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An Original Ruger 3-Screw

Here is a cool old Ruger revolver that sold almost as soon as it hit the door, but is still worth some space on our page.

Ruger introduced the Blackhawk single action revolver in 1955 in .357 Magnum, and added the .44 Magnum caliber in a slightly heavier gun a year later. Known for their rugged quality and reliability, the Blackhawk revolvers have been the industry standard for single-action revolvers in the modern era.

The original guns, like most six-shooters from the Old West, could be safely loaded with 5 rounds, and you would carry the gun with the hammer down on an empty chamber. Otherwise, the hammer/firing pin rested directly against the cartridge, and could discharge if dropped or bumped.

Around 1973, Ruger switched all their single action revolvers to the "New Models", incorporating a transfer bar between the hammer and firing pin, and so making it safe to carry with all six chambers fully loaded. Subsequently, the original Blackhawk revolvers have been trending upwards in value.

Often referred to as 3-Screw models, the older guns had three screws/pins through the frame, while the new models have only two pins, making identification easy. The older guns can be sent back to Ruger, and the factory will convert the guns to the new safety mechanism. Doing so hurts the collectible value of the gun however, as originality is paramount for all collectible firearms.

This piece showed up recently, and is a very, very early model Blackhawk, one of the earliest I've personally ever seen with a 1958 manufacture date. It has been sent back for the transfer bar, but the owner did have all the original parts to the gun, which helps the value.

This particular example shows some honest wear, but is still clean enough with a tight action and strong mechanism, clean bore, and nice walnut grips. It is easily ready for another half-century or more of reliable shooting.

- Neal

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