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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Note: I believe that the conditions described below are not the result of failed quality control at the Ruger factory. They seem to be the result of design/engineering decisions. I will pontificate on the 'issues' in ascending order of annoyance they caused me; none of them may be issues for another owner of a Ruger Blackhawk .45 convertible.

1. The grips. Ruger describes them as hard rubber, but they look and feel like plastic to me. They are functional, but do not fill my slightly larger than average hand well. The grip slips in my hand a little during firing.
I installed Pachmayr "Presentation" grips. Not a perfect fit to the gun, but close enough - and much better in my hand.

2. The sights. These appear to be unchanged except for height since my 70s era Blackhawk was built, except that the front sight blade on the older gun is pinned in place with a roll pin. I don't know how I would go about replacing the blade on the new gun. Both sights are plain black, so pretty difficult to pick up - that was the case with the older gun too; I filed a notch in the front sight blade and filled it with a red plastic from a kit. I also installed a white-outline rear sight blade.

On the new gun, I put a dab of red nail polish at the top of the ramp of the front sight blade. I also replaced the all black rear sight blade with a white outline blade from Brownells. And that procedure produces my second annoyance. The blade is held in place by the screw that adjusts windage, and a spring behind the other end of the blade. I was unable to get the blade in place ahead of the spring until, after half an hour or so of trying, I cut a few turns off it. The sight is assembled again, and seems to function OK, but since the blade is held in place only by the spring and the windage screw, it will have an easier time popping off the sight.

This situation could be avoided completely with a set screw on the left side of the sight, allowing the spring to be removed, the blade installed, and the spring replaced. That would even preserve the windage setting pretty closely. Regarding the sights as a whole, It seems to me that - over the course of the Blackhawk's existence - Ruger could have come up with better sights for it; at least the white outline blade as standard.

3. The cylinders. Here is my main annoyance - and puzzlement with Ruger's design decision. The freebores in each cylinder are sized to make a .451 bullet a firm push fit. This means that any lead bullet I can find sold on the Interweb must be swaged to .451 - because there don't seem to be any under .452. Can this situation be what Ruger intended? Or did Ruger expect us to use only jacketed bullets? That hypothetical expectation is moderately unreasonable for the .45 auto, and highly unreasonable for the .45LC. Why those freebores are not .452 is a puzzle to me. I have purchased the necessary bullet swaging kits (Lee), so I will be able to use lead bullets eventually. The swaging process, using Lee's bullet lube, is fairly messy and time consuming, but...

I will persevere.
 

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I was wondering how a gun whines. Now I know.
 

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I've had NMBH 45 convertible for many years. It mostly collected dust till I took up hand loading some years ago. It has proven exceptionally accurate with almost anything I put through it. Having discovered the versatility of the 45colt cartridge I seldom use the other cylinder. The tight throats shoot jacketed bullets of .451, 452, and .4525 all equally well. Also cast bullets of .452 to .454 seem to both shoot well. For me it has been a robust reliable arm that's answered any question I've ever asked of it. Once you get your sights and grips set up to your likeing and burn some powder I bet you'll be happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've had NMBH 45 convertible for many years. It mostly collected dust till I took up hand loading some years ago. It has proven exceptionally accurate with almost anything I put through it. Having discovered the versatility of the 45colt cartridge I seldom use the other cylinder. The tight throats shoot jacketed bullets of .451, 452, and .4525 all equally well. Also cast bullets of .452 to .454 seem to both shoot well. For me it has been a robust reliable arm that's answered any question I've ever asked of it. Once you get your sights and grips set up to your likeing and burn some powder I bet you'll be happy with it.
I am obviously missing something. All of that involuntary swaging in the freebores - of jacketed bullets even? That's when the bullets are set back enough so their cylindrical diameters don't prevent the cartridges from loading?
 

