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Thread: 454 Redhawk project begins... it's alive!

  1. #1
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    Default 454 Redhawk project begins... it's alive!

    I've been looking for a SRH 454 cylinder for about a year. I screwed up a bid on gunbroker last spring and missed one and have'nt come across another one since.

    Well, thanks to another member here on the forums I now have a 454 Cylinder for my Redhawk conversion, oh, it's still in this like new SRH



    I've been researching this for quite some time and will update here as I do the swap out. I'm hoping to do this all myself and not have to have a smith do anything. The neutered SRH will find a home with someone wanting to do a 475 or 500 bigbore project. I'll probably keep the 45 Colt cylinder at least for a while until I'm satisfied.

    Preliminary quick measurements show headspace within .001 on the two guns. Cylinders are the same length and distance from frame to barrel is the same as well. After talking to guys who have done this conversion, timing is right on as is bore alignment. Evidently Ruger uses the same specs for bolt notches, timing, etc. on the cylinders.

    A .452 boolit pushes through the 454 cylinder so it's good to go. I wonder if this is because it's a newer Ruger or if it's because it's a 454. I had to ream the throats on the 45 Colt to .4525. They were at about .4515, the Redhawk is a couple years old.

    Cylinder/star extractor assemblies will come off the cranes, 454 Cylinder will go back on the Redhawk. Cranes will stay with the proper frames. I'll then check cylinder gap and endshake and see where I end up. May have to shim it, we'll see. The Redhawk has about .005 endshake and that after it going back to Ruger last winter. The 454 is really tight. I haven't measured it yet.

    I'm pretty excited about this. The 454 Redhawk will be a nice companion gun to the 454 Levergun.

    Comments and tips are welcomed.
    Last edited by Snyd; 11-23-2013 at 20:48.

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    Can't wait to see the finished project. Keep us updated.

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    Looks like a .454 with the plain stainless and not the gray finish. Didn't know they came that way.
    Looking forward to see how your project goes.
    I've got 2 .454 Super Redhawk, both have .455 throats.
    How come your changing cyl. instead of wacking the barrel down on the Super Redhawk ??
    Looks like a fun project.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Default in a similar vein...

    Has anyone tried swapping a 329PD titanium cylinder into 2" night guard or lightweight (not SS frame) that comes with the SS cylinder? Recoil should be stiff but what a powerhouse in a lightweight handgun!
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Funny,
    soon as I read your email about this, in my head appeared the actor Colin Clive in a white frock holding the Rugers moving hand, yelling in glorious black and white "Its alive, alive! Now I know what it is like to feel like Bill Ruger!"
    Happy New Year to you buddy.....

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    This was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It was nothing more than a cylinder swap and all critical measurements are within spec. Wow. The 454 Redhawk lives!!

    Step 1. Pull cylinder/crane from Redhawk and pull cylinder/extractor off of crane.



    Step 2. Do the same to the SRH.



    Step 3. Parts are ready for reassembly.



    Step 4. 454 Cylinder is on the Redhawks Crane.

    Last edited by Snyd; 11-23-2013 at 20:52.

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    Step 5. Install the crane with the new cylinder and check cylinder gap, endshake, headspace, timing, cylinder/bore alignment. Everything is right on. B/C is .003, endshake is .005 and headspace is within spec which it should be since headspace is set by Ruger on the cylinder. It's the same as the 45 Colt cylinder. Maybe .001 tighter.



    The chambers on the 454 Cylinder are tighter than the 45 Colt. I don't have a set of pin gauges but here is a pic with some fired non-resized 45 Colt brass. This is all the farther the 45 Colt brass would go in the 454 Cylinder. It slips right in the 45 Colt cylinder as you can see. Neither of these two pieces of brass would go in the 454 cyl and farther. They are a pretty snug fit as is.



    Timing. Here is a pic of the gun that shows timing. The cylinder/bolt is in full lockup in this pic. Just a little more pressure and the hammer falls. It's the same on all cylinders. I looked down the bore and went through all cylinders and the chambers line up with the bore no prob. I don't have any rods to measure this but it looks good and others have done this swap before me.



    The 454 Redhawk is born!

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    Last edited by Snyd; 11-23-2013 at 20:56.

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    IT'S ALIVE!!!


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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Great job, looks great, wish I had a 4" 454.

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    Now we need some pics or a video of you shooting it.

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    I have tried to get him to shoot my 454 Alaskan with some real ammo in it, but he has just wanted to watch me hurt myself. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Or hand....
    Now, that you have itched this obsession, what is next?

