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Thread: Ruger Redhawk

  1. #1

    Default Ruger Redhawk

    Here is my new .45 colt Redhawk, pending a range session.
    Any thoughts/comments on this particular caliber Redhawk?
    Any favorite loads out there for plinking and carry?
    Thanks in advance for any info.
    Sorry about pic quality.


  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Synd will hook you up,congrats.Guess the 44 is gone.If the RH is one of the 1990 time frame pistols it should chamber 454 casull as well as colt.
    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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    The RH fills a nitch that the S&W N frame can't fill - the N frame is fine for the .44 Mag but the cylinder is just too small for a modern .45 Colt round. I still keep hoping S&W will come out with a N frame plus to fill the gap between the N frame and the X frame but I guess the market just isn't there.

    I was looking at some of the RHs at the Walsila gun show yesterday. After all these years I still can't get over the heavier cruder clunker appearance of the Ruger RH revolvers compared to the S&W Mdl 29s!
    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 tvfinak View Post
    The RH fills a nitch that the S&W N frame can't fill - the N frame is fine for the .44 Mag but the cylinder is just too small for a modern .45 Colt round.
    compared to the S&W Mdl 29s!
    If you'd take a dial caliper and measure the Ruger .44 cylinder and the S&W N frame .44 cylinder you know they are the same diameter? My guess is their counterpart .45s are too? I have no idea where these internet wives tales come from or why some insist on keeping them going? It's the frame, not the cylinder where the Red Hawk gains in strength. Plus the fact, that the S&W action was designed over 100 years ago and they're still using it with little improvement. If you must be pro-Ruger, at least get your facts straight?
    Steve
    P.S. I do own both

  5. #5

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    AW: Really!? Cool! I hope there havent been a ton of .454's through this gun! Either way, it appears to pass all revovler inspection points. Thanks for the interesting info.

    tvfinak: I do much prefer the 29's, just don't have one yet. Someday.

    The range was closed today, so no report. I will get a chance to shoot it at my trapline in the morning, I will update after that.

    I think this will be a fun gun to play with, I may cut down the barrel to 4" if I get bored. Good times, looks like Snyd has been "playin" lately. I really enjoyed his thread.

  6. #6
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    When the 454 first came out folks noticed it would chamber in the S&W-25 and RH in 45colt and I think thats why Ruger stoped the 45colt long ago. Any way the RH's I knew of worked fine but after a warning not to a friend tried it in his Smith. It did fire fine but the cylinder was trash. There is a reason loading books have Ruger loads and not Ruger & S&W loads. Love the old Smiths and use them for what they are.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    When the 454 first came out folks noticed it would chamber in the S&W-25 and RH in 45colt and I think thats why Ruger stoped the 45colt long ago. Any way the RH's I knew of worked fine but after a warning not to a friend tried it in his Smith. It did fire fine but the cylinder was trash. There is a reason loading books have Ruger loads and not Ruger & S&W loads. Love the old Smiths and use them for what they are.
    Will, Ruger never stopped the 45 Colt i the Redhawk (or their single actions). As to the 454 chambering in either the RH or mod 29, I do believe it is physically too long. Just as the 44 mag started as a high pressure 44 Special load & was lengthened when it went into commercial loading so that the high pressure "44 mag" round wouldnt chamber in 44 special guns, the 454 started as a high pressure 45 Colt & when it went comercial was lengthened so it wouldn't fit 45 colt chambers. At least that my understanding. If the 454 fit mod 25s we would see ruined cylinders everywhere 'cause lots of guys would try it. Snyd just swapped out te cylinder in a 1yr old 45 Colt RH for a 454 cylinder from the 454 SRH.
    Vance in AK.

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    Congrats there tailwind! Those 5 1/2 Redhawks are hard to come by. Whatever you do DON'T CHOP IT! Plinkers- 255gr over 8-9 gr Unique. Business loads- 300-360gr over H110, N110, 2400, Lil-Gun and there may be some others. May as well go with the 360's!

