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Toughest, beefiest 357 Magnum? Ruger Redhawk??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Peter M. Eick, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Look up ".353 Casull". That should give you most of your answers (Freedom Arms, not sure which model)

    For a double action, you are pretty much limited to a used Redhawk.

    I've pushed things pretty far with a Taurus Gaucho (SAA) where I was getting case head separations. The fun wore off pretty quick because I don't have a lot of .357 brass. Also I don't want to wear out the gun prematurely, even if it's a Taurus.
  2. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Iggy is right. I am only interested in what the 357 Magnum can really do. If I want more power I just go to my 357 Maximum. This is just a study in understanding what the actual round is capable of.

    Much like my love of the 38/44s. The 357 Magnum makes more sense but the romance of the 38/44 is what is neat to study.

    Besides, I don't reload 44's and yet I usually load about 10,000 .358 caliber 158's every year for my hobby. It just makes sense to stay with the 357 magnum over the 44 magnum.
  3. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    They even made some Super Redhawks in .357 Magnum. I would presume those are even more robust than the standard Redhawk.

    These .44 Magnum+ revolvers that are considered robust for even the .44 magnum in .357 are severely overbuilt and very tough.
    If I recall the barrel is the same overall external diameter as the .44 Magnum versions using the same barrel blanks, and so it is just thicker and even tougher, like a bull barrel.
    I have even seen some unfluted .357 cylinders which would be even tougher with more metal. Not sure how they were obtained though.

    However on the same note I would be careful of used ones because with such a reputation many that have gone out of thier way to get them have done so to push them to new limits.
    Meaning they may have experienced more punishment than similar aged revolvers.
    They may have had large quantities of fast powders and maximum velocity rounds shot through flash cutting the top strap or similar wear to barrel and other areas.
    It is still metal, and fast hot gases cause wear.

    As you get further from when they were produced and more excessive handloaders have owned them the higher the percentage that have been severely abused.

    The current production GP100 is pretty robust.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  4. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice. I figure if I get one and it has seen some hard times, I will send it to Ruger for a rebuild. If not, well, I am going to do the same thing to and just see how far I can go.

    I know this is a phase I go through occasionally. I first learned about the 38 special. Then the 38/44 and now I am looking to take on the 357 magnum.


    If I wanted more power I would go to my 357 Maxes or my


    357 Max Contender.

    The key to me is a gun I don't have an attachment to like my Registered Magnum


    (although I have actually fired full original power 357 magnums out of my 1939 Registered Magnum).

    So I can investigate what the 357 Magnum can do in a revolver format. Basically I want to work up in a bunch of different powders to the 1937 load levels of Sharpe. How can I get there, can I get there, and if so with what powder would give me the lowest pressures and most reliability.

    To me it is just a game of research. I am close to finishing up my investigation of the 38/44 and have now worked out some great loads for my 32 odd 38/44s. I am starting to hunt for a new reloading challenge to study and the mighty 357 Magnum seems interesting.

    I should have probably put that in my first post, but I had not really crystallized in my head what I wanted to do and why. I just had a concept and was pushing it forward.
  5. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I've never seen or heard of one, prove it.

    Never seen or heard of this either. Seen plenty with unfluted cylinders but they were either .45's fitted with .454 SRH cylinders or custom five-shot .45Colt, .475's or .500's. Besides, unfluted cylinders are heavier but not stronger.

    You do understand that maximum velocities are obtained with slow powders, right?

  6. Iggy

    Iggy Well-Known Member

    Peter, What's your final verdict on the 38/44s? Are your posts from a couple of months back the final word?
  7. blindhari

    blindhari Well-Known Member

    Hello Peter,
    It sounds like you are intrested in test to destruction. This has long been the only way to find upper limits on men and machines. Major Bong died I believe in a test flight, Yeager took the Bell X1 to a speed no one had ever been able to live through, Mercury astronauts climbed into a tin can with almost no room and almost no controls to find a way to the moon. You are trying to hit a moving target of maximum potential in the thin slice of time known as right this minute. Once you find maximum potential for .357 and a revolver, you have given some person some where a new goal to reach. If there weren't crazed people like yourself, the Navy would still be using boarding cutlesses at 18" instead of trying to squeeze a rail gun onto a cruiser.
    Keep it up, be careful but keep it up,

  8. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    Made for the Uk market in small numbers.
    Certainly be hard to get ahold of, but they are out there.

