Gun Show Find Flat Top

Help Support Ruger Forum:

Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
11,294
Location
Kentucky
Can't always trust Wikipedia. Bob's List has documented ship dates of late 1955 for many of the first 1600 or so guns. Mixed in with these are several that didn't ship until 1956, 1957, or even 1958. As contender has mentioned, a company "letter" is strongly suggested for any of these early guns if you really care about its original ship date. It was kind of a mixed bag.
 
Last edited:

vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Chandler, AZ
I do not think you really paid attention to what I and Wikipedia said. Ruger may have been shipping the gun to outlets, but none were sold to customer until 1956. You seem to be hung up on Ruger shipments.
 

Cholo

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
5,969
Location
Georgia
dsf, that's a really cool find and in great condition to boot! After seeing this thread last night I decided to take along to the range today a shorty OM FT from '60 I believe. It felt great to shoot 50 rounds thru it after so many years.

vlavalle, why not supply us with a link to that book you wrote about Ruger's first .357 revolvers? You seem to know everything, even if it's wrong LOL
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,423
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Now Cholo,, valvalle is new here. Lets be a little nicer.

Welcome valvalle to the Ruger Forum.

valvalle,, while you may think wikipedia is a definitive reference guide,, let's look at a few facts please.
As noted,, by factory records, and well documented by many serious collectors here,, the .357 Blackhawk was introduced in 1955 by Ruger. And, many factory letter prove they were shipped to various gun shops & even individuals in 1955. Remember,, we didn't have the restrictions in 1955 that began in 1968 with the Gun Control Act of 1968 that forbade direct shipping of guns to consumers.

This is the Ruger Forum.
Many long time collectors, book authors, and historians of Ruger visit here. It's well documented by verifiable sources that as noted above,, approximately 1700 of the .357 Blackhawks were shipped in 1955. Then in 1956,, with such success AND the race to get out a (then) new caliber,, the .44 Mag,, those too began shipping,, in 1956.
And sadly,, the Ruger factory website "look up a gun by serial number" feature is often mistaken.
BUT<, if a person writes Ruger, and sends them $10,, they will get a factory letter on the gun in question. It will have the correct information, as verified by the Day Book, and the shipping information that's stored at Ruger.

In short,, Wiki is incorrect.
If you really want excellent information that's backed by serious collectors & detailed research, verified as much as possible,, then subscribe to the RENE. That's the "Red Eagle News Exchange."
Even some of the fine folks at Ruger have mentioned to me they too use the RENE to determine stuff they aren't sure about,, because it's the best information out there.
Or,, get a copy of John Dougans book; "Ruger Pistols & Revolvers, The Vintage Years." It's one heck of a detailed reference guide as well.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,423
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
valvalle,, you also mentioned you have a pair of Blackhawks. One, a .357 with the protected ears & not a Flattop, bought in 1965. That's just about (2) years after the transition from FT's to the "protected ears" type.
Next,, you mentioned a .45Colt/.45 acp Convertible,, saying it's a Flattop. The Old Model, 3-screw .45's were only made for (3) years until the New Models, (safety transfer bar system,) were introduced. From 1970 until 1973. There were only (6) variations of the OM 45's during that timeframe.
All Flattop factory made Rugers were done by 1963,, so if your 45 is a Flattop,, it was not produced by the factory like that.
All of the OM 3-screw 45's had the protected ears around the rear sight.

It's been done occasionally,, where a gunsmith mills off the "ears" and makes a custom Flattop.

So, again, politely,, you may want to look into getting a few of the good books published about Rugers to truly get the correct information.
 

dsf

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 25, 2022
Messages
8
Location
California & Oregon
I am also a big Ruger enthusiast, and I own two Ruger Blackhawks. My first I bought in 1965 new, and still own it. I have attached a couple of pics of my .357 Mag and its holster (I used o quick draw) here! But I would like to ask you what caliber yours is. My .357 Mag Blackhawk is not a Flattop, as the upper frame bar is raised towards the rear. However, my second Ruger is a 45LC/54ACP convertible flattop, and it looks just like yours, with the upper frame bar going straight (Flat) across the top. Is yours a .22?

These are called 3 Screw Rugers, and without having the update made, it will 'fire' when dropped or hit, just like in the Old West days, and they kept an empty chamber to prevent damage from this. I had mine updated for 'free' (it cost me $100 for shipping!) by Ruger 8 years or so ago, so now it is safe fully loaded. I do not have a holster for my 45 Ruger Blackhawk.
Yes, it's a 357 as mentioned. Also have a 6" in 357, made 1968 IIRC.

I have a modern 4 5/8" that I carry in the woods. Fine gun but not nearly so nice as the old stuff.
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,764
Location
People's Republik of California
Thank you to all for the information -

Yes, grip frame is marked "XR3" and the front sight blade and base each have the "sguigglies" running horizontal to the muzzle. My not so good photos -

I hadn't noticed the "ALCOA" name stamp on the grip until I viewed the above - I take it this is correct?


DSF: The LARGE ALCOA mark was used until at least 10/1957 replaced by the small ALCOA beginning 10/8/57 with a several month transition period.

I bought mine 14288 new in 1958 with walnut stocks. I've since come to understand that walnut for grips was an option though few dealers ordered them early on, but I haven't been able to determine when the option began. It likely corresponded to when the 44 Mag was introduced in 1956. They became standard by # 25034 on the .357 Flattop.

