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Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver

The words ‘lightweight’ and ‘low recoil’ are not things that are typically associated with the .44 Magnum. If you think that this article is going to be a rejection of that concept, well, you’re wrong. Today we’re going to be taking a look at an absolute unit of a gun: the Ruger Redhawk chambered in, you guessed it, .44 Magnum.

Here at The Truth About Guns we like to give you a realistic idea of guns, ammo, and the culture around them. I try to be as objective as possible when looking at things, but I occasionally have some personal thoughts or opinions that into the mix.

As an example, to the surprise of some, I am both a hunter and a believer in animal rights. I kill my own meat fair-chase, but I completely abhor factory farming practices to the point I hardly go to restaurants anymore. I’m not afraid to talk about that or the fact that I don’t think the 6.5 Creedmoor is anything special. My articles reflect these things and this one is no different.

Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver

What does that have to do with this gun? Well, there are writers who go into a review like this expecting something bad or relatively painful and they always come out sounding like they don’t know what they’re doing. Rarely are they objective or spell out what the reality of a given gun is.

They are sometimes surprised by how mild the recoil is or how soft-shooting the big gun is. They lure you in with glossy photos and images of cast lead that make you ponder yesteryear. This review is going to be an unvarnished look at what the upper end of the .44 Magnum looks like and I’m going to tell you now that it’s not for everyone, not even me, and I love the .44 Mag.

Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver

Make no mistake, I’m not criticizing the Ruger Redhawk or any of the ammo I used in this review. They all did exactly as advertised and did it with great gusto. This large frame revolver is one of the thickest, heaviest, and most robust guns a shooter can own.

The entire thing, less the grips, is made of rugged stainless steel and it is pretty much indestructible. In the event you run out of rounds, you can always beat an attacking grizzly to death with it.

This is a fairly compact revolver given its chambering and the amount of steel used to make it, however it still weighs a ton — 47 ounces — and really can’t be carried on the belt unless you plan on some lower back pain being a factor in your life. This is a revolver that’s best carried in a chest rig.

Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver

Probably as a result of it being so large and heavy, the Redhawk is quite accurate with mild .44 Magnum and .44 Special loads. Firing .44 Specials of any flavor is about as easy as shooting a .22LR.

The Ruger Redhawk’s trigger is remarkably good. Double-action pull weight is relatively light at just under eight pounds and free of grit or hesitation.

If you’ve only fired .44 Magnums, good old .44 Specials will feel like a stiff sneeze. To give you a good idea of the range of power and accuracy this gun has, I put my wrists and hands through the wringer and tested a healthy variety of commercially available options.

Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver
The Ruger Redhawk’s adjustable rear sight

Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups shot single-action at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of five shots fired from a distance of eight feet over my Oehler 35P chronograph.

Buffalo Bore 340gr +P+ Hardcast ————————————1340fps, 3.5”
Buffalo Bore 270gr JFN————————————————1327fps, 2.8”
Buffalo Bore 225gr Barnes XPB —————————————1390fps, 2.3”
SIG SAUER 240gr V-Crown——————————————–1200fps, 1.8”
SIG SAUER 200gr V-Crown (.44 Special)——————————800fps, 2.0”
Black Hills 240gr JHP————————————————–1199fps, 2.5”
Black Hills 300gr JHP————————————————–999fps, 3.0”
Black Hills 160gr HoneyBadger————————————–1527fps, 1.75”
Black Hills 210 FPL (.44 Special)————————————–730fps, 3.1”
Black Hills 125gr HoneyBadger (.44 Special)————————1230fps, 2.2”
Hornady 240gr XTP————————————————–1270fps, 3.4”
Hornady 300gr XTP—————————————————980fps, 3.5”
Hornady 225gr FTX—————————————————1333fps, 1.75”
Hornady 180gr XTP (.44 Special)————————————-859fps, 3.75”
Hornady 165gr Critical Defense (.44 Special)————————856fps, 3.0”

To get an idea of what it’s like to touch off a Buffalo Bore 340gr +P Hardcast in this gun, just go slam your hand in a car door and repeat it for every shot in the six-round cylinder. There is a limit that man can take with his bare hands, and, despite the great things we have accomplished in terms of guns and ammunition development, I fail to see who exactly would benefit from this combination. The recoil shooting upper end of .44 Magnum loads is utterly savage.

