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Redhawk .357 Range Report

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Cosmoline, Apr 20, 2013.

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  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Well the snow finally melted enough and my scheduled allowed me to get down to the range to test my new .357 Redhawk 5 1/2" stainless. A few observations:

    --The platform is exceptionally stable off-hand. I was able to hold steady and get good groups at 20 yards even though I'm badly out of practice. The balance is very good with this barrel length and I felt no fatigue. This is in contrast to some of Ruger's newer items like the SRH Alaskan, which felt like a brick in my hand.

    --The trigger needs to be lightened up a notch. The pull is too heavy and that was the main impediment to good DA groups.

    --Accuracy was excellent with most loads. It really liked the 158 grain jacketed HP's over 13 grains of Enforcer, which is my standard .357 handload for target use. The Rugers really like Enforcer I've found. Unfortunately I can no longer find Enforcer. Or anything else.

    --The standout for heavy rounds was a slightly over-max charge of H110 topped by a 200 grain hardcast slug from Cast Performance. Per the Lee manual that is a notch OVER standard, so that's a .357 +P and not to be used in a standard magnum. I can send you data in PM. Resting the revolver butt on the bench I was able to get a very nice touching group of 5 with one flier at 20 yards. This was far better than Buffalo Bore's 200 grain loads.

    --Unfortunately the factory sights do not adjust properly for the 200 grain slugs. With the rear adjusted all the way down they still print about 4" high at 20 yards. So I'm hunting for a solution for that problem. The accuracy is good enough to warrant finer target sights.

    --The recoil is not totally tamed by the weight, though it is reduced. You can see from the video that standard 158 grain loads still give a kick. The B Bore kicked twice as hard. It's not like shooting a .357 levergun. .38's may be a breeze out of it but magnums are still magnums.

    --The Pachmayr grips it came with are OK but a little wobbly. I will likely revert to my standard factory grips + Tylers on this one.

    --For a target revolver, with improved sights and a lighter trigger, it would be on par with a nice S&W or Colt. It would also be a good platform for hunting if you wanted to go after something with the .357. The balance makes it fast in the hand in spite of its weight, so it might make a workable defense revolver. I don't think it's all that much heavier than a Python.

    Overall it's a keeper for sure. Ruger sometimes does these odd projects, and this one did NOT catch on at the time from what I can tell. But if you're a handloader who likes tweaking the .357 Mag this is a really awesome revolver. Maybe the best possible choice. Because unlike a Python or nice vintage S&W you need have no fear taking it to the range and shooting it a ton. I've head some parts tend to wear out because of the sheer weight of that cylinder, but parts can be swapped easily on a Ruger. And I think you'd have to work hard--very hard--to wear this thing out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPaINqb7nbk&feature=youtu.be
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Call Ruger's Service Department and I believe they can supply you with a higher front sight. Some dry firing (with snap caps) should smooth the action some. :cool:
     
  3. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    For a target or hunting revolver you could simply rethink your sight picture.

    A range of 20 yds is kind of long for SD, and I imagine at half that range you'd only be high about 1-5-2". If you use that revolver for defense and aim COM, you'll still get hits--good ones--by changing nothing.
     
  4. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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  5. ShelbyV8

    ShelbyV8 Member

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    I have had the 5 1/2" Redhawk in 357 and 44 since they came out in the 80's. Both of mine have brass bead front sight and white outline V notch rear. Ruger offered these sights in the day. Mine have the Jeff Cooper action jobs and Pak gripper grips. I shot the 44mag so much I got a tennis elbo. After shooting the 44 the 357 was like shooting a 38. My son still uses the 357 with 38 to do precision shooting demonstrations. I traded a 1911 for the 357 and S&W 29 for the 44 and I would not reverse the trade. I carried both for LEO duty weapons. The 44 has the hammer pin in from the wrong side. I guess they used a negative to set up the CNC machine. They let a few out of the factory that way.
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    V notch, eh? That sounds promising. I'll keep an eye out.

    In the mean time I removed one of the springs under the rear sight and it will now drop a bit lower. I think that should put me at about 2" high at 20 yards which is workable.
     
