Tag Archives: 44 magnum

Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan

Powerful revolvers carry more than just a cylinder full of cartridges, they also carry some mystique. The hero of every old western film always had a big iron to deal justice, while that may not be our purpose here today it’s nice to keep it in mind. Today we are taking a closer look at the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan.

Alaskan?
The Super Redhawk line of pistols from Ruger has a long history of performance, but what does the Alaskan do you might say? I suppose the Alaskan model was purpose built thinking of those who might spend time up north, and prefer not to be without six doses of bear medicine. The Super Redhawk Alaskan is a stainless steel double-action revolver, a hammer forged 2.5 inch barrel, and comes with a Hogue Tamer grip to keep a good hold of the gun. You’ll need a good grip because the Alaskan’s robust cylinder has holes bored for six cartridges in only three calibers; .44 Remington mag, 454 Casull, and .480 Ruger. These powerful choices in chambering are nothing to shake a stick at as my father would say, and certainly enough to make even a brown bear reconsider you as a snack.

Loading 300 grain .454 Casull rounds

Considerate size
Despite the large chamberings for the Redhawk, the pistol isn’t so big as to be cumbersome. The short barrel makes it a reasonable gun to carry in a holster, even if you are engaged in other activities. The Alaskan would be a great choice for fisherman who anticipate potential close encounters with awnry eight hundred pound salmon fishermen, or just someone who is out in rough country.
The Alaskan is big enough to stand up to the tasks of bear country, and yet small enough to bring along on a fly fishing trip. And even if you aren’t in the cold white north, it alway gives some solace to have a good strong pistol close. I’ve spent enough time in the incredibly dark and remote forests of northern Montana and Idaho to appreciate the comfort of that heavy steel piece riding on the hip. The extra 2.75 pounds is worth having to me.
A pair of Super Redhawks, note fluted cylinder of .44 Mag model

Shooting time
Shooting the Super Redhawk Alaskan was going to be expensive in today’s market. Especially since I had both the .44 Magnum model, and the 454 Casull to feed. Both pistols are dual chambered to allow for shooting lighter loads with .44 Special and .45 Colt cartridges. But I didn’t have any of those, so it was full house power loads from Hornady to test these guns.

I have shot plenty of .44 Magnum over the years, so shooting the Redhawk wasn’t significantly new. I did immediately notice the comfortable grip, which allowed excellent purchase to control the pistol. The 454 Casull pistol had a bit more power behind it, and you could feel it. Recoil and muzzle blast from the two are fairly comparable, with the Casull showing a bit more unsurprisingly. I was shooting 225 grain Horandy FTX ammunition in the .44 Magnum model, and in the .454 I was shooting Hornady’s 300 grain flat point.

Considering the purpose I initially mentioned for these pistols they shoot quite well, a dangerous game defensive pistol like this certainly needs to hit what your aiming at. I found both pistols to be easy enough to control despite the significant recoil from the heavy loads. Obviously that would change if an angry sow was charging at me, but I’d like to think I could shoot them well enough to hit a moving target at danger close distances.

The impressive power of the Super Redhawks wasn’t the only thing that stood out when shooting them. Both models felt fantastic in the hand, the soft rubber Hogue grips made them very comfortable to shoot. The quality of the operation also struck me, smooth controls and very clean breaking triggers added to the superior feeling of these pistols. The adjustable sights of the Alaskan aren’t exactly huge, they come across as pretty simple and no nonsense. That said I found them to be more than adequate for the purposes of relatively close shooting, that is to say anything inside of fifty-yards or so that rivaled the size of a paper plate was bound to be perforated with a big hole.

Ammunition for this article was supplied by Gun Mag Warehouse

Pros and Cons
I have always been a fan of Ruger’s revolvers, so it should come as no surprise that I found a great many things I like about the Super Redhawk Alaskan. First of all, it’s just a plain handsome design. It has all the classic and sexy features of the hero’s gun from the old westerns we watched as kids, and yet it has just enough modern flair to make it appealing as a modern firearm as well.
The simplicity of the Alaskan’s design also makes it very quick to put into service, the double-action design makes it ideal for a gun that needs to be jerked from the holster and immediately fired at inbound danger. The reliable operating system rolls the next chamber full of wrath right into position to deal one blow after another of heavy hitting power.
The quality finish of the pistol also makes it built to last, the Alaskan is built from stainless steel to protect it from the rough weather you’d be sure to encounter up north. The clean breaking trigger, triple locked cylinder, and modern transfer bar allow the gun to serve its power with finesse, precision and safety.

