5.5" redhawk article

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Grizz
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5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

http://www.thesixgunjournal.net/rugers- ... m-redhawk/

this is a good article about my grizz bear woods walking last chance revolver, well worth reading.

my only load for this gun is BTB 405gr hc. it's not a hunting gun... it's a freight train for interdicting incoming grizz. however, as a side event, it will make meat just fine thanks.

my copy needs to go back to ruger for the misfire issue built into it. ruger has a fix.

one particular bit of info that in not in the article has to do with the chambers in my copy. they are tight, tight, tight and I plan to hone them to fit my bullets, but not until ruger fixes the trigger. otherwise they will replace my worked-on cylinder!

how tight are they? I cannot thumb my bullets throught the cylinder bores. is there a problem with that? yes, the chambers swage the bullets as they pass through, and I can't get the velocity that two other redhawks I know of get. this is a known issue, and once I get the chambers trued up to size I will use Marshall's fire lapping system to customize the barrel particulars. if you have a redhawk, check the cylinder with your bullets to see if the cylinder is swaging them. if it does, then you aren't getting the rifling engagement you're after, and might have sloppy down range effects.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by piller »

My Super Redhawk in .480 has tight cylinders. I have actually had to tap the ejector with a brass hammer on factory loads. I had Lee make me a carbide sizing die that is 2 thousandths smaller than normal. It makes insertion and extraction a breeze.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

piller wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:16 pm
My Super Redhawk in .480 has tight cylinders. I have actually had to tap the ejector with a brass hammer on factory loads. I had Lee make me a carbide sizing die that is 2 thousandths smaller than normal. It makes insertion and extraction a breeze.
I regret sometimes that I didn't get a .480. anyway, I don't want smaller bullets because I want the forcing cone to swage the bullets into the rifling, which is why i'll make the chambers larger.... same thing maybe, except that I don't want to resize the bullets before they exit they cylinder...

it would be fun to swap revolvers in the desert somewhere and see how they perform, eh?
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by piller »

The bullets can be pushed through without much effort. A Bic plastic stick pen will do it. I doubt that they are swedging down. It is the cylinder is basically a thousandth tighter than it should be. My handloads drop right in like you would expect. Slip in, but no rattle. Factory usually need a little shove. I have broken one carbide die resizing the empties. I found that I need to aneal the cases about every 4 or 5 reloads. An old skillet filled with water to about halfway up the brass has worked for me. Heat just until I see a minor color change and tip the brass case over.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Oldncrusty »

Thanks for the article. Traded off my 7 1/2 in the 80s, and have been craving a short one for quite a spell.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

the 5-1/2 seems about right for its purpose. my main meat gun before the redhawk was a 10" SBH, which for all intents was a carbine without furniture. i switched to a DA because I couldn't see how I could properly manipulate the hammer if the bear was sitting on me with an arm in its mouth.

the things an active imagination can imagine when I know they're there, somewhere, watching me, and I can't see them or hear them.

hope you find the one you're looking for
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by piller »

I have never been in bear country. If I were to be in their country, I can see the piont in a double action. I do have a big double action that might work in a do or die situation where the bear was on me. I just don't think that most handguns are great at stopping things like angry bears. Last ditch effort, yes.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Grizz, hope you can get her running like a top. Back about 20 years ago I went fly-fishing near Wrangell, Alaska -- my only visit to that staggeringly beautiful state-- and brought along the 5 1/2-inch stainless Redhawk in a shoulder holster that held it up around the top of my waders. I loaded 340-grain LFNs over a case full of 296 for bear protection, and this load was just at the edge of manageable for me. Those 405s you are running must really push hard in both directions. These guns truly are tanks -- and wonderful tools for your intended use.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Sarge »

Again gentlemen, thank you. That old Redhawk shot so well I never worried about the throats. I understand that some of the 45 Colts had the Ruger Throat Curse and some others had their barrels over-tightened, causing thread choke.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by earlmck »

Thanks for posting that Grizz -- very interesting. And lots of other good stuff in the "journal".