    As far as 454's in the 45 Colt Redhawk. My 355gr and 275gr 454 rounds with a heavy crimp will chamber in the 45 Colt cylinder BUT!! If I fire the round, 1-10th of the case is going to expand in the throat rather than the chamber resulting in who knows what! The pressure has to go somewhere. Sized 454 brass will not fully drop in the cylinder, the case mouth hits the throat like it's supposed to. I have some factory winchester 454 rounds that are 260gr partitions which I understand are about 1800fps and pretty close to saami max pressure for the 454. These rounds will not fully drop in to the 45 Colt chamber. The crimp is what makes the difference. Heavy crimp with Lee Factory Crimp die is why mine handloads will chamber.

    Stick with 45 Colt brass only and have fun! Slug the barrel and see if you can shove a .452 boolit through the chambers. My Redhawk has a .451 bore and the 45 Colt cylinder throats were right at .4515 ish. I reamed them to .4525 and with .452 boolits it tightened groups and cut down on leading.

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    Interesting - thanks for the update! The cylinders on a Redhawk .45 LC must pretty thin then - I know they are on a S&W! The key then must be location of the locking notch- the S&W puts it right at the thinnist place in the center of the chamber while I think the Ruger is offset. As you mention the N frame is an old design but it has been improved and proven over time. Since the cylider is the same size I woud assume then that Ruger frame had to be larger to accomodate the lockwrk design and perhaps to allow for the lesser strength of the investment casting.

    It is interesting to note that when the S&W 29 and SBH .44s were tested to destruction they both failed at about the same pressure - if I recall it was 80-85,000 psi. The .45 Colt guns failed much lower - 65,000 psi as I recall. The figures were on a thread here some time ago. Shooters tend to load their .45 LC loads to high pressurs to reach or exceed .44 Mag power levels but the margin of safety gets pretty small. Don't know what pressures the .454s failed at - I don't recall seeing those figures.

    Actually I don't recall ever hearing of a frame failing in a modern revolver - it was always the cylinder that blew out although it sometimes took the top strap with it. Obviously the S&W N frame is entirely adequate for the .44 Mag and is still trimmer and lighter than the Red Hawk. A "N frame plus" as I suggested with the locking bolt cut offset would make a really neat and strong .454 and still be could be ligher and stronger than a RH. Perhaps since the RH & SRH prices are getting close to that of a S&W we will see S&W come out with some competiton in the .454 class market.

    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    If you'd take a dial caliper and measure the Ruger .44 cylinder and the S&W N frame .44 cylinder you know they are the same diameter? My guess is their counterpart .45s are too? I have no idea where these internet wives tales come from or why some insist on keeping them going? It's the frame, not the cylinder where the Red Hawk gains in strength. Plus the fact, that the S&W action was designed over 100 years ago and they're still using it with little improvement. If you must be pro-Ruger, at least get your facts straight?
    Steve
    P.S. I do own both
    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

  10. #10

    Default Thank You

    Thanks tv, will, vance and snyd. Great info here.
    Thanks for those loads, I will start plinking with a 250gr?something over 8grs unique.
    I can't find inexpensive boolits any where in the city. The search continues...

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    I used to buy my cast bullet when they were inexpensive in bulk but now I'm back to casting my own again. Check out the thread in reloading on cast bullet advice and get started. Best, cheapest, most fun, and easiest way to learn to shoot a pistol large pistol well. Take the money you save and buy a S&W 629 so you can appreciate a real quality handgun

    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    Thanks tv, will, vance and snyd. Great info here.
    Thanks for those loads, I will start plinking with a 250gr?something over 8grs unique.
    I can't find inexpensive boolits any where in the city. The search continues...
    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

  12. #12
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    The Redhawk cylinder is pretty darn thick. It's much beefier than a blackhawk 44 or 45 Colt cylinder. I've compared them side by side. Yes, the Redhawk cylinder has offset bolt notches. Here's an excerpt from this article Ruger's Big 45's :: By Chris Gage on 2001-02-20

    "The New Model Blackhawk has a cylinder length of 1.670 and a width of 1.725. The Redhawk has a cylinder length of 1.750 and a width of 1.780. The Super Redhawk in .454 has the same cylinder length of the Redhawk but the width is 1.790. The New Model Blackhawk has .060 between chambers and .075 of wall thickness. The Redhawk and Super Redhawk have the same .095 between chambers, while the Redhawk has .115 cylinder wall thickness vs. the Super Redhawk with .125."

    Not sure how this compares to a smith as far as measurements but it's one beefy hunk of a cylinder.