I had a really hard time coming up with cons for this pistol, it has a fairly specific purpose and it serves that purpose extremely well in my opinion. It wouldn’t be ideal for day to day carrying in places where dangerous predators over five-hundred pounds aren’t expected, it would be a bit heavy for a purpose like that. Though I won’t deny having conceal carried one of the Redhawks on multiple occasions, it’s not ideal for that purpose.
There is the obvious downside of having to feed these large and expensive cartridges to such a large pistol, but if you truly need a pistol like this I’d wager you are willing to pay quite a randsome to ensure it has plenty of ammo. Continue reading here

Smith & Wesson 629 .44 Magnum Mountain Gun

I grew up watching 80’s films, so revolvers’ always seemed present in my gun repertoire. My father and grandfather both shot revolvers’ whenever they had occasion to shoot a pistol. My taste’s have changed over the years but I can still appreciate a cylinder with holes bored for six.
Today’s subject is one of those classic pistol designs that seem timeless in their execution, the S&W 629 Mountain Gun chambered in the admirable 44 Remington Magnum.

The model 629
Is a more modern version of the gun that made the 44 magnum famous, the model 29. The pistol features double and single action functions, one of the most simple and easy to not screw up designs ever. The cylinder has chambers for six cartridges, and is opened by pushing the left side release actuator. The gun comes with a rubberized grip making it easy to hold onto, and an adjustable rear sight to make sure you hit whatever you are aiming at. The four inch barrel was in very good condition, almost new to the naked eye.

The .44 Magnum
I’ve been loading .44 Magnum since I got my first wheel gun over a decade ago. I’ve found it to be a relatively easy cartridge to load, and in the interests of fun I’ve also loaded up a few .44 Specials. The .44 Remington Magnum offers big bullets going real fast, at least for a pistol. With bullets in the 200 to 240 grain class, you can shoot velocities near double that of the very popular .45 ACP.
Harnessing all this power has been the job of many strong revolvers over the years, but it has also been popular in some lever gun models. Perhaps the ultimate duo, a Winchester 94 in .44 magnum with a S&W revolver to match.

Ammunition
Since buying ammunition these days is still as pleasant as washing stray cats, I decided to use some of my own rolled magnums. Several comfort loads that I’m used to would do the trick. The first is my old standby, a 240 grain cast lead slug with a grease ring. Loaded with some H110 it has always been a soft and accurate shooting load, I’ve been able to reliably hit targets at deer hunting distances in the past. The next load up was some Berry’s 240 grain copper plated flat-points, loaded again with H110 which seems to be the go to powder for many of these pistol cartridges. Once I had a box of each loaded up, I headed to the mountains to see how this Mountain Gun fit in to the scenery.

On the range
One thing I appreciate about the .44 Magnum is that even though its just a pistol, it still has enough energy to shoot further distances than one would typically shoot pistols. Not exactly long range, but I like the idea of a strong handgun that a guy could actually use to sneak up on a deer and take a shot.
I started out shooting at paper targets at approximately fifteen-yards, hitting NRA targets at that range was easy, so much so that I began to try shooting some groups to see just how accurate the gun is.
Once I had convinced myself I could shoot no better at that range, I decided to shoot at a steel target fifty-yards away. A full size silhouette was still relatively easy to hit, and I stacked a bunch of lead on the front of that target for the next few minutes. The 629 seemed to like the lead bullets better than the plated ones, but both loads shot well enough for predictable hits.

The .44 is no slouch, you are quite aware of its presence every time it goes off. The soft rubber grip was very comfortable to hold onto, and its sticky quality made it easier to hold onto under recoil. The short four-inch barrel sure loved to climb, I probably need to work on my pistol driving skills, but I think it wasn’t just me.
Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was the clean and perfect trigger break. It felt so good it reminded me of a good rifle, I think this also made the pistol so easy to shoot well. I only needed to line up the sights, and apply a touch of pressure and watch the impact through a small cloud of smoke.

There is an allure to cranking the hammer back on these heavy revolvers, like reminiscing from one of those old 70’s movies imagining a quivering villain before you as a cunning threat rolls off your lips. The heavy feel in your hand, and the impressive recoil and noise seems to command attention. Continue Reading Here…