I had almost forgot that my all-time favorite revolver (7.5" bbl Redhawk) did indeed require quite a bit of honing to get it to allow my .430" bullets to slide through. That was 30 years ago and I have forgot any specifics other than I spent quite a lot of time working on the cylinder. My baby was used when I acquired it and had a nice trigger from the get-go. I liked that Redhawk so well I bought a second in case I wore out the first. Unfortunately I got a Super Redhawk as my spare and although it likes exactly the same loads and shoots the same, it doesn't please my eyeballs as well.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by AJMD429 »

In college, a friend of mine who was 'practicing pharmacy' on his own, while I was borrowing tuition money so I could get trained to practice pharmacy legally, had so much money he could afford a brand-new Smith & Wesson Model 29, and boy was I jealous... :?

However, after finishing pharmacy school, then being weird and going to medical school, upon graduation from the latter, my family hosted a graduation party. A dear old friend (who taught me to shoot big guns like '03 Springfields and 1911's when I was in grade school) showed up and presented me with a Ruger Redhawk.... 8) 8) 8) WAY better than the S&W in my opinion, other than the 'cool movie gun' factor. Certainly stronger and more practical.
Last edited by AJMD429 on Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by CowboyTutt »

Grizz, your right, good article. Some of those 44 Mag loads are stout! Much more than I knew a 44 Mag could do. I'm a 45 guy myself and started with 45 Colt +P loads in my Blackhawk Bisley using a 360 grain WFNGC at about 1150 fps IIRC. I had the chambers uniformed and reamed to .452 because back then every Ruger in 45 Colt had tight chambers. -Tutt
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

+P loads in my Blackhawk Bisley using a 360 grain WFNGC at about 1150 fps
Hey Tutt! that load sounds like a souped up version of my 325gr load, which somebody told me "only" went 1100fps. LOL. Great hunting loads.

@ Bill . . . the 405 as I load them recoil milder than the 240gr white box standard 44 load. One time Blaine and Fred and Doug and Sureshot, and maybe Best Lever? were out plinking and I had the redhawk with an unsatisfactory home made peep sight blade, we walked the 405gr rounds into a largish gong at about 85+ yards, and once we had the hold figured out we hit the gong consistently. I think that was the time Doug didn't believe me when I told him the 405s wouldn't work in his Blackhawk revolver. He locked the cylinder somehow and had to disassemble the gun to get that round out. Smiling. That was also the time I responded to someone who said I could not duplicate a "famous ammo maker's" load by doing the water jug test shot over the chrono to prove that I could in fact duplicate the "famous ammo maker's" load.... lots of interesting trivia surround that 405gr load. almost no one believes it until they shoot it. then Blaine picked up a BFR 10" 45/70 and we were shooting my 525gr guide gun load out of his revolver. That's serious fun cranking those out!

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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by piller »

Big heavy bullets can be fun. The hunters back in the 1700s and 1800s used big heavy lead balls at moderate velocity and brought down game that still is hard to bring down with a single shot of any kind.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by 3leggedturtle »

Friend had a stainless barrel 5.5" was fun to shoot with 240 SWC's at 950-1000fps. He sold it and didnt even give me a chance to buy it. Grizz still like to try your 405 load once or twice. Todd/3leg
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

Sure thing. Swing by and we can make a day of it. In dry weather. :)
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

That's a really good article. I have to confess a fondness for the 5.5 inch barrelled Redhawk. I never learned to shoot it well though. Might have something to do with the trigger arrangement. But as a gun that was built for unlimited service with the .44 Magnum cartridge, I cannot think of anything more reliable.

I have only broken one part, a trigger stirrip came apart and I think there was a flaw in the metal. I bought a couple of spares that are still in the factory wrapper as I never broke another one.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by 3leggedturtle »

Grizz, just had a 5.5" stainless 44 mag Redhawk come in. Nice gun. Raining today or I'd probably go run a few rounds thru it.
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

ITS 5:56pm DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR 223 IS?
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I just picked up an older one in a trade that was too good to pass up. But I have had a number of these in the past and had difficulty shooting each of them well.

