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Discussion Starter #1
I put together a left field deal with an officer down at Lipsey's in Baton Rouge, LA. I sent a leaf feeler gauge and some virgin, or so I thought Cowboy Special brass to him to test in a few TALO, 5154 Ruger birdshead revolvers. He had about 15 in the back room. He's not a salesman, so his mug isn't on their wall paper page of agents. The revolver which came up to Idaho, has 4 to 5 thous. by Scott's measuring, and 0.006" by my own, here. Same cases, and the same leaf feeler gauge, "well used", so we're both in the proper limits. Seven Thou. is the outer limit, per a Ruger Tech, over the phone a couple of years ago. Even Chuck Hawks, notes 5 thous. for the 5152's, and 6 thous. for the 5154's.

Now here's the rub; The 5152, is head spaced for the 45 Long Colt, at the rear face of the cylinder.
The 5154, in 45 acp is head spaced six times at the individual case mouth dimensions inside the cylinder.
Ruger never head spaced it on the cylinder's rear face, so a couple extra thous. can creep in, during mass manufacturing. Thusly, that Ruger techie said to individually check each revolver out. FWIW, the yellow plastic shppg. guard is nominally 0.050" thick. This means that some of the space for the 45 Long Colt's rims is unaccounted for.

My logic here was to create a CAS setup with my Taylor's 45 Long Colt converter cylinder, shooting 45 Cowboy Specials, along with the Ruger 5154's ability to handle the same cases, all being trimmed back to 0.800". This way I can roll crimp everything without a 45acp seating die, putting in any kind of taper crimp, which defeats putting in any roll crimp over it. There's just nothing left for the shoulder in the roll crimper to grab onto.

Down the road, Taylor's lists a 45 Colt cylinder for a Pietta 1873 SAA. at around $120 Plus shipping, which "MIGHT" be able to be fitted into the Ruger. All I can say at this moment is that a Belt Mt. custom base pin for my old ASM Western Marshall, cheapo 1873, will fit nice and snug into my Ruger's cylinder.

The bushing will have to be custom fitted and it's a question and a half if the locking notches will be held tightly against their leading edges in the new Flat Top actions. Not so much of a convertible, as being a CAS Mounted competition rig where only black Powder blanks are used to pop balloons.

The last piece of the puzzle is from Taylor's G S who told me how to better adapt my converter cylinder for black powder, by marking the rear face of the backing plate with the six firing pins, with black magic marker and then gently filing down equally, on the rear ratchets, until my cylinder can run black powder without hanging up on the first six blanks.

Lastly and most importantly, this TALO 5154 can run Plus P 45 acp ammunition, so I can clean out the lead, run some cheap jacketed ammo, to take away any wax in the bbl. and then drop in six Speer Gold Stars at 200 grs. for Mountain hiking or horseback riding without worrying about snagging the revolver on a branch and shooting myself or the horse. As long as the trigger stays forward inside it's guard, inside of the holster, that transfer bar won't come up and let the thing fire, even if the hammer is nearly jerked back to full cock. Also, FWIW, the blued birdshead grip frame holds a magnet, so it's steel and not just black anodized aluminum.

My converter spits out bullets from a nominal 1 turn in 30 inch Cap and Ball twist, in my 1858 SS Remmie replica, by ASP. The new Ruger Vaqueros use a standard one in 16 inch twist, which was also used in the original 455 Webleys. Velocities of my Cowboy Special cases loaded with Webley "Sugarloaf" bullets will have to be chronoed between both sixguns. An 8 inch bbl. for the Remmie and 3.75" for the 5154 Birdshead means that the lead bullet field load in the Birdshead will require a Keith style SWC, loaded up to 45acp +P pressures, while the SASS legal comp. loads are held down to around 600 fps, in both revolvers. 600 fps comp. loads are held perfectly with full length Cowboy Special brass, using taper crimps, just like the 45 acp's. Desperado Bullets in Dayton, WA. doesn't even put a roll crimp groove in their 230 gr. 45acp lead slugs for this reason. And the factory American Cowboy, "mouse pharts" ammunition only uses a 180 gr. roll crimped pill at around 500 fps. These are made specifically for CAS comp. at 7 yds. Personally, I didn't feel at all bothered by any recoil with the sugar loaf Webley's loaded down to 500 fps. But 262 gr. H.B. Webleys at 730+ fps, is a different story.

