C.C. Baxter· Registered
Just a couple replies:Straight out of the box, OMs have a crisper and lighter trigger pull than NMs, however after a little bench time, all my NMs have trigger pulls that are just as good as OMs. It's not the transfer bar that causes a harsher trigger pull .... it's the way the factory sear notch is cut in the hammer.
ABNRGR, I paid $90 (tax included) for a NM Single-Six Convertible back in 1977. It is worth at least $500 today. Don't you think 5X is appreciation? A direct replacement (brand new Single-Six Convertible) has a MSRP of $799 so for the first few years, it will depreciate in value, then it will start to appreciate. In less than 5 years, a used NM will be worth more than it cost new. Guns are one of the very few mechanical devices that actually go up in value with age.
Some people just don't follow instructions and use procedures intended for other brands. This is true of all Ruger Old model Single-Sixes, Blackhawks, and Super Blackhawks where most owners use the old Colt SAA procedures with an empty chamber under the firing pin. If you look closely at an OM cylinder you will either see a firing pin groove or a non-recessed chamber and there is a very good reason, unique to Ruger OMs.
Here's a photo of some OM cylinders:
Note the top left cylinder. It is for a 45 Colt and the one below it is for a 45 ACP. Both have a firing pin groove. The next set of cylinders, just to the right of the 45 cal cylinders are for 357/38 Spec (top) and 9mm (bottom). These cylinders do not have a firing pin groove, however the case head is not recessed so it protrudes quite a bit. The next cylinders to the right are for 22 rimfire. The 22 LR cylinder (bottom) has a firing pin groove and the 22 Mag cylinder (top) does not. Seems there is always an exception and in this case, it's the 22 Mag cylinder that does not respond to the below technique. Last, the cylinder on the far right is for a 30 Carbine and it does have a firing pin groove.
So, what's the big deal with the firing pin groove or proud case head? It is Ruger's way of making it safe to carry all six chambers loaded. How? After loading all 6 chambers, pull the hammer back just far enough to clear the half cock notch then pull the trigger while easing the hammer fully forward. This will place the hammer in between chambers and because the fully forward hammer pushes the firing pin where it protrudes from the frame, the firing pin will lock the cylinder between case heads and prevent it from rotating. If the cylinder has a firing pin groove, the distance of the firing pin travel will keep the firing pin from touching the cylinder to prevent firing pin damage. OM cylinders without a firing pin groove will also lock the cylinder between case heads and because the firing pin has a forward limit in the frame, it will not touch the cylinder face. So, you end up with all six chambers loaded, the hammer fully forward, the cylinder locked between case heads. This is just as safe as using the Colt method, plus it allows all chambers to be loaded. If you want to test your OM, load it with 6 empty cases because it won't work without cases in the cylinder.
As for bluing .... many Old Models had very poor bluing jobs at the factory, and in time, the frames and loading gate turned a plum color. Collectors like defective products so "plum guns" tend to be worth more than those that were blued properly. Some of the early Old Models had a polished finish that looks very nice, but this only applied to a few years of production. OMs made after 1966 have the same blued finish as current New Models.
Clicks .... some people are infatuated with the clicks made when cocking the hammer. NMs have clicks too, only they are a couple short of an OM. The first OM click comes from the hammer safety notch. The second is from the hammer plunger releasing the cylinder latch. The third click is when the hammer passes the half cock notch, and finally, the fourth click is when the hammer locks into the full cock sear notch. NMs don't have a safety notch nor a half cock notch so you only get two clicks .... one from the hammer plunger and one from the full cock notch.
Safety .... NM Ruger SAs are the safest single-action revolver ever made by any company. Not only do they have a transfer bar to prevent at least three safety issues, they also are loaded with the hammer fully forward. This prevents "thumb slip" that can happen with an OM after loading, Further, the action is interlocked so the hammer cannot be cocked when the loading gate is open, and the loading gate cannot be opened when the hammer is cocked. Besides collector value, the NM design is my prime reason not to fire my Old Model SAs.
#1: The transfer bar is another thing to move during the trigger pull. It is linked to the trigger, kind of like the series 80 linkage on a 1911. You're probably right that modern sears are cut for heavier pulls, but I can't recall ever testing a New Model that had a better trigger than an Old Model. Usually by considerable margin. That transfer bar is always there and always has to get moved as part of the trigger pull. It has inertia that is never going away.
#2: The Plum does look good, although I was referring to the polish. And today's bluing is terrible. There's almost no polish on the metal!
#3: I would NEVER load a single action revolver that way. When you lower the hammer right near the half cock notch, firstly you have a chance of breaking it off. I would always go to full cock prior to lowering. Secondly, when you lower the hammer in between notches, your bolt is grinding into the cylinder between the notches! The cylinder is unlocked and you're effectively locking it with your firing pin. With 357 models there's a lot of space between rims and a lot of opportunity for the cylinder to move between rims! You'll score a nice line into your unlocked cylinder with the bolt! You probably also aren't doing any favors to your firing pin with even a little rotational torque. If you have a molded holster (with fluted cylinder), your gun won't fit anymore because the cylinder is now out of alignment from where it is when it is locked.
Bottom line: Don't do this. This is silly. Load 5 like they have since 1873. Are you using your Ruger Blackhawk for self defense anyway? Five should be just fine for silhouettes, hunting, plinking, etc. I doubt Ruger ever referred to this method in their literature. They simply advise loading 5 with an Old Model. If you absolutely must load six, by all means just get a New Model. Your gun should always be carried with the cylinder locked normally by the bolt, not with the firing pin!
#4: The four clicks are indeed cool, but I agree, they are just cosmetic. The feature that I was referring to is the indexing detents between chambers while loading. With the new model, unfortunately, they are gone. When you open the gate, the cylinder just spins freely without the detent clicks to align the chambers like the SAA.
#5: Ruger Old Models (And Colt SAAs) are just as safe, if not safer. You only load five so there are no safety issues whatsoever. If you cowboy load, there's not even a worry with the "thumb slip" because your thumb would slip the hammer down on an empty chamber.
Both models are great but the Old Models are special. A 4 5/8s" Flattop from the 50s is superb. You just can't get that intangible "something" from a new one. Who cares about a 6th round? That's like lamenting the fact that a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO doesn't have cruise control. There's a reason that the Old Models are much more desirable and expensive today.