This Blackhawk 357 is a "Convertible" model, meaning it includes an accompanying cylinder chambered for a different cartridge. The extra cylinder is chambered for 9mm Luger, so this is a particularly flexible revolver, which can safely fire 38 Special or 357 Magnum ammo in its "parent" cylinder, and 9mm groceries in the other one. Accuracy with 9mm may be less than perfect, due to its slightly smaller bullet diameter.
Interestingly, neither cylinder is marked to indicate what cartridge it's chambered for. Both have a portion of the gun's serial number scratched, by hand, into the rear of the cylinder, indicating they are matched to this particular gun.
In the Photo
Pictured above is the Ruger Blackhawk 357 Magnum revolver with some companion items. The 9mm cylinder is above the barrel, with its felt drawstring bag next door. Below the gun are the parts for the conversion to New Model operation, and a set of Pachmayr grips to fit the gun.
To the right is the original "Instructions and Parts List," and to the left is the instruction manual for "Old Model Single Action Revolvers Equipped with a Ruger Conversion Kit," which was no doubt included when the gun was returned after the factory conversion.
The Ruger Blackhawk is a six-shot single action (SA) revolver, which was chambered for 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 45 Colt, or 30 Carbine. "Convertible" sets were offered in 357/9mm and 45 Colt/45 ACP.
The Blackhawk is a good, strong gun. It's accurate and dependable, good for target shooting, and acceptable for self-defense... although when it comes to revolvers, single actions aren't as suitable for self-defense as double actions, because the hammer must be cocked before each shot can be fired.
- Russ Chastain
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