As I write this, I have just returned from an
extended shooting session with Ruger's newest single-action revolver; the
Super Blackhawk Hunter. Actually, the Hunter is a return of a fine
sixgun produced by Ruger several years ago. The return of the Hunter to Ruger's Super
Blackhawk line fills a much needed void among handguns in general, and single-actions in
particular; that being a sixgun purpose-built with the handgun hunter in mind. Until now, if a hunter
wanted to mount a scope sight on his Ruger Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk, he had no
really good means to do so. With the addition of the Hunter to their line, Ruger has taken the
excellent scope mounting system from their double-action Redhawk revolver, and added it to
the Super Blackhawk.
The scope mounting system of this sixgun mates
Ruger's great stainless rings with an integral full-length solid rib machined onto the top of the
seven and one-half inch barrel. This system makes for one of the strongest scope mounts in
the industry. The scope rings can be removed and replaced, with the scope mounted firmly
within, without a measurable loss of adjustment.
Upon learning of Ruger's intention to
re-introduce the Hunter, I immediately put in a request for a sample. The gun received for
testing here at Gunblast.com came supplied with Ruger's usual hard plastic protective case,
cable lock, instruction manual, and a set of stainless one-inch scope rings.
The Super Blackhawk Hunter, while built for
ruggedness and durability, is an example of classic sixgun beauty. The brushed satin
finished stainless steel looks great with the well-fitted black and gray laminated wood
stocks. The 7-1/2 inch barrel with the heavy top rib gives a definite muzzle-heavy balance to the
sixgun that really helps to achieve a steady hold while shooting.
The Hunter is a substantial sixgun, made almost entirely of stainless steel,
and weighing in at 52 ounces. Chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge, the Hunter can
handle a great variety of factory and handloaded ammunition.
The heavy rib atop the barrel is
grooved most of its length to prevent glare. The top of the frame
is stamped with the same Hunter logo as the original series of this
revolver, and is both unique and aesthetically pleasing. This is one
The Hunter includes several nice features that
serve to make the gun more user-friendly, such as the excellent wide hammer spur that is
serrated and lowered to fall more easily under the thumb. The rounded trigger guard is a
deviation from the standard dragoon-style guard of most Super Blackhawks. The
extra-length ejector rod is the same as the rod from their ten and one-half inch
barreled Supers, and helps to ensure complete and easy ejection of magnum
cases. The interchangeable front sight system is another nice feature borrowed from the
Redhawk, allowing a shooter to more easily adjust his sights for load
and shooting conditions.
The trigger pull on the Hunter, while smooth,
weighed in at around six pounds. Removing one grip panel and lifting the leg of one side of the
trigger spring from its post resulted in a nice pull weight of around three
pounds (for details of this procedure, see Jeff's article at Poor Boy's Trigger Job). This makes for a
much better trigger pull for accuracy work, and can be returned to the original
factory weight just as easily.
The unfluted cylinder exhibited
a slight amount of side play with a barrel / cylinder gap of .004
inch. Cylinder end play was tight, with no discernable amount of movement. The grip
frame was very well fitted to the frame, as were the stocks to the grip frame. All surfaces were
evenly and very well finished, with no visible tool marks.
Beauty aside, the proof is in the shooting. For
group testing, I mounted a trusted old Charles Daly 2-power pistol scope. As can be seen
from the photos, this sixgun will shoot! All shooting was done at a range of 25 yards, and
chronographed over the excellent PACT Precision chronograph at a distance of twelve
feet from the muzzle. Each and every load tested gave very good performance in this revolver,
with the worst group fired measuring one and three-sixteenths of
an inch. That was the worst group, and would be called a great group in
most any other sixgun. The best group fired measured an even half-inch for five shots
at 25 yards. Every other load tested went under an inch for five shots. After evaluating the
chronograph data, the largest group also was very inconsistent, and
could be improved by the addition of a little more powder. Bullets tested
weighed from the lightest at 165 grains up to the heaviest at 320 grains. The gun
performed well with light and medium weight jacketed hollowpoints, and with light, medium, and heavy
weight cast bullets.
One load in particular deserves
special mention; that load being the Cor-Bon .44 Special factory
load using their 165 grain jacketed hollowpoint bullet. This load is advertised at a velocity of
1150 fps, but chronographed from the Hunter at 1255 fps at 10 feet from the muzzle. This load
was very accurate from the Hunter, and should prove ideal on whitetail deer, giving good
expansion without excessive recoil or meat damage.
The rounded trigger guard proved very
comfortable shooting even the heavy Cast Performance 320 grain bullets at a speed of
over 1250 feet-per-second. The long Super Blackhawk grip frame provided good control of
the gun even with the heavy-recoiling loads. This Super Blackhawk Hunter is one of the most
accurate handguns that I have ever fired.
Some shooters, myself included, prefer a sixgun
without a scope sight for hunting and shooting. Even without the benefit of the capability of
mounting a scope, this revolver has many advantages. I really like the balance of the
sixgun afforded by the heavy barrel rib. I like the long ejector rod and the
interchangeable front sight. I like the feel of the long grip frame with the
rounded trigger guard. I absolutely love the accuracy of this revolver. Especially in a
sixgun designed for hunting, accuracy is everything, and this gun has accuracy to spare.
Coupled with the advantage of being able to
easily mount a scope sight when desired, the Super Blackhawk Hunter has it all. It combines
the rugged simplicity of Ruger's famous single-action design, with the safety of the New
Model lockwork, the durability of stainless steel, and the accuracy of a target pistol, into one of
the best-looking sixguns to come from a factory in the last forty
I really like this sixgun; if I didn't, I would say so. I
tried to find some small thing wrong with the gun, but it just wasn't there. Perhaps later Ruger will
offer this fine sixgun in a greater variety of calibers, from the .357 through their own .480
Ruger, but that is just wishful thinking on my part. For now, the .44
Magnum will do just fine.
The Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter is, like all
Ruger Firearms, 100 percent American made. Check out this and all other Ruger
firearms on the web at: www.ruger-firearms.com
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