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Questions about the FLATTOP

This is a discussion on Questions about the FLATTOP within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I’m thinking about “NEW MODEL BLACKHAWK CONVERTIBLE Flattop” to fill the spot as “Cowboy Gun”. MODEL: 5240 LIPSEY'S DISTRIBUTOR EXCLUSIVE CONVERTIBLE CALIBER: 45 COLT / ...


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Old January 13th, 2020, 08:49 AM   #1
 
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Questions about the FLATTOP



I’m thinking about “NEW MODEL BLACKHAWK CONVERTIBLE Flattop” to fill the spot as “Cowboy Gun”.

MODEL: 5240 LIPSEY'S DISTRIBUTOR EXCLUSIVE CONVERTIBLE CALIBER: 45 COLT / 45 AUTO, 5.5” Barrel

https://ruger.com/products/newModelB...eets/5240.html

I thought I read that the Lipsey’s Flattops were a remake of an older Blackhawk with a different size frame?? Is that true?

What’s the advantage of the flattop?

I don’t like the fake ivory grips. Will New Model Blackhawk grips fit?

If the fame is a different size, then the holster must be a different size?

I’m a Smith & Wesson guy, so I have lots of questions. I want a cowboy gun and can’t decide on this or the Vaquero. The Vaquero looks more like a Colt SAA, but the Blackhawk sights are a big advantage.

Thanks.



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Old January 13th, 2020, 09:14 AM   #2
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DaveTN, In 2006, Ruger made a 50th year commemorative New Model Flattop that emulated the origional Old Model Flattop from 1956. The new flattop has a slightly smaller cylinder frame (.1" shorter in length and .1" shorter in height). As such, the cylinder is also smaller in diameter and length so you can not shoot "Ruger Only" loads in the 45 cal models. It also has the old XR3 shaped grip frame so normal New Model XR3-RED grips won't fit.

There's really no advantage to a flattop other than some people find them more attractive. The New Vaquero shares the same frame with a flattop except it has fixed sights and a different shaped hammer.

Ruger still makes a "standard" New Model Blackhawk with a full sized frame and cylinder that is capable of safely shooting much higher pressure "Ruger Only" loads. It is also available in a 45 Colt / 45 ACP convertible and has a fully adjustable rear sight. Here's a link: https://ruger.com/products/newModelB...le/models.html
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Old January 13th, 2020, 09:18 AM   #3
 
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If you really want a "Cowboy Gun", you probably should get the New Vaquero. The Blackhawk Convertible Flattop is built on the same size frame as the New Vaquero and is smaller that either the 'Blackhawk' or the 'Old Vaquero'. The holster size on either of the guns you are considering is pretty much 'Colt' sized. I can't say that I love the imitation Ivory grips but they do make it easier to tell my .45 Flattop from my .44 Flattop. I would not personally choose to have mine be a convertible but that is the only way it is available. When I want to shoot .45 acp I just use an auto.
There are already several threads here about the Flattop Convertible where you can learn more.

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Old January 13th, 2020, 09:54 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireEscape View Post
I would not personally choose to have mine be a convertible but that is the only way it is available.
Why? I assumed they just throw in an extra cylinder; no change in the gun. Is that not a good assumption?
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Old January 13th, 2020, 10:14 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveTN View Post
Why? I assumed they just throw in an extra cylinder; no change in the gun. Is that not a good assumption?
Just a little more expensive. I have found that the 45acp cyclinder, and the 9mm cylinder in the 357’s come in handy when developing loads for my autoloaders. There is a little cushion, and you don’t have to chase the brass to get a good look at it. That being said, I love the looks of the flattops, however, the grip frame to me is small. I like the xr3-red frame better, but most of my single actions have a bisley grip frame.

Last edited by Wheelguns; January 13th, 2020 at 10:18 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2020, 10:25 AM   #6
 
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I have both the New Model Blackhawk (in .45 Colt/.45 ACP) and a New Model Flat Top in .44 Special.

To compare the guns side by side there is not much difference to the eye. But, Oh! there is a great difference to the hand.

The Flat Top is svelte, even sensuous, to the shooting hand. Sort of makes you reluctant to put it down. But, put it down you do.


Then the New Model, not so sexy in the hand. Tough. Brutal. Wakes up the warrior in you.

So, get one, or more, of each. I did.





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Old January 13th, 2020, 10:34 AM   #7
 
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Here is one advantage to the ACP cylinder: I salvage .45 Colt brass that has had splits at the case mouth. I cut and trim these to .45 ACP length and load them with ACP data and fire them in the ACP cylinder. Recycles brass that way:



These cases were loaded maybe 55 times as .45 Colt, now I see 11 times as my .45 Xtra Short, or as the .45-06.


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Old January 13th, 2020, 11:35 AM   #8
 
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I've got the flattop 45 convertible and the regular full size convertible, both with 4 5/8" barrels.

