Handgun Beauties: Ruger Super Blackhawk


The Super Blackhawk was introduced in 1973 and touted as being one of the world’s truly great handguns.

If there is one handgun that sticks out in my collection, it’s the Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk. Now in my possession for more than 40 years, the gun remains tight and as accurate as the first day I took it to the range.

The Super Blackhawk was introduced in 1973 and touted as being one of the world’s truly great handguns. This .44 Magnum single action was and is a big gun, coming in at 48 ounces with a 7.5-inch barrel.

The Super Blackhawk went through numerous variations to include barrel lengths from 4.5 to 10.5 inches. Today you’ll find Hunter (integral scope base cuts), Bisley (Bisley grip) and Bisley Hunter (grip and scope cuts) variations in addition to the Classic version in blue and stainless.

There are older “three-screw” versions like mine, but since 1973 they’ve been the much safer “two-screw” New Model versions. Ruger will convert the older guns to the New Model by installing at no charge a transfer bar and loading gate interlock. The latter allows you to load the gun with only the loading gate open, without pulling the hammer to the half-cock position.

The Super Blackhawk sports a Dragoon-style trigger guard that saves your middle finger from the forces of .44 caliber recoil. The cylinder is not fluted, which sets it apart from most of today’s standard Blackhawk models. And while today’s Super Blackhawks have less of a high-gloss finish, my gun is polished bright and blued to perfection.

To boost longevity of a high-powered gun like the Super Blackhawk, the cylinder frame, trigger, cylinder and some internal parts are made from hardened, chrome-molybdenum steel while the grip frame is steel. The western-style grip panels are oiled walnut complete with Ruger logo.

The grip frame has been designed to rotate the gun upward in your hand when fired instead of smacking you in the hand, thus reducing felt recoil.

The wide, target-style hammer is serrated. The original trigger was smooth but later changed to a grooved configuration. In the 40 plus years I’ve had this gun, the trigger pull is now steady at just under three pounds with a bit of creep.

Rotating the cylinder gives the feeling of a top-quality gun suited to rugged use. When the Super Blackhawk first came out, no less a personage than Elmer Keith wrote to Bill Ruger himself, according to the book Ruger and His Guns: “This is…by far the finest single-action sixgun ever produced to my way of thinking.”

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  1. I sort of hate to point this out, but your third sentence in the article: “The Super Blackhawk was introduced in 1973 and touted as being one of the world’s truly great handguns.” is simply wrong. The Super Blackhawk was introduced in the mid fifties. I have had one since 63 that was manufactured in 1960 and looks almost exactly like the one pictured, except that mine has a lot more holster wear and Hogue grips. The grips make it much easier to handle the recoil in my eighties. The article mentions that Elmer Keith commented: “This is…by far the finest single-action sixgun ever produced to my way of thinking.” Elmer Keith died in 1964.

    The new model that was introduced in seventy three is not safer than the original model, it merely permits one to carry six rounds safely instead of just five as was standard practice with single action revolvers for nearly a century. Mine has not been converted into a new model, and won’t be.

  2. I love mine. I bought both the 44 Mag and 45 Colt (with 45 ACP cylinder) in the mid 70’s. Mine are both the “safety models” with the transfer bar, which allows you to carry a round under the hammer. I have shot both extensively, including hot handloads. I upgraded the grips to target with thumb rests to control the recoil. Never had a problem. They are somewhat retired (like me), and only go out a couple time a year. No more hot loads (lol). I carried the 44 Mag in a holster on a horse or while hiking for protection from 2 and 4 legged creatures. I have the new Redhawks for shooting. Great firearms. Thanks Ruger!

  3. i have one of these great firearms by Ruger.
    i also own the same style firearm Blackhawk in 357 Magnum Maximan both are still tight and great shooters.
    but finding ammo for the maximan is getting harder to find these days.

  4. My First 7 1/2 in. was bought in Oct 1967 and a 10 1/2 in. was bought in 1990. Both shoot well with different recoil for each. Bought the 7 1/2 in. in Chicago while on the way to RVN 1967,68,69. Great firearms chambered for a great cartridge. Thank you Elmer!

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