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Ruger Redhawk 357 Magnum

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 357smallbore, Nov 21, 2016.

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  1. Bayou52

    Bayou52 Member

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    For my 357 RH, I load to the max recommended but not over. The max recommended is plenty potent enough for me.

    Bayou
     
  2. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    Oh well on the .357 Max Idea, but the sentiment remains I'd take one to use for a special project.
     
  3. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    With a 7.5" .357 Redhawk, what is about the fastest you could get a 158 grain bullet without overpressure warnings?
     
  4. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Look up 353 Casull data. It is the same .357 round loaded to extreme pressures in the Freedom Arms 83. Pretty much kills brass in a single loading. I would suspect the Redhawk could handle loads pretty close to that.

    But again, making a small bullet go a lot faster just gets you diminishing returns. Past a certain point it doesn't do much for you. A similar example in my opinion is the .454 Casull. If you can't kill it with a .45 Colt Ruger load, you need to go to a .475, not push the same bullet 300fps faster.
     
  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I would NOT recommend going up to 353 Casull level loads. The FA 353/83 has a specific design feature which gives it an edge over the Ruger Redhawk - off-set locking notches. As a 5 shot, the 353/83 cylinder has a thicker wall over the locking bolt than the Redhawk. It's close, so the Redhawk will tolerate a few of them, but it's not as strong nor as tough as the single action, 5 shot FA 353/83. Besides, the 353 Casull largely requires the reloader to absolutely ignore all pressure signs on the brass, and pockets will loosen up fast. It's not as bad as some folks might claim - where brass is toast after one firing - but it's definitely not a long-brass-life proposition.

    The 353 Casull level loads will get you up within 100-200fps of 357 Max or 357/44 level loads, but at the cost of much higher pressure. I can get 180grn XTP's to 1900fps and 158's (seated long in both cases) to 2100fps by living with flattened and cratered primers and sticky extraction in my 357/44. The Taffin loads for the 353C stick hard and flatten the bejeezus out of pistol primers at 1650-1700fps, with 1.5" longer barrel than my converted Redhawk (count that length loss as about 50-75fps bogey for my loads).

    Again, I wouldn't say outright the Redhawk is capable of sustaining the FA level 353 Casull.

    This has not been my experience. The Ruger Only .45 Colt is quite formidable, but the extra range on the Casull does make a difference. The .460S&W a step beyond the 454C as well - giving manageable trajectory well beyond that of the 45C loads.

    The .357mag is one in particular which I think REALLY benefits from extra velocity (and a little extra weight). Consider the difference you see in the recommended ranges for a .357mag revolver vs. a .357mag rifle - that's really all you're talking about with a 357max, 357/44, or 353Casull. Most guys will recommend 50-75yrds max range for the revolver, whereas they might span the rifle 100-150, or even farther given the right load and bullet (myself included). Doubling your range on whitetail deer is a pretty substantial differential. Not many folks hunt anything larger than cape buffalo, so adding power to a 454 Casull doesn't gain much, but when you talk about improving a 50yrd whitetail revolver into an elk revolver, or 150yrd whitetail revolver, that's a big difference.
     
  6. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I don't think that really disputes the point though. Sure, some added velocity will help, but you are often better off just going to a bigger bullet and making a bigger hole. You can try to turn a .357 handgun into a rifle, or you can just step up to a .41, .44, .45, etc. They all shoot flat enough for the ranges about 90% of the handgun hunting population can ethically hunt anyway.
     
  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I wouldn't agree these ranges are outside the capabilities of 90% of handgun hunters, or even 90% of shooters (non-handgunners). Since not many pistol ranges accommodate 200-300yrd shooting, I spend a lot of time on RIFLE firing lines with my revolvers and specialty pistols. Inevitably, guys can't help but ask questions, and I always let them take a few shots to try them out. In handing them a scoped revolver dialed for the appropriate trajectory solution, sitting on a proper support (bench with mechanical rest or tripod), most of them find steel within a few shots - which for the targets I use is typically 2.5-4MOA. It's almost ALWAYS their first time stretching the legs on a handgun, and the experience always really seems to change perspective and perception for most of them.

    We did see a controversial thread recently where "traditionalists" pulled out the torches and pitch-forks when someone mentioned shooting scoped revolvers from field supports, but again, given a proper field support, a good optic, a ballistic calculator, a flat shooting revolver, and a bit of practice, I've experienced the average handgunner can easily manage 150yrds or more with a revolver. No "top 10% qualification" required.

    The above is a pretty common misconception - stepping up to a larger caliber cartridge typically doesn't "fix" the common limitation for these cartridges in revolvers - trajectory management.

    Stepping up to 41, 44, 45 colt, or even the 475L buys a lot of power, but doesn't gain you much - if anything - in terms of trajectory. Using Hornady factory loads as examples - the 44mag 300XTP carries about as much energy at 250yrds as the 357mag 158grn XTP does at the muzzle, BUT, both drop almost exactly the same - about 5ft at 250yrds. Alternatively, by pushing that .357" 158grn XTP with a 44mag case, I get the same ~500ft.lbs. at 250yrds, but I only drop 2ft instead of 5ft. The extra power on these cartridges don't mean anything if you can't connect on the business end because it's dropping like a rock.

