Ruger Redhawk .454


September 5, 2005, 12:50 AM
This is my first post on this site, and I am sorry that it is a long one. Hopefully, someone will find it interesting or worthy of a response. I rented a Ruger Redhawk chambered in .454 about a year ago while visiting an indoor shooting range. I have read several posts and articles about this gun since that time but have never seen mentioned the problem that I encountered with it that day. I found that after firing a full cylinder I had great difficulty depressing the ejector rod (if that is what it is called on a double action revolver) in order to extract the empty casings. This was not due to a want of my own physical strength, for whether I used the pad of my thumb or the palm of my hand I could not readily generate any movement. After trying many different methods, and I was forced to try different methods--alternating hands, fingers, and parts of my palms--in order to alleviate the pain that had developed in previously used appendages, I would finally get the plunger to budge. Has anyone else had this problem? Does the gun have to cool down? Obviously the casings had expanded significantly to cause this problem. I did manage to fire a box of twenty rounds, but only because I had already bought them. The gun was not difficult to shoot, just nearly impossible to unload. I borrowed a small pad of post-it notes from the man at the desk and placed it on top of the ejector rod so that I could distribute my force (so that the equal reaction of my effort would not be concentrated into the 1/4" end of the rod and borrow a hole into my palm). Even still the cases were stuck so well that I thought I might bend the rod or break some part of the gun. I even placed the end of the plunger on the pad of paper and pressed it on the flat surface of the shooting bench with the barrel off the side of the bench and perpendicular to the floor, hoping that this greater control and distribution of my strength and leverage might have proved sufficient. I was again fearful that I would damage the gun in some way. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in this aspect of the Redhawk .454's performance. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, why has no one made an issue of it? My name is Dave.

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Ben Shepherd
September 5, 2005, 11:03 AM
Wierd occurence. Sounds like the ammo you got was EXTREMELY warm to me. It should be no harder to unload than a 357 or 44 mag.

Ruger Redhawk
September 5, 2005, 11:05 AM
Dave welcome to the forum,You're talking about a Super Redhawk in 454 Casull.Redhawks are not made in 454.I have one of the SRH's in 454 Casull. I've put a few boxes through it and never have experienced the problem you discribed.Mind you all that's ever been put through my gun has been factory Winchester's 250 gr.I'm thinking since you rented the gun. The chambers might have been really dirty causing the cases to stick.I asume you were using factory ammo.If Reloads were used that might be some of the problem.They might not have been sized correctly.Something isn't right for sure.Don't let this experience sour you on the Redhawks' or SRH's. They are a great gun and will handle anything you feed it.

Ruger Redhawk

September 5, 2005, 11:36 AM

Maybe someone had shot a of 45 Colt thru the gun and the cylinders had a crud ring built up, making ejection of cases difficult. Was it at all difficult to load?

September 6, 2005, 07:05 PM
This is common in some SRHs The special stainless used in the cylinder is a very high tensile strength Carpenter alloy. The problem is that the chamber walls do expand ever so slightly (being a six shot instead of a five shot...thinner chamber walls), and then when they return to the original size , they have a very tight grip on the slightly over-expanded cases. Some SRHs have smoother chambers than others, and this might be why some folks have a lot of trouble extracting cases and some have little or none. In any case, it is not a safety issue, as long as the chamber pressures don't exceed industry maximums...SAAMI specs out the .454 at 60,00 psi. But none of the major ammo makers load to this limit. Partly because of the reliability issue we are discussing here, and also at these extremly high pressures the .454 can become unpredictable. At 60,000 psi, there is very little room for error, and brass starts to flow between 62,000 and 65,000 psi in a revolver ( no 100% case support, like in a strong bolt action rifle). The SRH is HELL for strong, but one must is still a revolver, not a modern quality
bolt action rifle. I believe the Speer reloading manual indicated that the Winchester .454 brass is the hardest commonly available to reloaders, so I would assume that their factory ammo uses the same hard brass. I have shot the full power Winchester Supreme 260 gr. Partition in my SRH, and had no difficulty with extraction. I keep my handguns very clean, reload with Winchester brass, and always use a dry graphite in the chambers. Hope this helps......

September 6, 2005, 07:29 PM
What Rick said.

September 6, 2005, 07:33 PM
I've had a very similar problem with a S&W model 19. Problem was solved After a thorough cleaning of the chambers.

