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GUNS Magazine May 2010 - Page 48

Taffin has long been a shooter of the Super Blackhawk and the 50th Anniversary Model is no exception. It proved a fine handgun. Ruger’s Super Blackhawk Turns 50. hat wonderful year was 1959. Ike was in the White House, Hawaii and Alaska became states, and Charlton Heston won Best Actor for Ben Hur, which was also chosen for Best Film. Sports fans watched the Colts beat the Giants for the NFL championship and in the World Series the Dodgers beat the White Sox. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club went off the air, a young actor by the name of Clint Eastwood arrived as Rowdy Yates in the TV series Rawhide, and for Western fans Saturday night television was ruled by Paladin and Matt Dillon. It was 6-degrees below zero on a February morning when this then young teenager and an even younger teenager now known as Diamond Dot crossed over the state line in a 1954 Chevy to be married. Yes, 1959 is definitely a year to be remembered. For sixgunners 1959 is also a most memorable year. Six years earlier a young gunmaker by the name of Bill Ruger modernized the single action sixgun with a virtually unbreakable coil spring powered action in his .22 Single-Six. One year later his full-sized Blackhawk complete with adjustable sights on a flat-topped frame arrived in .357 Magnum; it is one of the all time great outdoorsman’s sixguns. Ruger soon discovered Remington and Smith & Wesson were working on the .44 Magnum and three of the .357 Blackhawks were rechambered to .44 Magnum with prototype barrel lengths of 4-5/8", 5-1/2" and 7-1/2" but the frames proved to be too small for the .44 Magnum. Both frame and cylinder of the .357 platform were increased in size and the result was the .44 Blackhawk in 1956. Both the original .357 and .44 Magnum Blackhawks are now known 48 T John Taffin to collectors as Flat-Tops. In many parts of the country Ruger’s .44 Magnum arrived on dealer shelves even before the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum. A group of us teenagers, I was 17 at the time, used to gather every Saturday afternoon at Boyle’s Gun Shop or Shell’s Gun and Archery Farm to shoot. Both establishments had outdoor ranges and when one is young weather makes no difference, so we shot almost every week. Shell’s received an early 4" Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum and he rented it out along with six rounds of ammunition. Each one of us shot it in turn. The recoil was awful, however we all lied and said it wasn’t bad; after all, teenagers are supposed to be invincible. That experience was not easy to forget so when the first Ruger .44 Blackhawk arrived I bought it instead of a Smith. It sold for $96 and I still have it more than a half-century later. It started Taffin has found the 10-1/2" stainless steel Ruger Super Blackhawk to be an excellent shooting sixgun. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MAY 2010

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