45 Colt Redhawk vs 454 Alaskan

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Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
Order a 4" 45 Colt Redhawk sight unseen or for approximately $80 more buy a 454 Alaskan in stock that passes initial inspection? Intended use is carry in bear country while rifle hunting, fishing, camping etc. I have a fall Elk hunt booked and there are bears in the area. I have no current plans to go to Alaska but wish I did, not yet ruled out in this lifetime hunting and/or fishing. Unless I go to Alaska 45 Colt loads are all I anticipate needing and maybe all I'll need if I do go. I am primarily a single action guy but have no aversion to a good double action for the purpose. I also already have a 5.5" 45 Colt BH that would fill the role so I don't need that advice. I'm not going to use either for a CC or hunting gun. I load my own so I don't care about any perceived ammo issues. I don't understand the differences between the RH and SRH (Alaskan). Grips? Lockwork?
 

Knuckles

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
1,219
It would be best to go on the Sturm-Ruger web sight and look at the PDF manuals on each gun... The Alaskan is a bruin stopper for sure, but the Redhawk has some great! reviews too,

The Redhawk has a single spring for the hammer and trigger... the Alaskan has independent-springs which allow you finer tuning of the action... also has many more grip choices.

I like the new 4"Redhawk the best... and the one time I tried the 7.5"SRH in .454Casull... it nearly broke my thumb.

I own a 4"Redhawk .45Colt... both wonderful revolvers.

Good Luck, Bud (knuckles)
 

Redhawk4

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 3, 2008
Messages
124
Location
UT
The Gunblast test for 4" 45 Redhawk and 454 Alaskan will give you something to chew over. From memory the extra barrel length of the Redhawk gave very similar performance to 454 Casull with the short Alaskan barrel. I guess it's hard to use all that powder in the short barrel. Any way you can decide, but it gives a good idea of the range of possibilities the 45 Redhawk and some data on the Alaskan, that might assist you in your decision. Good Luck

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SRHAlaskan454.htm

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-Redhawk45.htm
 

JWhitmore44

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
987
Location
NW Kansas
I never could get comfortable with the Redhawk grip no mater what I put on it. The factory wood grips worked the best but still didn't work good for me. I have not shot the Super Redhawk or the Alaskan, although I would really like to try to see if that makes the difference.
 

Lost Sheep

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
407
Location
Anchorage Alaska
I have a
5.5" Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag,
7.5" 44 MAG Redhawk
7.5" 44 Mag Super Redhawk
7.5" 454 Casull Super Redhawk
and a couple of GP100s

I mention the GPs because the grips are interchangeable with the Super Redhawks. As far as I know, there are no compatability issues with early production and current production.

My Super Redhawks fit the same holsters as my Redhawks (in compatible barrel lengths), but the SRHs are a little tighter and RH a little looser. Not substantially, but I can tell when I draw from my Bianchi 111 (leather, with a thumb-break)

I forget what the weight difference is, but the SRH is a bit heavier. The big difference in shooting is in the shape of the grip, not the weight. But the lighter weight and rearward shift of the center of gravity makes the RH a bit quicker to bring onto target (with my 7.5" barrels, your experience may vary, with the shorter barrels you are considering.)

The SRH is much more comfortable, though, with full power loads, neither can really be described as "comfortable". "Comforting", though is certainly what they are in bear country. If you get aftermarket grips for the Redhawk, you could make it equally comfortable, depending on your hand shape. The SRH, using a post instead of the RH full grip frame theoretically should allow a wider selection of grip shapes, but there are, in reality, only a couple of readily available grips, and custom grip makers have to do a lot more work to make a grip to go over a post-style handle than machining or carving a pair of grip panels. You decide.

I know of two guys who owe their lives to the Alaskan's short barrel. One was jumped this past summer by a starving Brownie near Soldotna. He got off two shots before administering a stopping shot. Another guy (videographer) was paying more attention to his viewfinder than his surroundings and got jumped by a mother bear. He swears the short barrel allowed him to clear leather in time to save his life. The bear died laying on top of the still-running camera. Loss of ballistic advantage is not an issue with these two guys.

