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Old November 12, 2012, 12:19 AM   #1
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Bad groups out of Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter

Well, I guess that I am looking for some insight as to what might be giving me some very bad groups out of a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter that I have. I bought the gun new in 2007 and have only put about 150-200 rounds through it, but when I have shot it, it did not appear to be particularly accurate. Anyway I decided to work with it today to do some hunting with it over the Thanksgiving break.

I set it up on the bench and shot three rounds of 240gr Winchester JSP at 50 yards. I had previously shot at this distance and while not tack driving accurate, I don't remember it being too bad. Well today it shot terrible... I am talking 9"-11" groups and spreading rounds like a shotgun. One round was completely off of the paper... I shot 3 more rounds and then went to thouroughly clean the pistol (it was already clean, but just to make sure). I then shot 6 more rounds of the same ammunition with similar results. Again this is not freehand, I do not shoot that well. It is off of a very solid shooting rest with me lining the scope up and simply squezing the trigger.

So I switched to some Winchester Super-X 240gr that I had on hand. Same results, horrible huge groups. So I tried some SWC handloads that my father shoots out of his Super Blackhawk with excellent results. Horrible....

The pistol has a Nikon Monarch 2-20 UUC scope on it mounted with the rings that came with the pistol. My first thought was to check the rings to make sure the scope has not come loose and it had not. My next move is to remove the scope and shoot open sight. As a comparison I shot my Super Redhawk with open sight using my own handloads (250gr and 300gr) and off of the exact same bench was able to shoot consistent 4" to 6" 3 shot groups before I grew tired of the punishment. And that was with open sights.

The lockup feels great, the forcing cone looks great and there is no damage to either the crown nor rifling. I just cannot find anything that would cause the pistol to be scattering rounds like it is. I am not going to claim to be the best shot in the world, but 9"-11" groups with no ryme or reason at 50 yds just seems really big. None of my other revolvers shoot like that, I have a 3.5" S&W Model 27 357 that shoots a heck of a lot better then that!

So what should I try next other then trying without the scope? Is there anything else to try? If I cannot find an issue is this something to send it back to Ruger to look at? I just have never had a gun that simply did not shoot well so I do not know where to go from here. Thanks for your help.
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Old November 12, 2012, 02:26 AM   #2
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Ruger is notorious for making the holes in the cylinder different sizes. I would slug the bore and the cylinder and check that. I would also mark the cylinder and shoot groups with each hole separately.
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Old November 12, 2012, 06:06 AM   #3
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Bout 20yrs. ago I bought a brand new 7 1/2" redhawk. The best groups off the bench I could shoot was around 12" at 25yds.
I wound up selling it & buying a 7 1/2" blackhawk that wasn't all that impressive either. Sold it too.
Now I've got a 10 1/2" super blackhawk that shoots tacks. Finally a keeper.
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:51 PM   #4
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As a point of reference, my 45 Hunter shoots 2" 5 shot groups at 50 yards.
I would slug the barrel and see if you have a tight spot near the threads. You could also slug the cylinders. The 45 Hunters tend to be a little undersized at the cylinder throats. The other options include trying more ammo types, having someone else shoot it and sending it back to Ruger.
Good luck!
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:29 PM   #5
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Have owned a bunch of Rugers and still own six. I've always done three things: Belt Mountain Base Pin, Trigger Job, and Bowen's Back Country Sights. They don't line bore the cylinders, but every one that I've owned shot better than I could. My SBH cylinders go from .4295-.430, but that hasn't affected how it shoots. I had a friend with a SBH that sent his base pin hard against the ejector tab on the third shot and printed terrible. Put a BM Base Pin, and it shot quite nicely.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:48 PM   #6
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Maybe try some 44 special loads at 25yds to eliminate most of the recoil.

I have noticed in my SBH that I have to be consistent with my hold/grip. Otherwise, my grips do open up. My revolver likes 180XTPs and Bullseye for 44sp and 265gr GC slugs and H110 for 44mag. 1" 6-shot groups at 25yds with iron sights.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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Can't help but think that your cylinder is not locking up with the chambers matching the barrel. I'm shooting a Ruger Super Blackhawk not a Hunter and I use iron sights only but everything from 44 spcl powder puff loads to Double tap 300 gr loads shoot to where I want them. If everything is solid and the barrel looks good then you should be able to do the same thing. Ruger or real good pistol smith your choice but I wouldn't do anything to it that might make Ruger think you messed it up with your tinkering with it. Just dos centavos from an old dinosaur.
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Old November 16, 2012, 01:42 PM   #8
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Ruger has great customer service. If you sent it to Newport NH for service it would come back a real shooter. I had a great experience with a Vacquero 45. The problem is you'll lose the gun for a couple of months.
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:05 PM   #9
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take the scope off to narrow the problem down.
you need to know if the problem is the gun or the scope
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Old November 17, 2012, 12:15 AM   #10
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Believe it or not, some revolvers are really picky about the loads you put in them.

