Monday, October 06, 2008

Ruger Redhawk

The Ruger Redhawk (introduced in 1979) is an interesting gun in that it is still in production but made somewhat obsolete by Ruger's own Super Redhawk and Ruger's new standard grip format using the stud instead of a grip frame. The Redhawk (as opposed to the Super Redhawk) is now very much old school.
I once owned a Security Six (.357 Magnum) and you might view the Redhawk as a development from that series, up sized and with some modifications, for larger cartridges. The Redhawk has been factory chambered for the .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag and .45 Colt. It is hell for stout. As Ruger says on their website:

The Ruger Redhawk® revolver was Ruger's first double action revolver specifically designed for the powerful .44 Magnum cartridge. It embodies many advanced features such as a "triple-locking" cylinder, a unique "single spring" mechanism for relatively lighter trigger pull, easily replaceable front sights and adjustable rear sights, and all-stainless steel construction. Ruger Redhawks are perfect for the big game handgun hunter who needs the power of a .44 Magnum in a rugged, dependable revolver.

I really liked my Security-Six. It was a good gun, gave good service and it is unfortunate that I sold it to meet family responsibilities. For a couple of years I let the need for a home defense/hunting revolver pass me by until I had the opportunity at a S&W M629 4". I've written enough about that at the linked page. Needless to say I've been looking for another suitable revolver to fill this niche almost since I got the 629. The Redhawk seemed to be about right but... the "but"? Well the "but" was that it was pretty close to the right size but the barrels were too long. You see, they only had them in 5½ and 7½ inch lengths. Yes you can cut them down but add that expense to the MSRP and, well, that's darn expensive when you already have a "perfectly" serviceable 4" .44 Magnum in hand. So I've put it off for the longest time.

Then, about a year and a half ago, Ruger came out with the Redhawk in a 4" version. Of course I liked the idea, but it hasn't been until recently that circumstances have conspired to put one into my hands. I've now got one coming. We'll have to see if it will actually replace the M629...


My first impression of the Redhawk was that it was/is a LARGE revolver.  Not as big as the X-frame S&W but big, brutal looking.  Definitely and noticeably larger than the S&W 629. Fitting is not as good as I'd have liked but nothing was broken or missing.  It has been factory test-fired.  I do like the balance of this gun as compared to the longer 5.5 or 7.5 inch barreled guns.  The verdict is still out on the grips.

While the grips are big, and I'm sure they would accommodate rather large hands, I can use them too.  One thing I like is that with the issue grips I can use the gun both SA with a single hand cocking and DA one or two handed.  Can't do both with any given grips on my S&W 629.  Dry firing (done without the plastic disk in place) has shown that either mode is easy.

That dry firing showed something else as well.  The action came to me very gritty.  Now, I'm not a particularly particular person.  If the trigger can be pulled, the gun shoots, if the gun stays in one piece, that is pretty good.  I guess that comes from my years of military service.  But I could feel and hear the grittiness in this revolver.  However, as has been suggested, it has smoothed out quite a bit.  One thing that hasn't changed is that the bolt rises early.  As you cock the gun, SA or DA, the bolt rises to contact the cylinder about half way between the locking notches and rides the cylinder into the next notch.  This has already resulted in a cylinder ring.  However, it has been noted that rising early is better than rising late and the cylinder rotating past the bolt and the gun firing unlocked.  But I still haven't fired the gun.

Stay tuned.

- Assembly/Disassembly of the Ruger Redhawk by Trueblue Sam

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