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(This is a reader-submitted review)

By Russ C. in Alaska

The Ruger Redhawk is Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s flagship revolver, providing the user with the cannon-like firepower of the .44 Magnum since its introduction in 1979. The Redhawk is offered in several configurations; mine is the Hunter model, with a 7.5-inch barrel, ready to accept a scope, should you want to meddle with the beauty of the beast . . .



Legend tells of a Redhawk born of the depths of Hades in an age long past that boasted a mystical blued finish. Alas, ‘tis fated to remain legend. This baby is sporting a very blasé brushed-stainless patina. Functional and nondescript. Perfect for those who find themselves traipsing about in the Alaskan bush, looking for trouble.

It seems to me that “revolver guys” tend to fall into one of two camps: Those who have an affinity for the elegant, classic lines of the Smith & Wesson revolvers and those who gravitate more to the rugged, overbuilt simplicity of the Ruger revolvers. I’ve always been one to abide by the “function before form” mantra passed down by generations of broke farmers. I suppose it’s just a happy bonus that I think the Redhawk is sexy as all get-out.

This gun just works. There’s no two ways around it. Revolvers in general are already about as dummy proof as you can get and the Redhawk adds a level of “Finally…something even my demon-spawn teenagers can’t break!” reliability.

Some people take issue with the fact that the Ruger frames are cast steel, while Smith’s frames are forged. In true internet commando fashion, there are plenty of people berating the “inferior” strength of those cast Ruger frames online. And to those people, I say…you don’t know what you’re talking about. 

To be frank, I’ve little experience with taking down a revolver; I’ve simply never had to do it. All cleaning can be done simply by opening the cylinder, and wiping everything down. Cleaning procedures are about as simple as it gets. Swab the barrel, swab the cylinder and chambers, and you’re good to go — unless you go out for an extended session with lots of cast bullets. If that’s the case, you’d better pull your easy chair up to the work bench. You’re in for a long day of cleaning.

Now, as you may have guessed, this long-snouted mongrel is a bit front-heavy. Not unbearable by any means, but it does take some getting used to. And it does work out your wrists. That’s right, I said “wrists.” Plural. In the words of Jerry Miculek, “If your support hand doesn’t hurt as much as your shooting hand, you’re doing something wrong.” Or something like that. To that end, this is NOT a pistol anyone I know can comfortably and controllably shoot one-handed. Listen to your mama’s words, use both hands.




There are several different grip options for you to choose from including hardwood, rosewood, black micarta, and Hogue Monogrip. Mine came with the factory hardwood grips, and as you can see, they are considerably smaller than the (what I believe to be) Pachmayr grips on the 5.5-inch Redhawk seen here. This will be a largely personal decision. Some prefer the larger grips as they do help to tame felt recoil. Others, like myself, prefer the smaller grips for the ability to really clamp down on the gun.

As you’ve probably read before, most factory revolver double-action triggers kind of suck. They’re long, heavy, and rarely smooth. Fortunately, this one wasn’t half bad. It’s long, and it’s heavy, but at least we seem to have avoided the “cinder block over asphalt” feel. And compared to my ’02 Redhawk, the 5.5-inch from 1985 is considerably smoother, so I’m holding out hope that it comes with time.

That said, the single-action trigger is the bomb. Ruger’s single-spring mechanism allows for a smooth, light trigger pull. There’s just nothing to it.



You squeeze, just so slightly, and the trigger doesn’t budge. You apply the slightest pressure, and BOOM! Fire and noise and terror erupt forth like Cerberus just plowed through the gates of Hell, and he’s (they’re?) coming for YOU. Ruger’s single-spring mechanism allows for a smooth, light trigger pull.

Needless to say, unless you’re built like Shrek, this is not a contender for EDC duty. At 13-inches long and 54-ounces empty, you might as well strap your mother-in-law to your belt. On second thought, don’t. At least the revolver isn’t as loud and abusive.

To put that in context, a GLOCK 19 (my actual EDC) weighs in at a measly 23.65 ounces empty. Lightweight.




That being said, the Redhawk is a woods gun. Worn properly, it fits that role well. My personal favorite is a chest holster from Diamond D Custom Leather up in Wasilla. Because mine is still being made, I present to you this beautiful stock image…




I prefer the chest holster for a couple reasons. First, it eliminates that boat-anchor-pulling-your-pants-down sensation. Nobody likes that. I also prefer the chest holster because a lot of the times I have this revolver strapped on, I’ll also be wearing a pack on my back. It’s much more comfortable, and accessible, in a chest holster than it would be on my hip in that situation.

