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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm on the verge of purchasing a 5-1/2" Blackhawk and am at a crossroads. I'm considering the Convertible with the extra .45ACP cylinder but can't really decide on it or the standard gun.

For those of you who own or have owned one of these convertibles, what exactly do/did you do with the ACP cylinder? How did you use it where .45 Colt ammo wouldn't be as good or better for a job? There's a nagging voice in the back of my head that says get the Convertible but the rational part of me sees little if any utility for it. Anyone else's thoughts & experiences?
 

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Bill, I've got one and use the 45 acp for informal target shooting. Using light loads in it is just about like shooting 148gr wad cutters in my 38 spl. The 45 colt I carry in the woods, if I dont have my .41 mag with me. I get a lot of people that bring in 45 acp ammo into the gun shop wanting to know if will get rid of it for them (little old ladies mostly), wind up with a lot of brass.

Gun Runner
 

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Cheaper ammo for plinking was about the only real use for the .45acp cylinder. Can still find good deals on case lots of .45acp so it still has a use. For "serious' work, the .45colt does just about everything better.

Same excuse fot he 9mm/.357 versions...can get cheap Russian made 9mm ammo (in case lots) at about $4.50 a box of 50. Mine had a lot of old nasty Egyptian surpluse fired in it, switching back to the .357 version for anything more serious than a tin can.

So...unless you areadly load the .45acp and have a lot of cases/componants or are thnking about the cheap case lots offered for sale, there really isn't a great reason.
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One thing I did find. Kept some crappy Colt 1911 magazines in my pocket...was much easier to just thumb the .45acp's out of the magazine and directly into the Ruger's loading gate...about the fastest way to reload a single action (smae goes for 9mm mags in the 9mm cylinders).
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Low recoil w/cheap FMJ ammo.

Mine sure is fun.... although perhaps not the most practical application of the .45 ACP (but easier than picking up cases off the ground).

I vote for the convertible.
 

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I have never heard anyone say they regret buying a .45 convertible. If you don't buy it, you might always have that nagging voice in the back of your mind. If you decide to sell it, you will get back the price difference. 45 ACP is easier to find than 45 Colt, in some places, and definately cheaper if you don't reload. You can use a 1911 magazine for a speedloader/ammo holder for the field. If you have to use your BlackHawk for self defense, the ACP has better (well, more high-tech) loads available. Accuracy should be as good as with the 45 Colt, the bores are the same although the 9mm/357s can have some accuracy problems from what I understand. I just picked up and fitted a 9mm cylinder, haven't fired it yet.
andy
ps, I forgot full extraction/ejection with the short ACPs.
 

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Bill, I wish I had spent the extra for the convertible. It's cheaper that having some one make the extra cylinder later. To me it's better to have it and not use it than the other alternative.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #7
True enough. The only other thing I could think of, and please don't think I'm some kind of wacko survivalist or something for thinking it, is IF some sort of domestic crisis occurred where homes had to be abandoned the increased availability of ACP rounds might be beneficial. But again, that's stretching things a bit.
 

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Bill Lester,

I have had somewhere near a half dozen Ruger Blackhawks. I've also had many 1911's. So I have accumulated thousands of 45ACP cases. After buying my last 1911 I loaded up thousands of rounds of .45 ACP. After being forced to sell my 1911 because of financial distress I faced the fact that I have nothing to shoot all that ammo out of.
So since I am living in IL, and don't have my loading press set up, I found myself running out of .45 Colt. So I thought I would just go aquire a .45 ACP cylinder for my OM BH.
Easier said than done. I eventually got one on eBay. Cost over a hundred dollars. But now I can shoot up all that ACP ammo.

Buy the convertable now. It's much cheaper, a lot less trouble, and increases the versatility of the revolver. Plus you don't have to use it if you don't want to.
 

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When I bought my Ruger OM Blackhawk in .45 Colt with spare .45 Auto cylinder, back in 1973, I figured I'd go into the military in a year or two.
I figured that the spare cylinder for .45 Auto could be fed some free, Uncle Sam .45 Auto rounds if I glommed onto any.
Well, I went into the Air Force because, at the time, it had the best law enforcement training (I wanted to be a police officer at the time).
Alas, the Air Force didn't have .45 Autos!
When I went into Security Police school, I found out the Air Force carried the Smith & Wesson Model 15 in .38 Special.
It was an excellent handgun, hampered only by the puny military load we were required to carry (130 gr. full metal jacket at 600 fps from a 4" barrel).
Sheesh ... this Airman never saw a single .45 Auto cartridge in his four years and two months of enlistment. :(
Story of my life ... <sigh>
Anyway, I'm still glad I got it with that extra cylinder.
I made up some loads a while back that proved to be rather warm in my Kimber Custom Classic Target.
Rather than disassemble them, I fired them in the spare cylinder of the Blackhawk. They worked fine, showed no high pressure in the Ruger, and I was spared the tedious task of pulling bullets.
 

