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Old April 1, 2014, 12:30 PM   #1
LivewireBlanco
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Ruger New Blackhawk 45 Colt, still strong as ever?

Ruger's names have gotten me all messed up. I'm on the fence about purchasing a new New Blackhawk in 45 Colt and intend on feeding it some published Ruger only loads.

My question is, how can I tell which ones can take them and which can't? I've looked one over at the local gun store and it has the protective ears by the rear sight but is that the only thing I need to look for? I just don't want to buy the wrong Ruger.
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Old April 1, 2014, 12:53 PM   #2
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If it says Ruger on the gun, it will handle .45 Ruger only loads. Ruger doesn't build anything flimsy...
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Old April 1, 2014, 12:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
If it says Ruger on the gun, it will handle .45 Ruger only loads. Ruger doesn't build anything flimsy...
This is not true.

If you have a standard Ruger Blackhawk it will handle Ruger only .45 Colt loads, if you have a limited flat top Blackhawk which is buillt on the New Vaquero frame, it cannot.

If you have an original Vaquero it will handle .45 Colt Ruger Only loads, if you have a current production New Vaquero built on a smaller frame, they will not handle Ruger only loads.
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Old April 1, 2014, 01:00 PM   #4
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hmmm... I don't think the "New Vaqueros" are rated for "Ruger only" loads
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Old April 1, 2014, 01:21 PM   #5
LivewireBlanco
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So in a Blackhawk the flat top is all I need to look for?
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Old April 1, 2014, 02:19 PM   #6
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So in a Blackhawk the flat top is all I need to look for?
Correct, the flat top Blackhawks cannot handle the Ruger Only loads where the standard Blackhawks handle them fine. The flat top Blackhawks are pretty rare though and were only made in limited numbers so the chances you will even come upon one are pretty slim.
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Old April 1, 2014, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
This is not true.

If you have a standard Ruger Blackhawk it will handle Ruger only .45 Colt loads, if you have a limited flat top Blackhawk which is buillt on the New Vaquero frame, it cannot.

If you have an original Vaquero it will handle .45 Colt Ruger Only loads, if you have a current production New Vaquero built on a smaller frame, they will not handle Ruger only loads.
Bingo!

Although I don't know how "rare" they are, they've been built for a few years and a local shop has had a few on display.
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Old April 1, 2014, 04:57 PM   #8
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Don't believe Stony.

The other posts have it right - flattop in 45LC (most were made 45LC/45ACP convertible) or New Vaquero are the mid-frame guns that can handle loads safe for a post-WW2 Colt SAA in 45LC.

If it's a 45 Blackhawk and it has raised frame ears each side of sight body it's good to go for more or less 44Mag class (aka "45LC+P") loads - aka "large frame".

The large-frame guns made from 2007 forward have some accuracy advantages - the cylinder was built with each chamber reamed with the same bit/reamer set, instead of all six at once. That gives better uniformity. The new chambers seem to be tighter as well, on average, in a good way. You can ID these newer guns with a "lawyer's warning label" ("read the manual" and that sort of thing) UNDER the barrel instead of the older side-barrel system.

That's with the large-frames. The mid-frames (NewVaq, Flattop Blackhawks in 357, 44Spl, 45) got the cylinder improvement starting in 2004 (New Vaquero) and often had side-barrel warnings if pre-2007.
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Old April 1, 2014, 07:18 PM   #9
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Easy way to ID.... If the gun has a two digit serial number XX-YYYYY then good for ROLs. If gun has three digit XXX-YYYYY then don't feed it ROLs. Simple.
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Old April 1, 2014, 09:24 PM   #10
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Understand that even a gun that isn't up to the "Ruger only" .45 Colt loads can still get a 250gr up in the 900-1000fps range (barrel length depending). But that is top end for the gun.

Since there were Blackhawks, and Super Blackhawks before the lockwork change in 73, all those guns made afterwards are called "New Model", and so marked. (note, "New Model" and not "New").

There was no Vaquero back then, and so there are no "new model Vaqueros", there are only "Vaqueros" and that is how they are marked. In conversation we sometimes call them original Vaqueros to try and reduce confusion with the current fixed sight SA, which is named the "New Vaquero" (and NOT "New Model" Vaquero).