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows over here in Redhawk land.




The damned scope rings. Oh, how I hate thee. It’s unfathomable that someone would want to put a scope on a revolver. I mean, would you put a roof rack on a Maserati?

As if their mere existence wasn’t bad enough, they don’t even work right. You can hand tighten the rings to the barrel pretty rigidly (or so it would seem). But, after a dozen dry firings, the rings are loose. Even using a mechanical advantage to suck them down tight…no dice.

Another blemish on the Redhawk’s track record is the God-awfully butt-ugly warning stamped on the side of the barrel. It’s completely unnecessary and quite frankly, I think it’s cruel to tarnish a fine piece of hardware with such an eyesore.




Also, I think Ruger sent me the wrong keys for my pretty canary-yellow cable lock. No matter how I twist and turn, the keys will not open that lock. It’s a minor annoyance as I don’t use them anyway, but come on.




Now kiddies, before I get to my favorite part of this handgun, it’s time for a little history lesson. Elmer Keith is a household name around here, but to those who may not be so enlightened, pop a squat.

Elmer Keith was the instrumental figure in developing the .44 Magnum cartridge. In the early 20th century, he was experimenting with very hot .44 Special loads and saw reasonable success big-game hunting with them. But, he wanted more. So he went to Remington and pitched his idea for the cartridge to them. And they ended up agreeing, saying that if Smith & Wesson would design the gun for it, they would design the cartridge.

So off he went to S&W. They agreed as well, assuming Remington developed the cartridge. It took some back and forth, but in 1955 the .44 Remington Magnum and the S&W Model 29 were born. However, if you want to get technical, it was simply the “N-Frame” until the “Model 29” designation was added in ’57.

What does this have to do with my favorite feature? Put simply, hand loading. Because the Redhawk revolver can fire both .44 Special and .44 Magnum, and because both rounds are extremely versatile, this means that handloaders have an obscene number of possibilities for developing loads for this handgun.


.44 Special on the left, .44 Magnum on the Right
My reloading choices for .44 Special and .44 Magnum; a 200gr and 240gr round nose cast bullet, respectively.


One of my favorite handloads is a 200-grain RNFP (round nose, flat point) cast bullet loaded for .44 Special. It produces a modest velocity, in the 700-900 fps range, and it’s an awesome range round. Comparable to a .45 ACP load, you can have fun with these pea shooters all day long.

My go-to Magnum load is more or less a cookie cutter .44 load. A 240-grain RNFP cast bullet atop 22 grains of H110. Nothing special, but boy is it fun.




And you can go up, up and away with your reloading. The .44 Magnum has the cojones to tackle any North American game, up to and including the great bears.

I wish I could spend all afternoon extolling the virtues of the Redhawk, but I’m afraid I’d drive away the readership. So to reiterate, it just works. And one need not devote more than a moment to addressing things like reliability; there’s simply no question. Thousands of rounds fired over the years, and it’s never flinched. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better revolver to be had.





I love going to the range. Sure, I cringe when I think about the cost of the lead I’m slinging down range, but a few hours of trigger therapy on a crisp spring morning is just about the best way I know to unwind.

One of the things I love about revolvers is the ability to just shoot, and shoot, and shoot. No breaks to reload magazines, or to let barrels cool, or anything like that. I can just set up, settle in, and start hammering away at the poor, unsuspecting paper.

Now, thanks to the 7.5-inch barrel on this behemoth, it’s relatively accurate as far as handguns are concerned. I started out the day by shooting a group of .44 Magnum factory loads off a rest at 25 yards, to try and establish some baseline for accuracy for this review. As you can see, there wasn’t much “accuracy” to be seen…




It took me a few minutes before I figured out what was going on. My first inclination was that I was simply pulling the shots (a theory supported by the party members calling me female names and mocking my ability to shoot). However, upon closer inspection, I discovered that somebody had monkeyed with the sights. So, while the size of the group itself is still nothing spectacular, at least I could rest easy knowing that the groups would now (theoretically) be centered around my point of aim.

So, I loaded up with a cylinder full of Specials, and…




Wow. This was by far the best free-hand group I’ve ever shot. In full disclosure, I brought the target in to 15 yards for this group, but still. I was half ready to pack it up and leave right then, knowing I wouldn’t be able to outdo myself on this one. For reference, the squares on the target are 1 x 1 inch.

