The Blackhawk Rollout

When Ruger decided to introduce their first centerfire they chose the most powerful cartridge available at the time, namely the .357 Magnum. The original Blackhawk — now known as the Flat-Top — was the same basic size as the Colt SAA except it had a virtually unbreakable coil spring operated action along with a heavy top strap and an adjustable rear sight. The first barrel length offered was 4-5/8" and this was later joined by a 6-1/2" version, along with a rare 10".

I acquired my first Ruger .357 in 1956. It was difficult in those days to find magnum brass so I fired thousands of rounds of the Keith .38 Special load through it, alongside my S&W Highway Patrolman. Keith’s .38 load used his 170-gr. grain bullet and enough #2400 powder to make it hotter than many of today’s .357 offerings. In 2005 Ruger resurrected the original .357 Blackhawk with the New Model Flat-Top. When Ruger went to the New Model action in the early 1970s, the .357 was chambered in the full .44 Magnum-sized frame. I never did care for it as much as the original size.

Ruger went “double action” .357 with the Security-Six which was replaced by the improved GP100, offered in both blue and stainless. The stainless version is about the toughest sixgun you could find for carrying in all kinds of weather. Until recently all GP100s had full-length underlug barrels but they are now offered as the Match Champion model with the standard barrel — my choice for everyday packin’!