TALO Exclusive 2.75 Inch Ruger Redhawk 44 Magnum Double-Action Revolver

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 9th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





Cylinder release latch.







Transfer bar safety prevents firing unless the trigger is held back.















Ruger introduced their innovative Redhawk revolver thirty-five years ago. At the time, the Security-Six and its kin were the only double-action revolvers in Ruger's lineup, and fine sixguns they were. However, Ruger was not satisfied to just build a larger version of the 357 Magnum Security-Six to accept the 44 Magnum cartridge. Instead, while resembling the Six series revolvers on the outside, the Redhawk had an innovative lockwork that used a single spring system to power both the trigger and hammer. The bolt notches in the cylinder are offset from center, and the large diameter of the cylinder, as well as its length, enable the big Redhawk to handle any 44 Magnum load on the market. The cylinder locks into the frame by a pin at the rear and a pivoting blade at the front of the crane. Having no sideplate on the frame, the Redhawk was the strongest 44 Magnum double-action revolver on the market in 1979, and is only challenged by Ruger's own Super Redhawk today. The Redhawk has been chambered at various times for the 357, 41, and 44 Magnum cartridges, as well as for the 45 Colt cartridge.

The 44 Magnum Redhawk shown here is a special version made exclusively for the TALO group. TALO is an association of several firearms distributors, giving the group the buying power needed to have special versions of firearms built solely for distribution by the individual distributors in the association.

The Redhawk is offered by Ruger through any distributor with a 4.2, 5.5, or a 7.5 inch barrel, but this TALO exclusive wears a nominal 2.75 inch barrel. Also differentiating this TALO sixgun from the standard Redhawk is that this short-barreled version has a round butt grip, instead of the usual squared version, making this special edition easier to carry comfortably, and easier to conceal.

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 43.2 ounces
Barrel Length 2.67 inches
Trigger Pull SA 6.6 pounds
Trigger Pull DA 8.9 pounds
Cylinder Length 1.76 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.78 inches
Chambers 6
Overall Length 7.92 inches
Overall Height 5.78 inches
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.006 inch
Ammunition 44 Magnum / 44 Special
MSRP as of August 2014 $999 US

I fired the Redhawk for function using a variety of 44 Magnum and 44 Special ammunition. Velocity testing was done at a distance of ten feet from the muzzle. Velocities were recorded at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Velocity testing was done at a temperature of eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of thirty-four percent. I also tested the Redhawk for accuracy at a distance of twenty-five yards, with the weapon secured into my Ransom Master Series machine rest, until I managed to break the finger on my Ransom. That machine has seen a lot of use in the past eight years, and I was bound to break a part sometime. I had to finish accuracy testing with the weapon hand-held over my Target Shooting, Inc. Handgun Rest. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. TAC-XP is a homogenous copper hollow point bullet. LFN is a cast lead flatnose bullet. JFN is a jacketed flatnose bullet. LHP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Bullet weights are listed in grains. In addition to the accuracy testing done from the machine rest, Al Anderson (The Swede) and I tested the sixgun hand-held over sandbags at a distance of twenty-five yards using The Swede's handloads. This Redhawk performed very well using those handloaded cast lead bullets while we were shooting the revolver in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan last month.

44 Magnum

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 200 1401
Buffalo Bore JHP 180 1312
Buffalo Bore JFN 300 1183
Buffalo Bore Low Recoil 255 1198
Bruin LFN 295 1156
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1251
Cor-Bon LFN 320 1143

44 Special

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore LHP 190 1000
Buffalo Bore Keith 255 883
Federal LHP 200 798
Speer JHP 200 686
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 200 1028
Double Tap JHP 200 782
Cor-Bon JHP 165 950

The snubby Redhawk performed very well. Accuracy was excellent, and velocities were pretty close to those of a four and one-quarter-inch barreled revolver that I fired just recently, in spite of the Ruger's six one-thousandths inch (.006) barrel/cylinder gap. Every type of ammunition fired worked very reliably. The only issue was that with the Cor-Bon 320 grain loads, extraction was very sticky. Everything else ejected smoothly and easily. The revolver handled very well, and the smooth trigger pull contributed greatly to its excellent accuracy when fired hand-held, both standing and from the bench. The Redhawk would group five shots into groups as small as one and one-quarter inches at twenty-five yards to as large as three and one-half inches, depending upon the ammunition. In the U.P. last month, I fired at steel at a distance of fifty yards, grouping many shots into a three inch cluster, firing off of sandbags. The Swede did every bit as well, and we made many hits on steel at a distance of one hundred yards, and beyond. Many shooters think that a short barrel is not accurate. That is false. A short barrel can be every bit as accurate as a longer barrel. It is just easier for most shooters to use the potential accuracy of a longer barrel, as the distance between the sights is greater. A short-barreled revolved takes a bit more concentration to make hits at long distances, but it is very possible, with a bit of practice.

The Redhawk shown here has a rounded butt, so other Redhawk grips will not fit this version. With the heaviest loads, recoil can be pretty stiff, and the Redhawk grip does not have a padded backstrap, so the recoil of the steel backstrap hitting between the thumb and trigger finger can be punishing after a while. With normal loads or just a few of the heavier ones, this is not problem, but recoil is cumulative, so when firing a quantity of ammunition at one session, I like to wear a shooting glove with this compact revolver. For hunting, or for carrying as protection from man or beast, no glove is needed. If a lot of heavy loads are anticipated to be fired in one session, the grip on the Super Redhawk Alaskan is a better choice, but the two will not interchange.

The Ruger Redhawk shown here has a suggested retail price of $999 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.

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.

Check out the Bob Mernickle holster at www.mernickleholsters.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



"The Swede" Al Anderson shooting the Redhawk on steel targets at 100 yards.



Laminated wood grips.



Mernickle crossdraw holster.





Cylinder has plenty of length to accept even long 320-grain loads.