Super Black Hawk vs Super Red Hawk


December 19, 2006, 08:16 PM
I am interested in getting a hunting revolver for my Dad. He mentioned the other day that he liked the Super Black Hawk 7.5 inch barrel in 44mag. I found a used Super Red Hawk in 44mag. I realized that the SBH is Single action and the SRH is DA. Why is that important? Are there other differences between the two? I hate to get the SRA and then find out it isn't at all what he wanted, however, I would like it to be a surprise and don't want to ask him.

Please help.

For those unfamiliar here is a pic of the Super Black Hawk

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December 19, 2006, 09:03 PM
My favorite is the SBH--old school.:evil:

December 19, 2006, 09:05 PM
Go with the SBH. For hunting he'd use SA anyways so the extra heft of the SRH along with the DA would be a step backards in my opinion.

December 19, 2006, 09:45 PM
There are PLENTY of cheap blackhawks out there, if you look a little harder, you will definatly find one. I got mine for $350.
My pictures always dissapear after a few days.....

December 19, 2006, 10:52 PM
"...Why is that important?..." The totally different style of handgun gives them both a totally different fit and feel. The SRH is a great big revolver with the exact same grip as a GP100. However, if he likes the single action design buy him that one.

December 19, 2006, 11:22 PM
You didn't mention if your father has any revolvers presently or if he shoots. tough to read minds.

As was said, most people only shoot in single action (SA) hunting larger game. Small game may be different. I use a Super Redhawk as I just prefer a double action revolver. I find them easier to load, unload, or check to see if it is loaded.

I would get him what he wants. But you could get into a conversation about handguns and feel him out a bit on his likes and dislikes. The Ruger hunter models are nice hunting rigs as they are set up for a scope. Yes, they are a Blackhawk-like single action design.

Steve in PA
December 19, 2006, 11:26 PM
They are two totally different style handguns.

I have and hunt with a SRH and love it. Its not so much as choosing a SA over a DA because you will thumb the hammer on the SRH when you have a bead on an animal any way.

Handle both and find out which one fits your hand better. I've never shot a Blackhawk style handgun in anything over .22lr/.22mag, so you might not like the way it recoils.

I can and have shot my SRH all day without any problems or issues.

December 19, 2006, 11:29 PM
The SBH is a simple, rugged old-school .44 Magnum. It's been kicking around for a long time and it's pretty easy to find a used one for three bills or less. The SRH is a completely different animal, based on the same design as the SP-101 an GP-100. It has no relation to the plain old Redhawk other than the name. Nor does it have any relation with the SBH. The SRH is one of the strongest revolvers ever made. It was the frame Ruger used to market the first widely available six shot .454 Casull. Needless to say, the SRH goes for a lot more than the SBH.

Jim March
December 20, 2006, 12:09 AM

A single-action revolver will "roll in the hand" and soak up big recoil very well for many folks. You have to cock it for each shot, and reloading is slower - for a hunting gun neither are big issues. On the plus side is the recoil control, costs tend to be lower (there are scads of used SuperBlackHawk 44Mags out there for a song) and both reliability and accuracy tend to be at least a tad better with SAs as the cylinder is fixed into the frame rather than able to swing out to reload.

The single action Rugers are near-clones of an 1873 era Colt, except the ones built on the 44Mag sized frame are a bit bigger. They also have adjustable sights (except the "Vaquero" models), better metallurgy, coil springs instead of flat and a modern safety system that prevents the gun going off by accident if the hammer is hit or the gun is dropped. Classic Colts and true clones of same have to be loaded with five rounds, hammer set to the empty cylinder.

All Rugers since 1973 can be carried fully loaded, and most of the ones from before then have recieved the free retrofit for same.

The SuperRedHawk will cost more, it will be a bit heavier but it will come with factory scope rings and mounts (except the short-barreled "Alaskan" models). It will however be a double-action with faster reloading...if you're looking for one gun for both hunting and defense or emergency defense against dangerous animals, the SRH has the nod.

If you have the money for one, the best hunting SA Ruger ever built is this critter:

That's a "Hunter" series, meaning heavy barrel with integrated scope ring mounts (and scope rings come in the box). This particular one has the "Bisley" hammer, trigger and grip set, which in many people's hands is the absolute best at recoil control. The other SBHs with barrel lengths beyond 5.5" come with a larger "plowhandle" type grip while the 5.5" and under come with a smaller plowhandle grip.

