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Old April 10, 2009, 06:28 PM   #1
SwampYankee
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Redhawk in 45 Colt Long

I am trying to pick up a Redhawk in .44 Mag but have not had much luck finding a reasonably priced 4" or 5.5" barreled revolver in stainless. There do appear to be a few in .45 Long Colt available. I plan to reload exclusively and I know that the .45 Long Colt can be loaded comparable to .44 Mag. Can the Redhawk fire these heavy loads? I have read that the Blackhawk can do it but I've never seen any comments about the Redhawk. I have read that the S&W in .45 Colt cannot handle heavy loads as they are manufactured differently than the S&W .44 Mags. Any insight into the Redhawk?
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Old April 10, 2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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The Redhawk, if anything, is stronger than the Blackhawk. Definitely at least its equal.

The cylinder length is longer in it and allows for longer seating of a given cartridge than a comparable Blackhawk or Super Blackhawk.

I've fired some mean H110 loads from my redhawk pushing 300gr bullets and I just don't have a use for that type of power down here in AZ... but the Redhawk can push 330 or even larger bullets as a result of that extra cylinder length.

Granted, both mine are in .44, but the .45 ones are reported to be quite sturdy too.
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Old April 10, 2009, 06:59 PM   #3
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Bowen Custom converts the Redhawk to .454 Casull and .50 Linebaugh. The Redhawk should be able to handle hot .45 Colt loads. If you're gonna reload the .45 Colt should be an excellent choice for you. I don't know how experienced you are as a reloader but use common sense as always. People have blown up Redhawks, Super Blackhawks, and Freedom Arms by going too far.

http://www.bowenclassicarms.com/NEW/RugDAbigbore.htm

Oh, BTW azredhawk44 here be my Redhawk 5.5" .44 Magnum. I could have gotten a used S&W 29-1 for the same price but I liked the Redhawk better. The trigger? I don't know what people are complaining about. At least as far as recent Rugers go this trigger is better than a S&W 686P and 60 I bought in the last 2 years after some dryfiring with snapcaps. And its as strong as an ox. Very happy with my choice. And as you can see I got the Hogue bantam grips they put on the 4" version. The grips are working out perfectly for me.
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Old April 10, 2009, 08:30 PM   #4
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I bought a 4" KRH-444 in Feb. I had a difficult time locating one locally. I ended up ordering it from here http://www.midwesthuntersoutlet.com/item.aspx?pid=68004
I was nervous about buying it online, but everything went smoothly. I had it shipped to a ffl dealer and he charged $25 for the transfer. He told me it was excellent price. I saved a little because I did not have to pay sales tax on it. I would recommend them if you are having trouble finding what you want.
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Old April 10, 2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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As pointed out the Redhawk cylinder is longer than the BH. I have a load that will push a 360gr bullet @ 1400+fps. Much like Buffalo Bores +P+ for the 44 this is a +P+ for the 45 colt. It will easly handle the +p for the BH.
It is still bewildering to me why Ruger dropped the 45 in 5.5" and 7.5" then brought out the 4"
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Old April 11, 2009, 03:05 AM   #6
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Just a couple of details

Truly, there is no such cartridge as the 45 Long Colt. That is nit-picking, true, and even Colt's Manufacturing has bent to the popular misnomer and used the name occasionally, but the Colt 45 Revolver chambers the ".45 Colt" cartridge. Some people call it Long to distinguish it from the shorter .45 Schofield, which has the same chamber dimensions as the 45 Colt except for the Schofield being a shorter cartridge and a wider rim. The Schofield does fit and fire in the 45 Colt chamber just like the 44 Special chambers and fires in the 44 Magnum chamber.

The 45 Colt can be loaded NEARLY as energetically as the 44 Magnum. The 44 Mag is SAAMI spec'ed at higher pressure than the 45 Colt. But the 45 is a larger bullet. So, even though the 44 Magnum has more energy, the 45, with its greater mass and frontal area is often a more effective round. Energy may shred flesh, but MOMENTUM breaks bones.

