45LC Double Action: Ruger RedHawk or S&W Mountain Gun?


December 25, 2009, 11:14 PM
So the Ruger is said to be able to handle the heavier loads but Smiths seem to have the better trigger. They seem to run about the same price.. so which one should I get and why? I already reload for my 45LC single action but don't normally shoot the "Ruger Only" loads.. but have on occasion.

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December 25, 2009, 11:20 PM
Since you have "on occasion" shot the heavy .45 loads, I'd say go for the Ruger. Just in case, you know? I've been eyeballing a Redhawk myself so maybe I'm biased...

Big Bill
December 26, 2009, 02:26 AM
If you're going to hunt with it; buy the Ruger. If not, and you just want to carry it for protection in the mountains, then buy the S&W.

December 26, 2009, 08:13 AM
My history with .45 Colt capable DA revolvers started with a large new 7.5" .454 SRH - then a 625MG. I next ordered, along with a friend, a new 5.5" RH. The S&W outshot them all, with average .45 Colt fare. Also, it never 'jammed' - the Rugers sloppy ejector star would skim over the odd .45 Colt's dimunitive rim, hopelessly jamming it until you could grow a third hand. Then there was the RH's horrid QC - I called Ruger the second day - they sent a pick-up label - it would be the end of that first month before I saw it again. It became my wife's bedside 'protector' until I sold it. One day, a year later, she said she couldn't find it! Yeah, we didn't miss it. I did get another 625MG, however... great firearm - built on the 625 frame/cylinder, which is also used for the .45 ACP at 22+ kpsi - well over the .45 Colt's 14 kpsi rating. Yeah, the S&W 25/625 in .45 Colt can take more than the standard .45 Colt level.

Oh - my friend's .45 RH was also defective - warped frame - happens when they are cast and not hammer-forged, like a S&W. They replaced it with a new one before I got mine back - and he promptly traded it. They dropped the .45 RHs several months later - those 5.5"-ers were <$450 on closeout before they evaporated. A year or so later, they came back as the 4" .45 RH. You couldn't give me another RH - that weird one-spring lockwork would produce ftf's with a slow pull. The SRH's lockwork, a two-spring like the GP-100's and in a reduced size, the SP-101's, is far better. That SRH is the only Ruger I miss. The ejector star jamming never occured with .45 Schoffields - or, in the SRH, .454 Casulls - regular sized rims helped.

My suggestion is the 25/625 MG. My pair are keepers. If I lost them, I'd buy another one - new, if I could - IL or not - in a minute!


December 26, 2009, 10:49 AM
I've owned a couple of each, along with an Anaconda and DW in .45 colt as well.

The 625-5 was a state of the art revolver, in every aspect. The -7 started to get a little lame with MIM hollow trigger and lack of a cylinder stud. The recent IL ones are pretty insulting and hold their value about as well as week old milk.

That being said, the Mountain Gun is joy to carry and shoot with standard loads. It gets offensive with woods protection loads, and your search for larger grips to deal with them sort of negates the idea of the trim MG profile. If you have +P loads for rifles and stronger revolvers, you have to be careful not to mix. This is counter intuitive to the KISS principle, and you will have the nagging feeling that your woods gun is not as powerful as it could be.

The 4" Redhawk solves some of these issues, but not all. The DA trigger pull is not as nice as the Smith, and will need a bit of attention by a competent gunsmith. As stated above, the extractor star does not wrap around the cases like the Super Redhawk one does. This is something to consider if you plan to do a quick reload while you are cold, wet, hungry, tired and soiling your britches. Then there is the grip. The Hogue Bantam that comes with it is pretty lame. The old style wood grips distribute recoil much better, but the square butt is not for everyone, and doesn't pack as well as the round butt on the Smith & Wesson.

My search led me to this. A 4" Redhawk with a SR cylnlinder. The grip was converted to wood round butt, and an interchangeable front sight was mounted. A slick action job was also done. I now have a compact .45 that can handle any Colt or Casull load that my teeth can. It has the most positive extraction available in a modern DA revolver. Yes, it costs as much as 2 or 3 other revolvers, but it finally meets all of my criteria. Ruger should make this a production offering, but that would cut in on Hamilton Bowen's business. ;)


December 26, 2009, 12:47 PM
I've never shot a Redhawk, so I can't give a comparison. I do have a newer Model 25 (with the IL) and I'm a big fan. It is a great size and weight for standard loads. I have an old model Vaquero if I were to want to go to the heavy stuff though.

Leaky Waders
December 26, 2009, 08:05 PM
I have a new model 25-15, I'll be keeping it for quite sometime - it's awesome.

I'm now looking for a pre-lock mountain gun to add to the battery. I have an old style vaquero and it's ok, but the 25 is much funner to reload with the hand ejector for me.

I think 45 long colt has endured because it makes big holes with usable recoil.

