Ruger Super Redhawk
|Place of origin||United States|
|Weight||1502 g / 53 oz / 3.3125 lbs (unloaded)|
|Length||194 mm / 7.62 in (2.5" barreled Alaskan)  330 mm / 13 in (7.5" barrel) or 381 mm / 15 in (9.5" barrel) |
|Caliber||.44 Magnum, .454 Casull and .480 Ruger|
|Feed system||6 shot cylinder|
|Sights||Fixed front and adjustable rear, with scope rail|
The Super Redhawk is a line of double action magnum revolvers made by Sturm, Ruger beginning in 1987, when Ruger started making weapons using larger, more powerful cartridges such as .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, and .480 Ruger.
The Super Redhawk was introduced late in 1987, in .44 Magnum with 7.5 and 9.5 inch barrel lengths. The final product used the same trigger design and same grip panels as the .357 Magnum GP100, but had a larger, stronger frame with integrated scope bases. The Super Redhawk received positive reviews, edging out similar offerings from Smith & Wesson in accuracy and price. To date, the Super Redhawk is still considered one of the strongest, if not the strongest revolver in production.
The Super Redhawk was only available in stainless steel with a number of finishes. The standard finish is brushed steel, with a semi-gloss look. Polished, high-gloss versions have also been offered, though this option is not currently available. Stainless steel one-inch scope rings are included, using the standard Ruger lockup common to all Ruger integral bases. These rings easily allow removing the scope from the handgun, without significantly altering zero, or eye-relief, once the scope is re-installed . The Super Redhawk uses different front and rear rings, with the rear ring being shorter than the front ring due to differences in frame height. Ruger Model 77 bolt action rifles also use a higher ring in the rear than in the front.
Despite plans to drop the Ruger Redhawk revolver with the introduction of the Super Redhawk, the original Redhawk (with the barrel thread lubricant issue corrected) remains in production as of 2015[update]. Many shooters prefer the more classic lines of the Redhawk, especially those who do not plan to use a scope. The Redhawk is also available with different barrel lengths, 4, 5.5 and 7.5 inches.
Versions of the Super Redhawk with 20 inch barrels were produced for the UK market with serial numbers in the 551-5xxxx and 551-7xxxx range. Model numbers were KSRH-21-357 (.357 Magnum) and KSRH-21 (.44 Magnum). Very little information about them is available.
Introduced in 1997, the Super Redhawk chambered in .454 Casull was the first six-shot revolver in that caliber. The Freedom Arms cylinder and numerous conversions only hold 5 rounds. To handle the extreme pressures of the .454 Casull without changing the design of the cylinder, Ruger used a different alloy and heat treatment process to increase its strength. The frame material is the same as standard Super Redhawks, but frame and cylinder are colored differently by use of a target grey finish produced by tumbling the parts in special polishing media.
The .454 Casull model is actually marked as ".454 Casull /.45 Colt", and is capable of shooting the slightly shorter .45 Colt rounds. The .45 Colt is a less powerful round to shoot, lacking the severe muzzle blast and recoil of the .454 Casull. The option of using .45 Colt expands versatility, reduces the cost of shooting, and reduces wear.
The year 2003 saw the release of Ruger's first cartridge, the .480 Ruger, developed for the Super Redhawk. The .480 Ruger is built on the same frame as the .454 Casull, and was introduced as a six-shot model. While the .480 Ruger is not loaded to the rifle-like pressures of the .454 Casull, the bigger (.475 caliber, 12 mm) bore allows the use of heavier bullets than the .454 Casull, making it a good choice for handgun hunting. The .480 Ruger operates at far lower pressures than the .454 Casull, making it more comfortable to shoot.
The standard Hornady 325 gr JHP .480 Ruger cartridge can produce a muzzle velocity of 1350 ft/s (405 m/s) and generates one-third more muzzle energy than the standard .44 Magnum cartridge, with substantially less recoil than other big-bore hunting handgun cartridges. The large, heavy bullet still offers excellent penetration for big game hunting. Although muzzle energy is below the .454 Casull, (energy figures are not the only, or the best method of comparing bullet effectiveness, as caliber and bullet construction are not taken into consideration), the .480 Ruger's larger caliber, and heavier bullet selection, offers Taylor Knock-out values (TKO) equal to, or better than, traditional .454 loads. This with less recoil, concussion, and muzzle blast, due to its lower operating pressures.
In 2007 Ruger temporarily ceased production of the .480 Ruger models due to fired case extraction issues and popular demand. The fired case extraction issues resulted from individuals loading cartridges to pressures that were not meant to be for the 480 Ruger cartridge. After analyzing the problem, Ruger decided to start fitting the .480 Ruger models with 5-shot, rather than the original 6-shot, cylinders. With this release Ruger also changed to Hogue Monogrip grips. After a period of a couple of years off of the line-up, Ruger re-introduced the .480 Ruger model, again with the original 6-shot configuration, as of January 2013. As with the current .454 Casull and .44 Magnum versions, it too now sports a "conventional" satin stainless-steel finish, along with the Hogue Monogrips.
The Super Redhawk Alaskan
Introduced in 2005, the Ruger Alaskan is Ruger's first short-barrelled, big-bore revolver, conceived by Ruger president Steve Sanetti and intended for defense against large, dangerous animals. The 21⁄2" barrel on the Alaskan ends at the end of the frame, and the scope bases are omitted. The interchangeable front sight is replaced with a pinned in ramp sight, but the adjustable rear sight is retained. The Alaskan is available in .44 Magnum, .454 Casull/.45 Colt, and .480 Ruger, with the .480 model originally a 6-shot, replaced in 2008 with a-5 shot model. All Alaskans feature a brushed stainless finish and a Hogue Tamer rubber finger groove grip, rather than the standard GP100 style. The .454 and .480 versions have an unfluted cylinder while the .44 Magnum features a fluted cylinder.
- "Ruger® Super Redhawk Alaskan® Double-Action Revolver Models". Ruger.com. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
- "Ruger® Super Redhawk® Double-Action Revolver Models". Ruger.com. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
- Taffin, John (2002) The Legend of Big RedAmerican Handgunner May/June 2002
- "The New Super Redhawk Alaskan Packs a Wallop!". Shootingtimes.com. 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
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- Video of operation on YouTube (Japanese)
- Ruger’s .357 GP-100 Revolver Considered a Modern Classic, Gun Week, by Jim Williamson