In closing, the 45acp, or the 45 Cowboy Special are the only two cases which will hold these "Sugar Loafs" H.B. Webley bullets, properly, and have them fit into the 45 Cal. cylinders. And even at 45 Colt, CAS, field loading levels, they do like to "Walk Out" and jam up my 1858's cylinder. Ergo, my fixations on only roll crimping all of my rimmed cases.

I hope this Sit Rep posting, clears up any questions that my guesstimates in earlier posts may have left some of you fellow forum members, hanging.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
There are differences between the old mid frame three screw Blackhawks and the newbie Flat Top Blackhawks. The Big Ruger change was using the present two screw presentations in their actions. To me, a two screw Vaquero is a New Vaquero. I tried to show the difference with my attempt at photos of this, but I didn't get my angles correct. I can switch out my Flat Top's 44 Spec. cylinder into my Birdshead 5154 45 acp Vaquero, but the two screw new model Vaquero's cylinder is way too big. Whether I can retro fit an 1873 Colt, aka Pietta 45 Colt cylinder is still out there?? But the old Colt cylinders are very, very, close. Taylor's stock these, and it will be a gunsmith's job to deal with the bushing and maybe the star. The locking notches are extra wide, but maybe the Blackhawk's hand will hold the cylinder in correct battery?? Actually, Blackhawks which have the frame's "ears" around the rear sight, are not Flat Tops, and Vaqueros, Flat Top, ( small frames ), and the larger New Models are also "Flat Topped Frames", by definition.

The photos show a SS New Model Vaquero, and what I call, my Flat Top Vaquero, which is the smaller framed of these two.
 

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Good Lord, you can take an already complicated situation and make it impossible.

Vaquero - large frame, 1992-2005.

New Vaquero - medium frame, 2005-present.

Exceptions:

1. The .44Spl New Vaquero is marked "Vaquero".

2. The recent production .44Mag Vaquero is marked "New Vaquero".

I don't really know what you were trying to say but the eared models are not flat-tops. New Model flat-tops have been made in both frame sizes.

Flat-top (New Model)


Flat-top (Old Model .357)


Flat-top (Uberti/Colt)


Not a flat-top (New Model)


Not a flat-top (Old Model)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice photos, but I tried to show the difference between a large frame 45 Colt Vaquero, and my 45acp birdshead vaquero. Due to my I phone's offset camera, I blew this comparison. But the cylinders are different and will not interchange. The old 1973 Colt and it's clones may or may not be able to be retrofitted into the small frame Flat Top. The jury is still out on this, unless someone can vouch that they have already done one up.

Yes there was a special anniversary 44 Mag. made as a Flat Topped, large frame Blackhawk. But it's a rare duck. The 44 Mag. Birdshead was supposed to be the smaller frame, per a Ruger phone tech, but I've never handled one to verify this. I have handled an old mid frame 44 Mag. Blackhawk, so I know it's possible. But Bill Ruger wasn't happy with that one, so he designed the Super Blackhawk as a practical solution.
 

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THERE ARE NO MID-FRAME RUGER .44MAGNUMS! Period. No if's, and's, but's or exceptions*. I can't be any more blunt or plain than that.

The 50th anniversary .44 Blackhawk is not a rare duck.

The recent production .44Mag Vaquero is a large frame.

The original flat-top .44Mag is a large frame. Same size frame and cylinder as the later Super Blackhawk.


*** There were three prototype mid-frame .44Mags built but when the first one blew with proof loads, they designed the larger frame. Those prototypes never left Ruger and are rumored to have been destroyed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
agree to disagree

That gent who demo'd his for me didn't let me shoot his handloads, full of 2400. Ruger did make some, but then lengthened the cylinder and made a stronger action, in their SBH. By the way, he was shooting his hand loads into a large plastic garment bag, which you got back from a dry cleaners with your suit.
Today these are super rare, and you'll have to speak with a very competent Ruger Blackhawk collector to get the numbers.
 

