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Ruger .45 Colt Revolvers - Single Action, Western Style Pistols
Ruger 45 revolvers capture some of the Old West in their traditional, single action styling and function. Ruger offers a couple different styles of revolvers chambered in the .45 Colt round, including the Vasquero and Blackhawk series. In terms of the ammunition these Ruger 45 revolvers fire, the .45 Colt (sometimes referred to as the .45 Long Colt) has been around since 1872. This ammunition was used in the US military for nearly two decades. Originally loaded with black powder, the .45 Colt is now loaded with modern smokeless powders that allow it to generate higher velocities and ballistic energies. For a reference, a typical modern .45 Colt load will push a 200-250 gr bullet at velocities near 1000 fps with resulting energy of around 500 ft-lbs. This puts the .45 Colt into the same ballistic energy range as a powerful .357 Magnum. There are much hotter loads available for the .45 Colt that put the energies into the 1100-1200 ft-lbs range! Both DoubleTap and Buffalo Bore produce .45 Colt +P ammunition with energy around 1200 ft-lbs. You just have to decide whether or not it's a good idea to punish your gun and yourself with these heavy hitting loads. The recoil can be very unfriendly on some of these +P loads, and it is not recommended to use these potent +P rounds in the newer, small frame Vasquero revolvers. To be safe, stick with the normal .45 Colt ammunition in your newer Ruger revolver.
Ruger Vasquero .45 Revolver with 5.5" Barrel
The Vasquero series is styled more after the Old West type revolver with it's simple front blade and rear notch sights. The frame is modeled after the older style (pre-1962) Ruger frame. While this particular Ruger 45 revolver is intended to follow the classic, old style Western 6 shooter, it also incorporates some modern features. One such feature is the Ruger transfer bar mechanism that blocks the hammer from being able to hit the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. This helps prevent accidental discharge in the event the gun is inadvertently dropped. In addition, the Vasquero incorporates the reverse indexing pawl system that allows the cylinder to easily spin in either direction to help with loading and unloading cartridges. Another modern feature of the Vasquero is the internal lock that allows the firing mechanism to be locked against unintended use. A special key removes the side grip which allows access to the internal lock underneath. The Ruger Vasquero also comes in Bisley and SASS versions with a polished stainless steel frame and cylinder and more decorative grips. Expect to pay a premium for these cosmetically enhanced versions, especially the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) version which will run you about double the price of a standard Vasquero.
Ruger Blackhawk .45 Convertible Revolver 5.5" Barrel
If you are interested in a slightly more modern version of the Ruger 45 revolver, then there is the Ruger Blackhawk series. A front ramp and an adjustable rear sight help contribute to greater accuracy of this 6 shooter. The Blackhawk comes standard with a hard black rubber checkered grip. The Bisley version comes with hardwood grips and some engraving that results in a more cosmetically attractive revolver. The Ruger Blackhawk revolvers incorporate the transfer bar safety mechanism. There is also a convertible version available that allows you to interchange cylinders and shoot either .45 Colt or .45 Auto ammunition. The 45 Auto round is similar in ballistic power to the 45 Colt, although it is possible to find much hotter loads in the longer .45 Colt case. The interchangeable cylinders allow the gun enthusiast that shoots semi-automatic 45 pistol to also have the ability to shoot the same 45 ACP round in their revolver. Regardless of which version of Ruger 45 revolver you choose, you get a little bit of the style that made the Old West along with the modern features that help make these revolvers safer and more enjoyable to shoot and own.