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Ruger Redhawk 45 equals fun

This is a discussion on Ruger Redhawk 45 equals fun within the Range Reports forums, part of the Gunner Forum category; Have had so much fun shooting our Ruger Blackhawk Convertible 45 Colt/45 Auto that I figured it might be fun to add a double action ...


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Old 10-15-2016, 08:56 AM   #1
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Ruger Redhawk 45 equals fun

Have had so much fun shooting our Ruger Blackhawk Convertible 45 Colt/45 Auto that I figured it might be fun to add a double action with the same capability. That, and I've developed a liking for the 45 Colt, which is a new cartridge for me, even though I've been shooting revolvers all my life. Never too late to try something new, I guess.

Found the perfect gun in the Ruger Redhawk 45 Colt/45auto and it really is the perfect choice for me because I love any Ruger Redhawk. Here it is, 4.2" barrel and a fiber optic front sight which I added (the quick change front sight feature on the Redhawk is nice to have).


So how does one shoot both the 45 Colt and the 45 Auto in the same chamber, you ask?

To begin, the Redhawk is chambered for 45 Colt. It's pure 45 Colt, through and through, and can handle the hottest 45 Colt ammo you can buy. I bought it, specifically, because it is a 45 Colt and that's what I would recommend you do if you buy this gun. The fact that it can also shoot 45 auto is an add on bonus.

Next, you shoot 45 Auto via moon clips. The cylinder is cut for moon clips and you must use moon clips with the 45 Auto as you'll quickly discover when you drop a 45 Auto round in the cylinder without moon clips.


Note that these are moon clips made specifically for this Redhawk. They are thinner than standard moon clips. Other moon clips, specifically S&W moon clips, will not work because they sit the cartridges too high for the cylinder to close. Ruger supplies three moons with the gun, but you can buy more from Ruger, which I recently did.

One more feature that sets this Redhawk apart from other Redhawks is the round butt grip. It reminds me very much of the classic S&W magna grip. Like that grip, it is designed with carry in mind, both for concealment and for drawing, quickly. Fell in love with this grip the moment I picked up the gun. Very comfy with standard 45 Colt loads, but I suspect it might not be the best with hot 45 Colt loads. Will try hot 45s at some point, but I bought the gun to shoot standard 45 Colt loads, anyway. (When I need magnum Redhawk performance, I turn to my Redhawk 44 mag with the big Hogue grips.)


How does this dual 45 Redhawk shoot? Hey, it's a Redhawk! That also means the usual beautiful Redhawk DA trigger and the DA trigger is a big reason I love Redhawks. In fact, I do more DA shooting than SA shooting when shooting a Redhawk. After all, why buy a double action revolver with a great DA trigger and then shoot it mostly in single action?

First, the 45 Colt, since this is a 45 Colt, revolver, after all. Yup, very little difference in accuracy between SA and DA.





Next, the 45 Auto. Accuracy is certainly adequate for practice or even self-defense, but tends to be more erratic. After all, that 45 auto bullet has a long jump to hit the chamber throat and moon clips are not the most secure way to hold cartridges. Still, now and then I can pull a nice group as with this one shot in SA to test accuracy. As an added bonus, the thinner Ruger moon clips are easy to load and unload by hand. No special tool needed.


On a more negative note, aluminum case 45 auto does not reliably work in this gun. I was getting light hits and failure to ignite with one or two rounds in every moon clip. My theory is that the light aluminum case rounds give and bounce on firing pin impact. The good news, here, is that brass case 45 auto has been completely reliable, but, as with any moon clip setup, you must be careful to load the clips, properly.


One thing I've learned with this gun is to bring plenty of ammo. It's actually spooky how quickly I can burn through a box of fifty 45 Colts or 45 Autos with this gun. Very, very hard to stop shooting this 45 Redhawk once I start.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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I loved my 44 mag Redhawk it was the only 44 mag I could reach the trigger to shoot DA till S&W made the model 69 . I'm a hand loader and taming a 44 mag to 44 special or 45 Colt to 45 ACP spec is no problem for me . That gun shoot super good .

Last edited by tx gun runner; 10-15-2016 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:57 AM   #3
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The only Redhawk, and only .44 Magnum, I ever shot was at an indoor range around 1980. Guy handed it to me to try. I made it through the six rounds, and promised myself, "Never again". I can manage .44 Special, but no hotter. I don't even like .357. I think .45 Colt would be somewhere between .38 and .44 Specials? I've never shot it.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:11 PM   #4
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The 45 Colt covers one of the widest ranges of loads in a handgun cartridge, so you really have to be specific as to the load.

Cowboy loaded 45 Colt ammo is very mild, yes, similar to 38 Special, but, even so, I can tell that I'm sending a much larger chunk of lead downrange with the Colt.