I have never seen much sense in giving up a few hundred feet per second, and a barrel only twice as long as the cartridge behind it seems wasteful. (1.3" for the 45 Colt brass and 1.6" rim to nose vs 2.5" of rifled barrel). However, the Alaskan is lighter to carry, quicker to deploy and if hunting is not even a remote possibility, then load up your fastest powder, heaviest bullet and your ballistic losses will be minimized, and your defensive utility optimized. (I will leave the long, logical progression for another time.)

Myself, I would LOVE to have a .480 Ruger SRH in your situation. I have my heart set on a 5-shot 480 with 7.5" BARREL. I am not sure any ever made it out the factory doors before they decided to stop production.

Some people compromise by taking a 7.5" SRH and lightening it with a little judicious cutting on the frame, shortening the barrel to 5" and (optionally) relieving the back of the cylinder to accept moon clips which allow shooting 45 ACP for plinking. (Wild West Guns here in Anchorage calls this package of treatments the "Wolverine Package")

The SRH action is pretty much identical to the action of the GP100, but the parts are not interchangeable. The RH action, however, is completely unique in the gun world, as knuckles pointed out.

The Alaskan does not have interchangeable front sights, nor the cutouts in the frame for mounting a scope. Not an issue for your purposes, but I thought I would mention it.

I hope my ramblings help. Post or email if you have more questions (I have turned my "notifications" on for this thread).

You have a difficult choice. $80 difference between an Alaskan vs a 4" 45 Colt which, arguably for your purposes will be ballistically identical. The resale value of the Casull is assured. However, the 4" 45 Colt Redhawk is highly prized and hard to find. Then there is the possibility of finding a 45 Colt SRH. (Of course, there is the guy who took a SRH cylinder from a 454 Casull and fitted it into his RH.) I think there are pictures somewhere in this forum.

Good Luck. Let us know what you eventually get. Of course, you could buy both, shoot both and decide which one you want to let go (fat chance!). You probably would not lose any money.

Lost Sheep
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
Any significance to the 1:16 RH vs 1:24 twist in the Alaskan? I am also wondering if there is any difference fit and finish out of the box on these. Any extra "polish" or detail on the 454 due to the chambering? How do the throats & forcing cones run on these? Similar to the BH's?
 

Lost Sheep

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
407
Location
Anchorage Alaska
Silent Sam":2b627tr4 said:
Any significance to the 1:16 RH vs 1:24 twist in the Alaskan? I am also wondering if there is any difference fit and finish out of the box on these. Any extra "polish" or detail on the 454 due to the chambering? How do the throats & forcing cones run on these? Similar to the BH's?
You're welcome, luvmyruger. I like to help.

Silent Sam,

I suppose the tighter twist on the RH is because velocities are expected to be lower for the 45 Colt chambering. The slower twist in the 454 Casull chambering would be so the spin rate of the much faster-travelling bullets from that chambering would be within an appropriate range.

Does anyone know if the Alaskan (2.5" barrel) has a different twist rate than the 7.5" or 9.5" barrelled 454 Casull SRHs?

If different, I would have thought the Alaskan barrels would be closer to the 45 Colt's twist rate, on account of the velocity loss. That would make an interesting analysis, to figure out optimal rates to match the expected velocities. Throw in the likely bullet weights to be fired in each of the guns and you could spend a year sorting out all the variables.

