Modified Ruger Revolver

I really enjoy shooting single action revolvers.  I know they are slow to load and slower to reload but I love the powerful cartridges you can shoot from a strong single action revolver.  That power comes at a cost, however.  If you are going to shoot big heavy bullets at high velocities, you need a comfortable shooting gun.

I like the .44 magnum.  Its a very versatile round.  You can load it down to .44 Special power levels or you can soup it up to hot magnum loads.  Bullet weights can range from 200 grains up to and over 300 grains.

.44 magnum loads with 300 grain bullets can kick pretty hard.  That’s a lot of recoil and a big boom.  To control the rage of the big 44 you need a long barrel and a comfortable grip.  The longer barrel length has more mass and doesn’t raise up as bad when the gun goes off.  Short barrels kick up very quickly and snap the gun up so you really notice the recoil every time you fire the gun.  A good comfortable grip allows you to not only hang on during recoil, but also allows you to hold the gun better when aiming.

I have this Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum.  I love Ruger’s guns and I love the .44 magnum.  Unfortunately, this gun just does not handle recoil very well.  Its accurate when I can hold it still and not flinch, but it punishes my hand every time I pull the trigger.


Ruger Super Blackhawk with 5 1/2′ barrel

When I bought this gun it came with a 5 1/2″ barrel and a regular Blackhawk grip frame.  I wanted a gun that would resemble Elmer Keith’s Number 5.  I thought this would be a pretty good poor man’s version.  Elmer’s gun had a 5 1/2″ barrel.  5 1/2″ may not sound very short, but it sure allows you to feel the recoil a lot more than the 7 1/2″ barrel that the Super Blackhawk normally wears.  To make it more like the Number 5, I’ve modified this gun probably more than any other revolver I have.  Not only have I swapped grip frames, but I installed an Elmer Keith style base pin and swapped out the original ejector rod for a bull’s eye style.  I also polished the internal parts for a smooth action when the hammer is pulled back.


Elmer Keith-style base pin


Super Blackhawk with bull's eye ejector rod

Bull’s eye style ejector rod

This gun originally came with a standard Blackhawk grip frame.  Because I have unusually large hands, I swapped that grip frame for a Super Blackhawk grip.  The Super Blackhawk grip frame is longer and allows me to have all of my fingers on the handle of the gun.  The bad part is that damn square back on the trigger guard painfully smacks the second knuckle of my middle finger every shot.

Ruger Super Blackhawk

Super Blackhawk grip frame is barely big enough for my hand

Well, I have a modified revolver that somewhat resembles the Elmer Keith Number 5.  It looks pretty good but I hate shooting it.  If I want to shoot it more, something must change.  My next modification may be to try a Bisley grip frame.  If anyone has an extra Bisley grip frame, let’s talk.

For now this revolver just sits in my gun safe and every now and then I’ll fire some light .44 Specials through it.  Magnum loads are just too painful.  I like shooting single action revolvers, just not this one.


About krasinsk1 Big John Tutorials

I've been an active shooter, reloader and gunsmith for 30+ years. I hold a Bachelor's degree from Montana State University and a Master's degree from the University of Oregon. I enjoy studying, collecting and shooting just about every type and kind of firearm.
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