Gun Review: Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver

That brings me to the point of end use. This gun, while very attractive, is handicapped by its (mostly) smooth, micarta grips. The revolver easily slides in the hand under recoil and is difficult to fire one-handed. I tried some close-range drills with it while wearing my hiking gear using some of the higher-power ammo and found that it was nearly impossible to get off more than one shot on target when point-shooting rapidly. While micarta is certainly attractive, this gun cries out for a set of recoil-absorbing Hogue rubber grips.

The high recoil makes for a substantial handicap in an animal attack scenario. Yes, there is a likelihood that a charging grizzly could be put down with a single shot, but that’s not something I’d want to count on.

If you decide to get a gun this large and heavy and load it with lower-powered ammo, you’re defeating the purpose. If firing .44 Special, you’re looking at performance similar to the .45 ACP, which is great except that you’re now selling yourself short with just six rounds in a heavier gun. The reality of self-defense shooting .44 Magnums is that you may only get off a single shot because of high recoil and a double-action trigger pull.

Ruger makes fantastic guns. I’m a particular fan of their double-action wheel guns. That can’t be denied. I have had the pleasure of reviewing many of their products and they have proved to be robust, rugged, and reliable. I think that this gun is great, too.

It does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The only real question is about the relevance of the .44 Magnum in a modern context. There are a number of rounds available today that offer lower recoil and similar terminal performance, but with much greater on-board ammunition capacity.

Specifications: Ruger Redhawk Double-Action Revolver

Chambering: .44 Magnum, .44 Special
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Barrel Length: 4.2″
Overall Length: 9.5″
Sights: Adjustable rear sight , red-painted graduated ramp front sight
Weight: 47 oz empty
Price: A Lipsey’s exclusive, street price about $850

Ratings (out of five stars)

Accuracy * * * *
This is a solidly built tank of a gun that delivers field-grade accuracy at handgun distances. The relatively short sight radius given the 4.2 inch barrel and significant weight make it both steady to aim and tiresome to hold for long periods of time. Firing one-handed is a challenge.

Reliability * * * * *
I had no issues with the gun, but some types of ammunition had somewhat sticky extraction. I don’t see this as a huge issue considering that you probably won’t have time to reload while under attack from a bear anyway, but it is worthy of note.

Ergonomics * * *
This is a large gun that’s a challenge to carry. There are aftermarket rubberized grips available that will help soak up some of the recoil, and I think that this gun needs exactly that. I didn’t change the grips during the review and found that it was a bit hard to hold onto under recoil. This gun, when shooting upper-end to insane-end ammo isn’t comfortable at all.

Customize This * * *
There are options available out there in the form of grips and sights, but not much else. Not that you need much more than that. Holsters and chest rigs are available from a number of makers, which is a plus.

Aesthetics * * * * *
This is very attractive gun. I appreciate the fact that Ruger went with micarta on the grips, which is a bold move on an outdoor gun today. The lines are classic, the brushed stainless is just matte enough to avoid glare, and there are no obnoxious features that don’t belong.

Overall * * * *
This is not a gun for everyone. The weight allows some of the most powerful ammo ever made for the caliber to be fired from it. Lower powered rounds aren’t a waste of time, but a questionable choice given that there are lighter guns out there that do just fine with mid-range .44 Mag. If you buy this planning on shooting only .44 Special, I think you may just want to skip to the end and just get a semi-auto 1911 or something. The right person will do great with this .44 Magnum revolver, but that person likely lives in a place where this type of tool is more of a necessity than a novelty.

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    • “And then ow some more.”

      Yeah, no shit!

      I think the typical buyer of that gun will be getting some comfy grips in short order…

  1. .44 mag has never really bothered me. I don’t shoot the buffalo bore rounds though, because I’ve read they can only be shot out of a ruger and I use a 629. I can imagine those rounds do probably hurt like hell judging by the loadout. I particularly like the line “just go outside and slam your hand in your car door.” 😂 I’ll take your word for it and stick with the more normal .44 mag loads I use. I wonder though how a raging bull would hold up with those rounds? They’re huge and have a cushy grip.

