooting.

I have the 5 1/2" blued NM flattop .357/9mm convertible. Only major problem was the to high front sight. That of course was easily taken care of with a file. Since then I have lighted the hammer spring as I felt that the stock spring was way to heavy. My first cut at his caused two misfires out of 100 .357 catridges, but would only barely dimple the 9mm primers. So dug out a slightly heavier spring and now no misfires even with the 9mm (at least testing in the shop). I really feel the head spacing on the 9mm is a bit more than it should be... But not going to worry about it as I really don't have plans to use it much, if at all. Now pulling back the hammer is much better and similar to my other flattops. Will be getting new grip panels eventually as the fit is not up to my standards nor the style I like. Also have the 50th .357, but no longer shoot it as I much prefer the 5 1/2" barrel.

I have all three 5 1/2" flattops now, so good to go. .357 Mag, .44 Special, and .45 Colt. Doesn't get any better.

Here is mine (a bit dirty at the time of the picture).

 

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Sorry that didn't work out for you. Was it a blued or a stainless version?

We have a 5 1/2" stainless version we bought last year. It's no FA in terms of fit and finish, but I'd wager it's at least close in accuracy when shooting 357 mags. Really right there with our best S&W revolvers. I can overlook a lot of cosmetic issues with a gun that shoots like that.

The 9mm is fun. Won't set the house on fire for accuracy, but plenty accurate for plinking, target work and such. Best of all, cheap to shoot.

I like the gun for its proportions, compared to a full sized Blackhawk. Makes for a nice woods carry gun. It's become of favorite of ours, for sure.

Best of luck in your search.

By the way, RC, had to file down the front on ours, too.

 

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I'm pretty sure my 9mm Blackhawk won't see more than a handful of "premium" 9mm, I kept the heavy stock springs so it can pop hard primers like Wolf and Winchester White Box.

For ammo that's 1/2 the cost of even cheap .38, and not having to mess with moonclips I can deal with "combat accurate", my P89 is no Olympic match pistol either but it eats anything.
 

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I have a 50th Anniversary flat top 357. It's an excellent gun and the fit, finish and functioning are top notch. I like it so much I went looking recently at some of the new flat tops and my experience was the same as the OP's. The fit and finish was less than ideal on all of them and the functioning (triggers, cocking and cylinder rotation) were all really gritty. Not just new gun gritty but sloppy machining gritty. I decided to pass and see if I could find one of the stainless versions.
Spoke too soon. Found this 44spl Bisley Flat Top at the LGS today. It's in my safe now. :eek:
 

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Say, that looks just like one of my .44 Special flattops ;) . I sure hope it won't be in the safe long ... but find it's way out to the woods / range :D . Nice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had thought about getting a standard stainless convertible with the 6.5" barrel but it would seem redundant, I don't think it would shoot any better than the 4 5/8" and it's not like I'm going to wear out a Blackhawk shooting 9mm:)

:)
I believe you are correct on that. According to ballistic by the inch charts,, there is a minimal jump in ballistics from 5 inch barrels & up. I believe I had read somewhere, where 5 inch barrel was really considered the ballistic optimum for 9 mm. Over that, your just gaining a little sight radius. If I came across a 4.62 in a stainless, I would be willing to try it. With the machining issues I seen on the local blued Flat tops, I also cant really justify paying $575 for one locally, when the stainless are on gunbroker for pretty much the same price. After further thought, it also seems maybe odd, that when these models are so hard to find, that these local shops are getting them on. So there may be a reason for that, like maybe they are getting them because they are sub par to begin with.
 

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but now I am scared.
Don't be. Just check it over good before you buy.... And remember it's a Ruger, not a Freedom Arms revolver.
 

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I had a little buyers remorse and some hesitation when I recently added the .357/9mm flat top to the heard, trigger was horrendous as was the fit on the grips. A few minutes with a little jeweler's rouge, spring kit and a new pair of grips has relived the feeling. I too like the full size BH grip but the BHFT is growing on me and my wife loves it.
 

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I have been very pleased with the fit, finish and feel of my 5.5 inch blue flattop 357. I have not taken the grips off so I may be missing something. I will have to file down the front sight but have not yet done it. What I really like is the size. I can't really see it but I feel it.
 

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I went the other route and installed an Extra High rear sight blade, more so because I'm lazy and have already spent countless hours filing on things in the past:)

I am still hoping someone like TALO places a large order for 9mm Vaqueros, or Birdsheads at some point. There's a big potential for sales there. I know the SASS guys would buy a few as "trainers", and people seem to like the "old west" look of the Vaqueros, but lots of people also want 9mm revolvers.

A .40 Vaquero would be nice too......
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Im still waiting on a Sp101 in 9mm, but I doubt that will ever happen. I think a nice stainless NM Blackhawk would at least scratch the itch for a while.

If the LGS dont give a satisfactory answer Monday on the Willaims stainless, I think Im just gonna go ahead and get an NIB one off Gunbroker. I see 3 Willaims 6.5's on there.
 
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