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Old August 25, 2013, 07:02 PM   #1
feets
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Ruger Death Match part II: long winded conclusion

This wasn't a death match in a violent way. In fact, the only thing tortured was my emotions. In truth, it was a showdown between the Redhawk and the Super Redhawk. The victor gets to rule the roost while the vanquished finds a new home.

The 454 Super Redhawk came along because I wanted a double action 45 Colt that was strong enough to handle any of my hand loads. I worked the action, stuffed a fiber optic sight on it, and started wringing it out. I've run it with irons and optics. It's a good shooter but it never quite fit me the way I wanted.

When I stumbled upon the 45 Colt Redhawk at a good price, I brought it home. It has a few flaws and will probably go back to Ruger for replacement when they ramp up production of this exact model again. Still, it seems to fit me well. To even things up a bit, I worked the action and it turned out a bit better than the (very nice) Super.



Believe it or not, these two beasts are so close in weight I'm not sure if there is a difference. There is a difference in balance. The Redhawk sits squarely in the hand with a bit of nose weight while the Super carries it's heft much further forward. In that way it helps mitigate recoil of the rather lively 454 load. It also helps to tame the punch of heavy Colt fodder easier than the closer to neutral Redhawk.
To me, the biggest difference is in the handle. The Super is wearing it's factory Hogue grip. It does a fine job of hanging onto your hand while the Sorbothane insert softens the impact of recoil. It's deeper narrower profile fits many people well but doesn't feel "right" in my fairly long hands. Strangely enough, it fits my left hand better than my dominant right side.
The Redhawk's standard hardwood grips are wider than those on the Super and allow me to get a better purchase on the gun. That goes just as well for either side.

Today was a range day and these two sixguns were the star attraction. Both of these guns have proven that they're better shooters than I am so today's focus wasn't on accuracy. It was all about feel.
After limbering up with some 38 special through the 15-2, I went straight for the big bores.
Obviously, neither one of these hog legs are going to rattle my fillings when running Trail Boss or the MagTech cowboy loads. While running something of this nature, the lighter nose weight of the Redhawk makes the gun easier to handle and follow up shots are cake.
You would think that stepping up to a stiff Ruger-only Blue Dot load would tilt the tables more in favor of the Super's forward weight bias. However, it simply wasn't needed. The heft of these two revolvers absorbed much of the recoil. Again, the Redhawk balanced better for me.
Both guns recorded similar hits at 15 yards and they each scored an equal number of hits on a 10" plate hanging at 50 yards. Performance is a wash.
There were a few shooters in attendance today. Each had their own preferences for one gun or the other. Still, the decision is mine and mine alone.

The Super Redhawk is one of the toughest revolvers on the market. There aren't too many six guns chambered for high pressure loads like the 454. The nose heavy balance and synthetic grip help to reduce the felt recoil for the shooter. It's a good gun and far more accurate than I am. After careful work, the trigger is nice in both single and double action.

The Redhawk is no slouch. While it's not rated for nuclear level loads like the Super it's plenty strong for any published (and many non-published) 45 Colt load. It's wearing much of it's weight forward of the trigger but isn't quite as nose heavy as it's big brother. The action responded beautifully to my efforts, giving me a smoother double action than the Super and a just as clean but heavier single action pull. The fat wood grips do a better job of filling the hand.





Advantage: Redhawk.

My deepest heart-felt apologies go out to the Super Redhawk. It's not you. It's me.

When it comes to guns of this quality we don't own them. We're simply caretakers until the next generation takes over. For the Super, the next caretaker isn't too far away.

Last edited by feets; August 25, 2013 at 07:47 PM.
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Old August 25, 2013, 07:32 PM   #2
mk70ss
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Excellent write up. My Redhawk .44 mag is the only gun I truly regret selling. It was a 5 incher that had been Magnaported and an action job that was flawless.
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Old August 25, 2013, 09:16 PM   #3
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Totally entertaining story!

Me, I get hung up on aesthetics a lot. I do fully realize that look isn't "everything" and in some (rare) cases for me, look doesn't even mean that much. I could give examples, but the bottom line is... I *DO* get hung up on look, especially when I have to *gulp* compare two guns to each other and *GULP* pick.

Those grips on the Super just disgust me. I can't express what I feel when I see Hogue rubber revolver grips. And these things are now hanging off new Ruger's -AND- Smith & Wesson revolvers. I'm startin' to think the CEO of Hogue has pictures of gun makers in compromising positions with farm animals or something.