For those of you who’ve never experienced the joy of shooting a mild .44 Special load, you’re missing out. These particular rounds were pushing a 200-grain cast bullet at about 750 feet per second. It’s certainly milder recoiling than standard .45 ACP ball ammo, and in a firearm that weighs twice as much as many .45 auto handguns. They’re a joy to shoot, especially after burning through some of the Magnum loads.

I don’t have a really eloquent way of wrapping up this review, so I’ll leave you with these parting words. If you don’t own a revolver, you should. And if you go out looking for one, I highly recommend considering a Redhawk 44. With its wide ammo versatility, you can get just about any level of performance you could ever need out of this firearm, and have a great time doing it.


Caliber: .44 Magnum/.44 Special (Other models available chambered in .45 Auto, .357 Magnum and .41 Rem. Mag.)

Frame: Steel, brushed stainless solid frame with no side plate.

Cylinder: 6 round, fluted

Barrel Length: 7.5-inch stainless steel 1:20 RH rifling, 6 groove

Sights: colored front blade front sight insert and adjustable rear sight with white outline…

Overall Length: 13 inches

Safety: Transfer-bar 

Grips: Hardwood

Weight (empty): 54 ounces

MSRP: $1089


Ratings: (Out of five stars):

Style: * * * * *

It’s a beautiful revolver. Simple lines, ruggedly built. You can just tell it means business.

Ergonomics: * * *

Carrying this 44 magnum revolver is extremely difficult unless you spend the money to set yourself up properly. As far as I’m concerned, belt carry is OUT. Very comfortable to hold and shoot, however the cylinder has a tendency to bite your offhand thumb if you don’t have a proper grip. Extra weight helps tame recoil on hotter loads.

Reliability: * * * * *

It’s a revolver. It’s never missed a beat.

Customization: * *

Trigger work and upgraded sights are available, but not required. Also, damn those scope mounts.

Overall: * * * * *

It is, to me, the perfect big-bore sidearm. If the scope rings were something I planned on using, I’d have to deduct points here. And sure, it’s harder to carry than your LCR, but what did you expect?

More from The Truth About Guns:

Gun Review: Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan Double-Action Revolver

Gun Review: Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk Hunter in .44 Magnum

Gun Review: Colt King Cobra .357 Revolver

Gun Review: Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan Double-Action Revolver in .454 Casull

Gun Review – Smith and Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum Revolver

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    • Joel,

      I encourage you to consider the 7.5 inch barrel instead of the 5.5 inch barrel. Not only does it improve accuracy (longer sight radius) and reduce recoil a little bit (simply because it is heavier), that extra 2 inches of barrel increases muzzle velocity somewhere between 70 and 100 fps. While that is not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, more velocity is always better if it comes without extra recoil.

      If you have a local gun store that has both, give both of them a try. You might find the longer 7.5 inch barrel to be too “front heavy”. Or you might find that it balances just fine.

  1. Excellent review. I plan to get a .44 mag soon and will consider this. More reviews about magnums please!

    • AllAmerican,

      Both Smith & Wesson and Ruger make very nice revolvers — especially their .44 Magnum revolvers. As the author of the review suggested, Smith and Wesson revolvers seem to have better double-action triggers and Ruger revolvers are built stronger to be more durable. I believe either is a solid choice and would only give the nod to Rugers if you plan to shoot thousands of rounds through it.

      Consider Taurus revolvers in .44 Magnum as well. I believe all of their revolvers have rubber armored grips to help with recoil. Of even greater importance, many of their revolvers have ported barrels which seriously reduces muzzle flip and even reduces recoil a bit. As for durability, I have heard that Taurus revolvers are similarly “overbuilt” like Rugers. And the double-action trigger on the Taurus Raging Bull that I tested was by far and away the best factory trigger that I have ever felt on any revolver. For single-action, pulling the hammer back was considerably easier and smoother than the Ruger I tested. And, similar to the Ruger, there was no take-up or creep … just some pressure and a surprise break with very little travel after the break.

  2. Nice review. I was an idiot and sold my beautiful target grey .454 Ruger to get the .460 Smith XVR 8 3/8″. Since Smith developed the X-frame, there is no longer the sexy Smith vs. the buff Ruger dichotomy. I happen to find this Ruger, as well as my old .454, to be beautiful guns. Thankfully I still have my single action Ruger .44 Blackhawk.