    Here's a pic of a Redhawk 45 Colt cylinder out of my Redhawk, you can see the thickness between the cylinders how the bolt notches are offset.




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    Thanks for sharing that information with us. I don't currently have a .45 S&W revolver but the diameter / width of my 629 cylinder is .710 inch and the length is 2.70 inches. The cylinder fills the frame openning pretty much up. The cylinder wall thickness is .079 in. so there just isn't much room for anything larger than a .44 on the frame. So as it works out the N frame is about optimum for 99.9% of the people that buy, carry, and shoot a .44 magnum but just too small for a .45 caliber.

    For a .45 caliber the RH appears to be about the optium size. In a .44 Mag. however, being sized for a .45, the RH is significantly heavier and larger than a S&W .44 Mag. For someone shooting tens of thousands of maximum .44 Mag loads the larger heavier RH should hold up longer than the S&W but very few ever shoot that many rounds through any firearm.

    It will be interesting to see how well the .454 RH works out as to duriability but it should be plenty stout for all but a very few. Like a 29 or 629 used with reasonable loads it should last a lifetime or two. I would consider carring a .454 Redhawk instead of my S&W 629 but the SRHs are too close in weight and bulk to my X frames to consider them as an alternative.

    I wish I still had access to an instrument to determine what the alloys are that used for the frames and cylinder. We could then lok up the specs for the steels and compare the theoretical strengths. I saw an article on what they used for the .454 cylinders - a Car Tech product - but I don't recall seeing what is used for the rest of the calibers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    The Redhawk cylinder is pretty darn thick. It's much beefier than a blackhawk 44 or 45 Colt cylinder. I've compared them side by side. Yes, the Redhawk cylinder has offset bolt notches. Here's an excerpt from this article Ruger's Big 45's :: By Chris Gage on 2001-02-20

    "The New Model Blackhawk has a cylinder length of 1.670 and a width of 1.725. The Redhawk has a cylinder length of 1.750 and a width of 1.780. The Super Redhawk in .454 has the same cylinder length of the Redhawk but the width is 1.790. The New Model Blackhawk has .060 between chambers and .075 of wall thickness. The Redhawk and Super Redhawk have the same .095 between chambers, while the Redhawk has .115 cylinder wall thickness vs. the Super Redhawk with .125."

    Not sure how this compares to a smith as far as measurements but it's one beefy hunk of a cylinder.

    Here's a pic of a Redhawk 45 Colt cylinder out of my Redhawk, you can see the thickness between the cylinders how the bolt notches are offset.
    Last edited by Snyd; 01-17-2011 at 09:16.
    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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    Everything that I have read says Ruger uses 410 Stainless. Except, they use the Carpenter Steel in the cylinder AND the barrel in the 454 SRH's but 410 for the frames. From all I've read Ruger figures less throat erosion after 1000's of rounds of 454 level loads. Either way, Ruger overbuilds these guns. I doubt I'll ever wear one out.

    I talked with Bowen about 454 cylinders, here's what he says:

    "We have done a few .454 cylinder installations on standard Redhawks and they work as well as they do in the Supers--cylinders are a bit limber for some loads. We do make our own 5-shot parts--you can see the various installations at our website catalog in the Ruger DA revolvers section."

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Vance Ruger did stop makeing the RH in 45colt for many years and now throats their cylinders shorter than before.When the heavier bullets started comming out most were stuck useing the 44mag. We were able to load the RH&SRH with bullets set in the second crimp groves but the loads were to long for the S&W-29. When Colt came out with the Anaconda it also had a longer cylinder that would hold the longer shells. Alot was happening between about 85 and 92 in handguns with JDJ leading the way with Contender barrels and Larry Kelly with revolvers and working together they made some big jumps. A favorit max load back then was 26.5 grs of 296 with a 320gr JDJ hardcast bullet,gave scopes heck
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    If you'd take a dial caliper and measure the Ruger .44 cylinder and the S&W N frame .44 cylinder you know they are the same diameter? My guess is their counterpart .45s are too? I have no idea where these internet wives tales come from or why some insist on keeping them going? It's the frame, not the cylinder where the Red Hawk gains in strength. Plus the fact, that the S&W action was designed over 100 years ago and they're still using it with little improvement. If you must be pro-Ruger, at least get your facts straight?
    Steve
    P.S. I do own both


