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Old January 8, 2022, 11:38 PM   #1
The 45 Dude
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What is the lifespan of a Ruger Blackhawk in 357?

I've seen Ruger Blackhawks being able to handle a lot of 44 magnum or some powerful 45 long colt loads. All of them seem to last long but what about 357? Obviously, 357 is generally a weaker cartridge but how much can the Ruger take? I mean is it even breakable at this point?
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Old January 9, 2022, 12:05 AM   #2
imp
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A NM blackhawk is a seriously stout gun. You will wear out your wrist before you wear out the gun, even shooting heavy magnum loads.
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Old January 9, 2022, 12:51 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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A friend wore out a Blackhawk .45.
Surely the thicker forcing cone of a .357 would be less subject to cracking, but the action wear would be the same.
Nothing to worry about, Ruger refurbished it for a very reasonable price after a LOT of shooting.
How long will it take you to run up 50,000 rounds?
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Old January 9, 2022, 01:33 AM   #4
The 45 Dude
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Jim Watson
I wouldn't worry about getting to a certain number of rounds since I'm not the type of guy to shoot all that often. I'm just asking the question cause I just wanted to know.

That's a cool thing that Ruger is willing to rebuild your friend's Blackhawk for him and for a reasonable price. Could the action be constantly be rebuilt? I'm the type of guy to shoot my gun as intended and then spend the money to get it rebuilt since I'm a huge sentimental guy.
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Old January 9, 2022, 10:15 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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I don't know the price of the rebuild, but he sent in the gun with an estimated advance payment and the Blackhawk came back with $10 change.
The work that they did could be repeated as required, the frame was not damaged. If he hadn't shot so many "Ruger only" .45s, the barrel would probably have held up much longer. Another friend was up to 150000 on a PPC .38 wadcutter gun. The barrel was eroded about 1/3 its length but it was still shooting accurately until it met up with a "squib."

Not a sixgun, but a skeet shooter here had his O/U overhauled and was told by Krieghoff that it could be rebuilt indefinitely, all wear parts were replaceable.
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Old January 9, 2022, 10:33 AM   #6
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If you have enough primers to wear out a .357 Blackhawk, you are a rich man.
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Old January 9, 2022, 11:55 AM   #7
Jim Watson
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There are plenty of Cowboys who have beaten Ruger transfer bars too thin to "transfer."
That was my guy's only action failure. He kept shooting by removing the transfer bar and filing the hammer to hit the firing pin directly. The forcing cone failed some time after that.
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Old January 9, 2022, 12:22 PM   #8
tex45acp
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I can't speak for the .357 revolver, but a good friend has shot, by his count of handloads & factory loads over 5,000 rounds in his Blackhawk. I recently shot it and is was still very tight and shot extremely straight. There was no excessive wear in any part other than the trigger face.
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Old January 9, 2022, 02:42 PM   #9
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If you don't abuse it, odds are good it will last longer than you will.

My oldest new model Blackhawk I bought brand new in 1983. Not sure of the round count but considering I spent most of the 80s and 90s shooting between a thousand and two thousand rounds a year recreationally, its up there.

The only thing visibly worn on my gun is the finish. And if some part does wear out, so what? You replace it and you're good for decades more, most likely.

EVERY part of every gun is replaceable except the frame/action (serial number part) and even those are legally replaceable by the manufacturer.

They are not, however, indestructible. You CAN break them, you CAN destroy them. You've got to seriously abuse the gun to do that, but it can be done, make no mistake about that.

You're going to spend several guns worth of $ on ammunition before you come close to wearing one out.
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Old January 9, 2022, 05:54 PM   #10
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

Believe it or not, 357 Magnum has the same SAAMI spec maximum pressure as 44 Magnum.

35,000 psi.

Because of the larger diameter of the case head, the 44 Mag will punish the frame more than a 357 Mag case head will.

Here are three old Three Screw Ruger Blackhawks. On the left is a 44 Magnum Flat Top Blackhawk that shipped in 1958. In the center is a 357 Magnum Blackhawk that shipped in that shipped in 1962. On the right is a 357 Magnum Flat Top Blackhawk that shipped in 1962. They all still have plenty of life left in them.





By the way, if you look closely you will see the two 357 revolvers are a little bit smaller than the 44. Their frames are slightly smaller. With modern Blackhawks, they all have the same large frame, no matter which cartridge they are chambered for.
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Old January 10, 2022, 03:35 PM   #11
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Mr. Johnson, those are my favorite Rugers. Very nice!