Lost Sheep
 

Tommy Kelly

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,045
Location
MISSISSIPPI
I have the 454 alaskan and a couple of 45 colt's in the blackhawk's. The alaskan shoots great the blackhawks do too. I own quite a few single actions. If I were to go into bear country I would prefer the double action over the single action. The recoil of the alaskan is fairly mild I guess because of the short bbl. The alaskan is very impressive as far as accuracy also. I have done some shooting out to 65 yds and was well pleased with the ability to hit my targets at that range with such a small pistol. I have mostly short bbl pistols and shoot them better than the longer ones so the alaskan is ideal in my opinion and I see no need in having a long barreled pistol. The ease of packing the short bbl outweighs the advantages of longer bbls to me. Like I said before I shoot the shorter guns fine and see no use in carrying a long barreled pistol that is harder to get out and get on target especially for up close life saving protection from bears and the like. To me the alaskan is a perfect pistol for this.
 

batmann

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
307
Location
Indianapolis, IN USA
Once you adjust to the ballistics of a short barrel and I have, you will like the way the Alaskan handles. I don't have the .454C, but I do have and carry an Alaskan in .44M.
IMHO, it is a perfect handgun for its intended purpose, close range and easy packiing.
 

Knuckles

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
1,219
batmann":7lk3uoxm said:
Once you adjust to the ballistics of a short barrel and I have, you will like the way the Alaskan handles. I don't have the .454C, but I do have and carry an Alaskan in .44M.
IMHO, it is a perfect handgun for its intended purpose, close range and easy packiing.

The .44mag was an overlooked, and very sensible suggestion for the "Alaskan" format... again... anything from "mild to wild" is available for the .44 cartridge.

Bud (knuckles)
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
Thanks to all for the help, especially Lost Sheep for taking the time. A 480 Ruger Alaskan would have simplified this for me too but I'm not building one. Not really interested in the 44mag. I started w/ 45 Colt so I'm going that way. I think for me the Alaskan will handle the recoil better than the RH so that is where I am leaning. That twist rate thing is kind of gnawing at me though. I want to be able to use 45 Colt "plinking" loads if I want and don't know if the slower twist will impact that.
 

trapperon

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
739
Location
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Silent Sam

I am blessed to own both revolvers you speak of. A couple of other small details that may tip things towards the alaskan are the fact that there will never be a canted front sight due to the integral frame/barrel housing. I cant even count how many rugers I have had with canted front sights--a scary thing when you order one sight unseen (no pun intended). The other is that all of my redhawk 45's have had undersized cylinder throats--454 supers have all been perfect from the factory ( an alaskan and a 7.5 incher). Finally the alaskan in 454 seems perfect with the standard Hogue grip. I dont see many folks swapping this out, whereas on the redhawk it appears that half of the guys and gals swap out the standard grip for something else. All being said, I believe that the Alaskan is good to go for you right out of the box, and the redhawk may or may not be.

Good luck on choosing from two fine big bore revolvers!

Ron
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
When you say 454 throats have been perfect what kind of perfect do you mean? All throats @ .4525?
 

trapperon

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
739
Location
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Yes--.452-.4525 I test them by taking a .452 sized bullet and dropping it through each chamber. Historically my 45 blackhawks and redhawks have not allowed it to pass through whatsoever. I have a cylinder that was reamed by our own CAS, and my bullets slip through that just like the 454 Super Redhawk factory cylinders.
Perhaps not a huge issue, just that it would cost you $40 or so if it needed to be addressed on the redhawk.

Ron
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
Thanks, that is what I was after when I asked about throats etc on 454. Just begs the question though, why doesn't Ruger do it on all the 45's?
 

dougader

Hunter
Joined
Jun 18, 2008
Messages
3,108
Location
OryGun
I have owned and fired the 45 Colt 5.5" RH, a couple 7.5" SRH's and a 454 Alaskan in addition to 3 5.5" Bilseys in 45 Colt.

I like the Bisleys best when shooting loads of comparable power (335 @ 1200 fps), but of the two you mention I have chosen the 454 Alaskan. I haven't fired light, 14k psi, loads in it but heavy 45 Colt and 454's. Its a tank, but that Alaskan isn't too heavy and IMO is the better choice.
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
I bought the Alaskan. Should be able to shoot it tomorrow. I have 45 Colt plinking loads and Speer's 454 300gr GDHP load, and nothing in between. I prefer to take smaller (baby) steps up in power than that so I don't plan on shooting those 300gr loads right away. Curiosity is a curious thing though:)
 

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