Helpful Hints

Cross pin particulars

Under normal operating conditions, the rear sight cross pin has tension on it supplied by the two small springs underneath the rear sight. Otherwise without the sight installed the cross pin is easy to push into the frame and may just fall out on its own. Now some Ruger revolvers come from the factory with pins that are slightly bent and some that are severely bent. Usually if you have to pound them out with considerable force they are bent to some degree from the factory. Most likely from rushed factory workers assembling parts that do not quite line up so it’s faster to pound them in if they don’t fit. Some pins are just ever so slightly bent that when you roll them across a flat surface you can see a slight wobble. They still go into the frame but may require a small tap or two from a brass punch. This is ok and actually helps hold the pin in place since the red dot mount does not have spring pressure underneath it.

If your cross pin has a slight bend from the factory, you are most likely good to go. If not, you can use a small amount of clear fingernail polish as a thread locker to help hold the pin. Otherwise, you can put a very slight bend in the pin by placing it on a block of wood and taping the center of it with a hammer and punch. Emphasis on slight bend! No need to overdo it. You should still be able to push the pin into the frame by hand most of the way.

Below are two factory pins removed from two brand new unfired guns. The right pin required considerable pounding with a steel punch to remove it from the gun, as you can see it is visibly bent. The left pin just required some light to moderate taps with a brass punch. You can barely see the bend, but when rolled across the table it does somewhat wobble. So, if you are starting off with a perfectly straight pin and want to slightly bend it the left example is what you should aim for. Either way, adding some clear fingernail polish is a safe bet.

Factory bent cross pins

Handling Shims

Since these shims are made from plastic, static electricity will cause them to stick to just about any surface they land on. If you happen to drop one on the floor, use the static electricity to your advantage and with the touch of your fingertip you should be able to pick them up. Try not to pinch them as you would a piece of paper as this will crease the shim and it will not flatten out. If your dry finger will not ‘attract’ them, try touching your tongue to wet your fingertip as if you were turning the page of a book or magazine. A toothpick also works great for positioning them on the gun and mount during assembly.

What is a Ruger Blackhawk Flattop?

How can you tell from a glance if a Ruger Blackhawk is a Flattop model? Well, it’s all in the name, the top strap is flat of course. But there is a little more to it than that. Way back in 1955 Bill Ruger introduced a new single action called the Blackhawk, which was chambered in .357 Magnum, to compete with Colt’s Peacemaker. Not long after, Elmer Keith was able to convince Smith & Wesson and Remington to introduce a new cartridge; the .44 Magnum. Once Smith & Wesson’s new revolver was introduced in early 1956, Ruger began working on fitting the new cartridge to his Blackhawk and was able to release it to the public towards the end of 1956.

By 1959 the .44 Magnum Blackhawks (Flattops) became Super Blackhawks due to a few changes. A longer grip frame, an unfluted cylinder, and a longer barrel were added all in the name of taming the increased recoil. The frame was also beefed up with ‘ears’ being added to the top strap to protect the rear sight from damage. By 1962 the Flattop style was dropped in all chamberings of the Blackhawk.

What makes it confusing for some is the Flattop nomenclature was never an official name used by Ruger up until recent years with the reintroduction of the Flattop model. In fact, even on the new models there is no stamping or engraving that will say ‘Flattop.’ It is more of a nickname or designation used by enthusiasts and collectors that stuck to this iconic model.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a Flattop and regular Blackhawk is to look at the side profile of the top strap. All Flattop models new and old come with a rear sight that is stamped ‘Micro’ that fits flush with the top strap. The regular Blackhawks and Super Blackhawks will have ‘ears’ alongside the rear sight that will gradually slope down to meet the top strap.

If you are fortunate enough to own an original Flattop, whether you bought it new or it has been passed down to you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. But for the rest of us, thankfully with the help of Lipsey’s, the new Blackhawk Flattop model is now a catalogued item at Ruger. Lipsey’s even took it a step further and introduced the Bisley Flattop that can also be found in Ruger’s catalogue. With the wild popularity of the Flattop model because of its innate balance and excellent accuracy, it seems as though the Flattop is here to stay.

Ruger Super BlackhawkRuger Flattop
Using the slide bar you can see the difference in the top strap between the Super Blackhawk on the left and the Blackhawk Flattop model on the right.

Super Redhawk Fitment

Previous improper scope ring installation on Super Redhawks can cause burrs on the top strap where the scope ring cuts into the frame. These burrs will interfere with the mount sitting flat. They will need to be tapped down or carefully filed flush to allow the Griffon Hill mount to sit in its proper position.