    Here is a video of one being fired on you tube:

    Seen them on a regular redhawk. They may have been custom or maybe they had Ruger to do something special (unfluted would after all be even easier for them to make than fluted.)
    They stuck with me because I later wanted to do the same in a .44 Magnum version of the super redhawk, but the unfluted cylinders were only available in the larger calibers. So I spent some time trying to figure out how to go about it.
    And I do believe they are stronger. A solid cylinder is going to have more resistance to giving out. Even in areas other than the fluting like where the notches are cut (often the weakest point and stronger in Rugers because they are between the chambers not on them), because a circle will resist deformation better. Granted not by much.
    Plus they look different.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  9. rchery59

    rchery59 Well-Known Member

    I too am trying (just getting started) to develop loads for my 357 blackhawk. I've sold my heavy revolvers due to the combination of me not being able to shoot accurately and I can't take the recoil. I kept the 357 because it is really an accurate gun and the recoil doesn't bother me.
    Right now I'm playing with 170 gr keith bullets, next is 180 gr fp and I may try a 200+ grain lead rifle bullet if I can't get the results I want from the other two.
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    You're probably right about those for export to the UK. I thought about that after I posted.

    Fluting does not lessen the strength of a cylinder. This is well proven and Hamilton Bowen wrote of it in his book, The Custom Revolver. The weak point is at the bolt notch and this area is unchanged when the cylinder is fluted.
  11. murf

    murf Well-Known Member

    bludot powder changed a while back. it got a bit faster. alliant issued a warning not to use bludot in light bullet (125 and 115 grain) 357 magnum loads and all 41 magnum loads.

    i believe new load data is out for light bullet in 357 magnum. the powder charge has been reduced quite a bit.

  12. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Edit: I stand corrected. Picture in post 5 of the thread in the link provided in post 53 of this thread. Wow.

    Wow! A five-shot .357 Magnum Super Redhawk. Will wonders never cease?

    Pardon my skepticism.

    If the video is the best evidence you have, I would suggest you have fallen victim to naivete.

    Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. This goes double for anything you find on the internet.

    I think you've been had. The amount of recoil in the video suggests a standard .357 load or even 38 special, but seems more likely 44 Special.

    Sorry, dude.
    (edit) OK. looking at stills from the video, clearly only five rounds were loaded and an empty chamber is apparent in the cylinder. The title clearly says ".357 Magnum" and the frame is unmistakeably a Super Redhawk. Also, the case heads COULD be .357 Mag. But seriously, what market "genius" would chamber a Super in .357 when Ruger had already discontinued the Redhawk .357?

    Second edit: OK, I have examined the video as closely as I can and it does look as if the case heads COULD be .357 Mag. This boggles the mind. And I am still skeptical.

    I have to ask. Seen them in real life? Up close? Enough to actually read the engraving that specifies the caliber? Did you get to ask the owner if it was a custom job?

    I have credible reports that Jack Huntington built a 44 Magnum / 45 Colt convertible Redhawk (using interchangeable cylinders and interchangeable Dan Wesson barrels), so anything could be done. And, then of course, there is the .357 Smolt (Smith & Wesson frame and Colt Python barrel) and the 454 Casull Redhawk, where a 454 Casull Super Redhawk cylinder is swapped into a Redhawk 45 Colt frame.

    But a .357 Super Redhawk? Doable, but I highly doubt if anything like that ever left the Ruger Factory as a catalog item.

    Lost Sheep

    Edit: I stand corrected. Picture in post 5 of the thread in the link provided in post 53 of this thread. Wow.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  13. skidder

    skidder Well-Known Member

    Ruger did make a SRH in 357 (I believe UK only).
    I hang out on the Ruger forum quite often. They do surface from time to time.

    Here is a link to a thread on the Ruger forum. Post #5 has pics.

  14. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Yep, seems like I saw them on the other RugerForum.
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Ruger is known for making very small runs of certain firearms, often sent through just one distributor. If they do really well they may or may not produce more. It's one thing that makes even fairly recently Ruger surprisingly collectable.
  16. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Well-Known Member

  17. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Regarding the 38/44 question to me. I will do a writeup soon on the second and third round of testing.

    By the way, with the help of this site and Rugerforum, I have a 5.5" Redhawk 357 Magnum purchased and hopefully even shipped today. That was a lot easier than I thought.

    I hope to pick it up monday!

    Once I play with it a while I may get an FA but for now I have my test subject on the way.

    Thanks again for the advice to all.
  18. walnut1704

    walnut1704 Well-Known Member

    I think this is all academic. You'll reach the limits of the cartridge (mostly extraction problems) long before you reach the limits of a Smith 27/28, Blackhawk, Redhawk, et al.

    It's like arguing about what are the best high speed tires for a Yugo. You'll never get there.
  19. SabbathWolf

    SabbathWolf member

    This right here works just fine for my 357 needs.
    Has a spare cylinder so I can shoot 9mm too if I ever actually need to in a pinch.
    I chose it for the versatility.
    Having one gun that can fire 9mm, 38spl & 357mag was hard to pass up.
    There may be other guns out there even tougher, but this one still certainly gets the job done.
    CraigC gave me some grip advice for this thing many moons ago.


    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  20. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Looks good! ;)

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