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Thread: 50000 psi in Redhawk! (45 Colt)

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Default 50000 psi in Redhawk! (45 Colt)

    We've had several threads about the 45 Colt in Ruger only loads, but a recent article in the new Handloader (October 2014, #292) really surprised me.

    According to Brian Pearce, the Redhawk is capable of far higher pressures than I was aware of.

    He lists loads that "approach 50,000 PSI". Some of these include 26.5 H110 under a 335 WLN for 1500 fps, 23 gr of Enforcer under a 360 WNFP for 1450 fps, and 22.5 H110 under a 400 gr WLN for 1300 fps.

    I personally found my best load to be 21.0 Lil Gun under my Lee 300 RF (drops 315 gr actual) for 1230 fps from my 4" RH. This stays in the range of 32,000 PSI. I backed off to this load from 23.0 gr, mainly due to shooting comfort, but since EKC graciously gave me some new grips, I feel better about trying some warmer loads in the future. Of course, I have only about a 1/10 lb of LilGun left, and no powder on the shelves for a couple years now.

    I don't feel under gunned with 315 gr going 1230 fps from my RH, and 1600 fps from my R92 16", but dang, if Mr. Pearce is correct, there's a lot of power left on the table.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    ...if Mr. Pearce is correct, there's a lot of power left on the table.
    I'll take the word of Ruger's engineers over his word any day. Wonder what they have to say about it.

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    I don't think you'll ever hear from a Ruger engineer. You'd only hear from a Ruger lawyer... SAAMI pressures and all.
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    Determining maximum allowable pressures in a Redhawk isn't difficult, just buy a few and load them till they fail. That'd be more definitive than anything the engineers will or will not say. The proof is in the pudding.

    I have little doubt that they will handle far more abuse than I'd be willing to give them.........
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    We used to shoot the 260 grain FA ammo in the first run of 45colt Redhawks and I believe thats why they quit making them for awhile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I have little doubt that they will handle far more abuse than I'd be willing to give them.........
    I am with 1Cor15:19 on this one. My warm weather load for being around salmon fed grizzly is under 32k psi with H110 under a 270gr bullet and don't feel like I could shoot as well with much of anything noticeably stronger.

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    I think the yield point of the standard Redhawk's 416 steel cylinder is just a bit over 90,000 psi, so it's certainly conceivable to push the .45 Colt to 50,000 psi in the Redhawk. However, I think the greatest single factor determining killing effectiveness at handgun velocities is meplat diameter, i.e. the size of the hole you punch through the animal. A 45 caliber slug that penetrates an animal at at 900 or 1,000 or 1,200 fps and generating 30,000 psi, is going to make the same size hole and do the same amount of damage as a 45 caliber slug traveling a few hundred fps faster and generating 50,000 psi. Pushing the pressure up accomplishes nothing but burning additional powder and generating additional recoil. This is the same as the debate when we compare the .44 Magnum to the .45 Colt wherein pushing pressures up is not added value; we're better served by increasing meplat diameter at equal or lower pressure. I understand some guys like to push stuff as hard as possible, just to prove they can, or because they enjoy self abuse, or whatever, but I believe it's a frivolous endeavor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I think the yield point of the standard Redhawk's 416 steel cylinder is just a bit over 90,000 psi, so it's certainly conceivable to push the .45 Colt to 50,000 psi in the Redhawk. However, I think the greatest single factor determining killing effectiveness at handgun velocities is meplat diameter, i.e. the size of the hole you punch through the animal. A 45 caliber slug that penetrates an animal at at 900 or 1,000 or 1,200 fps and generating 30,000 psi, is going to make the same size hole and do the same amount of damage as a 45 caliber slug traveling a few hundred fps faster and generating 50,000 psi. Pushing the pressure up accomplishes nothing but burning additional powder and generating additional recoil. This is the same as the debate when we compare the .44 Magnum to the .45 Colt wherein pushing pressures up is not added value; we're better served by increasing meplat diameter at equal or lower pressure. I understand some guys like to push stuff as hard as possible, just to prove they can, or because they enjoy self abuse, or whatever, but I believe it's a frivolous endeavor.
    Surely, a "few hundred fps" would make a discernable difference. I would think that more fps would matter a lot, especially when you consider handgun velocity is limited in the first place.

