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Introduced in 1979, the Ruger Redhawk is the result of a design collaboration of Bill Ruger, Harry Sefried and Roy Melcher. Unlike revolvers like the S&W Model 29, the Redhawk was designed from the onset as a hunting handgun. Subsequently, the design focus was on frame and cylinder strength and attributes that would be beneficial to a hunter. Yeah, I know, the gun is dirty.

A pretty spiffy design move…

Like traditional revolvers, the ejector is centered in the cylinder, however, unlike traditional revolvers the non-rotating ejector rod is shifted below the center of the frame’s axis, which allows for a 100% increase in frame thickness beneath the barrel.

The Redhawk’s cylinder is anchored aft at the center pin lock and forward where the spring loaded front latch locks into the gun’s frame. The Redhawk utilizes the two significant locking positions of a triple lock design, without the adding the unnecessary complications of a detent at the front of the ejector rod.

The Redhawk’s crane latch does not slide like other revolvers where inertia might cause it to open under recoil. It and the cylinder latch pivot to lock and unlock.

The Redhawk uses only one spring, the mainspring, to power the hammer and to return the trigger. The result is a less complex and more reliable assembly and a significant reduction in double action trigger pull. The standard spring rate is 17 lbs, but significantly lighter replacement springs work reliably.

Remove yellow disk before shooting…

The N Frame S&W and Ruger weigh about the same; 48.5 and 49 ounces respectively, but the obvious beef in the Redhawk is… well, obvious.

The top strap difference is enormous as is the front and lower frame and crane. The Redhawk’s scalloped recoil shield has a lot of mass where as the recoil shield on the S&W is surprisingly… slender. Much of S&W’s mass is in the grip frame where it will do little good. The N Frame is also a side plate gun which makes for a weaker frame than the Ruger. The Ruger’s cylinder stop notches are offset from the chambers to not compromise wall thickness over the chambers.

Kind of useful items

The Ruger Redhawk’s sights are excellent. Click adjustable, 3/4″ per at 25 yards, and they stay put. The site picture is crisp and the contrast between black aperture and red front sight insert is very good. I have changed them on my personal Redhawk, but end up changing them back. Packs of different color front sights are available from the Ruger Store and from outlets like Brownells in the event red is not your color of preference. The front sight is removed by depressing a spring loaded pin at the front of the gun’s sight base.

In a vacuum, stand still and hope for rapid earth rotation

Ruger Redhawk 44 Magnum

Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Cat # KRH-445
Type Action Double/Single
Caliber 44 Magnum
Mag Capacity 6
Barrel Length 5.50″
Rifling Twist 1:20″ RH
Weight 49.00 Oz
Overall Length 11.00″
Grips Hardwood
Hardware Satin Stainless
Trigger SA/DA 7 Lbs10 Oz / 11 Lbs 5 Oz
Rear Sight Micro Adjustable
Front Sight Interchangeable Inserts
MSRP $989.00

Nominal Weights & Measures

The Ruger Redhawk is a popular revolver. Not as large and heavy as the Super Redhawk and with perhaps a few less features like the mono grip system and scope mounts on the frame, but it is a great carry gun for hunting as a primary or backup firearm.

My personal Redhawk has a 4.20″ barrel and is chambered for the 45 Colt and personalized a bit with a lightened trigger pull and a set of custom grips. I carry it in a simple Galco holster I purchased from the Ruger online shop. I’ve had my gun in head to head competition with a Redhawk 44 Magnum with the same barrel length, so I am looking forward to seeing how this longer barrel 44 Mag shakes out. We’ll be back shortly with results.

Ruger’s Redhawk 44 Mag Part 1
Ruger’s Redhawk 44 Mag Part 2

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