December 26, 2009, 09:04 PM
The Smith MG is a fine piece. Smooth trigger, and 2 oz. lighter than a 4" 686. I carrried one on duty for a coupla years, until we transitioned to semiautos. Heavy loads are not enjoyable to shoot.

The new 4" Redhawk comes with the SRH extractor. The trigger is smooth, with just a hint of stack toward the end-nothing you can't live with. There are no mim parts. There is no lock. If you shoot 'Ruger Only' loads you will like the Hogue grips.

If I had to go back to carrying a revolver again, it'd be the Redhawk.

December 26, 2009, 11:43 PM
Form follows function.

Decide if you want to be able to shoot higher pressure loads.

If not,


December 27, 2009, 01:22 AM
VA27 is correct. The new Redhawks use the same style extractor as the SRH. The arms wrap around the case about 2/3 of the diameter, as opposed to 1/2 way around for the S&W. There is little or no chance for the extractor to over-ride a rim.


December 27, 2009, 05:20 AM
In my area, the mountain gun is about $150 more expensive. If I wanted a strong 45 colt, I would buy the redhawk. If I was set on the mountain gun, I would get one in 44 magnum.

December 27, 2009, 06:44 AM
For me, the choice would be the S&W. I found out a long time ago I did not need the flame and recoil associated with the souped up loads. A 45 Long Colt with a 255 SWC over a full case of black powder gives great penetration on deer and anything else I shoot so why put up with the other loads. SInce I don't load them, I don't need the platform to launch them. So I am firmly on the S&W side of the argument. I also own and shoot smoe Model P Colt clones with the same load. I like the lighter weight compared to the Ruger.

I am currently working up a load for the 280 SWC bullet in the Long Colt casing but haven't found what I want yet.

December 27, 2009, 09:05 AM
Like others have said, if the possibility exists that you will be shooting 'heavy' loads buy the Ruger.

December 28, 2009, 03:12 PM
I have a Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt and a Super Redhawk "Alaskan" in .454 Casull/.45 Colt. I also have a S&W 629 which is a great revolver but I don't see myself buying any more S&W revolvers although I admit I would like a Mountain Gun for my collection but probably wouldn't shoot it much if at all. I like options, and unless a revolver is specifically for CAS or similar where low energy loads are the norm, I want a revolver that can handle HEAVY H110/300gr .45 Colt loads. That's why I have the Redhawk, Super Redhawk and two Blackhawks (.45 Colt/.45 ACP).

I'm happy with the factory triggers in both the SRH and RH. I've measured the SA pull in both at just under 6lb. That may sound like a lot but the travel is short with zero creep so I don't have a problem with it. Even the double action pull in both revolvers is acceptable. My 629 has Wolf springs so obviously it's a lot lighter but not significantly smoother. I may order some spring kits for the Rugers in the future but I'm in no rush.

As for the star extractors/ejectors, here are some photos comparing the SRH to the RH. I apologize for the crappy photos. I just bought a Nikon SB-600 flash to use with my D80 and have no idea what I'm doing with it yet. :o

Ruger Redhawk (.45 Colt)

Ruger Super Redhawk "Alaskan" (.454 Casull/.45 Colt)


December 31, 2009, 04:51 PM
Get an Anaconda if you can find one... :)

December 31, 2009, 08:37 PM
Part of the beauty of the 45colt cartridge is that with a big, heavy projectile you don't need to magnumize it in order for it to be effective on two or four legged critters. A 250 to 280 grain lead bullet with a very wide meplat moving at 900-1000 fps is not to stout for the Mountain Gun, and is fine medicine for anything short of a charging grizzly. I have owned and shot both the 4" Redhawk, and the Mountain Gun, and while the Ruger is basically indestructible, it is noticably heavier when packing it all day. The trigger can be made better, but even after spending lots of cash it doesn't compare to the stock Smith & Wesson N-frame trigger. If you like to install aftermarket spring kits, the Smith can improve to near perfection, surpassing even the Python in my opinion (because the action doesn't stack like a Colt, or a Ruger). Installing an aftermarket spring kit in a Ruger makes a bad trigger a mediocre trigger.

I've shot a lot of different 45colt revolvers, and I like the feel of the 25-5 Smith with a 4" barrel best. The 25-5 is heavier than the Mountain Gun, though. Put a 45colt Mountain Gun full of 265gr hard-cast lead 900fps ammo on your hip and go for a day of exploring in the woods/mountains with confidence. You'll forget it's there due to the light weight, and should you need to use it the lower recoil of the non-magnumized rounds will allow you to put six rounds on target quickly and accurately. If you also want to drive in tent pegs with your carry gun, take a Ruger.

I love Ruger single action Revolvers (I have an old model Vaquero that I love) but I think Ruger really missed the boat with the Redhawk action. A single spring action with the interior of the spring rubbing on an unpolished, crudely stamped rectangular shaft thru the entire trigger pull is not conducive to user enthusiasm.

