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From: gmk@falstaff.MAE.CWRU.EDU (Geoff Kotzar)
Subject: Redhawks
Organization: Case Western Reserve University

In article <> C08926RC@WUVMD.Wustl.Edu (Rob) writes:
1) What's the difference between the Ruger Redhawk and the Super Redhawk?
   I know the frames are different; is there any functional difference?
   What are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other?

The grip frame of the Super Redhawk would allow the use of a wide variety
of grip configurations if you found the factory grip not to your liking.
Second, is the weight, the SHR is a couple of ounces heavier than the RH
but the weight is distributed a little better for damping recoil -it is
out closer to the muzzle. Most importantly though, if you plan to mount a
scope, is the difference in scope location. The RH mounts the scope over the
barrel which again aids in damping recoil by increasing the moment arm but
makes it harder on the wrists to hold the gun steady for long strings. The
SRH mounts the scope over the cylinder.

2) Also, how do these compare to the S&W 29/629 and the Colt Anaconda?

If you limit the discussion to the S&W 029/629 Classic series of guns, the
comparison becomes easier. If you use iron sights, the S&W guns are better:
they use a plunger locked front sight similar to the RH/SRH which allows you
to change them easily and S&W offers a much superior selection of factory
option sights. You can get various heights for different ranges/loads in the
Patridge configuration -a square face target type- as well as Baughman ramp
patterns with a couple of different color faces. Furthermore, the S&W sights
are better suited to target use than Ruger's are, they produce a 'finer' sight

The Classic series of guns are also drilled at the factory for scope mounts.
The mounts however are not included in the package. Burris makes a very fine
set of rings and bases for the Classic S&W's; just make sure you get the ones
for the Classic's as they have a different hole pattern from the rest of the
Burris bases. This is another area where the S&W's have an advantage: all of
the barrel lengths are available drilled for scopes. So if you like the look
and feel of a 5" barreled gun you can go with it and still put a scope on it
for hunting. Not so with the Ruger's, as only the 7.5" and 9.5" barrels are set
up for scope mounting. The S&W's also have better single action trigger pulls
in general. Both company's guns require the attention of a gunsmith to have
decent double action trigger pulls. Again this is a generalization. If you
plan to do any double action shooting the Smith triggers also have to be
modified. They are too wide -.400" target types- and need to be narrowed as
well as have the face smoothed, something not necessary on the Rugers. For
target work and hunting you would ordinarily shoot single action making this
last a small to totally irrelevant point.

One area where the RH and SRH are clearly superior is strength. In the past
the 29's and 629's would shoot loose when used continuously with full power
loads -240/250gr bullets at 1450 to 1550 fps and 320gr bullets at 1375 to
1425 fps- but the Classic series of guns are supposed to incorporate some
modifications to correct this. Even so the Redhawks and the Supers are still
stronger but for any practical applications this is a moot point. Unless your
plan is to become one of the 1/100th or 1/1000th of 1% of all handgun hunters
that tackles coastal grizzlies or cape buffalos with a handgun and no backup,
there is nothing that you are going to hunt that will require a load beyond
the capabilities of the S&W guns.

Bill Wilson of .45 Auto fame has hunted all over the North American, African
and Austrailian continents using .44 Mags and has revised his thinking about
what kind of loads are required. He no longer recommends gun straining loads
but rather, for even the biggest game that is appropriate for handgunning, his
load is a 300 gr hard cast flat point at the rather moderate velocity of 1300-
1350 fps. These velocities can be achieved at very moderate pressures as well.
J.D. Jones supplied pressure tested data with the 328 gr JDJ bullet mold I got
a while back and 1300 fps can be realized at pressures around 30-34 KSI in 7.5
inch barrels depending on the powder used. If you reload but don't cast you
can obtain the bullets from Wilson or Cor-Bon; if you want loaded ammo you can
also get that from Cor-Bon or Garrett Cartridges. And all of this is pressure
tested ammo at standard pressures that are not abusive to the gun (the shooter
is another matter).

Do not let strength considerations affect your choice of pistol. When Elmer
Keith and his contemporaries were shooting 5-600 full power loads a year
they had no problems with the original Model 29 design; when silhouetters
started shooting 5-600 rounds a week the guns would shoot loose after a while.
The new revised designs are visibly beefier in the region of the lockwork and
should hold up much better than the original design.

I have no personal experience with the Anaconda so I cannot comment. The same
applies to the Dan Wesson's.

3) I'd like to purchase a .44 down the road, mainly for target shooting
   and possibly hunting, and would probably be mounting a scope.  What's

My recommendation for a new rig would be an S&W 029 or 629 Classic or a
Classic DX -the DX package contains a second grip as well as many of the
auxiliary sights but S&W does not say that it includes a trigger job so
I don't think it is worth the money- with a 5 or 6 inch barrel. The 8.375
barrel is just too dang long and won't buy you much of an increase in
velocity with many loads. As far as I know there are only two scope makers
that produce a mount specifically for the Classic hole pattern: Burris and
Tasco. Leupold claims in their literature that their mount fits but the one
I got did not. Not even close. My choice was the Burris. As for a scope, a
2X Burris or Leupold would be ideal for big game out to 100 yards. If you
planned to hunt varmint sized animals a 4X would be better but I suspect
you would want to use a rest of some sort. The new Simmons 2-7X variable
might be a good compromise; J.D. Jones reports that he has yet to break one
on his handcannons so it should be strong enough for use on a .44 mag. It is
a little more expensive than the two fixed power scopes and a little heavier.

Without the scope, you would have a gun with target or near-target grade
sights and you could change the front one to suit your tastes after you shot
with it for a while. The single-action trigger pull would be good enough
for anything but competition and the shorter two barrel lengths would allow
you to shoot it one-handed if you chose. The round butt grip frame is better
suited to the average sized hand than the original design and there are a
number of aftermarket grips available, either off-the-shelf or custom models,
that would allow you to tailor the grip to your needs. The Hogue that comes
on the gun is not bad but I am not fond of finger groove grips and I don't
like the feel of the rubber that Hogue uses but that is purely subjective.
Now the Hogue wood grip without finger grooves is another matter all together.
Very nice, very comfortable, and handsome to boot.


Garrett Cartridges          Three basic loads for the .44 Mag. A 285gr Flat
P.O. Box 178                Point, a 310 SWC, and a 320 Flat Point. They cost
Chehalis, WA 98532          $40.00 per 50 with a $5.00 shipping fee. The two
                            300's are loaded to about 1300fps from a 6" barrel.
206-736-0702                They penetrate like the dickens.

Wilson's                    Hard cast 300gr .44 bullets of bevel base flat
Route 3                     point design. From what I have been able to tell
P.O. Box 578                it is a very accurate design. The seating depth
Berryville, Arkansas 72616  is slightly less than the JDJ design so you can
                            use J.D. Jones' loading data for his 320gr bullet.
501-545-3618                The last batch I bought ran $49.35 delivered for

geoff kotzar      

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