The Ruger Redhawk Reptile Retaliator
Dr. John Woods 08.02.17
We have covered the unique Ruger Redhawk short barreled flame thrower on a couple of occasions. For the unknowing, this is the newest stainless Redhawk, a .357 Magnum, 8-shot beast with the 2.75 inch barrel. If interested, you can gather in the factory specs at Ruger’s site.
The previous reviews were mainly as product impressions from a few shots allowed at the writer’s range from the controlled shooting bench event prior to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas last January. Another review was of the triple threat of the three Redhawks now available, but limited in number chambered for the .357, .41, and .44 Magnums, all with the 2.75 inch barrels.
But as we know, the real proof in the value of any firearm is its proven utility in the field. “Field” being defined as out in the woods for hunting, potting for survival food, at home should a sudden unexpected knock come at the door, as an EDC gun, a vehicle bug out firearm, or for any other such practical use. This gun can certainly play well in this park with or without others.
Little doubt this beast is a handful. Even at a whopping 44 ounces of brushed stainless steel, incidentally 2.75 pounds, matching the number of the barrel length, this Ruger Redhawk can be a handful to handle. Undoubtedly it will take a special grip hold and controlled practice to shoot this one well.
The smooth non-target type walnut wood grips on this Redhawk allow the revolver to rock back upon recoil. Ironically, this is a trademark recoil handling style noted for shooting other Ruger handguns specifically the single action varieties in powerhouse loads. This handgun should be treated likewise.
Forget trying to affix a death grip on this Redhawk in an effort to apply a firm foundation to absorb the recoil. I suspect your hand and wrist would not take the shock long, even though this gun is just a .357 Magnum. Wearing shooting gloves should help. Also, defer from thinking about replacing the sanded finish wood grip slabs with a so-called recoil absorbing rubber grip.
If you just want to hold on to this one even in inclement weather, that is one thing, but the point here is to let this handgun recoil more or less naturally. You will eventually work into a rhythm shooting this gun and only practice will solve any issues of muzzle control.
Even starting out with .38 Special loads can allow an adjustment period just to let the revolver settle in to your own personal grip and shooting style. Using the .38 loads opens up another whole dimension for this handgun and one that should be considered seriously for some work.
For this Ruger Redhawk, some have said or commented wondering about the real use of such a powerful magnum cartridge in a revolver with only a 2.75 inch barrel, albeit a heavy barrel with under lug as well. I could not honestly argue that it has a wide swath of applications, but beauty and use lies in the eyes and ability of the individual beholder. Trust me, if you get the chance to hold this hunk of stainless, you will not want to part with it, let me assure you.
So, this 8-shot, .357 Magnum is a short-barreled affair intended for short range affairs. I will likely be ridiculed for suggesting such, but hunting extensively out of enclosed ground blinds, I have had white-tailed deer walk close enough to touch them. A prepper, survivalist, or hunter could take a deer with this Redhawk in such a manner.
But, it occurred to me recently on a summer trip to my bug out property that this 8-shooter loaded with CCI handgun shotshells could do dandy work on offensive snakes. This is my next trial for the Redhawk.
The CCI/Speer shotshell loads for the .38 Special/.357 come in two varieties. One is loaded with 100 grains of #9 shot, the other 84 grains of #4 shot, both at 1000 fps velocity. I chose the latter. CCI calls these pest control loads. I just bet that 8 of these inserted into the chamber of the shorty Redhawk will do shock and awe on the head of a cottonmouth water moccasin.
One note here that these CCI shotshells will not snap into the 8-round moon clips Ruger supplies with this revolver, because the aluminum cases of the CCI loads have no groove at the cartridge head. They have to be loaded one at a time, but can all be ejected together with the cylinder ejector rod. Stay tuned for details.