    • I had heard that Ruger gave up on the target gray finish because it didn’t hold up to their standards for wear. They did look pretty nice though.

      I bought an unfired anniversary model .44 mag Blackhawk (not Super Blackhawk) a couple years ago. I liked it so much I bought a couple of GP100s and have just about quit firing semi-auto pistols. My groups with all 3 revolvers are about half the size of any of the autos I’ve owned. You do have to hold the Blackhawk just right or it smacks your knuckles with the mag loads though.

  3. Good gun, fantastic review! I hate the design/ergonomics and how this pistol chewed up my hands. Taurus Raging Bull for me. Thank you for your review!

    • The design and ergonomics aren’t a problem for me, but I did have an issue with the edge of the cylinder hitting my left thumb (off hand) before I learned that you can’t use the same grip on a revolver as you do a semi-auto!

      • Thanks for the review, it was great and thorough! My 30+ year old Redhawk came without rings and the mounting cuts, which I thought were ugly. Now that I’m 63 years old with prescription glasses, I have been doubting the wisdom of that decision; you made me feel a lot better about it.

        I served as a boarding officer in the USCGR, and our reserve range officer was a Maine State trooper and armorer. I asked him about the Smith v Ruger question, and he told me that if I was going to customize my gun go with the M29, but if stock was fine the Ruger was the more rugged gun. I have short fingers and found the Smith too damned meaty for a good grip, but my Redhawk, even with neoprene grips, is perfect. Thanks again!

    • I don’t know what your saying. The .44 Mag is definitely more powerful than the .44 Special. Unless your talking about shooting comfort. The .44 Mag isn’t the most comfortable thing to shoot.

    • I suppose it depends on your definition of “better.”

      I agree that the .44 Special is an immense pleasure to shoot, but the Magnum absolutely outperforms the Special.

  4. The wife is 5’2″ and she can handle my 5.5″ Redhawk, two handed of course. 240 grain factory ammo. And that’s with the stock grip. I’ve had much more recoil with a K frame shooting hot mags, even with an aftermarket rubber grip that covers the backstrap. Don’t use it much since I don’t hunt, but everybody needs a .44.

    • My daughter was shooting my 7.5″ with 44 spl loads when she was 11 years old. She insisted on trying the full magnum round; it backed her up a couple of steps but didn’t intimidate her. She’s 33 years old now and has her own 45 auto; she has outshot all her boyfriends, too!

  5. I remember the very first time I fired a .44 mag……. it gave me a tingle in my manly places. I bought Ruger’s single action Blackhawk many years before they came out with their double action revolver. A while later, I bought a Dan Wesson .44 mag double action revolver. Both are large handguns that you will never carry everyday concealed due to their size and weight. But there are shoulder holsters made for these. I have one for the Blackhawk mean to wear OUTSIDE of a jacket for hunting. And the author is right, the different loads useable in these guns makes them so much fun. And there is a nice feeling knowing that you can stop and drop pretty much anything that lives in North America with the right load. One of my rarer smart decisions was to buy a Marlin lever gun in .44 mag some 20 years ago (pre-Freedom group) as a companion rifle to use the same ammo when hunting.

  6. Russ – thanks for the review. I bookmarked the chest holster link. Would love a rig like that for my 6″ N-frame S/W .357 magnum. I am a wheel gun guy and never touched a .44 Red Hawk (they are beautiful), but I did fondle a GP100 @ LGS and I will admit the Ruger trigger was smooth as butter compared to my S/W.

    • A good chest holster like that is very much a worthwhile investment. It’s by far the most comfortable way for me to carry a heavy gun around. I HATE the feeling of a boat anchor pulling on my belt.

  7. As for the strength of the different ways of making the S&W and the Ruger. Every reloading manual I’ve seen will warn you to not use the hotter loads for the Rugers in S&W’s. I don’t know if that warning applies to the X frames. Never used one.

    Having said that and used and owned Smiths, Colts, Rugers, Taurii and various others, I prefer the stock factory Smith actions over the others. For range work. If I was knocking around the Alaskan bush I would want the Ruger.

    • JWM – thanks for clearing up something for me. I have read the same things on-line that say “do not use Ruger loads in a Smith”. It refers to hand loads!? I always wondered why I never saw a box of ammo that said “For Rugers Only”. Anyways my N-frame .357 Smith is built on a .44mag frame, so I have no worries. Just got a box of .357 rated @ 1700fps. Spring is here, will be shooting it soon!

