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Discussion Starter #1
I have tons of experience with the Ruger 44 Mag 7.5 inch barrel, however I have no experience with the 4 5/8 or 5 1/2  inch barrels!
I am considering buying a Ruger 45. I was wondering what I would loose or gain  from the different barrel lengths. I am not worried about velocity at all!!!!!! I am worried about the site radius difference between the two. Experienced replys would be very much appreciated. I am well aware of the shorter vs longer site radius, but sometimes there are "extinuating circumstances (expert viewpoints)", that are not apperant! Does the  longer site radius really mean anything (what magnitude) when we are talking inside a 100 yards?
changeling
 

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Sight radius is an interesting subject and I am sure you will get many Pro and Con answers. There is a good arguement that the longer the sight radius the better the handgun can be aligned. There is another factor that comes int play with old beatup eyes like mine....focal plane. From 1956 to the 70's I shot a 6.5" Blackhawk, then moving up tp the 7.5" Super Blackhawk. I had no trouble seeing the sights clearly. However in the last couple of years the sight in my damaged right eye has caused me to be able to see 6" barrel sight clearer. So.....it all boils down to what sight radius one can see best! Corrective lens in glasses do help as does a Merit Aperture.
Best Regards, James

(Edited by James Gates at 5:44 am on Oct. 10, 2001)
 

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Hey Guys,

A Ruger Blackhawk (4 5/8 barrel) in .45 Colt was my first handgun and is the one I'm still carrying 30 years later.  I use a handload (from my Speer Number Nine reloading manual) that drives a 250 grain lead bullet at 1300 fps for hunting, and Metallic Silhoutte (thumps those 100 yard rams).  For plinking I shoot a 200 grain SWC at about 800 fps.  After hanging around with the CBA Guys and the Beartooth I'm going to play with some 300 grain WFN & see what happens.  It's been a great handgun.....not for sale!

El Lobo in NM
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks James and Lobo, this is the kind of feedback I was looking for. I really like the look of the 4 5/8 inch barrel, but have never shot one. Needless to say, it would pack a little easier than my 7.5 inch SBH.
I am definately going to buy the 45 but, I want as much feedback as I can get concerning the 4 5/8 vs 5 1/2 inch barrel length.
changeling
 

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I've got Ruger SA's in both barrel lengths you mention [a BH in 45 colt w/ 4 5/8" and a SBH in 44 Mag w/ 5 1/2"].  I personally can't tell much [if any] difference in 'accuracy' because of sight radius and IMO is pretty much academic. If i was going to use one mainly for target shooting i would probably go with the 5 1/2" barrel [my 45 is basically a 'packing' sidearm i use when out in the mountains] over the 4 5/8" but i think the preference is up to you and which you would think is better for what you're going to be doing with it and which 'sight picture' works better for you. Incidently i like the handling and 'balance' of the BH w/ 4 5/8" barrel better but that may be more than a function of the barrel length [i.e. the cartridge and the fact the BH has an aluminum grip frame? who knows...].    
 

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It is a tough choice. I have a 4 5/8" .45 Vaquero that I love dearly. To my eyes the Blackhawk looks and points better with the 5 1/2" tube.

There isn't a whole lot of difference in the way they carry, unless you want to drive with the holstered gun on your hip. Then the 4 5/8" would be an improvement.

Have you considered buying a Ruger Bisley .45 and getting the barrel cut down? You'd have a steel gripframe and the excellent Bisley shape helps tame recoil. This is very appreciated when pounding 300+ grainers out of a short barreled Ruger.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Leadslinger thanks for the reply. I am really glad I startwed asking questions at this site before going ahead with the purchase.  I am definately going to do it , but things are changing as I pick up more information. I have always been one of those people that have to know the "why's and what's" of everything I do!
I have never shot a "Bisley" model. I have small hands and the regular SBH or BH rolls back on all shots with no recoil problems whatsoever, I guess I am just lucky in that respect as I usually shoot pretty hot rounds. I  think nothing of going out on my deck and firing 40 or 50 rounds for fun, and to me it is fun, I really love it!!!
However you said something that really through me when you said the Bisley had a steel gripframe. Are you trying to tell me the Blackhawk doesn't have a steel frame? I really don't know.
 I have the SBH and it has a steel frame, I just assumed the Blackhawk had one too. I ordered the new catalog from Ruger, but havn't received anything in about 5 weeks now!
changeling
 

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changeling,

A regular blued steel Blackhawk has an aluminum alloy gripframe. You can spot the difference. Certain production runs of Blackhawks have had steel gripframes. A top pistolsmith can fit one if you really prefer it. I had a custom .41 mag BH built with a steel frame, it is a beaut.

Stainless Rugers are all steel, as are Vaqueros Supers and Bisleys (the ejector rod housing on the Bisley may still be aluminum)
 

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Changeling, have you considered getting your Ruger catalog immediately on line?  www.Ruger-firearms.com
It has all you need to know!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Leadslinger, when you say there were certain production lots that had steel grip frames, could you tell me a little more or point me in the right direction.
Changeling
 

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I have a 44mag SBH that had the 7.5" barrel.  After20 years I had a gunsmith shorten it to 4 5/8, put a steel ejector rod housing, belt mtn cylinder pin.  Really glad I did cut down the barrel.  Just feels and looks better.  Rides nice in bianchi lawman holster.  MM
 

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You need to look at one of the new 5.5" barrel stainless steel Bisleys if you can put our hands on one.  I did not gleen any info on your build or intended purpose, but hey, it's late and my eyes are tired.

Velocity differences will be neglible, I lose about 100 fps from my 8 3/8" SBH to my 4 5/8" SBH with the 325 gr loads.  No game animal in the lower 48 will be able to tell the difference.  As James pointed out, your eyes may be able to tell a difference, unless you use corrective lenses and most of this can be accounted for very easily.

Different guns balance differently for each individual.  You should handle as many different barrel lengths as you can in order to get a "feel" as to how it fits your grip.  My scoped 10" Freedom Arms .454 feels differently to me than my open sighted 7.5" .454 or my 6" .475.  I enjoy shooting the Linebaugh custom guns with the 5.5" barrels. It's just a handy length for me.  However, I've hit deer at a measured 85 yards with my SBH Predator.  It has a 4 5/8" barrel.  

Best advice I can offer, like I said, is to handle as many different variations as you can.  Once you find what you are most comfortable with, shoot it as much as possible and get good with it.  Hitting what you aim at won't be difficult at all then.
 
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