Ruger Redhawk Range Report


October 3, 2005, 12:13 PM
I have been on the lookout for a .44mag DA revo for a while. I have previously fired a S&W model 29, 6 1/2" bbl, with the half underlug, & Remington 180gr .44mag pills.

This time, I rented a Ruger Redhawk .44mag with the 7 1/2" bbl & used the same factory ammo as the S&W 29. This particular Redhawk has seen a lot of use as a range gun. Despite that, it appeared to be good for many more years as a range mule for those poor souls who feel the need to rent a .44mag. It has the original rosewood grips and its trigger was the smoothest I have ever pressed on a Ruger revolver.

Subjective recoil and muzzle blast was pretty harsh. The felt recoil was nastier than the S&W 29 with factory target grips, IMO. (Heck, it was more harsh than the Taurus Raging Bull I rented & stoked with factory .454 Casull.) Those pretty, smooth, rosewood grips have some bite. While it bit the hand that shot it, it delivered wonderfully small groups on target. Better than those delivered by the S&W 29, my own S&W 686, or any other revolver I have shot. Even though recoil was painful, I was able to get off double-taps in respectable order. (Not as quickly as with my SW1911, however. The laws of physics still apply.)

Muzzle blast was so impressive, that management recieved complaints from shooters located in the next bay (separated from me by a hollow-core door and a cinder block wall). Maybe the double-taps were the culprit, as the range is one of those with smothering rules such as no "rapid fire." Double-taps were supposedly allowed, but maybe they expected my double-taps to have larger split times. Whatever. Their range, their rules.

The Redhawk was an impressive revolver, though I think not one I will buy (unless a wildly good price was found on a used model). It had more weight and harsher subjective recoil than the S&W 29.

I think the next stop on my leisurely .44mag test-shootings will be the S&W 629 Mountain Gun.

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41 Redhawk
October 3, 2005, 12:47 PM
Redhawks are know for their nasty grips. They are far more comforable to shoot with some aftermarket grips that fit you. My hand likes the Pachmeyers.

October 3, 2005, 12:48 PM
as an owner and fan of the Ruger Redhawk found it to be excellent. I have owned a 5.5" bbl. Redhawk for a number of years and have taken both elk and deer with it here in Oregon.

A couple of additions/clarifications if you don't mind. While beautiful to behold, the factory original wood grips are IMHO not very good for day to day shooting. I recommend replacing them with rubber grips that fully cover the backstrap. To date I recommend Pachmyr Decelerator grips as doing an excellent job of taming recoil and enhancing one's grip on the Redhawk.

You make an excellent point about the trigger. Redhawk's come with a pretty awful trigger but, as you point out, with use they smooth right out and become quite good.

If you are a reloader the Redhawk is extraordinarily strong and takes some of the "hot" 44 loads such as those produced by Garrett, Buffalo Bore, etc. with ease. FWIW :)

October 3, 2005, 01:12 PM
I think I'm one of the few Redhawk owners (mines a 5 1/2" stainless) that like the factory grips. I found with aftermarket grips that they sit the gun higher up in my hind, and made muzzle flip much worse. The factory grips don't bother me at all, even with smokin 300 grain handloads. :scrutiny:

October 3, 2005, 03:48 PM
Redhawk grips are terrible! They were patterened off the High Standard sentinel grips, why, I don't know.

October 3, 2005, 05:06 PM
Your write-up captures it very well. While the factory grips are murderous to most of us, there are exceptions like the poster above. Terry Murbach is another shooter who has no problems with them. Most of us though, loose considerable blood employing the factory grips.

October 3, 2005, 09:51 PM
Don't make a decision until you fire a Redhawk with Hogue rubber or Pachmayr. I have a Redhawk .44Mag 7 1/2", it's a night and day difference with the Hogue's and it's the smoothest .44Mag I have, most accurate too.

Oh yea, I have Mountain Gun too, it's in .45 Colt mind you but I have shot it with .44 mag power loads, it's more harsh by far than the Redhawk.

October 3, 2005, 10:45 PM
We used a Redhawk 7.5" w/ full-on .44 mag as a "mystery gun" in our indoor action league. I was pretty surprised how well it did with quick DA shooting on poppers and paper. Slower than a 5" 1911 no doubt, but quick enough for defensive use. I was really happy with how I shot with it.

October 4, 2005, 07:13 AM
I have a 5.5" .45 Colt SS RH, and the OEM stocks are fine for anything I have shot through it. My Ahrends wood stocks on my 625MG have been fine for SAAMI .45 Colts as well... it is the 'nature of the beast', the lowered pressure .45 Colt is fine thataway. Now, my 629MG, that is another story. Wood stocked, it is strictly a .44 Special/Russian launcher. I have tried the Hogue .500 Magnum backstrap-enclosing rubber grips on my 629MG with the hot UMC 180gr JHP's at 1650+ fps - and found it to be manageable. I did return the 629MG to it's previous lighter load duty, while buying a 6" h-l 629 just for those grips - and real .44 Magnums. Try those grips - available from S&W Accessories for $35.


Nail Shooter
October 7, 2005, 08:09 PM
I have a 7 1/2" Redhawk, it's one of three 44's that I own. It is confidence inspiring in so much as it FEELS like a strong gun, but its accuracy is poorest of the three--even tried it scoped. Just can't get all excited about it. Anyone know where I could get a short bbl for it? AND, just how short were bbls made for Redhawks? I don't have a 44 mag snubbie--this could be the one.

The 629 (8 3/8" bbl) has the most incredible trigger I've ever tried in a revo--came that way from Smith (I'm the original owner). VERY ACCURATE gun too, and it likes cast Keith style 240's. This gun just feels right in the hand, but you better hold on because it jumps for the sky when you touch it off.

Dan Wesson (10" bll) is also VERY ACCURATE and has almost no recoil because it's so muzzle heavy. However, when I took it out of the box (after I had my FFL special order it-early 80's) I almost cried when I tried the trigger. It had creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep about that long before the trigger let off. After some stoning, I got the trigger into the acceptable range and competed successfully in IHMSA. Very strong gun, beautiful deep bluing, don't think I'd ever sell any of my "Dans".

October 7, 2005, 08:59 PM
I happen to like long tubes - but find the Redhawk a superb piece - strong of course but also with Hogues very manageable. IMO one of the best platforms for hot .44's.
I think the next stop on my leisurely .44mag test-shootings will be the S&W 629 Mountain Gun.
I'll all but guarantee that the 629 will be more brutal on recoil - much as I love mine.!! The CT grips do they make for less comfort than say Hogues or Pachy's.

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