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I am not usually a proponent of short barrel magnum revolvers, but the new TALO limited production Ruger Redhawk may provide a good deal of utility for the hunter, hiker and fisherman. Yes, it is a relatively compact frame wrapped around a really big cylinder, but it is light to carry and it can put out some serious power, even with its short barrel. The table that follows places the TALO into context with other Ruger products. The Ruger Alaskan 454 was included as a revolver of similar size, but the next power level up in a short barrel revolver.

Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.
Model Number 5028 5026 5301
Type Double Action Double Action Double Action
Caliber .44 Magnum .44 Magnum 454 Casull
Capacity 6 6 6
Barrel Length 2.75″ 4.20″ 2.5″
Twist Rate 1:20″ RH 1:20″ RH 1:24″
Weight 44 Oz. 47 Oz. 44 Oz.
Overall Length 8.25″ 9.50″ 7.62″
Grips Altamont Hardwood Hogue Monogrip Hogue Monogrip
Hardware Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Frame Type Round Butt Square Butt Square Butt
Sights Adjustable W/E Adjustable W/E Adjustable W/E
Trigger Pull SA/DA 8.0 Lbs/11.2 Lbs. 7.6 Lbs./11.4 Lbs. 7.8 Lbs./11.0 Lbs.
Safety Transfer Bar Transfer Bar Transfer Bar
MSRP $999 $999 $1079

Compact… But like a small tank

While the Redhawk is a compact revolver, it has a very… beefy frame. Redhawks handle ammunition that tends to shake other brands loose and they are much thicker in the front and top strap than even the S&W N Frame. My personal carry revolver is a 45 Colt Redhawk 4″ that sees a steady stream of stout handloads.

The cylinder locks at three locations, as indicated above. Over the long haul, the Redhawk tends to stay tight, hold its timing, as well as acceptable cylinder gap and headspace.

Square versus round grip butt…

Discounting the extended grip on the standard Redhawk, left, the round butt grip is still shorter. The round butt back strap tucks in front and back rather than flaring out at the bottom, as is the case with the square butt frame.

The TALO has a good set of sights, white outlined fully adjustable rear and quick change front. The set up makes adjusting for various types of ammo, and subsequent shifts in point of impact, easy and these adjustable sights hold their settings under magnum levels of recoil.

Shooting personality… lots and lots of personality

The TALO Redhawk has quite a bark; something that is a trait of a short barrel 44 Mag and not unexpected. Recoil is sharp, but not nearly as… resounding as the .454 Casull Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan. The TALO is also a much easier revolver to shoot.

Ignore the bullseye; I never re-zero to adjust for point of impact shifts as I work my way through an assortment of ammo. The 270 grain ammo group measures 2″ for three shots at 10 yards, two hand hold and relatively quickly fired, which I think is good enough to get the job done. What is getting the job done?

Bear defense while fishing or hiking or exploring around a base camp. A good back up gun for a hunter. A terrific open carry gun while working rural property. Certainly more than enough for any other aggressive wildlife a person might encounter in the North American mountains or woods. While the Redhawk was designed to be a hunting firearm, not as a defense against human threats, the short barrel ballistics and short sight radius would tend to preclude its use as a primary hunting firearm. In a more quantified context –

Ammo Bullet Weight Rated
7.5″ Ft/Lbs
Redhawk 4.2″

HornadyCustom 180 1550 960 1556 968 1514 916 1457 849
Federal Classic 180 1610 1036 1516 919 1462 855 1382 764
Federal Fusion 240 1290 887 1330 943 1307 911 1275 867
Speer Gold Dot 270 1250 937 1222 895 1202 866 1080 699

What about home defense or concealed carry?

At last count, there were 42 types of ammunition for the 44 Magnum listed for those purposes. All have compelling features, but I think traditional 240 grain hollow points at 1,350 fps are a bit much, even if just for the problem of over penetration. There are, however, loads featuring a variety of bullet weights and types that are suitable.

Federal Personal Defense 240 grain Hydra-Shok utilizes a center post hollow point for assured expansion and a relatively low 1,150 fps muzzle velocity eases recoil and the problem of over penetration. Glaser Silver and Blue Safety Slug bump velocity to 1,600 fps, but drop bullet weight to 135 grain with encapsulated compressed shot. Penetration is reduced 5″ – 7″, recoil is diminished, as are the chances of ricochet. An alternative solution is to save the stiff loads for the woods and load up with 44 Special ammo for home and concealed carry duty; big bore effectiveness and a more manageable revolver.


The TALO 44 Mag Redhawk is a precisely manufactured piece of machinery, made in Newport, New Hampshire. Everything clicks and clacks as intended, and the cylinder locks up solidly within the frame. The sights are very good and the short barrel makes it easier to poke out there with one hand and shoot than many of the longer barrel big bores.

No .44 Mag is quiet, however, the short barrel may contribute a bit more to that attribute. Not a problem with ear protection, but definitely a conversation quasher without.

Recoil… not so bad. Recoil seems more like a quick rearward jab, with a distinct absence of a sky climbing muzzle. During the live fire portion load from 180 to 270 grains were fired without ill effects.

Round butt grip frame versus square… This one surprised me. I thought for sure the loss of grip real estate would make the TALO more difficult to control, but it did not. The grip actually seemed a lot easier on my hand and it did not feel in the least bit awkward while shooting.

Concealed carry? Not me, but perhaps a larger person or with a holster specifically designed for this hardware. The cylinder is 1.780″ across. Open carry? Not a problem.

Aesthetics? Nicely finished and good looking. Price wise, it is value. Better made than a less expensive Taurus and more durable than a more expensive N Frame S&W. It is a revolver that will provide a lot of service with little more than routine cleaning. Nice revolver.


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