Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum : Test Shoot & Gun Review

By Mike Searson
Mike reviews the Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum from Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum
Ruger Redhawk Revolver in 357 Magnum

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- I have always been a big fan of the Ruger Redhawk series.

It goes back to 1986 or 1987 when I saw a picture of the Ruger Super Redhawk in 44 Magnum with a stainless steel scope in a “Coming Soon” insert in one of the gun magazines of the day.

At 17 years of age, it was the first handgun I wanted to buy when I turned 21. Over the years that exact model eluded me, but I picked up Redhawks in 44 Magnum, 41 Magnum and eventually a Super Redhawk in 454 Casull.

So when Ruger announced an 8-shot 357 Magnum Redhawk, I had to take it for a spin.

The concept is nothing new, as other revolver manufacturers have been offering increased capacity revolvers in 357 Magnum for decades.

However, when Ruger builds a revolver, they build it to last forever. Their earlier incarnations of 6-shot Redhawks chambered in 357 Magnum are certified grail items for most Ruger collectors. We suspect few of those are shot because of their collectability, but this 8-shot holds a lot of promise.

Ruger Redhawk Revolver in 357 Magnum – The Good

Ruger Redhawk Revolver Loaded in 357 Magnum
Ruger Redhawk Revolver Loaded in 357 Magnum

When you open the cylinder for the first time, it looks glorious. It is almost reminiscent of a modern day LeMat cartridge revolver with those 8 chambers. It truly is impressive.

The cylinder is cut for Moon Clips which will please a lot of people and there is a healthy aftermarket for Ruger Redhawk holsters. So it’s not like there will be a huge wait on accessories for the Redhawk. The best part for the moon clip fans is that Ruger includes a few with the Redhawk 357 and you can order more from the Ruger store.

Due to the revolver’s heavy weight and massive size it comes across as an extremely soft-shooting pistol, even with 357 Magnum. The double action trigger is particularly nice; this is something we have noticed on every Redhawk we have fired. They may not have the lightest pull weight, but they are always smooth and consistent. Ours broke at 6 in single action and consistently at 12 in double action.

Stocks are an attractive hard wood grip with Ruger medallions inset. This style is common to most Redhawk revolvers.

Ruger Redhawk 357 Magnum – The Bad

Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum with Beautiful Wood Stocks
Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum with Beautiful Wood Stocks

Obviously, this is going to be a heavy piece to haul around all day.

Our first shooting session was less than remarkable with our rounds striking 4 to 5 inches to low on our target. We blamed the ammunition at first, which were some Remington 158 Grain FMC 38 Specials we had that were collecting dust.

Then we checked the adjustable rear sight and saw it was cranked all the way down from the factory. We have heard that this is a common issue with fresh from the factory revolvers. So if you try one out, check where that rear sight is positioned beforehand so you do not waste ammunition.

After properly adjusting the sights we resumed with our test. Groups ran from 1.75” with 38 Mid-range wad-cutters to a bit over 2” with 180 grain JHPs we loaded up.

The short barrel makes for a more compact revolver in spite of the weight and massive frame size, but a few more inches of barrel length might have more appeal to shooters who want a little more velocity from their 357 Magnums. Maybe we will see this down the road.

Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum – The Reality

Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum Holstered in the Kenai Chest Holster for Ruger Redhawk
Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum Holstered in the Kenai Chest Holster for Ruger Redhawk

While the 8-shot 357 Magnum Redhawk could make for a concealed carry piece with the right wardrobe holster, etc. we feel this is more of a home defense “nightstand” gun or maybe a good sidearm for hunting and fishing if you can tolerate the weight.

We found that it carried well in a Kenai Gunfighters Inc. chest rig. This is actually a very versatile holster that positions the revolver mid torso and works well if you are on a horse, ATV or other situation (like wearing extreme cold weather clothing) where it may not be easy to retrieve a sidearm from your hip. Our model is intended for the Super Redhawk, but we have been able to fit Redhawks, S&W X-Frames, S&W N-Frames and the like with no problems at all.

As to the overall concept; the two extra rounds are nice things to have, but for the size we would prefer a 6-shot 44 Magnum or 5-shot 454 Casull. Yet we recognize that some folks cannot handle those types of rounds and that 357 Magnum may be the limit of their recoil threshold.


We are not disparaging the performance of the 357 Magnum at all. Rather we are trying to make a case for 8 rounds of 357 vs. 6 rounds of 41/44 Magnum in a wilderness situation. It might work well as a defensive sidearm in the lower 48 vs. mountain lion or black bear.
It could work well as a training aid to get newer shooters up to par on shooting heavy handgun revolver loads.