All the current SuperBlackHawk variants are here:

and here:

There are also Bisley .44Mags without the heavy barrel:

Scopes can be added to standard model (non-Hunter) Rugers with adjustable sights, but it's less convenient. You have to remove the rear sight and use the place where it went as the main bolt-down location for the ring mounts. With a "Hunter" type barrel (or a SuperRedHawk) you can attach the rings straight to the barrel while leaving the front and rear sights intact. If there's a field malfunction with the scope on a Hunter or SRH, just remove the scope/rings and go to iron sights.

Any "New Model" Ruger (also known as the "two screw" frame from 1973 on) can be converted to Bisley with a kit available from Brownell's. Budget about $250 max, less if you can scrounge used bits from somebody that went the other way. Parts swapping on Ruger single actions is legendary, people build "mutants" and end up with configurations that aren't even close to factory. My New Vaquero .357 has a SuperBlackHawk hammer (lower than stock so the thumb reach is shorter) on it and custom sights.

Upshot: finding a used SuperBlackHawk for cheap is easy:

Any gun show will have scads of such critters around, esp. with the less popular 7.5" or even 10" tubes. Do "the checkout" on one and if it passes, odds are that not only is it not worn out, you'll never wear it out even if you try.

NOTE: Ruger SAs only have one weakness: the "base pin" (the "axle" that the cylinder spins on) can jump loose with strong loads. If this happens you can ding up the holes in the frame that it rides on, not good. There are two cures, both user-installable, both cheap:

1) Any "spring kit" will include lighter trigger return and mainsprings and a heavier spring for the cross-pin that holds the base pin in place. Such kits are under $20.

2) Belt Mountain sells replacement base pins that are better made, fit "tighter" and have a locking hex set-screw that eliminates base pin jump. These are about $25 for plain, $35 for extra-fancy "Number Five" type.

Do one of these cures on any Ruger SA used for 44Mag-level horsepower. I did the spring kit on my 357 New Vaq.

December 20, 2006, 12:11 AM
Given the same caliber and barrel length, the biggest difference between the SRH and the SBH is a result of the grip. The SRH will recoil pretty much like every other DA revolver. There will be a big push back as well as muzzle climb. The SBH has an old style plowshare grip. When fired, the revolver rolls backward in your hand, trading increased muzzle climb for reduced perceived recoil. When you get into the real punishing calibers (44mag would be on the lower end) the reduced recoil can be greatly appreciated.

Jim March
December 20, 2006, 02:04 AM
Yup. It works that way because the original design was meant to be used from horseback and shot one-handed - the grip shape goes back to at least 1851.

Most people who shoot Magnum-or-bigger SAs shoot from a Weaver hold. Your off-hand grip may break but your strong-hand hold will still roll up just like it did one-handed back in the Civil War.

Firing very stout 357 in my Ruger New Vaquero (a smaller gun than the SBH) I can maintain a two-handed grip through the recoil cycle. Most SuperBlackHawk 44Mag shooters report the same. Once you get into the big specialty calibers on Rugers customized with five-shot cylinders doing twice the power of the 44Mag or more, maintaining a two-handed grip through the recoil stroke ain't gonna happen, but doesn't need to. The off-hand helps take some of the recoil during the first instant post-firing but soon the gun and strong hand rise up out of the off hand. With a Weaver hold, that puts the gun moving back past your head. With an Iscoceles hold, it puts the gun's hammer right on track to whack you in the forehead, which may, over time, negatively affect your IQ.


Lesson: for big power use a Weaver hold, not Iscoceles. If you don't know what these two holds mean or how they work, find out. This is a decent start:

If you're not used to 44Mag handguns, I would also recommend getting a box of 44Special as your first box through the gun, as that will be very mild in any big 44Mag. Then do a box of standard commercial 44Mag, before trying heavyweight hardcast hunting loads from one of the smaller specialty ammo houses doing big-power 44Mag such as Garrett, Buffalo Bore, DoubleTap, Grizzly or the Cor-Bon hunting series.

Get your technique down with specials and work your way up to the really hot stuff. The 44Mag *IS* controllable by "mere mortals" but give it some respect and approach it with the understanding that you have to learn to cope...which won't be a long process, but it IS a process, m'kay?

December 20, 2006, 11:47 AM
I am interested in getting a hunting revolver for my Dad. He mentioned the other day that he liked the Super Black Hawk 7.5 inch barrel in 44mag.

Well that makes it an easy choice! I would simply get him the 7.5" SBH! I bought a used one earlier this year - found out it was 30 years old! But it shoots pretty decent and the price was not bad.

I've owned the SRH before too. If optics were a priority this version makes it really easy to scope your handgun. There is also the SBH Hunter with easy scope mounting.

Just sounds like to me- the classic 7.5" SBH is the way to go.

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