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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to the group.

I'm hoping someone has this information.

I put a New Model Blackhawk .45LC/.45ACP convertible on layaway at my LGS. I'm trying to find out if it's built on the large .44 mag frame or the smaller "New Vaquero" frame.

I was thinking of buying a box of heavy .45LC so I looked on the Buffalo Bore sight and they had this technical article that says that there are New Model Blackhawks built on large and small frames.
https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=153

I didn't have a caliper when I was at the shop, but a measurement with a metric ruler looked like it was the larger cylinder as stated in the article.

I have never heard of small frame blackhawks being made, does anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

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My NM Blackhawk Convertible .357/9mm is built on a large frame...my NM Blackhawk Flattop .44SPL is built on the small or mid-size frame...or new Vaquero frame!
 

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New model Blackhawk fraame size question.

As surveyor said, an easy way to tell is the flap-top vs rear sight protective "ears."

Flat top is the smaller, mid-sized frame.
 

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Where have you been???? :) . The medium frame revolver was a Lipsey's special run. The cataloged convertible is the large frame revolver.

Here is one of mine (other cylinder not shown). Notice the 'flat' top:



And see the difference with the large frame with protective ears around the rear sight:

 

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My understanding is that all the newer manufactured flattops are on the smaller xr3 size frame , with the exception of the Williams exclusive 41 magnum flattop . I was told that is built on the new model blackhawk , ( xr3 red ), size frame . Correct ?
 

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Anybody have much experience working up loads with the 45 colt flattops built on the xr3 frame ? I read these all were produced with proper throat dimensions and are generally quite accurate ?
 

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For what it's worth, The SBH 44 mag is a larger frame than a regular Blackhawk. I don't see on the Ruger website that they make the 45LC in a Super Blackhawk. I'm guessing the 45LC is going to be on the .357 mag frame. You can also shoot 45 LC in the new 454 SBH.
The new model Blackhawk 45 LC @ 40oz, 5.5bbl
The Super Blackhawk .44 mag @ 48oz, 7.5bbl
8. oz diff between the 2 guns.

http://ruger.com/products/newModelBlackhawkConvertible/specSheets/0463.html

Ruger® New Model Blackhawk® Blued Single-Action Revolver Models

Ruger® New Model Super Blackhawk® Distributor Exclusives Single-Action Revolver Models
 

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I just bought a model 472 45 convertible Blackhawk. It is the large frame with the ears over the rear sights. It was a Williams Distributor Exclusive from Buckeye Armory.


 

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1. There's large and medium frame Blackhawks, no small frames; that's the Single Six frame size.

2. 44 SBH and all other calibers are on the same Blackhawk large frame, including the old Vaquero and the new 454 and 480 Bisleys. 41 mag and 44 mag flat Top Blackhawks are the same large frame.

3. Flat Top Blackhawks and New Vaqueros in 45, 44 Spl and 357 are all on the medium frame.

4. XR3 and XR3 RED are not frames sizes, they are grip frame sizes only. All flat tops, large and med frame and New Vaq have XR3 grip frames.

5. All other non-Bisley blackhawks, short barrel SBHs and single sixes have XR3RED grip frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info, but I'm still not sure what diameter the cylinder is.

I guess I'll have to wait until I pick it up and measure the diameter correctly to see if I can safely fire the Buffalo Bore +P loads that were in my original post.

I'm assuming that the New Model Blackhawks will handle the .45LC "Ruger Loads" in my reloading manuals.
 

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The SBH 44 mag is a larger frame than a regular Blackhawk.
NO! NOT TRUE. The SBH is exactly the same as the BH. No difference is frame or cylinder size. As I've said before the 'Super' was just a 'marketing' thing, as the .44Mag BH was still around when the SBH was introduced which was in 1959. The 'Super' BH had/has the same cylinder frame as the BH. Just had the dragoon grip frame, new ears around the rear sight, and new hammer style. Then the .44Mag BH was droppped in around '63, but the 'super' still stuck. FYI, there is the Bearcat style frame, the small frame (Single Six, Single-Seven, etc.), medium frame flattop BHs and New Vaqueros ( .357, .44Spec, .45 Colt), and the large frame BHs (.357, .45 Colts), SBH (.44Mag), and original Vaqueros (.357, .44Mag, .45Colt, .44-40, etc.) . Oh, and the .357 Max frame which I believe was an extended large frame.

The New Model Blackhawks will handle the .45LC "Ruger Loads" in my reloading manuals.
The large frame BH will handle .45 Colt Ruger Only Loads just fine for those shooters that want to go there. Just not the flattop BH or New Vaqueros.

You did look over the BH before you put on layway right??? I mean, the ears around rear sight is a dead give-away, and the serial # if two digit prefix it is a large frame, and if three digit prefix a medium frame.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi MGYSGT.

Thanks for your good information regarding the different frames and especially the serial number info.

I did look it over well before I bought it, I just didn't know all the nuances about how to determine different models of Ruger SA's, (but I'm learning).

The salesman did write the S/N on the receipt, but the joke's on me, because he didn't put a dash or space in the number. It has 7 digits, but I don't know if there were 2 or 3 digits in the prefix.

