Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 Revolver

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 "Pin Cannon"

Ruger Super Red Hawk .480 Revolver

A good sized hole in the business end!

Six chambers, one more than the Taurus Raging Bull.

Special alloy heat treatable stainless with a satin finish.

Early last Spring I got a chance to see what a .480 with hunting loads could do to a bowling pin. The pins were not only being blown to pieces, they were ending up twenty feet behind the pin table! At the Reno Gun Blogger Rendezvous in early October I got a chance to shoot the very same Ruger Super Red Hawk .480. Although I didn't get to shoot it along side a .44 Magnum, my impression was that since it was a bit heavier and appeared to have slower burning powder it was no worse than my Smith & Wesson model 29 in .44 Magnum. In fact, although it seemed to push harder, it didn't seem to be as fierce.

I knew that when the right .480 Ruger came along, I would just have to have it! I've been watching Gunbroker for a while, and I suspect there are a lot of .480 Rugers up for sale with only a dozen or so rounds fired through them. A combination of ammunition cost and recoil discourages a person from using one of these just for plinking!

For successful pin shooting you want as much energy to transfer into moving the pin off the table, and as little energy as possible wasted crushing wood and breaking the pin apart. The secret to this is to use really heavy bullets with modest velocities. A hot .357 has plenty of energy, but it's more prone to break up the pin, or go clear through it, rather than moving it off of the table. A heavier .45 bullet, (perhaps a 200+ gr.) with the same power factor as the .357 will carry the pin off the table much more successfully.

Common bullet weights for the .480 Ruger ranges between 275 gr. and 425 gr. so the velocities required to get a sufficient power factor are quite low. For those of you a bit rusty as to how power factor is computed, you multiply bullet weight in grains times the velocity and then divide by 1000.

For some examples, a factory Remington .38 Special +P is around a power factor of 125. A .45 with a 220 gr. bullet and 700fps gives a power factor of 154. According to Hodgdon's website, loading a 420 gr. bullet at near maximum velocity of around 1200 fps results in a power factor of over 500! I suspect that recoil would be pretty impressive! I don't think it would be something you would want to spend all day shooting, probably more like "One shot, one rhino, then go home...." Certainly not a plinker!

I've got just about everything now on hand to get underway on the "Pin Cannon" project, including a new Chronograph (On sale at Midway) and some reloading dies. The Weigand scope rail is ready to mount, and I've got a couple of possibilities on hand for the red dot sight. All that remains to arrive is bullets and powder.

We'll keep you posted as this project progresses. Of course, I still need to finish writing up the Taurus 9mm. Econo Race Gun project series.

Stay tuned!


At Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:20:00 PM, Blogger MadGunn said...

Hey Mikeee,
You can also shoot 45 Colt & 454 Casull in that little Demon!

At Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:52:00 PM, Blogger Rivrdog said... shoot that Pin Cannon in the same pinshooting class as the MetalStorm 40mm, right?

Shoot! If everyone switched to these Pin Cannons, the price of bullet-casting lead would go out of sight!

At Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:54:00 PM, Blogger Rivrdog said...

Don't you have to have that cylinder relieved for Full Moon clips? That's gonna set you back a bunch.

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 5:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a half bad idea. I can vouch that the S&W 500 makes a good pin gun, except for the 5 shot capacity. If - and it's a big if - your pin matches are limited to only five on the table, a 325 grain cast SWC .5" bullet at about 800 fps works great and is easily controllable in a 6.5" barrel with the factory comp. More than 6 pins is OK, too, because it means everyone will have to reload. If there was only a way to get a 6 shot cylinder in it....lacking that, the 480 seems a good choice.

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 9:22:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

MadGunn: The do chamber the Super Red Hawk in .454 Casull with a bullet dia. of .451, but the .480 bullet dia. is .475 so .45's would be a little loose rattling down the barrel!

RD: I'm planning on using speed loaders, so won't need moon clips. If I use more than 6 shots on 5 pins I've probably lost the table anyway ....

...... Mr. C.

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 2:44:00 PM, Blogger Manfred said...

Your new toy looks very nice also, Ruger is well known for its durability.
Won't you loose time between each shots with such a caliber ?

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 3:41:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Manfred: You are correct that this will not be very fast between shots, at least compared with .38 specials and the like. Using lighter loads will help, but this Ruger will only really be competitive with other large caliber revolvers, or in revolver classes where the pins are set far forward on the table. Even though I don't expect to win with the Ruger, I can safely predict that I'll have more fun and make more noise than just about anyone!

..... Mr. C.

At Sunday, December 03, 2006 5:00:00 PM, Blogger Manfred said...

lol M.R
You're right the most important is to have fun and I'm sure you will be noticed by your fellows with such a gun ! :-)

At Tuesday, December 05, 2006 2:01:00 PM, Anonymous Kristopher said...

Couldn't resist, could you.


Take a hard look at IMR Trailboss powder. I did a plateshoot at Clark Rifles a few weeks ago with it and had good results ... very little recoil with 375 gr. bullets and 5 grains of that powder ( nearly filled the case.... ).

The guys at can do the conversion for around $250.


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