Although the flattop is smaller and a bit handier, I find the grip a little cramped compared to the full size XR3-RED grip.

Not getting rid of either one though. They are both fine handguns.
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Old January 13th, 2020, 12:41 PM   #9
 
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The original Vaquero will handle the more stout "Ruger Only" loads, whereas the New Vaquero should only be used with standard Colt loads. Ifn, you want the looks and feel of a fixed sight cowboy gun, get the NM Vaquero. if you want adjustable sighted cowboy gun get the NM Flattop, in 45 colt or 44 Special, or even 357. If you want to shoot heavy loads, get a NM Blackhawk, Blackhawk Hunter, or the original Vaquero with fixed sights.

Last edited by veeman; January 14th, 2020 at 11:51 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2020, 06:42 PM   #10
 
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Actually the New Vaquero (and flattop) .45s will handle Tier 2 loads (23K psi ) just fine. Just don't go to Tier 3 (Ruger Only Loads 30K+ psi). BTW, I load Tier 1 for my general use, and I have a Tier 2 load that works in all my large and medium framed .45s. I don't like ROL loads anyway. Not planning an African hunt anytime soon...

BTW veeman, the old/original Vaquero and New Vaquero are both New Models .

Quote:
Why? I assumed they just throw in an extra cylinder; no change in the gun. Is that not a good assumption?
They don't 'throw' it in, you do have to pay for it . Convertibles are usually higher priced. I for one 'thought' I'd use the .45 ACP cylinder, but I've found that I'd rather just shoot .45 Colt. Same with the 9mm cylinder. So to me it really wasn't worth the added cost for the extra cylinders.... But that was the only way the flattops came, so bought them anyway .

As for the grips, I just don't care what they look like because I am probably going to get custom grips on the gun anyway if it is a keeper. I like grip panels that exactly (really close) fit the grip frame and in a style I prefer. And no, the large frame BH grip frames are slightly different from the New Vaquero/Flattop frame. When looking for generic grips you must look for New Vaquero grip panels. Of course if you go custom, the grip maker will fit the panels perfectly to the grip frame you send him/her.

My holsters fit either the large or medium framed BHs. Yes, the medium is a bit looser in the holster, but the top strap takes care of that.

The advantage with the medium frame revolvers is they are a bit smaller, and 'feel' right at home in my hands. The advantage is 'subjective'. As I've said before I've found 'my' set of perfect pack'n revolvers in .357, .44 Special, and .45 Colt tuned flattops. YMMY though.
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Old January 13th, 2020, 08:13 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rclark View Post
BTW veeman, the old/original Vaquero and New Vaquero are both New Models .
Aye, I didn't say it wasn't. Someone else called it an Old Vaquero, I was just saying there is no "Old Vaquero" but rather either Vaquero or New Vaquero. Didn't say anything about Old or New Model.
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Old January 14th, 2020, 03:40 AM   #12
 
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Some people say "old" Vaquero to help differentiate between the original Vaquero and the New Vaquero. As veeman said, Ruger could have made things less confusing.
Kind of like how some people will say .45 Long Colt even though there really is no such thing, it's just ".45 Colt".
But because Colt also made a .45 ACP, and there was a "short .45 revolver round ( for the S&W Schofield revolver), if someone wants to call the .45 Colt the Long Colt, I have no problem with that, but some will want to make it a point to correct them.

Some other differences between the large frame Blackhawk, and the Blackhawks known as the Flattop, are that the Flattops retain a nicely blued steel grip frame and ejector rod housing, which helps the overall balance. The Flattops seem to be better finished as well.

The large frame "regular" Blackhawk has an alloy grip frame and ejector rod housing that has a "black paint" look to it. And having the grip frame a lighter material messes up the balance and makes for a muzzle heavy gun, especially in the smaller calibers like .357.
Frankly, I think the finish on the newer Blackhawks looks cheap, and they don't seem to be as nicely done as the Lipsey's Flattops.

The feel of the smaller Flattop is worlds better to me, and the slimmer size gives it the Colt like superb feel and balance.
Paired with a like caliber levergun, they are loads of fun:

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Old January 14th, 2020, 05:59 AM   #13
 
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Thats a nice looking set of wood grips. The shine on them make them look really thick.
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Old January 14th, 2020, 07:01 AM   #14
 
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Chig's grips are thicker. I like the feel of the Hogue grips better, they are in between the factory grips and Chig's.
But the Walnut Chig's match the wood on the Rossi lever more closely than the Goncalo Alves Hogues. I shoulda bought the Hogues in Walnut.

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Old January 14th, 2020, 09:22 AM   #15
 
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These pics are lust-inducing. Hat tip to rammerjammer & his Flattop I've handled for awakening my inner cowboy.

What's a gun collection without at least one single action? I'll be remedying this regrettable oversight in short order.
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