Now imagine if the Ghost of Harry Stutz came back, determined to design the 2009 equivalent of the Indy-Car Luxury Coupe. This wouldn't be your typical Detroit Coffin.
The Ruger Blackhawk in .38 Special/.357 Magnum seems sort of like this - a modern incarnation of the Single Action Army (photo out of focus not because it was taken with an iPhone, but because the photographer was working on a fever; out of focus seemed a bit normal).
Now both my regular readers know about my love affair with old-style guns: the 1911, the Security Six, the Winchester 1894. So this seemed like a natural, and when #2 Son's eyes lit up, we just had to shoot it.
This one has very nice wood grips, although as I've said, Mammoth Ivory may be a sign of a character flaw, but I want 'em. The most notable feature in my opinion, though, is the loading door to the left of the cylinder. The cylinder doesn't swing out, like the Smith and Wesson 625. Rather, you open the door and eject each chamber one at a time. There's an ejector rod to push the expended shells out. You push, rotate the cylinder to the next chamber, push, rotate, and repeat until they're all out. Then you load fresh cartridges into the chambers, again, one at a time. Load, rotate, load, rotate. I can see why the Cowboys liked to carry two guns, because if you had to reload in the middle of a gunfight, you could very well end up dead.
The picture shows the ejection rod being worked. If you're fast, the case will fly out of the cylinder. If you hesitate, the case is left half in, half out, and you have to grab and pull. In other words, reloading isn't just slow, it's continental drift slow.
This pistol is Single Action only. You have to manually cock the hammer before firing. Maybe this is what made me think of the Stutz - crank to start. This slows down the rate of fire, so that "slow fire" is the only option. Given how long it takes to reload, maybe this isn't a bad idea.
Adding to the items in the "unexpected" column, this is a heavy pistol. #2 Son tried several times to shoot it one-handed, and always ended up with a two-hand grip. He's a strong kid for 13 years old.
So why do people swear by this pistol? Why is this the equivalent of the designed-by-the-ghost-of-Harry-Stutz? Why would I shoot this again, in a heartbeat?
In a word, accuracy. My marksmanship is modest by any measure, and this pistol let me do this:
Six shots, three holes, first time I shot it. 25 feet. Everything's slow fire, remember?
The trigger and sights are superb. It's surprising how hard this picture was to take, and it still doesn't capture just how good the sight picture really is. This is simply an outstanding target shooting pistol.
For a fight (Lord forbid), I'd want a 1911 - or the S&W 625 with a bunch of moon clips. But for target shooting, this is the best I've ever shot. Not that that says much.
Oh, and the standard disclaimer:
I'm not any kind of gun or shooting expert. I like shooting, and shoot a fair number of different guns, but I'm really a dilettante. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited.
I don't do scientific, repeatable tests. There's no checklist, although that's not a bad idea. I write about what I like and don't like, but it's pretty much stream of consciousness. Opinion, we got opinion here. Step right up.
I'm not a shooting teacher, although I do like to introduce people to shooting. Maybe some day I'll take the NRA teaching class, but until then, you get a dilettante's view. You'll get opinion here, but if you get serious about shooting, you'll want to get someone who knows what he's doing to give you some pointers. It can help.
And oh yeah, shooting things is fun.