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Old February 14, 2020, 03:51 PM   #1
Pahoo
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Ruger option of .357 or 9mm

I have the opportunity of purchasing a Ruger Blackhawk that has two cylinder option .357 and 9mm. Sounds like the best of both worlds but have to ask;

Are they both as efficient with the same barrel. I suspect there has to be some trade-offs. What kind of performance can I expect between the two? I'm not a completion shooter, so not all that picky. ……

Any and all assist will be appreciated ..

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Old February 14, 2020, 03:59 PM   #2
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Well the .357 and 38 Special use .357" jacketed and .358" lead whereas the 9mm uses .355" jacketed and .356" lead. It will shoot good enough with 9mm, I suspect, but it likely won't be quite as accurate as 357 Mag or 38 Special.
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Old February 14, 2020, 04:14 PM   #3
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I had a several of custom built handguns for plate shooting. A couple of them were 9mm barrels (9x21 and 9x23). I used .357 bullets in them as well as 9mm bullets and they both shot each well. The difference of .001 (or less depending on actual measurements) probably isn't going to make a difference. With revolvers a lot has to do with forcing cone dimensions, actual barrel diameter, and bullets used. I had a Ruger SS .22lr/.22mag that shot as well with either cylinder (well close, they don't make match ammo for the mag). I shot a 77x80 at the IHMSA Internationals with that multi-use gun and it shot the .22mag about as well as both of my 648 SW's did. I've known guys who had these Ruger .357/9mm and most of the time they worked out pretty good. I'd get it if it were me.
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Old February 14, 2020, 05:06 PM   #4
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Friend of mine had one. Lots of fun, shot good both ways. 9mm is pretty cheap to shoot...more fun!
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Old February 14, 2020, 07:01 PM   #5
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Are they both as efficient with the same barrel. I suspect there has to be some trade-offs.
You'll probably be fine as long as you stick to jacketed bullets in 9mm. I would expect non-jacketed lead 9mm bullets to lead the barrel. My 9mm LCR was like that, but did fine with Hi-Tek coated lead bullets. It's easy to find 9mm that costs less than 22 Mag, so I'd look at 9mm FMJ as an economical CF plinking round.
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Old February 14, 2020, 07:22 PM   #6
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The results I've seen of others shooting with theirs is the guns are picky with 9mm ammo and some will not like any 9mm you shoot in them. I have no knowledge of what accuracy Ruger considers normal with 9mm in the .357 Blackhawks, so I can't tell you at which point it's a gun being finicky or there's something mechanically wrong with it.

You'll have to shoot a good variety of different ammo in it to find what it likes. Unlike with 9mm pistols meant to shoot 9mm, they'll shoot well with just about any 9mm ammo. Not so with the combo revolvers.

Do stick with jacketed or plated or polymer coated bullets tho, there's no reason to ever buy lead 9mm ammo.

I've been thinking of getting the Taurus 7 shot 692. Really just want a 7 shot DA in .357 with a 6 inch barrel, but the 9mm cylinder has me hoping it shoots well because paying the money for that extra cylinder only to find it's not accurate is not fun.
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Old February 14, 2020, 10:44 PM   #7
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I've owned a Ruger Blackhawk .357/9MM convertible, or two. Shooting carefully as I could over a rest, I really couldn't detect any consistent difference in accuracy between the two calibers. People worry about a .357" groove diameter, with 9MM .355" bullets rattling down the bore. Thing is, the .357" groove diameter, that most shooters seem to take as gospel for .38 Spcl. and .357 Magnum revolvers, isn't necessarily so. SAAMI groove diameter spec for .38 Spcl. and .357 is .355". SAAMI spec for 9MM is .3555". SAAMI jacketed bullet spec for .38 and .357 is .358"-0030. SAAMI bullet diameter spec for 9MM is .3555-.0030. Even if a manufacturer/s wanted .357 guns and bullets to be exactly .357", and 9MM guns and bullets to be exactly .355", there would still be manufacturing tolerances resulting in considerable overlap in bullet and groove diameters. All within SAAMI specs.
Some Python groove diameters are reportedly as tight as .354". Conversely, I slugged a few Browning Hi Power 9MM barrels some years ago. The tightest was .356". Yet both those types of guns seem to do just fine with the various SAAMI spec bullet diameters that might be encountered.

