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The morning I picked up the Bisley, my wife  and I got to the gun store about 20 minutes before business hours. Even so, there was  already another person ahead of us, waiting. Gun owners are persistent and committed. As  if to make us prove the point, the store opened 10 minutes late.

I’ve been exchanging e-mail with a fellow  shooter from France, and I remain amazed at the patience and determination people can  exhibit when it comes to gun ownership. 10 days seems like forever in the U.S., I can’t  imagine what it would be like to wait for months for a routine purchase, or to have ammo  rationed, as is the case in France.

cleaningWhile I filled out the last of my paperwork, the customer who  was ahead of us took possession of a Model 629 that had gone through the Smith &  Wesson Performance Center. Nice gun; 8 3/8″ barrel, muzzle brake, some pretty fancy  grips, and an aluminum case with a big honkin’ S&W medallion. He bought a box of ammo  and headed for the indoor range, I picked up the Ruger and headed home to clean it. I may  be a little compulsive.

rugerup.jpg (10668 bytes)The Bisley has nice lines and  good  proportion for a gun with a 7.5″ barrel. It does not feel significantly muzzle heavy,  in fact, compared to the wide stagger round grips on an autoloader, the Ruger feels    compact.

I don’t know if the gun I received is  typical of factory output or not. Ruger makes very reasonably priced firearm, but I don’t  think that should show up as a general lack of quality in assembly. One grip was  misaligned, there was a long thin scratch along the joint of the grip and backstrap, and a  small blemish in the barrel bluing midway up the ejector rod housing.

I know guns get marked up in use, but I’d  rather do it myself. All that said, most people would probably not be concerned with these  small tick marks, but I found it irritating. Functionally the gun is fine, everything  rotates smoothly and locks up tightly when it’s suppose to.

wpe51.jpg (5945 bytes)It took quite a bit of scrubbing to get rid of wpe49.jpg (2766 bytes)preservative coatings, inside and out. I even managed to get some residual  machine shop chips out from around the cylinder. But it cleaned up really nicely and the  session concluded with a pile of filthy patches and a lightly oiled version of the gun I  thought I had purchased.

The light scroll engraving on the cylinder  is a nice touch, the finish (other than noted) is an even satin. The sights are clean and  solid, adjustment is positive, and the hammer position at a low angle is easy to cock  without shifting grip. As a person who shoots auto pistols almost exclusively, the Ruger  took some getting use to.

wpe56.jpg (5598 bytes) Some of the differences were obvious. I kept  waiting to feel the force of the slide coming back against the web of my hand. Twice I  began to stoop to pick up non-existent empties from the floor of the range.

At 3.5 lbs. the trigger pull is short and  clean, but that hammer seems to start falling in another time zone, and makes contact in  what seems likes minutes after it’s released. The SIG on the right has a hammer travel of  about .800″, while the Ruger is more than 1.5″. I don’t know the comparative  weight of the parts, but the Ruger appears to have much greater mass. It seems the  greatest difficulty I experienced when shooting the Ruger, was squeezing through the  trigger release, and follow on concentration on the target.

I finally stopped my autoloader tendencies  and next had to get past my double action revolver habits (i.e. no matter how hard I  pushed on the cylinder to swing it out for loading – it wasn’t going to happen, and  dumping empties was going to be a one-at-a-time proposition.)

wpe57.jpg (3011 bytes)This is my first experience with the .45 Long Colt cartridge. A  look at the muzzle seemed to indicate there was a potential for substantial recoil.  “Contender/Ruger only” load data I had prepared for use in a week or two, seemed  to confirm this suspicion. I was wrong, at least for factory loads.

I  didn’t want to shoot cast bullets or  light jacketed target loads for break in, so I picked up a couple of boxes of Winchester  225 grain Silvertips.

wpe58.jpg (4653 bytes)The published velocity for this round is 920  fps out of a 5.5″ barrel. Not sure what the Ruger’s additional 2″ of barrel  would add and I didn’t set up teh chronograph this time ti check. The 225 grain Silvertips  are the equivalent of a modest handload,  over 50% below the heavier end of the  performance spectrum.

The recoil was very light and I’m sure this  was helped along with the gun’s hefty weight of 3 lbs. I fired a total of 30 rounds, 6 – 5  shot groups. The first was around 8″, the last about 4″. There were three shot  clusters that were no more than an inch, but I had a difficult time consistently holding  on target.

My wife, Diane, typically practices at the  indoor range with a .22 auto. She can shoot any of the guns we own with a high level of  competency, but she goes through a lot of ammo at a practice session, and doesn’t want the  distraction of heavy recoil. She had never fired a single action revolver before, but she  liked the looks of the new gun and wanted to try it out.

wpe5A.jpg (6261 bytes) I loaded two rounds in the gun, walked her through the procedure  for shooting a single action, and she put both shots in an area the size of quarter. She  reloaded, filling the six chambered cylinder and shot this group.

She felt the longer sight radius helped her  to stay on target, and the grips were small enough for her to get a comfortable two hand  hold. The recoil was negligible, and I knew I would need to handload a lot more ammo than  I anticipated.

This week I’ll get some more range time in,  try some other factory ammo and get set up to load this cartridge. I’m not sure what the  ultimate use for this gun will be. It clearly isn’t a personal defense weapon. It would be  a shame to waste it on punching holes in paper. Maybe it will be dedicated to handgun  hunting.

More “Ruger Bisley .45 Long Colt”:
Ruger Bisley .45 Long Colt
Ruger Bisley .45 Long Colt Part II
Ruger Bisley .45 Long Colt Part III
Ruger Bisley .45 Long Colt Part IV
Handload Data