Some of the standard 45 Colt loads compare with 45 Auto, but the 45 Auto does have more of a snap to it, with the Colt more of a thump. Can definitely tell the difference. Some target 44 Specials fit in, here, too.

Even without going to Ruger only 45 Colt loads, you can get some warmish 44 Special and 45 Colt loads that are still safe to shoot in Colts and Colt clones or mid-frame Ruger Blackhawks. Remember, both of these were the magnum pistol cartridges in their day. Both cartridges at this level of loading have been used, successfully, for big game hunting. The 44 Special, in particular, has lived in the shadow of the 44 mag for so long, now, that it doesn't get the respect it deserves, but that's another story. Staying on topic, this hunting load level is probably where I'll call it quits with this particular Redhawk.

Lastly, there are mind-boggling "Ruger, only" 45 Colt loads that get you up close to 454 Casull country. I could shoot these in the Redhawk - the gun can easily handle them - but I would likely have to change the grip for the sake of recoil management and the grip is one of the reasons I bought this gun.
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:33 PM   #5
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Another beautiful addition to the collection. I really like the grip on this one.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RetiredSeabee View Post
Another beautiful addition to the collection. I really like the grip on this one.
+1
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Old 11-08-2016, 03:49 PM   #7
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On our last range trip shot mostly 1911s and I do prefer not to mix types of handguns in one range session, but for whatever reason took along the Redhawk 45. After all, was shooting the 45 auto with the 1911s.

Here's a target that I think does a good job of illustrating the difference in accuracy between the 45 Colt and the 45 Auto in this gun. Using a self-defense rate of fire in DA, you can see that the 45 Colt is definitely the more accurate of the two cartridges in this gun. Group size is almost half of the 45 auto. The 45 auto in the Redhawk would certainly be adequate for self-defense, but as her my initial observation, this gun is really a 45 Colt that can shoot 45 auto in a pinch or for practice. Not sure why the windage varied between the two. Maybe the difference between shooting lead in the 45 Colt versus jacketed in the 45 auto?


Also, when it comes to rapid fire accuracy, my DA revolver skills have a long way to go to catch up with my rapid fire 1911 skills. Making me rethink my choice of carry gun for bad guy work. SA shooting with the Redhawk is very comparable to a 1911, though. and I do enjoy the way that old traditional 45 Colt cartridge shoots. Way different than the feel of the 45 auto.

Last edited by north country gal; 11-08-2016 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:26 PM   #8
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it certainly is one sharp looking revolver.

MY last experience with a redhawk was ancient and i mainly remembered it was a knuckle buster.

the RB configuration is quite interesting and different. Wondering about aftermarket grips.

thanks for the heads-up about the exclusive ruger only moons. I have given this gun some thoughts but my interests lies in the opposite direction as in shooting more ACP than colt rounds. This is definately a different animal than a 625 Smith as she is a colt first and an acp 2nd.......

IT would appear that the poa/poi was not that significant going from colt to the acp. I had seen a bad experience with a friend's convertible blackhawk that was a tad squirrely with elevation.
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Old 11-12-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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I like the round butt. My 44 mag is SB and shoots well but suspect the RB would fit my hands better. How do the 45 Colt cartridges load. Do you need the clips for them as well?? Just looks like they would be uneven without something.
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Old 11-12-2016, 06:58 AM   #10
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Deputy, I've also been exploring the grip issue. If you check out my latest post, Thoughts on the Redhawk, the rb grip has become an issue for me. Also, given that the 45 Colt and the ACP are two very different cartridges in character, changes in POI are inevitable. Have even noticed changes in windage POI when switching back and forth. POI change is just a fact of life with any gun designed to shoot two different cartridges. Adjusting sights is a constant thing with such guns.

If you are primarily interest in shooting the 45 ACP, the Redhawk is a poor choice. Accuracy with the 45 auto barely justifies having to mess with moon clips. On the other hand, I STRONGLY recommend the Blackhawk Convertible for a dedicated 45 auto shooter. Mine is very accurate with either the Colt or the Auto and the Blackhawk is much cheaper and easier to find than a 625 Smith. No messing with moon clips, either, with the Blackhawk.

Terry, just drop in the 45 Colt loads as you would with a standard Redhawk. You only need the moon clips with the 45 auto. Other than the round butt, the gun is a standard Redhawk 45 Colt cut for moon clips.
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by north country gal View Post

Lastly, there are mind-boggling "Ruger, only" 45 Colt loads that get you up close to 454 Casull country. I could shoot these in the Redhawk - the gun can easily handle them - but I would likely have to change the grip for the sake of recoil management and the grip is one of the reasons I bought this gun.
They buck a bit! Got the Buffalo bore version.....love to shoot an elk with em someday!
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:23 AM   #12
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Dennis, see my recent post, Thoughts on the Redhawk. Yup, had to try some of the 45 Colt +P. Ouch!
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:59 AM   #13
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Lol! Ouch is the word!
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