4" Redhawk in .45 Colt review, 100 rounds in and loving it.

swmn

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I'd say keep shooting it, practice, practice, practice. Work on your form at the bench?
Steve

Well, I had three reasons to think I had a restriction where the barrel meets the frame, before I started firelapping.

1. Visible leading started in the barrel just outside the frame.
2. I could "feel" the restriction start in the same spot when pounding a barrel slug through from the muzzle
3. With the Lewis deleader screwed down as tight (as big a diameter) as possible to still get through the breech end of the barrel, it would leave lead behind once it got through the restriction at the frame and out into the barrel proper. Gets a lot easier to pull on too ;-)

At this point my barrel slug measures .4525 and my cylinder throats were opened to .4525 by cylindersmith. So when I fire a .453" bullet it is getting swaged down to .4525 in the chamber throat, passing through the forcing cone and breech end of the muzzle, and then maybe kinda sorta keeping a little bit of grip on the rifling once it gets out into the open part of the barrel.

One thing I am going to try is run some soft lubed lapping bullets (nearly pure lead, BHN about 5), with no lapping compound in them, just my soft home made lube, at a high enough velocity that they ought to obturate once they get to the open part of the barrel and see how they group.

I am likely to melt some of the crayon lube out of my RimRock 270-SAA and home lube them myself next time I lube a pan of bullets. They are advertised BHN = 15 and diameter =.452. They measure .454 and .455, and I am pretty confident I am not driving them fast enough for the lube to work very well - and they lead like some quaint expression I haven't heard before that probably isn't safe to use in mixed company.

I do have some H-110 left, I may very well run some of the 270SAA with the crayon lube at ~30k pressure just to see what I get.

Considering my group size was the same with 230gr at 700fps and 270gr at 1000 fps, no statistical difference, I feel pretty good that currently I am shooting at least as well or better than the gun is shooting. The good news is my hunting buddy should be home from outside in the next week or so and wants to shoot it. I have been at the range with him when he has grouped 6/6 out of his .44magnum into a paper plate at 100 yards, I am mildly curious to see what groups he can get out of my gun at 25 yards, but I am not holding my breath.

I do keep in practice with a different revolver that groups pretty good.
 

iofthetaiga

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.001 difference in bullet size can make a HUGE difference in leading and accuracy. My bore is snug at both ends and a bit looser in the middle, just like yours, but nonetheless it will put 6 rounds in well under an inch at 50 feet (with the right sized bullets). It seems like there should be no reason yours shouldn't do likewise.... My factory bore is about .450-.4505 and my factory throats are about .451-.4515. I got heavy leading and 5" groups with bullets sized exactly .451. Leading dropped to nearly zero with the same load and bullet sized exactly .452. The same load and bullets sized .453 produce nearly the same accuracy and leading is nil. Leading will return if I push the speed up past about 900fps, at which point it looks like I'm gonna have to go to a gas checked bullet.... I figure I've got lots of experimenting left to do with bullet type, weight, and size before I ever start messing around with changing throat and/or bore dimensions (at which point I would have to start all over again with bullet size experimentation). Gotta believe the answer lies in Snyd's advice below, and not in continuing to increase the size of your bore and throats. Best luck.
...the real problem which could be a number of things but more than likely it's boolit fit and throat size.
 

mainer_in_ak

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This moosey season, I'm gonna aim my 3" barreled 44 mag squarely on the front shoulder bone of a bull moose with a 320 grainer @ 1,180 fps. If it don't punch through and/or drop the moosey near the river, I may re-tool with a hot-loaded 45 colt like what you guys are toting.
 

Steve8261948

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.001 difference in bullet size can make a HUGE difference in leading and accuracy. My bore is snug at both ends and a bit looser in the middle, just like yours, but nonetheless it will put 6 rounds in well under an inch at 50 feet (with the right sized bullets). It seems like there should be no reason yours shouldn't do likewise.... My factory bore is about .450-.4505 and my factory throats are about .451-.4515. I got heavy leading and 5" groups with bullets sized exactly .451. Leading dropped to nearly zero with the same load and bullet sized exactly .452. The same load and bullets sized .453 produce nearly the same accuracy and leading is nil. Leading will return if I push the speed up past about 900fps, at which point it looks like I'm gonna have to go to a gas checked bullet.... I figure I've got lots of experimenting left to do with bullet type, weight, and size before I ever start messing around with changing throat and/or bore dimensions (at which point I would have to start all over again with bullet size experimentation). Gotta believe the answer lies in Snyd's advice below, and not in continuing to increase the size of your bore and throats. Best luck.