Both the Vaquero and the New Vaquero have the same lockwork system (transfer bar) as the New Model Blackhawks, and as far as I know, the NEW VAQUEROS have that (thankfully hidden) internal lock.
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Old April 1, 2014, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Understand that even a gun that isn't up to the "Ruger only" .45 Colt loads can still get a 250gr up in the 900-1000fps range (barrel length depending). But that is top end for the gun.
Actually the medium frames can launch 'em out to 1100fps. 13.0g of HS-6 under the 250-280g bullet gets you there and this is still a Tier 2 load. Tier 2 being defined as up to 23K psi loads.

Here is some 'helpful' reading on Tier 1, 2, and 3 loads for the medium frame revolvers :

Brian Pearce .45 Colt Tier 1, 2, 3 loads


Quote:
the NEW VAQUEROS have that (thankfully hidden) internal lock.
Of which I understand is going away with newly manufactured BHs and New Vaqueros. A good thing!
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:40 PM   #12
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Look at Ruger's web site. The Lipseys models are the medium frame, and the others are full size frame.
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Old April 7, 2014, 05:32 PM   #13
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Also keep in mind, "Ruger only" loads are not endorsed by Ruger.
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Old April 8, 2014, 11:30 AM   #14
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Can anyone post a side by side example of the tops for thoes who like to see the difference. I only have large frame models, none of the newer models. I havent even seen a new model out in the wild.
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Old April 18, 2014, 04:12 PM   #15
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I use two main loads in .45 Colt;

8.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain SWC for plinking

10.5 grains of Unique under Leadhead’s 270gr Keith LSWC for hunting and more serious work

Sure my 4 5/8 Blackhawk could take hotter loads but why? Every game animal fairly hit with the 270 grain loading has been recovered. Normally they have a very large thru and thru hole that bleeds well and is slow to clog up.
Why fight the extra recoil and buck and roar when a pretty standard Colt load will do the job?

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Old July 9, 2014, 06:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
riddleofsteel:

I use two main loads in .45 Colt;

8.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain SWC for plinking

10.5 grains of Unique under Leadhead’s 270gr Keith LSWC for hunting and more serious work

Sure my 4 5/8 Blackhawk could take hotter loads but why? Every game animal fairly hit with the 270 grain loading has been recovered. Normally they have a very large thru and thru hole that bleeds well and is slow to clog up.
Why fight the extra recoil and buck and roar when a pretty standard Colt load will do the job?
Did you have the chamber mouths reamed of your NMBH? While browsing the web and searching for informations about the Ruger NMBH 45 Colt before buying one I found several complaints about way to narrow chamber mouths that should be reamed befor using Ruger only loads to avoid too high pressure and to increase the accuracy with the lower level loads.
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:07 AM   #17
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Did you have the chamber mouths reamed of your NMBH? While browsing the web and searching for informations about the Ruger NMBH 45 Colt before buying one I found several complaints about way to narrow chamber mouths that should be reamed befor using Ruger only loads to avoid too high pressure and to increase the accuracy with the lower level loads.
There has been a lot of talk on the Internet about this, for many years. I can't see where it hurt anything, (done properly by a professional smith), but I don't consider it a necessary thing, UNLESS your gun is already not performing well enough.

In other words, don't just get a new Ruger, and then have the work done, shoot it a bit, first. Just because some guns are undersize and give issues doesn't mean yours will be one of them. Hold off on the reamers until you know for sure.

I got my first Blackhawk .45Colt/ACP in 83. That gun still puts 5 shots in one ragged hole, and one right next to it at 50ft, and gives me about a 2.5" group at 25yds, if I am up to it. I don't know what the chamber mouths are, I've never measured them. Never even thought about it, until I heard all the commotion on the net about how Ruger .45s were inaccurate because of it. Mine isn't.

Yours might not be, either. Before you have work done, shoot it a bit, and see if there is an issue with the gun. Or if it is with you!

Also, if you do decide to have the work done, choose carefully. Done wrong, done badly, you might need another cylinder to fix it.

