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John in AR 10-23-2019 04:43 PM

Most versatile revolver..?
Wanted to share some thoughts on what may be the most versatile revolver I’ve found - the Ruger Redhawk in .45LC and .45acp (introductory model 5032 and later model 5050). Had this less than a week, but the little bit I've used it (230-grain 45acp ball, 200-grain lead 45LC handloads, and Barnes 45LC copper HP's), has been completely good. Haven't chrono'ed anything out of it yet.

On why I consider it the most versatile revolver I've encountered, first the not-so-uncommon things.
· It’s a normal DA/SA action, so it has the speed of DA use and even accepts speedloaders, while allowing precise SA use for hunting or whatever use may require precision over speed.
· It has a 4.2” barrel, so it’s big enough for woods or duty use while still being concealable in a pinch, at least if you’re a big oaf as my sons and I are. (The round butt of this particular model helps in this regard.)
· It’s stainless steel, so it’s very forgiving of environmental extremes.
· Its calibers (45Colt and 45acp) and its construction make it suitable for factory-available loadings with power levels from 200 to 1200 ft/lbs; all with no adapters or chamber inserts.

Then the more unusual things:
· Use of rimless cartridges in moonclips means even faster reloads than rimmed cartridges with speedloaders.
· Being built on Ruger’s tank-like Redhawk frame & cylinder mean it can take handloads up to more than double the pressure of 45acp ammo and more than three times that of standard pressure 45LC ammo. (I’ve seen published Redhawk-only data up to around 50,000psi or so, but that neighborhood is substantially further than I’d personally pursue things.)
· But the biggest contributor to versatility imo, is due to having the over-done strength of the Redhawk build, combined with the fact that it can use both rimless and rimmed cartridges. After looking into some load data and SAAMI pressure info, it turns out that those things combined make it capable of using any & all of the following calibers:

45Colt standard & ‘cowboy’ loads,
45Colt ‘Ruger-only’ loads,
45 Super,
460 Rowland,
451 Detonics,
45 Win Mag,
450 SMC (Triton),
455 Webley revolver (actually uses a .454 lead bullet which is fine in .45LC barrels),
and likely some others.

Now, am I going to mess with all those oddball calibers? Absolutely not. I don’t even remember the last time I saw some of those calibers available anywhere. But between rimmed ammo, rimless ammo, rabbit-appropriate loads, bear-appropriate loads, snakeshot loads, etc; I can’t help but admire the versatility inherent in the silly thing.

Now if they would only come out with a similar concept GP-100 in .357/9mm with a 3”-4” barrel, I’d be seriously tempted by one of those as well. Consider being able to use .357 Magnum, .38 Special, 9x19, .380acp, and possibly some others (maybe .38super, 9x21, 9x23, 356TSW, 9mm Win Mag, .38 long colt, 9x25 Dillon, 9mm Federal Rimmed…?) in a single, simple handgun. Oy.

John in AR 10-23-2019 04:45 PM

Obligatory porn...

Moonclips for rimless cartridges, and speedloaders for rimmed:

I've had folks maintain adamantly that S&W N-frame speedloaders won't work in the Rugers. They're mistaken:

On my older Super Redhawk, both the HKS and Safariland speedloaders work fine. In this one, due to the grip dimensions, only the HKS work, but I can live with that. Odds are, I'll someday replace the grips with more practical Hogues or something, but these aren't bad for loads that aren't horrifically hot, and frankly I just think they're so stinking pretty.

Garand 10-24-2019 03:19 AM

I own a number of revolvers. My favorite to shoot is a Stainless Ruger "Original" Vaquero in .44 mag with a 4.62in barrel. For the most versatile, I'll have to go with my S&W 4" M66. In the bush as protection against large animals the Vaquero will work better, in the jungle against 2 legged predators, casual shooting and low level competition shooting I'd go with the S&W M66.

BigBassMan 10-24-2019 10:16 AM

Any of them!

Terry G 10-24-2019 03:54 PM

Nice looking revolver. .45 ACP and .45 Colt my two favorite cartridges. That was a great score, John.

John in AR 10-25-2019 06:35 AM

I'm not sure if I'll bother with any outside-the-box loadings for it or not; standard 45LC and 45acp stuff are pretty good nowadays.

But I'm a huge enough fan of moonclip-fed revolvers that I'm mentally debating using .45 win mag brass to emulate .45LC loadings in a rimless cartridge. I love the rimless with moonclips, and the 45 win mag brass is so much closer to 45LC case volume (91%, vs 64% with the acp), that it would allow getting close to "ruger-only" 45LC loadings with substantially lower pressures than the acp can do, in a round that would still allow moonclip use. It would also ensure that none of those ruger-only-level loads inadvertently found their way into my other guns that can't safely handle them.

Not sure if I'll pursue it since it would mean new loading dies (and I haven't done any loading in a while anyway), but the idea keeps scratching at the back of my brain...

John in AR 10-25-2019 07:12 AM

[QUOTE=Garand;294331]I own a number of revolvers...[/QUOTE]
Same here, and while they'll never be as combat-capable as a semiauto, most of my shooting simply isn't combat. Frankly, right at zero percent of my shooting is combat, and I hope it stays that way.

Having more than one gun in 45LC is why I'm considering the .45 win mag brass approach for the Redhawk-only stuff. I have other guns in 45LC, and some of them simply couldn't safely take those loads. Using 45 win mag brass would be a way to keep those loads specific to that gun. Not sure if I'll do it; certainly not something I'll do anytime soon.

[QUOTE=Terry G;294339]Nice looking revolver. .45 ACP and .45 Colt my two favorite cartridges. That was a great score, John.[/QUOTE]
I'm a huge fan of the .45LC round. From elk-appropriate loads down to mouse-fart loads and snakeshot loads, all with no adapters needed. If I could only keep two centerfire handgun calibers, it would probably be 9mm for defensive use and 45Colt for most everything else. A 45Colt snub with the first two chambers loaded with shot loads accompanies me now whenever I"m mowing or doing yard work, due to our copperhead population. (The other three chambers are normal loads, largely due to our other wildlife populations.) That said, everyone's situation is different; there could be much better choices than 45 Colt for a city dweller.

On the Redhawk in the pics above, I went ahead and ordered a set of inexpensive Hogue grips for it - the ONLY rubber grips I found for it. The wood ones are nice, but the rubber will be more practical.

Garand 10-26-2019 06:58 AM

I own Ruger "Original" Vaqueros in both .44 Mag & .45LC, but if I'm using any form of defensive or hunting load I think I would prefer the .44 mag for the revolver. As for mouse fart loads with a .44mag, try 4.0 grains of W231 pushing a 240 grain LSWC for about 600-650 fps, very accurate. As for a semi auto, at one time, years ago, I owned 12 semi autos, 11 were in .45acp and 1 was in 9mm.

Dorobuta 10-28-2019 01:36 PM

My Grail revolver would be a stainless in .41 mag with a decent length barrel for hunting use.

John in AR 10-29-2019 09:46 AM

I don't recall the last time I saw a .41 magnum; it's been quite a while.

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