Try out a control load. 250 grain LSWC, sized to .430 inch, on top of 8.0 to 8.5 grains of Unique.

This is the accuracy load for the .44 magnum developed by Elmer Keith. It is a nice load--not too much recoil or muzzle flip. With this load, my Model 29 will shoot well within 1 1/2 inches at 25 yards from a rest with irons. If the pistol doesn't like that, chances are it won't shoot anything well.
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Old November 17, 2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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First off: is this an "underbarrel warning" gun or a "side-barrel warning"? (In other words, where is the "lawyer's warning billboard" on the barrel, under or side?)

Trust me: it matters.
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Old November 17, 2012, 10:59 AM   #12
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I have a Blackhawk in 45 LC and only shoot lead reloads. When I purchased it 20+ years ago I had the same problem.
I went from standard size .452 to 454 and the thing became an accurate gun at 25 yards.
When you shot the lead, were you getting any lead out the side of the forcing cone or lots of lead residue on the side of the cone?
One suggestion is to have someone else fire the gun just to take you out of the picture. I know that some guns don’t fit me well and it affects accuracy.
I would contact Ruger.
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Old November 17, 2012, 03:32 PM   #13
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First off: is this an "underbarrel warning" gun or a "side-barrel warning"? (In other words, where is the "lawyer's warning billboard" on the barrel, under or side?)

Trust me: it matters.
There's a difference in how the cylinders were reamed.
The method used for yours can help pinpoint the problem, and direct a course of action.
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Old November 17, 2012, 04:36 PM   #14
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Check the cylinder throats first; I've had to have three cylinders reamed for my 2 BH's as they were random in size, but all smaller than .452. My 45acp cylinder was actually splitting the cases around the base of the bullet, solved when reamed to .452. Accuracy also dramatically improved. As stated Ruger customer service is great and they strive for satisfaction.
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Old November 18, 2012, 03:22 AM   #15
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I would take the scope off as mentioned above. Also if the mount is loose at all your groups will be large. One time I thought I could get away without using loctite on some mounts. So much for that idea.

My Super Blackhawk shoots 1.5" groups at 25 yards using 240 swc over 9 grains of Unique. I'm sure glad my gun never had any problems like some of yours.
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:51 AM   #16
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Ruger is notorious for making the holes in the cylinder different sizes.
Bull butter.
Ruger is famous for accuracy in machining with their CNC equipment.
Pistols are hard to shoot accurately. I shot my Redhawk .44 mag. competitively, and did well, for many years. Shoulder injuries took me away from that for about five years. When I tried again I couldn't hit a barn wall, from the inside. It takes much practice to get back again, even from a rest. Try going to 25 yards, that will tell you much about yourself and the gun.
Clean and de-lead bore and cone.
Remove scope and have it checked. My .44 mag. has ruined an Aimpoint and a scope with recoil.
Really, there is no reason why it shouldn't shoot fine.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:05 AM   #17
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Note your chambers then shoot a six shot group loading the same chamber until you have shot all six chambers. Swab the bore after you complete each series from each chamber. Lay down the six targets and compare. There should be something that is distinct.

(1) no chamber can shoot a tight group
(2) certain chambers shoot better than others

Lose the scope and shoot off a rest at 25yds maybe shoot .44 special for the test since the recoil could begin to interfere.

Have a second party do the same thing with your gun. It will take a while but you'll have a good idea whats going on when your finished.

Also and Im sure you checked the sights, (your scope may be damaged so get rid of that variable by testing the gun and not the scope).

One more thing make sure your grips are TIGHT. If they are snug it will cause poor grouping. They must be TIGHT.
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Old November 18, 2012, 07:09 PM   #18
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have been in the field for the past week so could not get on here. I am going to remove tbe scope to start with. From there i may work up some easy loads and try that out. Last resort will be to contact Ruger. I have several other rugers that are exellent shooters which is one reason i have been a bit disappointed in this pistol. I am sure they will help out or at least i hope they will as i bought the pistol to hunt with and i just do not trust it to hunt right now.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:51 AM   #19
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I have many Ruger revolvers, all are excellent, just bought a .44 Mag Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter Stainless, what an amazing gun, workmanship is outstanding, very accurate, easily a hundred yard shooter.
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