Ruger Blackhawk Convertible
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:52 AM   #1
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Default Ruger Blackhawk Convertible

Been thinking about a big bore revolver and looking at Ruger's website I see they offer at Blackhawk .357 in a convertible model with a 9mm cylinder. I already stock 9mm and it is cheaper to shoot than either .357/.38 Special. Would this be worth the $70 up-charge or is the 9mm cylinder going to be inaccurate and not worth the cost savings on ammo?

The other revolver on my short list is the GP100. Don't think I would go up to a S&W but on a good sale a 686 would be a possibility. Not interested in Taurus-too many quality issues. Any other options I'm overlooking in the Blackhawk price range?

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:58 AM   #2
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Some people have good luck with the 9mm cylinder. Personally I don't get good results from the 9mm cylinder. 15 yards is max distance I can hit anything with the 9mm cylinder. I only use factory ammo. Most factory ammo is not loaded with a .355 bullet. All factory ammo I have pulled the bullets from is less than .355. People who have good luck with the 9mm cylinder hand load ammo with quality .355 bullets.

The 9mm cylinder is great for training purposes. The 9mm is a great confidence builder. Usually after a few sessions with the 9mm the new shooter is eager to try the 357 mag. Even an 82 year old lady trained well with the 9mm. After a few sessions with the 9mm she tried the 357. After 12 shots she adjusted to the muzzle blast of the 357 mag. She did very well with the 357 mag.

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Old 12-04-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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This situation with convertible cylinders will be similar to other caliber convertible cylinder situations. The two different bullets are slightly different sizes - so the barrel of the gun must be sized correctly for the larger bullet. The smaller diameter bullet then fits just a slightly looser - tending to lose a slight amount of gas pressure and "rattle down the barrel" slightly more. so shooting the smaller of the bullets may be slightly less accurate.

357 Mag bullet diameter = 0.357 in.
9mm bullet diameter = 0.355 in.

Difference is 0.002 in.

9mm is smaller and therefore a "looser" fit in that gun barrel sized for 0.355 in.

Will it make a big difference? Nope. But don't try to win target matches with that 9mm either. You might get frustrated.

The 22LR and 22 Mag is a similar situation with the convertible revolvers out there. I happen to own one. It's not a big deal - only very slight - but something worth knowing about.

As a good gun with versatility - able to practice with cheap ammo (9mm) and load with more powerful stuff - that is probably an excellent choice. I would like to own it....

Now you could shoot 38 Special through that 357 Mag cylinder. The 38 special and 357 Mag have the exact same bullet diameters... 0.357 in. That would give that gun a three way cartridge capability. Not many guns can boast that. And since the 38 Special matches the 357 diameter the accuracy would be dead on the same (as far as the basic cartridge capability is concerned).
So the gun would still be excellent - maybe more than excellent.

But if you wanted to forego the extra expense of the second cylinder (which, in my opinion, is near meaningless - as the years go by -(you won't miss the $70 ten years from now)) --- you could just buy the 357 and you could still shoot 38 Special through it. The 38 special cartridge costs more than the 9mm - not a lot more - but less than the 357.
It kinda depends on whether you want that 9mm capability, also. It would not be a bad thing at all.

In the SHTF scenarios that so many are talking about now - having a 9mm capability would be excellent - since it is a cheap prevalent cartridge.

Decisions...

It would be easy for me...

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Old 12-04-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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Had an old style convertible, (3 screw side plate, no transfer bar). Didn't have a 9mm at the time, but did have a .38 Super. Had the cylinder machined to accept the longer .38 S cases. Sold it some time back, don't recall any accuracy issues.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donn View Post
Had an old style convertible, (3 screw side plate, no transfer bar). Didn't have a 9mm at the time, but did have a .38 Super. Had the cylinder machined to accept the longer .38 S cases. Sold it some time back, don't recall any accuracy issues.
Don't take me wrong, but you are comparing apples to oranges. The 38 super shoots a .356 bullet. 38 super ammo is hard to get in a lot of areas so you were likely shooting hand loads with a true .356 bullet.

It's not the length of the cartridge that causes the problems. The convertible has a 9mm cylinder that is the proper length and diameter. It's the diameter of factory ammo that causes accuracy issues with the convertible.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:09 AM   #6
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I have Ruger convertibles in .22, .38 and .45. The .45 at least uses the same size bullets. After reaming the chamber throats, the accuracy with the .45 is very good with both cylinders. My .357 originally had a 4 5/8” barrel. I sent it to the factory for a 6 ½” barrel and a 9mm cylinder. It is super accurate in .357 and much more accurate than I expected it to be in 9mm.

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Old 12-08-2012, 09:59 PM   #7
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I had one years ago, and the 9MM wasn't useful much past 15 yards.

A great idea that didn't really work out.

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Old 12-09-2012, 12:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem View Post
I have Ruger convertibles in .22, .38 and .45. The .45 at least uses the same size bullets. After reaming the chamber throats, the accuracy with the .45 is very good with both cylinders. My .357 originally had a 4 5/8” barrel. I sent it to the factory for a 6 ½” barrel and a 9mm cylinder. It is super accurate in .357 and much more accurate than I expected it to be in 9mm.
Looks like lots of fun!
You're all set up!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem View Post
I have Ruger convertibles in .22, .38 and .45. The .45 at least uses the same size bullets. After reaming the chamber throats, the accuracy with the .45 is very good with both cylinders. My .357 originally had a 4 5/8” barrel. I sent it to the factory for a 6 ½” barrel and a 9mm cylinder. It is super accurate in .357 and much more accurate than I expected it to be in 9mm.
I've got to admire your collection. I think it is an excellent way to have a lot of capability and a lot of fun!
I'm considering the same thing. I came across the Ruger 45 convertible a few days ago - didn't even know it existed! And the price at this dealer is generally pretty good - nearly as good as the gun show prices. I didn't bite - but I've been looking ever since - and I like it. The 38/357/9mm seems especially good. But there is also something unique about big bullets - 45's! I may just go this route!
Thanks for your photo!
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colby View Post
I've got to admire your collection. I think it is an excellent way to have a lot of capability and a lot of fun!
I'm considering the same thing. I came across the Ruger 45 convertible a few days ago - didn't even know it existed! And the price at this dealer is generally pretty good - nearly as good as the gun show prices. I didn't bite - but I've been looking ever since - and I like it. The 38/357/9mm seems especially good. But there is also something unique about big bullets - 45's! I may just go this route!
Thanks for your photo!
I have several S&W .45 ACP/AR revos and mostly shoot .45 AR in them. After seeing a guy load .45 AR in a Vaquero at a cowboy match years ago, it occurred to me that I could have that mod done on mine and shoot .45 AR in all of them. I like the .45 AR over both .45 Colt and .45 ACP in the revos. In the Rugers, the AR seems to cycle a bit more smoothly than ACP, and when shooting light range loads, I don’t have small charges of fast powder in large cases, as I would with .45 Colt. Works for me.
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