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Discussion Starter #1
I've been fastidiously researching .44 Mag lately, vacillating between SA and DA, primarily Ruger. I've reached the point of diminishing theoretical comprehension.

My LGS has a Redhawk (model 5004)- it is gorgeous, feels balanced, and is .44 Mag (the caliber on which I've conclusively decided for woods protection).

How different is the build strength of this Redhawk vs. the Super Redhawk and Super Blackhawk? Is the "regular" Redhawk capable of shooting hot .44 Mag loads? Candidly, it's not a great question as I'd be using .44 Special at the range and would only load heavy .44 Mag in the woods, hopefully never shooting anything with them.

As stated in the opening, I'm now learning less, the more I research. Please set me straight. Do I go with the "in-my-face" Redhawk, or do I order and wait for the SA Super Blackhawk (I love SA so it's not a concession).
 

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I went through the same exercise and here's what I learned.

Garret and Buffalo Bore both make heavy for caliber 44 Magnum and list the handguns. Garret lists the Redhawk and Super Redhawk; BB lists all 3 of the handguns you are considering. So, in my humble opinion, any of the three are strong enough to get the job done.

The action in the Redhawk differs from the SRH. The SRH design is similar to the GP100.

One thing that the Super Blackhawk offers on certain models is the Bisley grip frame. I can say with confidence that this grip design makes shooting heavy loads a pleasure and is well worth considering.

If that Redhawk has a good price on it, I say go get it!
 

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For what your intended use is I would say try em on and go with what feels right as they are all capable of your intentions and well beyond
Good luck
 

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If the Redhawk is there then get it. At least you have it. Then order the SBH and now have both. If order time is lengthy then can have some fun while waiting. I have a Redhawk 7.5" and it is very accurate in both SA and DA. They will both shoot anything including Buffalo's 44 Mag +P.
 

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Strength wise, You will break or yield before any of the three revolvers will.

I agree with the opinions on the Bisley grip Blackhawks. That was my first 44 mag, and I was starting to think all the hooplah about the power and recoil of the 44 was nonsense. I could comfortably shoot a few dozen of any load I threw at it with no problem...

Then I tried a few other models and couldn't wait to get back to the Bisley grip (though the Hogue Tamer on the SRH is pretty great too).
 

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If the Redhawk is there then get it. At least you have it. Then order the SBH and now have both. If order time is lengthy then can have some fun while waiting. I have a Redhawk 7.5" and it is very accurate in both SA and DA. They will both shoot anything including Buffalo's 44 Mag +P.
Yep, that's what I did, except I got the SBH 7.5" first and then got the 4.2" Redhawk about a year later. Of course, I also had to pick up the snub-nose Super Redhawk Alaskan as well. Makes for a nice trio of .44s with a good range of barrel lengths, 2.5", 4.2", 7.5".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

To me, the Redhawk .44 Mag grip shape looks like a modified Bisley- it looks and feels a little better than the BH grip, to me.

This darn thing is calling to me, after I'd decided I wanted SA. But as my LGS guy told me yesterday, "The great thing about this country is that you can buy more than one gun!" (at least for now).

My father-in-law is also advocating for the Alaskan. I guess woods carry is mostly dependent on the carry rig. For me, I'm deciding between cross draw waist or shoulder/chest- I'm sure a shoulder/chest rig makes the most sense. Either way, I'll go with a longer barrel first because I do want to do some range shooting with this gun.
 

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As others have noted all three will take the loads. The cylinder on the Redhawk and Super Redhawk/Alaskan has a bit more metal in it. The cylinders can be switched between the Redhawks and Alaskans (with fitting of course). Some have fit a .454 Casull cylinder out of the Super to the Redhawk and they have held up. In the years past before the Alaskans some gunsmiths fit heat treated cylinders for the .454 to Redhawks. Supposedly, they are the strongest of all the .44 mag double action revolvers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good info.

I'm not likely to switch cylinders as I wouldn't feel confident messing around with it. Good excuse just to get another revolver!
 

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I prefer a double-action revolver for woods defense carry. I prefer a single-action revolver for hunting. Either the Redhawk or Super Redhawk will work for your intended use. My woods conceal carry revolver is a 4" S&W 29-2 .44 magnum. My woods open carry revolver is an 8" Colt Anaconda .44 magnum. My hunting revolver is a 10.5" Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum. My grizzly bear country carry gun is a 7.5" Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull that also shoots hot .45 Colt rounds. If I could only own one revolver, it would be the .454 Casull for ammo versatility.
 

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The Super Redhawk and Redhawk have a larger diameter cylinder than the Super Blackhawk, and knowing that the cylinder is the weakest link in a revolver, TECHNICALLY the Super Redhawk and Redhawk are stronger than the Super Blackhawk.

HOWEVER...

The Super Blackhawk's simple solid mainpin design as a single action is more durable against frequent use and excessive battering.

So the SRH and RH are the stronger models, the SBH and BH are the more durable.

Either will swallow a steady diet of SAAMI maximum loads for many, many years without shedding a tear. Both will also tolerate some "ruger only" loads that might be a little over-spec as well, although it's not necessarily pertinent to load these.
 

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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

To me, the Redhawk .44 Mag grip shape looks like a modified Bisley- it looks and feels a little better than the BH grip, to me.

This darn thing is calling to me, after I'd decided I wanted SA. But as my LGS guy told me yesterday, "The great thing about this country is that you can buy more than one gun!" (at least for now).

My father-in-law is also advocating for the Alaskan. I guess woods carry is mostly dependent on the carry rig. For me, I'm deciding between cross draw waist or shoulder/chest- I'm sure a shoulder/chest rig makes the most sense. Either way, I'll go with a longer barrel first because I do want to do some range shooting with this gun.
Not a Bisley grip at all. It's hard to explain. I do love the Redhawks though.
 