Just a couple of thoughts.
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Old July 9, 2014, 01:28 PM   #18
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In other words, don't just get a new Ruger, and then have the work done, shoot it a bit, first.
While I agree that it's not always required, especially if you're not shooting lead but.
I've had a couple that would shoot 2.5 to 3" groups at 25 yards and while that wouldn't necessarilly be a problem to some folks, after reaming the cylinders they'll shoot sub 1.5" groups now.
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Old July 9, 2014, 03:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Can anyone post a side by side example of the tops for thoes who like to see the difference.
Here is what a flattop looks like... Compare that to the above large frame BH. There are 'ears' around the sight on the large frame BH.

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Old July 10, 2014, 09:52 PM   #20
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Many years ago my first BH, a 7.5" was a dog of the first order. Using factory milk bread weak loads it would jug cases and on three of the six chambers it would split or rupture cases!
I sent it off to Ruger and 18 months and a registered letter to Mr. Ruger later I got it back and it was and still is perfect. One ragged hole at 25 yards with my loads and tight chambers.
My second BH was a 4 5/8 .45 Colt/.45 ACP convertible. It has been one of the best revolvers ever right out of the box. It shoots where I look and exhibits rifle like accuracy with the loads I listed. It is my go to side arm for woods bumming and hunting.
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Old July 11, 2014, 10:25 AM   #21
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The constriction at the end of each cylinder bore is called the "throat". If the throat is smaller than the barrel you are going to have accuracy issues and at times Ruger has shipped guns in that state. We also have the issue of pre-2007 large-frame Rugers having throats each cut with a different bit/reamer set (all six going at once) so you can have variances between chambers...not good as far as accuracy goes.

To really do chamber reaming right, push a round lead slug through your barrel and measure it, and then set your throats to fractionally over it.

Since I did a completely custom barrel and cylinder for other reasons (in 9mmPara) I set my throats (which in an auto caliber are very long, damn near an inch!) to .3555" to be fractionally over the .355" barrel. I then buy .356 lead hardcast bullets for best accuracy, or at least I would if I could score pistol powder .
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Old July 13, 2014, 04:03 PM   #22
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I have had for 10 years, a Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt made in 1986.

I have only fired one round in it ~~ 23 kpsi.

I know less than anyone above about the specifics of the Blackhawk, but I do know a few things about blowing up revolvers.

1) Revolvers are harder to blow up than you would think if you have not tried it.
2) The failure in an overload is most often a split cylinder. Half the time there is a secondary failure of a broken top strap.
3) Sometimes the timing gets loose as the first failure in a work up. The bolt, bolt slot in the frame, and bolt slot in the cylinder start to make a sloppy fit and the cylinder can be slightly rotated. Rugers come this way from the factory. S&Ws get it from enough abuse. Colts with the Police Positive type lock up do not get loose.
4) The Aluminum frames may bend.
5) Hot work ups for me have never produced end shake, but I find it in used revolvers.

So how do I predict how much pressure a revolver can take?
To a first order approximation, it is hoop stress on the rear of the chamber.
I know it is open ended and should be a Roark type formula. I know a cylinder is not a simple tube shape and it has slots. But it works to a first order.

Thin wall hoop stress is simply, steel stress is equal to the pressure times the inside diameter divided by twice the wall thickness. Lame's thick wall is more complicated, but thin wall is good enough for this.

My Blackhawk measures

0.071" ~ .074" to the outside
0.059" ~ .061" between chambers
The inside diameter of the chamber is 0.484"
I know I should subtract off the brass thickness and residual elastic radial tension in the brass, but it is down in the noise.

If I look at "Speer 12" 1994 45 Colt Ruger and contender loads only, and plug them into Quickload I get 31,700 psi.

The stress in the Blackhawk cylinder steel is then ~ 31.7 kpsi [.484"]/[2]0.06" = 128 ksi

That would correspond to an RC harness of ~ 30.
And that is reasonable, as I can easily machine RC30 4140 steel..., except for where is the safety margin?

Well, it turns out things never yield per the equations with a few 1 ms pulses.
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Old July 13, 2014, 05:42 PM   #23
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^^^^
What he said.
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Old July 13, 2014, 05:53 PM   #24
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^^^^
What he said.

What did he say?
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Old July 13, 2014, 10:45 PM   #25
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what is "ksi"?
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