Possible but I really dought ten thousands of an inch difference, will cause you much of a problem?
Steve
 

swmn

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Possible but I really dought ten thousands of an inch difference, will cause you much of a problem?
Steve

Yup, ten thousandths can make an enormous difference. I horse traded into some home cast .451" bullets local to me and, well they sucked in my .4515" bore pre firelapping and they were worse with the bore a little bigger.

I am going to try some other new loads and another guest shooter that I know is a good shot before I fire lap anymore.

I would love to find a box of fifty bullets around .453", 280grains and BHN 9 or 10 if anyone knows of a source.
 

Steve8261948

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Yes, ten thousands can make a difference but one ten thousands is very small compared? .010= ten thousands, .0001= one ten thousands doesn't it? I think we're saying the same thing here or I'm too tired and need to go to bed?
Steve
 

swmn

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.001 difference in bullet size can make a HUGE difference in leading and accuracy. My bore is snug at both ends and a bit looser in the middle, just like yours, but nonetheless it will put 6 rounds in well under an inch at 50 feet (with the right sized bullets). It seems like there should be no reason yours shouldn't do likewise....

Yup, I think you may be right. I built two loads that should be near optimum, working the formula ideal BHN = chamber pressure /1920. For BHN 5 - the lapping bullets from beartooth, I came up with desirable chamber pressure of 9200 psi, easily achievable with Universal Clays. I picked through the box of bullets and came up with 24 with diameter of .454, 1-2 thousandths over my .4525 groove diameter. Anticipating a velocity around 700fps I went with the soft home made lube.

I did similar with the BHN 15 bullets I had from Rim Rock, trusting their lube was appropriate for aniticpated velocity of 1100fps.

In both cases I fired 24 rounds. The BHN five load produced my best group yet, 3x5 inches at 25 yards, and no visible leading after 24 rounds, just powder residue in the bore. 250grains at 700fps is not exactly a bear stopper, but hot diggety dog I had the gun clean in about three minutes - a good change with this thing.

The BHN 15 load left a bit of leading at the breech of the barrel, but nothing on the trailing edge of the rifling out in the barrel where most of my leading problems have been in the past.

Sending 280 grains downrange at 900fps puts me at about BHN =12, and I found two internet vendors that can size BHN 12 to .454. I do want to express my thanks to all y'all who have traded me stuff for bullets, blowing $70 on a box of bullets from outside and getting a data point with 480 bullets left in the box has been expensive.

EDIT: I tried lighting 24.0 grains of H-110 with Remington 2 1/2 large pistol primers. I had decent pull and enough crimp that my COALs weren't changing, but ignition was incomplete, velocity was 1100ish compared to 1300 Brian Pearce published in handloader mag. If I wanted 1300 I would bring in LP magnum primers, but I don't need them for this gun and I am not using them in anything else, so I'll just move along.
 

swmn

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I always thought I should use pure lead for firelapping?
Steve

Yup, a mroe or less quote from the beartooth page is "[lapping bullets] are almost pure lead with a BHN around 5."
 

GaryVA

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Where do things currently stand with this revolver? I've owned a 503-59###, built back in '09 I believe, since new. I've not experienced the problems you guys have discussed, mine has performed well, but I've followed this thread with interest. Any updates with the problem revolver?

Best :)
 

swmn

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Where do things currently stand with this revolver? I've owned a 503-59###, built back in '09 I believe, since new. I've not experienced the problems you guys have discussed, mine has performed well, but I've followed this thread with interest. Any updates with the problem revolver?

Best :)

I haven't given up on it. Total since April I have put about 2200 rounds through it. 108 of those were fire lapping rounds going down range. Since I finished/ stopped firelapping I find the barrel very easy to clean of lead if I balance my BHN to chamber pressure and the softness of my lube to expected velocity.

Having fooled with it over and over my last three barrel slugs measure .4515", .4515" and .4520" on the three different ways to measure groove diameter on one slug(6 rifling ridges seperated by six rifling grooves); all three of my last barrel slugs measure the same, 4515,4515 and 4520.