There are many people up here (Alaska) who prefer the 45 Colt to the 44 Magnum for protection from Grizzly Bears and even the Kodiak Browns.

My first Redhawk was a 5.5" and I have no use for a 4" 44. A 4" 45 would be better if I were stuck with 4" barrel. But I like the slightly superior velocity out of the longer barrel and the much greater accuracy available by having a longer sight radius. 4" ain't bad, but my other Redhawk 44 is 7.5" and both my Super Redhawks (44 and 454 Casull) are 7.5". 9.5", to my mind, is a bit of overkill, but 4" does not take full advantage of the cartridge volume.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ;SwampYankee
I am trying to pick up a Redhawk in .44 Mag but have not had much luck finding a reasonably priced 4" or 5.5" barreled revolver in stainless. There do appear to be a few in .45 Long Colt available. I plan to reload exclusively and I know that the .45 Long Colt can be loaded comparable to .44 Mag. Can the Redhawk fire these heavy loads? I have read that the Blackhawk can do it but I've never seen any comments about the Redhawk. I have read that the S&W in .45 Colt cannot handle heavy loads as they are manufactured differently than the S&W .44 Mags. Any insight into the Redhawk?
So, here's my insight.

You will not regret a Ruger in either chambering.

When you bargain with the seller, make the most of the "superiority" of the 44 Mag to knock the price on the available 45 Colts. You will not be undergunned with the 45 vs the 44, except the 44 can shoot flatter farther. For terminal ballistics, I used to think the 44 was top dog, but am getting educated to appreciate the bigger bullet theory.

All the above is predicated on following the second piece of advice: Reload.

44 Magnum ammunition is available in a lot of different loadings. 45 Colt, not so much. If you want the best ballistics the cartridge is capable of, learn to load your own. Most ammo makers load the 45 Colt down a bit so people don't blow up the S&W and replica single action revolvers that are not as strong as the Blackhawk, Redhawk, Super Redhawk, Thompson Contender, Freedom Arms and BFR revolvers strong enough to take the higher pressures.

If you don't reload, the limitation of ammo choices available changes my advice towards the 44 Magnum.

Cheers and good luck

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Old April 11, 2009, 07:10 AM   #7
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Truly, there is no such cartridge as the 45 Long Colt.
Well, yeah, actually there is. You can buy ammunition so marked and guns so marked & chambered. You can find reloading and pressure specifications for it. You may believe that the designation has arisen from a misconception, but there's absolutely no question that there IS such a cartridge today.
Quote:
Some people call it Long to distinguish it from the shorter .45 Schofield, which has the same chamber dimensions as the 45 Colt except for the Schofield being a shorter cartridge and a wider rim.
There's more to it than that. According to Elmer Keith in Sixguns there was a short .45 round sold around the WWI timeframe by Remington made to chamber in .45 Colt revolvers. He differentiates the Remington short round from the .45 Schofield but says that the round might have worked in the Schofields though he never tried it.

He stops short of saying that it was actually called the .45 Short Colt but clearly states that's the reason that people call the .45 Colt the .45 Long Colt. It should also be noted that for the most part he refers to the .45 LC simply as the .45 Colt throughout the book.
Quote:
Bowen Custom converts the Redhawk to .454 Casull and .50 Linebaugh. The Redhawk should be able to handle hot .45 Colt loads.
I know that the poster didn't mean to imply this, but just in case it doesn't go without saying, the fact that the Redhawk can be converted to .454 Casull does not mean that .454 Casull level loads are safe in an unconverted RedHawk.
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:19 AM   #8
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Two good reviews of the Ruger 4 inch 44mag and 4in 45 colt on this site
http://www.dayattherange.com
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:41 AM   #9
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JohnKSa, You are absolutely correct. The 45 Long Colt name has stuck with us right or wrong.