I bought my first 44 Mag from the original buyer/owner which also came with walnut grips but which were standard on the 44 beginning in 1956.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: dsf

vlavalle

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Chandler, AZ
valvalle,, you also mentioned you have a pair of Blackhawks. One, a .357 with the protected ears & not a Flattop, bought in 1965. That's just about (2) years after the transition from FT's to the "protected ears" type.
Next,, you mentioned a .45Colt/.45 acp Convertible,, saying it's a Flattop. The Old Model, 3-screw .45's were only made for (3) years until the New Models, (safety transfer bar system,) were introduced. From 1970 until 1973. There were only (6) variations of the OM 45's during that timeframe.
All Flattop factory made Rugers were done by 1963,, so if your 45 is a Flattop,, it was not produced by the factory like that.
All of the OM 3-screw 45's had the protected ears around the rear sight.

It's been done occasionally,, where a gunsmith mills off the "ears" and makes a custom Flattop.

So, again, politely,, you may want to look into getting a few of the good books published about Rugers to truly get the correct information.
Thanks for reading my post, but I am not too sure what you mean about getting the correct information. My 1965 .357 Blackhawk IS a 3 screw gun, which is clearly visible from the pic as you can see the three screws. I had Ruger upgrade it about 8-9 years ago with the transfer bar system, so now it will not go off just dropping it or by hitting the hammer. My 45 convertible is definitely a flatttop. I believe it was a Lipsey modified Ruger gun that was the only SS I could find back then that was a convertible. If you want to see the current offerings by Lipsey for this gun, go to https://lipseysguns.com/category/revolvers/page/2/.

Since this is just a flattop, I cannot shoot the most powerful .45LC loads in this gun. But still, I can shoot the Buffalo Bore 1,219 ft. lbs. rounds (3C) that are VERY powerful none the less. I have to hold my gun with two hands to shoot these rounds. I cannot imagine what the BB 1,344 ft, lbs. rounds (3K) feel like when shooting those!

As a comparison for those that are not familiar with the actual power ratings of ammo, the .357 Mag rounds max out at 900 ft. lbs.(made by PPU/Prvi), and the typical heavy .357 Mag rounds are between 650-750 ft. lbs. For further comparisons, the 9mm typical round delivers between 300-350 ft. lbs, and the max of any 9mm round has power wise is 480 ft. lbs. (again, Buffalo Bore 24G). The max .45 ACP round goes up to a power level of 694 ft. lbs., by both Buffalo Bore and Underwood. Of course, most .45 semi auto pistols cannot shoot these very high powered .45 ACP rounds, but my .45 Ruger Blackwhawk revolver can! Revolvers are typically much more powerful than pistols.
 

Attachments

  • P1100070.JPG
    P1100070.JPG
    2.6 MB · Views: 33
  • P1100162a.JPG
    P1100162a.JPG
    282.9 KB · Views: 37
Last edited:

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,764
Location
People's Republik of California
I am also a big Ruger enthusiast, and I own two Ruger Blackhawks. My first I bought in 1965 new, and still own it. I have attached a couple of pics of my .357 Mag and its holster (I used o quick draw) here! But I would like to ask you what caliber yours is. My .357 Mag Blackhawk is not a Flattop, as the upper frame bar is raised towards the rear. However, my second Ruger is a 45LC/54ACP convertible flattop, and it looks just like yours, with the upper frame bar going straight (Flat) across the top. Is yours a .22?

These are called 3 Screw Rugers, and without having the update made, it will 'fire' when dropped or hit, just like in the Old West days, and they kept an empty chamber to prevent damage from this. I had mine updated for 'free' (it cost me $100 for shipping!) by Ruger 8 years or so ago, so now it is safe fully loaded. I do not have a holster for my 45 Ruger Blackhawk.
The confusion over your .45 convertible flattop began in your above post when you neglected to mention it was a New Model Flattop Blackhawk and in stainless, and when you posted "These are 3 screw Rugers..." it added to the confusion. Your photo has cleared it up. Welcome as a new member and as you post more, it will become clearer that more specific information is required for members to understand which models you're referring to.

Also your .45 is known as a Distributor Exclusive model, a configuration that Ruger doesn't produce as a standard model, but will produce them on a special run basis only. A distributor orders a certain minimum quantity of a model that Ruger will produce just for them, then stop making it. Yours is not limited to not shoot "Ruger only loads" because it's built on the mid-size frame, not because it's a flattop. Ruger did make New Model flattops on the large frame in 41 and 44 Mag. If they had produced them in 45 Cal they would shoot "Ruger Only loads" safely.

Another thing to recognize as Contender mentioned, the best Ruger information and better understanding about what Ruger did in the past will be found here in this forum because it's in 'real time' and continually updated. Since with older guns new information is always coming to light, it must be taken into account when referencing written sources, especially those not written by Ruger enthusiasts/collectors 'in the know'. You have two nice Rugers and we hope you like it here.
 
Last edited:

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,423
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Hondo44 is correct. You failed to mention your 45 convertible FT was a NM,, as your post (as well as this thread,) is about Flattop Blackhawks.

And yes,, the 1965 .357 is an Old Model, and the stuff about it wasn't the issue.

Your follow up post, with the pics helped a lot too.

Confusion is cleared up.

And you have a nice pair of Rugers there.
 

Latest posts

Top