SBH Accuracy Problems ---Update 3/28/11

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Shotter11

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
59
Sorry about the long post but I would appreciate some helpful input.

I have run into a problem with a new Ruger 7 ½” Stainless Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum. I originally purchased this gun with the idea of getting a lucky shot at a deer or elk while rifle hunting. I would like to preface this by stating that I own and frequently shoot several styles of handguns in .17 HMR to .357 mag and 45 Auto. Speaking strictly in terms of accuracy and not caliber restrictions, I would feel confident in taking shots with some of my handguns at deer and elk up to 40 yards with open sights. I cannot shoot the 44 accurately enough to be an option. I realize the obscurity of accuracy issues, and though I would like to think this has nothing to do with me, there is always doubt in the back of my mind. However, my shooting experience coupled with this revolver’s mechanical issue leads me to believe the fault is with the gun

From the beginning accuracy has been poor with this revolver. I have shot nothing but an estimated 300 rounds of factory ammunition and I have not modified the gun in any way. I shoot from a sitting position with my back supported and utilizing a two handed grip while supporting my dominant hands wrist with a sand bag. After initially shooting no better than several 10 to 11 inch 3 shot groups using Magtech 240 gr. SJSP ammunition at 20 yards, I discovered the frame screws were loose. After tightening, my groups came down slightly to 8 to 10 inches. Also, groups seemed to be sporadic and flyers occurred every group to every other group.

After several shooting sessions over several months using different ammunition (Winchester 240 gr. JSP, PMC Bronze 240 gr.TCSP, and more Magtech) and different shooting positions the best I could produce was around 4 inch groups at 20 yards using the PMC ammunition. I shot these groups shooting from the same position described above except I also supported the barrel with another sandbag. For my most recent shooting with this revolver I shot 3 shot groups from the same chamber in the cylinder. This produced the same results and I shot 4 groups using different chambers. Also, a mechanical issue surfaced at this point. For a brief period the hammer would not fall when the trigger was pulled. In these cases I was able to thumb the hammer down and re-cock to fire. At one point the revolver quite working all together and I quite shooting for the day. After I brought it home I was able to dry fire it and there seemed to be no problem. I have not shot it since.

I have shot off hand using a two hand grip and my grouping is again horrible. Also, using this method causes my point of impact to change from what it was at the supported position.

I need to get the mechanical issue resolved, but speaking in terms of accuracy is it just me or the gun? I haven’t had anyone else shoot it. Is the accuracy issue enough to justify contacting Ruger and convincing them that it is not my shooting ability?

Thanks,

Shotter11
 

bigchillymn

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
41
I had the same accuracy problems with a 45 colt in a regular blackhawk. I let several friends try with the same results. After several frustrating sessions at the range, and a lot of ammo, I finally sent it back to ruger. It took thirteen weeks to get it back, but it was worth the wait. They didn't send back a work order, so I don't know what was done, but it shoots like a dream. If it didn't have the same serial no. you wouldn't think it was the same gun. End your frustration and give ruger a call. Best of luck
 

cas6969

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 11, 1999
Messages
1,215
Not that it helps... I once owned an extremely accurate SBH (when it was scoped it would shoot just about cylinder sized groups at 100 yards). I sold it to a friend of mine who was a pretty good shot with rifles, semi autos pistols and double action revolves. He was just awful with that SBH, even with light loads. He ended up selling it back to me because he couldn't hit anything with it.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,267
Also, using this method causes my point of impact to change from what it was at the supported position.
Normal. My off hand POI is different than resting my arms on a bench. I shoot off the bench for group testing and then off hand for POA as this is normally how I'll be shooting. I try to minimize this by resting my forearms on the benchrest, with the hands and revolver floating beyond. I never rest the barrel on anything. That's just me though.

Have someone else shoot the revolver? That would resolve the 'you' issue.

I am a 'bit', no quite a bit, concerned with why the hammer doesn't fall when the trigger is pulled.... I am not a gunsmith so don't know what in the world would be causing that. I'd tear it down and check out the internals.

As far as the screws loosing up. That too is normal especially if shooting hot factory loads. A bit of blue Loctite should help that. But after/during a shooting session, it is always good to spot check those pesky screws!
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Shotter11 said:
For a brief period the hammer would not fall when the trigger was pulled.

Shotter11

A dirty gun can do that. Usually, however, the problem lies within the "hammer well". I've seen where the grip frame's hammer slot is a bit too small and pinches the hammer. I've seen where the hammer well in the cylinder frame is not quite aligned with the hammer, causing the hammer to drag.

Is there any chance has someone installed a "whimpy" mainspring? Some folks equate a softer/lighter mainspring with improved performance. I'll not have any part of such shenanigans!

I'll suggest trying some loads with long, heavy bullets which seem to grip the rifling a bit better since more bullet contacts the rifling at any given time.

As other's have suggested, it's not a bad idea to have someone else "test" the gun. Then two of you can put your heads together and figure out what's going on!