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    You mean I've tired to get YOU to shoot your 454 with Man Loads....

    Next step is to load up some various 454 loads. I've got some 275, 335 and 355ers cast and lubed. I'm gonna get my hands on some 400grainers and see what a 1000-1100fps load does. Oh, and maybe get it mag-na-ported, get the warning removed from the barrel and get "454 Casull" etched on it. ".45 Colt" is on the other side of the barrel already. And prolly a taller gold bead front sight.

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    Very Nice. Hamilton Bowen has done a few of these. I wanted to have him build me one, but he can't get the cylinders either.

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    Very nice. That's the gun Ruger should have built in the first place.
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    Other than the barrel shroud extension are the there any other major differences between the Redhawk and Super Redhawk frames? Would it possilbe to just remove the barrel extension from the SRH frame and screw in a RH barrel? I would assume the RH barrels are easier to come by that SRH .454 cylinders - that would certainly true if you had to sacrifice the gun for a barrel or cylinder.

    I've read in a number of places that the barrel threads in the frame of Redhawk frames were not sufficent to hold up to the continous firing of the heavier rounds and that the extension on the SRH frames was added to give better support to the barrel. Don't know if it is true but it sounds logical - the design of a conventional DA revolver limits the amount of material you can have around the barrrel threads and investment castings are somewhat weaker than forgings. The SRH design solved the problem and allowed the use of simple threaded cylinders for barrels. Overall a great solution but it added to the bulk and weight hence the quest for a RH .454.

    S&W also used a different method of attaching thir barrels on the X frames and PD series of guns. Don't know if the S&W design was a strength issue or more cost effective - we'll see if it carries over to their other revolvers.

    Let us know how the .454 holds up - it should be interesting!
    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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    That is sweet. Would love to tackle that conversion one of these days.

    Oh, and I like the SRH grips!

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    You have part of the story right with the Super Redhawk. At first Ruger thought there was a problem with the threads but it was with lubricant of some sort. By this time they had made the Super Redhawk and couldn't see dropping the very successful Redhawk. Here's a cool article by Taffin that lays out some history of Ruger handguns. http://www.sixguns.com/range/454_super_redhawk.htm

    Of course the action and grip angle is different on the SRH. I like it but I don't dislike the Redhawk. It will be interesting to see how accurate it is with various loads. The 4 inch 45 Redhawk barrel has a 1/16 twist same as the BFR 454's. SRH 454's are 1/24.


    Bowen does a conversion he calls: The Real Super Redhawk which starts with an Alaskan and he cuts the frame/barrel extension off and installs a Redhawk barrel. In the 5 shot caliber of your choice up to a 500 Linebaugh. This would be the ultimate if I could afford it .

    There is no problem with frame strength on the Redhawks. Otherwise Bowen wouldn't be buiding 475's and 500's on the what is essentially a Redhawk frame.

    If I had my druthers I'd rather have a Bowen conversion but by the time I'm done with this project it will not have cost me much for the conversion. Who knows, maybe I'll get a wild hair someday and go for the Bowen. Until then I've something a little different which I like. Now if you see my 454 Redhawk up for sale next year it's cuz I'll have my eye on one of these...

    SRH Alaskan chopped with a Redhawk barrel and bored to a 500 Linbaugh

    Last edited by Snyd; 11-23-2013 at 20:57.

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    What does your finished .454 RH weigh in at?

    And I guess the question that begs to be asked is why Ruger doesn't just market a .454. Redhawk? It could cut into SRH sales but with the right pricing the profits would not suffer. I can see a .454 RH for a desireable gun in Alaska - it has a decent buk and weight for the power class. The SRH is too close in bulk and weight to the X frames IMO - I carry a 4" .500 myself - my .500 is only a few ozs heavier than a SRH and has considerably more punch. Of course the custom .500 Linebaugh has a nice power to weight and bulk ratio but the price is absurd. Wish Ruger would make something like that in a production gun.

    Or maybe S&W will come out with an N+ frame sized for the .454 class or even better a light weight X frame "PD"
    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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    Easy way to get a 454 cyl. from Ruger is to send your 454 Super Redhawk in without the cylinder and ask them to fit a new one. Usually works. Just takes time and money. I've never had Ruger refuse to fit "missing" parts. They say they will only fit some things on an exchange basis, but that hasn't held true in my experience.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Now that looks like a fun project and it came out sharp looking as well. When are you heading to the range?

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