      • The Raging Bull that I shot had the best factory trigger, both single-action and double-action, that I have ever felt on any firearm. And it was plenty accurate for hunting to 50 yards and beyond.

        I would gladly own that revolver.

    • New Continental Army,

      The Taurus Raging Bull revolver platform in .44 Magnum is a JOY to shoot thanks to its hard rubber grips, ported barrel, and even heavier weight (63 ounces).

      Even maximum pressure/velocity loads are downright fun to shoot. That includes the following factory loads which I chronographed at the following speeds:
      — PMC Bronze 180 grain jacketed hollowpoints (1,670 fps)
      — Remington 180 grain jacketed hollowpoints (1,690 fps)
      — Winchester 240 grain semi-jacketed softpoints (1,485 fps)
      — BuffaloBore 300 grain jacketed flat nose (1,390 fps)

      All of those above loads are NOT painful to shoot. Sure, they recoil hard. As long as you have a solid grip and allow your elbow to bend a little and your hand to rise ever so slightly when you shoot, you will be able to shoot dozens of rounds with a smile on your face. And ask for more.

      Bonus: if you shoot mild Magnum factory loads, you don’t even have to worry about flexing your elbow slightly when you shoot. Of course shooting .44 Special loads is like shooting .22 LR out of a revolver.

      The only exception is Buffalo Bore .44 Magnum +P+ 340 grain loads which are NOT fun to shoot. Surprisingly, the Buffalo Bore +P+ loads did not hurt my hands. Rather, they quite literally caused odd pains in the bones in my forearm. (I have never felt pain like that before, which would ebb and flow, with the greatest pain peaking about 8 seconds after the shot, and finally wearing off about 40 seconds later.)

        • New Continental Army,

          For reference the pain was not by any means excruciating. Having said that, I am in no hurry to do it again. I can say that I would have no reservations whatsoever enduring that level of pain to stop a grizzly bear attack.

          With that in mind, I would definitely encourage any reasonably fit man (or exceptionally fit woman) to try it at least once (with full disclosure). It hurts enough that you don’t really want to do it any more. And yet the pain level is low enough that you tend to laugh while it is happening — especially if it is happening to someone else.

        • New Continental Army,

          I read a web page where another person described shooting BuffaloBore .44 Magnum +P+ 340 grain cartridges. He also mentioned how the pain peaked well after the shot. More importantly, I think he found an incredibly useful way to describe the pain. It is very similar to the pain you would feel if you took a fairly heavy aluminum softball bat and hit a rock-solid concrete wall with a hard swing of that bat.

      • I live in bear country in Montana. I have a 7.5″ Redhawk (early model). I load Oregon Trail True-Shot 310 gr FNGC cast lead bullets with 19 gr Accurate Arms #9 powder at a little over 1300fps (10 shot avg 1307). I put Pachmayr Black Rubber Presentation Grips.

        The recoil does raise the barrel a bit, but is not painful in the least. The Pachmayr rubber grips are firm but not hard, and are large enough to fill my hand for an excellent grip on the gun. The only issue is that practice is necessary to keep the muzzle rise to a minimum, so that next-shot recovery is as quick as possible.

        I’ve always wanted a shorter barrel, but when the Redhawk first came out, 7.5 was all there was. I would have opted for a blued Redhawk, but stainless was all you could get then, too. I am looking into sending mine back to Ruger for either the 5.5″ or the 4.2″. I haven’t decided which just yet.

    • I have a Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 magnum. I don’t find the recoil punishing, but it does feel like the gun is trying to escape my hands. Now my daughter’s LCR, which is only 13.5 oz, in .38 Special with the Hogue grips replaced with hard Crimson trace grips, that gun is punishing to shoot, much more than my SRH. There are a lot of factors in felt recoil besides the cartridge.

  2. I think it’s weird that your statement that the Creed is nothing special linked to an article waxing loquacious about how special the Creed is.

  3. Whenever I shoot the 44 magnum my hand always sweats. I need a “grippy” grip. I do like the Super Blackhawk in 44 even though the grips are slick.

  4. My Redhawk came with nice rubber grips. I carry it in a chest rig and loaded with Underwood 340gr +p+. I definitely wouldn’t want to fire those or BB with micarta grips. 44 mag is the minimum I would carry for the bears here in Alaska though.

