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Old January 27, 2009, 07:13 PM   #1
ruger.john
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Ruger .44 Mag Bisley 7.5"or Blackhawk 6.5"?

I want a .44 mag and can't decide whether to buy the Bisley or the 2006 anniversary model. Mostly for range shooting, plinking not for hunting. I love my Blackhawk .357 so I think I will go Ruger single action. Talk me out of one of them.
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Old January 27, 2009, 09:59 PM   #2
Jim March
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For the 44Mag I'd go with the Bisley.

The 50th anniversary 44mag is an odd beast in that it's got the smaller XR3 gripframe, similar to a Colt SAA, same as the NewVaq (2005 forward) and a reproduction of what Ruger was doing prior to about 1963.

The problem is, that small gripframe was never meant for 44Mag horsepower. That's why they came out with first the SuperBlackhawk grip frame which was an improvement but still not cool with bigtime power for many people and then they solved the power-handling problem bigtime with the Blackhawk.

John Linebaugh makes custom Rugers that put out a lot more power than the 44Mag, and refuses to do so with anything but a Ruger Bisley gripframe on there.

So basically the 50th 44 takes you two generations backwards to what didn't work the first time, simply to do a repro early Ruger. In my opinion, not their smartest move...

Oh, and their best 44Mag variant is the Bisley Hunter. Just sayin...
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Old January 28, 2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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Really? I consider the old three-screw to be almost the best revolver ever made (aside from the Colt SAA). I also prefer the SuperBlackhawk grip frame to the bisely, and I do shoot some hot 44 Magnum loads.

Perhaps I have odd taste. It wouldn't be the first time.
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Old January 28, 2009, 11:44 AM   #4
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talk you out of it . ok





http://www.freedomarms.com/
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Old January 28, 2009, 01:41 PM   #5
ruger.john
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Noyes
The're beautiful but I'm retired and there's a recession. I'm afraid I have to be a Ruger guy.
I think I'm going for the Bisley. The Rosewood grips have convinced me. Thanks.
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Old January 28, 2009, 02:57 PM   #6
drail
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I have a 7.5" Bisley and the Bisley grip frame handles heavy loads much better than the Blackhawk frame. The Blackhawk will rotate and slide down the palm of your hand for most people. The Bisley sends the recoil straight back like a S&W revolver. I wish the Bisley was available with shorter than 7.5" bbls.
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Old January 28, 2009, 04:10 PM   #7
Jim March
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Quote:
Really? I consider the old three-screw to be almost the best revolver ever made (aside from the Colt SAA).
There's nothing wrong with the three-screws per se.

OK, let's look at the history of the Ruger 44.

The first ones were built on a mid-size frame same as the 357 model, and with the smaller Colt SAA-size grip frame. That gun didn't work very well - not strong enough AND the grip was too small.

The 50th Anniversary 44 is basically that early gun, but built on the large frame instead of the mid-frame for safety. Grip frame is the small one.

Subsequent three-screw 44s were built on a larger frame making them plenty strong enough. Most shipped with the larger "dragoon squareback" grip frame. After '63 (don't know exact year) Ruger built some 44Magnum SBH models with shorter barrels and the XR3-RED grip frame, which splits the difference between the Colt-size grip (XR3) and dragoon squareback. Those shorter-barrel SRH variants seemed to work well enough for most folks and when it didn't, people would run big rubber grips.

That covers the three-screw era. Were there good 44Mags built in that time frame? You bet. But the very first one wasn't a good idea on two counts: not strong enough and the grip was too small. There's no need to buy into one of those mistakes (small grip frame) today.

Understand, I have that same small grip frame now on my NewVaq357. And I love it - but it's right on the ragged edge of control for very hot 357s (which in turn are about double the felt recoil of actual 1873 loads in any caliber). I would NOT want to shoot 44Mag with them for love or money.
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Old January 28, 2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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The .44Mag was never built on the mid-sized frame of the Old Model .357. It was always a larger frame, same size as the Super Blackhawk and all subsequent New Models. A handful of prototypes were built on the mid-frame but never made it out of the factory after one blew with proof loads. The decision was then made to build a larger frame.

Which you choose will depend entirely on how the guns fit. That's something only you can determine. While I generally prefer the Bisley grip for anything that recoils, the XR3 of the flat-top is entirely comfortable for me up to 250's@1200fps. New or Old Model, but the New Models have a slight advantage with their heavier steel grip frames. Beyond that, which I rarely do, I'll reach for a Bisley every time. One distinct advantage to the anniversary model is the reverse indexing pawl that greatly improves the loading/unloading procedure. A feature the Bisley won't have.

