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This Ruger New Model Blackhawk was manufactured by Sturm, Ruger in July of 1997. It is a 6 shot, single-action revolver that is chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, but it can also easily accept the .38 special round. This revolver has a 6 1/2 inch barrel with 6 grooves and a right hand twist making one turn in 16 inches. The Patridge type sights include a front sight that is mounted on a ramp and a rear sight that is adjustable for both windage and elevation. This revolver is manufactured from stainless steel that has a satin finish. The grip panels are a smooth rosewood and include the Sturm, Ruger company logo.

The New Model Blackhawk was first introduced in 1973, and now with calibers ranging from .22 to .45 Colt, there have been well over a million revolvers that have been manufactured. The first Blackhawks are now known as the Flattop models. This is because the adjustable rear sights on these early versions are not protected by ears extending up from the frame. Then beginning in 1962, Ruger changed the design of the Blackhawk to include two small protrusions extending up on either side of the rear sight to help protect it. Then from 1962 through 1972, Ruger made what is now known as the "Three Screw Blackhawks". This meant that there were 3 screws holding on the sideplate. In 1973 Ruger introduced the New Model Blackhawk which allowed the shooter to load the revolver while the hammer is fully down. The earlier models required that the hammer be placed in a half cock position before the cylinder could rotate for loading. The other major improvement also made it the safest single action revolver to date. This new safety device is a a transfer bar mechanism. In order to fire, the hammer must strike a transfer bar, which in turn strikes the firing pin. The transfer bar is attached to the trigger so if the trigger is not pulled and held in its rearward most position, the transfer bar isn't there, and the hammer will not reach the firing pin.   

The .357 Magnum round is the worlds oldest handgun "magnum" cartridge. Smith & Wesson played a major part in the development and success of the .357 magnum cartridge.  it is Philip Sharpe, whom at the time was a firearms author and experimenter who is credited for the development of the round in the 1930s. In his book "Complete Guide to Handloading", Phillip Sharpe summarizes his extensive testing in the development of the .357 Magnum. Elmer Keith also played a large role in the development of the .357 magnum due in part to his testing of the .38 Special cartridge and loading it to far beyond normally accepted limits. Many police agencies at this time were using such cartridges as the .32 or .38 special and were asking for a more powerful round. S&W's Vice President Major Douglas B. Wesson agreed to design a new revolver that would handle "high-intensity" .38 Special loads if Winchester would develop a new cartridge for it. Winchester went to work and a short while later introduced the .357 Magnum, which is dimensionally identical to the .38 Special except for having a .125 inch longer case then that of the .38 special. On April 8, 1935 the first revolvers known as the .357 Magnum Models were then introduced by S&W. The classic Model 19, is one of the original S&W .357's.


A brief history of the Sturm, Ruger company.

After WWII in 1946, Ruger rented space in a barn in Southport, CT where he formed the Ruger Corporation. He started the company with the goal of producing sporting firearms. Shortly thereafter he perfected the design of the Ruger .22 caliber target pistol and obtained $50,000 in financing from the Sturm family. In October of 1949, Sturm, Ruger officially opened for business. Alexander Sturm who was a graduate of Yale Art School is responsible for designing the company's trademark. Later, an article about the new company in the American Rifleman brought in the first orders. Soon thereafter, the Southport post office was forced to expand just to handle the mail that the Ruger company was receiving. Within a year, Sturm, Ruger had repaid the Sturm family's $50,000 investment; this was also the last money that the company ever borrowed. Sturm died in November of 1951 at the young age of 29 from viral hepatitis. Ruger took over control of the company's management, while Sturm's estate retained its interest in the company. William B. Ruger continued to direct the company until his death in 2002.

William B. Ruger's credo was "Arms Makers for Responsible Sportsmen." He created firearms not only for hunters and target shooters, but for folks who purchased guns for their esthetics and their precision. The company stock has been publicly traded since 1969, then starting in 1990, Sturm, Ruger began trading on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol of "RGR". So far, the Company has made a profit every year of its existence. Ruger has manufactured well over 20 million firearms for both sporting and law enforcement use. Today they have branched out into other endeavors such as the  automotive parts market and manufacturing the cast titanium golf club heads for the BIG BERTHA drivers. The Company's corporate headquarters are still located in Southport, CT and that barn where it all started, well it is still standing today.

It would not be fair if I did not as well mention the controversy that Mr. Ruger created with his letter to members of the House and Senate on March 30th, 1989. In short, it is thought that his letter was the genesis for some parts of the legislation that was drafted 5 years later in the Assault Weapons Ban. Not only that, but in an interview with Tom Brokaw, Mr. Ruger went on to say that "no honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun" and "I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20 and 30 round magazines". These comments brought down the wrath from angry gun owners even though Mr. Ruger had actually advocated for a 15 round magazine limit. Still, it shocked the firearms community to hear such comments coming from an important firearms manufacturer. Today, the Ruger company no longer stands by this line of thinking and is actively selling high capacity magazines to the general public.  

The photograph on the left is of the front and back of the Ruger New Model Blackhawk, while the picture on the right shows the top and bottom views of the firearm.  

The picture on the left is of the inscription that is stamped on the left side of the receiver and directly below the cylinder. This stamp reads as follows, "RUGER® .357 MAGNUM CAL." and then underneath that is "NEW MODEL BLACKHAWK". The first line of the inscription identifies Ruger as the manufacturer. Next to the Ruger name is the trademark symbol of the letter "R" inside of a circle. Next to this is the stamp that indicates that this revolver is chambered in .357 magnum caliber. Underneath that first line is a stamp that indicates that the model of this revolver is the New Model Blackhawk and then at the end there is another trademark symbol of the letter "R" inside of a circle at the end of the word "blackhawk".

The photograph on the right is of the left rosewood grip panel showing a close up of the Sturm Ruger logo. In November of 1951 when Alexander Sturm died from viral hepatitis, Mr. Bill Ruger ordered the color of the company’s logo forever changed from a red eagle to a black one, in memory of his friend and business partner. While there have been some changes, a silver eagle on a black background has become the standard. The red in the logo has returned with a few special editions of Ruger pistols such as the NRA Endowment model and the 50th Anniversary model, but in these cases the eagle is silver with a red background.   

The picture on the right is of the two line inscription that is stamped on the left side of the barrel. The first time that this mark appeared on the .357 version of the Ruger New Model Blackhawk was in 1978. While difficult to fully see in the picture, the first line of this inscription reads as follows, "BEFORE USING GUN-READ WARNINGS IN INSTRUCTION MANUAL AVAILABLE FREE FROM". The second line reads as follows, "-----STURM, RUGER & CO., INC. SOUTHPORT, CONN. U.S.A. -----". While this revolver was manufactured over a decade ago, the instruction manual is still available free of charge from Sturm, Ruger. The company has also made available a free down loadable version on their website.




Ruger and his guns by R.L. Wilson

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. website located at  

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