The stand was most unusual. Four worn tractor tires had been stacked at a field edge where it bordered thick brush growing hard against the Frio River. The field was planted in wheat, and every afternoon it filled up with whitetails. A folding chair tucked inside the stacked tires afforded a reasonable hide out.
Just before dark I looked carefully to my left to see five big does standing scarcely 25 yards away. Does were definitely on the menu, but bringing a rifle into play in this particular setting was not an option. I simply eased the Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt from its holster and gingerly slid it to the edge of the top tire, all the while keeping my head low and hat tipped forward. When that red dot rested behind the right shoulder of one especially large specimen, the .45 rumbled. I had venison.
Similar stories could be told, these relating to more whitetails and wild hogs, but that is not now necessary. What is needed is some explanation of this somewhat strange combination that has accounted for all that fresh meat.
The .45 Colt is an old, but grand cartridge. When handloaded and stoked into the cylinder of a strong revolver such as the Ruger, it turns out some impressive ballistics. The Blackhawk with a 4-5/8-inch barrel has long been my favorite handgun, but aging eyes in low-light conditions began to restrict its use as a hunting tool. Then I bumped into the folks from Crimson Trace at a Las Vegas SHOT Show. I learned of that company’s plans to expand its laser sight system to a variety of wheel guns, the Blackhawk among them. I knew then that I must own a Crimson Trace laser grip for the .45.
Crimson Trace is no stranger to shooters. The company provides an extensive line of laser sights that are built into grips that replace the factory grips of a great many pistols and revolvers. The grips fit perfectly and the laser is non obtrusive, hardly even visible. This was important to me because the Blackhawk in .45 Colt was intended as a traditional sidearm.
When the grip/sight arrived, I installed it immediately and took it to the range. Using factory fodder that I knew shot well, I sighted the laser in to match the open sights at 25 yards. This sighting-in chore was accomplished easily by windage and elevation screws built right into the side of the grip. A tiny hex wrench was supplied with the unit, and I had the Ruger punching tiny clusters within a few minutes.
The next step was to work up some authoritative handloads suitable for deer and hogs. The bullet of choice was the 250-grain Hornady XTP, and pushed by a hefty but safe dose of Hodgdon’s 4227 powder, the big pills rumbled downrange and landed in friendly bundles on the paper. I was ready for some field time. That Texas doe was the first, and nothing that has been on the business end of this combination has failed to fall quite handily since.
Some may question the laser as a viable hunting sight. These things are perhaps more common on self-defense rigs. And while they are indeed superb in this discipline, they are equally superb in hunting. Several factors make them so.
One is light. The laser precludes the need for good light. Even in dim conditions such as those found early and late in the day, the laser slices through to the target, allowing the hunter to stay on task for every legal minute. These are often the times when game is most active.
Another and perhaps even more important consideration comes in the lining up of sights and target. Take that Texas doe for instance. Open sights demand that the shooter be directly behind the revolver in line with the sights and target. I could not accomplish that feat from the tire stand and in such proximity to the deer. The laser eliminates this requisite. If the path to the target is clear and the shooter can see the dot superimposed on that target, it matters little where the shooter is in relation to the gun. When properly sighted, the sidearm will put the bullet where the dot rests, awkward positioning or not.
And what about tradition as it relates to a single-action revolver and the glorious old .45 Colt? As I see it there is little room for concern. As stated earlier, the laser grip takes nothing away from the aesthetics, and if the shooter concludes that he or she will use the basic system of open sights or else, that individual need only slide the tiny switch to the off position and proceed. The laser then becomes a non item.
Is the Crimson Trace laser grip right for the Ruger in .45? Yes. Will I ever remove it and go back to only the open sights? Definitely not. The combination has proven ideal. That blending of old and new has proven a perfect union.
Crimson Trace; www.crimsontrace.com