So I "need" .453" bullets. I have been using .454" bullets to good effect, but my velocity is down quite a bit more than I would have otherwise expected.

I have bullet sizers on order, they should be here this week. No one sells a .453" sizer, I had to order .452" and then I'll wrap some sandpaper around a stick... it's going to be a circus.

Once I have a bullet out my sizer that measures .453" with my micrometer I am going to slug it through the barrel to meake sure it comes out 4515, 4515 and 4520, then I am going to put more sandpaper on another stick and open the **** chamber throats until I can push a .453" bullet through each throat with light finger tip pressure.

Cliffs:

I have a revolver that fits my hand very well and should serve my unborn grandchildren for their entire lives. It is powerful enough for an interior Alaska wilderness sidearm shooting comfortably. It is powferful enough for bear protection while dipnetting in salmon fed bear country - though less comfortable to shoot when loaded that hot. I can load it for year round CCW and reasonably expect to carry it concealed in Fairbanks about ten months out of the year. I can download it to nominal 45ACP levels and take it on steel target shoots.

I have about 5k dry fires on it to go with the 2200 live rounds, the action is pretty smooth but it will get better. I am thinking about slipping a little jewler's rougue in there next tiem I have it apart.

So I really really really like that I can use one handgun for all of practice, CCW, hunting and fishing. Just one. You know that line about beware the man with one gun, he may know how to use it? I am not sure I am that guy yet ;-)

Bad news, I can get it to group using .454" bullets. If I do that my velocity is down, if I switch to .452" bullets I get my expected velocity back, but it leads like a pig when I do.

I guess the single most important thing I can say is I feel like once I am done smithing on this thing I am not going to have to fool with it for the rest of my life, or my son's life and likely the lifetime of his unborn child. The son doesn't even have a gf that I know of. And I am looking to pick up a short barreled Vaquero for CCW the two hot months in Fairbanks. As much as a PITA as this Redhawk has been, I think it is a good enough firearm and I am perfectly willing to take a chance on another Ruger.

And I bet I can get my second Ruger to group in eight weeks instead of eight months if I start just as far behind the eight ball the second time around.
 

GaryVA

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Are all these issues with your homemade cast bullets? Have you ever tried any well known premium hard cast bullets that are pre-sized and lubed?? Ever run the gun with a proven load on a Ransom rest to rule out operator error???

Maybe QC was off a bit on some of these later Redhawks. My '09 was right on the money with those tested for published articles, such as Gunblast, back in '07. Measurements were the same, QC the same, accuracy the same. Shoots about everything well for the intent and purpose of a backcountry 4" barrel packing pistol. Mine has factory chamber throats measured .4515" that lose a tad bit of accuracy with some hardcast, but even then, it'll group those around 3" for 5 shots at 25 yards. A friend and hunting partner is a Guild pistolsmith and I had thought about him opening the throats slightly, but the tests I've seen published only net about 3/4" when measured at 25 yards from a Ransom rest. I decided to keep it factory being that such an improvement would have little to no value when shot off hand in the field at ranges < 25 yards.

I hope your get the kinks out. I was not a double action fan for a packing field gun prior to my Redhawk. I had a tricked out short barrel SA built off an old model Vaquaro by my Guild smith friend. He took it to a friend of his, Bowen, for some work and it turned out real nice. I carried that gun for a number of years and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Two issues that kept rearing their ugly heads when I was using that gun afield were such: 1) The gun stayed at hand when I was cleaning game afield, but it was a bloody mess to handle as it was slippery. I couldn't bear to put a rubber handle on that thing, and no amounts of checkering helped much. I spent quite a few dollars going through custom grps that were worthy for that gun but was never happy. 2) A single action is actually a pain in the ass if you truly need to quickly follow up with well aimed shots down range. No matter how you look at it, you must break your grip, be it your strong side, or weakside off hand, to cycle the next round into battery. No big thing farting around at the range, but it is something that will add some adventure when afield shooting a moving target at close range. It was then that I stumbled into my Redhawk. I got it at dealer cost thinking that if I didn't like the darn thing, I could sell it off with no loss. Ended up that I fell in love with the darn thing. People complain about the Bantam grips, but I think they give perfect purchase of the gun when your hands are bloody slippery. The grips handle exceedingly well strong hand, weak hand, or two handed. Standard speedloaders clear perfectly and nothing snags. Overall the Redhawk trigger is outstanding in both double and single action. It shoots so well double action that I lose little to no accuracy compared to single action and I can quickly send follow up rounds down range without breaking my form. To top it off, as big as these Rugers are, it is still compact enough that I can stick it in my back pocket for carry without a holster. I cannot say enough good about the overall package for an out of the box factory gun. Only thing I may do differently is that I'm thinking of fitting a tritium front blade and replacing the rear sight with one of Bowen's rear sights. I've debated adding a lanyard ring like my SA, but I keep changing my mind because I don't want to add any bulk.

