Lipsey’s Exclusive Ruger Flattop Blackhawk 45 Colt / 45ACP


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

June 2nd, 2011

UPDATED November 14, 2011


YouTube Video





Click pictures for a larger version.




The difference in chamber lengths of the 45 ACP cylinder (left) compared to the 45 Colt cylinder (right).





Cartridge comparison: 45 Colt (left), 45 ACP (right).



For those who are concerned about getting the cylinders mixed-up, loading the wrong ammo into the cylinder is not possible.





A .452" diameter bullet fit the chamber throats snugly but perfectly in all twelve chambers of the test gun.





Micro adjustable rear sight and serrated ramp front, which has plenty of height for heavy bullets.



Chambers align perfectly for loading and unloading.



Ruger's patented transfer bar safety system.



Warning is located on the bottom of the barrel.





Buffalo Bore's 225-grain hard-cast lead wadcutter ammo.









Lipsey's now has the 4 5/8 inch barreled 45 Colt/45 ACP Flattop Ruger revolvers in stock, in both blued and stainless, in addition to the 5 1/2 inch barreled sixgun shown here.

Lipsey’s is a large firearms distributor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that wholesales many different brands of firearms. They sell a high volume of firearms, and doing so gives them a lot of buying power. This buying power enables Lipsey’s to order firearms in large enough quantities to get special firearms built by the major manufacturers that are exclusively available through Lipsey’s associated retailers. Lipsey’s does not retail any firearms, but most quality gun dealers buy from Lipsey’s, as they are a good company with which to do business, and it allows the retailer to get weapons to stock their shelves which they could otherwise not have available for their customers. You and I can tell a firearms manufacturer what we would like to see them build, and most of them listen to their customers. However, nothing gets a gun maker’s attention like a sales order, and Lipsey’s gets manufacturers to build the guns we want by placing an order for the weapons. This works well for all of us. As a customer, I get to buy guns that might otherwise have never been built, the gunmaker has a buyer ready to take delivery of a known quantity of units, and the wholesaler gets exclusive rights to sell that particular firearm. It is good for everyone, and this is the system that has brought to life the original-sized Ruger Blackhawk; smaller in frame and grip size than the New Model Blackhawk that has been manufactured since 1973, with the look, balance, and feel of the original Ruger Blackhawk that has endeared itself to single action sixgun fans since the 1950s, but with the New Model transfer bar lockwork, chambered for the 44 Special cartridge.

The original Blackhawk has come to be known as the Flattop by those of us who love those old guns, and with the re-introduction of the Flattop frame a few years ago, sized and balanced like the originals and chambered for the 357 magnum cartridge, it did not take long for shooters to start begging for a 44 Special on that smaller frame. In January of 2009, Ruger delivered, and the 44 Special Flattop has been a success. While shooters hollered for decades wanting a 44 on the original-size Blackhawk, it finally happened as a result of Ruger listening to what the customer wanted, and by Lipsey’s placing an order for a few thousand revolvers.

Now, Lipsey’s has ordered a quantity of Flattop Blackhawks chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge, with an extra cylinder to allow the sixgun to shoot the relatively inexpensive and readily-available 45 ACP as well. Like the 44 Special revolvers, the 45 Colt Flattop is built on the smaller 357-sized frame, which has the balance and feel of the Colt Single Action Army revolver. The Blackhawk wears a blued steel Micro adjustable rear sight, and has a serrated ramp front sight. The Flattop Blackhawk has the indexed cylinder that first appeared on the Ruger New Vaquero several years ago, which lines the chambers up properly with the ejector rod for easier loading and unloading than on other New Model single action revolvers, such as the original Vaqueros and New Model Blackhawks. The trigger is smooth and about one-quarter inch wide, and the trigger pull on the test revolver measured a crisp three pounds, one ounce, with just a hint of travel before the release. After a quick "poor boy’s trigger job", the pull weight dropped to two pounds, one ounce, and made the sixgun a delight to shoot.

The 45 Flattop is made primarily of blued steel, but there is a limited run of stainless 45 Flattops planned as well. For now, the plan is to build 500 each of the blued and stainless versions with a five and one-half inch barrel, for a total of one thousand revolvers, and all will have the extra 45 ACP cylinder.