So I don't loose any sleep over 9MM .355" bullets rattling down .357 revolver barrels, that may not be near an actual .357"....YMMV
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Old February 14, 2020, 11:49 PM   #8
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I was waiting for somebody to use the phrase "rattling down the bore" in regards to 9mm in a .357 revolver. A difference in diameter of .002" does not lead to a bullet "rattling" down the bore, there is no rattling at all because the bullet is in contact with the lands, which are cutting the rifling and imparting the spin on the bullet.

The bullet doesn't obturate to the largest diameter of the grooves, but there's no moving or rattling due to the contact with the lands.
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Old February 15, 2020, 01:30 AM   #9
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Accuracy will be a matter of the individual gun, the ammo used, and the PERSON shooting it.

I will tell you that one of the things you will find impressive about shooting the 9mm in a gun like the Blackhawk is the power it doesn't have.

And by that, I mean what you will feel shooting the gun. It will give you a chance to compare the recoil of full house .357 and 9mm in the same gun. Same grip, same weight, same trigger pull.

The same 9mm that feels "hot" from your pocket pistol will seem wimpy out of the Blackhawk (it won't be, but it will FEEL like it is).

I was looking at getting a .357/9mm Blackhawk when I ran across a good deal on a .357 Blackhawk and settled there. Don't really regret not having the 9mm cylinder, to me the only point is if you have a bunch of 9mm and run out of ,38/,357 you still have something to shoot.

I've been running the .45 convertible since 83, and full house .45ACP FEELS like a powder puff and I expect you'd get the same kind of feel from the 9mm Luger rounds too.
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Old February 15, 2020, 02:05 PM   #10
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"...expect non-jacketed lead 9mm bullets to lead the barrel..." Leading is caused by trying to drive a cast bullet at jacketed bullet velocities. Nothing to do with bullet diameter.
If the 9mm didn't work reasonably well in a .357" barrel Ruger's MBA's wouldn't be selling 'em.
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Old February 15, 2020, 02:35 PM   #11
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Leading is caused by trying to drive a cast bullet at jacketed bullet velocities.
This is one cause of leading.

Quote:
Nothing to do with bullet diameter.
Not true. Bullet diameter, bullet construction, AND velocity are ALL factors TOGETHER.
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Old February 15, 2020, 03:27 PM   #12
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Nothing to do with bullet diameter.
There are a few lead bullet diameters:
1 diameter before being fired
2 diameter after passing through the cylinder throat
3 diameter when entering the bore

If diameter #3 is smaller than the bore groove diameter there will probably be leading.
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Old February 15, 2020, 04:44 PM   #13
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Personally, I don't see the point of owning a Revolver chambered in 9mm Luger unless you're just so setup for 9mm Reloading or have tons of stored ammo for it, and even then it's more of an excuse to save money on ammo than anything else.

.357 Magnum can already chamber .38 Special if .357 is too much gun, and .38 Special +P is pretty darn close to Standard Pressure 9mm Luger in terms of performance.

I'm aware that a lot of folks argue that 9mm Luger actually performs better out of a snubby than .357 Magnum, but there are specialty .357 loads for short barrels that will easily outperform 9mm Luger unless you're loading 9mm +P+ or something.
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Old February 15, 2020, 05:21 PM   #14
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I had a BH in 9mm/357 and enjoyed shooting it. I shot it the most with 9mm lead reloads using Lee TL 124gr bullets. I shot a lot of turtles in my friends pond with that set up. And no, I didn't have any leading problems.

I didn't keep the gun very long. It shot well with what ever I shot out of it but it was just way too heavy for the rounds it chambered. I didn't like carrying it on my belt. A mid frame 357 double action was much more comfortable for woods walking and checking the fences and cows.

And according to the old gun writer Jan Libourel S&W uses the same bore diameter for 357 and 9mm. I will let you figure out which one they use.
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Old February 16, 2020, 01:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ratshooter View Post
I didn't keep the gun very long. It shot well with what ever I shot out of it but it was just way too heavy for the rounds it chambered. I didn't like carrying it on my belt. A mid frame 357 double action was much more comfortable for woods walking and checking the fences and cows.
This is one reason I have never seriously considered getting a .357 Blackhawk. I look at it and I ask myself why I would pay $500 for one when I got a 6 inch Charter Arms double action revolver that cost me nearly half as much and also weighs nearly half as much.

