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Thread: I finally broke down and got a Redhawk in .45 Colt today

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    Default I finally broke down and got a Redhawk in .45 Colt today

    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?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Thats why I look at the guns close before buying.There are good ones out there so I don't buy the bad ones.Most stores have enough light to pick up those flaws before passing out the bucks.On the plus side you probably won't blow up the RH like you would a 25 if you shoot 454 in it.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    If it's anything like my 45 Colt cylinder was it will benefit greatly by reaming the throats to .4525 if you're gonna shoot cast. I went from 4+ inch group at 25yds to being able to shoot a 3 shot clover leaf from time to time. The throats in mine were .4515ish. The 454 cylinder throats are good to go, .4525 and the chambers are tighter than than the 45 Colt. It's a better cylinder. It also has the newer style extractor star. Pics below. I also cut the forcing cone to 11 degrees. Heavies (350"s at 1150ish) will shoot high with the factory front site. Same boolit at 1300ish in 454 brass is point of aim at 25yds.

    I fondled a Bowen 5 shot .475 Linebaugh Redhawk conversion here in town at Arctic Gunworks a few week ago. He's got a 500 AE also. Both new guns, Gary says Hamilton is a friend of his. The action on that gun is smooth as a gun action can get I think. The man knows how to work over the Redhawk. I've been into mine but merely polished everything I could and I'm happy with it. I shoot it mostly DA unless I'm developing loads and trying for those illusive clover leafs The trigger on my SBH Hunter 45 Colt is better though.

    45 Colt Cylinder



    454 Cylinder



    45 Colt brass fired in the 45 Colt cylinder. Slips right back in to the 45 Colt cylinder, stiff fit getting it partially in to the 454 cylinder.


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    congrats on your new purchase! i like the redhawks and wear one frequently in a bianchi cyclone crossdraw holster. mine shoot about as well as i can hold offhand. you are right about the finishing, but this gun was designed to handle heavy loads for a long time. everything about it is heavier than the smith. with a little finishing ( you or your gunsmith ) this dandy revolver will keep you happy for years!
    my .44 redhawk likes heavy hardcast lead, and will shoot a gas checked bullet as fast as you dare load it. frankly, my loads are reduced to my comfort level rather than what this revolver can stand.
    for a cheap tune add wolf springs, polish your hammer, trigger (sides) and mainspring guide. i also used a dremmel tool with polishing media in the cylinder and frame bosses. do your work slow and only polish, NOT REMOVE metal.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    You might want to try shimming the hammer and trigger also.
    The Rugers lack the boss's that the Smiths have.
    I bought a box of fuel injections shims for shimming up hammers and such.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Default Not many to chose from

    Don't know why but new or used Redhawks in .45 Colt aren't easy to find. I paid $675 for this one which seems to be about the going price on GunBroker. Same store had new S&W Mdl 29s for around $100 more so their wasn't that much difference in price - if there had been a major difference a comparison of fit and finish would be unfair. Actually I paid about the same for the Ruger as I did for my slightly used 4" .500 so I don't feel too bad about comparing the 2.

    The Ruger I got was actually appeared a bit nicer than the other one they had which was already sold but I din't do a close comparison of every aspect. I'm sure there are plus and minus in various areas if compared gun to gun. i haven't seen that much difference in the S&Ws - they all seem to be well finished and fitted with little difference between guns.

    Comparing the strength of a RH to a S&W 25 is hardly a valid comparison - anymore than comaring my RH to my .500. Different guns for different purposes. IMO a comprison of fit, finish, and machining is more valid for similar guns in the same price range. If I had paid around $500 or so for the Ruger I would be a lot more forgiving rather than expecting everything to be right straight out of the box.

    In any event - I'll keep an open mind on my new Ruger. I loading some rounds now and will be out shooting it later today along with my 629 and .500. Look for more comments on my experience to follow.



    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Thats why I look at the guns close before buying.There are good ones out there so I don't buy the bad ones.Most stores have enough light to pick up those flaws before passing out the bucks.On the plus side you probably won't blow up the RH like you would a 25 if you shoot 454 in it.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    What are you loading?

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    All I've got now are some 320 flat nose GC cast bullets out of a Lee mold. I sized them to .452 but they are way too large for the cylinder throats - look like mine are around .449. I may resize them to .451 0r .450 if I get time.

    I was looking at loading them with 20 gr. of Lil'gun or 22 gr. of H110. I'm more interested right now in how the gun recoils rather than accuracy - that will have to wait until I get a .454 cylinder. Can I go heavier or would you stick with those loads? In any event I'm expecting lots of leading.

    Gotta get busy - fortunatly the Rabbit Creek range now has lights and some heat on the pistol range so i can wait a bit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    What are you loading?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    tvfinak,

    I enjoyed reading your review as I grew up with Ruger revolvers starting with a Super Blackhawk, owned a couple of Security six's, Redhawks, etc. About 15 years ago starting switching to S&W's and am glad I did.

    Still, always have a soft spot for the big Rugers and keep on hoping they up their quality but they never seem to get there. There is simply no comparison between an out of box S&W compared to a Ruger. Good luck with the Ruger. No one can deny they are built super tough. If they would spend an extra hour on building and tweaking them before they leave the factory they would get my business again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    All I've got now are some 320 flat nose GC cast bullets out of a Lee mold. I sized them to .452 but they are way too large for the cylinder throats - look like mine are around .449. I may resize them to .451 0r .450 if I get time.

    I was looking at loading them with 20 gr. of Lil'gun or 22 gr. of H110. I'm more interested right now in how the gun recoils rather than accuracy - that will have to wait until I get a .454 cylinder. Can I go heavier or would you stick with those loads? In any event I'm expecting lots of leading.