  5. Mine has a 7.5 inch barrel and a Leopold 2×20 scope. Its a deer slayer for sure. I have the older style grips with wood inserts and I don’t have a problem controlling it.
    The Orange fireballs obscure my vision a bit through the scope but that’s part of the appeal.
    This is a fantastic gun and worth the price. The machining and quality are there.

    • I have an older Redhawk (non-Super), blued, 7 1/2″ barrel and a 2x 28mm Weaver scope. Bought it for deer hunting (and because I wanted a .44 Mag, and this piece is simply beautiful!) but by the time I got some handloads worked up for it, I had pretty much stopped hunting. Love the revolver though, and with all that weight the recoil is very manageable even with the factory rosewood grips – never needed to switch to Hogues.

      I hardly ever buy factory am mo, especially for .44 Mag. (have you seen the prices on that shit?! Wow…) But I was surprised to see the velocity figure above for factory 300 gr. XTPs – only 980 fps? Granted, my barrel is 3 1/4″ longer, but I’m pushing those bullets to nearly 1150 fps with 24 gr. of W296. A bit of a thump to it, but still far from painful. They put a smile on my face!

      I have shot it a couple times without the scope mounted, and it displayed the increase in recoil I would expect from it. Wouldn’t want to shoot box after box of full-power loads through it like that, but a few cylinders brought no pain or discomfort, either. Yes, a 7 1/2″ Redhawk is a hefty chunk of steel, and I like it!

  6. My Smith and Wesson 69 is pretty good. I cringe at the thought of shooting a 340 grain round at 1340 fps. Thanks for the review!

  7. I think the particular grips on that particular Redhawk revolver are the primary reason that Josh Wayner found recoil to be objectionable. Why? They appear to be too narrow as far as I can tell from the photos. I have found that a grip with a fairly wide and appropriately rounded/contoured back surface significantly increases comfort when shooting Magnums.

    In addition to shooting a Taurus Raging Bull, I have also shot a Taurus Model 44 revolver in .44 Magnum. That particular revolver had beautiful aftermarket hardwood grips which were hard of course as opposed to rubber grips. Nevertheless, shooting hot factory loads was still fun because those aftermarket hardwood grips are fairly fat and contoured appropriately on the back surface.

    To summarize: have proper grips on your .44 Magnum revolver and use good technique and you will like shooting it — even stout factory loads. Oh, and ported barrels help reduce felt recoil another 10% or so over non-ported barrels!

      • Geoff,

        Which gun would be fun to shoot? The Ruger Redhawk or the Taurus Model 44?

        I can tell you from personal experience that the Taurus Model 44 is a LOT of fun to shoot with appropriate grips. It weighs 54 ounces I believe and has a ported barrel. That means even a thin teenage girl in average condition can shoot it with a huge smile on her face and ask for a second cylinder of mild Magnum loads!

  8. I like Ruger, .240gr is good enough for me. I’ve used 180 gr FLtPoints for whitetail with good results when I hunted. At less then 50 yards I think it’ kills quicker then a 30-30 on broadside shots. Rugers are durable but in the looks department I’d vote S&W 29. …… Gosh darn it, I’m wanting to do some target shooting and it’s dark. I used to have a big log here in the house I used to shoot but I don’t trust my eyes that well no more. Speaking of, that what do you guys think of shooting right handed being left eyed. I lost my right eye in the truck I wrecked and holding the gun left handed feels weird, more practice I guess.

    • I know a guy who shoots left eye dominant. He’s right handed and shoots right handed the same, but he turns his head and aims with his left eye. It looks kinda wierd because it looks like he’s shooting while looking to his right but he’s able to compete with the best of them.

    • Possum,

      I think you will do just fine shooting a revolver right-handed and sighting with your left eye. I just tried it and noticed that all I had to do was tilt my head a little to the right down toward my right shoulder. That allowed me to look down the sights with my left eye without having to change my normal/natural aim.