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I'm sorry but there's nothing to agree to disagree about. There is fact and there is fiction. This is fiction.

If you're talking about the original .44Mag Blackhawk "flat-top", those are not mid frame guns. As I already said, same cylinder and frame size as the Super Blackhawk. About 20% larger than the Old Model .357 Blackhawks.
 

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carpooler,

I'm sorry but you have your terminology so screwed up it is very difficult for us to understand what it is you are asking or proposing. Craig C has tried to correct it for you but you persist. I'd be willing to help/discuss what you are asking but I still don't understand it.

Sorry again,
Dave
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I'm lost as a ball in high weeds.

RJ
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Special editions, notwithstanding;

The Wash. lockdowns, due to this virus, have put a crimp in us driving over the State Line. As soon as the local law sees Idaho plates, we've been getting pulled over and questioned. I don't want to get snagged carrying an Idaho registered handgun, in Wash. State. But as soon as this is lifted, I'll go back to my friend's place and mic. the heck out of our respective revolvers.
My late brother had a Ruger New Model 45 Long Colt, and it was so clubby, that I sold it for my sister in law, on GunBroker.
Both my Lipsey Rugers, a Flat Top 44 Spec. and this newbie 45 acp are smaller handguns then my late brother's was, period. What I didn't realize until today is that the Birdshead has a different reverse pawl from my 44 Spec. Flat Top New Model Blackhawk. So much for all the new mid size frame parts interchanging.

Also, I'm sending this birdshead up to Shaun T. at Craigmont, Id. to uniform the cylinder throats, and to ream the leads deep enough to deal with full diameter Keith style, lead bullet noses.
I picked up a box of range 45acp FMJ's, to do some test groups, so I have Before and After groups, to judge Shaun's work. Shaun said to budget a Benjamin for cylinder, forcing cone, and radiiusing the frame window under the loading gate. I'll just do a quickie cold blue, on the frame.

I can see a little daylight under a 45 acp round's extraction rim's groove, chambered in this cylinder. So this puppy does use the same cylinder window as a Blackhawk 45 Colt/acp convertible revolver. But since my frame is marked as 45 acp, there won't be any Ruger 45 Colt cylinder made available from the factory.

And for my money, this is the better way to fly. This shorty extraction rod, needed a stubbier cyl. base pin's head design, to even be able to push out fired 21 mm long, acp cases. For better or worse, both the auto case and the Cowboy Specials, will be pushed out, equally, through the loading gate.

Browning deviated from his smaller case designs, in that the 45acp Gov't round is a truly rimless case. His 38, 32, and 25, autos used semi rimmed cases. IIRC, the Gov't glued it's 45 Ball ammo's bullets in with an asphaltum mix. This glued bullet seating process removed the need for a roll crimp in the military ball ammo.
 

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The standard blued New Model .45 Blackhawk is a large frame but due to the aluminum grip frame and ejector housing, is actually lighter than the all-steel mid-frame guns of the same chambering. If I am reading it right, which is questionable.
 

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Forty years ago, the scarce .357 Maximum Blackhawk was desirable for the Linebaugh calibers. Were they stretched frames or just short barrel shanks?
I think Carpooler has 'frame' and revolver 'size' confused. The Birdshead grip gives an entirely different 'feel' to the same frame size because the entire gun becomes more compact.

A flattop with a Birdshead would seem tiny compared to a Blackhawk with standard grip frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
you're correct

You cannot discern them apart by weight alone. Both of my mid frames have steel grip frames, and ejector rod housings. My late brother's New Model 45 Colt, had the aluminum grip frame and ejector housing. But his revolver was just too big and clubby for my taste.

I really have to watch the pressures with handloading 45 Specials in my new TALO 45 acp Birdshead revolver. My brother could load his full size New Model 45 Colt, up to close to 44 Mag power levels.

This is where those Ruger only published reloads come from. I wished that Ruger had presented their new mid frames with something that would delineate them apart from the larger New Models, at a glance. A Ruger phone tech told me that their 44 Mag Birdshead was built on mid frames. I think that the newer ones are built on the larger New Model frames. The newly made hammers look different, but photos tell a thousand lies.

