The Ruger Redhawk has
been in production for more than three decades now, and it just
keeps getting better. I have always been aware of the Redhawk
since I heard of its introduction back in 1979. I was fresh out
of high school, and my only revolver at the time was a Ruger
Security-Six 357 Magnum, which I dearly loved. The 44 Magnum
Redhawk looked very similar, but was larger and had different
lockwork than the Security-Six, and I read every printed word
available to me about the new Redhawk. I was greatly impressed
by the Redhawk's strength and power. Newly married with a
twenty-two percent interest rate on my house and working
construction, there was no way that I could buy the Redhawk, but
I knew that Ruger had a real winner, and also knew that someday,
I would own one.
Someday took several years to arrive, but in
the interim, I did very well with a Ruger
Super Blackhawk 44 Magnum, even using it in bowling pin
shooting competitions on the Gulf Coast when my 1911 let me down
back in 1987. I was even able to win a few matches using that
single-action, as it slowed me down and put a rhythm to my
shooting, but still, it would be several years before I got my
first Redhawk. Finally, back in 2007, Ruger produced their first
version of the Redhawk with a 4.2 inch barrel, and I could hold
out no longer. At that point, the Redhawk had become, to me, a
double-action that could serve equally well for hunting and for
concealed carry. The shorter barrel length really changed the
dynamics of the Redhawk for me, and I have owned one or more
Also in 2007, after the success of the 4.2
inch 44 Magnum Redhawk, Ruger produced an even
better version, identical to the 44, but chambered for the 45
Colt cartridge. Properly loaded, the 45 Colt has more power
than does the 44 Magnum; firing heavier bullets of larger
diameter to magnum velocities, and the Redhawk is plenty strong
enough to handle any 45 Colt magnum-class load. Last
year, Ruger introduced a special version of the Redhawk for the
TALO group of distributors that wore a 2.75 inch barrel and a
round-butt grip. The newest Redhawk shown here combines the
features of that round-butt sixgun with the longer barrel of the
4.2 inch version, and added the ability to fire 45 ACP
ammunition using moon clips. As I stated at the beginning of
this piece, the Redhawk just keeps getting better!
The newest Redhawk wears a round-butt grip
frame that is fitted with good-looking wood grips which are
partially checkered for a secure grip. The round butt frame fits
my hand well, but for good control and comfort, I prefer the
rubber Hogue grip as
supplied with the 4.2 inch square-butt Redhawk when shooting the
heaviest loads. The sights consist of the familiar
fully-adjustable Ruger rear mated with an interchangeable front.
The front sight supplied is black with a red insert.
detailed specifications of the Redhawk are listed in the chart
below. All linear measurements are listed in inches, and the
weight is listed in ounces. The trigger pulls are listed in
pounds of resistance. SA is the single-action trigger pull. DA
is the double-action trigger pull. Height includes the sights,
set to the intermediate elevation position.
|Trigger Pull SA
|Trigger Pull DA
|Barrel / Cylinder Gap
||45 ACP and 45 Colt
|MSRP as of June 2015
I really like the looks and the feel of this
new Redhawk. The grip fits my hand perfectly, and the round butt
makes it easier to conceal. The checkered wood grip panels offer
a secure hold on the sixgun, and the big gun balances very well,
feeling lighter to me than the 44.8 ounces shown on my scale.
The double-action trigger pull is very smooth, and also feels
lighter to me than its measured approximate ten pounds of
resistance. The single-action pull releases crisply, but a bit
heavier than I prefer at an even seven pounds. The front sight
is easy to see in most lighting conditions, and the rear white
outline did not seem to be a hindrance to a precise sight
picture. The heavy barrel allows the sixgun to hang well for
accurate shooting, but the balance allows the weapon to move
quickly. While the Redhawk is no pocket gun, it can be concealed
in a proper holster, such as the early Simply
Rugged holster shown here. Scrambling around in one of my
holster boxes, I ran across this holster that Rob Leahy built
before he called his holsters "Simply Rugged". Rob
built this holster for a S&W Mountain Gun back in early 2004,
and it fits the Redhawk very well. This holster is a pancake
style, and works wonderfully to conceal a full-sized handgun,
and when the need arises, an accurate 45 revolver is a lot
better for social work than a 380 pocket gun.
"Overbuilt" is a term which fits
the Redhawk. The cylinder walls are thick and the bolt notches
offset. The cylinder locks up at the rear center and also the
crane locks into the frame, as well as the bolt locking the
cylinder in place. Like all Ruger double-action revolvers, the
Redhawk has a solid frame on both sides, with no sideplate. This
is likely the strongest double-action revolver ever built,
excepting Ruger's own Super
Redhawk. This new Redhawk achieves the perfect balance
between power, strength, and portability, and it will handle a
steady diet of any and all commercial 45 ACP +P and 45 Colt +P
ammunition, as well as published magnum-class handloads. This
new Ruger Redhawk would be an ideal companion while hunting or
fishing in areas where large bears are present, and can serve as
a primary hunting arm as well, with the 4.2 inch barrel being a
legal hunting arm most everywhere that handgun hunting is legal.
I fired the Redhawk with a variety of 45 ACP
and 45 Colt ammunition, from standard pressure 45 ACP through
+P+ loads, and with both standard-pressure and heavy 45 Colt
Magnum loads. The moon clips make loading and unloading the 45
ACP ammo very easy and quick. 45 ACP ammo must be used with moon
clips, and 45 Auto Rim ammunition will not work. The only
reliability problems encountered was with two Buffalo Bore loads
which seemed to have harder primers than all the other loads,
including other Buffalo Bore loads. The primers would show a
light hit, even after repeated attempts to ignite. These were
older lots of ammunition, and might have been loaded with harder
rifle primers; I do not know. Current Buffalo Bore loads ignited
every time. All other ammo fired and extracted perfectly.
The cylinder of the Redhawk is long enough to
handle even 320 and 335 grain class bullet loads in 45 Colt,
giving the Redhawk power approaching the 454 Casull. Accuracy
was excellent; both mechanical accuracy and practical accuracy.
The handling qualities and excellent sights make it easy for the
shooter to use the potential accuracy of the Redhawk to his
advantage, and the smooth trigger pull makes putting the bullets
on target an easy task. This is likely the most-practical
Redhawk built to date, offering power, accuracy, reliability,
and portability in almost ideal proportions.
The Ruger Redhawk shown here has a suggested
retail price of $1029 US as of the date of this review. Like all
Ruger firearms, the Redhawk is built in the USA.
Check out the extensive line of Ruger
firearms and accessories online at www.ruger.com.
To purchase moon clips and front sights, go
For the location of a Ruger dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Redhawk online, click on the GUN
GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
order quality ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
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