      I strongly suggest that you tilt your head as I indicated above. If you try to sight with your left eye without tilting your head slightly to the right, you will have to bend your wrists and elbow slightly so that your revolver is pointing a bit to the right of your natural aim and your revolver’s barrel will no longer be in line with your right forearm. As far as I can tell, that is a weaker way to hold and you would experience greater muzzle flip than if you held the barrel straight in line with your right arm.

      • Thanx for the advice. Set up my shooting log( house smells goood, like burnt powder should) anyway I’m going to have to get ear muffs.instead of foam. I get a lot of concussion with my head tilted but the way I was doing it by cocking my wrist over sucked for accuracy and control. Im going to have to put in a gazillion hours of practice left handed IIm guessing. //( I can shoot inside my house because no close neighbors and Im a bachelor)

        • Possum,

          I don’t think you have to shoot left-handed to be fast/accurate. I think you can shoot right-handed and maintain all of your right-handed skill by simply tilting your head to the right toward your right shoulder.

          You mentioned that foam earplugs were not adequate to reduce the sound to safe levels and you wanted to use earmuffs. Perhaps you were thinking of abandoning right-handed shooting because the required head-tilt does not allow enough room for earmuffs? If that is the case, I can think of two splendid solutions:
          (1) Get a suppressor for your handgun.
          (2) Get ribbed rubber earplugs.

          Solution number (2) is probably the easiest way to go. Those ribbed rubber earplugs block out more sound than earmuffs when you insert them fully. For that matter, even foam earplugs block out more sound that earmuffs if you can insert them all the way — which is extremely difficult and most people never seem to do I might add.

  9. 6″ ss Dan Wesson 744VH for the win !!
    Wieighs 23lbs empty.
    Is rated for, and handles, the BB +P+ with ease.
    More accurate than the CM !? (Oh the horror !!)

    Big Foot carries one…

  10. I have a Super Redhawk. My normal load is a 310 gr cast bullet with a Max book load of H110. The grips are a bit different than the Redhawk, making the recoil a lot more tolerable.

    • Tom,

      If you have a 6-inch barrel (which provides a nice velocity boost above short barrels), I think that load is a lot more effective at stopping even large grizzly bears than many people realize.

      Sure, a rifle or shotgun (shooting slugs) would be better. Nevertheless, if you are constrained to a handgun for whatever reason, those 300+ grain hardcast lead bullets in front of the maximum allowed H110 powder load (as you stated) is no slouch.

  11. 44mag will always have a soft spot in my heart.
    One of the first guns I remember shooting was a 44mag. Don’t rember the make/model but it looked very similar to the gun pictured but with a 6.5″ barrel.
    I’m sure my dad and his friend gave that cannon to the 11yo me, who wouldn’t have weighed 100lbs with a bag of rocks strapped to my back, just for laughs. I’m happy to report I not only survived uninjured, but controlled it well enough to empty the cylinder several times over (though my aim needed work! Lol!).
    Shooting that thing was an EXPERIENCE, and I ate it up!
    Consequently, a Ruger Super Blackhawk is on my short SHORT list of ‘will own’ guns!

    • That’s what I’ve been shooting since 1979 Ruger Super Blackhawk, I shot IHMSA with it and occasionally won.. A trick I learned, because they have rules in factory stock, was to slip one side off of the hammer return spring, the struts that push against the pin. It doesn’t affect the function and really improves the trigger, I mean like Wow improves. And if you don’t like it you can always slip it back on… .I don’t think you’ll be dissatisfied with your choice.

  12. Some of you might enjoy this.

    I have a Super Redhawk .44mag with a 7.5″ barrel. It was made in 1998 and I am the 4th owner of the gun. I got it in trade for $150 bucks and a Springfield XDS .45 that I didn’t want any more after it came back from the “voluntary safety recall” in the first year of production. Yes, it was well before SA turned traitor….
    When I got it, the guy who traded it to me said he’d personally only fired 50 rounds out of it and he was sure the previous owners had shot not much more than that. It looked almost new and had the wood insert rubber grips on it. I got the original plastic case, papers, rings and lock.

    I immediately started load development for it with 200 and 240 grain Bayou Bullets in Elmer Keith style. I put some Hogue rubber grips on it for my big hands during this time. I have learned a lot about handgun loading and loading for that particular gun since I started. I’ve shot about 4000 rounds through that gun now and it’s still going strong and accurate BUT I did break it once.