I used to own a New Model SS SBH, with the 6.5" bbl. so I'm aware of the difference. Here, weight was my friend. I could finally load my custom bore rider lead slugs with their crimps in the correct groove, using 44 Spec. brass in the longer SBH cylinder. In an old New Frontier Colt 44 Spec. and my present Ruger 44 Spec. I have to deep seat my custom bullets for the cylinder to revolve. In both the Colt and my Lipsey's special 44 S&W Special, I only get 725 fps. out of short barrels. Only the Colt had a custom quick twist barrel. One in Twenty twists in the Rugers means minimum stability for these 316 gr. lead SWC's.

It remains to be seen if this new 45acp Birdshead will fling heavy slugs up through the rafters on the way to the target paper. But with a one in twelve twist, at least they will go through a rafter point on. My Webley "Sugar Loafs" tend to pencil through solid targets at anything over 600 fps, with Webley's and Colt's 1 in 12 twists.

Until my G.S. reams the throats for lead Keith style bearing bands, I see a bright ring on each "Sugar Loaf" bullet I have forced in all the way. Factory 230 gr. 45 acp ammo drops right in, but I have to be different! I live on roll crimping my cast lead slugs. My RCBS specialty seat/crimp die can roll crimp a lead slug in a case as short as the 45 G.A.P. ( 0.750" ). Triple Seven 2 F, loaded with no airspace at this length, duplicates the old British Webley's velocities to a Tee.

So far, recoil in my Taylor's 1858 Remmie 45 Colt converter is negligible, at 500 to 600 fps, with even these 262 gr. HB Sugar Loaves. But they are dangerous "ricochet machines" in the 1958's C & B barrel's twist of one in thirty or so. My new Birdshead will spin all of my lead 45 cal. bullets a whole lot faster.
 

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The Maximum was a stretched frame, not just a shorter barrel shank.

As I said, your brother's was a standard New Model Blackhawk .45 built on the large frame. Physically larger but lighter due to aluminum grip frame and ejector. Like the two tone I pictured above.

IMHO, Ruger made a huge mistake in naming the New Vaquero. It's caused far more confusion than it should have because stupid people over-complicate it with extraneous descriptors but they should've been named something completely different. However, I have no problem telling one from another at a glance but seem to have a better understanding of all this in general. If it says Vaquero, it's a large frame Vaquero. If it says New Vaquero, it's a mid-frame New Vaquero. There are two exceptions, the New Vaquero .44Spl was marked Vaquero. The Vaquero .44Mag was marked New Vaquero. If it's a Blackhawk and a flat-top and NOT a .44Mag or .41Mag, it's a mid-frame. Should be enough information to keep anyone out of trouble but I'm not holding my breath. :rolleyes:

I'll preface this by saying that I R-A-R-E-L-Y (cannot overstate how rare) speak in absolutes, especially when it comes to Rugers. Make an absolute statement about Rugers and someone will come along with a rare exception, replete with pics and backstory. That said, regardless of what Ruger tech said what, there are ZERO, repeat ZERO Ruger mid-frame .44Mag's. If a Ruger tech told you that, he/she was wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ruger Phone tech was a he.

The Maximum was a stretched frame, not just a shorter barrel shank.

As I said, your brother's was a standard New Model Blackhawk .45 built on the large frame. Physically larger but lighter due to aluminum grip frame and ejector. Like the two tone I pictured above.

IMHO, Ruger made a huge mistake in naming the New Vaquero. It's caused far more confusion than it should have because stupid people over-complicate it with extraneous descriptors but they should've been named something completely different. However, I have no problem telling one from another at a glance but seem to have a better understanding of all this in general. If it says Vaquero, it's a large frame Vaquero. If it says New Vaquero, it's a mid-frame New Vaquero. There are two exceptions, the New Vaquero .44Spl was marked Vaquero. The Vaquero .44Mag was marked New Vaquero. If it's a Blackhawk and a flat-top and NOT a .44Mag or .41Mag, it's a mid-frame. Should be enough information to keep anyone out of trouble but I'm not holding my breath. :rolleyes:

