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Old February 24, 2013, 06:34 PM   #1
PPQ226guy
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New Ruger 44 Special Blackhawk questions

Hi All,

Please forgive an old topic but I am a bit confused by conflicting data I've seen. I have just placed a "small frame" Stainless Blackhawk in 44 Special on layawy at a LGS. Let me say I do not intend to "magnumize" the gun but I would like to utilize some of the heavier loads from time to time. I see that teh Buffalo Bore offerings state they are safe in any gun except the Charter Arms, but I would like any input on this from anyone with any experience with this ammo/pistol combo.

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 24, 2013, 06:40 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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The new Flat Top .44 Special Blackhawk has the same size frame as the Colt Single Action, and will take any heavy loads the Colt will.

It is a lighter gun, so keep the hard ridin' stuff to a minimum.

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Old February 24, 2013, 06:43 PM   #3
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Thanks Bob! So I assume anything around 1000fps would be too "hard"....correct?
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Old February 24, 2013, 06:48 PM   #4
Bob Wright
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Most of my pet .44 Special loads utilize a 240 gr. cast SWC at 950~1000 fps. These for use in my converted Ruger Blackhawk (from a .357 Magnum) and my Ubertis.

I'd stay under the 1200 fps. range, though.

You're not going to blow up the gun, but such loads lead to excess battering from recoil, which shortens the life of a gun.

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Old February 24, 2013, 06:53 PM   #5
PPQ226guy
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Thanks again! No plans for anything in the 1200 fps range here I was think more along the lines of HC 200 to 240 grain moving at say 950 to 1000 fps as well but as a regular load. I was hoping that would not be to hard on it but if so I may have to reconsider my purchase.....although I imagine a 200 gr @ 875 fps would still be in 45 acp territory as far as two-legged trouble goes. Maybe the 220 gr hollow point from Grizzly at 900 fps as well.

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Old February 24, 2013, 09:44 PM   #6
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The July 2009 issue of Handloader Magazine (#260) had an article specifically for handloads in the medium frame ruger flattop blackhawk or the medium frame new vaquero. You should be able to purchase back issues or access back issues at their website (handloadermagazine.com). If that's not convenient, you can contact me by private message about sharing the data.

The article reinforced what Mr. Wright said. It kept the velocities at or below 1,200 ft/sec as a maximum. The 1,000 ft/sec, which you're hoping for was easily attainable.

I have a 4 5/8 and a 5 1/2 flattop in .44 special. I drive a 240 grain bullet at 1000 ft/sec as my everything-everyday load.

Last edited by hammie; February 24, 2013 at 09:53 PM.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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Thanks hammie, I am very pleased to hear my 1000fps target is good for 'everyday use'. Thanks also for the tip for the magazine. I have been able to purchase an issue and look forward to receiving it.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:25 PM   #8
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My everyday load for the Flattop .44 Spl is a 215 gr LSWC at 1050 (est) FPS. Nice load to shoot and very accurate. Hunting load is a 240 gr LSWC at 1000 (est) FPS.

Would not hesitate to run a 240 up to 1200 FPS if the need arose.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:40 PM   #9
hammie
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I agree 100% with "treg". If I need more than the 1,200 ft/sec from a handgun, then it's time to bring either a rifle or something which is fired by a lanyard.
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Old February 24, 2013, 11:16 PM   #10
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My go to load in .44Spec is the Skeeter load (7.5g of Unique under 240g SWC). That's around 1000fps. Then there is the Keith load which is 17g of 2400 under 240g SWC. Runs about 1200fps. I've shot it, but much prefer the Skeeter load for general use. Would not shoot either of these loads in a Bulldog, but fine in the medium frame flattop BH. Don't take my word for it though, do your own research.

Here is the Treasure Trove of .44 Spec articles .

Pay particularly to the Brian Pearce, Seyfried, and Taffin articles, but all are good reading!
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Last edited by rclark; February 25, 2013 at 09:39 AM.
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Old February 24, 2013, 11:40 PM   #11
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Those 1000fps loads are fine in the small frame Blackhawk...and they will take just about anything that stalks the fruited plain, without any problem.
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Old February 25, 2013, 01:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
My go to load in .44Spec is the Skeeter load (7.5g of Unique under 240g SWC). That's around 1000fps.
That's mine too! My Ruger loves that one.
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:35 AM   #13
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Great caliber, lovely guns, old and new. And a big thank you to Ruger for bringing out the Flat Tops in this the best of all rounds. I'd 2nd the notion that 1200 fps is just over the top end in them....while the Rugers are no doubt tough to withstand loads that heavy, they do batter the gun and are tough on the middle finger!

