Rugerís Super Redhawk Alaskan .480 Ruger


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 5th, 2005




About six months ago, I reviewed the .454 Casull version of the Super Redhawk Alaskan, so here I will not plow the same ground with details of the weapon, but rather attempt to display the potential power of the .480 Ruger when fired from this short-barreled sixgun. One feature of these Alaskans that should be noted, is that they do carry a full six rounds in the cylinder instead of five. One cartridge may not make any difference, but then again it just might.

The Alaskans are meant not as primary hunting revolvers, even though they can serve in that role where the short barrel does not legally eliminate them from that use, but rather they are excellent sixguns to carry where one might need a handy but powerful response to a really big animal that is set on ruining the whole day. In this role, the Alaskan is a sound choice. It is not so bulky as to be a burden, but packs a heavy punch when needed.

As can be seen in the earlier article, the .454 Casull still hits pretty hard from the short-barreled Alaskan. Now that the .480 Ruger version is in production, my goal here was to see how the velocity of the .480 ammo would hold up.

The .480 Ruger Alaskan weighs just a bit less than does the .454, with my sample weighing in at 42.2 ounces.  The trigger pull measured a smooth nine pounds, seven and one-half ounces double action, and a crisp five and one-half pounds single action. The barrel measured 2.588 inches in length, and the barrel/cylinder gap an even .002 inch.  Is a very well fitted and finished revolver.

I again used the same excellent Simply Rugged pancake holster that I featured in the .454 article. It is a very good and versatile holster for the Alaskan, with the ability to serve as a strong side or cross draw holster.  It offers excellent protection to the sixgun, while allowing quick and easy access.

The recoil of the .480 Alaskan was about on par with the .454 version. The .480 recoil did not seem as quick as the .454, but with similar loads, little difference could be detected. The padding on the Ruger grip at the web between the thumb and trigger finger is superb. While the gun does jump a bit upon firing, there is no pain involved. I tested a variety of loads over the PACT chronograph. Velocity loss from the short barrel compared to the velocity from longer tubes was in the neighborhood of from one hundred and fifty to three hundred feet per second. The tradeoff is a much handier weapon for everyday packing in remote country or while fishing. The average temperature was in the high forties for all chronograph testing, at an elevation of about 600 feet above sea level. All velocities are listed in feet-per-second. The loads tested and results are as follows:

Ammunition  Velocity
Buffalo Bore 410 grain WFN  1060
Hornady 325 XTP 1099
Hornady 400 XTP 1028
Grizzly Cartridge 340 Belt Mountain Punch 959.1
Grizzly Cartridge 350 Hawk 1016
Grizzly Cartridge 375 LFNGC 1034
Grizzly Cartridge 400 Hawk 957.9
Grizzly Cartridge 425 WFNGC 888.4
Handload 390 Cast Performance LFNGC 872.1

These loads are pretty impressive from such a short-barreled belt gun. I would be hard-pressed to choose between the .480 Ruger and .454 Casull versions of the Alaskan for my own use. The .454 is more versatile, but the .480 throws a bigger bullet. Either should serve its purpose very well.

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, go to:, and click on the DEALER LOCATOR icon.

To order the beautiful and sturdy Simply Rugged holster, go to:

For more info on the factory ammo tested, click on their websites:,, and

Jeff Quinn

To locate a dealer where you can buy this gun, Click on the DEALER FINDER icon at:

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.


Ruger's Super Redhawk Alaskan in .480 Ruger.



Author fires the new .480 Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan.



Sights consist of a fixed ramp front sight with Ruger's familiar white-outline fully-adjustable rear sight.



Hammer is deeply checkered for positive function (top), while the trigger is narrow and smoothly polished (bottom).



Ruger's Super Redhawks feature a very strong locking system that locks the cylinder to the frame at both front and rear for added strength and reliability.



Top strap and forcing cone area is beefy, plenty strong for a steady diet of powerful loads.



The Super Redhawk Alaskan's excellent grips feature a cushioned pad in the thumb web area, greatly diminishing perceived recoil.



The Alaskan, like other Ruger DA revolvers, is a rugged and reliable design that easily strips to its component parts.





The Super Redhawk Alaskan (top) packs a powerful punch, but is not much larger than popular snubnose revolvers such as Charter Arms' Bulldog (bottom).



Simply Rugged's holster for the Alaskan is versatile, practical, well-crafted, and reasonably priced.



Ammo tested in the .480 Alaskan included (left to right): Buffalo Bore 410-grain WFN, Hornady 325-grain XTP, Hornady 400-grain XTP, Grizzly Cartridge 340-grain Punch, Grizzly Cartridge 350-grain Hawk, Grizzly Cartridge 375-grain LFNGC, Grizzly Cartridge 400-grain Hawk, Grizzly Cartridge 425-grain WFNGC, and Jeff's handload using the Cast Performance 390-grain LFNGC bullet.