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Thread: Help pick first Single Action Wheelie

  1. #1

    Help pick first Single Action Wheelie

    Lookin for my first single action wheelie. Been doing some reading up and it seems like the way for me to go is a Ruger Blackhawk. The vaqueros have fixed sights which seem less than desirable to me. I'm not quite sure why anyone would want fixed-milled sights on any revolver (I hate them even on Jframes). Maybe fixed rear sight that is in a dovetail that allows for windage adjustment as long as the front sight is also removable to replace with different height as needed. But definitely not a milled rear sight for my taste.

    The big question I have is:

    Do I go with a modern 357/9mm conversion blackhawk? Upside is the 9mm conversion cylinder is good, if only as a novelty as a boogeloo zombie piece. I don't stock much 38/357 but I stock cases of 9mm at home.

    I've read Ruger started adding some kind of BS safetylock under the grip that I probably don't want. Something like the S&W lock but less intrusive. Still don't want it. Not sure how to be sure whichever one I bought lacks that, since they are under the grip!

    I've also read that the original Blackhawks were sized "proper" to the 357 round. Later, Ruger decided to release 45LC Blackhawks and out of being cheap, just used the bigger frame for both guns and discontinued the proper size 357 frame.

    So I'm torn on if I want to find an old (30 to 50 year old I think?) proper sized 357 Blackhawk. Or if I want a modern era one, with bigger frame, but then I can get the one that has a 9mm conversion with it.

    The purpose of this will be for training and fun. No interest in CAS/competition with a SA wheelie. No interest in LARPing with "accurate" looking guns. I'd actually like to find nice micarta or G10 black grips to put on it and maybe even a kydex holster. I know I know that hurts your feelings and SA wheelies need leather holsters. But for what I want to use it for, I think Kydex makes more sense. Or maybe just not even having a holster at all since it's a range gun really.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by talos View Post
    Lookin for my first single action wheelie. Been doing some reading up and it seems like the way for me to go is a Ruger Blackhawk. The vaqueros have fixed sights which seem less than desirable to me. I'm not quite sure why anyone would want fixed-milled sights on any revolver (I hate them even on Jframes). Maybe fixed rear sight that is in a dovetail that allows for windage adjustment as long as the front sight is also removable to replace with different height as needed. But definitely not a milled rear sight for my taste.

    The big question I have is:

    Do I go with a modern 357/9mm conversion blackhawk? Upside is the 9mm conversion cylinder is good, if only as a novelty as a boogeloo zombie piece. I don't stock much 38/357 but I stock cases of 9mm at home.

    I've read Ruger started adding some kind of BS safetylock under the grip that I probably don't want. Something like the S&W lock but less intrusive. Still don't want it. Not sure how to be sure whichever one I bought lacks that, since they are under the grip!

    I've also read that the original Blackhawks were sized "proper" to the 357 round. Later, Ruger decided to release 45LC Blackhawks and out of being cheap, just used the bigger frame for both guns and discontinued the proper size 357 frame.

    So I'm torn on if I want to find an old (30 to 50 year old I think?) proper sized 357 Blackhawk. Or if I want a modern era one, with bigger frame, but then I can get the one that has a 9mm conversion with it.

    The purpose of this will be for training and fun. No interest in CAS/competition with a SA wheelie. No interest in LARPing with "accurate" looking guns. I'd actually like to find nice micarta or G10 black grips to put on it and maybe even a kydex holster. I know I know that hurts your feelings and SA wheelies need leather holsters. But for what I want to use it for, I think Kydex makes more sense. Or maybe just not even having a holster at all since it's a range gun really.
    Fixed sights on a single action revolver can be used quite well by those who take the time to learn them, and they are much more rugged than adjustable sights. Windage adjustments can be made by turning the barrel using a barrel vise; elevation can be adjusted by judiciously filing the front sight provided there is enough material to do so. That said, you will be better served by modern adjustable sights unless you have a compelling need for fixed sights.

    The internal lock on the new Rugers is a non-issue for me in that it is under the grip and does not interfere with the function of the gun. Because the lock is integral to the hammer strut, and because that hammer strut is unique to the lock-equipped Rugers, I don't think you can just remove it. I have not heard of any after-market parts facilitating removal of the lock; I suspect this is because the lock is unobtrusive enough to not warrant removal.

