Freedom Arms and Ruger Blackhawks

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RMHoward

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
100
Location
Jacksonville Florida
Im wondering,
I always lusted after a Freedom Arms revolver. But, I realized that i would probably never be able to justify the expense. A while back, i settled for a new Blackhawk 357 in stainless for less than a third of the cost of a FA gun. After owning the Blackhawk for a while, and studying the quality of materials and workmanship, I really wonder how much better the FA gun could be. I mean, my Blackhawk, is a really fine piece of work. Flawless, as far as i can tell, except maybe for the grip fit. I understand the FA gun is unsurpassed in accuracy, but i really cant see where it could be any more durable or heavily constructed. Or can it? Anyone have the two guns that can give any side by side comparisons. I have never actually seen in person or handled a FA revolver.
Thanks
Rick
 

CraigC

Hawkeye
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
5,197
Location
West Tennessee
Wrong on both counts. FA has nothing to do with Ruger and their frames are cast 17-4 stainless alloy. Rugers are 400-series. MRI uses castings from Pine Tree but their guns are beefier than Rugers.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
4,081
Location
Dallas, OR US
Rugers are probably one of the best deals out there for a single action. Strong, durable and pretty darn accurate right out of the box. BUT, there are good reasons why once Freedom Arms came on the scene, they were used by the vast majority of the sillouette winners and why they will chamber guns from the factory in things such as 454 Casull, 475 Linebaugh and 500 Wyoming. Like Hamilton Bowen said, he can spend a lot of a customers money to make a custom Ruger shoot like a Freedom Arms but it is still a Ruger. That being said, I own both and see a place for both. To me, the FA is an out of the box top of the line handgun that needs nothing else done to it to offer peak performance. Rugers serve the majority of shooters great just the way they come but for some guys like me, they are the perfect platform for custom revolvers.

As they say, JMHO of course.
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
I would rather have an FA '97 in six-up 357 than my current beloved NewVaq357. Accuracy, fit'n'finish, it's a whole 'nuther world. If I could afford $1,500 I'd do it.

I can't. So I have a $500 Ruger and it's a good gun.

The FA is a great gun. Worth three times as much? In hard dollars and sense terms, no. But...go handle one...esp. the '97. Feel it, cock it, whoa.

One sweet gun.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
The "fitting" of the components in a Freedom Arms revolver is done on a much more exacting scale than are the mass produced Rugers. Barrel to Cylinder gaps are set TIGHT and the word "endplay" doesn't exist.. :D

Mr. Bowen has summed it up quite nicely, IMHO.

flatgate
 

461

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 16, 2004
Messages
227
Location
Omaha, Ne. USA
Both single actions, but the similarity ends there. It's an apples to oranges comparison that you can't understand until you've experienced them both.

Not meant in any way to sound snobby, I love my Rugers and I don't own an FA, but I will someday.
 

EarlFH

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
361
Location
Montana
The Freedom Arms is built like a Rolex Watch, exquisitely, with very tight tolerences, and much hand fitting. It is a work of art. If i could afford one, i would probably buy one, but my OM Rugers perform perfectly adequately, for a third of the price.
The only shortcomming of the FA, is the short cylinder, that requires that cartridges be loaded with the bullets seated quite short, hence higher pressure loads.

EarlFH
 

Axehandle

Buckeye
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
1,427
Location
North Alabama
I stayed away from FA revolvers for a long time... Then a good ole buddy offered a deal I could not walk away from... Up until that point in time I had never even held one... You could say that I knew better... :p
You really need to find one to play with... The FA revolver will never replace my stock or custom Rugers but they have their own special place at my house... A definite time for me to use the AND word... :D
 

Boxhead

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Messages
988
Location
Either Texas or Idaho
Do keep in mind that the FA guns can be had used, often near new, for way less than retail new. They are a real bargain if one searches with patience. It appears to me that the 454 has lost its "fame" and they can be had darn cheap given the quaility.
 

bnewberry

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Messages
227
Location
MICHIGAN
Cue us in on where to pick up a Freedom Arms for a good deal! I've always wanted one!