    Gotta get busy - fortunatly the Rabbit Creek range now has lights and some heat on the pistol range so i can wait a bit.
    PM me your mailing address. I'll hook you up with a few of these 355gr hammers. I load them with 21.5gr H110 which is max Hodgon Ruger Only load. Maybe .5 over, can't remember. No pressure signs, 1150 fps out of my 4inch Redhawk. 1200 out of the SBH. Same boolit in 454 brass in the Redhawk I'm over max book load with no pressure signs, primers look good, cases fall out of the cylinder. Chronied it at about 1300 and have shot cloverleafs at 25yds SA. This boolit gives more case capacity than the Cast Performance 360gr. I've also got a bunch of 255 rnfp from a Lee mould. 8.5gr Unique makes a nice plinkin round. These are closer .451. The cast a little small.

    LBT mould 355gr WFN



    355gr on left, 360 Cast Performance on right

    Last edited by Snyd; 11-27-2011 at 18:54.

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    I almost forgot. There are some guys here that are passing around a .4525 throat reamer. Get it if you can and ream to .4525.

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    Default First range report

    I fired a total of 85 rounds. Loads were 315 gr. cast GC bullets from the Lee mold and lubed with Alox/Beeswax. I used CCI LP mag primer and 21 to 24 gr. of H110. Temperature was around 10 deg - it may have been a bit warmed under the lights and infrared heater but not much.

    Recoil wasn't an issue - the gun was very manageable. Accuracy left a lot to be desired but not expected with the heavy trigger, a new gun, and the undersized cylinder throats and uneven forcing cone. I've also noticed the muzzle crown isn't even; perhaps to match the throat? I did better with my .500 shooting bullseye stance than I did with the RH using a two handed braced so the poor grouping wasn't all my fault.

    Loads were a bit inconsistant - perhaps contributing somewhat to the poor accuracy. I eneded up with some unburnt power grandules or ash under the extractor and couldn't close the cylinder so that is when I stopped firing. I hadn't had this issue before in my .44 using the same powder and primers but of course the .45 Colt is a bigger case. I've also used H110 in my .500 in cold weather but the .500 uses LR primers - probably hotter. Loads did not show any signs of pressure even at 24.0 gr. - that could be an interesting load if it works in warmer weather.

    Gun cleaned up OK with no signs of the expected leading - a pleasant surprise. I'm going to tear it down when I get time for a more complete cleaning and knocking off a few rough edges internally. One thing I don't like compared to a S&W is the inability to easily remove the cylinder and crane for cleaning but I guess there is one less screw to come loose.

    I'm looking forward now to improving the accuracy and see just how hard to .45 Colt can be loaded in a RH. More to come -with Sid's expert guidance this should be an interesting and fun project.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    A gunsmith friend worked one over, and it made a significant difference in the way the gun shot. It wasn't terrible to start with, but cleaning up the trigger and forcing cone seemed to make a noticeable difference. Mostly in longer or faster shots, the trigger is lighter and only the tiniest bit of creep. If he had spent more time on it, I would expect it would be even better, but it is great right now even with just a quickie (1hr?) job. That was a .44, BTW.

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    I wasn't familiar with the fuel injector shims- can you get them at auto parts shops or are they more specialized? I'll have to do some research.

    Thanks for the tip!


    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    You might want to try shimming the hammer and trigger also.
    The Rugers lack the boss's that the Smiths have.
    I bought a box of fuel injections shims for shimming up hammers and such.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    I'll have to run that one down - remember seeing the post.

    My throats are hopelessly small at .449 - I don't have a clue as to why Ruger would make them so small. I sized down the nose of my bullets to .450 and they still won't enter the throats requiring me to seat the bullets deeper so they would chamber. Accuracy was pretty poor compared to my .44 and .500 I was also shooting.

    I can get a straight reamer for around $35 or so but the expensive ones with pilots are around $80 from Brownells.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    I almost forgot. There are some guys here that are passing around a .4525 throat reamer. Get it if you can and ream to .4525.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Snyd, I didn't realize that .454 SBH cylinder was a six-shooter. It also looks like the chamber wall thicknesses are about the same between the .454 and .45 Colt.
    Now what ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelyn View Post
    Snyd, I didn't realize that .454 SBH cylinder was a six-shooter. It also looks like the chamber wall thicknesses are about the same between the .454 and .45 Colt.
    Ya, and it's made from some hotrod steel. Carpenter 465 Stainless. Which means it meets Ruger typical pressure specs.... Overbuilt...

    http://www.cartech.com/techarticles.aspx?id=1608

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    I wasn't familiar with the fuel injector shims- can you get them at auto parts shops or are they more specialized? I'll have to do some research.

    Thanks for the tip!
    A buddy of mine has an fuel injection shop, I bought them from him. I paid $100 for the set. Several hundred shims of various sizes.
    If you can't find any, let me know, I'll send you a couple.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Thanks! I'll let you know. Bosses or shims should cut down on the metal-metal drag on the sides of hte parts and improve things a bit as well as keeping everything in alignment.


    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    A buddy of mine has an fuel injection shop, I bought them from him. I paid $100 for the set. Several hundred shims of various sizes.
    If you can't find any, let me know, I'll send you a couple.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    A buddy of mine has an fuel injection shop, I bought them from him. I paid $100 for the set. Several hundred shims of various sizes.
    If you can't find any, let me know, I'll send you a couple.

    So ahh.... do you think maybe I could get in on this deal?? I'd like to shim my hammer over juuuust a skosh....

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