JMHO,

flatgate
 

Tommy Kelly

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,045
Sounds like you have cleaning issues with the sbh. I would go to brownells and buy a hammer spring for it in the 24#to 26# range. then take the gun down and do a good cleaning internally and replace the hammer spring to speed up the hammer travel and see if that didn't help the problem. I work on all my triggers and take most of the creep out and it helps me shoot tighter groups.
 

jpickar

Blackhawk
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
732
Boy, 8-10" groups. I'd say that there is something wrong with the gun. I always check to see if the barrel is screwed in straight. Use a steel ruler, a 12" one off a square. Put the rule along the sides of the top strap and see if the barrel is closer to the rule on one side or the other. Do the same on the top. See if the distance changes dramaticly from the front of the frame to the end of the barrel.

The only bad shooting guns I have owned had this problem.

John
 

jpickar

Blackhawk
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
732
Another thing I thought of is to check and see if the cylinder lines up with the bore of the barrel. A friend once had a 357 BH that shot terrible. After looking it over a few times I saw the cylinder was out of time. You could see the edge of the chamber out of line with the bore after sliding a small light down the barrel into the chamber.

John
 

Shotter11

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
59
jpickar said:
Boy, 8-10" groups. I'd say that there is something wrong with the gun. I always check to see if the barrel is screwed in straight. Use a steel ruler, a 12" one off a square. Put the rule along the sides of the top strap and see if the barrel is closer to the rule on one side or the other. Do the same on the top. See if the distance changes dramaticly from the front of the frame to the end of the barrel.

The only bad shooting guns I have owned had this problem.

John

Thanks for the input everyone. I took a square to the top strap and it appears the barrel is crooked. I have never heard if this happening until now. I would like to take a different square to it to get a second “opinion” but I don’t have a suitable strait edge right now. After this I’m sure I will be contacting Ruger to work something out. The timing appears to be right.

At this point, if the barrel is crooked, and I’m sure that it is, I would prefer that Ruger just replace the gun.

It did cross my mind that I have only put 240 gr. through it, but I have been unable to find anything heavy that is not too pricey. (I don’t reload yet.) However, I feel this doesn’t matter now.

It is a new gun and I purchased from a reputable dealer, so I think I just got a lemon. I will post updates and I’m hoping that Ruger takes the chance to fix the problem.

Thanks again.
 

jpickar

Blackhawk
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
732
Glad you found the problem. They probably will repalce just the barrel. Which is fine as long as the barrel is threaded square. They will take care of you right.

John
 

Shotter11

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
59
I wanted to give an update on my initial post. I contacted Ruger about my problems and though they sounded skeptical (I would too in their situation) they told me to send it in.

I sent it off with a letter explaining everything I already posted and a few days laterI got a card with a delivery confirmation and work order number. I figured I would give Ruger a couple weeks and if I hadn’t heard anything, I would call to see what progress had been made.

Eight days after sending my revolver in, I happened to be home from work early when UPS showed up with my gun. I was ecstatic. Included was a repair order which showed the basepin was repaired and the barrel had been replaced. Also included was a printout of a sample target with what appeared to be a 1 ½” 5 shot group at 15 yards with 240 gr. Hornady. The first thing I did was take a square to the barrel and it was arrow strait. It was a beautiful day and so of course I went shooting.

For this shooting session I used PMC Bronze 240 gr.TCSP. I shot from a back supported sitting position. I used shooting sticks and rested my SBH just in front of the trigger guard while resting my elbows on my knees. I shot 3 shot groups at 20 yards. My first group was one of my best groups at 1 inch. I ended up shooting 5 three shot groups that averaged 2.70” , and 6 three shot groups that averaged 2.67” I also shot at 15 yards and got 1.88” average for 4 three shot groups. At one point in my shooting I loaded up three rounds randomly in the cylinder and I feel this helped in being able to focus on the basics and making good shoots. I also decided to take three final shoots after all was said and done at 50 yards at an 8 1\2” x 11” piece of paper and placed all three rounds on it. They were strung out 6 inches vertically and 2 inches right of center. The round I had placed in the middle of the string was centered for height in the middle of the target. I ended up calling it a day.

On the drive home I wasn’t extremely pleased with my shooting, but after looking at my group sizes I am happy. I don’t feel these groups are the best I can do, but I feel that the gun is shooting well and I can do better. I cannot say how pleased I am with Ruger for making this right and having speedy service. I feel like I have a new gun and I can’t wait to continue to work on my shooting and perhaps put this gun to work hunting this fall. I gave Ruger a chance to making a wrong right and they did exactly that. I would recommend to anyone who is experiencing trouble with a Ruger firearm to at least contact Ruger and see what they have to say.

Thanks to all who replied with suggestions. I was able to put something concrete behind my accuracy issues and solve the problem. I plan to run some heavier loads through it soon and hopefully I will be improving my shooting soon as well.
 

98Redline

Blackhawk
Joined
Dec 9, 2010
Messages
679
Glad to hear you are on the road to getting things straightened out.

Just as an FYI, I find that both my SBHs (Stainless SBH Bisley Hunter and Blued Old Model SBH 7.5" BBL) both like bullets on the heavier side.

I have been shooting the 320gr hard cast lead ammo from Double Tap (www.doubletap.com) and the are far more accurate than any jacketed I have tried to date.
 

5of7

Hunter
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
2,296
I will offer this; try shooting from the sitting position as you describe EXCEPT do not rest your hand or wrist on a sandbag.

Instead, rest your forearms on your knees about 1/2 way between the wrists and the elbows. It is not as rock steady as the sand bag method, but for some reason, it often produces better groups. 8)
 

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