    The original Blackhawks--the "Flattops"--were sized to be very close to the Colt Single Action Army, and when the Flattops were discontinued and replaced by the standard Blackhawk, that frame dimension was kept with the addition of protective wings around the rear sight. Here is an example of an original Blackhawk .357 from 1961:



    After the introduction of the Super Blackhawk, around the time of the introduction of the New Models, Ruger standardized the frame size across all calibers of the Blackhawk/Super Blackhawk (a later exception would be the .357 Maximum on an elongated SBH frame). This was the case until 2004-2005 when Ruger re-introduced the original, Colt SAA-inspired frame size with the Anniversary Flattop Blackhawks in 357 and the New Vaquero series of fixed sight guns. Today, if you want what you characterize as a "proper" .357 size frame, you can get exactly that by buying a Flattop New Model or a New Vaquero. I'm not sure if Ruger makes such a gun with the 9mm cylinder, however. Note that all of the current production Flattop/NV guns come with steel grip frames and, thus, are a few ounces heavier than the larger frame guns which, although they have a larger frame, weigh slightly less because they are fitted with alloy grip frames.

    Micarta-type grips can be had from Ruger and those I have purchased through them have fit well; I have no experience with Kydex holsters for single action revolvers but would be interested to see what you find.
    Last edited by oregon45; 08-29-2019 at 11:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter Malamute's Avatar
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    They made the older type medium frame Blackhawk recently in the "flat top" I believe, not sure if they are still produced, but have been recently. Im not very up to speed on Rugers current offerings. I agree about the sights.

    Im not personally familiar, but I understand the lock thing is contained under the grip, and IF one wishes to avail themselves of it, you can drill a hole in the grip to use the key or whatever, but its otherwise pretty inert. I havent heard of accidental activation, but I dont keep up in the Ruger shooting circles much. Google may tell you more about it.

    My impression is the 9mm cylinder doesnt tend to shoot all that spectacularly, but I may be wrong. My experience with them is ancient. If you have reloading capabilities you can probably find a large quantity of 38 spl brass fairly cheaply. Youd then be set. It pretty much lasts forever, or nearly so. Occasional cracked cases over time, but mostly keeps going rather well.

    I think a flat top 357 would be a good choice to get started in SA revolver shooting.

  4. #4
    They put steel grip frames on the "new mid-size" guns. Makes them heavy, especialy in small calibers.
    If you are set up in .45, the New Model .45-.45 is well balanced, but the Flattop sure looks good.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  5. #5
    If you want to run 30k psi "Ruger Only" loads in a 45 Colt then the New Vaquero and Flat Top guns are a NO GO. (Flat Tops are fine in 44 Special.) The New Vaquero frame, the Flat Top frame, and every other frame will handle whatever the cartridge it was originally chambered for will handle, and it will do so until the cows come home.

    Ruger has made 357/9mm convertibles at various times over the years. The current ones are well regarded. I recently put a deposit on a Flat Top 45 ACP/45 Colt convertible. I considered the 357/9 version, but 38 and 357 ammo are more expensive than 45 ACP, and the .355" bullet diameter of the 9mm cartridge may not play well with the Blackhawk's .357" bore.

    Other than that, it's hard to go wrong with any Ruger Blackhawk or Vaquero variant.


    Okie John
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  6. #6
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    Do all Rugers have a lock?

  7. #7
    Member Gary1911A1's Avatar
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    Lipsey's has some Flattops that have a spare cylinder in 9MM.
    http://www.lipseys.com/itemfinder.as...&type=Revolver

  8. #8
    Barely tolerating L.L. Stephanie B's Avatar
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    I don't remember the range, maybe 15 yards, but this is a comparison between .38 and 9mm out of a Blackhawk:

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    The 9mm (generic 115gr ball) felt sportier.
    .30-06, .30-30 and .45 Colt: Because America, bitches.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter jetfire's Avatar
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    A classic Flattop also has collector value at this point, which is a sentence I never thought I would type. Personally if I was buying my first single action, I’d get a new Blackhawk in .45 Colt and call it good.
    I shot the PX4 before it was cool.

  10. #10
    Thinking about stickin with 357 for commonality with my DA guns. I don't have anything else in 45LC and don't wanna add another caliber to the crew.

    Am I wrong to want the smaller size 357 blackhawk instead of the newer ones on the bigger frame? I just assume that since the frame size increase was due to cost savings that it must make for a worse gun. But maybe the bigger frame lets you shoot hotter 357, reduces recoil, and makes it less likely to KB if you overload it?

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