    The Redhawk cylinder is beefier than the S&W and is capable of withstanding heavier loads as a steady diet as this picture clearly illustrates
    The Redhawk frame is also much stronger


  17. #17

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    Thanks for those pics JWP, that clears up any debate. I love a Smith but the Rugers are just tougher, hands down.
    Had a chance to shoot my Redhawk today at my line. It performed perfectly and was a ***** cat with factory .45 colt loads.
    I am extremely pleased with the gun, I can't wait to start working up loads and putting in some range/field time with it.
    Thanks to Randy, I hope you enjoy the Blackhawk as much as I do the Redhawk. See ya on the trail.
    Also, thanks to boondocks and ammo can for exceptional in stock selection.

  18. #18

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    Comparing the MDL 29 with the SBH for strength is NOT the same as the 29 against the Redhawk. Besides, it is not just running them until they blow. The 29 will stretch its frame and loosen up in general way before the Redhawk. Actuall, the SBH will handle a lot more heavier loads than the 29 will, without major loosening. But the SBH is not the gun the Redhawk is. I have had many large hand ejector framed, and tyhen N framed Smiths and I love them, but I would ALWAYS go to the Redhawk for firing a large diet of heavy loads, like the hardcast 335 gr. bullets I like to shoot. As far as cylinder wall thickness is concerned, the steel alloys used are just as important as actual thickness. The Super Redhawk has relatively thin chamber walls, but the steel alloy used is so tremendously stable and stronge, they withstood several hundred test loads without changing dimensions, at all, which is what Ruger asked for. Few people, besides Mr. Finak, argue that the Ruger is crude and too heavy to be appreciated. I guess if your arm strength is not up to the job of holding the Redhawk or SRH steady, well, heh, heh.

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    If you re-read my post you will see that I noted that the 29 / 629 was the optimum size for the .44 Mag. cartridge for 99.9% of owners but was just too small for the .45 cartridges. The RH on the other hand was around the optimum size for the .45 cartridges but larger and heavier than required for the .44 Mag. The RH in .454 is a neat gun but the factory does not offer it; in .44 the RH is just larger than required and I'm not fond of dragging around extra weight. When weight and bulk is not an issue I'll take my X frame and can easily fire thousand of rounds that would quickly destroy a RH or SRH - how about 40 gr. of H110 behind a 440 gr. bullet? If you check the specs you will see that the N frames is about the same amount lighter than a RH as an X frame is heavier than a SRH.

    Actually I've fired many thousands of heavy loads out of my 629-3 Classic that I bought new some 20 years ago. I'm currently shooting 310 gr. bullets out of a Lee mold to keep the cost down; if I get a large mold I'll use it. So far no frame stretching or looseness and I'll venture to guess there are very few that shoot a .44 more than I do. Of course I don't abuse the gun - if the .44 round is so marginal that I need every last Ft.-lb. I'll simply carry a larger gun.

    Note from the above posts that the RH cylinder is only .050" longer than the S&W so the S&W can handle the larger bullets pretty well.

    If you really want to talk about frame strength take a look at a X frame. Pull the cylinder out ot one and the frame weight is probably less than a SRH frame yet even stronger.


    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    Comparing the MDL 29 with the SBH for strength is NOT the same as the 29 against the Redhawk. Besides, it is not just running them until they blow. The 29 will stretch its frame and loosen up in general way before the Redhawk. Actuall, the SBH will handle a lot more heavier loads than the 29 will, without major loosening. But the SBH is not the gun the Redhawk is. I have had many large hand ejector framed, and tyhen N framed Smiths and I love them, but I would ALWAYS go to the Redhawk for firing a large diet of heavy loads, like the hardcast 335 gr. bullets I like to shoot. As far as cylinder wall thickness is concerned, the steel alloys used are just as important as actual thickness. The Super Redhawk has relatively thin chamber walls, but the steel alloy used is so tremendously stable and stronge, they withstood several hundred test loads without changing dimensions, at all, which is what Ruger asked for. Few people, besides Mr. Finak, argue that the Ruger is crude and too heavy to be appreciated. I guess if your arm strength is not up to the job of holding the Redhawk or SRH steady, well, heh, heh.
    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

  20. #20

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    One more pic!

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