Why do I have such affection for single action revolvers? I honestly don’t know. My pistols and double action revolvers are much more evolved. The single action seems old fashioned and quaint in comparison. But when it comes down to it, single actions just exude “classic” in classic firearm. Single actions are so much greater than the sum of their parts. They were a huge part of the Wild West. They have been in the hands of Hollywood heroes and villains alike, for almost a century. During the hay days of TV westerns, the single action revolver was king. No westerner was fully equipped unless he had one. My own experience started in my teens, with a holster worn Ruger Blackhawk flattop in 357 magnum with a 4 5/8 in barrel. The very different world of my youth included guns of all types, and since I lived on a ranch, a revolver in my teenage hands was not unusual. I do have to admit that I was not a great revolver shot as a boy, and while I thought revolvers were cool, I greatly preferred rifles, like my Winchester 94 30-30 and Browning lever action .22. However, in time, I grew very fond of the Ruger and its mythically powerful 357 magnum cartridge. I soon found the Buscadero holster was almost useless, I had to walk everywhere in those days, and that 38 specials were cheaper and more comfortable to shoot than the expensive 357 magnums.
Over the years I’ve added to the stable of single actions, the flattop of my youth is still in my possession and has several companions. One of those is my late father’s Ruger Super Blackhawk. He was a busy man but we’d go out a couple of times a year and shoot that revolver. Dad would line up 6 soda cans at about 25 yards and hit every one, with the first shot. It became something of a happy tradition. I give anything to have one of those days back. (Note to everyone, shoot with your kids! These are lifetime memories, for both of you)
I’ve also acquired a taste for cap and ball percussion revolvers. Dad and I always wanted to get into these in my youth, but sadly, we never found the time. Thumbing back the hammer on a single action cap and ball revolver is like opening a bottle of expensive wine, the first step across the threshold to a treasure. These guns exude history and maybe they did not win the west, but they won Texas from the highly trained Mexican Army, and the fierce Comanche Indian warriors. In a future installment I’ll go into the care and feeding of the Cap and Ball Revolver.