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Old January 27, 2012, 07:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Range Report and Review of Ruger BH Conv..

I finally got to go shoot my new Ruger Blackhawk Convertible 45 Colt / 45 ACP yesterday and knowing their popularity had to come report to you guys (& gals!) the good & bad of it. I had two surprises, one good, one bad.

The gun came absolutely mint and was packaged very well. I like the black finish and the (look of) the black grips. It takes a very light hand to change cylinders. It's fit tight and there is no fast cylinder change but this is a benefit because of minimum cylinder gap.

Handling the gun is a breeze, the ergonomics of the gun and the slickness (?!) of the action make it very handy and very user friendly. It was immediately apparent that trigger & action on the BH is better than on my RH or my SBH. SO my BH is #2 under my FA83. That is saying something!

The first couple cylinder fulls of ammo I put through it were handloaded 255 gr SWC's with 8.0 gr of Unique, just to get a feel for it. I didn't have any paper targets so we only had coffee cans and old pots and pans and so I figured so what I'll put it on paper next time. I did Chrony 6 different loads for it though. No wonder 8.0 gr of Unique is a widely referenced pet load with 255's. Out of the Blackhawks 5.5" barrel it reached 830 fps/ 7 avg dev/ 33 es (!) and shot real straight. I was blowing 1" holes in steel pots.

I have hardly ever loaded any 45 Colt ammo and never for this gun so I was starting low, most loads sooted cases indicating too low pressure to seal. But it gave me hard data with many powders so it was a huge success even before the fun factor and it's redline fun! Here's my start data with a 255 gr SWC boolit with a plain base.

255 gr SWC .452 45 Colt 5.5" BH:

8.0 gr./ 830 fps./ 7 avg dev./ 33 es.

15.3 gr./846 fps./ 25 avg dev./ 115 es.

6.2 gr./ 717 fps./ 28 avg dev./ 119 es.

8.0 gr./ 813 fps./ 21 avg dev./ 120 es.

6.5 gr./ 717 fps./ 18 avg dev./ 83 es.

200 gr (Miha) HP .452 45 ACP:

5.5 gr./ 855 fps./ 13 avg dev./ 54 es. (5.5" Ruger BH)
5.5 gr./ 850 fps./ 18 avg dev./ 52 es. (5" Colt GVMT.)

That last load was surprising! I wondered how much difference there would be between my 5.5" BH and my 5" 1911 because while the BH's barrel is 1/2" longer than the 1911 has, it also has a barrel to cylinder gap so I wondered how close the velocities would be. That was the good surprise, seeing only 5 fps difference in velocity between guns with the same ammo.

The bad surprise and the only negative thing whatsoever is that the 45 ACP cylinder for the BH is tight. So tight that my normal lead loads at .452 had to be hand picked and tried one at a time to see if they chamber all the way. (A half box of factory hardball as well as a handful of my .451 jacketed handloads did chamber with no problems in it.)

Overall, the Ruger Blackhawk convertible is an awesome gun and I like it a lot. I like that big fat front sight! I can pick it up fast and do good work with it. No soup can is safe! I can work through the cylinder problem I'm sure, so this isn't really a negative on the gun. I just need to tweak it a bit somehow.

They set up the BH's 45acp cylinder for .451 so it is feasible to open up the cylinder a little so I can use my lead loads and not be restricted to jacketed? It would be a big plus to run the same ammo I already make in this gun.

I'm open for suggestions.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old January 28, 2012, 09:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: March 2, 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 490
Thanks for the report. I bought one new over the holidays as a Christmas present to myself. Love the gun!!

I have another BH 357 Mag that I installed Hogue rubber grips on that made it much more enjoyable to shoot. I found the factory grips did not give me the hold on the gun I wanted shooting hot loads. I purchased the same grip to install on the 45 Colt BH only to find they would not work because of the internal lock. I still wanted the grips on the gun so I drilled and taped the butt of the gun to 10-32 and used a longer screw. The aluminum alloy they used drilled and taped very well.

I think I like the trigger on my 357 Mag better but it is many years old and we will have to see when this gun is better broken in.

I did not chrony any of the loads I shot and the only bullets I had were 230 gr RN. I loaded with 9.5 grains Unique and 21 grains AA#9. Deffinate difference in the power back on the shooter but totally manageable.

Tried out the 45 ACP cylinder and cannot tell the difference installing it compared the the 45 Colt. Both have to be just right or they will not go. If right they fall in. As you put it a light hand is needed. The only loads I tried with the same bullet were 8 grains Power Pistol. I did not have any problems chambering any of these.

I may push my reloads a little bit in 45 Colt but do not think I will push them as far as some people have.

Also did not shoot paper but tin cans are definnately in danger.

Again Thanks!
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Old January 29, 2012, 12:13 AM   #3
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Join Date: September 8, 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 612
Congratulations gentlemen! I remember so well.

I used to have was my favorite handgun. I bought it new 35 years ago or there abouts. It had walnut grips in those days, and mine had a 7 1/2" barrel....t'was such a cool great shootin' gun.

Unfortunately mine was stolen from me right out of my house 15 years ago.....which was not a common thing in my part America in those days...we didn't even lock our doors (did after that day). They took that gun and a Colt Gold Cup. The Colt I got back.....the Ruger was sold for drugs. Yes I knew the SOBs...even related to them.

Still miss it. Irreplaceable.
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