The Ruger Blackhawk

Photo by author

The year was 1955 and Westerns were dominating television. It seems everyine and his brother (and sister too) wanted a "cowboy gun." Colt had discontinued the venerable Single Action Army (SAA) at the onset of World War II and they didn't seem to interested in making any more of them. That would change.

Enter Bill Ruger who was ever quick to recognise a demand for a type of firearm and meet that demand. That first SAA-type revolver was christened the Blackhawk; it was made in .38 Sp./.357 Mag. calibre amd it sold like hotcakes. Compared to the venerable Colt revolver the Blackhawk incorporated some new technology. Gone were the Colt's traditional leaf springs in favour of more easily made coil springs. The coil springs lasted longer too, but we had to wait a decade or so to see this in practice. The Blackhawk had sights that were light-years ahead of the SAA; they were easy to see and the rear sight was adjustable! All-in all the Blackhawk was what the SAA would have been if it had been originally made in 1955 instead of 1873. More calibres and variations came along. In the photograph above is one of my pair of "Buckeye Specials" that were only made between 1989 and 1990. They have 6.5" barrels and come with two cylinders -- one chambered in 10mm Auto and one in the old .38-40 Winchester. I am a fan of the 10mm round so I had to get one of these. I ended up shooting the .38-40 round a lot more than the 10mm. Cowboy action shooting made getting another one almost a necessity. I only wish I had ordered a sequentially-numbered pair right from the beginning. In the photo you may see that I have added some pretty grips and a gold-plated Super Blackhawk (SB) grip frame. Yeah, I was looking for a brass SB grip frame and found one sitting around in a little gun store. The price was right so I bought it only to be informed that it wasn't brass, but gold-plated steel. So much the better. The SB has a larger grip but it fits the Blackhawk just fine. I prefer the larger grip. In case you don't know the SB is only made in the mighty .44 Magnum chambering.

Technical Info
Weight and overall length both vary with barrel length and calibre, and there are a lot of different ones.These are all-steel revolvers (except for the aluminium grip frame and ejector housing) and so they weigh a couple of pounds. If you have ever seen a Western movie or TV show, you know what one of these looks like. There are differences between the Ruger and the Colt, but they are not very visible. The main difference is that the Ruger Blackhawk is a lot stronger than any Colt SAA. Unlike a lot of the revolvers you see in the movies this one only holds six rounds at a time.