    (**Note - the above doesn't compare light for caliber 44mag or 475L bullets, as I can match those trajectories with light for caliber 357mag bullets - none of which are as effective down range as their heavier counterparts**)

    Stepping up to faster super-magnum cartridges like the 454C, 460, or 500, you're adding a lot of recoil, and in the case of the X-frames, a LOT of pistol weight - and only matching the trajectory of the 357/44 or 357Max (300grn FTX in my wife's 500 runs almost identical trajectory to my 158 XTP's in 357/44). And equally, in the heavy-for-cartridge bullet weight class where velocity scrubs down to 1250-1500fps even for these power house rounds, moderate range becomes the same challenge.
     
  8. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I'm gonna stand by my comments that about 90% of shooters probably should not be ethically taking handgun field shots long enough to get into real issues with trajectory out of your common magnums.

    The bigger magnums also don't need to depend so heavily on velocity to work because they don't need to expand like a .357 does. Rather than starting with a marginal big game round and trying to make it less marginal, I'd rather just start with a round that is well-suited for the job.
     
  9. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    What does a 41mag 180grn bullet at 1350fps do which a 357/44 180grn bullet at 1800fps doesn't do? What does a 210grn 41mag load at 1250fps or for that matter, a 225grn 44mag at 1400fps do which a 200grn 357/44 at 1650fps does not? Besides have more drop, lower BC, lower SD, and less penetration, of course?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  10. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Make a .41 caliber hole.
     
    Walkalong and Panzerschwein like this.
  11. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    "There's no replacement for displacement"

    "When all things are equal (and they almost never are), bigger bullets tend to work better"

    Makes sense to me. A bigger bullet will always be better, at least in pistol cartridges.
     
  12. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    Varminterror, you're absolutely right about bullet drop being an issue for handgun hunting, not to mention wind drift and target movement in the time your eyes/brain say to pull the trigger and when the bullet lands.

    Shooting a handgun at 100-150 yards isn't out of reach for anyone of normal ability- you just need a good gun, good sights/optics, a good load, and a GOOD REST. It's not a supernatural feat, and there's more guys out there doing this than even most "gun people" realize. Anything over 50 yards you should be compensating for drop. The biggest barrier to long range handgun hunting is adrenaline, but that's something you have to control just like if you're hunting with a rifle. That's got nothing to do with the weapon in hand.

    You can't fit a 357 max in the Redhawk cylinder, but you can load long, heavy bullets to max length for the cylinder, pick up case capacity to lower pressures and get better performance. Varminterror I'm sure is more familiar with the utility and limitations of this- a notable limitation being you're back to square 1 with bullet drop but you pick up energy and penetration.

    Not sure if the Redhawk will take 353 loads, but the same gun as a 6 shot 45 Colt will take loads between "Ruger only" loads and 454, so I wouldn't be surprised if it would.

    "There's no replacement for displacement" is hardly universally true, and there's more than one way to skin a cat. Penetration is arguably more important than bullet diameter. Hollow points expand, lead deforms and mushrooms, bone fragments do their thing, a little hydrostatic pressure surely doesn't hurt things, and the difference between a .36, .40, .43 diameter bullet isn't the end-all-be-all. Placement is, and added velocity makes that a little easier at distance.

    All that having been said, while I don't criticize people who optimize 357 caliber performance for deer hunting, I use either a FA 97 in 44 with a Trijicon RMR or a FA 83 in 44 mag with a Leopold VX3 2.5-8 scope. I shoot 200 grain bullets in the special and 240 grainers in the mag over max charges of H110, and I do that to make compensating for trajectory a bit easier. The last two deer I shot were at 150 yards with the FA 83 and 110 yards with the FA 97, and my sights well over the animal's backs.

    I think the 357 Redhawk is cool for what it is, and is a great platform for any of the 357 wildcats whether it's a B&D or GNR. Hope the OP finds one and enjoys it for what it is.
     
  13. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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  14. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    To be clear, I am not advocating shooting a steady diet of .353 Casull through a Redhawk. My original quote was something to the effect of "I would suspect the Redhawk could handle loads pretty close to that." That does not read: "do it all day, everyday, and twice on Sunday." I have personally done some back-of-the-napkin calculations which indicate a .357 magnum may be able to handle some pretty ridiculous pressures, but I will not share what I came up with. You can find a suitable equation for hoop stress on Wikipedia, and the link at the bottom has some dimensions which you can play with. The only math skills required are basic algebra. However, if you load over SAAMI max pressures, you do so at your own risk.

    Consider that people load the .45 Colt Redhawk to 30, 40, or even 50kpsi. Also keep in mind that going to .357 both increases wall thickness for the cylinder and reduces the rupture force that must be contained due to the reduced diameter/surface area over which the pressure acts. Both effects reduce the stress the cylinder experiences for a given pressure. While the Redhawk is a 6-shooter, it also has a bigger cylinder than an FA83. However the brass can always fail. And your forcing cone will likely be unhappy with you. The gun has not been proofed for those pressures and may have flaws. They may use a different steel, smaller cylinder dimensions, or a different heat treatment for the .357 gun which may make it weaker.

    Once again, my personal stance is that you want to play with big guns, you should just be to get a .44 or .45 Redhawk and play with them instead of trying to overwork the .357 magnum to make it a big gun. It's safer, more effective, and easier on the gun.
    https://www.beartoothbullets.com/print.php?itemnumber=11&table=tech_notes&type=Tech Notes
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
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