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The Super Redhawk tops the list as far as strength, however as mentioned above you will wear out before they do.

 

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To me, the Redhawk .44 Mag grip shape looks like a modified Bisley- it looks and feels a little better than the BH grip, to me.
Not a Bisley grip at all. It's hard to explain. I do love the Redhawks though.
Tater hit it on the head - the Redhawk grip is not a Bisley style grip at all!

I suppose one could comment that the incredibly skinny neck of the Redhawk likens the ORIGINAL (not Ruger) Colt Bisley Target Grip, but that's where the similarity stops.

The Ruger Bisley grip offers the most real-estate of any Ruger single action frame, with the highest grip position, largest grip neck, shortest reach behind the trigger guard, and most open hand position.

The Redhawk, alternatively, has about the SMALLEST that Ruger offers on any of their revolvers (maybe the Bearcat is smaller - but the SP101 doesn't feel smaller in hand). When drawn on paper, the Bisley grip LOOKS like it has a more vertical grip position, more similar to a DA, but when you actually have it in hand, you will roll your hand up on the grip, opening your wrist angle away from the bore, so in hand, the wrist position for the two are very different.

Other than the Hogue rubberized grips on the SRH's, the Bisley is the biggest grip with the most open hand position. The Redhawk grip necks often feel tiny in hand, and of course, being a DA, the trigger reach is very, very different.
 

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I have that exact model (44 RH with 5.5in barrel) although I have replaced the wood grips with Pachmayr Presentation grips, changed out the mainspring with Wolff and put hammer and trigger shims in it.

My 5.5 inch 44 RH will shoot a 355 grain Beartooth bullet (BTB) at 1221 fps avg, a 325 grain BTB at 1324 fps avg and a 300 grain BTB at 1389 fps using lots of H110.

It'll handle the hottest loads that Buffalobore makes for 44M with no problems.

It's a very strong gun.

If you're serious about a woods/bear gun, you should forget the 44 Specials, buy a reloading press and chronograph and learn to reload 44Mag. Start with 1000 fps loads, then 1100 fps loads, then 1200 fps loads. Work your way up. Order some cheap 240 gr and 300 gr bullets from Missouribullets.com and practice, practice, practice. I shoot my RH at the range every week, but only 5 cylinders (30 rounds) spread out over 2 hours each time.

If you don't reload, Buffalobore sells a 340 grain +P+ load that they claim does 1401 fps from a 5.5 inch RH. That'll kill any T-Rex you may encounter in the woods. I have some of their ammo (in 45Colt, not 44M) and it's good stuff. The problem is that it's expensive to practice with.

To answer your question about RH vs SRH vs SBH, in 44Mag it shouldn't matter. They are all built to handle 44M 36Kpsi pressures, as well as +P pressures (usually about 40Kpsi). The RH and SRH MAY have a slightly longer cylinder allowing for longer (heavier) bullets. I don't have an SBH so I can't measure this. I can load 355 grain bullets in my RH and still have some room at the end of the cylinder. Beartooth makes a 405 grain bullet which is crazy long but would probably fit in a RH or SRH cylinder. Not sure about that bullet in a SBH.

Brian Pearce in Handloader Magazine has stated (and provided load data) that the 45 Colt RH can handle 40Kpsi loads safely. That puts the RH above Ruger Only Loads in 45 Colt. The 44M RH cylinder is the same steel, same cylinder, but with thicker walls (because of .429 vs .452 holes). So, I assume that the RH cylinder in 44M is stronger than the BH cylinder in 44M. However, I doubt that this matters because in 44M, they are all plenty strong and you can only stuff so much H-110 powder in there and still get the bullet seated to the crimp groove.
 

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The Redhawk (and I believe the SRH), have the cylinder timing notches offset to the cylinder bores making the thinnest, therefore weakest link in the chain that much thicker. The Blackhawks and SBH's don't have this feature.
 

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At first I thought I wanted the 5004.
Then I remembered how uncomfortable it is to carry a 6" revolver.
Then I decided I wanted a 4", so the obvious choice was the 5026.
Perfect size, have not regretted it.
HSM makes a 305gr "Bear Load" that's significantly less
expensive than BB and about half the cost of Garretts.
 

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...

The RH and SRH MAY have a slightly longer cylinder allowing for longer (heavier) bullets. I don't have an SBH so I can't measure this. I can load 355 grain bullets in my RH and still have some room at the end of the cylinder. Beartooth makes a 405 grain bullet which is crazy long but would probably fit in a RH or SRH cylinder. Not sure about that bullet in a SBH.
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I have both a .44 RH and a .44SBH, both from there 1978-1983 era. The Redhawk's cylinder is just about 1.5mm longer than the Super Blackhawk ( 44.55mm vs. 43.02mm). That would allow for marginally longer bullets, but not much.
 

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Bought a 5 1/2" Redhawk nearly 30 years ago and have put every type of load I could build or buy in 44 special and 44 mag through it. All the loads were within normal standards so I never tried to blow up the gun, just sort of find the max comfortable load and good light load. Today I pretty much stick to any 44 special load and Garrett cartridges for woods roaming.

I never liked the looks of the SRH but the RH is a classic IMO. Currently I am in the process of swapping out various S&W's to acquire two or three different barrel lengths of the RH. I am sure I can shoot them all I want and my grand-kids will still have a life time of shooting enjoyment.
 

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I have had my Redhawk for years and just got the SBH Talo edition with the 3 3/4" barrel as my bear gun for flyfishing in bear country. I have since upgraded my Talo grips with a set from The Altamont Co. Both handle my reloads quite well.
 

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