A New .45

posted on February 14, 2012
lessons_ah2015_fs.jpg (2)

A couple of years ago, the Louisiana-based firearms distributor Lipsey’s put together a contract with Ruger to produce a Blackhawk Flattop .44 Special revolver. Seems they took notice that quite a few original Flattops in .357 Mag. were making their way to custom revolver smiths to be converted into the better caliber. I was just about to do the same when Lipsey’s announced the special run. Two barrel lengths were offered—4 5/8 and 5 1/2 inches—and because I am head-over-heels in love with the .44 Special cartridge I ordered one of each. The 4 5/8-incher is pretty much a constant rider in my truck.

Stainless steel and Vaquero versions soon followed, but late last year Lipsey’s announced that a convertible .45 Colt/.45 ACP would be produced. They’re here, and if you want one, you’d better get it before they sell out. I got mine right after the SHOT Show.

Newer gunnies might ponder, “Why get all worked up over a design that’s nearly 140 years old on a frame that was discontinued five decades ago?” The answer is simple: Size matters—though in this case it isn’t one of bigger is better. In these revolvers it is a matter of getting big-bore performance—.44 Special, .45 Colt or .45 ACP—in a smaller, more convenient package to carry. You see, the mid-size Flattop frame size and weight is very close to the iconic Colt Single Action Army revolver, and the reason that matters is one of handling characteristics. In addition to being less of a burden to pack, the smaller frame balances better than the Old Model Three-Screw revolvers that superseded the Flattop.

My Flattop with a 4 5/8-inch barrel .45 weighs 2 3/4 pounds loaded, comes with an additional .45 ACP cylinder and returns to the original XR-3 grip frame profile in steel. The XR-3 grip frame comes very close to that of a Colt SAA, differing perhaps 3/32 of an inch in length. Lipsey’s has thoughtfully included faux-ivory grip panels to dress up the gun. (A sad historical side note: When the first Flattops were introduced in 1955 a shooter could order real ivory grips from Ruger for the “astronomical” price of $16.50.) The New Model Blackhawk Flattop is available in blue or stainless, and carries an MSRP of $690.

Space and time prohibit me from waxing more extensively about the Flattop Rugers now. Suffice it to say that if you are inextricably wedded to the latest striker-fired, polymer-framed semi-autos, these new single-action revolvers won’t even turn your head. But for trail bums like me who know and appreciate “cowboy guns,” our hearts go pitter-patter over a handy revolver that throws a bullet the size of your thumb and sounds like wet chaps slapping a saddle when it hits something. If you have any feeling for single actions, you’ll regret not getting one of these beautiful guns.


Mountain Lion Lede
Mountain Lion Lede

First Case of Staggering Disease Observed in Colorado Mountain Lion

A brand new study out this week in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal has unveiled that the rustrela virus—most commonly known for the "staggering disease" it causes—has been found for the first time in a North American mountain lion.

New for 2024: Kent Cartridge Fasteel+ Bayou Blend

Kent Cartridge has announced the launch of Fasteel+ Bayou Blend. This new shotshell is specifically designed for duck hunters as a "Do-It-All Duck Load," combining high-velocity, precision-plated steel shot with advanced corrosion-resistant materials, for lethal patterns and unmatched reliability no matter the conditions.

Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Preliminary Injunction in Challenge to Delaware’s "Assault Weapons" Ban

On July 15, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction in Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security, NRA-ILA’s lawsuit challenging Delaware’s ban on “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 17 rounds.

Review: Ruger American Generation II Bolt-Action Rifle

B. Gil Horman takes the Ruger American Gen. II rifle to the range, putting this affordable yet accurate rifle through its paces.

New Hampshire Signs Pro-Gun Privacy Bill Into Law

On Friday July 12th, Governor Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) signed HB 1186, "an act relative to firearm purchaser's privacy," into law.

Review: CZ 600 American

An American-style bolt gun from CZ, this walnut-stocked beauty is sure to appeal to the gamut of hunters on this side of the pond.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.