September 7, 2005, 11:27 PM
I'd say cruddy chambers or ammo. I know when I use the Hornady 300gr's they sometimes like to "stick" in the chambers, don't have that problem with any others. Save some cash and get one, I have one and love it! Small enough that is actually useable unlike the 500's, can shoot anything from pussy 45lc loads to 45lc loads equal to 44mag or the actual .454's, which will kill anything on this continent.

September 7, 2005, 11:45 PM
Sometimes cases can be tight sure - not often they fall out but not had that prob - and I shoot quite a lot of max 300 grain XTP Hornady loads. The metallurgical aspect can account for some tightening effect but odd you should have had quite such a trouble.

Welcome BTW to THR :)

September 8, 2005, 05:32 AM
Early Hornady lots, 99 & 00, I think, were made for reloaders - with soft brass, as was MagTech .454 Casull ammo. You would literally have to hammer the empties out of my SRH years ago... always carried a brass drift for such use. Hornady knew about the problem - and sent me fresh, and trouble-free, ammo gratis - nice folks.

Also, .45 Colts are fine - just shoot your .454's FIRST, as the residue will make loading .454's difficult - and potentially dangerous, as the residue may slow the crimp's opening, causing a pressure spike. Cleaning with a chamber brush and Hoppes - powered by a drill motor - will return the fairly well finish reamed, ie low RMS runout, chambers to .454 duty. Those chambers were the best of any Ruger I'd ever owned, but I still had to run a wool mop, loaded with Flitz and drill-motor-powered, through them a time or two. I further improved it's reliability by leaving the .45 Colts home - and reloading the 400+ .454 empties I had amassed with .45 Colt-ish loads... no more residue ring. I traded my old friend, a 7.5" SRH .454, late last fall after years of fun... I miss it.


PS Don't change the springs... mine broke-in with dry-fire. I tried the lower effort Wolff springs - for a day... a couple of 'clicks' (FTF's) when I expected .454 'BOOM's' was enough - back to OEM springs for me.

September 15, 2005, 03:30 PM
I really appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to my post. It appears that this site has members who are knowledgeable and helpful. As a result of the responses I received, I no longer hold a grudge against the Super Redhawk but believe that the particular gun I fired may have had cylinders that were less than functionally clean. Again, thank you. Dave

September 16, 2005, 07:59 AM
I have not had any issues with my 454, HOWEVER, I just purchased a RSH in 480 and have noticed the empties eject a bit difficult.

September 16, 2005, 08:26 AM
Did you mention it to the people at the range?

I would have insisted that they either clean the fouling from the chambers (I'll bet money that was the real problem) or refund ALL of my money.

There is no excuse for that.

September 18, 2005, 08:21 PM
"454 which will kill anything on this continent" or any other continent for that matter!

September 25, 2005, 09:09 PM
I did mention it to an employee, and he was the one that gave me the pad of post-it notes. I should have asked for my money back, but I really wanted to shoot that thing. Plus, I had already bought and fired off a couple cylinders' worth of bullets.

I didn't think that Ruger would make an unreliable gun. Unfortunately, perhaps Reed's Indoor Gun Range in Santa Clara, CA has no qualms about renting guns made unreliable by lack of cleaning. Did I say that?

Vern Humphrey
September 25, 2005, 09:34 PM
I rented a Ruger Redhawk chambered in .454 about a year ago while visiting an indoor shooting range. I have read several posts and articles about this gun since that time but have never seen mentioned the problem that I encountered with it that day. I found that after firing a full cylinder I had great difficulty depressing the ejector rod

There are a pair of systemic problems that can cause this. The first is chamber dimensions. The .45 Colt is a sloppy fit in the standard chamber and some .454s are based on the .45 Colt chamber. In addition, lots of .45 Colt and .454 ammo is loaded on carbide dies -- which assume the case is a cylinder, instead of tapered. Then, as mentioned above, the chamber walls can expand slightly. All of which leaves a case with a slight bulge forward of the rim.

The next problem is the Redhawk extractor star. Unlike most DA pistols, the Redhawk encircles the case about 190 degrees (instead of the more customary 120 degrees. The purpose of this is supposedly to prevent cases from falling free of the extractor and back into the chamber under the star if you point the pistol down while working the ejector rod.

Good idea, but with the cases slightly bulged, it means they are trapped by the star and have to be removed by main force.

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