I was cooking Sunday — "mixed grill" fish fajitas, fresh guacamole, home-made salsa, greens and tomatoes from a local organic farm…darn good meal! Our guest wanted to do some shooting with his new 1911 and my Sweetie needed some work on weak-hand pistol, so we went to the range.
I thought it a golden opportunity for me to get familiar with the Ruger .45 Colt/.45 ACP Redhawk revolver that Ed Head reviewed for DRTV. As you guys know I like to shoot a gun for a bit before I "get serious" with it. Call it "breaking in" or just getting used to how the gun sits in my hand under recoil, it's always worked well for me.
I started out with a box of Winchester .45 Colt Cowboy, a 250-gr bullet at 750 fps, pretty much what Wyatt and his brother were using in the Back When. You shoulda seen me flinch! I expected something out of the Redhawk — most of the Redhawk rounds I've fired recently have been from the 2.75 .44 Magnum and above — but the Cowboys were like shooting .22s out of the big beast. I have smallish hands, so I kinda like the round butt configuration…same as on the 2.75 .44. I would not argue, however, with the Hogue grips provided on the 4-inch .44 Magnum Redhawk. As I've mentioned before, Ken Jorgensen and I I went through the GUNSITE 250 class with the 4-inch Redhawk shooting .44 Specials, and was fun and instructive — yes, it's a big heavy gun, but it delivers a big heavy payload without having to pick the hammer spur out of your teeth.
I was shooting on 2 steel silhouettes at 15 yards, BTW. After running through the box of 50 Cowboys, I shifted some to self-defense ammo...I don't actually have a ton of .45 Colt ammo around. As I've mentioned, you're either a ".44 Magnum/.44 Special" sort of guy or a ".45 Colt" sort of gun. I fall on the smaller side of the equation. I did have some Corbon and a little Winchester SilverTips, both 225-grainers, so I launched them off. Once again, not the kind of boom you get from a .44 Magnum...even with the self-defense loads, the Redhawk was easy to control DA.
Then I went to the funniest part, 230-gr .45 ACP ball in moon clips...pretty much like running a stapler. Sights called for a low neck hold to hit the center plate, but I'll deal with that when I start seriously working with the gun. Trigger was Redhawk heavy...I actually pulled out my Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, which on DA read, "OMG! You're Not Serious!" Okay, actually, it read "OVEr," which translates into "More than 12 pounds." I'd call it 15 pounds. Gauge read the SA trigger at 7 pounds.
At least the DA stroke is smooth...not as smooth as my 4-inch .44, but then it doesn't have nearly the number of rounds through it as the .44. Redhawks triggers can be a bitch to tune. It's a single spring system, where one spring powers the hammer and the trigger reset. That means there is some juggling involved on getting a good trigger pull, and there are actually 2 different approaches. Wolff makes a series of light springs, 12#, 13#, 14# vs.the factory 20#. However, Hamilton Bowen, who probably knows more about tuning the Redhawks than any other living human, strongly argues another path. You can read it in his "News" section, down at the bottom. Hamilton goes to a heavier spring to guarantee ignition. Interestingly enough, he and I had this discussion up at John Linebaugh's place 6 weeks ago when were were talking about Hamilton cleaning up my 2.75 .44 Redhawk, which has a pretty good, if heavy, DA trigger.
I did not any any ignition problems with the new Redhawks, knock on wood, so my focus will be on dry-firing. Again, if you go back to Ed McGivern, his focus was on smooth, not light. Here's an interesting article on revolver trigger pulls from Grant Cunningham, who knows more than a thing or 2 about revolver triggers (especially Rugers...I am lucky enough to have a Cunningham-tuned SP-101, although right now Mike Seeklander is using it in training and he swears he's not giving it back).
Jerry Miculek, the greatest living revolver shooter, points out that the trigger pull is only half - or even less - of the equation. Trigger return is at least as important to successful double-action shooting. Trigger return should be judged much like trigger pull: no hesitation, no grittiness or roughness, consistent speed, and as quick as the gun's design allows.While I'm thinking about it, here's an excellent article from OUTDOOR LIFE on shooting DA revolvers.
I did have some issues, especially in the first 50 rounds, of the trigger not resetting on DA (happened 3 times). It worked itself out the more rounds I fired. It felt a little gummy, but considered I just took it out of the box and started firing I should be surprised. As usual, I'll detail strip, clean and lube before I start accuracy testing and serious shooting.
My overall plan is to indeed shoot the Redhawks in USPSA competition, because I'm a huge fan of self-abuse. This week I'm going to fish out all my moon clip carriers, etc., and start heading in that direction. I also see this Redhawks as an amazingly useful trail gun., or something to carry when the bears are out and about.
Another minor note...it's high rattlesnake season hear at the Secret Hidden Bunker. One of my neighbors a few miles from us is reporting killing one of the big snakes a week, and one dog has already been bitten. New is getting the rattlesnake vaccine shot this week, and we are EXTREMELY careful walking her. We're talking to the vet about whetherAsta the Manx should have the same shot. They're never let outside unsupervised, but snakes are tricksy. A few weeks ago I shifted from a Redhawk to a Taurus Judge with Federal buckshot as the trail gun.I have found those Federal loads will simply vaporize the first 3-4 inches of the snake's head and neck.
In an Ideal Gun World I'd get an S&W Governor and use the same moon clips as the Redhawks for .45 ACP...sadly, not happening!