All Ruger's factory grips leave a lot to be desired but the checkered plastic grips on the anniversary .44 Blackhawk will act like cheesegraters against your hands. They will need to be replaced if you plan on doing much shooting. I need mine to be a little thicker up top with only a slight taper towards the bottom and nicely rounded. My 50th anniversary .44 Blackhawk wears maple burl from CLC.


Last edited by CraigC; January 28, 2009 at 07:12 PM.
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Old January 29, 2009, 12:19 AM   #9
Jim March
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Quote:
The .44Mag was never built on the mid-sized frame of the Old Model .357. It was always a larger frame, same size as the Super Blackhawk and all subsequent New Models. A handful of prototypes were built on the mid-frame but never made it out of the factory after one blew with proof loads.
I thought a few of those smaller early ones did make it out into the field. There were certainly ads out featuring them.

I could be wrong about whether any shipped...
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Old January 29, 2009, 01:06 AM   #10
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No, there was only a handful built, the first one blew with proof loads and Elmer Keith didn't even get the one promised to him. I'd have to check some references to see how many were made but it seems like it was only three or four at most. You're probably right about the ads, Ruger's been known to get a little ahead of themselves. It's a good thing they thought better of it though, some are a little leery of the heavy .44Spl Keith load running at 26,000psi in the custom mid-frame conversions. Another 10,000 definitely would've meant a longevity problem, at the very least.

Last edited by CraigC; January 29, 2009 at 01:15 AM.
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Old January 29, 2009, 01:24 AM   #11
Jim March
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Ah. That makes sense. How many of the original series were built with XR3 grip frames? I still think that combination was a bad idea back then and Ruger seems to have agreed and bumped the grip size up in response.
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Old January 29, 2009, 01:41 AM   #12
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I have/had all three BH, SBH (square trigger guard) and bisley, in 44mag


BH=PAIN... Kicks way to hard for a 44:barf:.... I sold it,.. my 41 mag is about max for this frame.

Bisley...feels Great in your hand and the half moon trigger just hugs your finger.....But it kicks straight back and kind of pounds you with heavy loads.

SBH= perfection...I even like the square trigger guard. Recoil just lifts and rolls the gun so your body takes very little of the recoil....Some say that it will hit your knuckle, "well don't put your finger there!"

Now all that being said...Retired? Recession? well you can't spend that money after they dump about 6ft of dirt on your bones.. Buy a Freedom Arms.83 or 95. The 83 makes shooting even the 475Linbaugh with HIGH power rounds a delight, and the 95 is such tidy little package it just whispers "Hold me"
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Old January 29, 2009, 08:59 AM   #13
JustKev55
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What/who/where is CLC

CraigC,

I own a Ruger .44 Anniversary and don't particularly care for the grips. What is CLC you mentioned in your post?

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old January 29, 2009, 02:02 PM   #14
CraigC
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I'll have to pull out R.L. "Jailbird" Wilson's book to find the production numbers on the mid-frame .44's.


http://www.clccustomgrips.com

The good news is that the 50th anniversary guns as well as the New Vaquero are so consistent, his ready-made grips fit almost as perfectly as if they were fitted to the frame. The pair pictured above were fitted, the pair in spalted karelian birch on my 50th .357 fit almost as well. Check it out, you're guaranteed to find something you like and his grips are a real bargain on today's market. He's a pleasure to deal with and his turnaround usually short if you do want something fitted.
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Old January 29, 2009, 11:22 PM   #15
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Ruger.John,

I have the anniversary Blackhawk. I can't shoot it without a glove. I like how it looks, so I'm not changing the grips. I like the 6 1/2 inch barrel, along with the looks, that's why I picked it. It's a personal choice.

With moderate loads, it's a joy to shoot at the range. I take other guns along, but the blackhawk sees the most action. I have a pair of "fighter pilot" gloves that I wear when shooting the 44.
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Old January 29, 2009, 11:23 PM   #16
JustKev55
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Holy Smokes

CraigC...thanks a ton for the URL. Made me drool big time. Now I have to find some pennies, nickels and dimes to increase my gun budget in a hurry to get a set. Too bad I saw yours when I did....there are several grips on there that were awesome and already sold. Man oh man some of those are gorgeous.
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Old January 29, 2009, 11:27 PM   #17
JustKev55
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Gloves

Warski,

Yeah, I've found mine is more comfortable to shoot with a pair of light gloves on. I have a pair of well broken in goatskin gloves that do well. Where did you find the fighter pilot gloves?

