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Old January 16, 2013, 01:14 AM   #18
Jim March
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Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,292
OK. I'll try and cover what hasn't been discussed.

ALL of the mid-frame Ruger SAs (New Vaquero, 50th Anniversary 357 Blackhawk Flattop, the Montado, the SASS Vaqs, all of the 44Spls and anything in .45LC/ACP with a "flattop" frame) have a revised cylinder process that aided accuracy over the previous types. The cylinder bores with the new process are done one at a time with the same bit/reamer set as opposed to all-six-at-once.

Again: all of the mid-frames are improved like that.

In 2007 those changes migrated to the large-frames. You can tell if a large-frame Ruger SA is late enough to have those changes by the "lawyer's warning label" on the barrel: side-barrel means older, under-barrel means it has the cylinder revision.

I personally would want to own a specimen with the revised cylinder.

Now. The mid-frame "Blackhawks" are very different from their large-frame cousins, esp. if the large-frame specimen is blued. In stainless all the large-frame Blackhawks have steel grip frames and steel ejector rods (stainless steel that is). In the large-frame blue Blackhawks the grip frame and ejector rod housing are aluminum, black-anodized to match the gun.

That is actually a very good way to go. Not the greatest cosmetically but...two things, the gun ends up being lighter overall and the ejector housing in aluminum is tougher when you are doing heavy recoil, such as the 44Magnum-class 45LC+P ammo in a 45LC Blackhawk. The aluminum ejector housing, being lighter, puts less stress on the screw holding it to the barrel so you get less cases of that screw breaking or pulling free.

These blue aluminum-parts Blackhawks are also cheaper than most of the other variants.

If I was buying one single Ruger SA today, and I didn't care about CAS/SASS competition rules, I would buy a blue Blackhawk large-frame in 45LC/45ACP convertible. That would give me a very flexible and powerful combination. This isn't a special off-catalog distributor run, it's the normal catalog gun with either a 4.68" or 5.5" barrel.

One other thing. FrankenRugers . You can swap parts across the entire Ruger SA product line. One of the first things I did to the standard New Vaquero in 357 that I bought in 2005 was graft on a SuperBlackhawk lowered hammer. You can also splice in the even lower Bisley hammer with a bit more work (still within the realm of a non-pro "home gunsmith"), swap grip frames, do all kinds of other stuff.

Once you get to the point where you've modified the frame, the gun can never go back to Ruger as they'll declare it too mutant to live . At this point I have the most severely genetically altered FrankenRuger beast of all time, now that I have magazine feeding and gas-powered auto-ejection of empty shells working .

Yeah, really not kidding here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4XtVldNbO4
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