As to Bob's comment that it's a lighter gun...smaller framed than the big SBH .44 Magnum by a whisker, yes... but, my wife's digital kitchen scale still shows the one below with a 4-5/8" bbl. right at 44 oz, loaded, somewhat heavier than the Colt. My SSA Colt in .45 LC with a 7-1/2" bbl weighs 43 oz loaded, on the same scale. And not to be mistaken, I agree with Bob's point that moderate loads are best...

My standard day to day load is a copy of Skelton's justly famous 7.5 gr of Unique with a good 240 gr LSWC, but uses Winchester 231 instead, for its measuring ease through my Dillon 550B's. It's every bit as accurate as Skeeter's recipe in my guns. Here's a pic of my SS Flat Top, with some home made rosewood stocks.

Good luck with yours and welcome to the .44 Special Lovers Assn. Rod

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Last edited by rodfac; February 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:05 PM   #14
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I'm sorta confused too about the "small" frames. I have seen some Ruger Flat tops in 45 Colt say they have the .357 frame. Are these not safe for hot rodding? I have some pet 45 loads that push .454 Casull specs
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:37 PM   #15
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wooly booger:
Quote:
I'm sorta confused too about the "small" frames. I have seen some Ruger Flat tops in 45 Colt say they have the .357 frame. Are these not safe for hot rodding? I have some pet 45 loads that push .454 Casull specs
There is a difference between the Flat Tops and the Blackhawk series. The Flat Tops are built on the meduim frame. At one time Rugers used the designations of "R-", "MR-" and "MR-44" to denoted frame size. The R size was the Single Six, the MR was the .357 Blackhawk, and the MR-44 was the .44 Magnum, these all three-screw era designations.

The medium frame is safe for heavy loads, though ill-advised. For the .454 neighborhood loadings, stay with the biggest frame.

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Old February 27, 2013, 01:39 PM   #16
Bob Wright
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rodfac,

Those are very handsome grips from your photo, and appear about as professionally done as any I've seen.

Good job!

Bob Wright
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Old February 27, 2013, 05:32 PM   #17
wooly booger
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thank you Bob
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:18 PM   #18
rodfac
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Thanks for the compliment, Bob...I've enjoyed seeing some of your armory, over the past year...we think along similar lines and I suspect, enjoy some of the same short guns...Rod
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
I have seen some Ruger Flat tops in 45 Colt say they have the .357 frame. Are these not safe for hot rodding?
It all depends on what you mean by hot rodding . The Flattops are 'medium' frame revolvers which are NOT safe for Ruger Only Loads. The Regular BH (or Bisley, or RH) .45 Colt is what you want for ROLs. That said the new .45 Colt Flattops (And the New Vaqueros) can be heated up to around 20,000psi (some say 23,000psi now with the .45ACP being offered in the New Vaquero and Flattops). These are what Brian Pearce calls Tier 2 loads. Tier 1 is the normal 14,000psi SAAMI tier. Tier 3 is the 30,000psi Ruger Only Loads tier.

Hope this 'helped' : Brian Pearce .45 Colt
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:37 PM   #20
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rclark-thnaks much for the link to the articles, it be appreciated.
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:35 PM   #21
Jim March
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There are now three medium-frame Blackhawks: all of the 44Spl variants, the special-run 45LC/45ACP version and the 50th Anniversary 357Mag Blackhawk Flattop of 2005, from which the later ones were derived. In other words, take a 357 Blackhawk Flattop and re-chamber it in 44Spl, you've got the same gun as the new 44Spls.

These are the same strength as the New Vaqueros in the same calibers.

There have been successful re-chamberings with the stock 357 cylinders to 41Magnum (six shots) which tells us that these aren't exactly weak guns. The 45LC/45ACP flavors can take about 21k psi, which is enough to drive a 250gr hardcast to 1,000fps or so or a 200gr JHP to 1,100.

You can deliver more energy in 44Spl by a bit due to the thicker cylinder walls. Yet more again in 357Mag, if you like flinging light bullets fast.

From all the research I've done, these guns are all slightly stronger than a post-WW2 Colt SAA. Not by a lot...you generally want to stick with loads known to be safe in those guns.
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Old February 28, 2013, 09:31 AM   #22
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I'll go along with the others saying avoid the super hot stuff. I wore out a 45 Colt Blackhawk with "TC and Ruger only" handloads. Enjoy the 44 special for what it is, but don't try to make it a 44 magnum.
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Old February 28, 2013, 10:53 AM   #23
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I've shot both the Keith and Skelton loads, however, I worked up a load with the Anderton type bullet of around 200grs and 4.3 gr of Trail Boss. I think I'm getting around 700/750fps. It works in my 396 without as much pain as an old load of a lazercast 180 going close to 950fps. Even better, it gives almost one hole groups in my Model 21.
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