Oh, they work. They feel good and they eat recoil, no argument. They just look horrendous to me. Put a set on the passenger seat and they could make a whole Ferrari look ugly.

The Super Redhawk all on it's own is a "love it or loathe it" kind of look with that whole massive frame/barrel transition. The Redhawk with the beautiful wood looks -FAR- better.

Anyhow, I'm just reading a story and looking at pictures. I don't have the chance to do the range day, so I'm going with what I see.

In that vein, I think you made the right pick!
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Old August 25, 2013, 10:10 PM   #4
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I have to agree with Sevens... I completely understand a need for extra metal on the Super, but they got to come up with better esthetics! That square design of the extension of the frame from which the barrel extends is a complete turn off. IMHO Ruger could do a better design job across the entire double action line. But while SP, GP and Redhawk look passable, Super is just something strange looking. Again: purely esthetic view, I do recognize that Ruger are one of the best and toughest revolvers out there...

P.S. Thanks for the review, great wright up!
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Old August 25, 2013, 11:18 PM   #5
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Have you thought about putting the 454 cylinder in the Redhawk?

Even if you don't load over 32k psi you can fit some whopping big hunks of lead with a 45Colt case into a 454 cylinder.

Just an idea.
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Old August 25, 2013, 11:59 PM   #6
feets
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I've thought about trying that swap just to see if the cylinder would line up.

However, since it will be going away I will only tear it down one last time for a good cleaning and to swap out the holycowthat'salighttrigger spring to something a little more main stream. The next owner can put the crazy light spring back in if they want.
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Old August 26, 2013, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
That square design of the extension of the frame from which the barrel extends is a complete turn off.
Same here. It might be very practical in terms of added strength and/or affording a superior area in which to mount a scope but subjective aesthetics count for me too and I don't think I could ever warm up to the looks of the Super's frame extention.
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Old August 26, 2013, 01:33 PM   #8
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Some "weird" looks can really grow on you. I struggle with that look... I can't decide if it's odd & I like it, or if it's too odd and I hate it! Some things occur to me, however.

1) It makes things look UBER-STRONG! I don't know if that's reality, but that's the look it wants to give, IMO

2) I cannot stand the look of the integral mounts

3) ...but if I wanted to put an optic on it, I can't imagine a better way than exactly what Ruger came up with

4) ...but then again, I really don't like an optic on a handgun, especially the appearance of one

5) ...but for a working tool for a specific hunting purpose, I'm totally on board

6) ...no cheap scopes apply, because the forces acting on them from a big bore handgun are catastrophic!
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Old August 26, 2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Some "weird" looks can really grow on you. I struggle with that look... I can't decide if it's odd & I like it, or if it's too odd and I hate it!
I hear you! I am a fan of weird. Hey, I am one of those guys, who like the look of Rhino! I am actually considering getting one... But to me it either has to be something completely "off the wall", like Rhino, or something classic, like Model 19 or Model 29. Super seems to be stock somewhere in between: it looks nothing like a classic revolver, yet not futuristic enough to be a Star Wars kind of gun... Oh boy, I think I keep bashing a perfectly fine gun just because I don't like the way it looks. I better shut up
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Old August 28, 2013, 03:25 PM   #10
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I had no idea they made the redhawk in .45! The redhawk is a beautiful gun...The super redhawk not so much.
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Old August 28, 2013, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
I had no idea they made the redhawk in .45! The redhawk is a beautiful gun...The super redhawk not so much.
Many don't realize it because Ruger just doesn't make alot of them. To be honest it kind of get's me PO'd because they advertise the gun on their website yet it's just about impossible to get one. I have been looking for one for a while, and whenever I have the money for a new gun it's nowhere to be found.
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Old August 30, 2013, 10:24 PM   #12
amd6547
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I'm somewhat torn about the Hogue grip.
Recently, I bought a 3" GP100. I immediately planned to replace the Hogue grip with the original compact Lett GP100 grip of the older models, which is more suitable to the 3" barrel.
But, I shot the revolver for the first time last week wearing the Hogue. All ammo was 357 magnum. I had one of my best range visits ever, and did some my best shooting. The Hogue grip came into its own while shooting. Slow SA shooting at the 25yd bullseye, or rapid DA shooting at metal plates, it didn't matter, the Hogue felt great.
I have since gotten a great deal on the compact OEM grip on eBay, and have mounted them on my GP...
They also feel and point well. And, they certainly make the revolver more compact. But, as good as I shot using the Hogue, I will be very interested to get the new setup to the range. The Hogue may be going back on.
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