Typically, I review more tactical rifles and CCW pistols/revolvers, but for some strange reason I was surfing the web for guns to review and I ran across Ruger’s Super Redhawk Alaskan in .454 Casull (*also shoots .45 Long Colt from the same gun). “Why not, sounds like fun!” I thought. I guess it is the CCW of the Alaskan Bush. Plus, I just finished reviewing the .50AE and was starting to get feeling back in my hands, so bring it on Ruger!
Well, it arrived a few weeks later and the fun began. You see a gun on a website, but holding it in your hands is a totally different experience. I was surprised that the gun was not as heavy as I imagined. At a little under three pounds, the Alaskan was easy to handle and carry. The Alaskan’s stainless steel construction is built extremely well—it better be if you’re going to handle the pressure of a .454 Casull. You can tell that the Ruger team spent a little more time on this gun. Now most sensible people would want a .454 with a 6-inch plus barrel so it could be used for hunting. Not me. I wanted the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan with a 2.5-inch barrel.
How did it shoot?
Well, I didn’t do my traditional 1,000+ round test with this gun. I think after 60 rounds I had a pretty good idea of what it could do and how it felt in the hand. The Hogue recoil cushioning grip helped tame the .454 Casull, a little. It was also no surprise that the .45LC rounds were much easier to control on paper than the .454 Casull. It’s hard to say if the cold hammer forged barrel improved accuracy, but my knowledge of metallurgy tells me that it will definitely reduce the barrel wear that would plague other types of barrels.
Remember, this isn’t a 115-grain 9mm moving 1,000 feet per second and releasing 400+ foot pounds of energy into your target. The .454 Casull can send a 300-grain bullet—about the weight of three 9mm bullets—at 2,000 fps and deliver 1,600 to 2,000 ft lbs of energy into your target. That will turn a grizzly’s head into a canoe really quick.
What would I change about this gun?
I really don’t understand the need for adjustable rear sights on a gun with a 2.5-inch barrel. I can’t imagine aiming this much past 20 feet. I’d prefer sights similar to Novak-style night sights, or a rear sight that is part of the frame, such as the Ruger LCR. At a minimum though, the front sight should glow for quick acquisition in low light scenarios.
I’m thinking under a practical application, I’d use this gun in a worst case scenario in the back country, but it could be used as a home defense gun with .45LC loads as well. Therefore, the last thing I’d want to happen on the draw is to get the rear sight caught around something in my pack, pants or whatever, and end up bear poo on a trail. Other than that, I really liked this gun. It’s not an everyday CCW, for most people, but it does serve a purpose. The Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan is more proof that Ruger makes a quality gun and it stands behind it.
Would you prefer the 2.5- or 6-inch barrel? Why? Would you use the Super Redhawk Alaskan for home defense? Share your answers in the comment section.
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