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>> Ruger Revolvers :: By Bill McConnell on 2001-01-30
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No matter how many times you look at Ruger's Super Blackhawk and Redhawk in their catalogs, you just can't predict all the differences between these 2 fine handguns. The obvious fact is the Redhawk is a double action and the Super Blackhawk is a single action. The Redhawk is bigger, heavier and bulkier. Whereas carrying a 5 " Super Blackhawk is a relative pleasure. Carrying a 5 " Redhawk lets you know that there is a big piece of steel on your hip. That is not just useless steel for the weight, though. The cylinder on the Redhawk is .050 thicker in diameter and is also .050 longer. One of the obvious differences is the Redhawk will take longer bullets. Beartooth has special "long cylinder" bullets (the same is true here for the Redhawks in 45 Long Colt). This means the Redhawk can handle bullet noses protruding from the case up to .500 in length. The Super Blackhawk will accept bullets protruding from the case up to .450 in length. The advantage, for example is an LBT 325gr WLN that is designed with a .450 nose length will take up more space in the case than a 325gr Long Cylinder WLN designed with a .500 nose length. This means the Redhawk gives us a bigger combustion chamber. That allows us to burn more powder but at similar pressures. In actual practice Beartooth does not make a 325 Long Cylinder WLN. They do, however, make a similar and massively effective 325gr Long Cylinder Medium Nose. Net effect is about 100 fps more velocity, more powder in the case, and definitely more recoil. Most of the time with LBT bullets, that extra 100 fps is not needed as much as wanted. It's still a lot of fun, though! When all is said and done, the Redhawk can, with Long Cylinder bullets, rival some of the velocities of the 5 shot expensive handguns that do not accept Long Cylinder bullets.

The Super Blackhawk is very strong; the Redhawk (and Super Redhawks) are even stronger. While it is not too smart to load up to the max strength of the gun, you do get a bigger margin of safety. Other factors that add up to greater strength in the Redhawk are a bigger frame, no screws holding the gun together, unified frame/grip and front/rear cylinder lockup. This is over-design at it best.

Now before we throw away all our Super Blackhawks, remember that they have a lot going for them. They are very strong and very dependable. They carry great and shoot great. You get a lot more choices of sights and barrel lengths with the Super Blackhawk family. The Super Blackhawk is available in a couple of versions with the Bisley grip. The Bisley grip eats recoil like an 8 year old eats candy bars. I never heard about such traits in the Redhawk grip.

So, you make a choice and spend you money. I own examples of both and greatly enjoy them both. Which one is better? That's for you to decide!

God bless and good shooting...... Bill McConnell

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