      • Buffalo Bore, Garrett, Underwood, and possibly a few other “performance” ammo manufacturers sell .44 Magnum loads that they specify are for Rugers, Marlins, and a few other custom-built revolvers.

        It’s not just handloads. Specialty ammo manufacturers say the same thing.

      • Your grandchildren might wear out that N frame. You won’t unless you buy about a hundred cases of the stuff.

        It was the K frames that couldn’t handle a lot of full power .357 loads. When they started losing sales to Ruger’s Single Six they started making the L frames.

        • The manuals I used and perused weren’t talking about “full power” loads. They gave the warnings in the case of “maximum power” loads. They did not differentiate between k frames and n frames. According to these manuals it was unsafe to use a max load designed for a Ruger or Contender in a S&W revolver.

          I love my Smiths. But I also recognise their limits.

        • Hmm… I’d think a revolver that could handle .44 magnum loads would be capable of being scaled down to handle the max pressure .357 loads, but I won’t argue with the reloading manuals. I’ve heard of .44 mag N frames firing tens of thousands of rounds without a hitch. Rugers are still stronger though.

  8. Nice write-up, Russ.

    I had one with the 7.5 barrel a few years back. Yours looked a bit different than mine, my grips were rubber with a wood insert. My scope rings (at least one of them) were on the frame, so I did a little digging.

    It seems there was an issue with the barrel going K-boom that was blamed on thread lubricant during assembly. I hope yours isn’t in the K-boom category

    If Dyspeptic is reading this, how in the hell can thread lube blow up a massively over-built gun like the Redhawk?

    “The damned scope rings. Oh, how I hate thee. It’s unfathomable that someone would want to put a scope on a revolver. I mean, would you put a roof rack on a Maserati?”

    A nice heavy scope like the one on my Super Redhawk did wonders for taming the bite of full-power magnum loads. So ‘recoil junkies’ like Safari-Tom probably won’t like a scope. 🙂

    BTW- I *really* like that chest rig. I’ll be getting one when I buy another Boom-Toy.

    You definitively put a bug up my ass for another Super Redhawk…

    • The barrel threading issue happened earlier, I believe in the 80s. Some barrels backed out of the threads in the frame. That was the impetus for Ruger to design their Super Redhawk; they extended the frame to 2.5″ so that the barrel had plenty of “meat” to thread into. By the time the design was finalized, the threading issue had been resolved, but Ruger put the Super Redhawk into production anyway because so much money had been invested in its design. I haven’t heard anything about revolvers actually blowing up, however.

  9. I have one of those from way back when they came out with the 7.5 inch ringed model, and my scope has never came loose. I have put at least a thousand rounds thru it… Some of those were a 320 gr JD Jones designed cast bullet…. Maybe the rings or the slot have a burr in it…

  10. I have the same gun with a Leupold 2 x 20 on it. Never had a problem with the mounts and the beast shots dead on each time. I use 240 gr JHP on deer. The fire ball is really bright through the scope. It’s probably my favorite range gun too.
    The CNC machined quality of this gun is astounding. Unlike overpriced plastic automatics it’s worth every penny. Owning one makes you proud and no one will tell you should have bought something else.

    • That’s for sure.

      When I take it to a public range, people tend to start asking me to give them a heads up before I shoot the heavy loads. When I do, they move over a couple tables.

      • Oh, yeah. When I’m at a public range (especially indoors) with the muffs on the other shooters 9s and 357s make *pop* sounds… The 44 mag goes *BOOM* and every head on the firing line pivots to the source. I especially was fascinated by the sensation of the concussion in my teeth and I swear I could feel it pass through them front-to-back.

        • You ought to try out the super red-hawk in .454…lol
          There is a loud deep satisfying KA-Boom and a fireball that creates flash burns…
          Even more satisfying is the accuracy, putting 3 rounds into a perfect cloverleaf at 30 yds over iron sights
          Whenever I fire mine, I have a whole gallery of onlookers tending to accumulate behind the firing line…

  11. ‘It seems to me that “revolver guys” tend to fall into one of two camps: those who have an affinity for the elegant, classic lines of the Smith & Wesson revolvers and those who gravitate more to the rugged, overbuilt simplicity of the Ruger wheel guns.’