Again, good luck with yours.

Best :)
 

swmn

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Are all these issues with your homemade cast bullets? Have you ever tried any well known premium hard cast bullets that are pre-sized and lubed?? Ever run the gun with a proven load on a Ransom rest to rule out operator error???


Again, good luck with yours.

Best :)

I don't cast at all. I have ordered cast bullets from I think five different places outside Alaska, and been through hand cast sample bullets from three different Alaskan casters that I can think of off the top of my head. I think I have a statistically significant sample of bullets to choose from.

My best groups and cleanest barrels come from bullets that are a little bit larger than my barrel slug, lube viscosity matched to velocity and lead hardness matched to chamber pressure.

I have found in my Redhawk I can use hardcast lead with crayon type lube cleanly only when running large doses of magnum powder with magnum primers. Your mileage may vary of course.

Thanks for the encouragement.
 

swmn

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I shot my two best groups ever today out of the Redhawk, both with new to me bullets.

The first with a spanking clean barrel was iofthetaiga's 340nmb bullet loaded by him, I understand 16.0 VV N110, starline brass and federal LP primers.

The second was a 255SWC from "a different" vendor. Never mind which two different vendors I bought 255 SWCs from, I found one my gun likes, this is a 255SWC backed by 8.5gr of Titegroup with a Remington LP primer.

I am going to go back and look throug 255swc.jpg 340nmb.jpg h the heavy bullet samples I have. I have been reticent to throw hard cast lead through my sub-optimally dimensioned revolver. The 340s I shot today were sized .452 and about BHN 15, they should have made a big mess in my barrel but didn't. I can only imagine the powder charge was making about the pressure the bullet needed to slug up. I am going to go try some other heavy bullets.
 

swmn

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I finally won. Holy cow. I finally got tired of treating this thing with kid gloves. I have three identical barrel slugs floating around on my bench. I wrapped some sandpaper around a stick and opened up my chamber mouths until the barrel slugs would drop through easily with no pressure.

Then I took a .452 sizing die, they are under $20 from Lee Precision, wrapped more sand paper around the same stick and rolled the sizing die back and forth on my bench, opened it up to where my sized bullet would fit through the already "fixed" chamber throats with gentle finger pressure.

Then I loaded up a known good load (8.5gr TiteGroup, 255gr SWC) with freshly sized bullets and got my two best groups ever. The four inch group (of six)I shot at seven yards single action, no rest. The smaller group (4 shots) was shot today by a friend of mine who is a firearms instructor, same load, single action, seated from a sandbag at seven yards. The hole on the far right is .478" tall x .453" wide.

Scweet!!

fourinch.JPG pointfourseveneight.JPG
 

Amigo Will

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Looks like you are about ready to enjoy it the rest of your life and it will be nice and smooth to pass on in the far off future
 

tvfinak

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New Ruger RHs in .45 LC

New Ruger RHs in .45 LC

Checked out a new Redhawk in .45 LC today at Mt. View Sports. Thought I would get a head start on their Black Friday Sale where I bought mine last year in the hope of getting a better one this time.

Unfortunately, the one they had in the case had the same problem - a canted barrel - as the one I got last year! The marking on the frame were better this year; overall the appearance of the gun was somewhat better. It did have a serious burr on the crane cutout under the barrel, it would be easy to remove but did show that the gun hadn't been thoroughly inspected.

From what I keep seeing - if you got a good RH- hang onto it! Perhaps I guess I should just take heed of what the salesman in one gun shore said: "if you want S&W quality - buy a S&W" :)

But I'll keep looking for a good one- wish me luck.
 

Amigo Will

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Yep I've had to pass on a half dozen or so S&W's this month.Not canted but bent barrels insted.Also most cylinders were chambered for two or three different rounds which didn't seem right to me.
 

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