Gratuitous Gun Pic: Ruger Talo Carryhawk (.45 LC/.45 ACP)

While seeking to assuage my Lockdown Blues a couple days ago, I stumbled on this little piece at Collectors:

Hmmm… a down-sized carry revolver in .45 Colt/ACP;  what could be bad about it.?

Leaving aside the single-action issue (not an optimal choice for self-defense, really), what’s wrong with this piece is the bird’s-head grip.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find revolvers thus gripped to be almost uncontrollable:  the damn thing turns in my hand not just up-and-down (which is a good thing with the bird’s head as it helps handle recoil) but side-to-side as well, which is a huge problem.  I once had a pretty little Ruger Bearcat revolver in .22 LR, like this one:

…and after a couple years I sold it to someone who wanted just that kind of revolver.

Maybe it just was my hand size, I dunno;  but I just had no fun shooting it.  And that was a .22 LR revolver:  what, I wonder, will it be like trying to control that grip in a meatier chambering like the .45?  I’ll probably never own this type of gun again, but I’m willing to be proved wrong.

Your thoughts in Comments.


  1. Both look nice to me and I’ve always liked the “look” of the birds head. However, I’ve never even had one in my hand so your mention of a handling problem is well, problematic. A deal killer. But I’d still like to have one. The black one especially. Just because. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Two points to consider: IIRC, the birdshead design was intended for concealment, and people were generally smaller back then, so hand size would tend to be smaller also. Making these to historical dimensions increases the problem for us.
    It’s been my experience with J-frames and Charters that small grips (even boot grips) lead to the gun moving in the hand during the trigger pull and recoil effects, leading to poor accuracy. In my case, bigger grips cut the POI spread in half, plus allowing me to shoot more during target practice. Downside is making it slightly less concealable. Those are neat looking guns, though.

  3. I’d had my Grandpa’s Colt Thunderer and two boxes of .41 R-P ammunition for a time. My father kept it in the top dresser drawer and I’d sneak in to play with it as a child. I’d unload it, work it’s action, and load it again before putting it away. I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t shoot my eye out, but I did find a hitch in it’s get-along. I’d thought I’d broken it. Years later I’d read the Colt’s lockwork was fragile and temperamental, so I chose to not shoot it while in my custody.
    Both my cousin and brother in law expressed a desire to have that gun. I gave it to my sister to pass to her son.
    At times I wish I had shot it, just to know.

  4. My late father has a Merwin-Hulbert in 44-40 that HE inherited from his father, with a Birds head “skull crusher” grip. I have never fired the gun, but the grip on it is quite comfortable. I dont know if that would be the case under firing conditions. One thing I will say is that the Birds head being smaller, and the remainder of the pistol being quite larger, it makes the thing quite nose-heavy without the grip counterbalancing things. I don’t like double-stack magazines for that reason either. They just don’t fit well in my hand. I suspect the Birds-head would be the same way.

  5. I have an Uberti in 45lc with a birdshead grip. Having short fingers i find it very controllable but son -in-law doesn’t like it at all.

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