Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .44 Magnum Review

The Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan is Ruger’s definition of a back country “pack gun” used as personal protection against bear and other large mammals and predators. It comes in .44, .45LC/.454 Casull, and .480 Ruger. As a testimony to its effectiveness, there are verified claims that the Alaskan has successfully put down large predators in a self-defense context:

Man kills charging bear with .454 Casull

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Transcript …

Hey guys, James again for TFBTV.

And today for review, I have the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in.44 magnum.

With the Alaskan, Ruger wanted to create a packable bear gun, something for bear protection.

Now, the.44 magnum is a little bit on the light side for that, unbelievably.

But, they also make this gun in a.454 Casull.45 Long Colt version and a.480 Ruger version.

One thing you’ll notice right away about the.44 magnum that sets it apart from the.45, and the.454,.480 versions, is that the.44 magnum is the only one that has a fluted cylinder.

Whereas, the.45 Long Colt,.454 Casull, .480 Ruger, none of those have fluted cylinders.

Now, by virtue of that, the Alaskan in.44 weighs a little bit less than it’s counterparts.

Coming in at a still pretty strout 41 ounces.

It’s got an adjustable rear-sight, a front ramp that comes black, so a little paint would serve you well.

A six round capacity of.44 special or.44 magnum.

I’m only going to be shooting.44 magnum for today’s review.

It comes with a Hogue grip over-modeled and you can see it’s massive with these finger grooves.

And hopefully that’ll sap up some of the recoil from this beast.

The trigger pull, I tested out the trigger pull.

And of course it is heavier than 12 pounds on the double-action trigger, so I got a no read.

However the single-action trigger comes in consistently at roughly 5 to 5 1/2 pounds.

The cylinder is triple locked at the front, the rear, and the bottom of the cylinder.

It’s got locking lugs and locking latches at various points in the cylinder and in the cylinder arm.

It’s got a cold hammer forged barrel, which is built for the type of abuse that.44 Magnum’s gonna deliver.

And it also has an overbuilt frame.

Ruger said they deliberately left a lot of heft on this frame to give it a little more weight.

To not only sap up that recoil, but to keep the gun from pretty much splitting in half when you shoot it.

Now I know a lot of people are going to decry the 2 1/2 inch barrel on this thing.

But remember, this is made as, really a last resort option, for backpacking, for hiking, where you might not want a massive six, seven, eight inch gun.

Strangely enough, the Ruger Super Alaskan moves counter clockwise.

So, if you need to fire one round, you’re gonna go ahead and load it in your 2 o’clock chamber instead of your 10 or 11 o’clock.

The gun’s finished and set in stainless.

The 2 1/2 inch barrel has six grooves with a twist of one in 24.

The overall length is 7 5/8 inches.

It weighs 41 ounces.

MSRP on the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan is $1189.

However, that is a huge overshot from street price where you can get these guns for around $850 to $900.

So to try to Super Redhawk for the first time, I have masterfully drawn a bear with a can of spray paint on the back of a B-27 target for you guys.

So we can get a very realistic representation of what it would be like if you were shooting at a charging grizzly.

No doubt the conditions would be exactly the same as this.

But, this is.44 magnum out of a 2 1/2 inch barrel.

This is Hornady.44 mag, not special, hollow point, so this should be interesting.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) So as you guys can see, I threw those shots a little low.

Actually four of’em I’m pretty happy with 10 meters in the size of a fist.

I threw two flyers from flinching.

This is, I wouldn’t say it recoils heavily, but you know it’s there, it’s pretty significant.

And I can be pretty recoil sensitive.

But, I was actually quite impressed that with full power, .44 Mag loads, that it wasn’t abusive.

The recoil was really not that bad.

I’d say this Hogue grip does an excellent job of sapping up the recoil.

But, I’m definitely going to have to adjust these sights.

But then again, this is not made…

I mean, of course nobody wants to get within ten meters of charging bear, your probably (beeping).

Really, to be honest.

But, that said, this is made for last ditch close encounters and I’m sure I could probably just adjust the sights, but out of the box, I would hope that they would be a little bit more on target than that.

This Ruger is just about the right weight, where it’s not, it’s really not that bad.

You definitely know it’s there.

You definitely know you’re shooting a caliber that starts with a four.

When you pull the trigger on this thing.

But, it’s manageable.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) Wow, still going very low.

Tuned the sights a little bit and I think we’re in business now.

Let’s have a look.

I’m gonna shoot at that orange dot that I put in that silhouette target.

10 meters.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) Alright, still a couple inches low, but, you know, I guess it’s pretty decent grouping for a.44 Magnum, full power.44 Magnum load at 10 meters out of a 2 1/2 inch barrel, not bad.