As for a Ruger Redhawk I find them to be great revolvers. If you are a reloader(And You said you are) This is the 44 Mag for you. I have had I think 7 or 8 of them over the course of my life and regret selling any of them. Now I have a 5.5" and 7.5" in 44 a 7.5" in 41 and a 4" in 45 COLT. You can load the snot out of them and they can take some serious abuse but you still have to be careful with them. Even a tank can be knocked out with enough explosive force. Where the Redhawk shines is with the heavy bullets. I have loaded up to 405gr bullets in mine(Beartooth Bullets 405 WLN DCG http://www.beartoothbullets.com/bulletselect/index.htm). I really like the 5.5" 44 Mag as it combines the portability and power of the Redhawk into the perfect package. They are getting hard to find for under 500 bucks now. Keep an eye on the used guns out there. I almost exclusively buy used guns. Most have not been shot much and they are a better deal normally.

For reloading here are my favorite powders:
H110
2400
unique
AA5
Trail Boss
Favorite Bullets for hunting:
310gr Beartooth
280gr Beartooth
255gr Beartooth
Favorite Bullets for shooting:
245gr KT Cast Lyman mold
240gr Win Swagged lead with Trail Boss for plinking

*I don't shoot Jacketed bullets or Store bought bullets at all in my 44's.

One other thing; The Redhawk gets better with age. The triggers seem to get smoother as time goes on. I have found that the Blued guns are a little more smooth than the S/S. My 7.5" in blued and scoped. Its my Primary hunting revolver other than my T/C. I do most of my Big Game hunting with a Pistol. Good luck on your quest.

You cannot go wrong with a Redhawk!
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:48 AM   #10
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You can't really go wrong with either Redhawks. I've fired 325 Buffalo Bores in my 45 LC Redhawk with no problems. Just have to make sure that the scope rings are tight. Now I use a handload with 240 grain Hornady XTP bullets. This is suppose to be a good round for deers. The top bullet in the picture is the 325 grain BB and the bottom bullet is the 240 grain Hornady. Any Redhawk is a great pistol.

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Old April 11, 2009, 10:27 AM   #11
Gun 4 Fun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Well, yeah, actually there is. You can buy ammunition so marked and guns so marked & chambered. You can find reloading and pressure specifications for it. You may believe that the designation has arisen from a misconception, but there's absolutely no question that there IS such a cartridge today.
I rarely disagree with you John, but you are wrong. Just because people keep using the incorrect term for the cartridge doesn't give make it correct. Any ammo or gun maker that uses that designation is bowing to this popular misconception too. There was an arguement going on another forum I frequent, about this subject. Their point was that if Colt now calls it that, then the name has been changed.

I called Colt and asked them about this. Their answer was no, the correct name is .45 Colt, but that they started using long colt to distinguish between it, and the .45 ACP when chambered in a Colt 1911, when someone called with a question about service or parts. They told me the correct term has always been and is still .45 Colt. The round was originally named .45 Colt, not the gun, which was the model P or peacemaker.
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Old April 11, 2009, 10:46 AM   #12
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The Ruger Redhawk will take loads far above what a Blackhawk will take. I've posted this here before. There is an article in Handloader number 217, June 2002 by Brian Pearce. It is on hand loading the .45 Colt to different pressure levels according to gun strength. It is in my opinion, the best article ever written on the subject, and anyone who is interested can obtain a back issue from Wolffe Publishing.

In the article, Pearce lists loads that are running 50,000 PSI for the Redhawk and F/A 83. I thought it was a misprint and wrote to him to ask about it. He wrote back that, no, it wasn't a misprint, and that he regularly used those loads in his Redhawk.

I just sold my Redhawk .45 Colt a couple of weeks ago. I even had it posted in the classifieds here. I have owned a couple of Blackhawks, and one of those was while I owned this Redhawk. The outside chamber walls of the Redhawk are much thicker than those on a Blackhawk, and the bolt notches are much farther off to the side on the Redhawk's cylinder. The notches are almost always the weakest spot on a cylinder.