Despite its large size, it is an extremely well built handgun that should last several lifetimes.

After adjusting the sight, we found it to be a very accurate wheel gun, although the heavy weight may dissuade some folks from wanting to shoot it all day in favor of a Ruger GP-100 in 357 Magnum instead.

Ruger collectors and fans of the Redhawk line will have an interest in the Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum, too.


About Mike Searson

Mike Searson
Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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  • 30 thoughts on “Ruger Redhawk Revolver 357 Magnum : Test Shoot & Gun Review

    1. I carried a tiger Blackhawk 3. screw for a few years in a plain Jane shoulder holster and it got so that I didn’t notice that I had it on it was a 7.5 in 30 carbine it is the first to get that I bought and I still have it. It also is the best shooting revolver that I own I have a 357 magnum red hawk 6 shot but it’s just too good to shoot.

    2. How many of you know Bill Ruger went to Congress and PUSHED a ban on magazines over 10 rounds?
      Bill Ruger, also, pushed for high fines and jail time for violators.
      How many of you know Bill Ruger took folding stocks and some firearms off sale to civilians saying the guns were only for law enforcement? No Constitutional authority for local law enforcement (no, I do not mean Sheriff).
      The Constitution expected the Militia or the armed citizens at large to do such tasks.

      I DO NOT support the enemies of the Constitution and the American People.
      Cowardly Americans kneel to un-Constitutional ‘gun control laws’. If you will not stand up and FIGHT for your Rights, do not be surprised when you lose them all. Cowardice has its consequences.

      1. I guess you haven’t heard that William Ruger is dead. Been dead a while as a matter of fact. His sons changed the company’s direction a long time ago and those leading the company since then have continued bringing the company into the 21st century. Just thought you might like to know. I bought my first Ruger product, a 6mm Rem Model 77, in 1970 followed by a Model 77 in 30-06 in 1972 and then a SBH in 1973. I currently own four of their revolvers and four of their semiauto handguns. Good guns for the money. You want to hate someone there are plenty of places deserving it; but, present day Ruger isn’t one of them.

    3. The author should have checked the Ruger website before publishing this article. The Redhawk is currently catalogued in either .357 magnum (8 shot) or .44 magnum (6 shot) with barrels from 2.75” to 7.5”. The weight of the snub nose model is listed at 44 ounces regardless of caliber. Either one should be a good, heavy sidearm for back country travel, depending on caliber preference.

      It was discouraging to read several posts about Ruger revolvers that didn’t function properly when new. I hope their rapidly expanding product line hasn’t negatively affected their legendary quality control.

      1. Times are a change’ in. 30 plus years ago when I worked 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week, as a wood worker, still left me with hours a night to hand load, shoot hundreds of rounds each weekend, hunt, fish and part-time trap for the state. Never did have the time to write articles about firearms, hand-loads or fishing and hunting tips. But then again I had to work my ass off to afford all my gear, which were not given to me. I carried a Ruger Super Redhawk in 44mag on a Bianchi leather shoulder holster with 2 speed loaders on my left side. Yes I’m left handed. Why does everyone seem to whine about the weight these days. I had my CWP and carried that Ruger everywhere I went. With an almost 8″ barrel and the added 18 rounds of what I believe was around 300 grain solid cooper bullets, felt like 30lbs of weight. The weight was never a problem for me. With factory adjustable sights on the Redhawk, I could shoot inside an 8″ circle all day. Because when I went to the range, I shot all day or until I ran out of ammo. Yeah, weight, hiking miles over ridges in northern WA & ID carrying my Redhawk in a left-handed cross draw Bianchi (no speed loaders) if the 6 rounds of 44mag were not enough, then I had very little faith in my gear or me. Over my shoulder was my Ruger 77 in 25-06 with a bull barrel which was mag-na-ported and a Harris bi-pod on the front swivel. Carried a total of 10 rounds for the rifle. Optics was always a Leupold, on this rig was a 6.5-20X40 with their special tapered dot reticle. Weight never accrued to me and at 5’10”, 185lbs it never bothered me either. I was in my mid 20’s and invincible. Lets just say, reviews should be taken at face value. Someone who purchased a firearm and put hundreds if not thousands of round through it during a season, then dismantled it, cleaned it, put it back together and repeated this process over and over. Well their review or pros and cons would influence my decision making much more than someone who plinks on the weekend with a firearm which was given or loaned to them to write a review about. When you purchase a pistol, the seller should take you out back on their range (or indoor) and let you put a box (50 rounds) through the gun before you buy it. This way, if their is a problem with the gun, they can put it aside, to be sent back to the factory and get you another which works as you had hoped it would, before the purchase is finalized. This should be law. I read so many reviews these days about bad die-sets, firearms, tools, cars, you name it and it’s on the list. What happened with taking pride in what you make, just as I did for decade with what I made or did. Common sense is dyeing more each day.

