Well, I had a great thread going about which .357 magnum revolver (Ruger GP100 or S&W 686) I was going to buy and got loads of great support for both choices. This may have had the effect of increasing my already existing ambivalence toward both guns. I found them both appealing, just in different ways. So I drove over to Wholesale Sports in Vancouver this morning to handle them just one last time before deciding, since I knew they had both in stock and my long-delayed contract check I'd been waiting for finally arrived yesterday. The 4" blued GP100 was still a bull of a gun. Woof! The stainless S&W 686 was still the winner in terms of looks, lines, and trigger out of the box. Wow! How could I go wrong? Then I looked down from the where the GP100 and the 686 were hanging on the big gun wall into the display case. When I did, I saw something that had been randomly popping in and out of my thoughts from time to time. OK, that's redundant, but so am I, or at least my wife says so sometimes. But I digress. Every now I'd think about the fact that Ruger makes a New Model Blackhawk chambered in 45 Long Colt with a second cylinder chambered for 45 ACP. Single-action revolver, ergo no moon clips required. And they had one. And it was one of the Lipsey's Distributor Specials, with genuine simulated ivory grips!! And I have dies to reload both calibers!! And they had two! -- a 4.2" and a 5.5" barrel version. Both for the same price. Both were insanely beautiful firearms. And priced less than I would have expected, especially for me. Even though I've found better retail prices elsewhere and on-line, Wholesale Sports offers a 5% discount for active duty and retired military members. They don't really advertise it, probably because it adds up to a fair amount on expensive weapons. But I ask, because I fall in the latter category, being a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, having served for 21 years, 3 months, 16 days of fun duty in exotic locations around the world. OK, the five years in San Angelo, Texas probably don't qualify, but other than that, pretty good assignments. With that discount figured in, I've never been able to beat Wholesale Sports' final price, which in the case of the Blackhawk was marginally less than the GP100 and way less than the S&W 686. Then it struck me that this wasn't going to be a home defense gun (I have a hi-cap 9mm Caracal Compact and a Sig C3 1911 .45 I use for that), it wasn't going to be a carry gun (I have a Kahr CM9 that works great for that), and I was buying it primarily for the range and for large critter control out at the new house in the country we're moving to in Battle Ground. Which a Ruger Blackhawk should work just dandy for. But the final deal-closer was when I had the sudden revelation that, as in all things in life, love really should trump practicality. The beauty and grace of a Blackhawk Single-Action clearly outshone the workhorses represented by the GP100 and 686. So I bought the 5.5" Blackhawk. We're getting to know each other this afternoon and I'm sure the relationship will be fully developed by the time we go to the range together tomorrow. And yes, I know that all sounds sorta sick.