  7. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Great review! I could not agree with a lot of it more. I have not pulled out my python to compare it to the 5" redhawk so I will have to do that. I was thinking of doing some photos today instead of going to the range.

    Your comments about shooting it align with mine. I really foresee the 5 and the 7.5" becoming my primary 357 magnum shooters over say my Pre-27 6" or Python. Why beat up a really nice finely fitted revolver when I can shoot these Rugers and not do much of anything to them. I can keep the light Unique and Trailboss loads in them and put the 296 to 2400 loads in the Ruger.

    I agree the double action stroke is good but the single action while crisp is a bit heavy.
     
  8. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    [​IMG]

    I pulled a Pre-27 and my Python to compare to the 357 Mag Redhawk. The difference when I handle them is very noticeable. The Python is small, light and very handy. The weight on the barrel damps the gun so you can swing it easily. I still like how it handles for quick use. The Pre-27 is more balanced and easy to handle. The bigger cylinder has more roll with it in double action so you can stay on target better in DA shooting.

    The Ruger on the other hand is big and solid. Lockup of the cylinder is better than either, the over all balance of the gun is closer to the Pre-27 but the weight of the gun makes it just hang on target during double action.

    The real advantage of the 357 Redhawk is this:

    [​IMG]

    Look at how much metal you have around the rounds. What a great gun to play with and experiment with reloads!
     
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Thanks! I'm sure you're right about the Python weight.
     
  10. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    Thanks for the discussion. I am so glad that even though we live in different states, we are able to share our experiences. I still haven't had the chance to shoot my 357 redhawk yet.
     
  11. ShelbyV8

    ShelbyV8 Member

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    The 357 weights 1/2 pound more than the 44. Same casting with smaller holes leaves a lot of weight.
     
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I wonder how much more the .357 RH cylinder alone weighs. I suspect that's where most of the extra weight is, which is probably why the balance is still good.
     
  13. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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  14. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    That's a very nice RH. They are good for working up heavy loads in too.
    Have fun, and play safe!
    GS
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I put some new wood on there. These were some discounted Hogue customs made from rosewood laminate. I had to do a little trimming to avoid a split but nothing major. The angle of the new grips seems to reduce the felt trigger pull so I'm not going to put new springs on it for now.

    I also figured out a really nice set of loads for this--the rifle/carbine loads. These are hotter than normal .357's but still within pressure specs. I've got a mix of rounds with mostly 2400 and H110 for testing. Everything from the 200 grain Cast Performance to the 140 grain Hornady leverevolution bullets. Should be interesting shooting this weekend.
     

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  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Went back for more today. This is fast becoming my favorite range revolver, and in time may become my all-time favorite .357. The new wood is fantastic and wasn't painful in the least. I used some of my beeswax and olive oil mix to give more traction.

    The removal of the outermost spring under the rear sight (there are 2) gave me about 10" of new elevation to play with believe it or not. I'm now zeroed in nicely with no need to alter the front sights. I think that spring was mungled up and jammed under the sight plate, because it looked crushed when I took it out.

    I'm getting good accuracy with most "rifle/carbine" loads and amazing accuracy with several hot H110 loads shooting 158 hardcast. That's good because I have 500 count of those bullets. My best of the day was an all-touching group of 8 rounds with 2 fliers at 15 yards right under the bull. It does fine with most off-the-shelf FMJ's too. It didn't like the Hornady pointy bullets much or the silvertips.

    Off hand just gets better and better. As the winter rust comes off and I get used to this thing I have every expectation of getting my all-time best 20 yard groups with the Chapman stance. I really love the way it balances.

    I picked up a Galco DAO holster for it because this revolver deserves leather.

    If you see one of these and like handloading .357, don't hesitate.
     
  17. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Agreed.

    These guns are great. They are a modern 38/44 Heavy Duty type gun where you can have a lot of fun with it and not worry about abuse or wear from use. I love mine and am starting to thinking about another one as a spare. The 5" is more handy but the 7.5" I shoot better.

    Just plain a fun gun to shoot!
     
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