The Ruger Bisley uses the same frame as Ruger's popular single-action revolver, the Ruger Blackhawk. The use of the Blackhawk frame means the Bisley can shoot the .44 Magnum and the .45 Long Colt cartridges.
The Bisley uses a rosewood down-turn grip (a reference to the Colt Bisley), 7.5in (190mm) and adjustable sights. A Bisley can be identified by its factory engraved, unfluted cylinder, as well as the low hammer spur.
A .22 version of the Bisley was designed, shooting the .22 Long Rifle. This version of the Bisley uses a 6.5in (165mm) barrel.
The Ruger Bisley uses a six-shot cylinder which is used for all the calibers it can shoot. The .44 Magnum round is the most commonly used cartridge for the Bisley. The Blackhawk frame also meant the Bisley is capeable of shooting the .45 Long Colt cartridge, recommended for very few guns.
Other rounds the Bisley has been sold to use are:
The Bisley has also become a popular gun for use with customised rounds. Gunsmiths such as John Linebaugh, and Hamilton Bowen are notable customisers.
Built from 1993 to 2005 the Bisley Vaquero is a fixed sight, varient of the Ruger Bisley. It utilises a 4.625in (117mm) or 5.5in (140mm) barrel making it a short barrelled Ruger. The Bisley Vaquero was built at the same time as the Ruger Vaquero.
The Hunter uses a 7.5in (190mm) barrel and the necessary components for adding a scope. The Hunter is only finished in Stainless Steel.
The Bisley is popular as both a target shooter and as a hunting pistol. All varients of the Bisley have become popular for shooting customised rounds, with the Blackhawk frame being renowned for its reliability and strength.