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Only the bullet shank is full diameter. The forward portion of most bullets with the exception of wadcutters are tapered. I have not slugged my throats, but .452 bullets don't pass through if dropped in the cylinder. My gun shows excellent accuracy with all the diameters I mentioned. From what I've read throats that are too big are more problematic. All my revolvers seem to be modern enough to have throats of the proper size. If bullets are swaged too small by the chamber throats then must bump up to fill the bore upon entering the forcing cone leading and poor accuracy can result (or so I've read).... My particular gun seems to be completely free from any of these problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Only the bullet shank is full diameter. The forward portion of most bullets with the exception of wadcutters are tapered. I have not slugged my throats, but .452 bullets don't pass through if dropped in the cylinder. My gun shows excellent accuracy with all the diameters I mentioned. From what I've read throats that are too big are more problematic. All my revolvers seem to be modern enough to have throats of the proper size. If bullets are swaged too small by the chamber throats then must bump up to fill the bore upon entering the forcing cone leading and poor accuracy can result (or so I've read).... My particular gun seems to be completely free from any of these problems.
I am forced to agree that the results you are experiencing are good ones. I still don't understand how forcing a .452 jacketed bullet through a .451 freebore can be a good thing, nor do I understand why a lead bullet swaged to .451 by the freebore doesn't leave lead in the bore (because of the initial blow-by). I am also surprised - maybe due to ignorance - that swaging lead bullets in the freebores doesn't leave lead in those freebores.

I already have a large collection of stuff I don't understand, so I'm guessing these additions won't weigh me down. But because I don't understand, I am going to avoid shooting bullets bigger than .451. If that means lead bullets leave excess lead in the bore, I'll get some gaschecks. The Lee swager will install them.

Thanks for the info, thumbuster. It's a relief to know that the folks at Ruger aren't crazier than bedbugs. Well, that ain't guaranteed, I suppose.

:hammer:

[The guy with the mallet represents thumbuster.]
 

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I don't understand half of what this reloading terminology is. lol But I am learning alot since I've joined this forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't understand half of what this reloading terminology is. lol But I am learning alot since I've joined this forum!
Most of the stuff in this thread isn't exclusively reloading stuff; it might be 'internal ballistics', if there is such a thing. We are just hoping to get the bullet out of the barrel and flying true, without messing things up. After that it's those other ballistics.
 

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Yeah, what's up with those black plastic/rubber grips they use nowadays! Ruger sells nice wood grips if you want wood.

The rear sight: As best as I can remember, you gotta pivot the blade into that one little notch while compressing the spring thru the open end.
Be careful not to shoot the spring across the shop or into your eye when it slips!!!
I had to cut down two blades on two guns to accommodate my aging eyes. It took re-learning how to install them each time.
Your set screw idea would be a better way to go.

Having never owned a .45 anything, I got nothing on the inner cylinder diameters. I have heard tighter clearances in the throat helps accuracy.

When trying jacketed rifle bullets in my .44 Mag SB, the massive (bulging) crimp I tried first cased chambering problems.
It doesn't sound like that's what is happening with your gun though.
Persevere man persevere. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, what's up with those black plastic/rubber grips they use nowadays! Ruger sells nice wood grips if you want wood.

The rear sight: As best as I can remember, you gotta pivot the blade into that one little notch while compressing the spring thru the open end.
Be careful not to shoot the spring across the shop or into your eye when it slips!!!
I had to cut down two blades on two guns to accommodate my aging eyes. It took re-learning how to install them each time.
Your set screw idea would be a better way to go.

Having never owned a .45 anything, I got nothing on the inner cylinder diameters. I have heard tighter clearances in the throat helps accuracy.

When trying jacketed rifle bullets in my .44 Mag SB, the massive (bulging) crimp I tried first cased chambering problems.
It doesn't sound like that's what is happening with your gun though.
Persevere man persevere. :)
Re the rear sight - I figured that little notch is an assembly aid, but I didn't figure out how to use it. I must have worked it out 30+ years ago, when I swapped blades on the old Blackhawk, and I could have written it down even; but 30 years is plenty long enough to lose stuff.

Close clearance in the throats/freebores/whatever-they-are-called is very likely a fine thing. Using them to swage the bullets? That seems like dubious practice to me.

Anyway, I fully intend to persevere. I like the way this Blackhawk handles even better than I do The old one. The 1" shorter barrel and alloy grip frame lighten it and let it 'point' better. As long as I stay away from hot loads, It ought to be a pleasure (not a blast) to shoot.
 
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