    IMO, the higher velocity is desirable, if the pressure and recoil of an extremely HOT load is not prohibitive. However, you can achieve a higher velocity with a longer barrel, instead of "pushing up the pressure".

    I can also see the advantage in 45 cal. over 44 (.429) or 41 caliber, but I believe the 44 or 41 are probably enough caliber size. I don't know about the advangaes of Meplat size, etc. I'd just about betcha that a SWC would penetrate more better than the LBT designs.

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    I was under the impression that Ruger uses 410 stainless for their non-casull cylinders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Determining maximum allowable pressures in a Redhawk isn't difficult, just buy a few and load them till they fail. That'd be more definitive than anything the engineers will or will not say. The proof is in the pudding.

    I have little doubt that they will handle far more abuse than I'd be willing to give them.........
    The engineers can tell you precisely what the true maximum pressure is, but no one would believe them and would try something like the topic of this thread...


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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    The engineers can tell you precisely what the true maximum pressure is, but no one would believe them and would try something like the topic of this thread...


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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Real world testing trumps slide rule work. That is not intended to disrespect engineers.....
    My point is that those properties are no mystery, they could easily give you a much more precise number at which that frame would tear apart and you could real world verify it all day long. But everyone knows someone would try to prove it could go higher and kill themselves.


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    I remember reading about the strength of Super Redhawk cylinders when the 480 came out. If I remember correctly, Ruger shot something like 500 rounds through each cylinder at something like 130,000 psi with no determinable change in factory specs. Maybe someone else remembers the article too. Jim

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    To me the whole concept is putting lipstick on a pig.

    The biggest problem with handgun performance for about 95% of the shooters I've known is not ballistic. It's operator error. The hot gas and lead envelopes are fully capable of doing the job when pointed at the right spot, but not so when pointed at the wrong spot even with more and bigger. And all that increased noise and recoil is only going to make the operator error worse.

    Push the guns to their theoretical or actual limits as you want, but at the very least learn to push them in the right direction no matter what the load.

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    With the large cylinder and offset cylinder stops it didn't take long for people to experiment to see how hot the redhawk could be loaded. Hence for decades the 44 has been loaded up to supermag levels and when the 45 came out people were chasing 454 performance by some. So if you want to put the throttle down, 300+ gr @ 1500 fps is achievable in a stock six shot redhawk. Whether or not those bullets gain any terminal performance over a 1200-1300 fps load is up to debate, and I doubt anyone will argue that the added velocity isn't terribly pleasant in regards to the abuse the web of your hand will take. And as BB so nicely put, no amount of added velocity will make up for the inability to place your shots.
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    I personally have no intentions of testing the limits... After all, I backed off from max (32K) due to shootability. I'm just very surprised that it can be done, and done comfortably enough that Brian Pearce had no qualms publishing the article. I suppose that if someone had the shooting talent, proper grips etc, the lines between 45 Colt (in a Redhawk) and 454 Casull are awful blurry.

    Coincidentally, with 21.0 gr Lilgun, I get 1230. With 21.5 - 1238. With 22.0 - 1250, with 22.5 -1255, and with 23.0, I get 1270.

    With only 40 fps difference, and max load being darn uncomfortable to shoot (with my old grips), I don't feel I was losing much. I may retest with my new grips, up to the 32K max, to see if my accuracy improves with the better grip. I was previously nervous that I was too close to the ragged edge, but I have a little more comfort now.
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    Here is what can be done with the Redhawk safely and he even does it to the less robust Blackhawks.
    http://bowenclassicarms.com/catalog/...nversions.html
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