School me on NM revolver frames, please

Help Support Ruger Forum:

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Given how long I've been around here I hate to admit I don't know this info, but there ya go.

I'm trying to figure out NM Ruger revolver frame sizes. I currently own a Bisley Single Six, an Accusport Bisley BH in .45 Colt, and a Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter in .44 mag.

Looking at the BH and SBHH frames they appear identical, except the .45 BH simply says, "Blackhawk", where the .44 mag says, "Super Blackhawk". It is my understanding that these frames are the same size, just have different words engraved on them, and that the "difference" between these guns is the calibers they're offered in and the grip frames. (Why they label some frames Super and some not is one of the great mysteries of [my] life.) The grip frame difference of course goes out the window when you replace either with a Bisley. I haven't broken out the calipers yet, but the frames certainly look the same size.

The Single Six is clearly a much smaller cylinder frame, yet it still accepts the same Bisley grip frame. The grip panels are identical. (OK, again I have not measured this, so it's possible the grip frames are different sizes, at least where they mount to the cyl. frame.)

For years I've heard Ruger owners bemoan the lack of a .44 special or .41 mag built on the "mid frame". Here's where my confusion really starts.

If the BH and SBH are the same size cylinder frame, where does this "mid frame" concept come from? Do they use a different frame specifically for .357s, which sits between the Single Six and the BH frame that's used on .45s? (I'm trying to correspond this to S&W's K, L, and N frames.)

I just handled a .357 BH in the store the other day, and I swear it was the same size frame as my .45 Colt BH. I did not have my gun to do a side x side comparison, though.

But this doesn't make much sense. If all the BH frames are essentially the same size/weight then why the clamor for a .44 special/.41 mag? Is the difference in the cylinder itself? Less material in a .357? This does not jibe with my own experience owning an original Vaquero in .357, which was the same exact platform as a .44 mag gun, but with smaller holes (and therefore even heavier). And yes, I realize a Vaquero and a BH are different, but I'm obviously grasping at straws here trying to understand it all.

So, given all that glop, what am I missing?

-- Sam
 

c.r.

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
436
Location
Texas
here's the way I see it for NEW MODELS.

any single six (32h&r, .22, and bisley in those calibers) - built on Rugers small frame.

New Model "Flattops" (lipsey's 44 special and the 50th anniv in .357), and the New Vaquero (including the Bisley New Vaquero) are built on Ruger's medium frame.

Blackhawks, SBHs, Bisleys, Vaqueros, the Hunter models and the 50th anniv flattop in 44 mag built on Ruger's large frame.

bearcat is built on ruger's "cute frame" :wink: had to throw that in there for all the folks who love thier cute little bearcats :D


I think that covers them.

~c.r.[/b]
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,228
Location
So. Florida
Sam, I can't tell you how many times I have screwed-up on frame sizes. I always tried to think like you that a "super" frame should be bigger / heavier but it ain't so.

NM Blackhawk, NM Super Blackhawk, Vaquero, and Bisley all the large frame size.

New Vaquero, OM 357 flatop, OM 357 Blackhawk I think are mid-frame?

That's as far as I willing to go and I am not all that sure either.

The NM 41 Blackhawk has the fluted cylinder, aluminum gripframe and ejector housing making it a Blackhawk instead of a Super, same as the 357 or 45 colt.

...Jimbo
 

c.r.

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
436
Location
Texas
as far as OLD MODELS go, the only centerfire, 3-screws and flattops, that were built on Ruger's medium frame were those blackhawks offered in .357.

All other OLD MODELS were on Ruger's large frame

of course old model single sixes were all on Ruger's small frame.

i hope I have all this right, otherwise i'm going to be eating crow.

~c.r.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,228
Location
So. Florida
As I understand it the NM Blackhawk has aluminum XR3-RED gripframe aluminum ejector housing and fluted cylinder as well as a narrow hammer.

Exexpt for the Bisley Blackhawks and Bisley Super Blackhawks. The only difference there is the caliber... really. :roll:

...Jimbo, hope I got that right. Is this a test?
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
YES!!!! It's not just me! Thank you! :D

OK, I got it now. The "mid frame" is an older concept, recently back on the scene in the "new" Vaquero and "new" Flattops.

This is good, because I decided to get one of the Lipsey's .44 specials. Now I know it will be different enough from my present guns to make it worthwhile.

Re: hittman; Yes, as far as I know, regular BHs come with an aluminum grip frame and ejector housing. They also have a different, taller hammer than Supers. That, and caliber, are the only differences.

My .45 BH has a non fluted cylinder for .45 Colt, and a fluted for .45 ACP, so you can't use that as a key, either. Both my .44 mag and .22 LR have non fluted cyls.

The Bisleys use yet a third different hammer, and a different trigger. To totally confuse things, there are two models of the Super BH Hunter (one 'regular', one Bisley) and the 'regular' one uses the Bisley hammer, not the regular Super hammer, but the grip and trigger are still 'regular'.

True to being different, the guy I'm buying my Lipsey's .44 (mid frame ;)) from says that it is "all steel", which I assume means both the grip frame and ejector housing, but I'll wait until I have possession of it to say for sure.

I guess it's like other things: There are basic guidelines, but there are almost as many variations to those guidelines as there are products that follow them.

-- Sam
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
Yosemite Sam":15n7nd1u said:
My .45 BH has a non fluted cylinder for .45 Colt, and a fluted for .45 ACP, so you can't use that as a key, either. Both my .44 mag and .22 LR have non fluted cyls.

The Bisleys use yet a third different hammer, and a different trigger. To totally confuse things, there are two models of the Super BH Hunter (one 'regular', one Bisley) and the 'regular' one uses the Bisley hammer, not the regular Super hammer, but the grip and trigger are still 'regular'.
-- Sam


There's a few statements here that "got me". Blackhawks in .45 Colt came with fluted cylinders. Of course, Ruger being Ruger there certainly may exist a few .45 Blackhawks shipped with Bisley cylinders but they are as scarce as honest politicians!

Super Blackhawk Hunters come in two configurations. One has the "Hunter" grip frame and a Super hammer. The other has a Bisley grip frame and Bisley hammer/trigger set.
268537865.jpg

I have the regular Hunter.

Mixing parts is common so it's hard to prove much of anything during my "jaw flapping" exercise. I just had to say something..... :D

flatgate
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Thanks for the info Carl.

I guess that Hunter hammer is the same as the Super; I thought it was slightly lower, a sort of cross between the Super and the Bisley.

And on your first point, you're right: My .45 BH is a stainless Bisley, and has the rollmarked, non-fluted .45 Colt cylinder. The .45 ACP cylinder is fluted and not rollmarked (obviously). I've never seen a .45 Colt non-Bisley in the flesh.

-- Sam
 

JimMarch1

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
525
Location
Tucson, AZ, USA
Add one more tricky point: the 44Magnum Flattop Anniversary Commemorative is a weird one in that it's mostly a post-'73 ("new model") large frame, except the sight area is different AND it has that new funny plunger from the mid-frames that allows the cylinder bores to line up properly with the loading gate on each "click". Other large-frames post-'73 don't line up their cylinder bores properly in the loading gate on each click, a long-standing annoyance first fixed with the first mid-frames in 2004 (first batch of New Vaqueros).

The 44Mag Flattop also has the smallest grip of any post-'73 44Mag - the same "reintroduced XR3" as the New Vaqueros, 50th Anniversary 357 and the new 44Spl. Which is one reason the flattop 44mag has gotten mixed reviews in the recoil-control department and a lot are now wearing new grip frames, often Bisley.
 

Latest posts

Top