UPDATE January 9th, 2016!

Ruger Redhawk 41 Magnum with 4.2" Barrel, Available EXCLUSIVELY Through Davidson's


Ruger Redhawk 45 ACP/45 Colt Double-Action Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

June 17th, 2015


Click pictures for a larger version.



Ruger's new Redhawk fires both 45 ACP and 45 Colt ammunition.





Top to bottom: 4.2 inch 45 Colt; 4.2 inch 45 ACP / 45 Colt; 2.75 inch 44 Magnum.



4.2 inch Redhawk 45 ACP / 45 Colt (left), 2.75 inch Redhawk 44 Magnum (right).





Redhawk ships with three moon clips. 



45 ACP ammunition must be used with moon clips.





Grip panels are well-fitted, well-textured, comfortable, and beautiful.







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 ever since.

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.

The 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.

Weight 44.8 ounces
Barrel Length 4.16 inches
Trigger Pull SA 7 pounds
Trigger Pull DA 9.9 pounds
Cylinder Length 1.76 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.78 inches
Chambers 6
Overall Length 9.38 inches
Overall Height 5.75 inches
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.006 inch
Ammunition 45 ACP and 45 Colt
MSRP as of June 2015 $1029.00 US

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 to www.shopruger.com.

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.

To order quality ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.doubletapammo.com, www.luckygunner.com, and www.midsouthshooterssupply.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.







Transfer bar safety.



Cylinder latch.





Vintage Simply Rugged pancake holster fits the Redhawk well.



Two very good choices of ammo that will serve well for whitetail deer hunting and social work.



Best and worst groups fired at 25 yards, rested handheld from the bench.