The sample Flattop 45 was very well-fitted and finished. It wears a nice, even blued finish; not a high polish, but not a matte finish either. Somewhere in between, perhaps best called a satin blued finish. The grip frame to cylinder frame fit was very well done, and the white simulated ivory Eagle Gunfighter grips fit the grip frame very well. The barrel/cylinder gaps measured four one-thousandths (.004) and five one-thousandths (.005) with the 45 ACP cylinder and the 45 Colt cylinder, respectively. The Eagle Gunfighter grips are slim, and make the Flattop a natural pointer. The Flattop weighs in at 41.2 ounces with the five and one-half inch barrel.

I fired the Ruger 45 Flattop using a variety of 45 Colt and 45 ACP ammunition. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set twelve feet from the muzzle, with an air temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit, at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with humidity in the eight percent range. The chronograph results are listed in the chart below, with velocities recorded in feet-per-second (fps). Accuracy results are listed for the loads that were tested for accuracy, and are listed in inches. Accuracy testing was done at a distance of twenty-five yards, with the revolver held in a Ransom Master Series machine rest. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. Glaser is a specialty pre-fragmented bullet inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is Pow’RBall. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. WC is a hard-cast wadcutter, with a full-caliber meplat.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy

45 Colt

Buffalo Bore WC 225 1107 1.50"
Handload #1 LSWC 285 772.7 2.25"
Handload #2 LSWC 285 761.5 2.25"

45 ACP

Handload LWSC 200 1060 2.90"
Cor-Bon JHP 230 944.5 2.10"
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1102 1.62"
Cor-Bon JHP 185 1192 1.13"
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 1002 1.31"
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 996.2 1.88"
Buffalo Bore JHP 200 1103 2.00"
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1208 --
Cor-Bon PB 165 1300 --
Cor-Bon Glaser 145 1348 --
Stryker FMJ 230 784.6 2.60"
Remington FMJ 230 856.4 2.9"

Accuracy ran from good to superb, depending upon the ammo used. This sixgun seemed to prefer the jacketed bullet, but the Buffalo Bore 225 grain lead defense load worked very well. The adjustable rear sight, combined with the high front, easily handled all bullet weights tested, and proved even high enough for the lumbering 285 grain bullets at a nominal 775 fps muzzle velocity. This Ruger is strong, and is not limited to the so-called “cowboy” loads available on the market. Those are light target loads, and the 45 Flattop can take full-power 45 Colt ammunition. It is not built for the 45 Magnum class of ammo. That is best left to the larger Ruger frames. However, again, this is a strong sixgun, and does very well with the 45 ACP Plus P rated ammunition. The Buffalo Bore wadcutter load is made for any 45 Colt revolver, but packs a strong punch. That wadcutter hits hard, with a wide meplat, and the cartridge is loaded with low-flash powder for defensive use in low-light situations. It should also make a fine hunting round for whitetail deer-class animals, and should prove deadly on wild hogs as well. It displayed excellent accuracy from this Ruger sixgun.

This Ruger Flattop 45 is a very versatile, well-built revolver. For now at least, it is a very limited run, with a total of only 1000 planned in both blued and stainless, at least for now. This five and one-half inch blued version shown here won’t be going back to Lipsey’s, so that leaves only 499 for the rest of you. Lipsey’s and Ruger have once again teamed up and delivered what shooters want; a strong, reliable, powerful, accurate, affordable, good-looking American made sixgun that handles easily and points like the finger of God.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Lipsey’s dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To see other Lipsey's exclusive guns, visit

To order a Barranti Leather Company holster or belt, go to

To order any of the quality ammunition shown here, go to,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


45 Flattop is supplied with both 45 Colt and 45 ACP cylinders... hard case, instructions, padlock, and internal lock keys.







Grip frame contains Ruger's internal key lock, for those who choose to use that feature.







45 Flattop is fitted with simulated ivory Eagle "Gunfighter" grips.



Finely crafted holster and belt from Barranti Leather Company.



Accuracy testing was done at 25 yards, with the aid of a Ransom Master Series machine rest.