Big Red will take some incredible loads and just shrug them off. It is far more comfortable to shoot with warm handloads than the Blackhawk as well.

The .45 Colt in either the Redhawk or Blackhawk will handle loads that will far surpass anything in .44 mag in actual killing power as well as energy (which isn't any realistic way to measure a rounds effectiveness on game). Before all you .44 mag fans want to fire off some posts about your favorite load, or those from BB or Garrett, let me say that I like the .44 and own some. If you want some good reading on the subject, comparing the two rounds, read John Linebaugh's site-

http://www.customsixguns.com/writings.htm

For more comparing the .44 to the .45 read this-

http://handloads.com/articles/default.asp?id=12
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Old April 11, 2009, 02:44 PM   #13
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About a year or so ago, I asked Lane Pearse which is stronger, a Blackhawk or Redhawk in 45 LC. Lane is a neighbor, the Reloading Editor of Shooting Times and also a Ruger expert. He said the question is academic because, if one is building up a load, the 45 LC case will blow before either the Blackhawk or Redhawk. Either the primer pocket or the case wall near the head will go first. Either Blackhawk or Redhawk will take more than the 45 LC cases. Bill Ruger designed them that way.

Having voiced the above, one could make a bomb out of any revolver where everything goes. I'm assuming that everyone uses some discretion in load development for any revolver.

Also there are some cases out there heavier than a standard 45 LC case. If I remember right some 454 Casull cases are made stronger and one could cut these off for use in a 45 LC, but then the Darwin effect would take over.
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Old April 11, 2009, 03:03 PM   #14
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A bud let me shoot his 45 LC Redhawk. He had the thing loaded hot. It was down right unpleasant to shoot.

The Redhawk can take it, and with a gun as strong as a Redhawk, you can create loads that will blow the top strap off a Colt Single Action Army.

As an all around round, the 45LC is an excellent round. With a 255 L at 850 fps, it is an excellent self defense round. Loaded to magnum levels, well, anything hit with it will be a hurting.
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Old April 11, 2009, 03:24 PM   #15
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I thought that I better add one point, the 45 LC case originally was sized for black powder. With today's powders, one can easily double load a 45 LC case. When this happens, everything goes, especially the cylinder and backstrap. If one is lucky, they'll be left with the grip, the trigger assembly and their fingers. If you handload 45LC, be extremely careful about double loading a powder charge.

45 LC is a great cartridge and I have handloaded from 165 grain to 300 grain bullets in 45LC. I like this round so well, that I've picked up a few.



Before someone burns me, I'm not saying 45 LC is the "best" revolver round. I've loaded for 38-40, 44-40, 44 Schofield, 44 Russian, 44 Special, 44 Mag, 45 ACP and 357 Mag among others. They're all good. Here's a nice Blackhawk/ Vaquero in 38-40.



Never seen a Blackhawk or Redhawk that I didn't like. It's raining here, so things are slow. I don't use the term "45 LC" to agitate anyone, but just to separate from "45 ACP." Just an old habit.
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Old April 11, 2009, 04:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Just because people keep using the incorrect term for the cartridge doesn't give make it correct. Any ammo or gun maker that uses that designation is bowing to this popular misconception too.
The first thing is that there is a good reason for the designation to have arisen. Elmer Keith provides it.

The second thing is that every official source you want to look at (reloading handbooks, ammo makers, industry standards, firearms makers) all list the round under that designation.