And maybe it’s just me, but it really did seem like the heavier hollow points that I was shooting the other day, that those were a little bit less snappy than these 180 grain jacketed soft points.

But, it’s still manageable.

It definitely wants to hop out of your hand, but at least it isn’t painful.

It’s not painful.

It’s just a little bit more difficult to rangle.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) And that was fun.

Alright, let’s get it out of the way.

Let’s try one handed.

(grunting) God this gonna be awful.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) (gun shooting) Ya, that was terrible.

That was terrible, I mean, I was pulling to the right.

But, shots at least were on target.

So, I’ll call it a win.

So, is it possible to make hits from 50 yards with this 2 1/2 inch.44 Magnum? Yes.

But for me, probably not.

Let’s see, and the sights are a little low.

So I’m gonna kind of shoot high and see what happens.

Give me a second to get my bearings here.

Going for that, roughly 12 inch white plate, 50 meters.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) Count it.

(gun shooting) Count it.

(gun shooting) (gun shooting) I flinched.

(gun shooting) Not bad.

Hard to tell where my shots are going if I’m shooting high or low.

But ya, definitely if you need to take a shot…

I mean that’s a 12 inch target.

It’s like maybe six inches wide 12 inches high.

It’s a pretty good shot for 50 meters, especially with hard recoiling gun like this.

So, that makes it a little bit more effective for a threat that might be further away.

So, in conclusion, the Ruget Super Redhawk Alaskan is an excellent revolver.

It excels at what it’s designed to do.

Unfortunately, what it’s designed to do really only affects a very narrow quadrant of the shooting population.

But, what is this gun designed for? As I said in the beginning of the video this gun is designed to be the most compact backpack-able weapon of last resort against a large mammal or a large predictor that you might encounter if you’re backpacking, hiking, whatever.

And it excels in that role.

It’s not too heavy considering how powerful the cartridge.44 magnum is.

So you’re only adding about 2 1/2 pounds to your pack and you get six rounds of pretty potent protection.

I know a lot of people are going to get on here, if I have to guess, the most popular criticisms are going to either be the cost or the barrel length.

This is only 2 1/2 inches of barrel.

A little bit of barrel.

A little bit more barrel would’ve been nice.

But, that would’ve really cut down on it’s portability.

So, there’s an argument either way.

Whether you wanna get more power, squeeze more power out of this gun.

Or whether or not you want it to be more packable.

So I guess what I wanna say is the two categories of people best suited for the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan are going to be those people who have a lot money, or a lot of.44 magnum, and wanna get something really fun to shoot on the range.

Or, two, if you’re part of that narrow category of backpackers, hikers, who are going to be in the back-country, somewhere where you’re going to need some protection against a large predator.

So, in conclusion, I think that this is a fantastic gun, but it’s limitations are it’s narrow application and it’s cost.

In any case, don’t hesitate to give it a look guys.

Thanks for watching, see you next week.

(patriotic music)

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • USMC03Vet

    Damn, James. You steal that bear’s girlfriend? That is one angry bear.

    • James R.

      I try to stay away from Louisiana grizzlies, but they are around my house all the time:

      • Giolli Joker

        That being the case, I would revise the choice of clothing, if I were you…

  • VF 1777

    Absolute beautiful beast of a gun. I almost impulse-bought one in .454 Casul a while back when it suddenly hit me… “dude, you live in friggin Pennsylvania – what the hell are you going to do with this thing?” 🙂 Phew, got lucky that time. It would look real nice in my safe, but not worth a mortgage payment to me for another safe queen at this point. Anyway, another fine review sir. Gracias.

    • gunsandrockets

      Hah, I almost impulse-bought one too!

      A normal 7.5 inches long barreled Super Redhawk in .454 Casull, used gun on sale for $750. First one I had seen. It looks good, it looks right. What shocked me was how surprisingly light it felt in my hand. I assumed it would feel clumsy and nose heavy.

  • Gorilla Biscuit

    Wolf spring kits really help with the controlability on all of the Ruger double action revolvers. Fighting a 12+lb double action and the heavy recoil of 44mag+ cartridges are not conducive to accurately hitting your intended target repeatedly.

  • Pete M

    I’ve always wanted one of theses revolvers, but I’ve never had a use for one. Great video.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Going to Alaska would be a great excuse to get one.

      • Pete M


  • ExMachina1

    Respect for admitting to flinching and for being recoil sensitive. Too many internet experts could never acknowledge that.

  • TheMaskedMan

    I love the way the Alaskan looks. I wish Ruger would make one exactly like this with a long barrel.

    • DW

      That would be (regular) super redhawk. Even the underlug is the same length.