Might be that I was pushing them too hard though. I don't do that now.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by AmBraCol »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:10 pm
I just picked up an older one in a trade that was too good to pass up. But I have had a number of these in the past and had difficulty shooting each of them well.

Might be that I was pushing them too hard though. I don't do that now.
I've watched Rob Adams go through a pile of them over the years. Every time he picks up a new one I have to tease him about it. I've wanted one ever since I read an article in some gun rag back when they first came out, but somehow have never come across one when funds were available. Don't care for the Super variety, but the classic Redhawk just "looks right". Who knows, I might end up like Rob and just trade it on down the road. Someday I might get a chance to find out. :lol:
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Woodsloafer2 »

I had a 44 mag 7 1/2 inch Redhawk that was one of my best shooting guns. I decided I want something in the 5 inch range and sent it off to Bowen to convert to 45 colt too. It is my best shooting revolver. After reading this I am going to have to try some heavy bullets. I think I have some heavy cast left from my 454 days....
Bowen 45 Colt.jpg
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by CowboyTutt »

Woodsloafer2, that is a beautiful handgun for sure! I have often wondered about shortening my Ruger Bisley 5 1/2 to 5 inches as its just slightly too long, but still a good compromise in velocity and carry length. The current Hodgdon manual has lots of good recipes for 45 Colt +P loads that are safe. I think Buffalo Bore exceeds these ratings by a bit to get their velocities, probably getting into the 32000 PSI range which is still pretty safe, depending on the gun. If you have a choked up Ruger Super Black Hawk in 45 Colt with tight chambers or constrictions in the barrel, I think I would take the time to measure everything beforehand, uniform and removed choke points, and then enjoy the fruits of the 45 Colt +P loads. I'm guessing your Bowen conversion gun has had already had this all done. Very nice weapon my friend! -Tutt
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

3leggedturtle wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:13 pm
Grizz, just had a 5.5" stainless 44 mag Redhawk come in. Nice gun. Raining today or I'd probably go run a few rounds thru it.
Nice! will you reload for it? The cylinders in mine are too tight, still need to send it to Prescott for a little attention there, then hone the chambers, then hone the barrel, and Then check the performance. I expect to pick up around 100 fps doing all that. But when? I'm retired and never have enough time to do everything !! :lol:
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by 3leggedturtle »

No I talked some one else into buying it. I have a knack for letting people think they need a firearm more than I do!
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

ITS 5:56pm DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR 223 IS?
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

.430 bullets can be pushed through the cylinder throats on mine with a little effort.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

AmBraCol wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:38 pm
I've watched Rob Adams go through a pile of them over the years. Every time he picks up a new one I have to tease him about it. I've wanted one ever since I read an article in some gun rag back when they first came out, but somehow have never come across one when funds were available. Don't care for the Super variety, but the classic Redhawk just "looks right". Who knows, I might end up like Rob and just trade it on down the road. Someday I might get a chance to find out. :lol:
I agree with you. Particularly the 5.5 inch model. It just looks right. Unfortunately, I have the same malady that Rob has. I have probably owned 4 or 5 of them and I always hoped to learn to shoot them well. Maybe this time.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

Scott, did the chambers come that way? .43 cannot be pushed thru mine. I know the fix but first I need to get un-lazy and send the gun to the factory for the famous trigger/firing pin fix. I have one of the redhawks with a known defect. I can't fix the cylinder because Ruger might replace it.

I do not shoot it very well, and don't know why. It is very different from the SBH I bonded with. The redhawk came online as my sidearm late in my hunting years, and I have not shot it very much.