Sure, it's only a 5 shot, but I'm willing to give up one round for a much lighter gun that's also very accurate.
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Old February 16, 2020, 09:34 AM   #16
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I have the Blackhawk convertible. The 9mm is not as accurate as the 357. but I knew that before I bought the revolver. That said, it does fine out to 25 yds. I do not target shoot these guns, so Bullseye precision is not that important.
I do not reload any longer and the fact that I can buy 9mm ammo so cheap is one reason I bought the gun. If the Zombies do come and they will, the Blackhawk would be a good friend with the ability to swing both ways with ammo.
There are many folks that take these single Actions very seriously that could tell you a lot more about them. I have fun with the gun and that is what matters. It has no problems knocking over tin cans at 25-30 yds in 9mm.

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Old February 17, 2020, 09:53 PM   #17
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No experience with the 9mm/.357 convertible, but I do have a .45/.45 Colt convertible in the safe.

It’s shoots different point of aim between the two ,as I expected, and shoots the .45 Auto better/more accurately than the .45 Colt, which is strange to me since I size my Colt brass in the same dies as the .45 Auto (Hornady .45 Auto/Colt/Autorim), and shoot the same .451 diameter jacketed, or .452 diameter cast bullets in both, and velocities for about are 900-950 FPS for most of my loads. Could be the difference (if any, I’ve never measured) between the throats of the two cylinders, but it doesn’t really matter to me. The difference between the two at pistol pilstol plinking at a soda can range is small enough it really doesn’t matter, but is noticeable if you sit at a bench and put it on paper.

Shooting .45 Auto plinking loads after a few hot-ish .45 Colts is quite fun, makes the .45 Auto feel like some of my .32 Long loads.
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Old February 18, 2020, 01:53 PM   #18
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Have a New Model Blackhawk with both cylinders. Barrel slugged at a bit over 0.357". Tested accuracy in Ransom Rest.

9mm accuracy was equal with the other calibers. 38 Special, 357 Magnum and 9mm Factory ammo was equally accurate. Handloaded 9mm shot better. The most accurate was a 9mm with a 125 grain 0.355" Sierra bullet at 1.40" with 24 rounds at 25 yards.
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Old February 18, 2020, 03:30 PM   #19
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WOW, Impressive

I sincerely want to thank all replies. One more confirmation why I prefer this forum, to others. No attitudes and loads of Personal experiences. …..

Hand-Salute and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old February 20, 2020, 04:20 AM   #20
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My vote is buy one of the Blackhawk 357mag/9mm conversion models.
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Old February 20, 2020, 10:21 AM   #21
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my cast 9mm and .357 mag are all .358 sized and shot fine in my conversion.

Last edited by reloader28; February 20, 2020 at 10:35 AM.
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Old February 20, 2020, 03:16 PM   #22
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I have an Old Model, lots of fun. Muzzle Velocity ? Jacketed vs. cast bullets, barrel wear all affect it. Mine shoots very well with 9MM lead bullets and so easy to retrieve the brass.
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Old February 21, 2020, 09:37 AM   #23
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If you reload there is no reason for reloading the 9mm as cost is going to be a wash. I just stick with .357 brass and load to the velocity/accuracy I am looking for. Same goes for my .45 covertibles.
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Old February 22, 2020, 09:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rclark View Post
If you reload there is no reason for reloading the 9mm as cost is going to be a wash. I just stick with .357 brass and load to the velocity/accuracy I am looking for. Same goes for my .45 covertibles.
Careful Clark, you don't want to trigger the 9mm reloaders who find that reloading is a relaxing and enjoyable experience and they do it just for that.

Course, I've always found it strange it's 9mm that they only get that relaxation from reloading and not .45 or .32 or almost any other more expensive and easy to load cartridge.

I believe that reloading 9mm if fine... so long as 9mm is the only caliber you shoot.
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Old February 23, 2020, 01:02 AM   #25
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you don't want to trigger the 9mm reloaders who find that reloading is a relaxing and enjoyable experience and they do it just for that.
Reloading is relaxing and enjoyable experience! Yes indeed . 9mm too. My point was the revolver cartridge .357 can be loaded to easily mimic the 9mm or .38 special or .38SP +P... up to .357 power levels. There is no need for loading the 9mm (or .38 Special) at all for the convertible. That's why my 9mm cylinder sits in the box. FYI, I don't even own a semi-auto in 9mm..... It is kind of funny that I did buy 9mm dies and a shell holder thinking I might load some up for fun.... But then, common sense got a hold of me and the dies are gathering dust too.

However if you not a reloader, then cheap auto 9mm ammo may make much more sense for plinking and dispatching small varmints.
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