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Bill,
I can't speak directly to the .45LC/.45ACP convertible, as the only .45LC I own is a Bisley. I can tell you that I own two other Ruger convertibles, a 32-20/32H&R and a 38-40/10mm, and enjoy them both very much. I actually use both cylinders in these revolvers equally. Since I've picked up a couple Single Sixes in .32, I don't use that cylinder too much in the Blackhawk.

My ideas on the benefits of the convertible would be these. The .45ACP replaced the .45LC to a great degree, and the ballistics are very similar. If you aim is to fire factory level loads, I'm of the opinion that the .45ACP is a more suitable and economical proposition for that purpose. Don't forget that you're not limited to auto-only bullet designs with the wheel gun version of the ACP. If you want to shoot hunting level loads, the .45LC cylinder is the easy choice. For the bulk of "fun" shooting, full-house .45LC loads don't really meet this requirement unless your name is Zeppelin, the .45ACP would be the better choice. It burns less powder and uses more commonly available brass and bullets. If you where to be limited to factory ammunition, this would be a complete no-brainer.

If in the future you decided you didn't like the weapon, I'd consider the convertible a resale plus also. If it is your aim to use hunting level loads on a predominate basis, I would choose the Bisley and forget about the standard Blackhawk. The Bisley, in my opinion and experience, is vastly superior to the standard Blackhawk when using heavy loads. I base that on having both in the Blackhawk in .41Mag and having fired fellow shooters Blackhawks in .45LC versus my Bisley.

If I was going to get a Blackhawk, I'd get the convertible. I have thousands of peices of ACP brass, dies, moulds for other pistols so I may be biased.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Bill,

My contribution pertains to accuracy comparisons for light loads. I shoot five days a week at an indoor Florida range and almost all of my 20 odd shooting companions use the 45 ACP for our league target shooting. This ranges from Bullseye contests to Bowling Pin contests. Their primary 45 ACP interest is the accuracy of the 45ACP with light target loads. Using five different powders recommended for light loads, I compared my 45ACP Blackhawk performance to it’s 45LC performance and found that the 45LC results equal any of the 45ACP light load target loads.

If I needed the advantage of the much quicker reloading with the full moon clips of the S&W revolvers, the 45ACP would be the choice, but with the Blackhawk, other than the suggested brass availability and cost, the 45LC offers a balanced performance that covers the territory! But then, there is always the fun of load development for a different cartridge. And as the other responses suggest.,“better safe than sorry” may be the wise decision.

Dan
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'll second the notion of staying with the Bisley if you plan on hunting with the .45 Colt. Loads that are pleasant (?) to shoot in my Bisley, are just downright painful - I kid you not - in my .45 LC/ACP Blackhawk. Both 7.5" barrels.

Anything over 300 grains in the standard Blackhawk requires a pretty tough shooter!
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Bill,

After rereading my post, a term comes to mind that I understand originated during the Civil War. As a historian, I suspect you're familiar with the term "mugwump"?

Dan
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #14
DOK,

Yep, quite familiar with the term. But it dates from the 1884 election.

So in other words, you're being "decisively neutral?"

;)


kciH & others,

I do have quite a bit of experience with the heavily loaded .45 Colt and that's primarily for what this Blackhawk will be used. Since I handload the cost of standard loads in either the Colt or ACP is largely moot. They're about the same with both.

The more I think about it, the more I agree with Mike. The Bisley handles heavy recoil significantly better than the standard Blackhawk grip. I think anything much beyond 260's at 1300 fps is really pushing the standard grip frame's comfort and control threshold. (Or at least for me. 330's with an ungodly amount of H110 once put a dent in my thick Irish forehead, I don't want to repeat it.) But, here's the kicker (pun intended), I only want a 5-1/2" barrel this time. That leaves me with a limited run of stainless Bisleys sans ACP cylinder from AccuSport last year or buying the standard Blackhawk and adding a Bisley grip. Either way this ain't gonna be cheap.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Bill,

Can you see the sights on a Vaquero? Cause there are plenty of Bisley Vaqueros floating around in the shorter barrel lengths. Just a thought.
 

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Buy the limited-run stainless Bisley with the short barrel. If you don't like it, you'll have no trouble getting rid of it. ****, I'd even buy it!:) I know that shooting big-power hunting loads in the Blackhawk grip frame SUCKS. It really doesn't matter if it's a .41 with 300's, a .44 with 300's, or a .45 with 300+'s, it just plain sucks. I will tell you that a 5.5" Bisquero in 44 Mag is unplesant to shoot with full power 240gr loads compared to the 7.5" Bisley in 45 with the full-on 300gr loads.
Being that you handload, buy the Bisley. I had the chamber throats on mine opened and it enhanced the accuracy greatly when using cast AND jacketed bullets. Well maybe it wasn't just the chamber throats, I don't know when to say when. The pressure signs came a full 1.5-2grs of 296 or H110 later than it did before I had this done, when using jacketed bullets.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #17
Mike,

I can see the fixed Vaquero sights okay but I really need the ability to dial-in the gun for my handloads. I doubt there'd be enough leeway to file or push with the Vaquero.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Bill,

I'm gonna go through that exercise myself, have acquired a Vaquero, now I gotta make my hunting handloads work with it. Will let you know how it goes...
 
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