    I was looking for something different to try and found some Nosler 300gr Jacketed Lead exposed tipped hollow points at a great price. I bought 500 because…why not? I did some initial testing and was impressed with the bullets and then decided to see what they would do at near max. loading. In the process of trying to fit all that powder in Federal cases I realized that even though I was within the safe charge weights of Nosler info., I found I needed to use Winchester cases so I wouldn’t pancake the exposed lead tops. (Nosler reloading info. recommended/suggested Win. cases) Once I finally got the load worked up I took it to the range and proceeded to shoot for accuracy and chrono speeds. They averaged 1350 fps over 48 shots and were plenty accurate for me. Why 48 you ask? Because on number 49 my entire front sight assembly whizzed by my head. Much to my surprise I had broken a Ruger Super Redhawk. I was actually really bummed. I love that gun. I called Ruger that day and explained about how my gun had broken. The lady on the phone was very nice and understanding. She said that the sight should not have come off and I paid $30 to Ruger for a shipping label after not being able to find anyone to ship it for less than $85 locally and sent it off. A week and a half later I called and asked how it was. The guy on the phone said that they were thinking they would be better off re-barreling it because of the pitting on the front sight area where it had originally be set with silver solder. I said, “How much?” He replied, “Factory defect, no cost.” In the end, I got my beloved SRH back in 3 weeks with a brand new barrel and 5 other internal parts that they felt needed to be replaced. I have since put another 1300 or so rounds through it and Ruger has a lifelong customer. Oh and uh…yea….I haven’t put any more of the Nosler 300s through it yet. They were stout but did not hurt. Well, me anyway….

    True Story.

    • Thanx for sharing that, I could talk Ruger all day long. I really wouldn’t consider the sight flying off as broken gun though. The cylinder pin screw came loose in the SB I have and I lost it, I didn’t consider that broken, if it would have somehow let the cylinder screw things up when it went off, then broken… So “We” ain’t had a Ruger break on us yet 😊

  13. I have 7.5 in. Redhawk, and I agree with pretty much everything in the review (including the factory farming- I’m an extremely rare vegan gun lover.) When I got the revolver in 2007, I put 12 rounds through it, went straight home, and got a Hogue monogrip for it. 240gr 44 Mag ammo is not painful or even stressful to shoot. The Hogue monogrip really saved this excellent, fun gun.

  14. I don’t own one, but I like the idea of a .44 Magnum for the same reasons I like a .357 Magnum- except more so. It can go from being one of the most powerful handguns around (that has ammunition readily available) to an easy shooter with a simple change in ammo. And if you own a .44 lever-action, even better.

    I ended up sticking with a .357 because there’s not much around me that calls for a .44 magnum that wouldn’t be served fine with something less. But if I were in big bear and moose country? Seems like a good idea.

  15. I absolutely love my Super Redhawk in 44. The cushioned grip and weight I can shoot 240 and 300 grain XTP’s packed full of H110 or W296 all day long, no problem.
    Carry it on my belt, too big to hide but not impossible.

    I mean, I wouldn’t carry it every day and practice every day with it.
    But to lug it on a hunting trip, I mean, no big deal.

    Best thing is this tank of a revolver will be around for my grandchildren to enjoy!

  16. This review is as dead on. I hunted deer for two years with mine only I had an 8″ barrel. Got a deer both years but did not enjoy range time. My hand would be numb after a few rounds. Next handgun was a stainless Super Blackhawk with 10 1/2 barrel. Happy range time. With the more bisley style grip the recoil is not felt nearly as much. (I do have hogue monogrips on the Blackhawk). I moved the Redhawk on to a collector.

  17. What rounds available today offer lower recoil and similar terminal performance, but with much greater on-board ammunition capacity?

    • Look at 460 Rowland for sure and the upper end of 10mm Auto, even though the latter is more comparable to .41 mag and .357 mag.

  18. I have the Redhawk with the 5.5″ barrel & wooden grips. Even after 50 rounds of regular 240gr WWB, your wrist knows all about it! There’s definitely a sharp whack imparted to the hand with each shot. I did buy a box of Buffalo Bore 305gr hardcast plus one of HSM ‘bear load’ (305gr) but have not yet tried them……..

