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Beartooth Regular
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I was looking at revolvers the other day, and I kind of liked a Blackhawk .41 mag that I saw, but looking closely I noticed that the grip frame appears to be aluminum. Also, it appears to be painted rather than anodized. An older .357 that I looked at seemed to have a steel frame. What's the deal? The .41 is new, but I don't know when it was manufactured. Is there a big difference in strength? It seemed like the painted surface would chip and look cheesy like some cheap .22 revolvers I've seen. Does anyone know about this? How about the overall quality/accuracy of the Blackhawks in general? I'm not much of a handgun guy but I'm thinking of picking up a gun for packing in the woods. Also, I'd like to hear suggestions about calibers. The size of the guns in .357 and .41 appeal to me but I'm not sure the .357 has enough oomph and it seems the .41 may be on it's last leg given the fact that very few components or loads are available. Should I just get a .44? I guess potentially this gun could be used on deer/elk/bear/cougar in my neck of the woods, but for woods protection bear and cougar would be the only critters I would NEED to use it on (and obviously the likelihood of ever needing it at all are slim but it's a comfort thing! A buddy was stalked by a cougar while bowhunting and it kind of un-nerved us a bit!). The deer or elk would be optional, since they don't bite as often as the other two!  Opinions? Sorry for such a wordy post but when I bounce these thoughts off my wife she just looks at me funny and says "what!?"  :biggrin:   Thanks, ID
 

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Yes, they do use aluminum grip frames on the New Model Blackhawk.  They started out with steel grip frames way back when and then switched to aluminum along the way. They have some kind of anodized finish on them; I don't believe it's paint.  They do use steel grip frames on the Bisley model, and perhaps on some others as well.  Have never fired a .41, although I would think it might be a tad on the small side for bears, depending on how big and hungry they are. <!--emo&:(--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':('><!--endemo-->
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yes the Blackhawks have aluminum grip frames and have for a long time.  The Super Blackhawks and Bisley models have always had steel gripframes as far as I know.  Same for stainless.  No doubt someone can tell me some exceptions to this but it's a safe bet that the majority of Blackhawks that you will find have aluminum grip frames.  There may be some really old ones floating around with brass grip frames but these would not be real common.

Anyway, they are plenty durable, if that is a concern.  Another nice feature is that you won't cause rust from your sweaty hands on that part of the gun.    Plus makes the gun a little lighter for carrying.

My .357 Blackhawk is the most accurate centerfire handgun I own.  5 shot 2" groups at 50 yards with Marshall's 185 grain gas-checked bullets.  Your mileage may vary, but I don't think that you will have a problem with accuracy.

As far as caliber choices go... that sure is a can of worms.  Personally I would not have any problem taking my .357 along for protection, as long as we're not talking grizzly bears.  Others may not be so comfortable.  A .44 is never a bad choice.  Don't see any problems with a .41 either especially if you reload.

By the way, all current production "New Model" (ie. after 1973) Blackhawks, Bisleys, and Super Blackhawks share the same frame size.  So weight is not going to vary a whole lot if the barrels are similar lengths.  Probably the lightest thing you could find would be a .45 Colt, since the holes in it are the biggest and the grip frame is aluminum.  A .44 mag and .357 would probably be close in weight.  Remember the .44 has a steel grip fram but there's more weight in the cylinder and barrel of the .357.

That's all for now... yes they are great handguns, excellent value for the dollar in my opinion.
 

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Blackhawks have had aluminum grip frames since the first one was made in 1955. In the 1980's a limited number of New Model Blackhawk convertibles were made with steel grip frames, the Buckeye Specials, and were made in .32-20/.32 Mag and .38-40/10 mm calibres.  The .44-40/.44 Mag Convertible Blackhawk was fitted with a Super Blackhawk grip frame.
The two shortest barrel lengths of .44 Mag Super Blackhawks are fitted with the steel Blackhawk grip frames, instead of the square backed trigger guard, "Dragoon" grip frames.
Yes, a few Old Model Blackhawks in .357, .41 and .45 calibre were shipped with Brass Grip frames.  Those make a collector get excited.

flatgate  
Ruger Collector and Shooter
 

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Beartooth Regular
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ID,

As a confirmed .41phile I think you are looking in the right direction. The .41 is a great round and you shouldn't be concerned with the lack of loads and bullet weights. It does great with just two: a 170 or 175-grain JHP for light stuff and anti-personnel defense and a heavy 210 to 250-grain SWC, LFN or WFN for everything else. Great accuracy is, in my opinion, easier to acheive with the .41 than the .44. I say this as the past owner of several .41 handguns and a Marlin 1894. Penetration with hard cast bullets against big bears and such will be surprising. I used to do a lot of wetpack tests and the heavy .41's always did better than their paper ballistics would make you think.

The aluminum grip frames on the Blackhawk do damage easily, but not the kind of damage that would make the gun inoperable. Purely cosmetic scratches and dings. I would prefer a steel frame myself but as issued by Ruger there are no major problems. I do believe they can be swapped for steel frames from the Bisleys and Supers.

(Edited by Bill Lester at 5:38 pm on June 5, 2001)
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #6
I know it's been a while since this topic was active but I do appreciate everyone's replies. I'm still waffling I guess! Plus, the gun shop sold two of the three I was considering- the only one left is the .41. It fits my hand well (Jack R - I don't have large hands and some of the grips are already a bit big for me!) but I just think I'd rather have one in stainless. Plus on the example they have in the store the ejector shroud doesn't appear to fit extremely well. I can see a little gap when looking from the muzzle end. I'm really picky about this stuff. So I'll wait til they get something else in and try again! Again, thanks for all the info!              ID
 
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