Again, I'm destined to be in suspense until I pick it up.
 

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My understanding is that all the newer manufactured flattops are on the smaller xr3 size frame , with the exception of the Williams exclusive 41 magnum flattop . I was told that is built on the new model blackhawk , ( xr3 red ), size frame . Correct ?
XR3 has nothing to do with the cylinder frame size. The XR3 is the GRIP FRAME - and not what is in question in this thread. The XR3 grip frame can be installed on any size Ruger single action except for the bearcat (BH, SBH, Vaq, new Vaq, and Single Six). The Dragoon, Hunter, XR3, XR3-Red, and Bisley grip frames are all interchangeable amont all of these SA sizes (Small = single six, mid = new vaq and new flattop BH, large = BH, SBH, and original Vaq).

There were some large frame Flattops in Ruger's history, but the new production models are all on mid-frames, as are the 50th anniversary 357mag BH's. The rest of the BH's are on large frames, same as the SBH and the original Vaqueros. The 357max frame is a stretched version of the SBH/original vaquero/large BH frame - longer, but no larger.
 

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Hi MGYSGT.

Thanks for your good information regarding the different frames and especially the serial number info.

I did look it over well before I bought it, I just didn't know all the nuances about how to determine different models of Ruger SA's, (but I'm learning).

The salesman did write the S/N on the receipt, but the joke's on me, because he didn't put a dash or space in the number. It has 7 digits, but I don't know if there were 2 or 3 digits in the prefix.

Again, I'm destined to be in suspense until I pick it up.
MGYSGT is "rclark's" rank, not his user name. Similar to how yours says "LCPL" and mine says "1SGT".

No joke on you. 7 digits means yours has a 2 digit prefix. I don't recall that any Ruger New Model Blackhawk ever had anything but a 5 digit serial number, plus the prefix. So since yours has 7 digits, it's a 2 digit series number prefix plus a 5 digit serial. If it were a 3 digit prefix model, the total serial number would be 8 digits.

So... Based on that... It's a large frame.
 

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XR3 has nothing to do with the cylinder frame size. The XR3 is the GRIP FRAME - and not what is in question in this thread. The XR3 grip frame can be installed on any size Ruger single action except for the bearcat (BH, SBH, Vaq, new Vaq, and Single Six). The Dragoon, Hunter, XR3, XR3-Red, and Bisley grip frames are all interchangeable amont all of these SA sizes (Small = single six, mid = new vaq and new flattop BH, large = BH, SBH, and original Vaq).

There were some large frame Flattops in Ruger's history, but the new production models are all on mid-frames, as are the 50th anniversary 357mag BH's. The rest of the BH's are on large frames, same as the SBH and the original Vaqueros. The 357max frame is a stretched version of the SBH/original vaquero/large BH frame - longer, but no larger.
Post #9: There are still Ruger Flat Tops on the large frames: The New model Flat Tops 44 Mag and 41 Mag.
 

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MGYSGT is "rclark's" rank, not his user name. Similar to how yours says "LCPL" and mine says "1SGT".

No joke on you. 7 digits means yours has a 2 digit prefix. I don't recall that any Ruger New Model Blackhawk ever had anything but a 5 digit serial number, plus the prefix. So since yours has 7 digits, it's a 2 digit series number prefix plus a 5 digit serial. If it were a 3 digit prefix model, the total serial number would be 8 digits.

So... Based on that... It's a large frame.
Bravo! You solved the OP's confusion with knowledge of the Ruger model serial numbers!
 

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Thanks for the info, but I'm still not sure what diameter the cylinder is.

I guess I'll have to wait until I pick it up and measure the diameter correctly to see if I can safely fire the Buffalo Bore +P loads that were in my original post.

I'm assuming that the New Model Blackhawks will handle the .45LC "Ruger Loads" in my reloading manuals.
Yes the New Model "Blackhawk" but not the New Model "Flat Top Blackhawk". If one wanted a large frame "Flat Top Blackhawk in 45 Colt, all they'd have to do is swap in a New Model "Blackhawk" barrel and cylinder in either the 44 or 41 Mag Flat Top large frames. It would be the only 45 Colt Flat Top large frame!

About the only thing right in the Buffalo Bore article about Rugers are the cyl diameters. The author does not understand the Ruger model names, or frame sizes by what he writes and therefore has confused himself and any readers who don't already know that it's mis-information and/or written confusingly.