    I’m sure that rubber grips would make it more pleasant to shoot but they sure don’t look as good! I thought that the idea of wooden grips with a curved top (Colt SAA style) was that the gun ‘rotated’ in the hand which lessened the felt recoil at the expense of muzzle flip. That theory didn’t seem to pan out!

  19. The best 44 magnum in my opinion is the Dan Wesson dual barrels great accuracy and low recoil shock, always hit what I am aiming at.

  20. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your hand clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

  21. My 7 1/2″ .44 mag. Super Redhawk became my favorite handgun. With a Nikon scope on top it’s so heavy that I have no problem shooting couple hundred warm 240 – 300 gr hardcast Lee powder coated rounds. This is the gun that brought me to bullet casting. No way I could afford to shoot factory ammo as much as I do my realoads.

    I don’t hunt, so I can’t tell how would my loads work on game, only that they shoot nice holes in propane tank which .40 SW only dents.

  22. I bought a new Redhawk about a year ago and it would NOT hit the proverbial hog in the butt with factory ammo or proven handloads. Im done with Ruger.

    • i own 3 redhawks in .45 colt.
      and have owned more.
      all accurate with both light plinking / cowboy loads (schofield as well), and full power +p loads.
      factory or handloads.
      but then … i shoot a lot.

  23. I have an early ’80s Redhawk with a 7 1/2″ barrel. It came with wood grips that I still have but can’t seem to find. My dad put huge Pachmyer grips on it, when it came to me I replaced them with Hogue Bantams. I’ve only ever shot the 240 gr factory loads out of it. The best I seem to be able to do with it at 25 yds is 3-4″ without a rest. I need to work up some loads for it and shoot it more, but it gets expensive with factory ammo, so I haven’t shot it very much. I mostly have it for sentimental reasons – it seems unpractical to me otherwise, but I would like to give it another chance. The recoil seems downright tame compared to what you would expect, maybe due to the longer barrel, but it is still quite stout. It’s hardly painful, and the weight of the gun will wear you out faster than the recoil, IMO. I’ve been shooting it since I was 12, but it didn’t give me a flinch until I was in my 40s, and I didn’t even know it until I dropped the hammer on an already fired round. Took about a month to get rid of it. Personally, I’d rather have a 6″ 10mm in a 2011 if I was looking to buy something in this power range, but my preference is always pistols over revolvers, FWIW.

  24. All ammo fired high as I interpret your numbers?? To what do you attribute 100% high groups?

    What sight picture did you use?

  25. I really hope those groups were shot by the writer, and not a ransom rest. A revolver that wont shoot 1 1/2″ at 25 yards is not very good. I take it the writer is not too familiar with the larger handguns, and hopefully this reflects the accuracy results. I can say that my 5 1/2″ redhawk shoots quite well, 3″ at 50 yards is common for a few different loads. Mine has the original smooth grips, but they fit my hand well. If they fit, they don’t slip. Recoil is what it is, it’s up to the user to find grips that work for them. I do have a problem with the statement that “The only real question is about the relevance of the .44 Magnum in a modern context. There are a number of rounds available today that offer lower recoil and similar terminal performance, but with much greater on-board ammunition capacity.” What are you even trying to say, that the 44 magnum is irrelevant? I am not aware of any semi auto cartridge more powerful than 44 magnum, the 460 Rowland is not. The 50AE is a pretty good match, but there is not exactly a plethora of handguns or ammo, all for one extra shot. And if lower recoil is your game, then you will not have the same terminal performance.

  26. I bought a ruger redhawk 44 magnum with a 4.2 inch barrel. It came with the hogue grips. Very comfortable and absorbs a lot of the recoil. I highly recommend them.

    • well … i’m not a 7 year old girl.
      i am a 61 year old man.
      the wood grips on redhawks have always served me well.
      i shoot max loads in .45 colt … well over .44 mag power.

  27. I have owned my .44 mag Redhawk for 30+ years. Great article. The BEST thing you can do – immediately to improve this gun … is to replace the grips with the Pachmeyer Rubber Grips. They make a HUGE difference especially with the heavier loads. The Pachmeyers allow you to comfortably shoot anything you can stuff in the chambers. IMHO.


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