Tyler Gun Works Blackhawk

Taking single action versatility to a higher level

Tyler Gun Works sends a test target back after each Accuracy Package is completed.

Last year, Ruger — in conjunction with Lipsey’s — released their single-action Blackhawk in 10mm/.40 S&W. The dual-cylindered cyclone was met with great success. While everyone embraced a 10mm single-action with open arms, many wondered why in tarnation would you bring the .40 S&W to the party when there are so many other cool calibers out there?

I for one was glad Ruger/Lipsey’s utilized the 10mm Short (which is how I like to refer to the .40 S&W) for two reasons. First off, there’s a lot of .40 S&W ammo still stashed in the gun lockers and closets of shooters out there. Plus, us retired coppers just may have an abundant supply of it for some sneaky reason. And what better way to blow those rounds out than through a classy thumb-cocker?

The second reason is for the more industrious individuals. The .40 S&W, chambering is the perfect candidate for a custom caliber. Those having a penchant for the historically hyphenated .38-40 can easily have the chambers punched out for it. And those with more modern inclinations can go with the snappy 10mm Magnum — a stretched-out version of the 10mm Auto.

Triple threat: The versatility of having three differently chambered cylinders
allows you to shoot a bunch of different ammo from the same gun.

A 10-Scale Work-Over

While talking to Bobby Tyler one day, I asked him if he ever punched a .40 S&W cylinder out to .38-40? Laughing, he said, “Just send the whole gun so we can do it right.” I did, and am I ever glad! Bobby turned my good shooting Blackhawk into a great shooting one!

He did a complete action job on the hammer and trigger. Cocking my single-action Blackhawk made me wonder if he forgot to replace the springs — it’s that smooth. The trigger was creep-free and averaged just under 2.5 lbs.

Bobby then administered his Accuracy package, consisting of recutting the forcing cone to 11 degrees, followed by a polish and lapping of the barrel face, ensuring it’s square, and lastly, setting cylinder gap so barely any sunlight can be seen when you hold it up. Finally, a target barrel crown completed the job.

For style (and his signature trademark), Bobby color-casehardened the stainless steel hammer and trigger — giving the stainless gun much-needed warmth while upping the Coolness Factor tenfold.

Another Tyler touch: A target crown for Tank’s Blackhawk.

Handgun Hat Trick

So now, I have a sixgun capable of shooting 10mm and .38-40. What could be better? Not knowing when to stop (and still having a closet full of .40 S&W ammo), I started looking for a Blackhawk cylinder chambered to the short, straight-walled case.

This is where it pays in spades having sixgun buddies to help us out every now and then. I found a willing donor and, as luck would have it, the cylinder fit was perfect! Since the rimless cartridges headspace on the mouth of the brass, you can’t shoot .40 S&W out of the 10mm cylinder. Now I have a triple-threat thumb-cocker capable of shooting three different kinds of ammo.

Shooting the Tyler Gun Works tuned sixgun is a symphony of perfection, and shooting lead out of any single-action is a natural. My favorite molds include a Lee 145-gr. SWC in the .40 S&W, along with their 175-gr. TC design in both .40 S&W and 10mm.

I had a special mold from Arsenal molds in a Keith style SWC. Loaded over 8.5 grains of Unique makes for an accurate and potent .38-40 load.

Factory loadings for the .40 S&W were represented by Black Hills, including their 115-gr. HoneyBadger and a 140-gr. Barnes TAC-XP. The 10mm fodder was represented with 125-gr. HP Honor Defense ammo and some SIG 180-gr. Elite FMJ.

Everything shot surprisingly well, as it should in a well-tuned single-action. Groups were all around 2″ or better at 50 feet from a sandbag rest. The HoneyBadger ammo almost shot a one-hole group. Need I say more?

Color casehardening of the hammer and trigger really spruce up a stainless sixgun.

Hitting The Trifecta

Now I have a triple-threat shooter at my fingertips. Pull the base-pin, swap cylinders and I’m ready to go with the caliber of my choice. You just may be a better shot than you think you are after Bobby and the Tyler Gun Works crew works your gun over. I know I was!

If I happen to stumble over another .40 S&W cylinder, I just may have it chambered for the 10mm Magnum, providing me with a Fearsome Foursome Fightin’ Iron. It’s the only way I could possibly improve on what I have now.


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