A Single-Action Classic

One of my favorite handguns of all time is the original Ruger Blackhawk, in .44 Magnum. This is the Ruger single action that has come to be called the .44 Flat Top. This is a tough, accurate revolver with a butter smooth action. In short, it’s just about the perfect sixgun for the outdoorsman. Ruger began making the .44 Blackhawk in 1956 and discontinued it about 1962, when their beefier Super Blackhawk was ready for delivery. The gun gets it’s Flat Top nickname from the flat top-frame configuration that was adorned with an all-steel Micro adjustable rear sight. The most common barrel length was 6 1/2-inches, as seen in the photo above, but Ruger also produced some of the Flat Tops with a 7 1/2-inch barrel, and even fewer with a 10-inch barrel. The shape of the grip frame, like the early Blackhawk .357, was very similar to that found on the Colt Peacemaker. Altogether, it was just an excellent revolver.

Skeeter Skelton is at fault for my love affair with the Flat Top Ruger .44. He had one with the 7 1/2-inch barrel and it was his favorite woods gun. I couldn’t wait to read one of his articles that involved some adventure with this neat sixgun. And, naturally, I got my hands on one as quickly as I could. The gun used to illustrate this article is one that I got from my friend, and premier pistolsmith, John Gallagher some years ago

The old Ruger Flat Top .44 will handle any reasonable .44 Magnum load. The single-action grip shape allows the gun to roll in the hand and, thereby, dissipate some of the felt recoil. It is a very comfortable gun to shoot, even with the heavy hunting loads that I sometimes use. My Flat Tops, I have several, have accounted for quite a few deer, javalina, feral hogs, turkey, and a variety of exotic game, over the years.

An indication of the popularity of the Ruger Flat Top is the fact that the company has brought the guns back out in recent years. They are currently available in .357 Magnum, .44 Special, and .45 Colt, all built on the smaller .357 frame and incorporating the New Model action. I don’t know if they’ll ever bring the gun back out in .44 Magnum, but you can bet I’d be a customer.

The original .44 Magnum Flat Top is a classic Ruger revolver. I can’t imagine keeping house without one.

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