    Count me in the latter group. Although my .44 mag is a Blackhawk. I would like to pick up the 4″ Redhawk someday though.

  12. As far as Smith & Wesson revolvers go, I prefer the classic lines of the Model 29 or 629 instead of the full barrel. As far as 357 revolvers, I like the full barrel in a 4 inch like the 586. I like the Redhawk. It is strong, heavy and accurate. I think it is also very elegant, specially in stainless steel. It is a Security Six on steroids. My favorite, if I were to acquire one, is the 5.5 inch barrel. It is more handy and more pleasing to my eye because it its better proportioned. I have shot a 7.5 inch with heavy loads and recoil is very manageable; I found it accurate to 100 yards and could easily be used for metallic silhouette to 200 meters. I shoot a Dan Wesson 445 Super mag that is about 72 oz with a full log 8 inches long barrel and it kicks hard so shooting a Ruger Redhawk is not very much of a chore unless you want to shoot more than 50 rounds of 44 Mag heavy loads in a single session. If it hurts, put on shooting gloves or change the grips to recoil absorbent rubber like Pachmayr grips. Back in 1979, Ruger offered a .357 and .41 Magnum versions but dropped them within a couple of years. The cylinder on the 357 Magnum version is really massive and should be collector’s item if they are to be found. It is the strongest double action 44 cal revolver around, just as strong as the Dan Wesson 445 Super but no as heavy. Both revolvers dropped the side plate making the frame solid and stronger without adding more weight (it is heavy enough); the firing mechanism is disassembled through the bottom by removing the trigger strap on both revolvers. If you have a Redhawk, do not get rid of it, it is a great weapon. I may buy one this year.

  13. Well Dan, I’m here to tell you that the blued hunter is not a legend, just legendary as I own one of them and it shoots like a dream. The single action trigger is light, glass smooth and always a surprise when it breaks. The double action trigger requires a little more effort, is still glass smooth until it stacks with a slight bit of hesitation then it breaks just like in single action. I could hold it at that point of hesitation for as long as I could hold it in single action mode. Wanted a 5.5″ model but they aren’t on the approved list here in Kalifornistan so I got the 7.5″ hunter through gunbroker. And while I would still like to get a 5.5″ model one day, I am glad I got the 7.5″er. The original wood grips are pretty and do let me wrap my entire hand around it but heavy recoil tends to cause me to choke up on it when shooting. Hogue grips feel skinny and unnatural. By far the best grip I have for it is the Packmayr Presentation grip such as on your 5.5″ gun though it could be a little more slender for best fit.

    • I just bought a Redhawk blued hunter. As far as I know I’m the third owner. I plan on making it into a hunting gun for college, I’ll rebarrel it and do some trigger work to it. I plan on scoping it because I like to use a scope more than open sights. It should be a great gun. I haven’t had the chance to shoot it yet, but my trigger is the same way, I have no complaints at all.

  14. ‘It seems to me that “revolver guys” tend to fall into one of two camps: those who have an affinity for the elegant, classic lines of the Smith & Wesson revolvers and those who gravitate more to the rugged, overbuilt simplicity of the Ruger wheel guns.’

    I prefer the rugged Ruger. I seriously considered a Redhawk but after months of debate with myself I ended up with a Super Blackhawk Hunter in 44 Mag. Wonderful firearm.

      • Governor,

        The only time I can picture anyone using double-action on a .44 Magnum revolver is if they were using it to repel a bear or moose attack. First of all, you wouldn’t carry that revolver around with the hammer back (the single action trigger is too easy to discharge unintentionally) and second you will probably need multiple shots anyway to stop an attacking bear or moose.

        I really like the Ruger Super Blackhawk single action revolver in .44 Magnum for hunting. For self-defense against bears and moose, not so much. It is certainly better than nothing, of course. At any rate I wouldn’t stake my life on a single .44 Magnum bullet stopping a seriously cheesed-off bear (especially a grizzly or massive 550+ pound black bear) or moose.

        • That’s what I was thinking, DA is for close quarters defense, SA for accuracy. .44 mag is a popular round for handgun hunting deer and the hunter models are made to accept scope rings, so I’d think most buyers are looking for a hunting handgun, not bear defense. The Blackhawk is a couple ounces lighter and a couple hundred bucks cheaper, so it seems like a wise choice for most of us

  15. I’ve had a Redhawk 44 mag w/ the long barrel for thirty years now. When I got it new, I immediately swapped out the sights for Ruger Paine brass bead and V-notch with white vertical centerline, and replaced the slippery wood grips with neoprene. I have two shoulder rigs for carry, both Uncle Mike’s.