      2. @OldProf49: I have a GP100 that has been reliable for many years, but two out of four LCRs had to go back to Ruger for warranty. I think that their QC has gotten shoddy.

      3. Correct you are, in addition, the Ruger Redhawk comes in 45LC, 6 shot, and comes with three each of the 45ACP Moon Clips. Pick one, Big Boy Cowboy loads or the battle hardened 45ACP. Versatility is evident herein…
        – A fine piece of craftsmanship, with smooth action and very tight machined tolerances.
        – The 4 inch barrel makes it – Heavy, yet accurate and is a very reliable Handgun..
        Shot placement rarely takes a back seat, specificity when the rear sight is properly adjusted.
        – A great choice for carry in the Back Country.
        -A Fly fisherman’s best friend.
        – Best part is when trigger is pulled, Gun goes bang, every time. Good by stove pipes.

    4. Most gun reviews give the specs on the gun tested.
      Another commenter asked for the overall length.
      You say it’s heavy and don’t state the weight.
      You say it’s short and don’t give the barrel length.
      You also don’t say if other barrel lengths or other finishes are available.
      I assume it comes with adjustable sights because you adjusted the sights.
      I wonder if the front sight is removable or if other front sights are available?
      And of course msrp is conspicuously absent.
      A quick look at Buds gun shop shows 5.5, 4.2 and 2.75 inch models for sale.
      All in stainless (the only finish?) for $828
      I should not have to do my own search to find basic info on the reviewed piece.

    5. I bought this Ruger new at a Gun Show last weekend. I’ve been researching it along with a few other .357’s. It is a solid piece. I ran about 60 rounds through it at the range with no problems. I am still sighting the revolver in. For me it was shooting low and to the right. I have a holster on the way from eBay. According to Ruger.com any Redhawk holster works with this model. I just searched for what looked like a short one as I found nothing made specifically for the Model 5033 version. I plan on this Ruger to become my predominate carry weapon swapping sometimes with a Taurus Model 66 4″. Though the Ruger weighs in slightly heaver it is more compact than the Taurus. The Taurus’ weight has never bothered me so I foresee no problem with the Ruger. I am absolutely happy with this purchase.

      1. I bought a new one yesterday. Got home found the ejector rod sticking, had to push very hard, then it won’t retract. The front cylinder lock is rubbing hard on the ejector rod channel. Twice when I closed the cylinder the gun locked up, couldn’t pull the trigger, nor crock the hammer.took it back to store, They don’t seem to care..

        1. Ruger should be good for it Irvin. Send it back. They’ll most likely fix it rather than replace it.
          I have a Blackhawk 3 screw in .357 and They won’t touch it. (no transfer bar) I couldn’t even get a rear sight elevation screw for it. I got one on eBay though. Good luck with yours! Makes ya sick when you put out good bucks for something new and there are problems with it.

        2. Once the gun is transferred in your name the store or any seller is very reluctant to do any switching around because of the federal transfer process… Online stores state that in there process directions and most brick and mortar stores want you to fully inspect the gun BEFORE you let them transfer it in your name…. If they don’t, you need to find a different dealer…. BE SURE to check it over closely as it will save you lots of problems …. Call Ruger and tell them the problem and they should repair it or replace it as they stand behind their guns … However I have never heard of any kind of problems like that with a Ruger, almost sounds like some kind of damage in shipping or something… I own and have owned lots of them, new and used….. You might have it evaluated by a gun smith or at the range by a knowledgeable person just for a second opinion before calling Ruger… May save a lot of hassle…

          1. I agree. Sturm Ruger CO. stands behind what they sell. I own multiple Rugers and have never had any issue whatsoever with service from Ruger. They are areliable and trustworthy manufacture. Our Family has done business with them since 1970.
            -This is why many are repeat buyers of said product. Find out more below.
            https://www.ruger.com/

    6. I got a Blackhawk #2 nylon shoulder rig, it was the only shoulder rig I could find, also the Galco hip holster for the Ruger Super Alaskan snubnose works with the Ruger 8 shot

      1. I got a Blackhawk #2 nylon shoulder rig, it was the only shoulder rig I could find, also the Galco hip holster for the Ruger Super Alaskan snubnose works with the Ruger 8 shot

    7. Very nice,rugged construction, I have a Ruger Blackhawk n 44 mag!!!!! 8 shots is nice though.Ruger is one tough firearm, will last many many years!!!!! They make the very best guns around!!!!!!

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