I'll preface this by saying that I R-A-R-E-L-Y (cannot overstate how rare) speak in absolutes, especially when it comes to Rugers. Make an absolute statement about Rugers and someone will come along with a rare exception, replete with pics and backstory. That said, regardless of what Ruger tech said what, there are ZERO, repeat ZERO Ruger mid-frame .44Mag's. If a Ruger tech told you that, he/she was wrong.
I wholeheartedly agree about Ruger's factory nomenclature. Wash. State's Gov. Inslee has made it well nigh impossible to drive across their state line to visit and photograph my friend's brace of SS New Model Vaqueros. And what I didn't realize until yesterday is that my Lipsey's 44 Spec. mid frame ( Flat Top ) has a different reverse pawl than this new TALO 45acp Birdshead, also from Lipsey's.

As Ruger has "matured"?, they have been making changes on the fly to their products. I don't know if that phone tech was accurate, on mid framed 44 Mag. Birdsheads, and their first run may be so small that even collectors missed that train. i can only see that the newbie's have the lower and wider hammer spur, the same as my TALO birdshead, instead of the classic hammer spur.

I don't have my late brother's New Model Blackhawk with it's 7.5" bbl. for the simple reason that I don't want anything that large and clubby. Not then, not now, and not in my future. My 45acp won't clear it's fired cases, with the shorty ejection rod, but I can and will trim back rimmed Cowboy Special cases to where they "dance on daylight", when they are being fully ejected through the loading gate.

As pathetic as this sounds, I believe that the 45 G.A.P. might have been the better chambering. Of course this will never happen, as this product was only sold to garner the cheaper range grades of 45 acp ammo. OTOH, Underwood makes some "contrarian" ammo at a buck fifty a round, that might change this picture. I watched a YT video clip, about the Extreme Defense Lehigh copper bullets wreaking havoc on automobile windshields, and the two ballistic gelatin blocks behind them. If they weren't faked, then they were fired from a M 1911 pistol.

Idaho isn't locked down as tightly as Wash. so I'll try and get my 45acp Birdshead up to Craigmont later this week. And I'll also ask my friend who does have a Wash. State C.C.W. permit to mosey over while shopping down in Lewiston, so I can photograph these differences and also mic'. the two different cylinders, using my mid sized frame Lipsey's 44 Special, "Flat Top", as my gauge.

But I do remember watching a dude shoot his 44 Mag. mid frame, three screw Ruger Blackhawk into a dry cleaner's plastic bag, to save and examine the unburned grains of 2400 powder. Elmer Keith wrote of doing about the same thing in the winter, by shooting these loads over a snowbank. Those were the very first Ruger 44 Mags, and they predated the larger and stronger, SBH. That gentleman may have been shooting his handloads out of 44 Spec. cases, but IIRC, Ruger never made 44 Spec. three screw Blackhawks. But like in your above reply, with Ruger, never say never!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well let's see.

The web between the cylinders on a New Model Super Blackhawk .44 mag is about 0.85" or thereabouts (varies a bit between individual cylinders on my gun). That's good for full .44 mag pressures, and failures are generally accompanied by a report of someone doing something catastrophically stupid.

The web between the cylinders on a New Model Blackhawk in .45 Colt is about 0.65", give or take, and that's thought to be good to around 30,000 CUP for the "Ruger Only" loads. Mine have never complained ;)

The web between the cylinders on my "mid-frame" New Model .44 Special is slightly less, at 0.060-0.065". I would have a hard time imagining that that smaller cylinder would stand up to full power .44 mag loads, for very long.

A three-screw .357 is nearly identical to my new model .44 Special.

Just my thoughts. Be curious what you come up with.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice work on that one.

Here's a different kind of 'flat-top' Ruger with two leaf express sights.
Did someone mill off the ears on a large frame Ruger and insert that express sight?? I don't see any line in the top strap for a silver solder fitted piece of steel. I went with a Jack Wiegand scope mount, instead of putting a Ham Bowen rear sight on my Lipsey's Ruger 44 Spec. mid sized frame, "Flat Top". There is a difference between the earlier three screw Blackhawk's rear sight mounting socket and mine. Wiegand had a few left, as NOS, and it sports a step, that unfortunately just floats in the new socket. But my G.S. says the mounting screws themselves will do the job. Your express sight is in there for the duration, however you did it.
 
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