Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .44 Mag Review

0822181116b2115256845.jpg It’s coming around quickly. Everywhere I turn, I hear avid deer hunters talking about their big plans for this season. I hear backpackers and campers talking about getting out in the woods. Fall is coming, and with it comes the possibility of running into a bear while you hunt, camp in, and explore their environment. Now this is not a scare piece about bear attacks, as they really are rare, and there’s any number of solutions you can use to deter or scare off a bear before it comes down to drawing a firearm. However, the purpose for which this gun was designed IS to be a guide gun. Hence, the name “Alaskan” branded on the barrel.

Ruger Super Redhawk revolvers have always been synonymous with solidly built, powerful, and rugged wheelguns. Found on the hips of ranchers, farmers, and outdoorsmen for decades, this version comes with the features you would expect, just in a much shorter configuration. Ruger’s reasoning for cutting the barrel down to such lengths is that it would make the gun an unobtrusive companion for guides and outdoorsmen. Let’s look at some specs and features:

  • Ruger offers three chamberings for the Alaskan: .454 Casull, .480 Ruger, and the .44 Magnum, which is the model I have
  • Weight of the .44 Magnum is 45 OZ, one ounce heavier than the other two chamberings, per Ruger’s website
  • The barrel is 2.5″ long
  • Fully adjustable rear sight, with a ramp front sight
  • All models of the Alaskan come with the Hogue Tamer Monogrip
  • Stainless steel construction
  • 6 round capacity
  • MSRP is listed as $1,189 for all models

So, most revolver owners and enthusiasts are probably thinking to themselves at this point that the smaller length barrel would significantly decrease muzzle velocity. And they are right, kind of. There IS a decrease in muzzle velocity from a standard 4 or 6 inch barrel, however, American Eagle’s 240 grain semi jacketed hollow point rounds were still leaving the barrel at 1171 feet per second, generating nearly 900 ft/ lbs of muzzle energy. Hard cast “bear loads” from manufacturers such as Buffalo Bore have even more impressive figures due to heavier bullet weights and faster velocities. As a last ditch effort to repel a bear attack, many of the experts in that field have given the Alaskan .44 Magnum their stamp of approval, with the caveat that in brown bear country the .480, or .454 Casull may be the better choice.

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The grip of the Alaskan is what I would describe as very comfortable. The soft rubber with its finger grooves seems to fill my hand nicely. The rubber dot stippling provides gentle, yet sure grip in the hand. The Hogue Tamer Monogrips have a fluid filled bubble where the web between thumb and trigger finger sits, and helps to cushion the recoil found in this short platform. I think that these grips are an excellent pairing for this sized weapon and the chamberings it is offered in.

I initially found it very interesting that Ruger chose to include a rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation on such a short barrelled revolver. Adjustable rear sights are typically not found on short barrelled revolvers, due to the fact that they are typically designed for very close range application. However, with the massive fluctuation in projectile weights, and the propensity for many shooters to handload these cartridges, I think it was a wise decision to add sights that can be tailored for an individual loading, instead of a one size fits all solution. The rear sight has a white “u” outline that I really like, while the front is an all black, serrated ramp. I’m sure some shooters will swap the front sight out for something a little more visible, however, mine works just fine for my needs as is.

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While I only own the .44 Mag version of the Alaskan, I have shot it’s bigger brother in .454 Casull. Both are certainly worthy of the title of “hand cannon” but the .44 Mag is noticeably tamer to fire. That being said, .44 Magnum out of a 2.5″ barrel is a handful. The muzzle flash is quite bright, and the report is thunderous, in a fun sort of way, since of course I was wearing hearing protection. Recoil is stout. There’s no other way to put it. This likely would not be a first choice for a weekend of target shooting for most of us, but if that floats your boat, go for it. I, admittedly, am a fairly new revolver shooter. However, given the intended purpose of this gun, the barrel length and certainly some recoil anticipation on my end, I feel confident I can shoot this gun accurately enough to stop a charging black bear at close distances. As my target picture below indicates, I shot from an assortment of distances. D/A signifies double action trigger pull firing, where the hammer is completely at rest before firing. S/A signifies single action firing, where I cocked the hammer before each shot.

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So, the bottom line: Should you buy this gun? As always, I would say that depends, Are you an outdoors person, guide, or even just live in bear country? I would say it is worth a look, even if you only strap it on for property maintenance or yard work. As a carry or home defense weapon? I would advise against it. Quite frankly, it’s overpowered for carry and I shudder to think about firing it indoors with no hearing protection.

I thoroughly hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you found it helpful, please share it. Don’t hesitate to drop a comment as well, letting me know what you think!!

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Published by Nick

Nick is an avid shooter and 2nd Amendment content creator with 20 years shooting experience. You can usually find him testing guns and equipment at his range on his property, or creating video content to help others enjoy the shooting sports as much as he has over the years.

One thought on “Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .44 Mag Review

  1. For home defense or self defense against humans, you could just use 44 special. It would also be easier to shoot at the range. This would solve your complaints of recoil, muzzle flash and noise. And then when you’re outside in bear country just put the magnums back in it. And in my opinion the 44 magnum would probably only be necessary against grizzly bears, or maybe moose. For black bears, mountain lion, and humans, Buffalo Bore makes a heavy 44 special that seems like it would be adequate, and more shootable than 44 magnum. Im living in Montana, so being in grizzly country I think I’d have to go with 44 magnum, but elsewhere in the lower 48 I think a stout 44 special would work great

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