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I have been searching for some time for a Red Hawk 357Mag, 5.5 stainless . . . haven't we all? Recently my LGS acquired a 44Mag that is 5.5 stainless and very nice looking gun - circa 1983 according to the serial number. I had no idea that Ruger is still making these so I am now in decision mode. Do I buy a new one manufactured in the last year or two or one made in 1983? Which would you want?

The 1983 model is available now, LGS is walking distance from my office, no box or papers, but at $650 out the door, it does not seem to bad on price. Brand new model would have to be ordered, GB listings show prices from $650 for used with box and papers up to $899 NIB, no sales tax if shipped in but FFL and shipping would be $50. In other words, used but current manufactured would be $700 and a little change with box and papers, but a 1983 model would be $650 cash and carry today.

Any reason that you guys know that would make the current model or older model the better or more preferred? Someone with first hand knowledge able to tell what changes were made in the past 30 years and if these are minor or substantive? CA members get ready to flame me for this but as simple as I can say it, if Ruger has modified the frame to make it compliant with some CA rule, I don't want it. But it is a revolver, surely CA has left those alone and I suspect my concerns on this front are just overthinking it too much.

If the 1983 model had box and papers it would be no brainer and I would be posting pics not questions. The $50 is not really a hurdle either way, but instant gratification is worth something. And, I have a 41Mag Red Hawk 5.5 stainless made in 1984 already so the older one has my attention just to keep them as contemporaries - let's not forget the search for the .357 continues and it is not currently manufactured in 5.5 inch barrel so it will be an early-mid 80's model when I find one.

Opinions?
 
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To my knowledge the Redhawk was introduced about 1979 or 80. The major change that I'm aware of was when they extended the frame in the mid 80's some time. The early ones suffered some failures so they beefed up the frame a bunch. It's obvious when you see them, the early ones have a much shorter frame.

As far as California stuff, I'm not aware of any mechanical requirements back then, most of that stuff is in the last few years, but others may have better info.
 

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Flip a coin?
 
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I have an old .44 Magnum redhawk made in 1987.

I learned something today, I did not know that Ruger still made the Redhawk. I don't know what made me think this, but I thought they discontinued them when the production of the Super Redhawk started up. That shows what a dummy I am!!
 

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I learned something today, I did not know that Ruger still made the Redhawk. I don't know what made me think this, but I thought they discontinued them when the production of the Super Redhawk started up. That shows what a dummy I am!!
You are not alone, I thought the same thing. If someone had asked me a couple days ago, I would have sworn the Redhawk was discontinued when the Super Redhawk came out.
 
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I have a Red Hawk that was made in 1982 according to Ruger's product history sheet.
http://www.ruger.com/service/productHistory/RE-Redhawk.html

Someone should correct me if I'm wrong but, other than a beefing up of the frame at some point, I think the revolvers being currently made are about the same.

Its a great shooter but weighs a ton. When I was younger I used to carry it in a shoulder rig when elk hunting. Even in a good rig, its cumbersome.

Several years ago I started carrying a Smith Model 57, 6" bbl .41 magnum in a high riding belt holster. I barely notice the weight. Loaded hot with a 220 grain hard cast SWC bullet, I feel OK about its stopping power for aggressive critters. I seldom get far from my rifle anyway.

I don't mean to detract in any way the Red Hawk or .44 magnum caliber, I really like both.

I also have a Super Black Hawk in 44 magnum which is easier to carry than the Red Hawk but not as easy as the Model 57.

Regarding frame failures in the early guns, I read several gun writers' hype back then but, I never read or heard first hand of failures. I also remember a widespread tendency to push the limits when handloading for the guns. Ruger may have decided for liability reasons to beef the frame up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When you reference "beefing-up the frame", are you referring to the lug area in front of the cylinder where the barrel mounts to the frame? If so, I know that is the most notable difference between a so called "standard" Red Hawk and a Super Red Hawk, but did Ruger change the standard Red Hawk too? I believe it was introduced in circa 1979 and the production run before the Super was introduced was rather short - in the realm of 5 or 6 years. ---> I have made no effort to verify this fact so feel free to correct.

I think the decision has been made for me, I found and hope to bring home in the near future the illusive .357 Red Hawk. If I am successful in acquiring that one I will definitely take the older .44 at my LGS so I can have an older sibling (.44 born in 1983), a middle child (.41 born in 1984) and the younger brother (.357 born in 1985). Maybe a stupid reason for making the decision but I have never been accused of being smart when it comes to reasoning and guns. In fact, my wife will argue the exact opposite.

BTW: I did verify dates by S/N on all three guns, and all three are 5.5 stainless models. If I get this put together, I'll post pics and need the name of the forum member who makes custom grips. I am thinking I want some that look close to stock walnut, but engraved with the caliber and maybe a flying hawk. Nothing too ornate but not too subtle either.
 

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The failures on the redhawks were due to a change in lube used for attaching the barrels. They started designing and producing the super redhawks to address this and by the time they figured out what the issue was, they just decided to produce both. The increased frame size went all the way out to the end of the cylinder release.

