I’d Buy One!

Enthusiasts are wonderful…sometimes. It really doesn’t matter whether they are hot rod gear heads, shutterbug junkies, paragliding thrill seekers or gunners, enthusiasts help drive the marketplace. Enthusiasts tend to be opinionated, and it is there where their enthusiasm can be a problem for businesses that cater to them.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I’d buy one!” regarding some great idea they had for a new gun, I would be retired now and living on a warm beach in Costa Rica with pretty, young, bikini-clad girls waiting on me hand and foot, and you could be reading some other hack. The poor marketing guys from the gun manufacturers have to wade through this even more than I have. At the SHOT Show they get it from one of several 450-pound, burned-out guys wearing a jean vest claiming he was at Da Nang in ’68 with three teeth and a four-hair comb-over while he hangs off one of those electric scooters overloaded with manufacturers’ brochures. The NRA Annual Meetings can be worse because that event is open to the public; hence the volume of “I’d buy oners” is greater.

But after winnowing the requests for .500 S&W Magnum derringers, revolvers chambered for .223 Remington (with a threaded barrel “so’s I can git me one of them silencers onit!”) and 3.5-pound .458 Win. Mags. a few good ideas occasionally blossom. The return of the Ruger Flat Top in .44 Special and .45 Colt turned out well, except for those who waited too long because they were a limited-run item with Lipsey’s sharing the investment risk. It was at the urging of Elmer Keith that we got the .357 and .44 magnum revolvers from Smith & Wesson. Old Bill Jordan—the Border Patrolman, not the camo guy—badgered Smith to produce the Model 19 and later the Model 66. In these cases, the “I’d buy oners” were multiplied by some 50,000 or so, making the investment in research and manufacturing worth the risk.

If you want a 4-inch .45, don't dawdle.

If you want a 4-inch .45, don’t dawdle.

Among those of us who still relish and use the double-action revolver is a cadre of fellas who pine longingly for a large-frame .44 Special and/or a .45 Colt revolver with a 4-inch barrel. Back when lawmen carried revolvers primarily, these guns enjoyed a fair degree of popularity. Backwoods loafers like me often searched for years for examples of these revolvers because of their ideal balance of power and portability. I have my 4-inch .44 Special—a Model 24 Smith & Wesson that was the product of another limited run back in the 1980s. My search for an affordable—meaning will I part with that much cash now—4-inch .45 Colt has yet to be successful, but that may change.

Once again, Ruger, the consummate innovator in the firearms’ industry, is sticking its neck out. Recently Ruger announced a 4-inch Redhawk chambered not only in .45 Colt, but you can shoot .45 ACP from the same cylinder using full-moon clips. I may not be on the top-tier list of gun hacks to be the first to review a new gun, but I really don’t care about that anymore. Today, I operate at a slower pace. But I’ve got one on the way, and you’ll be hearing more about it in the not-too-distant future.

It looks to be a very nice revolver, and the reviews I have seen on it are quite positive. I’ll wring it out and let you know what I think. But I tell you this: If you want a 4-inch, big-bore revolver, get your butt in line and get one of these. They will never be any cheaper, and they probably will not be available forever.

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s. It did not take long for him to graduate to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s tremendously successful Shooting Illustrated magazine. In 2006 he also edited the iconic book of terminal ballistics, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter—A Definitive Study. He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as a “recovering editor.”
  1. Martin Landry Reply

    Wow! My first non-rimfire pistol was/is a Model 66. Still have it, wouldn’t part with it. Probably the best gun deal I ever came across. Been thinkin’ about a 45 Colt revolver lately. Waiting to read your take on the Ruger.

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