Again, one can argue about whether the designation arose from a misconception or not, but saying that there's no such round is like arguing that what we call automobiles today are not really automobiles because they would have to be powered by steam in order to meet the original definition.
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Old April 11, 2009, 04:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wleoff
About a year or so ago, I asked Lane Pearse which is stronger, a Blackhawk or Redhawk in 45 LC. Lane is a neighbor, the Reloading Editor of Shooting Times and also a Ruger expert. He said the question is academic because, if one is building up a load, the 45 LC case will blow before either the Blackhawk or Redhawk. Either the primer pocket or the case wall near the head will go first. Either Blackhawk or Redhawk will take more than the 45 LC cases. Bill Ruger designed them that way.
I know who Lane pearce is, and I have nothing against him, but if he told you that the .45 Colt case will blow before the guns, he's full of bean soup. When HP White Labratories ran destruction tests on the Blackhawk, and Super Blackhawk, the super Blackhawk blew at about 80,000 CUP, the Blackhawk a little over 60,000 CUP. The gun, not the brass. The Redhawk went up to around 95,000 PSI by the way, still the gun, not the brass. When Dick Casull was working up loads for the .454, he used standard, plain jane .45 Colt brass. Some of his proof loads were well over 100,000 PSI.

So, either way you choose look at it, the guns are brutally strong.

All safety precautions regarding reloading should always be adhered to, with data used from reputable sources. The .45 Colt will kill anything that walks in this country with loads that fire a 300-360 grain bullet, and fired at 1100-1350 FPS. Nothing more is needed, and all of these types of loads are safe in either Ruger model.

Last edited by Gun 4 Fun; April 12, 2009 at 03:44 PM.
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Old April 11, 2009, 04:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
The first thing is that there is a good reason for the designation to have arisen. Elmer Keith provides it.

The second thing is that every official source you want to look at (reloading handbooks, ammo makers, industry standards, firearms makers) all list the round under that designation.

Again, one can argue about whether the designation arose from a misconception or not, but saying that there's no such round is like arguing that what we call automobiles today are not really automobiles because they would have to be powered by steam in order to meet the original definition.
The first point I have read several times. Keith wasn't stating it as fact. He was speculating as to where the term probably got its start.

I own several S&W guns chambered in .45 Colt, not .45 LC. It doesn't say that anywhere on them. My Ruger Redhawk said .45 Colt. My Blackhawks said .45 Colt. I haven't looked at a new Colt SAA, but according to the man I talked to on the phone, they still stamp their guns .45 Col. There's a reason for that. That is the official name bestowed upon the round when it was developed.


The fact that people continually abuse the correct title by saying Long Colt will never make it the proper name. The last I knew it was entered into SAAMI as the .45 Colt. Trying to argue there's a legitimate reason for the name because a long time ago, soldiers had to distinguish one round from another by saying they needed .45 Colt ammo "The long ones, not the short ones" is a waste of time. It'll never make it correct.

I fail to make the connection with your last comment. What a vehicle was, or is powered by, doesn't change what it is, nor does it make it necessary to call it something different simply because it might run on water or petroleum based products.
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Old April 11, 2009, 05:26 PM   #19
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When HP White Labratories ran destruction tests on the Blackhawk, and Super Blackhawk, the Blackhawk blew at about 80,000 PSI. The gun, not the brass. The Redhawk went up to around 95,000 PSI by the way, still the gun, not the brass. When Dick Casull was working up loads for the .454, he used standard, plain jane .45 Colt brass. Some of his proof loads were well over 100,000 PSI.

This conversation, for me, is over. When you start talking about 45 Colt brass going to 100 KPSI or even 80 KPSI, someone will get hurt listening to this. Have a nice day.
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Old April 11, 2009, 06:06 PM   #20
Gun 4 Fun
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You need to type less and read more. Look at the post above.

The pressure data was supplied only in regards to your post about brass blowing. If it aint true, or you can't back it up with facts, then don't post it. I never suggested anyone ever try to duplicate those types of loads.

When people keep perpetuating the myth that .45 Colt brass is week, it does everyone in our sport a disservice. I always try to post with facts , and not just my opinion. If that bothers you, that's on you, not me.

