Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A very special revolver

There is a good bit of nostalgia connected with this revolver.

My father gave it to me when I was sixteen. It is a Ruger Blackhawk .357, one of the first 5000 made and is today known to collectors and Ruger fans as a "Flattop." 

I had had a .22 rimfire revolver for quite a while, but he knew I lusted after a big boy. I don't think I have ever seen anything quite as beautiful as this pistol seemed to me when I opened the yellow and black box for the first time. Believe me, it was love at first sight.

I had a rudimentary reloading set-up at that time and I quickly added a set of .38/.357 dies. I was working for a local farmer on weekends and summers and money was tight. I bought primers by the hundred and scrounged for cases. I only had a small handful of .357s and about fifty .38s. I molded my bullets from wheel-weights, a few at time. But in that first summer my new Ruger became the scourge of the local marmot community.

Parts are no longer available for this revolver and I am very careful with it. I don't carry it as much as I would like to, being afraid that something will happen to it. To be able to retire her honorably I bought one of the Ruger 50-year commemorative flattops, which turned out to be a great disappointment. Not at all like the original. It sits in my safe awaiting an enthusiasm which may never come.

As you can see, she bears some scars from her active life. Every one a story. She has also never been converted to Ruger's "safe-to-carry-six" New Model action. She is therefore still a classic five-shooter.

My grandson is developing a cautious interest in guns. He is only four. I have twelve years to wait 'til he is sixteen.


Anonymous said...

Even Numerich can't get you parts? That's bad news.

Anonymous said...

I have one of these. Mine's not as old as yours; it was purchased in 1961. Same deal; old model, 4/5/8" barrel. It belonged to the man who taught me to shoot when I was a kid, and it was one of his favorites. I inherited it when he died. I love to shoot mine. Mostly .38 wadcutters these days, but some hot cast bullet .357's every now and then....

Anonymous said...

PS: You get some parts here:

Rio Arriba said...

Anonymous (you sure come from a large family!)-- Sounds like yours is very special, too. Someday I hope mine will be as special to someone else. Thanks for the tip on parts. You may have noticed the trigger on mine? I needed a replacement a few years back and they weren't available so the 'smith made one for me out of a Super Blackhawk trigger. Works fine.

BTW, the Commemorative model is, AFAIC, a fraud. The dimensions are wrong and the "feel" isn't there. Not Ruger's Finest Hour IMO.