    I never found the recoil from factory loads bothersome, but the light bullet loads like the Remington 185 have sufficient muzzle blast to slap my face uncomfortably. I found that 22 grains of 2400 under a Speer 225gr half-jacket hollowpoint gave me an accurate pleasant load. My cylinder gap is 0.003″;tried some Blue Dot loads but was cutting unburned grains between the forcing cone and cylinder.

    Right now I am shooting S&B 300gr soft-points, like them fine. Less recoil than I expected. My gun will put all 6 rounds into the end of a soda can at 25 yards all day long if I do my part. Single action breaks like glass, double is stiff but very smooth, and if I practice grip discipline while dry firing the sights don’t move. This one is staying with me until I die, then going to my eldest boy…

  16. First handgun I bought was the Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 Mag. LOVED that gun! It had no provision for a scope though and for me the 44 Mag has always been a 100 yard “short rifle.”
    And my standard for taking my Super Blackhawk deer hunting was that I had to consistently hit 11 oz coffee cans at 100 yds. But with iron sights, I’d probably never have taken it hunting at all.

    Love taking the .44 Mag to the range because the same thing always happens: everyone moves two benches away because of the muzzle blast and then they come back to see how it is I’m able to hit 6 inch wide cans at 100 yds with a pistol.

    Love the chest holster idea. I got my first concealed carry license because I needed to carry the .44 inside my hunting coat. That led to more mirth because other deer hunters would ask, “Where’s your rifle?” and I’d open my hunting coat and say, “Right here.” LOL

  17. Great review thank you. I would contact Ruger and see about the scope rings I have had a scoped Redhawk for the past 15years with zero problems, I completely degrease the mounts and used Loctite 241 (the blue stuff) mounted a Leopold 4x satin fixed power and never looked back. That’s my second Redhawk the other remains open sights and gets a lot more use. I also have a pair of Model 29’s (one horrid nickel and one a beautiful blue) plus a Dan Wesson. I shot competition in Phoenix many years ago and the pistols of choice were either a Ruger or DW because the S&W would not withstand the thousands of heavy loads.
    If looks were everything I’d choose the Blue Model 29 every time because it’s pretty buy chrome don’t get you home so my normal choice is the Ruger I cannot tell the difference in accuracy as all 5 are better at 50 yards than your targets with factory loads, the scoped Ruger will group less than an inch all day with 240grn JHP items. Open sights all are better than me with a nod going to the DW because the trigger and sights are just plain better. Double action the S&W’s are smoother than the Ruger (the DW is better than both by a wide margin) I doubt the in DA mode you would notice the difference.
    I use an Uncle Mike’s shoulder rig for all these pistols just to keep my pants up your rig looks like a better package but in New Mexico the biggest thing I will see is a small brown bear.
    I broke my wrist in many places years ago and have found the Single Action revolvers difficult too shoot so I do not even consider the Blackhawk (I had one years ago and could not perform follow up shots easily).
    I also have a Taurus Reging Bull in .454 Casull great pistol but not even a comparable pistol you could evaluate.

  18. Bad Ass Mamma. I own one of these super awesome pistols. I would not sell it for any less than $2000 dollars. It is the best feeling pistol to hold onto over all the others and it is powerful. I can shoot it with complete accuracy every time. This is the best weapon I have ever owned out of many. It will shoot right through an engine block no problem. It’s super powerful and accurate as hell. I can hit my spot at 100 yards with it no
    problem. Beautiful looking pistol also. Best Pistol ever made. I would sell it; but no less than $2000 dollars due to the fact it is in perfect shape and not many owners would sell their awesome Ruger Redhawk Stainless Steel 7 1/2 Inch long 44 Mag Pistol because it’s hard to replace it due to people don’t want to let it go. I love mine a lot.

    • Not mentioned but the Redhawk is better than the Super Blackhawk in that the Redhawk has integral scope mounts. w/o the integral scope mounts, the Super Blackhawk should require a gun smith to install mounts and even then some damage to the gun may occur. It’s the only reason I would get the Redhawk because my Super Blackhawk also has superior handling characteristics and accuracy which startles some onlookers.