Last edited by Gun 4 Fun; April 11, 2009 at 06:12 PM.
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:04 PM   #21
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Gun 4 Fun hit the nail on the head. The big Redhawk's capabilities far exceed those of any other factory .45Colt, except the Freedom Arms guns. Although I must admit, its advantages are really only appropriate for very serious purposes. Standard bullet weights up to 1200fps handle 99% of what needs doing.

Lane Pearce's statements make him lose even more credibility with me than he already had. It's total horse hockey. Dick Casull did indeed develop the .454 using .45Colt brass, pushing 260s'@2000fps in his custom built five-shooters. The current crop of custom five-shots are run almost as fast, at levels that will cause problems for the Redhawk and definitely for the factory six-shot guns. So in short, Lane Pearce ain't no sixgunner or Ruger expert and needs to go back to school.


Quote:
This conversation, for me, is over. When you start talking about 45 Colt brass going to 100 KPSI or even 80 KPSI, someone will get hurt listening to this. Have a nice day.
How do you figure that enlightenment is ever a bad thing??? I don't see how a little information will get anybody into trouble that wouldn't on their own. No one has even remotely suggested loading to that level. Reading the Linebaugh article, one would note that the working pressure is half the level that destroyed the guns. You're being a little silly.

Quote:
Bill Ruger designed them that way.
I wonder where he would've come up with this foolishness???


Quote:
The second thing is that every official source you want to look at (reloading handbooks, ammo makers, industry standards, firearms makers) all list the round under that designation.
This is simply wrong. There is very little official use of "Long Colt". Of the books I have at my desk, they all use the ".45Colt" designation. The only guns I know of that are marked so are those built by Gary Reeder. Colt has certainly never stamped "Long" on a sixgun. The rest are marked ".45cal" or simply and correctly .45Colt. IF there ever was a .45 Short Colt it is so obscure that we are still arguing over whether or not it ever existed so there is absolutely no reason for the "Long" counterpart.

Last edited by CraigC; April 11, 2009 at 07:24 PM.
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:34 PM   #22
Gun 4 Fun
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Well said CraigC!
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Old April 11, 2009, 07:56 PM   #23
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1+ for Craig C.
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Old April 11, 2009, 08:35 PM   #24
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I don't much care whether you call it a .45 Colt, Long Colt or whatever; it's a hell of a fine cartridge and I'll still know what you're talking about. Sorta like my (Old) Vaquero in guess what.....45 Colt.

But on the original topic- I don't know this Lane Pearce fella but my opinion is lining up with CraigC's- probably a frightening thing for both of us On the other hand, Layne Simpson has forgotten more about the upper limits of Redhawk strength than most of us care to know.

Years ago, Simpson worked up a bunch of heavy-bullet .44 Mag loads, strictly for the Redhawk & Super Redhawk. These featured 300+ grain bullets and unprintable amounts of H110 or W296, made possible by seating the bullets out long, to take advantage of the Redhawks' longer cylinders. The end product was a Shooting Times article called "The 10.9mm Ruger Magnum".

I was on a 'heavy bullet .44' kick about that time and was looking to break 1300 fps from my old 5 1/2" Redhawk, with a 300 grain LBT and XTP bullets. I achieved that, one grain short of Simpson's published data. Both loads would plant a cylinder inside 4" at 100 yards.

So if you're asking if the Redhawk will handle heavier loads than the Blackhawk, the answer is 'Yes'- with a caveat. It'll handle longer loads than a Blackhawk, which means that a very careful loader can create a little extra powder space by tweaking his OAL with bullets that'll allow it.

Powder space is hardly an issue with the .45 Colt and existing published 'Ruger Only' load data provides ample power for anything walking North America. If you want more than that, my suggestion is to just get a .454- or a .45-70.
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Old April 11, 2009, 08:45 PM   #25
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I knew there was something wrong with Lane "Pearce" when I typed it but I haven't read ST in so long I couldn't remember his last name. My brain ain't the steel trap it used to be!

Still, he might be Redhawk-smart but he's .45-retarded.

Last edited by CraigC; April 11, 2009 at 08:59 PM.
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