357 Magnum/.38 Special
Ruger thought it would be a good idea to have a tank in the shape of a gun
OK if a light concealable pistol is what you are after, you are barking up the wrong tree by looking at a Ruger Blackhawk, however if you need Abrahams Tank levels of durability, a Western cowboy style gun that could handle ANY reasonable hand load and still deliver silhouette shooting accuracy, then look no further.
I picked up my Ruger New Model Blackhawk with the gloriously long 6.5" barrle used, in mint condition, on a trade for an antique shotgun that had value, but was recommended I never shoot due to its age. No fun in that, so I traded in on something fun and that beautiful mirror polished stainless Blackhawk had my name on it. $50 + the trade and I was heading out the door.
I have been lucky that I have ended up with the now out of production stunningly gorgeous mirror polished versions of my GP100 and Blackhawk. I have had people at the range ask if it's tough to keep a chrome gun clean... that's how shiny they are. If only I could obtain a SP101 in mirror polish I would be the happiest boy in town.
After naming the gun on the way home from the store (yes I name all my guns, doesn't everyone?... Boomer, Little Buddy, UCG-Universal Critter Getter...etc) I though I would call it Grandpa Lee, but after first inspection by my wife, she called it Jesse James, so the name as stuck.
I loved the stock wood grips, however my smaller hand just couldn't manage grasp, so I went with the Hogue grip and have never wished to switch back. It's of course not as pretty, but it sure does lock the hand in positively and provide me with shooting speed near my double action revolvers.
The reason I and others fall quickly in love with the indestructible Ruger Blackhawk is seen in the below 15 yard targets. Noting the first shot is always a little off for me, these are great groups by any standards for off-hand shooting.
My only gripes are the loading gate and indexing doesn't line up right for unloading and you are always 1/2 a shell width past the gate when the index clicks. This means you are popping out rounds at the center of the indexing which took some getting used to. I am told the new Vaquero remedies this issue.