I'm looking for an 83 Premier grade.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Interesting that this should come up. RMHoward, are you my Floridian twin or something? :)

I've been obsessing over a similar question for most of the last week. I really love my Rugers SAs, but am wondering if I can, or even should, try to justify "something nicer". I happen to have a little cash on hand right now, and am, as they say, "thinking"...
  • Do I get an OM Ruger and maybe customize it a bit?
  • How about just sending one of mine off for slicking and accurizing?
  • USFA? I really prefer adjustable sights, and those models are up in the $1500 range. I also prefer the Ruger Bisley grip to the Colt Bisley style.
  • FA? Now you're getting into serious money. Based on GB pricing, that may be out of my (current) league. $1500 is one thing. $1900-2000 is pushing it (for me).
  • Full custom? I have no idea what we're even talking about for pricing, and wouldn't even begin to know where to spend my money, or beyond the most basic, what I'd want.
I'm a casual target shooter. I don't hunt, though I could start. I don't do CAS or compete in other disciplines. I have no desire for anything heavier than a .44 mag or .45 Colt. I don't "need" a better gun than what Ruger provides, but I just can't help thinking that a real nice SA would be a good capstone to my collection. Maybe even the "one gun" I've been pursuing for two decades. Problem is, I'm on dead center and have no idea which direction to go. Or even if I should.

-- Sam
 

Mark McWillis

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
65
Location
Clackamas, Orygun, USA
I have quite a few stock, or close to stock, Ruger SA's. I also have 4 Rugers built by Hamilton Bowen as well as 3 FA revolvers. The Bowen built guns are on par with the FA guns, but at a much greater price. The thing about Bowen is those are truly custom guns and you can have options that FA just doesn't offer. For what you get the FA guns are a really great deal, especially if you can buy one used.
 

Naphtali

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Seeley Lake
RMHoward":1vuqf2si said:
. . . A while back, i settled for a new Blackhawk 357 in stainless for less than a third of the cost of a FA gun. After owning the Blackhawk for a while, and studying the quality of materials and workmanship, I really wonder how much better the FA gun could be. As you wrote, this is not a fair comparison, the FAs costing so much more. Like most precision insturments, binoculars being another, it's the last ten percent of quality that forces massive increases in manufacturing cost, and ultimately selling price. I mean, my Blackhawk, is a really fine piece of work. Flawless, as far as i can tell, except maybe for the grip fit. I understand the FA gun is unsurpassed in accuracy, but i really cant see where it could be any more durable or heavily constructed. Or can it? Anyone have the two guns that can give any side by side comparisons. I have never actually seen in person or handled a FA revolver. It can be more precisely, more heavily constructed, and it is.
Thanks
Rick
The nice thing is that you can use a very good Blackhawk while enjoying the anticipation of "some day" owning a Freedom Arms. If it never happens, you'll survive. If it happens, one of your grandchildren will thank you.
***
Parenthetically, I'll be putting a Model 83 357 Magnum on the market in a short time.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
RMHoward":2p3ky7ql said:
I have never actually seen in person or handled a FA revolver.
Rick

I guess we've found the problem. You REALLY should handle one....

I bought my first one back in the late 1980's and immediately realized if the hypothetical question was asked "If you could only have one...." I know, without a doubt, the answer.

164479808.jpg


I'd not opt for the Mag-na-port if I buy another...

JMHO,

flatgate
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Mark McWillis":16aute0v said:
I have quite a few stock, or close to stock, Ruger SA's. I also have 4 Rugers built by Hamilton Bowen as well as 3 FA revolvers. The Bowen built guns are on par with the FA guns, but at a much greater price. The thing about Bowen is those are truly custom guns and you can have options that FA just doesn't offer. For what you get the FA guns are a really great deal, especially if you can buy one used.
Mark, thank you for this perspective. This is just what I've been looking for.

So, anyone got a FA model 97 that needs a new home? Cheap? :wink:

-- Sam
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Jayhawkhuntclub":2wr54com said:
I'd rather have 3 or 4 Rugers than 1 FA. Maybe ignorance is bliss.
Ah, but I already do... :lol:
This is probably one of those cases where ignorance is probably cheaper though... ;)

-- Sam
 

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