  19. I have a 44 mag model KHR-44R for sale if anyone is interested. Im just west of Fort Worth,Tx

  20. Rarely a review on a firearm leaves this much positive impression, almost to the point where one wants to go out and purchase the firearm without any further questioning lol, hell of a review. Already got super redhawk in 7.5″ now will have to order redhawk in 5.5″ or perhaps go down to 4.2″ one with hogue monogrip (still can’t decide between the two).

  21. My Redhawk doesn’t come in 44 but in .41(5 1/2”bbl)But that’s pretty close as recoil is concerned.I own 3 .44 Mag altough none in Redhawk ”fashion”.While I agree with most of what is being said here,I must say that comparing a S&W to a Ruger is comparing oranges to apples.
    The Ruger,due to its internal parts will never reach the ”finesse”of the S&W’s action ,the S&W will not digest the pills the Ruger will(that is on a long term basis).
    My saferoom holds a few more S&Ws than Rugers but I must admit that,if I was to hunt big game(here in Canada,hunting with a handgun makes a criminal out of an otherwise honest citizen)I’d hesitate between my Smith 629 and my Redhawk in .41.
    But by Godsake,replace these skimpy ”no way to get ahold of ”grips on them Redhawks!

  22. Bought a 5 inch Redhawk years ago, also bought a stainless S&W 629-5 8 3/8 inch barrel. Just bought a stainless Ruger Redhawk wirth the 7 1/2 inch barrel. Can’t seem to get enough of these things.My triggers were worked on all three of these 44 mag hand guns and as far as single action pull, only a very slight edge to the 629. If I’m shooting 325 grain underwood +P+, it cant be done in the 629. The cylinder is slightly shorter, and both Underwood and Buffalo Bore do not include the 629 on their list of guns that can handle the mega loads for the 44 mag revolvers. Both are nice but the Redhawk is bad to the bone as far as max loads go. I love owning and shooting all my revolvers. I’m 67 and love the feel of power and the recoil that is a part of it. So the winner here is me.

  23. Back in the days when men were men this would’ve been top notch edc. Long leather jacket and drop holster, western flute music, toss your jacket to the side, take out three bad guys or one bear per shot. 😎

  24. love your article. owned a Blackhawk 44 mag with a 6.5 inch barrel for years while wandering around the bear infested creeks and woods of Alaska. just purchased a Redhawk with a 5 inch barrel because I wanted something that was a little easier to move off my body into line of sight. love the trigger of the Blackhawk. Couldn’t ask for a better trigger. Time to put the Redhawk through the paces.

  25. Excellent review of a great firearm! I recently walked into the depths of hades, ie local gun store and found the mythological creature known as the blued redhawk hunter.
    The young lads behind the counter were like eh, it’s not an auto, so I Purchased her at a great price. Then strolled out, ready to slay any beast that the mighty Hercules faced .
    According to the Ruger website this beauty was manufactured in 1986.
    The included aftermarket grips went back in their original box and the original wooden ones were put back in their rightful place. the scope that was mounted to her now resides in a box as well.

  26. “Legend tells of a Redhawk born of the depths of Hades in an age long past that boasted a mystical blued finish.”

    I managed to acquire one, with a 5.5″ barrel, at my local gun store last year (2019). It was originally purchased by a fellow who liked to hike in remote regions of the state and carried it for bear protection, but, alas, age had weakened his wrists enough that he couldn’t shoot it any longer. According to Ruger it was built in 2001. I purchased it with the original rosewood grips, a pair of Pachmayer rubber grips, and two speed loaders, for a few hundred less than the street price of a new stainless Redhawk.

    Needless to say, I was overjoyed. There was a little rust on the cylinder beneath the extractor that was easily taken care of with a thorough cleaning. I bought brand new leather from Simply Rugged to carry it around. The thing is a beast, and I love it.

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  28. The 5 1/2” RedHawk in .44 Magnum is my woods “thumper.” If I were out in the woods with a rimfire or a scattergun, the big Ruger also came along for the ride in a comfy chest holster.

    I only load two bullets for it these days, a Keith solid and a Keith hollow-point. Unique or 2400 pushes them along, depending on how much velocity is desired. It’s been very accurate and I trust it completely, as feral hogs and the occasional bear show-up in the squirrel woods.

    Knee troubles have kept me out of the woods and swamps these past two seasons. But once that’s taken care of, I look forward to toting the big Ruger again.

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