Sturm, Ruger & Co., looking to pounce on the sucess that the Ruger Redhawk had found in the Double Action market, produced the Super Redhawk. The Super Redhawk was designed to fire higher calibre rounds than the Redhawk (which was chambered up to the .45 Colt cartridge) such as the .454 Casull and .480 Ruger.
Using the same format as the Redhawk, the Super Redhawk is a double-action, solid framed equipped with a swing-out cylinder for reloading. However, following some reported failures in the Redhawk between the frame and barrel, the frame was built even stronger than before.
As with the Redhawk the Super Redhawk is made entirely out of stainless steel. The lockwork was altered by using separate springs to propel the hammer and provide trigger-return action instead of the single spring of the Redhawk. This results in a better trigger pull and more reliable ignition of primers because of increased firing pin energy. The grip frame was changed to resemble the GP-100 and uses one-piece grips instead of the two-piece grips of the regular Redhawk. The Super Redhawk was also designed for use with a scope, unlike former models.
The Super Redhawk uses the .44 magnum cartridge as standard, shot from a six-shot cylinder. Further variants would use the .454 Casull cartridge and the .480 Ruger catridge (Ruger's first cartridge) both shot from a six-shot cylinder.
The .480 Ruger cartridge was discontinued in 2007 after issues arose with the extraction system and overcharged cartridges used in the Super Redhawk. However the .480 Ruger cartridge was reintroduced a year later, along with the Super Redhawk chambered for the .480 Ruger, after reducing the cylinder capacity to a five-shot cylinder, before being withdrawn again. The .480 Ruger re-emerged in a six-shot cylinder in January 2013, with the major flaws being fixed.
The Super Redhawk was the first revolver to use the .454 Casull cartridge in a six-shot cylinder. This was achieved by using a different alloy for the cylinder, aswell as a different heat treatment process to strengthen it. The frame is not changed, however the gun is given a different finish.
The .454 Casull allows use of the .45 Colt Cartridge, a cheap alternative that also expands versatility and less wear.
The release of Ruger's own cartridge in 2003 saw the Super Redhawk go through a thrid design evolution. Using the same frame as the standard Super Redhawk the .480 Ruger version is seen as a more reliable version compared to the .454 Casull, which produced more wear to the gun.
In 2007 the production of the .480 Ruger was stopped due to extraction issues. The decision was to change the cylinder to 5-shot rather than the 6-shot of the original .480 Ruger. This issue was found to be caused by individuals loading cartridges to pressures that would cause the cylinder to deform.
.480 Ruger "Re-release"Edit
In January 2013 the Super Redhawk .480 Ruger was reintroduced with a six-shot cylinder, with the ejector system modified to allow better ejection of the .480 Ruger cartridge (deformed or otherwise).
Super Redhawk "Alaskan"Edit
The first short-barrelled revolver produced by Ruger, the "Alaskan" uses the same frame as the Super Redhawk, but the barrel was short enough (2.5in) to stop at the end of the frame. The "Alaskan" firers all of the rounds that the full size Super Redhawks can in a 6-shot cylinder, with the exception of the .480 Ruger which is shot in a 5-shot cylinder.
Still using the same format as the standard Super Redhawk, versions exported to Britain were sold with 20in barrels, with the ability to shoot the .44 magnum round as well as modified versions able to shoot the .357 magnum.
UsageEditThe Super Redhawk was conceived as a replacement for the Redhawk, the highly desireable double action revolver that Ruger had sold in great numbers. Although the Super Redhawk is still considered among the best revolvers in the world, the Redhawk re-entered production in the same year as it was replaced in 1987.
The Super Redhawk is used in competitive shooting but also sees high usage in hunting. The "Alaskan" variant was built as a personal defence weapon against large aggressive animals.
- Modern Small Arms - Ian V. Hogg