The Single-Six proved to be a popular seller, leading Ruger to develop and market a centerfire revolver similar to the Single Action Army: the Ruger Blackhawk. The Ruger Blackhawk was named after the Stutz Blackhawk automobile.
Ruger introduced the ruger blackhawk 357 in 1955. Chambered for the .357 Magnum, the ruger blackhawk 357 was a simple and strong design, and it sold well. In 1956, as Smith & Wesson was introducing the new .44 Magnum, Ruger quickly developed a variant of the Blackhawk in the new cartridge.
Ruger achieved wide popularity with this firearm in a hotly anticipated new cartridge, which was both cheaper and more readily available than the Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver.
According to popular legend, Ruger was able to field a .44 Magnum revolver at nearly the same time as Smith & Wesson due to a Ruger employee finding expended .44 Magnum cartridge cases at a scrapyard and deducing that Smith & Wesson was about to launch a new cartridge.
The 1955–1962 Blackhawks are known today as the “Flattop” models, because their adjustable rear sights were not protected by “ears” extending up from the frame as later became standard. From 1962 through 1972, Ruger made the “Three Screw” Blackhawk in various calibers, so called by the number of screws visible on the side of the revolver.
The Flattop and Three Screw Rugers were modernized compared to the Colt Single Action Army, in that they had adjustable sights instead of the Colt’s fixed sights, and they used wire coil springs instead of the Colt’s flat leaf springs. Bill Ruger chose coil springs due to their greater durability, saying that it solved one of the primary weaknesses of the Colt design.