The main problem is that he only speaks relative to Buffalo bore's products, and does not seem to understand or want to reveal that 45 Colt loads are rated in Tier I, II & II. The mid frame 45 ""New Vaquero" and "Flat Top Blackhawk" Rugers are good for Tier I & II loads according to the Ruger factory. Large frame original "Vaquero" and "Blackhawk" (old and new model) Rugers are good for all three. The article is new enough based on the dates used in it, that it should have made the above distinctions. Besides those unfortunate exclusions, here's the article rewritten and corrected with regard to Ruger model names/frame sizes:

Ruger Revolvers and 45 Colt +P Ammunition from Buffalo Bore

Since 1971 Ruger has made the same revolver counterpart of their 44 magnum Blackhawk frame, chambered in 45 Colt. This was a very telling development for folks that wanted the most effective big game cartridge in a revolver. Why? Because the 45 colt utilizes a bullet diameter of .452 inch, but the 44 magnum utilizes a bullet diameter of only .429 inch, so the 45 Colt is basically .023” bigger in diameter, allowing ammunition to use 25-30 grs. heavier bullets at comparable velocities, but at much lower pressures. For those of you who have killed many dozen head of big game, you know that all things being equal, bigger diameter bullets, for lack of better terminology, kill better–often, a lot better.
Since 1970 folks that knew how to reload started making 45 colt ammo at higher pressures (+P) than SAAMI specs., for use in their large frame (44 mag. sized frame) Blackhawks chambered in 45 Colt. Eventually (1980’s and 1990’s) most of the major loading manuals started to include +P type 45 Colt (Ruger Only) loads for use in the Large frame Ruger revolvers. Eventually, forward thinking ammo companies such as Cor Bon, Buffalo Bore and Grizzly Cartridge, started to load commercial 45 Colt +P ammo for use in the Large Frame Blackhawks. SAAMI has never recognized the use of 45 Colt +P ammo, even though there are many firearms now made that will easily withstand far more pressure than the old SAAMI black powder standard of 14,000 CUP.
Life was easy/good for us commercial ammo makers of 45 Colt +P ammo till around 2005/2006 when Ruger made their first medium (357 mag. size) frame revolver chambered in 45 Colt. While I am certain that Ruger had market demand good reasons to make a smaller framed 45 Colt revolver, they still called it the New Vaquero & Flat Top Blackhawk. The original Vaquero was made on the 44 mag. sized frame and is suitable for firing +P 45 colt ammo and is simply a “Vaquero”, but the “New Vaquero” is made on the original old model 357 magnum Colt sized mid frame and is not suitable for Tier III +P 45 Colt ammo. So, the name “Vaquero” describes a large frame, but the name “New Vaquero” describes a medium frame including the 44 Spl chambered model but which is named just “Vaquero” because there was no 44 Spl made on the original large frame “Vaquero” so of course could not be a “New” Vaquero, could it?

So now a days, folks can buy a Mid frame “New Vaquero” and “Flat Top Blackhawk” chambered in 45 Colt, and need to know that it’s they’re only suitable for use with Tier I and Tier II +P ammo. Folks that had heard the 45 Colt large framed “Vaqueros” and large frame standard “Blackhawks” were suitable for use with “Ruger Only” +P ammo, need to know the new “Flat Top Blackhawk” is a mid frame with the above restrictions to Tier I & tier II 45 Colt loads.
Another way to differentiate the mid frames 45 Ruger’s from the large (44 Mag. frame) 45s is to measure the cylinder width. The large frame revolvers will have a cylinder width/diameter of 1.732 (+/- .005) inch and the mid framed revolvers will have a cylinder width/diameter of 1.680 (+/-.005) inch. It is the shooters sole responsibility to determine EXACTLY what firearm he has and what its capabilities are. We are offering this write-up only as a help to our confused customers, not as the definitive solution.
 

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I think I stand corrected, at least to some extent anyway. :eek:

Lots of good info hear, and a good history lesson on the SBH VS the pre-SBH Ruger .44 mag.
Good stuff.
 

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... at least to some extent anyway
It sure can be confusing ... as there is usually exceptions everytime you 'think' you have it down pat... Like you can't say all New Model flattops are on the medium frame as there is the .44Mag 50th Anniversary flattop introduced in 2006 (and .41mag pointed out above)... But all .44Mag revolvers are on the large frame, and all .44Specials are on the medium frame. All Old Model .357s are on the medium frame, but New Model .357s are on the large frame (cataloged) and medium frame (the 50th Anniversary 2005, and a run of Lipseys convertible flattop revolvers, plus the cataloged New Vaqueros) .... So it goes.... Confusing Ruger lore abounds! :eek: :rolleyes:

It has 7 digits
Yep, seven digits means it is an XX-YYYYY ... A large frame revolver. Enjoy!
 

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Post #9: There are still Ruger Flat Tops on the large frames: The New model Flat Tops 44 Mag and 41 Mag.
I didn't want to delve too deeply into New Model vs. "new production," but am correct me if I'm wrong - cuz I might need to buy a NEW one - they haven't made large frame Flattops in 44mag or 41mag in several years, no? I may have missed a run of them, but it seems like it's been 10-15yrs, thinking closer to 15 than 5 at least?

So I apologize that I didn't define it, but by "new production" I was referring to the most recent (last couple years - forgetting when they released?) Lipsey's run of flattops, which I believe have all been on the mid-frame, correct? If there are new production stainless Flattop 44mag's to be had - especially in a 6.5" and (unreasonably dreaming here) with a 5" ejector - then I may need to have one!

I love SBH's, but not as much as I love Vaqueros in .44mag. A Bisley Flattop 44mag, or better still, a Bisley Flattop converted to 454C or .475Line might be on my wishlist...
 
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