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Old January 10, 2022, 05:26 PM   #12
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Depends on how many 357s you fire as opposed to 38 Specials. Also lead bullets are easier on rifling than jacketed ones.
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Old January 10, 2022, 05:37 PM   #13
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I have a 64 Ruger SBH, bought new. I have no idea of round count now but I ran way over 10,000 the first 5 years I had it. It was downhill from there but still 500 or so a year. Still have it and only trouble I had was screws shooting loose and one sheared it’s head. Bought nylock screws and no trouble since.
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Old January 10, 2022, 06:42 PM   #14
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One hundred thirty two years 4 months and three days......Provided you keep it clean and oiled.
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Old January 11, 2022, 10:13 AM   #15
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My dad has one from the 60's that's seen more than it's share of 'hot' rounds, and it finally went out of time and started spitting a few years ago. He's been meaning to send it to Ruger, but hasn't gotten around to it yet.

The frame, forcing cone and other 'wear' items seem as good as new, IMHO.

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Old January 11, 2022, 08:03 PM   #16
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I just know I won't wear any of my Rugers out in my remaining life time. I rotate through them so they don't get shot all the time. Also, I limit my velocities to 1100 or less regardless of caliber. Only lead bullets. I've found no need to 'push' them -- from .32 to the .45. I did have a transfer bar break on oldest .357, but that was easily replaced. I really don't like transfer bars as they are just one more piece that can fail.... It is what it is..... Just glad it was at the range instead of trying to take down a charging cougar or something....
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Old January 11, 2022, 08:52 PM   #17
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RUGER a shooters gun . Bought the first one a new Three Screw 44 Mag i was a kid and it cost $97.00 bucks and no paper work . In 1984 i got two years off to do very little but get well . I shot 1,000 rounds a month (lead) now i have a range at home and shoot more in good weather . At my age (74) my eyes are still good and i will shoot until i can not . If you ever buy Lead Bullets from SNS CASTING ask if i still buy Lead A 1,000 a month
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Old January 13, 2022, 08:01 AM   #18
JustJake
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Quote:
What is the lifespan of a Ruger Blackhawk in 357?
Likely longer than the lifespan of a S&W revolver in .357 with the same barrel length firing the same ammo to the same round-count.

The Ruger is a hardier-built wheelgun.
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Old January 13, 2022, 09:55 AM   #19
Jim Watson
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The worst part about a Blackhawk is that it won't go off when you pull the trigger.
A Smith will.
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Old January 13, 2022, 01:33 PM   #20
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Casting , reloading and shooting are my hobbies and have always been since 1967 .
I purchased a used 1970 made 357 BH in 1971, it has been my only 357 magnum to this day ... I had a free unlimited source of wheel weights , indoor and outdoor shooting ranges near me and I loved shooting the BH . I can't estimate how many rounds have been fired throught it ... a awful lot ...the finish on the backstrap and ejector rod wore so badly through hard use I polished them silver so they didn't look so bad . Hunted Deer and Hogs with it , carefuly placed first shot and never needed a second .
Its been a hard used handgun for a honest 50 years ... I plan on giving it my son when I can no longer shoot ... it will probably last another generation .

Anyone who claims a Ruger Black Hawk won't go off when you pull the trigger is pulling your leg or foolish ... my Black Hawk has never failed to fire in 50 years of shooting .
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Old January 13, 2022, 01:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
The worst part about a Blackhawk is that it won't go off when you pull the trigger.
A Smith will.
Since no smilies were used, it is difficult to say if this comment was made in jest, sarcasm, or is simply missing the word "only", or "just" and is a comment on the fact that the Blackhawk is a single action and S&Ws are DA revolvers.

It is true that a Blackhawk won't go off from only pulling the trigger. Or from "just pulling the trigger". You have to cock the hammer, FIRST.

With a S&W, and its DA action, you don't. Just pulling the trigger cocks and fires the gun.

I don't consider that the worst part about the Blackhawk. The worst part is the rear sight windage screw!!
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Old January 13, 2022, 03:01 PM   #22
Jim Watson
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I shoulda put in a smiley, hate to have a joke explained.

Since my main application for a revolver calls for double action shooting, I do not have an application for a single action since I got out of CAS. Haven't fired mine in some time.
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Old January 13, 2022, 03:25 PM   #23
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I liked my Blackhawk bought new in 1968, but like my New Vaquero better.
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Old January 13, 2022, 08:59 PM   #24
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There are people who can ruin a ball bearing with no tools. If one of those folks got ahold of a Ruger Blackhawk or any other kind of gun he could ruin it in an afternoon easily.

Buy the gun, not the story.
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Old January 14, 2022, 12:47 AM   #25
Driftwood Johnson
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Quote:
My dad has one from the 60's that's seen more than it's share of 'hot' rounds, and it finally went out of time and started spitting a few years ago. He's been meaning to send it to Ruger, but hasn't gotten around to it yet.
Bear in mind that if you send a Three Screw Ruger back to the factory, they will convert it to a Transfer Bar action. It does not matter what you send it back for, they will convert it.
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