I plan to give it the Marshall Stanton treatment to see if I can get closer to his kind of performance with his redhawk. My Dad gave me the revolver, and I want to honor him and Bill Ruger with a high level of performance. I know that it can do much better.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Grizz wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:38 am
Scott, did the chambers come that way? .43 cannot be pushed thru mine. I know the fix but first I need to get un-lazy and send the gun to the factory for the famous trigger/firing pin fix. I have one of the redhawks with a known defect. I can't fix the cylinder because Ruger might replace it.

I do not shoot it very well, and don't know why. It is very different from the SBH I bonded with. The redhawk came online as my sidearm late in my hunting years, and I have not shot it very much.

I plan to give it the Marshall Stanton treatment to see if I can get closer to his kind of performance with his redhawk. My Dad gave me the revolver, and I want to honor him and Bill Ruger with a high level of performance. I know that it can do much better.
I recieved this gun used and it has been shot, but not abused. I cannot see anything to indicate that anyone opened the cylinder throats, but if they did a good job, I might not see any evidence. It looks like it may have come from the factory like this.

Unlike some of my Colts, the chamber throats all appear to be uniform as well. (I have a 3rd Gen SAA that I can push .430s through 5 chamber throats with no effort, but that sixth one would take more than just my thumb pressure).

I know that these can be shot very well. I remember when Lynn Thompson was killing hogs and buffalo with that 300 gr Hornady XTP factory load and he was really hitting.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by samsi »

I've had a couple Redhawks over the years, the blue 7.5" and stainless 5.5" .44's were both great shooters. My current one is a stainless 5.5 in 45 Colt that had to have been built on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon, as it has more than one malady. Tight throats (two at .450" before reaming), light strikes and a little hitch in it's step at times. Throats have been corrected but it still needs work to smooth it up. Shoots jacketed okay but have so far not found a cast load that does really well.

The 5.5" .44 was a spectacular shooter with a 300 gr LBT over H110. Never did anything to it beyond pulling the trigger.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by AJMD429 »

.

This will probably be my 'bear-defense' gun if I go out west to visit my son again. I think he's going the route of having a Glock 10 mm, bevause he finds it easier to shoot one-handed and easier to control with rapid repeat shots. Having about twice as many rounds available probably isn't silly either in that kind of situation.

I like revolvers better somehow, especially when I'm out in the woods, even though that's probably silly, and might be the difference that gets me to become a bear's dinner, but we all got to go sometime, and at least getting eaten by a bear wouldn't be boring... :?

Image

I have Pachmayr grips on it that are better suited to my long skinny fingers, and I have one of those Warren Custom Outdoor replacement rear blades that is an aperture so you have sort of a ghost-ring sight set up.

Image
(Stock photo of the The Ruger One Hole Sight™ on a Blackhawk)
https://www.warrencustomoutdoor.com/one ... ruger.html

The barrel is only four and a quarter inches long though, which doesn't seem to balance as nicely in my hand is a longer barrel, but I suppose if you're whipping it out hoping to avoid becoming dinner for a bear the shorter barrel might just be an advantage and being slightly less likely to hit or catch on something.
Last edited by AJMD429 on Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Grizz »

Samsi, is that an older redhawk? I have a notion the early stainless ones were a little inconsistent.
.
.
.
That's a handsome revolver Doc, what would your bear load be?
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by samsi »

Yes, it's one of those from the first batch of 45's around Y2k. Picked it up secondhand/used in '04, probably should've been suspicious as it was relatively cheap.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

The trigger on mine is heavy, but predictable and crisp.

I'll shoot it a bit before doing anything to it. Dry firing it several thousand times should help smooth things up as well.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

Mine shoots a bit high with my Skeeter loads and not too bad considering the weight of the trigger. That’s 7 rounds because I had an extra. Might need to file just a bit off the top of the rear sight blade.
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Re: 5.5" redhawk article

Post by AJMD429 »

Grizz wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:06 pm
That's a handsome revolver Doc, what would your bear load be?
I don't know yet. So far I've just used Buffalo Bore heavy-for-caliber ones of a couple varieties. The 45 ACP ones feel like 22's compared to the stout Buffalo Bore 45 Colts...!
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