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Bobbed Super Redhawk: Home Made Alaskan

Update 04/18/2008:

Over the winter  I polished the action and installed a 10 pound trigger return spring and a 12 pound hammer spring (from a Wolff Spring Pack). I lubed the sliding parts with Brownell's Action Lube Plus. Single Action pull is now 2.5 pounds and SLICK! Double Action pull is off scale (my Lyman digital gage reads to 12 pounds) but it is smooth as glass and much more pleasant to shoot. I also polished the hammer sides, leaving the top Target Gray, and contoured and polished the trigger. I'll post pics when I get a chance,

My bobbed Super Redhawk as I carry it in the Idaho and Montana mountains when riding my KTM 525EXC.

The red can bungeed on top of the bag is a 10 ounce can of Counter Assault Bear Spray. I also carry a 4 ounce bottle of baby shampoo in case I get some pepper in my eyes or on my hands. I can also clean my drawers after the bear has either run off or dropped down dead from a bullet ;) If I get eaten, I won't care....

The gun fits perfectly in the Wolfman Enduro tank bag, inside an old nylon fanny pack insert. When not on the bike, I slip it into a Tommy's Gun Pack (size Large), for easy access when taking pictures or squatting in the bushes doing my "bidness".

Chronograph data: After much thought I decided I didn't want the legal risk of publishing my handloads. I will just say that the lost 5 inches of barrel results in around 100 to 125 fps less muzzle velocity, depending on load "hotness". I found that I could achieve better results out of the stubby barrel with a slightly faster powder (AA-9) than the "tried and true" H-110. A couple of grains less powder for 90 fps more velocity than H-110, and less muzzle flash, sounds good to me.

I ended up with a 400 grain hardcast bullet going 1035 fps. I haven't done penetration tests, but I expect 36+ inches is reasonable to assume. The really hot loads from a longer barrel go nearly 4 feet....That is plenty adequate for a bear.

It's fun to shoot! I'm working on some more economical low velocity (800-900 fps) 330 grain cast loads for big bore plinking,  practice and "blowing stuff up".

Here's my bullet supplier. Dave has great products and great service, and ships in a USPS Flat Rate container. He's real close to Spokane, so I get my stuff quickly.

Montana Bullet Works: Quality hand-cast bullets for reloaders, competitors, and recreational shooters

Tommy's Gun Pack


Following are some pics and tech info about my bobbed Super Redhawk Bear Gun in .480 Ruger caliber. I couldn't locate a new Alaskan, so I purchased a 7.5 inch barreled SRH from Kesselring Gun Store in Burlington WA, and bobbed the barrel, leaving .250 inches extending in front of the frame. Don't ask me why - I saw a pic at Ruger Revolvers Forum and liked the look. The extra length will surely add some velocity over the flush barrel of the Alaskan... well, at least a couple of fps, and it will protect the frame if I drop the gun in a panic when encountering a moose. And it looks a little different, which I like.

To cut the barrel I first stuffed some tight cleaning wads into the quiet end of the barrel and secured the bare frame in a bench vise padded with nylon jaws. I taped around the base of the exposed part of the barrel with 1/4 inch pinstriping tape to give me a reference line and to protect the original Target Gray finish. I used a fine hacksaw blade to cut the barrel by hand about 1/16 inch out, and filed and trued to the tape edge. I sanded the cut area with 220, 320, and 400 sandpaper, and finally emory paper on a block of hardwood after beveling the outer edge with the file.

I then moved the frame to the drill press and countersunk the bore with a 1/2 inch aircraft countersink. I applied medium grit automotive  valve grinding compound to the round head of a 5/16 inch lag bolt and hand lapped a nice contour into the crown. I followed that with fine compound and was done with the bob.

Originally I was going to install a factory Alaskan blade sight (measuring 0.312 high for the .480), and I had one in hand when I visited the local gunsmith. He didn't have the tooling to mill a 0.100 inch wide longitudinal slot for the sight, and he quickly talked me into buying a short rifle post sight with 3/8 inch dovetail so I could retain use of the scope ring mounts, in case I ever wanted to mount a Weigand Super Redhawk Weaver scope mount and Aimpoint sight. I could either cut off the front of the Weigand scope base, or leave it long and cut a recess to clear the blade sight.

Here's the sight I used - it's the 0.450 tall (includes dovetail base) 006-113-450 from XS Sighting Systems.

APERTURE REAR SIGHTS & POST FRONT SIGHTS at Brownells

The gunsmith cut a dovetail in a couple of days and installed the sight. The machine work was a shade shoddy, so I cleaned up the sharp edges with a jeweler's file and fine sandpaper. Luckily the Target Gray was not damaged, other than the bright stainless showing in the exposed part of the slot.

At the range I filed the front sight a little at a time until my 400 grain bear loads printed on target at 75 feet, with the rear sight set half way down and a center hold. It only took a little filing. The fast factory 275 gr Federal Barnes ammo shoots a few inches low but that's ok. Back at home in the shop, I added a nice ramp to the front of the sight blade, beveled the edges a little, sanded and polished and then blued the bare steel.

Normal carry ammo is four 275 gr Federal Barnes DPX solid copper factory rounds, and two 400 gr LBT Wide Flat Nose handloads, using AA-9 powder and CCI 550 primers at 1035 fps. The Federal load is a little less stout than the Corbon load, and a little more affordable - it is suitable for humans and cougars, with great expansion and penetration with moderate recoil. The handloads are bad medicine for very large predators and moose.... I can select the appropriate chamber depending on the threat level of the area I am riding. I only carry two of the 400 gr rounds because that is all I would ever be able to fire in an attack.... I carry six of each round as reloads in a nylon belt carrier.

The factory rear SRH sight and modified front rifle sight.

The gun is balanced on the mug - a breath of wind would tip it over.

The trimmed section of barrel makes a dandy pen holder

After more sessions at the range, I may send the gun off to a good gunsmith to get the barrel re-crowned using a special crown cutter. If the accuracy is acceptable with my Hand Bob, I'll skip that step.

This winter I'll polish the action and install lighter Wolff hammer and trigger springs. I may also remove the Target Gray finish from the hammer and trigger and polish those parts bright.... I kind of would like some additional contrast to the gray, to help balance the bright parts at the muzzle. What do you think?

Chronograph data to follow, eventually...

Page updated June 17, 2008