Kevin
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Old January 30, 2009, 02:29 AM   #18
CraigC
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You're very welcome! Yep, his grips don't last long. Must be a bunch of shooters out there buyin' `em up. I've got 14 sets myself!
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Old January 30, 2009, 06:41 AM   #19
warski
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Kevin,

Google "nomex" flying/pilot gloves. You'll find them, including on Ebay.

Tom
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Old February 12, 2009, 06:35 AM   #20
Lost River
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I currently own a 50th anniversary gun and a Bisley. Without a doubt, I prefer the Bisley.
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Old February 12, 2009, 08:59 AM   #21
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I've never fired a Bisley but I've done quite a bit of focused practice with a 5.5" SBH over the last couple of months. Once I got the grip technique down, it became very comfortable to shoot. 50+ rounds isn't a problem. I fired some hefty Buffalo Bore's last week and they felt good. I think it may be a matter of getting the hang of the smooth plough share grips which, from the research I've done, require a different approach than most other handgun grips. See ...

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob101.html
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Old February 12, 2009, 09:46 AM   #22
Paul105
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CraigC said:

"Which you choose will depend entirely on how the guns fit. That's something only you can determine."

This is the crux of the matter. What fits someone else, won't necessarily work for you.

I like the 50th Anniv .44 Mag -- checkered rubber grips and all -- most don't.

The Ruger Super Blackhawk is painful for me to shoot. Beats up the middle knuckle on my shooting hand and pinches the middle finger of my support hand.

I replaced the Dragoon (square back) grip on my Old model super blackhawk with an XR3 Red grip (current large frame blackhawk grip frame config) thinking that would make the OM SBH more comfortable to shoot. That solved the knuckle busting, but it still piches the middle finger on my support hand.

I've never shot a Ruger Bisley.

I do shoot Freedom Arms revolvers (both FA83s and FA97s) a lot and mostly agree with freedom475's comment: I say mostly because you have to be a very experienced to find HIGH power .475 Linebaugh rounds a delight.

"Buy a Freedom Arms.83 or 95. The 83 makes shooting even the 475Linbaugh with HIGH power rounds a delight, and the 95 is such tidy little package it just whispers "Hold me"."

Jim March said that John Linebaugh only offers his large caliber conversions with the Bisley grip frame. I'm pretty sure that is currently true. However, I had the privilge to shoot the below pictured Linebaugh Custom .475 with HIGH power .475 ammo. The gun is an early conversion on an original Ruger Flattop (3 screw -- .44 Mag Frame) with the plow handle (not Bisley) grip frame. That gun is a handful, but not as painful as a S&W 340 .357 Mag.
/
/

/
/
If at all possible, handle/fire the the different guns you are considering to see which one seems to work best for you.

FWIW,

Paul
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Old February 12, 2009, 11:45 AM   #23
CraigC
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Wow, I had no idea John had done them on the old flat-tops, Abilenes and Sevilles yes but not flat-tops. Very cool! Great looking sixgun and I bet it is a handful! Also worthy of note, the XR3 grip frame has been swapped for the XR3-RED. Thanks for posting that one!
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Old February 13, 2009, 10:50 PM   #24
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another approach

And one not like by purists, is to use the oversize rubber grips from Pachmayr or something similar. I prefer the rubber ones over the harder plastic ones from Hogue. My Rugers are working guns, not dressed for looks, but dressed for what feels best in my hands. I use the Pachmayr grips on Blackhawks (.357 & .45 Colt) and Super Blackhawk (.44mag).
With money being a concern, spending a relative little on those grips to try them out makes more sense to me than spending bigger bucks for a new grip frame. If they turn out not to do what you want, you aren't out all that much, and you can get most of that back selling them.
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Old February 14, 2009, 12:11 AM   #25
CraigC
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My Rugers are working guns, not dressed for looks
All due respect but why is it that the guys that prefer rubber grips can't help but make a condescending comment about "looks"??? As if anybody who likes traditional grips is a "purist" (not used as a complimentary term, read "elitist") who has money to burn and is concerned about the fashion show more than function. I choose my grips for the same reasons as you, comfort and fit are the most important factors, they just happen to also look pretty damn good. For that, I make absolutely no apologies.

My most-used "working" sixgun is an Old Model Single Six that wears a $150 pair of birdseye maple grips from CLC. It gets carried almost every day, rain or shine, in its El Paso Threepersons leather rig or stuffed in a back pocket. Same for my "working" centerfires, regular use, finely fitted custom wood or stag grips. Ain't nothing too purty to get used.


Last edited by CraigC; February 14, 2009 at 12:16 AM.
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