      • TheMaskedMan

        In a way, yes. I’m talking about a full-length underlug though. The super Redhawk has an underlug (and is even beefier at the top too), but it doesn’t extend the length of the barrel.

    • Giolli Joker

      You need to have a thorough look at Bowen Classic Arms’ website.

      • Anonymoose

        I’ve been drooling over his work for a few years now. I want really want a .454 Alaskan with a 6.25″ Colt Anaconda barrel in it, another Alaskan in .480 with a 5-shot .475 Linebaugh cylinder in it (just so I can have a pocket-sized flamethrower), and one of these giant SP101s in .500 Linebaugh Maximum…

        • Giolli Joker

          I feel you.
          My Holy Grail has always been a 6″ .500 Linebaugh L-Frame barreled Redhawk… It was the reason why I bought one of the first copies of Bowen’s book “The Custom Revolver”.
          The SP-type barrel is a recently introduced really tough contender to that holy Grail.
          I’d love to see them in blued version.
          One day…

        • ihatelibs

          GOOD FRIGGIN LUCK , Finding a Snake Gun . Theys as Rare as Hens teeth

          • Anonymoose

            When they were making these conversions a couple years ago, Brownells had located a stock of spare Anaconda barrels.

      • TheMaskedMan

        Awesome stuff, but a bit out of my price range.

  • DW

    Ruger Super Redneck: just rechamber this in .45 LC/ .45ACP and .45-70

    • Giolli Joker

      You can have a Magnum Research BFR in .45-70…

      • DW

        That’s not DA, and the name aint a meme.

        • Giolli Joker

          “the name aint a meme”
          Do you really think that they came up with Biggest Finest Revolver first?

          • DW

            OK I guess the name is a meme, albeit an old one. heh.

  • Devil_Doc

    I have to ask.. Why not go with a G20, and 15+1 of Buffalo Bore +p? Great review though.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I’d probably still go with a Glock 20 over a magnum revolver for defense against bears. I just don’t have confidence in my ability to kill a large bear with 5 or 6 shots. I also wonder why Chiappa hasn’t made a Rhino chambered in .44 Magnum. It would solve the recoil problem.

    • Don Ward

      It’ll get kinda bitey with the cylinder blast coming out of a lower barrel.

      • Giolli Joker

        That and the fact that the Rhino tames muzzle flip, not recoil that becomes a straight back push… definitely bearable in .357, maybe too much in .44 or .454.
        However I’d love to see a .44 Rhino… uhm, Triceratops?

    • Pete M

      I think I would make the same choice. Not based on caliber, but based on trigger pull weight and feel under stress. I’m not sure I’d be accurate enough with the Ruger, and I haven’t thought about how to simulate a charging bear to test my skills.

  • Marcus D.

    Well, if 45 Colt is good enough for bears, I’m good to go with my 1873 SAA clone that I bought for $400, including tax BGC and fees. And it doesn’t hurt to shoot it either.

  • gunsandrockets

    Sorry Ruger, but the S&W Model 69 is a better handgun than the .44 Alaskan. Its lighter, longer barreled, has a better trigger, has a better front sight and is much less expensive. Okay, the Alaskan has one more shot, but hardly worth it.

    • DW

      Should compare the smith with a normal redhawk then. Super Redhawk is beefier because it was to handle .454 and .480.

  • Captain Obvious

    Ruger makes a 2.75″ bbl regular Redhawk called the Kodiak Backpacker if you want even more recoil in a smaller package. On the other hand, when I went to Alaska hiking and fishing last fall I toted my 5.5″ 44 mag regular Redhawk in a chest rig with some 310gr Barnes hard cast.; I did some long all day hikes in the mountains and got used to carrying it. I’ve used that pistol to kill deer and I practiced quick firing that load before I went so I was pretty familiar with it. It is not that hard to carry or get used to a full sized pistol. The versatility, ballistics, and usefulness of a full sized outweighs the convenience of a compact.

  • ihatelibs

    Mine is Also a SUPER RED , Stainless . But , I have a 10″ Barrel . I carry on several occasions . Open Carry . Especially on my Harley . And Deer Hunting . Ive taken one with a Ruger single six 357 , 6″ bbl . But , Dayum . A 44 MAG ??? AWESUM .

  • Oldtrader3

    I own and shoot a 2-1/2 inch .44 Super Blackhawk and for me, it is the bomb! I don’t mind the recoil in this frame with these grips. It is better certainly than the 4 inch Model 29 S&W that I once owned and carried. I really like mine with 240 gr Hornady loads. Besides that, for practice, you can always shoot .44 Special loads which are also just fine for defense against two legged predators!