After many decades of owning and shooting a wide variety of revolvers and autoloaders I finally broke down and purchased a new 4" Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt (or Long Colt to many of us). My goal is to convert this to 454 when I can get a cylinder; in the meantime I'll load up the .45 Colt as hot as reasonable. I've got a number of .44 Mags and a 4" .500 - I thought this may fill in the middle. Besides, I hadn't owned a Ruger DA in a very long time - I'm mainly a S&W man - and I keep hearing so much about how great Ruger DAs are so I though I would find out.
First thing I tried after getting the gun was the trigger pull. I had heard how bad the single action pull is on Redhawks and - they were all lying. It is worse than bad- perhaps it will get better in time. If not I'll have to work on it. A S&W it isn't!
A carefull examination for exterior fit and finish was next. Overall it isn't as bad as some older one's I've examined in years past but it still is a bit on the rough side. The flat surfaces are bit wavy and the fit of the crane to the frame has gaps - the S&Ws are much closer fitted and finished. The trigger guard is well fitted to the frame - perhaps a bit better than a S&W sideplate but both are very good.
The interior finishing is where I always get turned off on Ruger DA guns. The top of the crane shows tool marks as does the back of the frame around the firing pin area. The non-contact areas are as-cast; I guess it really doesn't matter but I'm just used to seeing nicely finished surfaces on an expensive gun as the Rugers now are.
The cylinder appears to be well finished inside and out with the possible exception of some reamer marks in the throats. I'll see how they look after I fire it. The extractor appears to be added later seperately rather than machined with the cylinder like on S&Ws but I'm sure it functions OK. The extractor is rough feeling when pushed to extract the shells- I'll see if this improves in time.
The throat of the barrel is a big disappointment. There are noticeable reamer markers and there is more reamed surface on one side than the other. If this is common I can see why Ruger owners are fiddling with the forcing cone- I'm not favorably impressed. It is also interesting to note that the lug on the bottom of the barrel is in an inteference fit with the front of the frame where on a S&W only the barrel proper contacts the frame. I assume this tight fit was done to prevent the barrels from coming loose. I guess most would miss this detail
If I can get some good close-ups I'll show examples of the above areas and issues.
Had to pin down the feel but the gun feels a bit clunky - but that is personal taste. The size of the gun compared to an Xframe is interesting - in comparison the RH is much larger than I imagined. In measuring the top strap the RH is actually wider than the top strap on the Xframe and is almost a thick if the rounded top surface on the Xframe is ignored. The RH is a BIG heavy gun if you are used to N frames.
I've got to get some rounds loaded up so I can do a range report tommorrow. In the meantime- anybody know where I can get a .454 cylinder without buying another gun?