December 31, 2009, 09:23 PM
Get an Anaconda if you can find one...

But I still want a Redhawk in .45 Colt. Love Redhawks. Very good single action triggers with a little lovin' from a good smith. Double action more to my liking, when smithed of course, than S&W.

January 1, 2010, 07:16 PM
I have a Python and would love an Anaconda. I hope you don't mind but I took the liberty of copying your Anaconda photo for direct comparison to the cylinder and ejector star found in modern .45 Colt Redhawks. Some have complained about the ejector star not grabbing the rim of the .45 Colt. It's clear from the photo that this is much less likely with the Redhawk (and by extension the Super Redhawk). I have 6 revolvers and a Marlin '94 all in .45 Colt and have had zero ejection/extraction problems.


January 2, 2010, 07:07 AM
I love that comparison picture... the Ruger looks a tad crude next to a Colt - or a S&W - doesn't it? Also, when you cast steel - or iron - you produce casting stresses that, if not relieved, can cause the device, component, or frame to warp. Ruger casts their frames, etc, and - as far as I know - do nothing 'active' to relieve casting stresses. Colt and S&W use hammer forged/heat treated parts - they are dimensionally stable, under normal use. The term 'normal use' seems to be a variable to many - to me it infers only SAAMI spec'd ammo, which would seem obvious. It would seem a simple matter - need to launch something stiffer - get another caliber. I've had enough Rugers in my life, but - YMMV.


January 2, 2010, 12:52 PM
1858 Some have complained about the ejector star not grabbing the rim of the .45 Colt. It's clear from the photo that this is much less likely with the Redhawk (and by extension the Super Redhawk). I have 6 revolvers and a Marlin '94 all in .45 Colt and have had zero ejection/extraction problems.

Never had a problem with my 25-5s either. If you point the muzzle up the shells falls out either with or without help from the ejector.

January 2, 2010, 08:20 PM
I own a M625-9 in 45LC.

I don't hunt with a handgun, and I don't think I would want to. My hit probability is a factor of ten higher (at least) with a rifle, so its not something I would care to try.

So I donít need to or want to shoot super hot loads.

The 45 LC is an excellent medium powered round. In the M625, you have a good balance of weight, power, and on target ďthumpĒ.

This is very non scientific, but a 255 L bullet traveling 850-900 fps hits my gong target with plenty of thump. 44 Magnums hit harder, but they also recoil more and weigh more.

I have been very pleased with the accuracy of my M625. In 1989 S&W started reaming the ball throat diameters to .452 instead of the older .455. This improved accuracy tremendously.

So, what do you want? If you want magnum performance I would recommend getting a magnum. If you want something that is portable, an excellent self defense gun, the M625 is an excellent choice.



I have N frames in both 44 Spl and 45LC. With my handloads there is little difference in terms of accuracy and gong target reaction out to 50 yards. The 44 Spl was made in 1986, the trigger has worn itself into perfection, and has the hammer mounted firing pin.

S&W also makes some fixed sight 44 Spls. I donít think they are making any fixed sight 45 LCís.

A fixed sight revolver is as simple as it gets.


January 2, 2010, 09:10 PM
I like my Mountain Gun and chose it over all the Ruger offerings in a similar genre when I compared them.

HOWEVER... Mine's a .44. I don't see any sense in buying the thing in .45 Colt, for the same reason that Elmer Keith went from the .45 Colt (which he really liked BTW) to the .44 Special as a basis for the .44 Magnum. Guns like the S&W N Frame and Colt SAA have thin cylinder walls in .45. The .45 bullet is really .454", and the .44 bullet is really .429", so there is a significant difference between the two, despite their similar-sounding names.

If I were dead-set on a .45, I'd probably get the Ruger. If I want a .45 with limited ballistics, I already have a .45 ACP.

But, as I said, I prefer the Mountain Gun. In .44 Magnum.:)

January 2, 2010, 09:37 PM
My Anaconda and S&W in .45 Colt. Still want that Ruger.


Neither have what I would call extraction problems, but every once in a while, if I get in a hurry and get careless, a case will slip under the extractor. No biggie. They are not carry guns that I might need to reload quickly.

January 3, 2010, 09:28 AM
I really enjoyed the pictures in this thread. Thanks everyone for posting! The 45 colts I have in my collection are a 6" Anaconda, 4" 25-5, and a 4" Redhawk (just purchased). I didn't know there was so much detail to be known about these. Very informative.

June 17, 2010, 12:28 PM
I'm resurrecting the dead by posting here, but...

It seems to me that the Anaconda, ignoring price/wide availability, is the best compromise for a 45 Colt revlover. It can handle most hot loads (anything but the hottest ruger only loads), it is said to have a darn good trigger, is well made with attention to detail and aesthetics.

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