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Toughest, beefiest 357 Magnum? Ruger Redhawk??

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

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  1. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Without a doubt the Redhawk is the strongest as far as handling pressures. It's a simple matter of mass in the cylinder.
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    The GP is fairly overbuilt. It's purportedly much stronger than the Six series and they were pretty darn strong. Then you'd also have a normal handgun instead of a boat anchor.
     
  3. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The Redhawk is no doubt a strong sixgun and the Contender has a lot of potential but neither are as strong or as durable as the FA 83. Think about it like this, only the FA 83 is designed to handle 65,000psi, in a much larger chambering, for its lifetime. It is built for far more precise tolerances and of stronger materials. For this sixgun, we have loads consisting of 160's@1750fps, 180's@1650fps and 200's@1500fps.


    All that said, a Blackhawk would probably be your best choice for this. They're cheap and plentiful and will stand up nicely to your loads.
     
  4. skidder

    skidder Member

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    I agree with Craig. They are built on the same same architecture as the 44 Super Blackhawk. The price is good and so is the strength.
     
  5. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

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    Drail is spot one about destroying even the strongest revolvers by shooting light grain high velocity with slow burning powders rounds. Here is a example of what happen to a GP100 after a years worth of shooting the so called "flame throwers"

    [​IMG]
    The round: 125 grain Hornady XTP over 22 gr. of H110 with a Remington 5 1/2 primer. This round is at 45,000 cup pressure. This round is in the Hodgdons loading manual.

    Notice the forcing cone and how eroded it is. No matter how strong the revolver is if you reload these type of rounds this could happen.
    Howard
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  6. TAKtical

    TAKtical Member

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    Is it just me or does that redhawk look like it has the beefiest cylinder ever???
     
  7. dvnv

    dvnv Member

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  8. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    So the hunt begins.

    I know I can find a blackhawk pretty much any day at my local dealer. I can also occasionally see a FA 357. I will watch and see if I can shake up a Redhawk 357 and if I get bored get the Blackhawk.

    So off to the classified to post a "I am a looking for one"..

    Thanks a bunch for the advice.
     
  9. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Good luck, if I am not mistaken they are the hardest Redhawks to find
     
  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    And they may well have been proof tested for years by some nimrod.
     
  11. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    If you can find the 357 Redhawk, I think it will suit your purposes. Mine is a stainless with 7.5" barrel. When I was younger and, possibly, dumber, I put some very heavy 158 gr. and 180 gr. loads through it. No problem or signs of stress at the forcing cone. I don't go for that level of recoil anymore but it is still a satisfying (and attention grabbing) revolver to use. The joke is that it does a beautiful job with 38 special WCs. Feels like a 22lr.

    Just to be annoying, when I got mine almost 30 years ago I traded a pawnbroker a manual typewriter for the Redhawk. Probably the best firearms trade I'll ever do. :D

    Jeff
     
  12. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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  13. smkummer

    smkummer Member

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    Cracked forcing cones

    I cracked the forcing cone on a Colt Lawman MKIII with an Alliant recommended load of Blue Dot and 125 JHP. I fired about 70 rounds that day and they were on the hot end for sure, maybe if I let the gun cool between cylinder loads, it might not have happened but it did. Alliant now has a warning that the 357 load data for 125 grain bullets is no longer recommended. Remember that the Ruger .357 maximum was discontinued due to flame cutting the top strap. I believe SAMMI did everyone a service by lowering the max. pressure on current .357 ammo.
     
  14. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    I still don't get it. If you're going to get a new gun anyway, why not just get a .44 mag. All of my reloading books explain why increasing pressure does not equate to increased performance.
     
  15. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    Peter has more great old guns than God.. I reckon he's testing the limits of a caliber more than looking for more power from another caliber.
    He's kind of an Elmer Keith revisited.
    He can shoot the whiskers off a gnat too.
     
  16. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    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.
     
  17. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    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.
     
  18. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    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
  19. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    357 Max Contender.

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

    [​IMG]

    (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.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    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?


     
  21. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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

    blindhari Member

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    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,

    blindhari
     
  23. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    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:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNDlPH0ZHAw

    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
  24. rchery59

    rchery59 Member

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    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.
     
  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    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.
     
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