Did the early models have the transfer bar? I didnt realize that transfer bars were used that early, if they did. Then again, I dont pay very good attention.
 
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The failures on the redhawks were due to a change in lube used for attaching the barrels. They started designing and producing the super redhawks to address this and by the time they figured out what the issue was, they just decided to produce both. The increased frame size went all the way out to the end of the cylinder release.

Did the early models have the transfer bar? I didnt realize that transfer bars were used that early, if they did. Then again, I dont pay very good attention.
When you reference "beefing-up the frame", are you referring to the lug area in front of the cylinder where the barrel mounts to the frame? If so, I know that is the most notable difference between a so called "standard" Red Hawk and a Super Red Hawk, but did Ruger change the standard Red Hawk too? I believe it was introduced in circa 1979 and the production run before the Super was introduced was rather short - in the realm of 5 or 6 years. ---> I have made no effort to verify this fact so feel free to correct.

I think the decision has been made for me, I found and hope to bring home in the near future the illusive .357 Red Hawk. If I am successful in acquiring that one I will definitely take the older .44 at my LGS so I can have an older sibling (.44 born in 1983), a middle child (.41 born in 1984) and the younger brother (.357 born in 1985). Maybe a stupid reason for making the decision but I have never been accused of being smart when it comes to reasoning and guns. In fact, my wife will argue the exact opposite.

BTW: I did verify dates by S/N on all three guns, and all three are 5.5 stainless models. If I get this put together, I'll post pics and need the name of the forum member who makes custom grips. I am thinking I want some that look close to stock walnut, but engraved with the caliber and maybe a flying hawk. Nothing too ornate but not too subtle either.
My 1983 made gun has a transfer bar and since it was in the third year of manufacturing I would think transfer bars were in all the early ones. (I had to look at my gun to be sure)
 

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When you reference "beefing-up the frame", are you referring to the lug area in front of the cylinder where the barrel mounts to the frame? If so, I know that is the most notable difference between a so called "standard" Red Hawk and a Super Red Hawk, but did Ruger change the standard Red Hawk too? I believe it was introduced in circa 1979 and the production run before the Super was introduced was rather short - in the realm of 5 or 6 years. ---> I have made no effort to verify this fact so feel free to correct.

I think the decision has been made for me, I found and hope to bring home in the near future the illusive .357 Red Hawk. If I am successful in acquiring that one I will definitely take the older .44 at my LGS so I can have an older sibling (.44 born in 1983), a middle child (.41 born in 1984) and the younger brother (.357 born in 1985). Maybe a stupid reason for making the decision but I have never been accused of being smart when it comes to reasoning and guns. In fact, my wife will argue the exact opposite.

BTW: I did verify dates by S/N on all three guns, and all three are 5.5 stainless models. If I get this put together, I'll post pics and need the name of the forum member who makes custom grips. I am thinking I want some that look close to stock walnut, but engraved with the caliber and maybe a flying hawk. Nothing too ornate but not too subtle either.
You can compare a "beefed up" gun to the picture below of mine. I'm not sure if its possible to visually note a difference.
Red Hawk.JPG
 

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The failures on the redhawks were due to a change in lube used for attaching the barrels. They started designing and producing the super redhawks to address this and by the time they figured out what the issue was, they just decided to produce both. The increased frame size went all the way out to the end of the cylinder release.

Did the early models have the transfer bar? I didnt realize that transfer bars were used that early, if they did. Then again, I dont pay very good attention.

The Super Redhawks were NOT introduced due to a failing of the barrels coming off of the Redhawks. They were introduced as a stronger revolver, intended for mainly hunting & competition, and have vastly different lock work than the Redhawk. The Redhawk features a single spring serving as both main spring & trigger return spring. The Super Redhawk was designed for hunting and thus was thought they would mostly be fired single action, and has 2 springs. The regular Redhawk, with a bit of internals polishing & a Wolff spring kit, will give you a ice on glass smooth non stacking 6#-7# DA pull. My personal Redhawk chambered in .41 mag, was 1 of the very 1st Redhawks made in .41 mag. I have done quite a few Redhawks, and the only differences I've noticed in the newest 1s is the tremendously heavy DA pulls out of box.
 

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Just this morning I read a report on a new Redhawk, an eight (8) shot .357 Magnum. This one comes with (3) full moon clips to allow a fast reload if needed. Everything in the report about it was positive.
 

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You'll have to take that up with the people that make it. Somebody, somewhere saw a need for it. I personally kinda' like the idea of it, Jerry Mikulek and several other exhibition revolver shooters use 'em, so it can't be all bad.
 

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Faster reloads than speed loaders.
I understand speed loaders, but will moon clips work with a revolver without the "depression" in the cylinder made for a moon clip? Or does the new Redhawk have that recess?
 

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I understand speed loaders, but will moon clips work with a revolver without the "depression" in the cylinder made for a moon clip? Or does the new Redhawk have that recess?
You are correct. Not familiar with the Red Hawk moon clip model but there has to be a recess to cut in.
 
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